Exodus 34 Commentary

Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
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Summary Chart of
The Book of Exodus
DELIVERANCE
FROM OPPRESSION
PREPARATION FOR
WORSHIP
Redemption from Egypt
Ex 1:1-18:27
Revelation from God
Ex 19:1-40:38
Getting Israel Out of Egypt Getting Egypt Out of Israel!
Narration Legislation
Birth of
Moses
Ex 1-2
Call of
Moses
Ex 3-6
Conflict with Pharaoh
Ex 7-10
Exodus
from
Egypt
Ex 11-12
Red
Sea
Crossed
Ex 13-15
Journey
To
Sinai
Ex 16-18
Law
Given
Ex 19-24
Tent
Plan
Ex 25-31
Idol
Worship
Ex 32-34
Tent
Built
Ex 35-40
Subjection Redemption Instruction
Suffering and Liberation
of People of God
Guidance
of God
Worship
of God
Moses and
Burdens of Israel
Pharaoh and
Plagues Upon Egypt
Red Sea
Deliverance
Wilderness
Provision
Sinai
Instructions
Bondage
and Oppression
Deliverance
and Provision
Law Pattern
and Construction
Israel in Egypt
Ex 1:1-13:16
Israel to Sinai
Ex 13:17-18:27
Israel at Sinai
Ex 19:1-40:38
God's People
Enduring
Bondage
God's Grace
Revealed
in Redemption
God's Glory
Manifested
in Worship
Egypt
430 Years

(15% of Exodus)
Wilderness
2 Months

(30% of Exodus)
Mt Sinai
10 Months

(55% of Exodus)
From
Groaning
                To
Glory!
 
Jensen's Survey of the Old Testament - online

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GENESIS EXODUS
human effort and failure divine power and triumph
word of promise work of fulfillment
a people chosen a people called
God’s electing mercy God’s electing manner
revelation of nationality realization of nationality

SUMMARY OF THE PENTATEUCH
(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 34:1  Now the LORD said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.

NET  Exodus 34:1 The LORD said to Moses, "Cut out two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you smashed.

NLT  Exodus 34:1 Then the LORD told Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed.

ESV  Exodus 34:1 The LORD said to Moses, "Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.

NIV  Exodus 34:1 The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.

KJV  Exodus 34:1 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:1 And the Lord said to Moses, Hew for thyself two tables of stone, as also the first were, and come up to me to the mountain; and I will write upon the tables the words, which were on the first tables, which thou brokest.

ASV  Exodus 34:1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou brakest.

CSB  Exodus 34:1 The LORD said to Moses, "Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.

NKJ  Exodus 34:1 And the LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.

NRS  Exodus 34:1 The LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke.

YLT  Exodus 34:1 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, 'Hew for thyself two tables of stone like the first, and I have written on the tables the words which were on the first tables which thou hast broken;

  • Cut out for yourself: Ex 31:18 Ex 32:16,19 De 10:1 
  • I will : Ex 34:28 De 10:1-4 
  • the words : Ps 119:89 
  • which : Ex 32:19 De 9:15-17 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

TABLET OF TEN
REDUX

Related Passage:

Deuteronomy 10:1 “At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood for yourself. 2 ‘I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the ark.’ 

Exodus 32:19+ It came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.

Deuteronomy 9:15-17 “So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 “And I saw that you had indeed sinned against the LORD your God. You had made for yourselves a molten calf; you had turned aside quickly from the way which the LORD had commanded you. 17 “I took hold of the two tablets and threw them from my hands and smashed them before your eyes.

Redux means returned, brought back. In this context it means a renewal of the "Tablet of Ten Words" which was broken and abrogated by Israel's heinous golden calf sin.

NET Note - The restoration of the faltering community continues in this chapter. First, Moses is instructed to make new tablets and take them to the mountain (Ex 34:1–4). Then, through the promised theophany God proclaims his moral character (Ex 34:5–8). Moses responds with the reiteration of the intercession (8), and God responds with the renewal of the covenant (Ex 34:10–28). To put these into expository form, as principles, the chapter would run as follows:

  • I. God provides for spiritual renewal (Ex 34:1–4),
  • II. God reminds people of his moral standard (Ex 34:5–9),
  • III. God renews his covenant promises and stipulations (Ex 34:10–28).

Matthew Henry - God having in the foregoing chapter intimated to Moses His reconciliation to Israel, here gives proofs of it, proceeding to settle his covenant and communion with them. Four instances of the return of his favour we have in this chapter:

  • I. The orders he gives to Moses to come up to the mount, the next morning, and bring two tables of stone with him (Ex 34:1-4).
  • II. His meeting him there, and the proclamation of his name (Ex 34:5-9).
  • III. The instructions he gave him there, and his converse with him for forty days together, without intermission (Ex 34:10-28).
  • IV. The honour he put upon him when he sent him down with his face shining (Ex 34:29-35).
  • In all this God dealt with Moses as a public person, and mediator between him and Israel, and a type of the great Mediator.

Now - When is "Now?" Moses has just been speaking with God -- two "I pray You" addresses - (1) Ex 33:13 = "if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You," (see Ps 103:7 for one answer) and (2) Ex 33:18. “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

The LORD said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones - The first set of stone tablets were both carved and written on by God (Ex 24:12, Ex 32:16). Presumably Moses receives this instruction from Yahweh in the Tent of Meeting. Before, God Himself provided the tablets, and wrote on them (Ex 31:18+), but now, Moses must hew out the tablets. Note that God does not chastise Moses for breaking the first set of tablets. In this passage we see Moses responsibility and God's sovereignty. There is a touch of divine irony here for the verb Jehovah uses for "cut out" (pasal) is very similar to the word for graven imagepesel) in Ex 20:4+, commandment two where "You shall not make for yourself an idol (carved image)"! 

and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered - God says He will write, but it is actually Moses would carry this out in Ex 34:27. This would be strong evidence for the inspiration of Scripture and reminds us of how the Holy Spirit interacted in 2 Peter 1:21 "for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

Kaiser - No contradiction exists between God’s statement that he “will write on them the words that were on the first tablets” and vv.27–28, where Moses did the actual writing. Apparently these are alternate ways of saying the same thing: What Moses said, God said, and vice versa. (EBC-Ex)

NET Note - Nothing is said of how God was going to write on these stone tablets at this point, but in the end it is Moses who wrote the words. This is not considered a contradiction, since God is often credited with things he has people do in his place. There is great symbolism in this command—if ever a command said far more than it actually said, this is it. The instruction means that the covenant had been renewed, or was going to be renewed, and that the sanctuary with the tablets in the ark at its center would be built (see Deut 10:1). The first time Moses went up he was empty-handed; when he came down he smashed the tablets because of the Israelites’ sin. Now the people would see him go up with empty tablets and be uncertain whether he would come back with the tablets inscribed again 

Bush - And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee, &c. Heb. פסל לך pesal leka, hew for thyself; whereas the former tables, both as to matter and form, were the work of God himself. Ex. 32:16. The English word ‘hew’ denotes a rougher process than is legitimately implied by the original, which signifies to cut with a graving tool, to chisel, to execute a piece of sculpture. The divine benignity here shows itself ready to renew the covenant which Israel had broken, but at the same time gives a command which indicated that favor was restored with some abatement. God would not allow the facility of pardon to beget a presumptuous levity of spirit or slight apprehension of the evil of sin. Some memento of punishment therefore adheres to the renewed expression of favor. The wound is healed, but a scar remains. The former tables were throughout of divine workmanship, both the material and the writing; in the present, the writing only. But it is enough if the writing be his; for that is the life of the covenant. The circumstance affords well grounded comfort if we are touched with genuine compunction after having proved unfaithful to our Christian vows. God is willing to renew the covenant, if we devoutly desire the favor at his hands. He is still virtually saying, ‘I will write upon those (fleshly) tables (of the heart) the words that were in the first tables (in the state of innocency) which thou brakest (in the fall of Adam).’

Janzen - Just as the earlier covenant conclusion between God and Israel was initiated by a theophany (chap. 19), the covenant renewal now also begins with a theophany. It shares much with the covenanting event of chapter 19, but is also significantly different. Among the similarities are the provision to keep both humans and animals away from the mountain (Ex 34:3; cf. Ex 19:12f., 21–25), and the descent of Yahweh in the cloud (Ex 34:5a; cf. Ex 19:16–19). Among the differences, the most immediately obvious one is that the theophany of our text is private. It is granted to Moses alone, without including the people. This is the theophany promised to Moses in Ex 33:18–23 

Exodus 34:2  "So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain.

NET  Exodus 34:2 Be prepared in the morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and station yourself for me there on the top of the mountain.

NLT  Exodus 34:2 Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain.

ESV  Exodus 34:2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.

NIV  Exodus 34:2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.

KJV  Exodus 34:2 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:2 And be ready by the morning, and thou shalt go up to the mount Sina, and shalt stand there for me on the top of the mountain.

ASV  Exodus 34:2 And be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me on the top of the mount.

CSB  Exodus 34:2 Be prepared by morning. Come up Mount Sinai in the morning and stand before Me on the mountaintop.

NKJ  Exodus 34:2 "So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.

NRS  Exodus 34:2 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.

YLT  Exodus 34:2 and be prepared at morning, and thou hast come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and hast stood before Me there, on the top of the mount,

  • the top : Ex 19:20,24 24:12 De 9:25 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MORNING MEETING
ON THE MOUNTAIN

Related Passage:

Exodus 19:20+; The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Exodus 33:21+  Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;

So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain - Note morning is repeated for emphasis. The top of the mountain was where Moses had met Yahweh in Ex 19:20+

THOUGHT - Morning is always a good time to meet with Jehovah, before the concerns of the day diminish our desire for divine fellowship (Ps 5:3+, Ps 88:13+, Ps 90:14+, see especially Ps 130:6+; Ps 143:8+ - note all the "+" links in this series are to Spurgeon's comments on the psalms) 

NET Note on be ready - “be prepared, be ready.” This probably means that Moses was to do in preparation what the congregation had to do back in Exod 19:11–15+.

Exodus 34:3  "No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain."

NET  Exodus 34:3 No one is to come up with you; do not let anyone be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks or the herds may graze in front of that mountain."

NLT  Exodus 34:3 No one else may come with you. In fact, no one is to appear anywhere on the mountain. Do not even let the flocks or herds graze near the mountain."

ESV  Exodus 34:3 No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain."

NIV  Exodus 34:3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."

KJV  Exodus 34:3 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:3 And let no one go up with thee, nor be seen in all the mountain; and let not the sheep and oxen feed near that mountain.

ASV  Exodus 34:3 And 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.

CSB  Exodus 34:3 No one may go up with you; in fact, no one must be seen anywhere on the mountain. Even the flocks and herds are not to graze in front of that mountain."

NKJ  Exodus 34:3 "And no man shall come up with you, and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain; let neither flocks nor herds feed before that mountain."

NRS  Exodus 34:3 No one shall come up with you, and do not let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; and do not let flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain."

YLT  Exodus 34:3 and no man cometh up with thee, and also no man is seen in all the mount, also the flock and the herd do not feed over-against that mount.'

  • Ex 19:12,13,21 Lev 16:17 1Ti 2:5 Heb 12:20 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

GOD'S WARNING REGARDING
THE MOUNTAIN

Related Passages:

Exodus 19:12+ “You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 19:21+ Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.

No man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain - Presumably the same warning applied that was given in Ex 19 (see above). The difference is seen when comparing Ex 24:1-2+ "Then He said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. 2 “Moses alone, however, shall come near to the LORD, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.”  This time is one on One, Moses and God. 

Exodus 34:4  So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand.

NET  Exodus 34:4 So Moses cut out two tablets of stone like the first; early in the morning he went up to Mount Sinai, just as the LORD had commanded him, and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

NLT  Exodus 34:4 So Moses chiseled out two tablets of stone like the first ones. Early in the morning he climbed Mount Sinai as the LORD had commanded him, and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.

ESV  Exodus 34:4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone.

NIV  Exodus 34:4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.

KJV  Exodus 34:4 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:4 And Moses hewed two tables of stone, as also the first were; and Moses having arisen early, went up to the mount Sina, as the Lord appointed him; and Moses took the two tables of stone.

ASV  Exodus 34:4 And 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 Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone.

CSB  Exodus 34:4 Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning, and taking the two stone tablets in his hand, he climbed Mount Sinai, just as the LORD had commanded him.

NKJ  Exodus 34:4 So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

NRS  Exodus 34:4 So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the former ones; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone.

YLT  Exodus 34:4 And he heweth two tables of stone like the first, and Moses riseth early in the morning, and goeth up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah commanded him, and he taketh in his hand two tables of stone.

Related Passage:

Deuteronomy 10:1 “At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood for yourself. 2 ‘I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the ark.’ 

So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones - He is Moses not God. Note his unhesitating obedience. He did not argue, "Well, You cut them out the first time, so why should I do it now?" Immediate obedience to God is always the best response! While these are "new" stones, the covenant is not a "new" one but is a renewal of the Old Covenant (Ex 24:7). 

NET Note - Deuteronomy 10:1 says that Moses was also to make an ark of acacia wood before the tablets, apparently to put the tablets in until the sanctuary was built. But this ark may not have been the ark built later; or, it might be the wood box, but Bezalel still had to do all the golden work with it.

and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand - Moses got up and went up. Moses rose up early in the morning to show his zeal in yielding obedience to the divine command. 

THOUGHT - This is a good pattern for us today to rise up earlier to meet with Jehovah in His Book. How is your morning time with the LORD? See  Quiet Time: 7 Minutes With God

Exodus 34:5  The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD.

NET  Exodus 34:5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the LORD by name.

NLT  Exodus 34:5 Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh.

ESV  Exodus 34:5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

NIV  Exodus 34:5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.

KJV  Exodus 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

LXE  Exodus 34:5 And the Lord descended in a cloud, and stood near him there, and called by the name of the Lord.

ASV  Exodus 34:5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah.

CSB  Exodus 34:5 The LORD came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed His name Yahweh.

NKJ  Exodus 34:5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

NRS  Exodus 34:5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, "The LORD."

YLT  Exodus 34:5 And Jehovah cometh down in a cloud, and stationeth Himself with him there, and calleth in the Name of Jehovah,

  • descended : Ex 19:18 Ex 33:9 Nu 11:17,25 1Ki 8:10-12 Lu 9:34,35 
  • the name : Ex 33:19 Nu 14:17 De 32:3 Ps 102:21 Pr 18:10 Isa 1:10 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE THEOPHANY

Related Passage:

Exodus 19:9+ The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. 

Exodus 19:18+  Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him - The cloud descended and stood even as it did when Moses would enter the Tent of Meeting = "Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses." (Ex 33:9) The next time we see the cloud is when the Tabernacle was completed and "the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." (Ex 40:34, cf Ex 40:38). 

as he called upon the name of the LORD - Abraham called on the LORD in Ge 12:8+ when "he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the Name of the LORD." 

Call on the Name of - 1 Ki. 18:24; 1 Ki. 18:25; 2 Ki. 5:11; Isa. 44:5; Zeph. 3:9; Rom. 10:13; 1 Co. 1:2

Called upon the Name of - Gen. 4:26; Ps. 116:13; Ps. 116:17, see also Gen. 12:8; Gen. 26:25; Exod. 34:5; Ps. 116:4


Question: What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord?

Answer: The first mention in Scripture of people calling on the name of the Lord is Genesis 4:26: “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.” Here, to call on the name of the Lord means that people began to gather for corporate worship and seeking the help of the Creator. Cain’s family line is contrasted with Seth’s: descendants of Cain began to practice herding (verse 20), music production (verse 21), and metallurgy (verse 22). At the same time, the world was becoming more and more wicked (verses 19 and 23). Seth’s descendants stood out from their corrupt society in that they began to call on the name of the Lord.

When Abram entered Canaan, he camped between Ai and Bethel. There, “he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 12:8). In other words, Abram publicly thanked God, praised His name, and sought His protection and guidance. Years later, Abraham’s son Isaac built an altar to the Lord in Beersheba and also “called on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 26:25).

To call on the name of the Lord is to invoke His proper name “in audible and social prayer and praise” (Albert Barnes). To call on the name of the Lord is to approach Him in thanksgiving, worship, and petition, and in so doing proclaim the name of God. To call on the name of the Lord is to pray “in a more public and solemn manner” (Matthew Poole). Those who are children of God will naturally call on the name of the Lord.

Calling on the name of the Lord is basic for salvation and presupposes faith in the Lord. God promises to save those who, in faith, call upon His name: “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved” (Romans 10:13; cf. Joel 2:32). Everyone who invokes the name of God for mercy and salvation, by or in the name of Jesus, shall be saved (Acts 2:21). “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NLT).

Using a person’s name expresses familiarity and helps connect one person to another. The first thing we do upon meeting someone is to extend a hand and introduce ourselves. This builds familiarity for future interactions. To call upon the name of the Lord is a sign of knowing Him and a way of connecting to Him. There is a difference between knowing about God and knowing Him personally. Calling on the name of the Lord indicates personal interaction and relationship. When we call upon the name of the Lord, as a form of worship, we recognize our dependence upon Him.

What saves a person is not the action, per se, of “calling upon” the name of Jesus; what saves is God’s grace in response to one’s personal faith in the Savior being called upon. Calling on the name of the Lord is more than a verbal expression; it is also shown in the heart and in deed through repentance. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19).

Calling on the name of the Lord is to be a lifelong pursuit (Psalm 116:2). God commands us to call on Him in times of trouble (Psalm 50:15). The one who “dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1) and has God’s promise of blessing: “‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him’” (Ps 91:14–15).

Those who refuse to call upon the name of the Lord are also described in Scripture, along with the results of their disobedience: “Will the workers of iniquity never learn? . . . They refuse to call upon the LORD. There they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to fear” (Psalm 79:5–6).

In His sovereignty, God also shows grace to some of those who do not call on His name: “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I’” (Isaiah 65:1).

