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34. The New Stone Tablets
And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 2And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 3And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. 5And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
10And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. 11Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 14For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. 17Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
18The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. 19All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. 20But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
21Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
22And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
23Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. 24For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year. 25Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk. 27And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. 32And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. 34But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
29. And it came to pass when Moses came down Another remarkable honor given to the Law is here narrated, viz., that the brightness of the heavenly glory appeared in the face of Moses; for it is said that his face gave forth rays, or was irradiated. The word is derived from קרן keren, a horn; and therefore it is probable that rays shone forth from his face, which rendered it luminous; and this effulgence God shed upon him, whilst He was speaking to him in the mount. It is not certain what was the reason why Moses himself was ignorant that he was thus illumined by God, except that it seems probable that it was concealed from him for a short time, in order that he might approach the people with more freedom, and thus that the miracle might be more evident from close inspection. When it is said afterwards, that Aaron and the children of Israel were so alarmed at the brightness, that “they were afraid to come nigh him,” I do not understand it, as if they fled from him immediately; for, since they were recalled by his voice, undoubtedly they had not seen the rays from a distance, but when they were in the act of receiving him, and he, on his part, delivering to them the commands of God. Therefore, what follows soon afterwards, that, when he had done speaking, he covered his face with a vail, 389389 “Till Moses had done speaking with them, he put,” etc. — A. V. Rosenmuller translates it with C. and the LXX., “and, when,” etc. “We need not (says Willet) with Oleaster to transpose the words, ‘he put a vail upon his face, and so finished to speak unto the people;’ but either we may read with Junius,’ While he had finished to speak unto the people, he put a vail:’ or rather to read it in the praeter-pluperfect tense, with the Genevan version, ‘So Moses made an end of communing with them, and he had put a covering upon his face.’” I refer to his first address, which He was obliged to break off on account of the departure or flight of the people, so that the meaning is, when He knew the cause of their alarm, He left off speaking, and covered his face with a vail; for he could not have known the reason of their flying except by inquiry. Some, in order to avoid the difficulty, separate the second clause from the first, and transpose their order; but this exposition appears to me to be forced. It seems, however, in my opinion, to be perfectly consistent that Moses, after he saw them departing in consternation, ceased from speaking, because they did not listen to him, and, when he discovered the reason, put on the vail. Hence arises a question, viz., How Moses could have borne the brightness of God’s glory, whilst the people could not bear the rays which shone from his face? But this is easily answered: that they were branded with this mark of disgrace, in order that they might confess how far by their ingratitude they had departed from God, since they were terrified at the sight of this servant. They were, therefore, humbled by this difference between them, that, whilst Moses securely advanced to them from his conference with God, although he bore upon him the indications of God’s terrible power, they, in fear and astonishment, recoiled from the sight of a mortal man.
After Paul has shewn the genuine object of this brightness, viz., that the Law should be glorious, he proceeds further, and shews that it was a presage of the future blindness which awaited the Jews. (2 Corinthians 3:13.) He begins, therefore, by saying, that although the Law was only a dead letter, and the ministration of death, yet it was graced with its own peculiar glory; and then adds what is accidental, that there was a vail before the face of Moses, because it would be the case that the Jews would not be able to see what is the main thing in the Law, nor to pay attention to its true end; and so it actually is, that since the coming of Christ, their senses have been blinded, and the vail is upon them, until Moses shall be 390390 So C. translates the words in his Comment. on 2 Corinthians 3:16, ”and when he (i.e., Moses,) shall have turned to the Lord,” and thus defends it: “This passage has hitherto been badly rendered, for both Greek and Latin writers have thought that the word Israel was to be understoon, whereas Paul is speaking of Moses. he had said that a vial is upon the hearts of the Jews when Moses is read. He immediately adds, As soon as he will have turned to the Lord, the vial will be taken away. Who does not that this is said of Moses, that is, of the Law? For as Christ is the end of it, (Romans 10:4,) to which it ought to be referred, it was turned away in another direction, when the Jews shut out Christ from it.” Calvin Society edition, vol. 2, p. 183. Camerarius, in Poole, remarks on the difficulty of the passage, arising from the fact that the verb ἐπιστρέψὟ may either be the third person singular subjunctive active, or the second person singular of the first future middle; but he concludes, that “it seems somewhat harsh to apply it to Moses.” turned by them to Christ, who is the soul of the Law. But, since now in the Gospel God presents Himself with open face, we must take care that the prince of this world does not darken our minds, but rather that we may be transformed from glory to glory.