The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus

Chapter 34

The tables are renewed, 1-4. The name of the LORD proclaimed, 5-7. Moses entreats God to go with them, 8, 9. God makes a covenant with them, repeating certain duties of the first table, 10-27. Moses, after forty days on the mount, comes down with the tables, 28. His face shines and he covers it with a veil, 29-35.

1 And the LORD said to Moses, "Hew two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write upon these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. 2 And be ready in the morning and come up in the morning to mount Sinai and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3 And no man shall come up with you, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mountain, neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mountain." 4 And he hewed two tablets of stone like the first. And Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. 5 And the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, patient, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children's children to the third and to the fourth generation." 8 And Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9 And he said, "If now I have found grace in your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray you, go among us (for it is a stiff-necked people) and pardon our iniquity and our sin and take us for your inheritance."

10 And he said, "Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do wonders such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation. And all the people among which you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

11 "Observe that which I command you this day. Behold, I drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you go, lest it be for a snare in the midst of you. 13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves. 14 For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, 15 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go astray after their gods and do sacrifice to their gods, and one call you, and you eat of his sacrifice, 16 And you take of their daughters to your sons, and their daughters go astray after their gods and make your sons go astray after their gods. 17 You shall make yourself no molten gods.

18 "The feast of unleavened bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.

19 "Every first-born is mine, and every first-born among your cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. 20 But the first-born of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you shall not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the first-born of your sons you shall redeem. And no one shall appear before me empty.

21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In time of plowing and in harvest you shall rest. 22 And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the first-fruits of wheat-harvest, and the feast of in-gathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year all your male children shall appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out the nations before you and enlarge your borders. No man shall desire your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

25 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.

26 "The first of the first-fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a kid in his mother's milk."

27 And the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words. For after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." 28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

29 And it came to pass when Moses came down from mount Sinai (with the two tablets of testimony in Moses's hand, when he came down from the mountain) that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 And Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 And afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him on mount Sinai. 33 And until Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off until he came out. And he came out and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses's face shone. And Moses put the veil upon his face again until he went in to speak with him.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Exodus, Chapter 34[➚]


[v.1-2] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Observe: the first tablets, as well as the writing upon them, were wholly of the Lord. But these must now be hewn, and prepared by Moses. Is not the spiritual sense of it this? The original law, in the time of man's innocency, was written in the tablets of the heart; and both the tablets and the writing, were from the Lord. But when man by sin had broken the law, the ministry of man, like Moses, is made use of, but the law itself, even the scriptures of truth, are still of God. Reader! what a mercy is it that when you and I have by sin broken God's law, the Lord again writes his law, by his Spirit, upon our hearts. Jeremiah 31:31-34, with Hebrews 8:10."

[v.6] - From John Gill's Exposition: "First 'merciful', and he is so in the most tender and affectionate manner; he is rich and plenteous in mercy, freely giving it, delights in bestowing it, constantly shows it to his people; it is manifested and displayed in Christ, the mercy seat; and it lays a foundation for faith and hope, and is the spring of all good things in time, and to eternity: and he is also 'gracious', good and kind to men, without any merit of theirs, but bestows good things on them freely, of his own free grace, favor, and good will, as appears by various acts of his; in the eternal choice of them to everlasting happiness; in providing a Savior for them, and giving all grace and spiritual blessings to them in him; by giving Christ to them, and for them, justifying them freely by his righteousness, pardoning their sins according to the riches of his grace, regenerating, calling, preserving, and saving them by it: likewise 'patient'; both towards wicked men, the vessels of wrath, by whom his patience is abused and despised; and toward his elect, on whom he waits to be gracious, not willing that any of them should perish, but all be brought to repentance; and his patience is their salvation: and it follows, 'abundant in goodness and truth'; in providential goodness to all men; in special goodness to his chosen people, which he has laid up, and wrought out for them, and shown them in Christ; in his truth and faithfulness, in fulfilling his promises, both with respect to the mission of his Son into the world, to be the Savior of it, and with respect to all other things promised, whether relating to this life, or that to come, to grace or glory; he never allows his truth and faithfulness to fail; his promises are all yes and amen in Christ."

[v.7a] - "Keeping mercy for thousands" - From John Gill's Exposition: "In his own heart, in his purposes and decrees, in his counsels and covenant, in his Son, with whom he keeps it forever, and for all in him (Psalm 89:28), and they are many who are ordained to eternal life, for whom Christ gave his life a ransom, and for whom his blood was shed for the remission of their sins; and whom he justifies by his knowledge, and at last brings to glory as the great Captain of their salvation; these are even a number which no man can number."

[v.7b] - "forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" - From John Gill's Exposition: "The word used signifies a lifting it up, and taking it away: thus [Yahweh] has taken it from the sinner, and put it on his Son, who has borne it, and made satisfaction for it; and in so doing has taken it quite away, so as to be seen no more; and, through the application of his blood to the conscience of a sinner, it is taken away from there, and removed as far as the east is from the west; from where it appears, that it is in Christ, and for his sake, that God forgives sin, even through his blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and satisfaction; and this forgiveness is of all sin, of all sorts of sin, original or actual, greater or lesser, public or private, open or secret, of omission or commission, of heart, lip, and life. The Jews sometimes distinguish these three words; 'iniquity', they say, signifies sins through pride and presumption; 'transgression' intends rebellions against God; and 'sin', what is committed through error and mistake; and much to this sense is Jarchi's interpretation of these words; they no doubt include all manner of sin, which God for Christ's sake forgives."

[v.7c] - "who will by no means clear the guilty" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Without a full and proper satisfaction to justice; which is provided in Christ, whom God has set forth to be the propitiation for sin, to declare his righteousness, that he might appear to be just, while he justifies and pardons those who believe in Jesus; otherwise all the world are guilty before God, and none would be cleared; but those for whom satisfaction is made, and a righteousness wrought out, they are cleared, acquitted, and discharged, and they only."

[v.8] - Reference, Psalm 89:7.

[v.12-17] - Reference, Exodus 20:3-6; Deuteronomy 5:7-10; 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18.

[v.18] - "The feast of unleavened bread" - This is the first of the great Jewish feasts, the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread. This feast was to make a remembrance of the delivery of the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt. Reference, Exodus, ch. 12.

[v.21] - Reference, Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15.

[v.22] - "the feast of weeks" - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "This is the second of the great Jewish feasts; the feast of Pentecost; here called the feast of weeks. See Acts 2:1. And the third is, that of the in-gathering of the fruits."

[v.27] - Reference, Deuteronomy 5:2-3.

[v.28a] - "he wrote" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Not Moses, for these were tablets of stone, which he could not write or engrave upon without proper instruments, which it does not appear he had with him on the mount; but it was God that wrote them, who, in Exodus 34:1 says he would write them, and from Deuteronomy 10:2-4 we are assured he did."

[v.28b] - "the Ten Commandments" - The Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus, ch. 20 and Deuteronomy, ch. 5.

[v.29] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "Was not Moses here also in his shining countenance a type of the Lord Jesus? See Matthew 17:2. And was not this also intended to show that by communion with God, a brightness and splendor is communicated to believers? 2nd Corinthians 3:18. Reader! may the Lord grant that the frequency and fervency of our communion with the Lord, may indicate to all around, that we have been much with Jesus. Acts 4:13."

[v.33-35] - Reference, 2nd Corinthians 3:13-16; 2nd Timothy 1:10.

[v.34] Quoted in 2nd Corinthians 3:16.