In 1 Corinthians 1:2, those who call upon the name of the Lord are identified as believers: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” Calling on the name of the Lord is one of the marks of a Christian.

In summary, those who call on the name of the Lord are those who recognize Him as Savior. Whether it is a first-time calling upon Jesus’ name for forgiveness of sins or a continuous calling as the relationship progresses and grows, giving Him lordship over our lives in surrender to His will, calling on the name of the Lord is vital to spiritual life. Ultimately, calling on the name of the Lord is a sign of humility and dependence on God our Creator and Redeemer.(Source: GotQuestions.org)

Exodus 34:6  Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

NET  Exodus 34:6 The LORD passed by before him and proclaimed: "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness,

NLT  Exodus 34:6 The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, "Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

ESV  Exodus 34:6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

NIV  Exodus 34:6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,

KJV  Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

LXE  Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed by before his face, and proclaimed, The Lord God, pitiful and merciful, longsuffering and very compassionate, and true,

ASV  Exodus 34:6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth,

CSB  Exodus 34:6 Then the LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh-- Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth,

NKJ  Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,

NRS  Exodus 34:6 The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

YLT  Exodus 34:6 and Jehovah passeth over before his face, and calleth: 'Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth,

  • passed : Ex 33:20-23 1Ki 19:11 
  • proclaimed : Nu 14:17-19 Isa 12:4 
  • The Lord : Ex 3:13-16 
  • merciful : De 5:10 2Ch 30:9 Ne 9:17 Ps 86:5,15 103:8-13 111:4 112:4 Ps 116:5 145:8 Joe 2:13 Jon 4:2 Ro 2:4 
  • abundant : Ps 31:19 Mic 7:18 Ro 2:4 5:20,21 Eph 1:7,8 
  • truth : Ps 57:10 91:4 108:4 111:8 138:2 146:6 La 3:23 Mic 7:20 Joh 1:17 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JEHOVAH GIVES
HIS "TESTIMONY"

Related Passages:

Exodus 33:20-23 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

Elijah's Experience - 1 Kings 19:11 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.

Then the LORD passed (abar)  by in front of him - This is almost certainly the theophany promised to Moses in Ex 33:18–23 where the same is used "I Myself will make all My goodness pass (abar) before you..." John Mackay says this description "shows that the LORD carried out his promise of setting out who he really is (33:19). No description is attempted of anything that Moses saw." (Exodus-Mentor Commentary)

And proclaimed, "The LORD the LORD God - Recall Moses had just "called upon the Name of the LORD" and the LORD responds by declaring “Yahweh, He is Yahweh.” In this manner it reflects “I am that I am. So the first thing Yahweh says is that He is the great "I AM," the self-existent God. The word God is El, the infinitely strong one

Victor Hamilton notes that "Nowhere in this litany does the Lord draw attention to his attributes of power, perfection, or holiness. Everything the Lord says autobiographically is something that God is or does for the benefit of others, especially his chosen people." 

Compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth - Note 5 attributes of the Self-Existent God (not counting two more in the next verse!). Notice He does not start with wrath, anger, etc, but with mercy filled attributes! Clearly God means to emphasize His great compassion and grace even in the face of the brazen, wanton calf idolatry! It is easy to read through these attributes like we were reading a menu, but we need to stop at each one and ponder with wonder and gratitude that these are God's attributes. Note that several versions translates truth as "faithfulness" which emphasizes His commitment to the covenant promises. What God commits to perform, He will surely accomplish! 

Slow to anger is literally "long of anger" (like a long burning fuse on a bomb - Lxx = makrothumos = idea of being self-controlled in the face of provocation), so that God holds back His anger and gives sinners time to repent. The LORD is reluctant to act against His creation, even when it is in rebellion against Him. But do not misinterpret this great attribute for it does not mean God forgets sins, for He does not and He cannot condone sin. In His perfect timing he will act decisively against sin.

THOUGHT - The upshot is that if have sinned and not yet experienced serious consequences, it behooves you (1) to not be stubbornly, deceptively naive and think you have gotten away with your sin, but (2) agree with Him that you have sinned against Him and appeal to Him to have mercy on you, repent and turn (return) to God. 

Slow to anger - 14x in 14v - Ex 34:6; Num. 14:18; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 86:15; Ps. 103:8; Ps. 145:8; Prov. 14:29; Prov. 15:18; Prov. 16:32; Prov. 19:11; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2; Nah. 1:3; Jas. 1:19

Bush adds "Long suffering. ארך אפים erek appim, long of anger, or more literally, long of nostrils, from the ideal connexion between the passion of anger and its effects in inflating the nostrils. This ‘long suffering’ on the part of God is the first-fruit of his mercy and grace. He bears long with sinners; he delays the execution of justice; he waits to be gracious in despite of their iniquities. Nothing is more wonderful than the patience of God when we consider the provocations which he continually receives at the hands of the ungodly. How long did he bear with the antediluvian world! What forbearance did he exercise towards the murmuring and rebellious Israelites during their sojourn in the wilderness, and indeed throughout all their generations! Nay, to bring the matter home to ourselves, who is not forced to acknowledge that he is himself a monument of the same long-suffering and tender mercy? Have we not provoked him to anger every day of our lives? Yet to the praise of his patience here we still find ourselves, standing on praying ground, and favored with the offers and opportunities of pardon. Ah, how different would be our lot had be dealt with us after our sins, or rewarded us according to our iniquities!

Abounding in lovingkindness is a beautiful phrase because He could have simply said lovingkindness (see below on hesed/chesed/heced) which would have been wonderful. Abounding means great emphasizing the breadth and length and height and depth of His infinite lovingkindness. It far exceeds human expectations for it has no boundaries beloved! 

Bush - Abundant in goodness and truth. Heb. רב חסד ואמת rab hesed ve-emeth, much in goodness, or benignity, and truth. The idea is that of exuberant benevolence. So rich, so bounteous, so multitudinous, are the expressions of the divine favor, that we may be said to be almost overflown with them. And not only so, not only does his goodness abound above our deserts and above our powers of acknowledgment, but being a God of truth, who will not and cannot deceive, we are assured that every promise of further and future good will be strictly fulfilled, and that nothing will prevent the realization of those eternal blessings which he has reserved for them that put their trust in him! ‘Faithful is he who hath called us, who also will do it.’ He may not indeed in all cases speedily accomplish his word. His ways are often directly contrary to those of reason, and a long time elapses, and many difficulties are overcome, but finally his truth comes without fail to a triumphant fulfilment.

Hamilton - The significance of vv. 6–7, the Lord’s self-declaration, can be seen by observing how many other times the language of these two verses reappears in other passages. There are at least eight instances: Num. 14:18; Neh. 9:17b; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2; Nah. 1:3.

Compassionate (07349)(rachum) is from a root which refers to deep love usually from a superior for an inferior and describes one who is compassionate, merciful and refers primarily to God. Mercy is reflected by granting forgiveness to a guilty person and is reflected in kind acts proceeding from inward compassion to relieve sufferers of misery, even those who suffer from their own sins.

Mackay adds "‘Compassionate’ recalls a mother’s love for her child, with a deep understanding of its weakness and need, keeping looking after it whatever its behaviour or thanklessness. This is not a response to human merit, but a display of divine sympathy which shows favour when punishment might well have been expected."

Compassionate (rachum - tenderly kind, pitiful, merciful) - Bush says "This is that perfection of Jehovah’s nature with which we, as sinners, have the most immediate and intimate concern, and therefore it very properly stands first in this enumeration. It is this that constitutes the moving spring in the great machinery of benevolence, which is to be seen in the scheme of redemption. It is the disposition which prompts to the pity and relief of the miserable; which renders the possessor propense to acts o kindness and clemency, like those of a father to a child, wherever the objects of them are found. It is an attribute of the Godhead which is incessantly celebrated by the inspired writers. The Psalmist, whose pious songs are so instinct with the praises of God, says of him that he is ‘plenteous in mercy,’ speaks again and again of the ‘multitude of his mercies,’ and assures us that his ‘tender mercies are over all his works.’ But it is those who live under the gospel who see its brightest displays, nor was it possible for any of the Old Testament saints to speak in such eulogy of it as the apostles Peter and Paul, for example, in the citations which follow; 1 Pet. 1:3, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,’ Eph. 2:4–7, ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus.’

Rachum - 13v - compassionate(11), merciful(2). Exod. 34:6; Deut. 4:31; 2 Chr. 30:9; Neh. 9:17; Neh. 9:31; Ps. 78:38; Ps. 86:15; Ps. 103:8; Ps. 111:4; Ps. 112:4; Ps. 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2

Deuteronomy 4:31   “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them. 

2 Chronicles 30:9  “For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.” 

Nehemiah 9:17  “They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not forsake them. 

Nehemiah 9:31  “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them, For You are a gracious and compassionate God. 

Psalm 78:38  But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger And did not arouse all His wrath. 

Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 

Psalm 103:8   The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 

Joel 2:13 And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. 

Gracious (02587)(channun from chanan = be gracious) is disposed to bestow favors and/or blessings that goes beyond any human calculation and is independent of merit. Thus it speaks of unmerited favor, an act and action based on love, which Yahweh bestows on His creatures. Many of the uses are coupled with rechem which is compassion or mercy (tender pity for someone helpless and suffering, "tender mercies"). There are 13 uses in the OT and all but one refer to the character of Jehovah. The one exception is a characteristic of the godly man in Ps 112:4NET. The Septuagint translates channun here with the adjective eleemon which means to be concerned about people in their need (used in Heb 2:17+). Channun is used in Ex 22:27+ = ' And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious." 

Bush Gracious. Heb. חנון hannun; from the root חנן hanan, signifying to be kindly or graciously affectioned towards a person. In Scripture usage this term as applied to God and as denoting his dispositions and dealings towards men, carries with it the leading import of unmerited favor or kindness. ‘We call that חננה haninah,’ says Maimonides, ‘which we bestow upon any man to whom we owe nothing.’ In this sense does God bestow grace upon the sinning children of men. He is rich in the donation of favors to which they have no claim. His abounding benignity triumphs over their ill desert, and causes heaven to be peopled with those who were justly the heirs of hell.

Lovingkindness (02617) see discussion below on hesed/chesed/heced

Truth (faithfulness, faithfully) (0571) ('emeth from the verb aman = to confirm, support, believe, be faithful) means truth, faithfulness, that which gives complete reliability. It describes what is dependable, reliable, firm, stable, lasting. The term often refers to God's faithfulness to His covenant promises and His moral character. In contrast to fickle humans whose faithfulness is transient and fleeting (Hos 6:5-6), God's faithfulness is enduring and steadfast -- permanent, certain, everlasting (Ps 117:2). Ponder this truth for a moment beloved. Offer up a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for this glorious attribute of God. Emeth is frequently connected with lovingkindness as in this passage.  (Ps 40:11, 61:7, 69:13, 85:10, 86:14, 89:14, 108:4)

Related Resources: God's Attributes


Exodus 34:1-9 Caricature God

The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty. —Numbers 14:18

Caricature artists set up their easels in public places and draw pictures of people who are willing to pay a modest price for a humorous image of themselves. Their drawings amuse us because they exaggerate one or more of our physical features in a way that is recognizable but funny.

Caricatures of God, on the other hand, are not funny. Exaggerating one of His attributes presents a distorted view that people easily dismiss. Like a caricature, a distorted view of God is not taken seriously. Those who see God portrayed only as an angry and demanding judge are easily lured away by someone who emphasizes mercy. Those who see God as a kindhearted grandfather will reject that image when they need justice. Those who see God as an intellectual idea rather than a living, loving being eventually find other ideas more appealing. Those who see God as a best friend often leave Him behind when they find human friends who are more to their liking.

God declares Himself to be merciful and gracious, but also just in punishing the guilty (Ex. 34:6-7).

As we put our faith into action, we need to avoid portraying God as having only our favorite attributes. We must worship all of God, not just what we like.  By Julie Ackerman Link(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—
Oh, Thou blessed Trinity:
One in essence, yet three persons—
Thou, our God, we worship Thee.
—D. De Haan

All-powerful, merciful, wise, and just is the God in whom we trust.


Exodus 34:1-4,26-35 Reflecting God's Glory by Theodore Epp

Moses was changed when he came down from the mountain. Earlier, he had asked to see the glory of the Lord, but when he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of stone, he did not know "that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him" (Ex. 34:29).

Moses did not realize that his face reflected the glory of God. This was proof of the closeness between Moses and God, and it revealed to those who saw him that he had truly been in the presence of God's glory.

"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" (v. 30).

Moses still did not realize the extent to which his face reflected the glory of God. He was not glorious in his own eyes, but he was in the eyes of others.

Every day before you go out to meet the world, spend some time with God by reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer. Spending time in His presence will bring the sunshine of heaven to your face, and others will observe this in you throughout the day.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).


Exodus 33:18-34:8 God's Description Of Himself

The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious. —Exodus 34:6

The prayers of young children show us what they think of God. Here are two I read recently:

“Dear God, what does it mean that You are a ‘jealous’ God? I thought You had everything.”

“I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.”

These children are right to think of God as the owner and creator of everything, the One who can paint beautiful sunsets. But how does God describe Himself?

Moses needed an answer to that question when he was about to lead the Israelites into the wilderness. He wanted to be assured of God’s presence and leading, so he asked Him to reveal Himself (Exodus 33:13,18). In response, God came down in a cloud and said: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, . . . by no means clearing the guilty” (Ex 34:5-7). He is good. He is also just.

We too can know this God. He won’t come down in a cloud, but He has revealed Himself to us in His Word—the Bible. We can ask Him to make Himself real to us as we read and study it. We’ll learn that He is even more than the the owner and creator of everything. By Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Sing praise to God who reigns above,
The God of all creation,
The God of power, the God of love,
The God of our salvation.
—Schütz

In a world of superlatives, God is the greatest.

Exodus 34:7  Who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, Who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."

NET  Exodus 34:7 keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children's children, to the third and fourth generation."

NLT  Exodus 34:7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected-- even children in the third and fourth generations."

ESV  Exodus 34:7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

NIV  Exodus 34:7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

KJV  Exodus 34:7 Keeping 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:7 and keeping justice and mercy for thousands, taking away iniquity, and unrighteousness, and sins; and he will not clear the guilty; bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and to the children's children, to the third and fourth generation.

ASV  Exodus 34:7 keeping lovingkindness 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, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.

CSB  Exodus 34:7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers' wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

NKJ  Exodus 34:7 "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation."

NRS  Exodus 34:7 keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

YLT  Exodus 34:7 keeping kindness for thousands, taking away iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and not entirely acquitting, charging iniquity of fathers on children, and on children's children, on a third generation, and on a fourth.'

  • who keeps lovingkindness for thousands: Ex 20:6 De 5:10 Ne 1:5 9:32 Ps 86:15 Jer 32:18 Da 9:4 
  • who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin: Ps 103:3 130:4 Da 9:9 Mic 7:18 Mt 6:14,15 12:31 18:32-35 Lu 7:42,48 Ac 5:31 13:38 Ro 4:7,8 Eph 1:7 4:32 1Jn 1:9 
  • He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished Ex 23:7,21 Nu 14:18-23 De 32:35 Jos 24:19 Job 10:14 Ps 9:16,17 Ps 11:5,6 58:10,11 136:10,15 Isa 45:21 Mic 6:11 Na 1:2,3,6 Ro 2:4-9 3:19-26 9:22,23 Heb 12:29 Rev 20:15 21:8 
  • visiting : Ex 20:5,6 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE BENEVOLENT 
ATTRIBUTES OF JEHOVAH

Benevolent means giving or doing good. 

Who keeps lovingkindness for thousandsNLT says "I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations." This speaks of His  covenant faithfulness to a thousand generations.

Bush - Keeping mercy for thousands. Heb. נצר חסד notzër hesed. The original term חסד hesed, mercy, here is precisely the same with that which in the preceding clause is rendered ‘goodness.’ In the former passage, therefore, reference is had to the plenitude of the divine mercy, in the present to its perpetuity. Chal. ‘Keeping goodness to a thousand generations.’ God keeps or preserves mercy by continually showing it in all its various exercises to thousands of sinners in all ages and to the end of time. His keeping it implies that it is inexhaustible; that whatever measures of it may yet have been dispensed, an infinite sufficiency still remains behind. He keeps it notwithstanding the crying provocations which might move him to cast it away. He reserves it for his chosen people through all the days of their unregeneracy; he keeps it for his backsliding Davids, and his denying Peters, against the time in which they shall penitently exclaim, ‘I have sinned!’ Nay, who can tell but he may have ‘kept mercy’ for him whose eye is now perusing these pages—kept it year after year unto the present hour? And shall he not accept of it? But let us remember that although this mercy is inexhaustible for those that shall come after us not for each of us individually its day has a close. If we embrace it not while the day lasts, the night is not far distant when its door will be shut against us for ever.

Lovingkindness (02617)(hesed/chesed/heced) is the idea of faithful love in action and often in the OT refers to God's lovingkindness expressed in His covenant relationship with Israel (His "loyal love" to His "Wife" Israel [cp Hos 2:18, 19, 20+, Is 54:5, Je 31:32+] = His "loyalty to covenant"). God's hesed His denotes persistent and unconditional tenderness, kindness, and mercy, a relationship in which He seeks after man with love and mercy (cf God immediately seeking man Ge 3:9+, who was immediately hiding Ge 3:8+ trying to cover their shame Ge 3:7 - contrast God's lovingkindness manifest by spilling blood to provide skins to cover their shame! Ge 3:21+). Hesed expresses both God’s loyalty to His covenant and His love for His people along with a faithfulness to keep His promises. The Septuagint (Lxx) translates hesed in Ex 34:7 with eleos which describes the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it.The idea of mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need or to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable. Here the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery.

Hesed in Exodus - Exod. 15:13; Exod. 20:6; Exod. 34:6; Exod. 34:7; 

THOUGHT - This is a great passage to remind people Who the OT God is because so many consider Him an angry OT God. Consider the context. Israel has seen multiple manifestations of God's power and glory and can't even wait for Moses for 40 days. So they make an idol and God is indeed angry because they had promised they would keep the book of the covenant, which includes making no graven image! So yes, God sought to destroy them, but Moses interceded and God relented. Why? Well yes, because Moses prayed but what does God's self-disclosure emphasize about Himself? Merciful, long-suffering, forgiving, etc which is exactly what He does! The OT God is not some angry, wrathful God! Perhaps you need to make a list of the attributes He Himself gives and notice the quality and the order of these attributes! 

Who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin - Three words for lawlessness - iniquity (Lxx = anomia), transgression (Lxx = adikia), sin (Lxx = hamartia). Forgives is nasa which means to lift, to carry, to take away, the picture of lifting a burden (aka "weight of sin") off of an individual. Thus I like Young's Literal rendering which has "taking away iniquity." Moses appealed to the LORD in Ex 32:32 " if You will, forgive (nasa) their sin." This is the also the same verb in the description of the Day of Atonement in Lev 16:22+  where “The goat shall bear (nasa ) on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness."

The Septuagint (Lxx) for forgives (taking away) is aphaireo in the present tense signifying that God continually takes way or removes all three aspects of sin! Aphaireo is the same verb used by Paul in Romans 11 when He describes Christ's return to save "all Israel" (Ro 11:26+) saying "this is My covenant with them when I take away (aphaireo) their sins." (Ro 11:27+). In Hebrews 10:4+ the writer says "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away (aphaireo) sins." 

Bush - Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. Heb. נשא עון ופשע וחטאח nosë avon vapesha vehattaah, taking or bearing away (i. e. forgiving) iniquity, trespass, and sin. This is the climax of the present proclamation of the divine perfections. Pardoning mercy is specified, not only because it is in this form that the glory of this attribute pre-eminently shines, but because it is pardoning mercy that opens the way for the exercise of all other mercy. It was all important therefore for the consolation of sinners, that this peculiar aspect of the divine goodness should be distinctly displayed. Hence we find the terms expressive of the sins forgiven so remarkably varied and multiplied, in order to imply that all sorts and degrees of offences come within the scope of its benign operation. In order then that our hearts may be duly affected by this declaration, let us refer both to history and to experience for a confirmation of its truth. See in the sacred records what multiplied acts and what aggravated forms of iniquity the divine clemency has graciously passed by! What sins before conversion! what sins after conversion! And then if we attempt, each for himself to enumerate his own transgressions, will they not be found more in number than the sands on the sea-shore, and sufficient, if visited according to their desert, to overwhelm the soul at once in perdition! Yet if believers in Christ these our sins are all forgiven! How many iniquities then is God continually pardoning in every quarter of the globe! What an idea does it give of the divine indulgence to think that his remissions keep pace with our provocations!

Iniquity (punishment, guilt) (05771)('avon from verb 'avah = to bend, twist, distort) describes the iniquity, evil, punishment or guilt which is associated with a twisting of the standard or deviation from it. Since there is a deliberate twisting or perverting, 'avon describes sin that is particularly evil. It may also describe the punishment or disaster that befalls those who practice wickedness. 'Avon also describes a conscious twisting or distorting as implied by the fact that David says "I kept myself from my iniquity." (2Sa 22:24) Israel made a choice to return to the sins of her ancestors (Jer. 11:10; 13:22). The punishment that goes with this deliberate act as a consequence is indicated by the word also (Ge 4:13; Isa 53:11).

Transgression (rebellion)(06588)(pesha') means transgression, rebellion or revolt against authority (rising up in clear defiance of authority), guilt (incurred by transgressing). Pesha' is derived from a root describing the breach of relationship between two parties (civil or religious). The idea of this noun is that the individual makes a willful choice to reject God's authority and hence to deviate from the path of godly living. Defection from God's standard. Pesha' is “a stepping aside from the (correct) path." Pesha' speaks of willful sin.

Sin (02403)(chattat/chattath) means wrong, iniquity, sin. Chattat, like it's NT counterpart (hamartia), means to miss or fall short of the mark, which ultimately is the will and plan of God as revealed in Scripture. Sin is whatever misses the will of God for man doctrinally or morally. The result of chattat/chattah is that man misses the goal God has for him by failing to observe the requirements of holy living and thus falls short of spiritual wholeness. We are all sinners. We all miss the mark, and none of us are perfect nor will we ever be perfect in this life. This is why Christ had to die for our sin so we might have His righteousness (see 2Cor 5:21+).

Yet - Term of contrast. This always marks a "change of direction," so when you see it (or a "but") ask what is the change of direction? This reminds us that there is another side to Jehovah, one which speaks of righteous indignation and perfect justice. 

He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished - Sin must be punished because God is holy. 

Leave unpunished (05352)(naqah) to be free, to be clean, to be empty, to be pure. Keil says naqah "means to wipe away or expunge blood-guiltiness by punishment." uses in Exodus - Ex 20:5; Ex 28:38; Ex 28:43; Ex 34:7; Ex 34:9. David uses this verb twice in Ps 19 (Ps 19:12+ = acquit, Ps 19:13+ = acquitted)

Visiting the iniquity ('avon) of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations - (cf Ex 20:5; Ex 34:7; Nu 14:18; Dt. 5:9) We have seen this in the section on the 10 commandments where God declares "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate (Heb = sane; Lxx = miseo in present tense =  ongoing, unabated willful [active voice] hostility toward) Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." (Ex 20:5,6+) This verse does not speak of a "generational curse" but of the general tendency that wicked behavior of the fathers will influence and stimulate wicked behavior in the children and this wicked behavior would in turn influence the grandchildren. This sin cycle can always be broken when one of the individuals involved (father, children or grandchildren) repent and turn to the Lord God. 

As Mackay reminds us "Sin’s impact is not limited to the individual who commits it, but spreads to all those with whom he comes in contact, particularly the family group to which he belongs." It is like throwing a rock into a pond and watching the ripple effect. 

It is crystal clear that no child is punished by God for the sins of his parents! Compare also Ezekiel 18:19–32, especially verse 20..

“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, (NO "GENERATIONAL CURSE") nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself (Ezekiel 18:20)

John MacArthur adds "children would feel the impact of breaches of God’s law by their parents’ generation as a natural consequence of its disobedience, its hatred of God. Children reared in such an environment would imbibe and then practice similar idolatry, thus themselves expressing hateful disobedience. The difference in consequence served as both a warning and a motivation. The effect of a disobedient generation was to plant wickedness so deeply that it took several generations to reverse." (MSB)

Visiting (punishing) (06485)(paqad) has the basic meaning or to intervene or to inspect. In a number of contexts it is used in the good sense (a good "visit")(Ge 50:24-25KJV,) The sense in the present passage is a "bad" visit, a visit by God in which He will call people to account for their sins. 

Related Resources:

Exodus 34:8  Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.

NET  Exodus 34:8 Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped

NLT  Exodus 34:8 Moses immediately threw himself to the ground and worshiped.

ESV  Exodus 34:8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.

NIV  Exodus 34:8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

KJV  Exodus 34:8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

LXE  Exodus 34:8 And Moses hasted, and bowed to the earth and worshipped;

ASV  Exodus 34:8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

CSB  Exodus 34:8 Moses immediately bowed down to the ground and worshiped.

NKJ  Exodus 34:8 So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

NRS  Exodus 34:8 And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.

YLT  Exodus 34:8 And Moses hasteth, and boweth to the earth, and doth obeisance,

MOSES WORSHIPS
ON THE MOUNTAIN

Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship:  Bowing low speaks of his willingness to humble himself before the LORD. Worship also conveys the sense of bowing down, so it is as if he bowed down while bowing down. Note that Moses is responding to a "sermon" from Jehovah in verses 6-7 which obviously is great "theology" and which prompts grateful worship. This is the proper response we should all have in the presence of God.

Bush And Moses made haste, and bowed, &c. No doubt the effect of this overpowering display at once upon the senses and the soul of Moses was a kind of rapture, which while it left him in the possession of his reason, still prompted him with the utmost expedition suitably to acknowledge and improve the amazing manifestation of mercy now vouchsafed to him. 

THOUGHT - Doctrine should lead to doxology. Great "theology" precedes and always should lead to Great Worship of our Great God as we bow in humble adoration and praise in awe of His exalted character. Think of Paul's reaction after the greatest 11 chapters of doctrine and theology in the Bible (Romans 1-11) and how he ends his great doctrinal section with a great doxology (Ro 11:33-36).

Exodus 34:9  He said, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession."

NET  Exodus 34:9 and said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, let my Lord go among us, for we are a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."

NLT  Exodus 34:9 And he said, "O Lord, if it is true that I have found favor with you, then please travel with us. Yes, this is a stubborn and rebellious people, but please forgive our iniquity and our sins. Claim us as your own special possession."

ESV  Exodus 34:9 And he said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."

NIV  Exodus 34:9 "O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes," he said, "then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."

KJV  Exodus 34:9 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:9 and said, If I have found grace before thee, let my Lord go with us; for the people is stiff-necked: and thou shalt take away our sins and our iniquities, and we will be thine.

ASV  Exodus 34:9 And he said, If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

CSB  Exodus 34:9 Then he said, "My Lord, if I have indeed found favor in Your sight, my Lord, please go with us. Even though this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wrongdoing and sin, and accept us as Your own possession."

NKJ  Exodus 34:9 Then he said, "If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance."

NRS  Exodus 34:9 He said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."

YLT  Exodus 34:9 and saith, 'If, I pray Thee, I have found grace in Thine eyes, O my Lord, let my Lord, I pray Thee, go in our midst (for it is a stiff-necked people), and thou hast forgiven our iniquity and our sin, and hast inherited us.'

  • If now : Ex 33:13,17 
  • let the Lord : Ex 33:14-16 Mt 28:20 
  • obstinate: Ex 32:9 33:3-5 Isa 48:4 
  • pardon : Nu 14:19 Ps 25:11 
  • take us : Ex 19:5 De 32:9 Ps 28:9 33:12 78:62 94:14 135:4 Jer 10:16 Zec 2:12 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES' FOURTH INTERCESSION FOR
DIVINE PRESENCE, PARDON AND POSSESSION

Related Passages:

Exodus 33:14-16+  And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

Deuteronomy 9:13  “The LORD spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people.

Don't miss the fact that this is the FOURTH time Moses has interceded for Israel since the golden calf incident - Ex 32:11, 12, 13+, Ex 32:31, 32+, Ex 33:12, 13+.

He said, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord - What is the basis for his intercessory prayer? Is it not his appeal to God's benevolent grace or favor (Hebrew - chen/hen) translated with the NT word charis or grace which in simplest terms is God's unmerited favor. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (see Ro 8:32+ where "freely give" is charizomai from charis = a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery. In Exodus 33:12+ makes a similar appeal declaring ‘I (JEHOVAH) have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’

Bush - He not only falls down in prostrate adoration on the earth, but seizes the encouraging words from the mouth of the Lord, and pleads them as a fresh argument for the forgiveness of Israel, and the continuance of his presence among them.

MOSES' THREE
REQUESTS

(1) I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst - This is Moses' first of three requests. The Name of God Moses uses here is not Jehovah but Lord or 'adonay denoting ownership and absolute control. Adonay focuses on the rule and authority of God. It is applied to God as the owner and governor of the whole earth, the psalmist writing "Tremble, O earth, before the Lord (adonay)." (Ps. 114:7). adonay Ais used only 5x in Exodus (Ex 4:10, 13, Ex 5:22, Ex 15:17, Ex 34:9). 

Bush- The favors which Moses bespeaks in this verse are indeed the favors which God already explicitly promised to grant, and yet he here renews his supplication for them with redoubled earnestness; thus teaching us that the certainty of receiving good at the hand of the Lord should never roles but always quicken, our prayers and endeavors to secure it.

Even though the people are so obstinate -  The Hebrew word for obstinate (qasheh) is translated with the Greek adjective sklerotrachelos (literally stiff or hard neck) describing one who resists changing their behavior, like a stubborn, headstrong child does. This is the very word Stephen used to describe his Jewish audience in Acts 7:51+ “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did."

Obstinate is two words in Hebrew, stiff and neck, and is an idiom derived from cattle used as draft animals whose power was concentrated in their neck (Hos 4:16, Jer 5:5) so in the figurative sense whoever resists the yoke is "hard-necked." Hebrew anthropology often portrays the inner will in terms of the heart, neck, and face. They were like a stubborn horse that refuses to respond to the rider's tug on the reins! Cole says obstinate "is a farmer’s metaphor of an ox or a horse that will not respond to the rope when tugged." This idiom obstinate ("stiff-necked") occurs five more times all are in the Pentateuch (Ex. 33:3, 5; Ex 34:9; Dt. 9:6, 13) There is a similar expression “stiffen your neck” usually directed at Israel (Dt. 10:16; 2 Ki 17:14; 2 Chr 30:8; Neh 9:16, 17; Pr  29:1; Jer. 7:26; Jer 17:23). Hamilton adds "In most of these references the text connects neck stiffening with Israel’s “fathers,” in the wilderness generation. Imagine one generation that has become the paradigm of obstinacy! To be stiff-necked is to be intractable, like a beast of burden in order to go its own way. Here is stiff-necked Israel wanting a calf to represent its God, and ironically the calf/the bull is the beast of burden, which is well known to stiffen its neck." (Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary)

Moses acknowledges that Israel is obstinate, stiff-necked for they had repeatedly rebelled -- they had grumbled when God had tested them about the water and food in Exodus 15:23-25+ and Exodus 16:2, 3, 7-9+. They had tested the Lord and quarreled with Moses in Exodus 17:2+ and it was again about the water. Their stiff necks were a reflection of their root problem which was hard hearts. The irony is that this same expression used of Pharaoh who was stiff-necked (his heart was hardened) in refusing to let Israel go to worship Yahweh. Now that they have been delivered to worship Yahweh, they became stiff-necked like Pharaoh! 

Obstinate (harsh, stiff, stubborn) (07186)(qasheh) means hard, unpliable, harsh, cruel, severe, strong, violent, fierce. Uses of qasheh in Exodus - Exod. 1:14; Exod. 6:9; Exod. 18:26; Exod. 32:9; Exod. 33:3; Exod. 33:5; Exod. 34:9;

(2) And pardon our iniquity and our sin - This is Moses' second request. Moses doubles down on their disobedience and calls it their iniquity and sin. Notice he does not say "their sin" but "our sin," so this humble man once again is willing to identify with these rebellious people. Amazing! Notice here Moses uses a different word for forgive than God had used in Ex 32:7 and salach points to the remission of the penalty for the sin. 

Pardon (05545)(salach) means to free from or release from something and so to pardon, to forgive, to spare. God's offer of pardon and forgiveness to sinners. Salach is never used of people forgiving each other but used of God forgiving. Jehovah Himself announces, in response to Moses' prayers for Israel, that He has forgiven Israel at two of their darkest moments, the golden calf incident and the murmuring at Kadesh Barnea (Ex 34:9; Nu 14:19-20).

(3) And take us as Your own possession - This is Moses third and final request. This one is interesting as God seems to have already answered it affirmatively in Ex 33:14+ when He promised Moses "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” In this request phrase own possession is harkening back to the conditional promise (note the IF) Jehovah had made with the newly born nation in Exodus 19:5+ "‘Now then, IF you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, THEN you shall be My own possession (segullah) among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine." Clearly, Moses is pleading for Jehovah to renew His promise to take them as His own possession. 

MacKay on possession - The word itself in the ancient world implied that what was spoken of was an individual’s inalienable possession, which could not be taken from him.

Possession (05157)(nahal) means inherit, get possession of, take as a possession. TWOT says it "basically signifies giving or receiving property which is part of a permanent possession and as a result of succession. Sometimes the idea of succession is absent but the "possessing" carries with it a connotation of permanence (e.g. Ex 34:9; Pr 14:18)."

Gilbrant Speaking of land as a possession, the Bible specifies the land of Canaan (Exo. 32:13); Zion and Judah (Ps. 69:35); specific sections belonging to various tribes and individuals (Num. 35:8); and the land of Moab and Ammon (Zeph. 2:9). The Lord took Judah as his private possession (Zech. 2:12). The verb also denotes the act of dispossession, as it was through uprooting the Canaanites that the Israelites were able to possess the land (Exo. 23:30). In figurative passages, different items or characteristics are said to be received as a possession. These include testimonies (Ps. 119:111), glory (Prov. 3:35), wind (Prov. 11:29), simplicity (Prov. 14:18), good things (Prov. 28:10), and lies (Jer. 16:19). Other things to be possessed were slaves (Lev. 25:46) and blessings (Zech. 8:12). In most of the above examples, there is the idea that permanence accompanies the possession (Ex. 34:9). Thus, when the Lord took Israel as his, it was an act of perpetual security.

Baker A verb meaning to receive, to take property as a permanent possession. The verb was formed from the noun naḥalāh <H5159> which refers to a possession or inheritance. It can refer to the actual taking of the Promised Land, whether it was the entire land of Canaan as a gift from God (Ex. 23:30; 32:13); a tribal allotment (Josh. 16:4); or a familial portion (Josh. 17:6). In addition to the taking of Canaan, God declared that Israel's remnant would possess the lands of Moab and Edom (Zeph. 2:9). It can also refer to the division and distribution of the land of Canaan to the tribal units (Josh. 14:1). This verb is further used of God acquiring possession of Israel (Ex. 34:9; Zech. 2:12[16]); and the nations as His own private property (Ps. 82:8). In the causative form, the verb denotes the giving of a possession (Deut. 1:38; 3:28); or inheritance (Deut. 21:16). This term is used figuratively to indicate the acquiring of things other than real property, like testimonies (Ps. 119:111); glory (Prov. 3:35); good things (Prov. 28:10); lies (Jer. 16:19); wind (Prov. 11:29); simplicity (Prov. 14:18); blessings (Zech. 8:12). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Nahal - 57v - allotted(1), apportion(2), apportion for inheritance(1), apportion the inheritance(1), apportioned(1), apportioned for an inheritance(1), apportioning for inheritance(1), bequeath(2), distributed(1), divide(1), divide it for an inheritance(1), endow(1), endowed(1), gave(1), gave inheritance(1), give(1), give inheritance(1), give as a possession(1), give...possession(1), have(2), have an inheritance(2), inherit(16), inheritance(8), inherited(3), inherits(1), leaves an inheritance(1), possess(2), possess them as an inheritance(1), possessed(1), possesses(1), possession(2), receive inheritance(1), received(2), received inheritance(1), take(1), take possession(1), wills(1). Exod. 23:30; Exod. 32:13; Exod. 34:9; Lev. 25:46; Num. 18:20; Num. 18:23; Num. 18:24; Num. 26:55; Num. 32:18; Num. 32:19; Num. 33:54; Num. 34:13; Num. 34:17; Num. 34:18; Num. 34:29; Num. 35:8; Deut. 1:38; Deut. 3:28; Deut. 12:10; Deut. 19:3; Deut. 19:14; Deut. 21:16; Deut. 31:7; Deut. 32:8; Jos. 1:6; Jos. 13:32; Jos. 14:1; Jos. 16:4; Jos. 17:6; Jos. 19:9; Jos. 19:49; Jos. 19:51; Jdg. 11:2; 1 Sam. 2:8; 1 Chr. 28:8; Job 7:3; Ps. 69:36; Ps. 82:8; Ps. 119:111; Prov. 3:35; Prov. 8:21; Prov. 11:29; Prov. 13:22; Prov. 14:18; Prov. 28:10; Isa. 14:2; Isa. 49:8; Isa. 57:13; Jer. 3:18; Jer. 12:14; Jer. 16:19; Ezek. 46:18; Ezek. 47:13; Ezek. 47:14; Zeph. 2:9; Zech. 2:12; Zech. 8:12

Exodus 34:10  Then God said, "Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.

NET  Exodus 34:10 He said, "See, I am going to 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. All the people among whom you live will see the work of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am doing with you.

NLT  Exodus 34:10 The LORD replied, "Listen, I am making a covenant with you in the presence of all your people. I will perform miracles that have never been performed anywhere in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people around you will see the power of the LORD-- the awesome power I will display for you.

ESV  Exodus 34:10 And he said, "Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

NIV  Exodus 34:10 Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.

KJV  Exodus 34:10 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:10 And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I establish a covenant for thee in the presence of all thy people; I will do glorious things, which have not been done in all the earth, or in any nation; and all the people among whom thou art shall see the works of the Lord, that they are wonderful, which I will do for thee.

ASV  Exodus 34:10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of Jehovah; for it is a terrible thing that I do with thee.

CSB  Exodus 34:10 And the LORD responded: "Look, I am making a covenant. I will perform wonders in the presence of all your people that have never been done in all the earth or in any nation. All the people you live among will see the LORD's work, for what I am doing with you is awe-inspiring.

NKJ  Exodus 34:10 And He said: "Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

NRS  Exodus 34:10 He said: I hereby make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform marvels, such as have not been performed in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you live shall see the work of the LORD; for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

YLT  Exodus 34:10 And He saith, 'Lo, I am making a covenant: before all thy people I do wonders, which have not been done in all the earth, or in any nation, and all the people in whose midst thou art have seen the work of Jehovah, for it is fearful that which I am doing with thee.

  • I am going to make a covenant : Ex 24:7,8 De 4:13 Dt 5:2,3 Dt 29:12-14 
  • I will perform miracles : De 4:32-37 32:30 Jos 6:20 10:12,13 2Sa 7:23 Ps 77:14 Ps 78:12 Ps 147:20 
  • a fearful thing : De 10:21 Ps 65:5 66:3,5 68:35 76:12 106:22 145:6 Isa 64:3 Jer 32:21 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A RENEWAL
OF THE COVENANT

Related Passages:

Exodus 24:7-8 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” 

Then - When is "then?" What has Moses just done in Exodus 34:9? He has prayed hasn't he and how we see God's reply to Moses' prayer is to renew the covenant. 

God said, "Behold  Behold is hinneh which calls for Moses to pay attention to this next statement, Jehovah's declaration of the covenant renewal! 

I am going to make a covenant - Israel had broken and in a sense annulled the first covenant (Ex 24:3, 7, 8+). Now (at least part in response to Moses' intercession - whose prayers were "effective" or "energetic" - see James 5:16+) in an act of amazing mercy and grace, Yahweh is again going to "cut a covenant." (karath berith/beriyth). But it was not a new covenant, just a renewal of the first covenant cut with Israel in Exodus 24. 

Hamilton says this is Jehovah's "promise to re-make His covenant with Israel."

Currid adds "God announces outright that He is renewing the covenant. The verb translated ‘making’ is actually the participle ‘cutting’ in Hebrew: blood-letting was such an integral part of covenant-making that the act of cutting became synonymous with the act of making a treaty." 

Stuart makes an interesting comment on the covenant distinguishing renewal from restoration - But this was not merely the sort of covenant renewal that would take place at various future times in Israel’s history either. This was, rather, a divine restoration of a broken covenant, one that had been made temporarily null and void by Israel’s corporate return to idolatry (and therefore automatically polytheism, since there was no monotheistic idolatry in the ancient world) as described in chap. 32. The covenant needed to be reinstated if it was to be of help to Israel, and Yahweh showed his merciful and patient nature as described by himself so magisterially in vv. 6–7 by taking the responsibility upon himself to reinstitute it for the benefit of his once and now again covenant people. Therefore God used the present tense statement, “I am making a covenant with you.” He was making the same Sinai covenant once again, but he was indeed making it anew, remaking it, not just reminding the people of the content of it.

GOD WOULD GLORIFY
HIMSELF BEFORE THE GENTILES

Related Passage:

Exodus 33:16-17+ (MOSES IS PRAYING) “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that (PURPOSE CLAUSE - WHAT PURPOSE?) we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken (GO WITH ISRAEL - A PROMISE FULFILLED IN HIS DWELLING WITH THEM IN THE TABERNACLE FOR 40 YEARS - See Ex 40:34-37, 38+); for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”

Before all your (Moses') people (Israel) I will perform miracles which have not been produced (bara = created) in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD - First, note that the miracles would testify that God had indeed renewed His covenant with Israel. The miracles would leave no doubt that He was in their midst (cf Ex 25:8+, Ex 40:38+). 

Secondly, this passage explains how Israel would be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth. (Ex 33:16+) These miracles would "distinguish" them. The miracles would include events that would transpire during their wilderness wandering and when they entered the promised land, where God would drive out the "ITES." (Ex 34:11, Dt 7:1, 2, 23, 24). 

There were actually many other miracles -- that every morning they saw a miracle in manna (Ex 16:35+, Neh 9:20,21). Every day they had water to drink because of the Rock that followed them (Ex 17:6+, Ps 78:15, 16, Ps 105:41, Ps 114:8, Neh 9:15,20, 1 Cor 10:4, Nu 20:11, Dt 8:15). Every day for 40 years their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell (Dt 8:4, Dt 29:5, Neh 9:21 compare God's provision for NT believers = Mt 6:31, 32+). None of these miracles had ever been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations!

The point is that He would show His provision and protection to Israel and would show His power so that the idolatrous Gentile nations would see there was a living God amongst the Hebrews. God wanted the pagans to know Him. He had chosen Israel to be a light to the nations, His glory shining through them into the spiritual darkness. Some of the pagans like Rahab were drawn to God through the miraculous works He did for His people and they were saved (see Rahab's testimony to the miracles in Josh 2:10, cf Josh 2:1-11, 12, 13-21, Mt 1:5+, Heb 11:31+, James 2:25+).

THOUGHT - In Acts 13 Paul quotes Isaiah 42:6 showing that he clearly understood God's intention for the Jewish nation to be a light to the Gentiles. "For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH" (Acts 13:47+) Israel for the most part corrupted their calling to be lights pointing to Jehovah. We in the NT are called to be lights, Jesus commanding “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Mt 5:16+) Is your "gospel light" shining, energized by the Holy Spirit? As D L Moody said lighthouses don't warn by making noise but by shining their lights!

Clarke on miracles - This seems to refer to what God did in putting them in possession of the land of Canaan, causing the walls of Jericho to fall down; making the sun and moon to stand still, [and so forth].”

Guzik makes an interesting point -  Israel had a choice regarding those great things. Either the great things would be blessings so impressive that every nation would know that God alone had blessed Israel (as was the case with Solomon). Or, the great things would be curses so horrible that every nation would know God had chastised Israel and yet kept them a nation (as was the case with the exile

For it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you - For is a term of explanation. God is explaining the effect of His miracles. Fearful (yare) can mean fear but in some context conveys the sense of producing reverence. So on one hand God's miracles would produce the psychological reaction of fear but would also cause people (Israel and idolaters) to stand in awe, to reverence God because of His awesome deeds. The Septuagint translates fearful with the phrase "continually be amazing (wonderful, marvelous, remarkable)." The adjective thaumastos refers to that which causes one to marvel. Thaumastos is used for example in the "Song of Moses" in Exodus 15:11+ "Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome (Hebrew = yare' = fearful, dreadful; Lxx = thaumastos) in praises, working wonders?" (cf similar uses of yare' = Dt 28:58 = "awesome Name"; Josh 3:5 = "LORD will do wonders")  Fear of the LORD is a foundational truth in the OT and most often is the verb (yir'ah derived from yare'). Study the associations, effects, blessings, etc of the fear of the LORD below (especially the uses in Proverbs)...

Fear of the LORD - 2 Chr. 19:7; 2 Chr. 19:9; Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9; Ps. 34:11; Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; Prov. 1:29; Prov. 2:5; Prov. 8:13; Prov. 9:10; Prov. 10:27; Prov. 14:26; Prov. 14:27; Prov. 15:16; Prov. 15:33; Prov. 16:6; Prov. 19:23; Prov. 22:4; Prov. 23:17; Isa. 11:2; Isa. 11:3; Isa. 33:6; Acts 9:31; 2 Co. 5:11 (compare Rev 14:6, 7+).

Related Resource:

Exodus 34:11  "Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.

NET  Exodus 34:11 "Obey what I am commanding you this day. I am going to drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

NLT  Exodus 34:11 But listen carefully to everything I command you today. Then I will go ahead of you and drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

ESV  Exodus 34:11 "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

NIV  Exodus 34:11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

KJV  Exodus 34:11 Observe 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:11 Do thou take heed to all things whatsoever I command thee: behold, I cast out before your face the Amorite and the Chananite and the Pherezite, and the Chettite, and Evite, and Gergesite and Jebusite:

ASV  Exodus 34:11 Observe 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.

CSB  Exodus 34:11 Observe what I command you today. I am going to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

NKJ  Exodus 34:11 "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

NRS  Exodus 34:11 Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

YLT  Exodus 34:11 'Observe for thyself that which I am commanding thee to-day: lo, I am casting out from before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite;

  • Observe : De 4:1,2,40 5:32 6:3,25 12:28,32 28:1 Mt 28:20 Joh 14:21 
  • drive : Ex 3:8,17 33:2 Ge 15:18-21 De 7:1,19 9:4,5 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE CONDITION:
OBEY THE COVENANT

Note that Jehovah's driving out the six "ITES" was in part a fulfillment of His prophetic promise in Exodus 34:10. Dt 4:38 underscores this thought ov Ex 34:10b it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform because God says He was "driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today." 

Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day - A requirement (actually a command) precedes a promise. What I am commanding you this day is referring to the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets, the renewed covenant. As we have seen this is a conditional covenant, and the blessings God would bestow on Israel were directly related to Israel's obedience. The Hebrew verb for observe can be translated "Obey" (NET, NIV). The Hebrew verb shamar is a command which means to watch, to keep, to preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one's guard and was what Adam and Eve were to do -- to watch over and care for the Garden of Eden where the Lord had placed them (Ge 2:15 = "keep [shamar] it") and we know how that turned out! The Septuagint translates shamar with the verb prosecho in the present imperative  (command calling for continued practice) which means literally to hold (one's mind) and to means “to remain on course” (cf Paul's command in Acts 20:28+). 

Bush helps us understand God's warnings - The grand prohibition which God saw to be most needful for his people was that against idolatry; and this accordingly occupies the series of verses from the 12th to the 17th. The interdiction of a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, to which they were going, was but the planting of a safeguard around the main precept. It was scarcely possible that they should form treaties and alliances of any kind with those idolatrous nations without being inveigled into a participation of their sin. Such connexions would be sure to be a snare to them, and how reasonable was it that they should be forbidden to make peace with those with whom God was making war? So far indeed from tolerating these abominations, they were to hold themselves bound utterly to destroy all their altars, images, and groves, and as far as in them lay to efface every vestige of their foul and odious worship. For this a reason full of awful import is given;

Stuart - The requirement is that of covenant obedience—the sine qua non of any expectation for divine blessing in the long term. “Obey what I command you today” is nothing less than a demand for complete adherence to the complete Sinai covenant as it is reinstated by a merciful God on this occasion.

Behold - Here is another hinneh calling for Israel to pay attention to what God promises regarding their enemies.  

 I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite - This promise goes all the way back to Genesis 15:16 when God told Abraham "in the fourth generation they (ABRAHAM'S OFFSPRING NOW THE NATION OF ISRAEL) will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” The implication is that the Amorites would be dispossessed because their iniquities had become "complete." God gave them time but their sin became worse and worse, more heinous and more abominable. God is always just and He was not dispossessing the "ITES" on a whim but ultimately because of their sin. And He knew they would corrupt the Israelites if they were allowed to stay in the promised land, which is why they had to be driven out. 

Recall that God had given this promise to Moses at the burning bush encounter...

Exodus 3:8; 17+  “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite....17 “So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’

Exodus 34:12  "Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst.

NET  Exodus 34:12 Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it become a snare among you.

NLT  Exodus 34:12 "Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped.

ESV  Exodus 34:12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst.

NIV  Exodus 34:12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.

KJV  Exodus 34:12 Take 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:

LXE  Exodus 34:12 take heed to thyself, lest at any time thou make a covenant with the dwellers on the land, into which thou art entering, lest it be to thee a stumbling-block among you.

ASV  Exodus 34:12 Take 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:

CSB  Exodus 34:12 Be careful not to make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land that you are going to enter; otherwise, they will become a snare among you.

NKJ  Exodus 34:12 "Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.

NRS  Exodus 34:12 Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you.

YLT  Exodus 34:12 take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitant of the land into which thou art going, lest it become a snare in thy midst;

  • Watch yourself : Ex 23:32,33 De 7:2 Jdg 2:2 
  • Or it: De 7:16 Jos 23:12,13 Jdg 2:3 8:27 Ps 106:36 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CUTTING A COVENANT WITH PAGANS
IS A SEDUCTIVE SNARE!

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 7:2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them

Judges 2:2+ and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?

Psalm 106:35+ But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices,

Note the pattern - mingling leads to entanglement and is not "innocent."

This warning is basically a reiteration of what God had warned Israel against in Exodus 23:33+

“They (THE VARIOUS "ITES") shall not live in your land, because (WHY?) they will make you sin against Me; for (HOW?) if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare (moqesh) to you.”

In context Yahweh has just renewed His covenant with Israel and now warns against cutting a covenant with the idol worshipping pagans. 

Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going - The command in v11 was watch (guard, obey) the commandments and here the command is to watch yourself!  Watch yourself (masculine singular = speaks of the need for each individual) is a command in niphal (reflexive) calling for each person to focus on their own heart. Watch is shamar translated again with prosecho in the present imperative (continually pay attention/take heed to this command). Note that this is a warning to enter into NO covenant agreements with the polytheistic pagans. There were no exception clauses!  The Israelites were warned against making ANY agreements with the Canaanites, against participating in their idolatrous practices, and against intermarriage. God's commands are for our good. They are for our freedom. They are for our life. 

Or it will become a snare in your midst - This is one of God's prophetic promises that you won't find in "God's Promise Book!" God does not say you might be ensnared but you WILL be ensnared. Stuart says the snare would be "a means of entrapment into sinful covenant breaking—that would lead to disaster."

THOUGHT - If you take the "bait" of covenanting with the pagans, you will soon be "playing" like the pagans. It was true then, and is still true today. Be careful with whom you make serious agreements! (cf Paul's warnings in 2 Cor 6:14-18) The English dictionary defines snare as a trapping device, often consisting of a noose, used for capturing birds and small mammals (or stupid, foolish men!). 

Snare (04170)(moqesh from yaqosh) is  a masculine noun meaning a snare, a trap, bait. The picture is of the lure or bait being placed in the hunter’s trap, which gives rise to moqesh referring to the snare itself. Traps were used to capture birds or beasts (Amos 3:5). As used in Judges 8:27 moqesh refers to a moral pitfall (Pr. 18:7; 20:25). Moqesh can be anything that lures one to ruin and disaster (Jdg. 2:3; Pr 29:6).  The Septuagint translates moqesh in this passage with proskomma  (also in Ex 23:33) which refers to that which causes one to stumble (figuratively) as in Ro 9:32; Ro 9:33; Ro 14:13; Ro 14:20; 1 Co. 8:9; 1 Pet. 2:8.

Moqesh - 28x in 27v - bait(1), barbs(1), ensnared(2), snare(12), snares(8), trap(4). - Exod. 10:7; Exod. 23:33; Exod. 34:12; Deut. 7:16; Jos. 23:13; Jdg. 2:3; Jdg. 8:27; 1 Sam. 18:21; 2 Sam. 22:6; Job 34:30; Job 40:24; Ps. 18:5; Ps. 64:5; Ps. 69:22; Ps. 106:36; Ps. 140:5; Ps. 141:9; Prov. 12:13; Prov. 13:14; Prov. 14:27; Prov. 18:7; Prov. 20:25; Prov. 22:25; Prov. 29:6; Prov. 29:25; Isa. 8:14; Amos 3:5

Believers today are in the same danger of being ensnared if they begin to "covenant" with the fallen world system. One is reminded of the warning in James in the New Covenant

James 4:4+ You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

John gives a similar warning:

Do not love (present imperative with a negative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.  (1 John 2:15-17+)

Related Resource:

Exodus 34:13  "But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim

NET  Exodus 34:13 Rather you must destroy their altars, smash their images, and cut down their Asherah poles.

NLT  Exodus 34:13 Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles.

ESV  Exodus 34:13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim

NIV  Exodus 34:13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.

KJV  Exodus 34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

LXE  Exodus 34:13 Ye shall destroy their altars, and break in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their groves, and the graven images of their gods ye shall burn with fire.

ASV  Exodus 34:13 but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim;

CSB  Exodus 34:13 Instead, you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and chop down their Asherah poles.

NKJ  Exodus 34:13 "But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images

NRS  Exodus 34:13 You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles

YLT  Exodus 34:13 for their altars ye break down, and their standing pillars ye shiver, and its shrines ye cut down;

  • you are to: Ex 23:24 De 7:5,25,26 12:2,3 Jud 2:2 6:25 2Ki 18:4 23:14 2Ch 31:1 34:3,4 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DESTROY THEIR
IDOLATRY

Related Passages:

Exodus 23:24  “You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces.

Deuteronomy 7:5 “But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.

Deuteronomy 7:25-26 “The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. 26 “You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.

Deuteronomy 12:2; 3 “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 “You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place.

But rather - This is a strong term of contrast. Instead of making (covenant) they are to tear, smash, and cut down. Some of the parallel passages above add burn their grave images with fire (Dt 7:5). God is deadly serious about the danger of idols/idolatry. And where you find idolatry, you also usually encounter immorality. The two are frequently "bed fellows" in the Bible. 

You are to tear down their altars - Altars is first in the sentence for emphasis. Tear down (nathats) means to destroy and is used most often of destroying idolatrous altars. The Septuagint translates nathats with kathaireo which means to take down and is used figuratively by Paul in 2 Cor 10:4+ writing "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses."  So in the NT we are to take down "fortresses" (ideas, thoughts that are basically anti-God, anti-Biblical) and in the OT take down altars which can place horrible ensnaring images and practices in one's mind. 

Altars (04196)(mizbeah from zabach = to slaughter for sacrifice or for food) is a masculine noun that is frequent in the OT (338x) and describes the place of sacrifice where offerings were made to a deity. The first use in Ge 8:20 describes the altar built by Noah as his first act after he survived the flood. Abraham is associated with an altar in Ge 12:7,8; 13:4, 18; Ge 22:9. Not surprisingly the majority of OT occurrences are in Leviticus (88x in 72v and Exodus is not far behind - 61x in 53v). The first offering by Cain and Abel does not mention a specific altar (Ge 4:3).

and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim (Dt 7:5,16:21) - Smash means break them to pieces. Show no mercy. Don't try to save a piece of the smashed pillar for a keepsake! Cut down is the word karath used figuratively in Ex 34:10 of cutting a covenant with idol worshipers, and here literally of cutting down the idol worshiper's image (often a carved idolatrous image of a tree stump)! 

Smash (07665)(shabar) means to break in pieces, to shatter, to smash. The first biblical occurrence of shabar is in Ge 19:9, where the men of Sodom "pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door." In another use, God says "I will also break down your pride of power" (Lev 26:19). In Ezekiel 6:9 God describes how He has "been hurt (broken) by their adulterous hearts which turned away from" Him "and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols" (describing faithless Judah now in captivity in Babylon). The Lxx often translates shabar here  in Exodus 34:13 with suntribo which means to cause destruction of something by making it come apart (by shattering, smashing or crushing).  Suntribo is used by Paul of the destruction of the one behind idolatrous altars (actually his minions), Satan, writing "The God of peace will soon crush (suntribo) Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." (Ro 16:20+)

Pillars (04676)(matstsebah from natsab = to take a stand) means something set upright, most often "a standing, unhewn block of stone utilized for religious and memorial purposes. Moses set up an altar and also twelve pillars at the base of Mount Sinai to represent the twelve tribes of Israel (Ex. 24:4). These pillars were erected as monuments to God (Hos. 3:4); or, more commonly, to pagan deities (1 Ki. 14:23, Mic. 5:13). Many times in 2 Kings, the term refers to a sacred pillar that aided people in their worship of pagan gods, especially the Canaanite god Baal. In most of these passages, the sacred columns were used by Israelites, contrary to the Lord's prohibition concerning the worship of any other god (2 Ki. 3:2; 10:26, 27; 18:4; 23:14; cf. Hos. 10:1, 2; Mic. 5:13).

Asherim - 40x in 40v - Asherah(18), Asherim(20), Asheroth(2). Exod. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; Deut. 12:3; Deut. 16:21; Jdg. 3:7; Jdg. 6:25; Jdg. 6:26; Jdg. 6:28; Jdg. 6:30; 1 Ki. 14:15; 1 Ki. 14:23; 1 Ki. 15:13; 1 Ki. 16:33; 1 Ki. 18:19; 2 Ki. 13:6; 2 Ki. 17:10; 2 Ki. 17:16; 2 Ki. 18:4; 2 Ki. 21:3; 2 Ki. 21:7; 2 Ki. 23:4; 2 Ki. 23:6; 2 Ki. 23:7; 2 Ki. 23:14; 2 Ki. 23:15; 2 Chr. 14:3; 2 Chr. 15:16; 2 Chr. 17:6; 2 Chr. 19:3; 2 Chr. 24:18; 2 Chr. 31:1; 2 Chr. 33:3; 2 Chr. 33:19; 2 Chr. 34:3; 2 Chr. 34:4; 2 Chr. 34:7; Isa. 17:8; Isa. 27:9; Jer. 17:2; Mic. 5:14

NET Note - Asherah was a leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles. These were to be burned or cut down (Deut 12:3; 16:21; Jdg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).

Related Resource:


Question - Who was Asherah / Ashtoreth?

AnswerAsherah, or Ashtoreth, was the name of the chief female deity worshiped in ancient Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan. The Phoenicians called her Astarte, the Assyrians worshiped her as Ishtar, and the Philistines had a temple of Asherah (1 Samuel 31:10). Because of Israel’s incomplete conquest of the land of Canaan, Asherah-worship survived and plagued Israel, starting as soon as Joshua was dead (Judges 2:13).

Asherah was represented by a limbless tree trunk planted in the ground. The trunk was usually carved into a symbolic representation of the goddess. Because of the association with carved trees, the places of Asherah worship were commonly called “groves,” and the Hebrew word “asherah” (plural, “asherim”) could refer either to the goddess or to a grove of trees. One of King Manasseh’s evil deeds was that he “took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple” (2 Kings 21:7). Another translation of “carved Asherah pole” is “graven image of the grove” (KJV).

Considered the moon-goddess, Asherah was often presented as a consort of Baal, the sun-god (Judges 3:7, 6:28, 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:4, 12:10). Asherah was also worshiped as the goddess of love and war and was sometimes linked with Anath, another Canaanite goddess. Worship of Asherah was noted for its sensuality and involved ritual prostitution. The priests and priestesses of Asherah also practiced divination and fortune-telling.

The Lord God, through Moses, forbade the worship of Asherah. The Law specified that a grove of trees was not to be near the altar of the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:21). Despite God’s clear instructions, Asherah-worship was a perennial problem in Israel. As Solomon slipped into idolatry, one of the pagan deities he brought into the kingdom was Asherah, called “the goddess of the Sidonians” (1 Kings 11:5, 33). Later, Jezebel made Asherah-worship even more prevalent, with 400 prophets of Asherah on the royal payroll (1 Kings 18:19). At times, Israel experienced revival, and notable crusades against Asherah-worship were led by Gideon (Judges 6:25-30), King Asa (1 Kings 15:13), and King Josiah (2 Kings 23:1-7).(Source - GotQuestions.org)


Question: What is an Asherah pole?

Answer: An Asherah pole was a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the pagan goddess Asherah, also known as Astarte. While the exact appearance of an Asherah pole is somewhat obscure, it is clear that the ancient Israelites, after entering the land of Canaan, were influenced by the pagan religion it represented.

In the Bible, Asherah poles were first mentioned in Exodus 34:13. God had just remade the Ten Commandment tablets, and Moses had requested God graciously forgive the Israelites for worshiping the golden calf. Verse 10 begins the covenant God made: if the Israelites obey Him, He will drive out the tribes living in Canaan. But they must cut down the Asherah poles. Deuteronomy 7:5 and Dt 12:3 repeat the command nearly verbatim, while Deuteronomy 16:21 commands the Israelites not set up any wooden Asherah poles of their own. Two books later, In Judges 3:7, “The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”

Gideon became the first to fight against the infestation of Asherah poles, although, in his fear, he chopped his father’s Asherah pole down at night (Judges 6:25-27). The books of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles tell a long story of one king chopping down Asherah poles and another building them back up. King Manasseh of Judah went so far as to install a pole in the temple of the Lord (2 Kings 21:3, 7). In the midst of a great cleansing, King Josiah took out the Asherah pole and ground it to powder, further defiling it by spreading the dust over graves (2 Kings 23:6).

Most areas in that time and place had a god and goddess designated as responsible for the well-being of crops and livestock. Likely, in the constant evolution of pagan gods and goddesses, Asherah was one of the names given for a fertility goddess in the region. Asherah’s consorts varied, depending on the cultic beliefs of the people—sometimes Asherah was said to consort with the Canaanite creator-god, El; or with the god of fertility, Ba’al; or, horrifically, with the Lord God Himself. Asherah poles were wood poles (sometimes carved, sometimes not) or trees planted by the “high places” where pagan worshipers sacrificed, although the specific purpose of the poles is not clear. It’s interesting to note that, while the once-essential “Asherah” has morphed from goddess to wooden pole to obscurity, Father God, Creator of the universe, has never changed. (Source: Gotquestions)


Question -  Why was the worship of Baal and Asherah a constant struggle for the Israelites?

Answer: Throughout the Old Testament in the Bible, we find what seems a confusing trend of idol worship among the Israelites, who especially struggled with the worship of Baal and Asherah (or Ashtoreth). God had commanded Israel not to worship idols (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7)—indeed, they were to avoid even mentioning a false god’s name (Exodus 23:13). They were warned not to intermarry with the pagan nations and to avoid practices that might be construed as pagan worship rites (Leviticus 20:23; 2 Kings 17:15; Ezekiel 11:12). Israel was a nation chosen by God to one day bear the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Yet, even with so much riding on their heritage and future, Israel continued to struggle with idol worship.

After the death of Joshua, the worship of Baal and Asherah became a plague upon the Israelites and was a perennial problem. Baal, also known as the sun god or the storm god, is the name of the supreme male deity worshiped by ancient Phoenicians and Canaanites. Asherah, the moon goddess, was the principal female deity worshiped by ancient Syrians, Phoenicians, and Canaanites. The Israelites neglected to heed the Lord’s warning not to compromise with idolaters. The ensuing generations forgot the God who had rescued them from Egypt (Judges 2:10–12).

Of course, the period of the judges wasn’t the first time Israel had been tempted by idol worship. In Exodus 32, we see how quickly the Israelites gave up on Moses’ return from Mount Sinai and created an idol of gold for themselves. Ezekiel 20 reveals a summary of the Israelites’ affairs with idols and God’s relentless mercy on His children (also see 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles).

As for why the worship of Baal and Asherah specifically was such a problem for Israel, there are several reasons we can cite: first, the worship of Baal and Asherah held the allure of illicit sex, since the religion involved ritual prostitution. This is exactly what we see in the incident of Baal of Peor, as “the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods” (Numbers 25:1–2). It was during this episode that an Israelite named Zimri brazenly brought a Midianite woman into the camp and went straight to his tent, where the two began having sex (verses 6–8, 14).

Another reason that the worship of Baal and Asherah was a perennial problem for Israel is due to what we could call national peer pressure. Israel wanted to be like the other nations (see 1 Samuel 8:5, 20). The other nations worshiped Baal and Asherah, and so many Israelites felt a pull to do the same.

Of course, we cannot overlook the fact of Satan’s temptations and mankind’s basic sinfulness. The enemy of our souls tempted Israel to worship idols; the sacrifices made to Baal and Asherah were really sacrifices to demons (1 Corinthians 10:20). The stubborn willfulness of humanity works in tandem with Satan’s seductions and causes us to jump at any chance to rebel against God. Thus Israel repeatedly forsook God’s commands, despite losing God’s blessings, and chased after the Baals and Asherahs to their own destruction.

The book of Hosea aptly uses adultery as a metaphor in describing Israel’s problem with idol worship. The Israelites were trapped in a vicious cycle of idol worship, punishment, restoration, then forgiveness, after which they went back to their idols once more. God’s patience with Israel is unfathomable by human standards; God’s nature is the essence of love, and He gives His sons and daughters chances to repent (1 John 4:8; Romans 8:38–39; 2 Peter 3:9).

The problem of Baal and Asherah worship was finally solved after God removed Israel from the Promised Land. Due to the Israelites’ idolatry and disregard of the Law, God brought the nations of Assyria and Babylon against them in an act of judgment. After the exile, Israel was restored to the land, and the people did not dally again with idols.

While Christians today may be quick to judge the Israelites for their idolatry, we must remember that idols take many forms. Idolatrous sins still lure and tempt the modern-day believer (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8–10), though perhaps they have taken new shapes. Instead of ancient forms of Baal and Asherah, we today sometimes honor possessions, success, physical pleasure, and religious perfection to the dishonoring of God. Just as God disciplined the Israelites for their idolatry and forgave them when they repented, He will graciously discipline us and extend the offer of forgiveness in Christ (Hebrews 12:7–11; 1 John 1:9; 2 Peter 3:9). 
Source: GotQuestions.org

Exodus 34:14  --for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God--

NET  Exodus 34:14 For you must not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

NLT  Exodus 34:14 You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

ESV  Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

NIV  Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

KJV  Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

LXE  Exodus 34:14 For ye shall not worship strange gods, for the Lord God, a jealous name, is a jealous God;

ASV  Exodus 34:14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

CSB  Exodus 34:14 You are never to bow down to another god because Yahweh, being jealous by nature, is a jealous God.

NKJ  Exodus 34:14 `(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

NRS  Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, because the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).

YLT  Exodus 34:14 for ye do not bow yourselves to another god -- for Jehovah, whose name is Zealous, is a zealous God.

  • worship : Ex 20:3-5 De 5:7 Mt 4:10 
  • whose : Ex 34:5-7 33:19 Isa 9:6 57:15 
  • jealous God : Ex 20:5 De 5:24 6:15 29:20 32:16,21 Jos 24:19 Na 1:2 1Co 10:22 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JEHOVAH'S NAME
IS JEALOUS!

Related Passages:

Exodus 20:3-5+ “You shall have no other gods before Me.  4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

For - A strategic term of explanation. This explains why you need to completely obliterate idolatry. 

You shall not worship any other god - This is essentially a reiteration of Commandment number 1. 

Alan Cole - “To worship a statue while calling it YHWH is not to worship YHWH.” 

Worship (bow down, prostrate) (07812)(shachah) means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall down, to humbly beseech, to do reverence, to worship. The idea is to assume a prostrate position as would in paying homage especially  to God (Ge 24:26, Ps 95:6).Shachah is translated in the Septuagint (LXX) in this passage with the picturesque Greek verb proskuneo (from pros = toward or facing + kuneo = kiss, adore) which pictures the practice among the Orientals (especially the Persians) of falling upon their knees and touching the ground with their forehead as an expression of profound reverence.

For - Another strategic term of explanation. What is Moses explaining?

The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Dt 4:24) - To underscore His prohibition of idolatry, God gives His Name as Jealous. The Name of God is tantamount to His character and nature! Jealous is an attribute of God we don't hear mentioned often. This attribute of God does not refer to a shallow, childish human emotion that in our fleshly side we all unfortunately experience, but emphasizes that God will not tolerate a divided heart (See Mt 6:22+, Mt 6:24+, Jas 1:6-8+, 1Jn 2:15-17+, Jas 4:4+). We are to honor God with our lives and not simply our lips. To obey is always better than sacrifice (1Sa 15:22,23). 

Stuart - This is the only verse in the Old Testament in which mention is made of his being jealous for his name, the meaning of which expression is simply that he guards his name’s significance—it points to his nature, character, and uniqueness as the only true God—and will not allow it to be profaned by idolatry or any other misuse.

George Bush - For the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. That is, whose nature is jealous; who can hear no rival. The names of God designate his attributes. This is mentioned here with peculiar propriety. The covenant made with Israel was virtually a marriage-covenant, and consequently idolatry was adultery. Every approach to this sin, therefore, would be sure to provoke him to jealousy, just as the infidelity of a wife stirs up the same passion in the bosom of the injured husband. We are not indeed to transfer in our minds human passions to the bosom of the Deity; but the Scriptures, as we have before remarked, are constructed on the plan of ascribing the attributes of humanity to God, because he often acts in his dealings with men as they act when under the influence of certain passions. To convey, therefore, an intelligible idea, the passions themselves are affirmed of God when his conduct resembles the effect of those impulses in men. ‘Jealousy,’ says Solomon, Prov. 6:34, 35, ‘is the rage of a man; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance; he will not regard any ransom, neither will he rest content though thou givest many gifts.’ This is human jealousy. What is said of divine? Deut. 32:21–23, ‘They have moved me to jealousy; and a fire is kindled in mine anger, and it shall burn to the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains, I will heap mischiefs upon them, and will spend mine arrows upon them.’ Compare Nahum. 1:2.

THOUGHT - I must confess I do not really believe this verse (oh, I do, but my actions often belie my belief). If I really understood Jehovah's Name "Jealous," I would like to think it would make me very much more zealous at guarding my eyes and guarding my heart! May the Spirit of God burn the truth into our (especially my) hearts that God is a Jealous God. In Jesus' Name. Amen. I would add one more prayer to this -"Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart (give me an undivided heart) to fear Your name." (Ps 86:11)

Related Resource:

Jealous (07067)(qanna) is an adjective that combines the ideas of zeal and jealousy. It expresses a very strong emotion whereby some quality or possession of the object is desired by the subject. All 5 OT uses describe this attribute of Jehovah, His attribute which reflects zero tolerance for the worship of other so-called gods. In the 5 uses note the associated with "consuming fire," (Dt 4:24) and "anger...kindled (also pictures a fire) against" those who violate this prohibition (Dt 6:15) In other words the consequences of bowing down to false gods gives us a clear sense of His hatred of them. How foolish it is for us as finite humans to pursue false gods when we have access to the true and living God! Forgive us O LORD. Amen. Qanna is translated in the Septuagint of Ex 20:5 with the noun zelotes which depicts one stirred to action by a strong emotion. It describes one "burning with zeal" (the root of zelotes is zeo = to boil, be hot or glow!). Zelotes describes Yahweh as earnestly committed to defend His honor!  Qanna - 6x in 5v - Exod. 20:5; Exod. 34:14; Deut. 4:24; Deut. 5:9; Deut. 6:15


Question:  Why is God a jealous God?

Answer: It is important to understand how the word “jealous” is used. Its use in Exodus 20:5 to describe God is different from how it is used to describe the sin of jealousy (Galatians 5:20+). When we use the word “jealous,” we use it in the sense of being envious of someone who has something we do not have. A person might be jealous or envious of another person because he or she has a nice car or home (possessions). Or a person might be jealous or envious of another person because of some ability or skill that other person has (such as athletic ability). Another example would be that one person might be jealous or envious of another because of his or her beauty.

In Exodus 20:5, it is not that God is jealous or envious because someone has something He wants or needs. Exodus 20:4-5 says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God...” Notice that God is jealous when someone gives to another something that rightly belongs to Him.

In these verses, God is speaking of people making idols and bowing down and worshiping those idols instead of giving God the worship that belongs to Him alone. God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. It is a sin (as God points out in this commandment) to worship or serve anything other than God. It is a sin when we desire, or we are envious, or we are jealous of someone because he has something that we do not have. It is a different use of the word “jealous” when God says He is jealous. What He is jealous of belongs to Him; worship and service belong to Him alone, and are to be given to Him alone.

Perhaps a practical example will help us understand the difference. If a husband sees another man flirting with his wife, he is right to be jealous, for only he has the right to flirt with his wife. This type of jealousy is not sinful. Rather, it is entirely appropriate. Being jealous for something that God declares to belong to you is good and appropriate. Jealousy is a sin when it is a desire for something that does not belong to you. Worship, praise, honor, and adoration belong to God alone, for only He is truly worthy of it. Therefore, God is rightly jealous when worship, praise, honor, or adoration is given to idols. This is precisely the jealousy the apostle Paul described in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy...”(Source: GotQuestions.org)


Exodus 34:14 Our Jealous God

Read: 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32–33; Hebrews 1

The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14

In 2014 a University of California researcher used a stuffed dog to show that animals are capable of jealousy. Professor Christine Harris asked dog owners to show affection for a stuffed animal in the presence of their pet. She found that three-fourths of the dogs responded with apparent envy. Some tried to get attention with touch or a gentle nudge. Others tried to push between their owner and the toy. A few went so far as to snap at their stuffed rival.

In a dog, jealousy seems heartwarming. In people, it can lead to less admirable results. Yet, as Moses and Paul remind us, there is also another jealousy—one that beautifully reflects the heart of God. God made us & rescued us to know & enjoy Him forever.

When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he said he was “jealous for you with a godly jealousy” (2 Cor. 11:2). He didn’t want them to be “led astray from [their] sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (v. 3). Such jealousy reflects the heart of God, who told Moses in the Ten Commandments, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:5).

God’s jealousy is not like our self-centered love. His heart expresses His protective zeal for those who are His by creation and salvation. He made us and rescued us to know and enjoy Him forever. How could we ask for anything more than a God who is so zealous—and jealous—for our happiness?

Father, help me shun anything that distracts me from You, so that I may always find enjoyment in who You are and in Your plan for me. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God loves every one of us as if there were but one of us to love. --- Augustine

INSIGHT: Paul’s relationship with the church at Corinth was a turbulent one. Paul founded the Corinthian church and spent 18 months there (Acts 18:1-18). Then he returned for another 3 months at a later time (Acts 20:3). In spite of this significant investment of time and energy, the Corinthian believers appear to have struggled with Paul’s authority and position as an apostle, as well as his correction of them. His letters to the church at Corinth are filled with evidence of his disappointment over their testy relationship. Still, Paul’s love for them is evidenced by his desire that they not be led astray by false teachers. Bill Crowder

Exodus 34:15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,

NET  Exodus 34:15 Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone invites you, you will eat from his sacrifice;

NLT  Exodus 34:15 "You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them.

ESV  Exodus 34:15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice,

NIV  Exodus 34:15 "Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.

KJV  Exodus 34:15 Lest 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;

LXE  Exodus 34:15 lest at any time thou make a covenant with the dwellers on the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and they call thee, and thou shouldest eat of their feasts,

ASV  Exodus 34:15 lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot after their gods, and sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice;

CSB  Exodus 34:15 "Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices.

NKJ  Exodus 34:15 "lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,

NRS  Exodus 34:15 You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice.

YLT  Exodus 34:15 'Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitant of the land, and they have gone a-whoring after their gods, and have sacrificed to their gods, and one hath called to thee, and thou hast eaten of his sacrifice,

  • make : Ex 34:10,12 23:32 De 7:2 
  • play the harlot: Lev 17:7 20:5,6 Nu 15:39 De 31:16 Jdg 2:17 Ps 73:27 Jer 3:9 Ezr 6:9 Ho 4:12 9:1 Rev 17:1-5 
  • invite : Nu 25:2 1Co 10:27 
  • eat : Ps 106:28 1Co 8:4,7,10 1 Cor 10:20,21 Rev 2:20 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE TRAP OF 
SPIRITUAL ADULTERY

Related Passage:

KJV is picturesque - Lest 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;

Otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot (phrase used 19x) with their gods: - This is the third mention of covenant in this chapter and is the second warning of making a covenant with the pagan nations! Make a covenant is "cut a covenant." (karath berith/beriyth) the exact wording of Yahweh renewing the covenant with Israel in Ex 34:10. To reiterate covenant is a solemn, binding agreement and thus if Israel cut a covenant with the pagans, Israel would in effect be binding themselves to their abominable idols. And as Jesus made crystal clear

"No one (IN GREEK = ABSOLUTELY NO ONE! DON'T DELUDE YOURSELF AND THINK YOU CAN "GET AWAY WITH IT!") can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (OR ANY OTHER IDOL!)." (Mt 6:24+).

The reason a "covenant" would be especially abhorrent is that Israel as God's "wife" was already in covenant (one she had broken by the "playing the harlot" with the golden calf) (SEE VERSES BELOW ON JEHOVAH'S WIFE) Now in Exodus 34 Jehovah is renewing His covenant with Israel. Therefore as the KJV says to "go a whoring" with other nations would be tantamount to committing spiritual adultery which sadly eventually happened. The consequence was that their adulterous idolatry caused God to send the northern kingdom of Israel into Assyrian exile (722 BC) and then send her faithless sister Judah into exile in Babylon (586 BC). Note what Israel's spiritual adultery did to the heart of her "Husband" Jehovah in Ezekiel 6:9+

"Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations."

Play the harlot (02181)(zanah) is a verb meaning to fornicate, to prostitute and refers to marital infidelity or unfaithfulness. It was word used elsewhere in the OT to describe prostitution (Lev 21:7, Pr 7:10). Many of the uses of zanah are figurative describing Israel 's (Jehovah's "wife") commission of "spiritual prostitution" by having "intercourse" so to speak with other gods (cp 1 Co 6:16). Indeed, idolatry is looked upon as prostitution (Isa 50:1, 2, 3; 54:6, 7, 8; Jer 2:1, 2, 3; 3:1ff; Hos 2:1ff; Jas 4:4+; Rev 2:4+). In addition zanah describes Israel’s improper relationships with other nations (Isa. 23:17; Ezek. 23:30; Nah. 3:4). "The thought seems to be of having relations with these nations for the sake of political and monetary benefit, although in the case of Nineveh the added element of alluring, deceitful tactics leading on to oppressive dominance is implied." (TWOT) "A third figurative meaning is found in Isa 1:21, where the Israelites’ departure from God’s approved moral standards is called harlotry." (TWOT)

In Ex 34:15 zanah is translated in the Septuagint with the verb ekporneuo which means to   indulge in flagrant immorality, be given to fornication, misbehave sexually, to indulge in illicit sexual relations/debauchery  (used only in Jude 1:7+ in the NT)

MacKay says zanah "describes engaging in any type of irregular sexual relationship. It is often used in the Old Testament (particularly by Hosea, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) to describe the conduct of those who were unfaithful to the covenant relationship with the LORD. The word was doubly appropriate because of the sexually licentious nature of much Canaanite worship. Naturally if the Israelites were living on good terms with the Canaanites, then they would invite them to take part in their religious rites. This was unacceptable behaviour." (Mentor Commentary-Exodus)

NET Note - The verb זָנָה (zanah) means “to play the prostitute; to commit whoredom; to be a harlot” or something similar. It is used here and elsewhere in the Bible for departing from pure religion and engaging in pagan religion. The use of the word in this figurative sense is fitting, because the relationship between God and his people is pictured as a marriage, and to be unfaithful to it was a sin. This is also why God is described as a “jealous” or “impassioned” God. The figure may not be merely a metaphorical use, but perhaps a metonymy, since there actually was sexual immorality at the Canaanite altars and poles.

Play the harlot - 19x in 18v - Exod. 34:15; Exod. 34:16; Lev. 17:7; Lev. 20:5; Lev. 20:6; Num. 25:1; Deut. 31:16; 2 Chr. 21:11; 2 Chr. 21:13; Isa. 23:17; Ezek. 16:17; Ezek. 20:30; Hos. 3:3; Hos. 4:10; Hos. 4:13; Hos. 4:14; Hos. 4:15; Hos. 4:18

Played the harlot - 24x in 22v - Gen. 38:24; Num. 15:39; Jdg. 2:17; Jdg. 8:27; Jdg. 8:33; Jdg. 19:2; 1 Chr. 5:25; 2 Chr. 21:13; Ps. 106:39; Ezek. 6:9; Ezek. 16:15; Ezek. 16:16; Ezek. 16:26; Ezek. 16:28; Ezek. 23:3; Ezek. 23:5; Ezek. 23:19; Ezek. 23:30; Hos. 2:5; Hos. 4:12; Hos. 5:3; Hos. 9:1

And sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice - Sadly Israel failed to heed God's clear warnings and in Numbers 25 we read "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab.For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods." (Nu 25:1-2) (Gotquestions says that "In Numbers 25, we find that the women of Midian began to seduce the men of Israel to sexual sin and to sacrifice to their gods. Since the gods of the pagans were often fertility gods, the “worship” often involved sexual acts." - See Baal of Peor for full discussion)  Do you see the pattern? Accept the seductive invitation, worship their gods and then become enslaved to their gods. This is exactly what God warned would happen.

John Currid - Contact with Canaanites by treaty is strictly forbidden because of the consequences which would follow. It simply leads to idolatry. The description here links idolatry with sexual immorality; we have seen this connection previously (see commentary on 32:21). Sexual immorality was one of the central aspects of Canaanite religious practice. One element of that practice was temple prostitution. The Canaanites thought that acts of whoredom at the sacred precincts would guarantee the fertility of their people, land and animals.

George Bush - And one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice. This the apostle informs us, 1 Cor. 10:20, 21, was equivalent in the sight of God to one’s professing himself to be of the idolatrous communion which feasted upon the sacrifices of their demon-gods. The reason of this is obvious. When the covenant people feasted upon a sacrifice, the meat was supposed to be God’s, and to he set upon his table. The feasters were accordingly considered as his guests, entertained at his table in token of reconciliation and friendship. This act confirmed in the strongest possible manner the covenant relation supposed to exist between the parties. Consequently, all those who ate of the sacrifices offered to other gods, virtually professed themselves thereby to be the worshippers and servants of such false deities, which they could not be without renouncing the worship and service of the true God. See Note on Ex. 27:4, 5. The subsequent history, Num. 25:1–3, shows but too clearly how intimate is the connexion between the sins here mentioned, and how needful, though unavailing was the caution now administered; ‘And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.’ Compare also the melancholy case of Solomon, 1 Kings, 11:1–10.

THOUGHT - Beloved, lest we are too hard on Israel, we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves "Am I flirting with spiritual adultery regarding any of the idols of this fallen, godless world?" If so, confess (quickly - 1 Jn 1:9+) and repent (fully - Pr 28:13+) and walk forth (fruitfully - Gal 5:22, 23+) in the power of the Spirit (cf Ro 8:13+, Gal 5:16, 17+) in obedience to Yahweh.

ISRAEL AS
JEHOVAH'S WIFE

And keep in mind that God was so serious about spiritual adultery in Israel because she was His wife by covenant, the Mosaic Covenant. 

Isaiah 54:5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. 

Jeremiah 31:32+ not like the covenant (THE COVENANT IN EXODUS 24 AND NOW THE RENEWED COVENANT IN EXODUS 34) which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.

Hosea 2:18-20+ (THIS IS A PROPHECY YET FUTURE) In that day I will also make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, The birds of the sky And the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety.  19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion,  20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD. 

Exodus 34:16  and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.

NET  Exodus 34:16 and you then take his daughters for your sons, and when his daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will make your sons prostitute themselves to their gods as well.

NLT  Exodus 34:16 Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods.

ESV  Exodus 34:16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

NIV  Exodus 34:16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

KJV  Exodus 34:16 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:16 and thou shouldest take of their daughters to thy sons, and thou shouldest give of thy daughters to their sons; and thy daughters should go a whoring after their gods, and thy sons should go a whoring after their gods.

ASV  Exodus 34:16 and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods, and make thy sons play the harlot after their gods.

CSB  Exodus 34:16 Then you will take some of their daughters as brides for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves with their gods and cause your sons to prostitute themselves with their gods.

NKJ  Exodus 34:16 "and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.

NRS  Exodus 34:16 And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.

YLT  Exodus 34:16 and thou hast taken of their daughters to thy sons, and their daughters have gone a-whoring after their gods, and have caused thy sons to go a-whoring after their gods;

  • Nu 25:1,2 De 7:3,4 1Ki 11:2-4 Ezr 9:2 Ne 13:23,25 2Co 6:14-17 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE POTENTIAL SNARE 
OF INTERMARRIAGE

Related Passage:

1 Kings 11:2-4 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. 3  He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth (Functioned with Baal as a fertility deity. 'Sexual union' w Baal thought to bring annual renewal/fruitfulness. Ashtoreth was often depicted as a naked female figure often multi-breasted! And Solomon fell for this! Why was the worship of Baal and Asherah a constant struggle for the Israelites?). Worship included bizzare sexual practices thought to be "sacred.") the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom (AKA   Moloch/Molech) the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem (Mt of Olives - directly across for the Temple Solomon had built - when you are deceived, you don't even know it!), and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. 8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.  9 Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. 11So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 “Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 “However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 

Stuart writes "Intermarriage in the Bible is never discouraged on ethnic grounds, but religious intermarriage is consistently discouraged on religious grounds. In other words, there is nothing negative associated with the mixing of races, but great danger attends the mixing of religions." 

and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods - As noted above, this is exactly what transpired with Israel in Numbers 25:1-2 discussed above. And in the Related Passage above intermarriage ensnared King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, but not wise when it comes to the wiles of women. He let his eyes wander and his flesh took control of his heart and it took him far from God and into abominable idolatry (1 Ki 11:4-8) which ultimately resulted in God's taking the Kingdom of Israel from his son and splitting the Kingdom.

THOUGHT - Mark it down especially if you are man reading this note! If the wisest man Solomon could fall into such depths of depravity, then no one is immune! We absolutely must guard our eyes (1 Cor 6:18+), because what enters our eyes will eventually plant seeds in our our heart and yield a harvest of corruption (Gal 6:8+)! And remember that Solomon even wrote the sections in Proverbs warning against the adulterous woman! (See commentary on Proverbs 5:1-14Proverbs 5:15-23; Proverbs 6:20-35; Proverbs 7:1-27). The best defense is offense - practice the expulsive power of a new affection! Empowered by the Holy Spirit " Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. " (Pr 4:23+).

Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray!
Cost you more than you ever dreamed you would pay!
Keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay!

NET Note - In the construction this verb would follow as a possible outcome of the last event, and so remain in the verbal sequence. If the people participate in the festivals of the land, then they will intermarry, and that could lead to further involvement with idolatry.

THOUGHT - Are you beginning to tolerate/conceal "pet" sins? If you are, then you need to remember the fate of the man with the "pet boa constrictor" (Do a Google search - use the following search terms and keep the parenthesis sign as written >> "pet boa" killed). After 15 years of living with his owner, one day the "pet boa" would not let its "owner" out of its grip resulting in the owner's tragic death. Wild animals remain wild and so does Sin. Do not be deceived (Stop being deceived)!

Related Resource:

Exodus 34:17  "You shall make for yourself no molten gods.

NET  Exodus 34:17 You must not make yourselves molten gods.

NLT  Exodus 34:17 You must not make any gods of molten metal for yourselves.

ESV  Exodus 34:17 "You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.

NIV  Exodus 34:17 "Do not make cast idols.

KJV  Exodus 34:17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

LXE  Exodus 34:17 And thou shalt not make to thyself molten gods.

ASV  Exodus 34:17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

CSB  Exodus 34:17 "Do not make cast images of gods for yourselves.

NKJ  Exodus 34:17 "You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.

NRS  Exodus 34:17 You shall not make cast idols.

YLT  Exodus 34:17 a molten god thou dost not make to thyself.

  • Ex 32:8 Lev 19:4 Isa 46:6,7 Jer 10:14 Ac 17:29 19:26 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Leviticus 19:4  ‘Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God. 

Isaiah 46:6; 7  “Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it. 7 “They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress. 

Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them. 

You shall make for yourself no molten gods - They need to hear and heed this one because of Ex 32:8 = “They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”

Currid points out that "The severest form of negative in Hebrew, the apodictic ‘no’ (that is, the word lō’ followed by an imperfective verb), is found here. The Hebrews are absolutely prohibited from constructing ‘molten gods’"

Exodus 34:18  "You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.

NET  Exodus 34:18 "You must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you; do this at the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt.

NLT  Exodus 34:18 "You must celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.

ESV  Exodus 34:18 "You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.

NIV  Exodus 34:18 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

KJV  Exodus 34:18 The 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:18 And thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread, as I have charged thee, at the season in the month of new corn; for in the month of new corn thou camest out from Egypt.

ASV  Exodus 34:18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

CSB  Exodus 34:18 "Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You are to eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib as I commanded you. For you came out of Egypt in the month of Abib.

NKJ  Exodus 34:18 "The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

NRS  Exodus 34:18 You shall keep the festival of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

YLT  Exodus 34:18 'The feast of unleavened things thou dost keep; seven days thou dost eat unleavened things, as I have commanded thee, at an appointed time, the month of Abib: for in the month of Abib thou didst come out from Egypt.

  • Ex 12:15-20 13:4,6,7 Ex 23:15 Lev 23:6 De 16:1-4 Mk 14:1 Lu 22:1 Ac 12:3 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE FEAST OF
UNLEAVENED BREAD

Related Passage:

Ex 23:15 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

The present passage is identical to the previous instruction recorded above.

You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you - This alludes to the prior directive in Exodus 12:14-20+, the purpose being to serve as a memorial of Israel's exodus orchestrated by Yahweh (Ex 12:24-28+). The fact that it was to observed for seven days ties it to the Sabbath day. Recall that the Passover was so intimately linked to the following days of "unleavened bread" that Luke records "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.." (Lk 22:1+) In Leviticus 23:5-6+ we read "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread."

Guzik - First mentioned in Exodus 12:14–20, this feast spoke of the purity God desired among Israel before Him, when all leaven—a symbol of sin—was put away and Israel walked in a symbolic purity.

at the appointed time in the month of Abib - See  the structure of the Jewish calendar Abib or Nisan (the Chaldee name), is our March-April, you are to celebrate your deliverance and freedom. Bush calls Abib "the month of green corn."

Abib (024)(abib) means "young ear of grain," ripe, but soft. Thus, it became a designation of a specific time of the year, the time of the first harvest. Others say it means barley especially when it is just rips and still soft and allows the grains to be eaten rubbed or roasted. In Lev 2:14 it was used as an offering to the LORD. Abib is the month of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and first-fruits which are still observed yearly to remind the Israelites of their deliverance from Egypt.

Abib - 9x in 6v - Abib(6), ear(1), fresh heads(1), fresh heads of grain(1). Ex 9:31; Ex 13:4; Ex 23:15; Ex 34:18; Lev. 2:14; Dt. 16:1

Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

For - Term of explanation. Explains why they are to celebrate the Passover/Unleavened bread,

in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt  -  It would serve as an annual reminder to the nation of the greatness of their deliverance by Jehovah. 

THOUGHT - How often to you go back to that glorious day or time when the Spirit of the living God swept into your heart and gave you new life in Christ Jesus by grace through faith (when you "came out of Egypt")? I wonder what it would do to our daily walk if we periodically the greatness of the time when "He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  (Col 1:13-14+)  Would it not make us more zealous and motivated to walk blamelessly, being diligent to keep God's precepts enabled by His Holy Spirit? Just thinking! Read the opening lines of the great psalm....

Psalm 119:1+ Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.  2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.  3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.  4 You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently.  5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes! 

The specific symbolism of the passover required the absence of leaven, which symbolizes a corrupting influence. Leaven is associated with fermentation which is a process of decay (thus representative of God's curse on the earth) and is also connected with the production of the toxic substance, alcohol.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the evening of Passover (vv. 6, 18) and lasted for seven days. On the first day, homes were to be completely cleared of leaven (yeast, a symbol of corruption and evil; cf. Lev. 2:11; 1 Cor. 5:7-8), and a holy assembly was to be called (v. 16). The week was concluded with another convocation (see also Lev. 23:6-8). cut off (v. 19) by execution or banishment 

Related Resources:

Exodus 34:19  "The first offspring from every womb belongs to Me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep.

NET  Exodus 34:19 "Every firstborn of the womb belongs to me, even every firstborn of your cattle that is a male, whether ox or sheep.

NLT  Exodus 34:19 "The firstborn of every animal belongs to me, including the firstborn males from your herds of cattle and your flocks of sheep and goats.

ESV  Exodus 34:19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep.

NIV  Exodus 34:19 "The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock.

KJV  Exodus 34:19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.

LXE  Exodus 34:19 The males are mine, everything that opens the womb; every first-born of oxen, and every first-born of sheep.

ASV  Exodus 34:19 All that openeth the womb is mine; and all thy cattle that is male, the firstlings of cow and sheep.

CSB  Exodus 34:19 "The firstborn male from every womb belongs to Me, including all your male livestock, the firstborn of cattle or sheep.

NKJ  Exodus 34:19 "All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.

NRS  Exodus 34:19 All that first opens the womb is mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep.

YLT  Exodus 34:19 'All opening a womb are Mine, and every firstling of thy cattle born a male, ox or sheep;

  • from every womb: Ex 13:2,12 Ex 22:29 Nu 18:15-17 Eze 44:30 Lu 2:23 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FIRSTBORN DEVOTED
TO YAHWEH

The first offspring from every womb belongs to Me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep This passage clearly parallels Ex 13:2 for in both passages Jehovah claims the firstborn as belonging to Him. As the NET explains "The remarkable thing about this is that Yahweh did not keep the firstborn that was dedicated to him, but allowed the child to be redeemed by his father (ED: FOR A PRICE - SEE Nu 18:15, 16). It was an acknowledgment that the life of the child belonged to God as the one redeemed from death, and that the child represented the family. Thus, the observance referred to the dedication of all the redeemed to God." The word offspring is more literally "every opener of a womb." (see word study below).

Stuart - Redemption laws represent God’s kindness to his people. By rights he owned everything that was born first among any group, whether animal or human, just as the firstfruits of what was grown were also his. But although he did insist on receiving the first of all that was harvested from crops, he did not in fact want his people to give away to him every person or animal that was born first. Some of these were best kept by their families or their owners. So although they technically belonged to God and ought in theory simply to be given to him, he would allow them to be “repurchased” from him by a payment, and he would receive the payment in lieu of the animal or person. Such was the basic idea behind redemption laws, as indicated by the language of v. 19.

Offspring (06363)(peter)  means that which separates or first opens. Peter is derived from pātar meaning to free, to release. The semantic relationship is transparent, as it is the firstborn who opens or frees the womb. Peter, which simply means "something which opens," is coupled with the noun rechem, "womb," in more than half of its occurrences, giving the understanding of "firstborn. Peter is used exclusively in ritual contexts. The bulk of the occurrences are found in regard to the institution of the Passover. Here the noun is used as a generic for human and domestic livestock firstborn" (Gilbrant)

Peter - 10x in 8v - first issue(2), first offspring(8). Ex 13:2; Ex 13:12; Ex 13:13; Ex 13:15; Ex 34:19; Ex 34:20; Nu 3:12; Nu 18:15

Exodus 34:20  "You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

NET  Exodus 34:20 Now the firstling of a donkey you may redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then break its neck. You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons. "No one will appear before me empty-handed.

NLT  Exodus 34:20 A firstborn donkey may be bought back from the LORD by presenting a lamb or young goat in its place. But if you do not buy it back, you must break its neck. However, you must buy back every firstborn son."No one may appear before me without an offering.

ESV  Exodus 34:20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.

NIV  Exodus 34:20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. "No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

KJV  Exodus 34:20 But 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:20 And the first-born of an ass thou shalt redeem with a sheep, and if thou wilt not redeem it thou shalt pay a price: every first-born of thy sons shalt thou redeem: thou shalt not appear before me empty.

ASV  Exodus 34:20 And the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck. All the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

CSB  Exodus 34:20 You must redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a sheep, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons. No one is to appear before Me empty-handed.

NKJ  Exodus 34:20 "But the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

NRS  Exodus 34:20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. No one shall appear before me empty-handed.

YLT  Exodus 34:20 and the firstling of an ass thou dost ransom with a lamb; and if thou dost not ransom, then thou hast beheaded it; every first-born of thy sons thou dost ransom, and they do not appear before Me empty.

  • first offspring from a donkey: Ex 13:10 Nu 18:15 
  • all the firstborn of your sons: Ex 13:15 Nu 3:45-51 
  • none shall appear before Me empty-handed.: Ex 23:15 De 16:16 1Sa 9:7,8 2Sa 24:24 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FIRSTBORN OF ANIMALS 
AND MEN TO BE REDEEMED

You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. Note that firstborn females were exempted. The text probably makes mention of a donkey because they were the main means of transport for the Hebrews, and because of their value God mercifully allowed them to be redeemed with a lamb. What's going on with the poor donkey? This was alluded to above. When the firstborn of a beast was given to (devoted, sanctified) the LORD, it was sacrificed. The problem with the firstborn of a donkey is that this animal was considered unclean and could not be used as a sacrifice. However since donkeys were valuable animals used for many chores, the law allowed one to redeem his donkey with a lamb (again we see in essence the blood of a lamb paying the price to set the donkey free, all of these blood sacrifices of course -- and this one clearly a substitutionary sacrifice -- pointed to God's future Lamb for only His blood offered as a substitute could effect redemption of men from slavery to Sin and Satan.) If the donkey was not redeemed it had to be killed.

Currid adds that "Since man is depriving God of his due, then man is denied use of the animal (DONKEY). Breaking the donkey’s neck instead of killing it with a knife or by some other means is probably in order to divorce it from any sacrificial act or intent."

You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. You shall redeem means they were to buy them back at a prices, which we later see was fixed at five shekels per male (see Nu 18:16, cf Nu 3:46-47). Can you see the dual effect of this law? While the firstborn of Israelites in deliverance from Egypt was redeemed with the blood of a lamb, the firstborn thereafter were to be redeemed and this would serve as a reminder pointing back to Yahweh's deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt but also a "shadow" pointing forward to Yahweh's future deliverance by the blood of the Lamb, God's only begotten Son!

THOUGHT - They needed this reminder. But look in the mirror dear believer, for the person you see also needs reminders. WE ALL TEND TO FORGET THE GREAT ACTS OF GOD IN OUR LIFE! Indeed, this is part of the power of celebrating the Lord's Supper, for it serves as a reminder of the blood of the ultimate Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29+). The next time you celebrate communion, think about your mercy filled deliverance out of this fallen, passing (1 Jn 2:17+) world ("Egypt") which you have experienced by exertion the strong arm of Jehovah (actually two strong arms, each nailed to an old rugged cross!) And then strive (by the power of the Spirit) to live the succeeding days without the corrupting effects of the leaven of sin in your life (motivated by love for the Lamb and the great deliverance God wrought for you on Calvary)! 

Hobbs adds that "These rites were meant to be more than symbols, more than memorials. They were to be vivid visual aids by which the older generation could instruct the younger in the ways of God. Man’s memory is all too short, at best. Man needs reminders, especially in following faithfully a God unseen. Therefore the monuments left along God’s mighty road of deliverance were to be teaching instruments perpetuating the life of God in the continuing life of Israel for all time to come. In this sense these rites were to be flames of remembrance, keeping God alive in the hearts of his people."

Paul makes the statement "do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (WHY?) For (term of explanationyou have been bought with a price: (AKA "REDEEMED") therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6:19-20+, Titus 2:14+ = His own possession, 1 Peter 2:9+ =  A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION,). And now we as firstborn (all believers are in a sense "firstborn" - see Heb 12:23+) and should daily present our bodies (heart, soul, mind, strength - Mk 12:30)  our bodies as living and holy sacrifices, acceptable (pleasing) to God (AND DON'T CRAWL OFF THE ALTAR DURING THE DAY!) (Ro 12:1+)

Redeem (06299) see note on padah. This same verb is used again in a description of Israel's deliverance from Egypt in Dt 7:8 "because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed (padah; Lxx = lutroo) you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt." And again in Deut 13:5 Moses has a similar description = "the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed (padah; Lxx = lutroo) you from the house of slavery."  

And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. - See identical words in Ex 23:15+ NLT = "No one may appear before me without an offering." Before Me is literally "My face." Since each feast was celebrated at a harvest, the commandment not to come empty-handed was easy to fulfill.

Currid - The term is used in Ex 3:21–22 of the Hebrews leaving Egypt with articles of clothing, silver and gold. They did not leave ‘empty-handed’.

Guzik - God gave this command in the context of daily work (Six days you shall work) and festival observance (you shall observe the feast.…). The idea is that everyone should have some work and something to give unto the Lord.. It is simply appropriate for the creature to honor the Creator by giving unto Him. It is even more appropriate for the redeemed to honor their Redeemer this way.

Stuart - The command “No one is to appear before me empty-handed” restates a principal of worship, verbatim from Ex 23:15+: believers show their loyalty to God by coming to worship him with a gift rather than with nothing to offer. In the New Covenant the gift is typically monetary, but in the Old it was something that could be eaten, according to the prescriptions of the covenant law, because all worship involved eating a covenant renewal meal, the ingredients of which were provided by the worshipers to be prepared and then shared with the priests and with God. At the times of the three annual festivals (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles) as well as any other times, the worshiper was responsible not merely to “show up” for worship but to “put up” evidence of covenant loyalty to God. Leviticus 1–7 details the nature of the various types of sacrificial offerings that were to correspond to worship needs.

Deut 16:16-17 is a good parallel commentary on this passage - 

“Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. 17 “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you

THOUGHT - These passages are a foreshadowing of things to come. One day every believer will appear BEFORE HIS FACE at the Bema Seat or Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul writes "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. ." (2 Cor 5:10) The question is this -- will you appear before Him empty-handed (or relatively empty-handed)? Have you realized the brevity of time and the length of eternity so that you are motivated (enabled by His Spirit) to redeem the precious moments He has allocated to each of us? Perhaps it's time to consider doing what we do to our computer when it is not working as it should -- perhaps you need a "life reboot!" Perhaps you need to ask, where is my heart, on earth or in heaven, remembering that our true citizenship is in heaven? Are you storing up for yourself treasure in heaven where moth will not destroy and thief will not break in to steal, remembering that where you treasure is, there is your heart? How sad to end this short life and walk into eternity before Him empty-handed!

Ken Hemphill speaks to this same thought -- "The famous adage goes, “Only two things are certain—death and taxes!” But I promise you, one thing is more certain than that—the King is coming in glory. The early church lived in the daily anticipation and expectation of this. They would often use the greeting Maranatha! that means “Our Lord Come!” (cp. 1 Cor. 16:22). Yes, he is coming! Can you see him? “One like the Son of Man, dressed in a long robe, and with a gold sash wrapped around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool—white as snow, His eyes like a fiery flame, His feet like fine bronze fired in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of cascading waters” (Rev. 1:13-15). We can almost make out the glorious features of his face as we imagine ourselves gathered in the throng that is comprised of “every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them” (Rev. 5:13), gathered to worship and adore the King of kings. I, for one, do not want to miss that victory celebration. Beyond that, I do not want to show up empty-handed. I want to lay the gifts of ministry at his feet in loving adoration. I desire to celebrate with those who have joined this great company because of the investments I was privileged to make on Earth for the advancement of his kingdom. I want to live today in such a manner that the culmination of my life and ministry is this great kingdom victory celebration." (Making Change - A Transformational Guide to Christian Money Management).

Exodus 34:21  "You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.

NET  Exodus 34:21 "On six days you may labor, but on the seventh day you must rest; even at the time of plowing and of harvest you are to rest.

NLT  Exodus 34:21 "You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest.

ESV  Exodus 34:21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

NIV  Exodus 34:21 "Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

KJV  Exodus 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

LXE  Exodus 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: there shall be rest in seed-time and harvest.

ASV  Exodus 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in plowing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

CSB  Exodus 34:21 "You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; you must even rest during plowing and harvesting times.

NKJ  Exodus 34:21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

NRS  Exodus 34:21 Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in plowing time and in harvest time you shall rest.

YLT  Exodus 34:21 'Six days thou dost work, and on the seventh day thou dost rest; in ploughing-time and in harvest thou dost rest.

  • Six : Ex 20:9-11 Ex 23:12 35:2 De 5:12-15 Lu 13:14 23:56 
  • even: Ge 45:6 De 21:4 1Sa 8:12 Isa 30:24 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

HOW TO KEEP THE
SABBATH HOLY

Related Passages:

Exodus 20:9-11 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 

Exodus 23:12  “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.

You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest - This was a far-reaching command in an agricultural community as these were the the two busiest times of the agricultural calendar. NLT = "You have six days each week for your ordinary work." In order to keep the seventh day as a day of rest, one was to do everything necessary to fully complete their work the other six days. They were not to leave some of the work to be finished up on the Sabbath. This was not a new concept, for Israel had already been taught that for 6 days they were to gather manna, but were to rest and not gather manna on the seventh day (Ex 16:22-30+).

Bush - 21. In earing-time and in harvest shalt thou rest. That is, in the busiest seasons of the year, the seasons of ploughing and sowing and harvesting. They were not to consider the urgency of business as affording a sufficient excuse for neglecting the religious observance of the day.

Christians are no longer under the command to keep the Sabbath. Paul addressed the keeping of "days" in two of his letters...

Colossians 2:16-17+ Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day– 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

COMMENT - Christians are not bound to observe days and months and seasons and years. The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week—the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9–10).. The Sabbath commanded here and observed by Israel was a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Colossians 2:16–17). In the New Covenant the idea isn’t that there is no Sabbath, but that every day is a day of Sabbath rest in the finished work of God. Since the shadow of the Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus, we are free to keep any particular day—or no day—as a Sabbath after the custom of ancient Israel. Yet we dare not ignore the importance of a day of rest—God has built us so that we need one. Like a car that needs regular maintenance, we need regular rest—or we will not wear well. Some people are like high mileage cars that haven’t been maintained well, and it shows. (Enduring Word Commentary - Exodus 20)

Galatians 4:9-11+ But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. 

Related Resources:

Exodus 34:22  "You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.

NET  Exodus 34:22 "You must observe the Feast of Weeks– the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat– and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year.

NLT  Exodus 34:22 "You must celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first crop of the wheat harvest, and celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the harvest season.

ESV  Exodus 34:22 You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end.

NIV  Exodus 34:22 "Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.

KJV  Exodus 34:22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.

LXE  Exodus 34:22 And thou shalt keep to me the feast of weeks, the beginning of wheat-harvest; and the feast of ingathering in the middle of the year.

ASV  Exodus 34:22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.

CSB  Exodus 34:22 "Observe the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the agricultural year.

NKJ  Exodus 34:22 "And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end.

NRS  Exodus 34:22 You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year.

YLT  Exodus 34:22 'And a feast of weeks thou dost observe for thyself; first-fruits of wheat-harvest; and the feast of in-gathering, at the revolution of the year.

  • feast of weeks : Ex 23:16 Nu 28:16-31 29:12-39 De 16:10-15 Joh 7:2 Ac 2:1 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE FEASTS OF 
HARVEST AND INGATHERING

You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks - And in fact in a sense this was a prophetic statement fulfilled on Acts 2:1!!! Other ref to "feast of weeks" = Ex 34:22, Nu 28:26, Dt 16:10,16:16, 2Chr 8:13 

that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year - The Feast of the Ingathering IS also referred to as the Feast of Booths (Lev 23:34, Dt 16:13, 16), the Feast of Tabernacles, (Lev 23:34KJV), the Festival of Temporary Shelters (Lev 23:34NET),  or the Feast of Sukkot (Succoth means "booths"). The time phrase end of the year is not the end of the normal Jewish calendar but refers to the end of the agricultural year as this festival marked the time of the final ingathering of the grape harvest. 

Bush The feast of ingathering. Called also the ‘Feast of Tabernacles,’ Lev. 23:34. Deut. 16:13. This was the festival of gratitude for the fruitage and vintage, commencing on the evening of the fourteenth day of the seventh month, or October, called here ‘the end of the year.’ It continued seven whole days until the twenty-first, and then received the addition of the eighth day, which had probably in ancient times been the wine-press feast of the Israelites. During these eight days the Israelites dwelt in booths, formed of green branches interwoven together, which in the warm region of Palestine answered extremely well, as in October the weather is usually dry.—It may be remarked in regard to all these festivals, that the original term by which the appointment is expressed is תחג tahag, from חגג hagag, which signifies to go round in a circle, and thence in its religious application to move round in circular dances. As this was no doubt in early ages one of the leading features of their religious festivals, the term came in process of time to signify in a general way the celebration of a religious feast or solemnity. The idea, however, is prominent that these were to be seasons of joy and rejoicing; that a sanctified hilarity was to be regarded as a part of the duty connected with these festive seasons. The fact affords us an abundant indication of the Mosaic system from the charge of sullen gloom and cheerless austerity in its rites and services.

Related Resource:


Question: "What is the Feast of Weeks?"

Answer: Described in Leviticus 23, The Feast of Weeks is the second of the three “solemn feasts” that all Jewish males were required to travel to Jerusalem to attend (Exodus 23:14–17; 34:22–23; Deuteronomy 16:16). This important feast gets its name from the fact that it starts seven full weeks, or exactly 50 days, after the Feast of Firstfruits. Since it takes place exactly 50 days after the previous feast, this feast is also known as “Pentecost” (Acts 2:1), which means “fifty.”

Each of three “solemn feasts”—Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles—required that all able-bodied Jewish males travel to Jerusalem to attend the feast and offer sacrifices. All three of these feasts required that “firstfruit” offerings be made at the temple as a way of expressing thanksgiving for God’s provision. The Feast of Firstfruits celebrated at the time of the Passover included the first fruits of the barley harvest. The Feast of Weeks was in celebration of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Tabernacles involved offerings of the first fruits of the olive and grape harvests.

Since the Feast of Weeks was one of the “harvest feasts,” the Jews were commanded to “present an offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:16). This offering was to be “two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah” which were made “of fine flour . . . baked with leaven.” The offerings were to be made of the first fruits of that harvest (Leviticus 23:17). Along with the “wave offerings” they were also to offer seven first-year lambs that were without blemish along with one young bull and two rams. Additional offerings are also prescribed in Leviticus and the other passages that outline how this feast was to be observed. Another important requirement of this feast is that, when the Jews harvested their fields, they were required to leave the corners of the field untouched and not gather “any gleanings” from the harvest as a way of providing for the poor and strangers (Leviticus 23:22).

To the Jews, this time of celebration is known as Shavuot, which is the Hebrew word meaning “weeks.” This is one of three separate names that are used in Scripture to refer to this important Jewish feast. Each name emphasizes an important aspect of the feast as well as its religious and cultural significance to both Jews and Christians. Besides being called the Feast of Weeks in Leviticus 23, this special feast celebration is called the “Day of the Firstfruits” in Numbers 28:26 and the “Feast of Harvest” in Exodus 23:16.

The Feast of Weeks takes place exactly 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It normally occurs in late spring, either the last part of May or the beginning of June. Unlike other feasts that began on a specific day of the Hebrew calendar, this one is calculated as being “fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:15–16; Deuteronomy 16:9–10).

Like other Jewish feasts, the Feast of Weeks is important in that it foreshadows the coming Messiah and His ministry. Each and every one of the seven Jewish Feasts signifies an important aspect of God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.

Jesus was crucified as the “Passover Lamb” and rose from the grave at the Feast of Firstfruits. Following His resurrection, Jesus spent the next 40 days teaching His disciples before ascending to heaven (Acts 1). Fifty days after His resurrection and after ascending to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as promised (John 14:16–17) to indwell the disciples and empower them for ministry. The promised Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost, which is another name for the Feast of Weeks.

The spiritual significances of the Feast of Weeks are many. Some see the two loaves of leavened bread that were to be a wave offering as foreshadowing the time when the Messiah would make both Jew and Gentile to be one in Him (Ephesians 2:14–15). This is also the only feast where leavened bread is used. Leaven in Scripture is often used symbolically of sin, and the leavened bread used in the Feast of Weeks is thought to be representative of the fact that there is still sin within the church (body of Christ) and will be until Christ returns again.

On the Day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks, the “firstfruits” of the church were gathered by Christ as some 3,000 people heard Peter present the gospel after the Holy Spirit had empowered and indwelt the disciples as promised. With the promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the first fruits of God’s spiritual harvest under the New Covenant began. Today that harvest continues as people continue to be saved, but there is also another coming harvest whereby God will again turn His attention back to Israel so that “all of Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). (Source: Gotquestions)


Question: "What is the Feast of Tabernacles / Booths / Sukkot?" (FEAST OF INGATHERING)

Answer: The Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths and Sukkot, is the seventh and last feast that the Lord commanded Israel to observe and one of the three feasts that Jews were to observe each year by going to “appear before the Lord your God in the place which He shall choose” (Deuteronomy 16:16). The importance of the Feast of Tabernacles can be seen in how many places it is mentioned in Scripture. In the Bible we see many important events that took place at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. For one thing, it was at this time that Solomon’s Temple was dedicated to the Lord (1 Kings 8:2).

It was also at the Feast of Tabernacles that the Israelites, who had returned to rebuild the temple, gathered together to hear Ezra proclaim the Word of God to them (Nehemiah 8). Ezra’s preaching resulted in a great revival as the Israelites confessed their sins and repented of them. It was also during this Feast that Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37–39).

The Feast of Tabernacles takes place on the 15th of the Hebrew month Tishri. This was the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar and usually occurs in late September to mid-October. The feast begins five days after the Day of Atonement and at the time the fall harvest had just been completed. It was a time of joyous celebration as the Israelites celebrated God’s continued provision for them in the current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during the 40 years in the wilderness.

As one of the three feasts that all “native born” male Jews were commanded to participate in, the Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned multiple times in Scripture, sometimes called the Feast of the Ingathering, the Feast to the Lord, or the Feast of Booths (Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:13). As one of the pilgrim feasts (when Jewish males were commanded to go to Jerusalem), it was also the time when they brought their tithes and offerings to the Temple (Deuteronomy 16:16). With the influx of people coming to Jerusalem at that time, we can only imagine what the scene must have been like. Thousands upon thousands of people coming together to remember and celebrate God’s deliverance and His provision, all living in temporary shelters or booths as part of the requirements of the feast. During the eight-day period, so many sacrifices were made that it required all twenty-four divisions of priests to be present to assist in the sacrificial duties.

We find God’s instructions for celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23, given at a point in history right after God had delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. The feast was to be celebrated each year on “the fifteenth day of this seventh month” and was to run for seven days (Leviticus 23:34). Like all feasts, it begins with a “holy convocation” or Sabbath day when the Israelites were to stop working to set aside the day for worshiping God. On each day of the feast they were to offer an “offering made by fire to the Lord” and then after seven days of feasting, again the eighth day was to be “a holy convocation” when they were to cease from work and offer another sacrifice to God (Leviticus 23). Lasting eight days, the Feast of Tabernacles begins and ends with a Sabbath day of rest. During the eight days of the feast, the Israelites would dwell in booths or tabernacles that were made from the branches of trees (Leviticus 23:40–42).

The Feast of Tabernacles, like all the feasts, was instituted by God as a way of reminding Israelites in every generation of their deliverance by God from Egypt. Of course, the feasts are also significant in that they foreshadow the work and actions of the coming Messiah. Much of Jesus’ public ministry took place in conjunction with the Holy Feasts set forth by God.

The three pilgrim feasts where all Jewish males were commanded to “appear before the Lord in the place he chooses” are each very important in regards to the life of Christ and His work of redemption. We know with certainty that the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are symbolic of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. Likewise, we know that Pentecost, which marked the beginning of the Feast of Weeks, was the time of Jesus’ bodily ascension. And most scholars would agree that the Feast of Tabernacles is symbolic of Christ’s Second Coming when He will establish His earthly kingdom.

There are also some who believe that it was likely during the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus was born. While we celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25, most scholars acknowledge that this tradition was begun in the fourth century AD by the Roman Catholic Church and that the exact day of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Some of the evidence that Jesus might have been born earlier in the year during the Feast of the Tabernacles includes the fact that it would be unlikely for shepherds to still be in the field with their sheep in December, which is in the middle of the winter, but it would have been likely they were in the fields tending sheep at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. The strong possibility that Jesus was born at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles is also seen in the words John wrote in John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The word John chose to speak of Jesus “dwelling” among us is the word tabernacle, which simply means to “dwell in a tent.”

Some believe it is very likely that John intentionally used this word to associate the first coming of Christ with the Feast of Tabernacles. Christ came in the flesh to dwell among us for a temporary time when He was born in the manger, and He is coming again to dwell among us as Lord of Lords. While it cannot be established with certainty that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, some believe there is a strong possibility the Feast of Tabernacles not only looks forward to His second coming but also reflects back on His first coming.

The Feast of Tabernacles begins and ends with a special Sabbath day of rest. During the days of the feast all native Israelites were “to dwell in booths” to remind them that God delivered them out of the “land of Egypt” and to look forward to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would deliver His people from the bondage of sin. This feast, like all of the feasts of Israel, consistently reminded the Jews and should remind Christians as well that God has promised to deliver His people from the bondage of sin and deliver them from their enemies. Part of God’s deliverance for the Israelites was His provision and protection of them for the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness, cut off from the Promised Land. The same holds true for Christians today. God protects us and provides for us as we go through life in the wilderness of this world. While our hearts long for the Promised Land (heaven) and to be in the presence of God, He preserves us in this world as we await the world to come and the redemption that will come when Jesus Christ returns again to “tabernacle” or dwell among us in bodily form. (Source: Gotquestions.org)

Exodus 34:23  "Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.

NET  Exodus 34:23 At three times in the year all your men must appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.

NLT  Exodus 34:23 Three times each year every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the LORD, the God of Israel.

ESV  Exodus 34:23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.

NIV  Exodus 34:23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel.

KJV  Exodus 34:23 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.

LXE  Exodus 34:23 Three times in the year shall every male of thine appear before the Lord the God of Israel.

ASV  Exodus 34:23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel.

CSB  Exodus 34:23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.

NKJ  Exodus 34:23 "Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel.

NRS  Exodus 34:23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.

YLT  Exodus 34:23 'Three times in a year do all thy males appear before the Lord Jehovah, God of Israel;

  • Three : Ex 23:14,17 De 16:16 Ps 84:7 
  • God : Ge 32:28 33:20 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THREE REQUIRED
FEASTS FOR MALES

Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel - " “Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, (1) at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and (2) at the Feast of Weeks and (3) at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed." (Dt 16:16) This regulation would have helped maintain the unity of the covenant people. 

MacArthur - Requiring all males to be present for 3 specified feasts at a central sanctuary would have had a socially and religiously uniting effect on the nation. The men must trust the Lord to protect their landholdings while on pilgrimage to the tabernacle. All 3 feasts were joyful occasions, being a commemoration of the Exodus (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), an expression of gratitude to God for all the grain He had provided (the Feast of the Harvest), and a thanksgiving for the final harvest (the Feast of Ingathering). (MSB) 

NET Note on Lord GOD, the God of Israel - The title “Lord” is included here before the divine name (translated “GOD” here; see Ex 23:17+), perhaps to form a contrast with Baal (which means “lord” as well) and to show the sovereignty of Yahweh. But the distinct designation “the God of Israel” is certainly the point of the renewed covenant relationship.

Bush - 23, 24. Thrice in the year shall all your men-children, &c. See Note on Ex. 23:14, 17, Deut. 16:16. Scarcely any feature of the religion of Israel was more remarkable than this, or more signally declarative of a particular providence watching over the covenant race. To the eye of reason it would no doubt seem that the observance of this ordinance would expose them to the incursions of the surrounding nations, who would be sure to take advantage of their absence, and rob or capture the country. To human reason too it might appear to have been sufficiently perilous to be cruel, to leave the women, the children, the aged, and the sick, in such a defenceless state. Would it not have been better, it might be asked, that certain delegates should have been appointed to repair to the place of worship in the name of all the rest of the people? But God would not be served by proxy. He commanded, therefore, all the males to keep the feasts at the place prescribed; and to remove all apprehensions as to the safety of their property or their families, he pledged himself to protect their frontier and so to overrule the minds of their enemies, that they should not even ‘desire’ to invade their land at any of those seasons. Accordingly we look in vain throughout the whole course of their subsequent history for an instance of foreign aggression made under these circumstances. The way of duty is the way of safety.

Exodus 34:24  "For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD your God.

NET  Exodus 34:24 For I will drive out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one will covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

NLT  Exodus 34:24 I will drive out the other nations ahead of you and expand your territory, so no one will covet and conquer your land while you appear before the LORD your God three times each year.

ESV  Exodus 34:24 For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

NIV  Exodus 34:24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.

KJV  Exodus 34:24 For 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:24 For when I shall have cast out the nations before thy face, and shall have enlarged thy coasts, no one shall desire thy land, whenever thou mayest go up to appear before the Lord thy God, three times in the year.

ASV  Exodus 34:24 For I will cast out nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in the year.

CSB  Exodus 34:24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory. No one will covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD your God.

NKJ  Exodus 34:24 "For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

NRS  Exodus 34:24 For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.

YLT  Exodus 34:24 for I dispossess nations from before thee, and have enlarged thy border, and no man doth desire thy land in thy going up to appear before Jehovah thy God three times in a year.

  • I will : Ex 34:11 23:27-30 33:2 Lev 18:24 De 7:1 Ps 78:55 80:8 
  • enlarge : Ex 23:31 De 12:20 19:8 1Ch 4:10 
  • covet: Ge 35:5 2Ch 17:10 Job 1:10 Pr 16:7 Ac 18:10 
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GOD PROMISES
SUPERNATURAL PROTECTION

Related Passages:

Ex 23:27-30+ “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 “I will send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. 29 “I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30 “I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.

Exodus 34:11 “Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.

For I will drive out nations before you - This reiterates the promise quoted in the passage above. God promises to do the driving out! This divine promise emphasizes God's provision of power, but Israel was still responsible to do her part to eradicate the pagans and their idolatry from the land, lest it become a snare (as it proved to do). 

And enlarge your borders - Presumably this refers to the territory promised to Abraham. In Ex 23:30 God promised "“I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land." And since  He would drive them out little by little, there would be a gradual expansion of Israel's borders.

Stuart feels that "“[I will] enlarge your territory” presumably predicts the creation of the promised land as an Israelite possession by the process of its conquest (described in Josh 1–11) rather than a promise that God would keep enlarging the borders of Israel thereafter (David’s sin in seeking to establish an empire that exceeded the set boundaries [Num 34:2–12] of the promised land got him—and Israel—in great trouble [2 Sam 24]) 

And no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD your God - In other words God guarantees when the males left their property unattended to obey the LORD, their property would not be plundered because they were not there to guard it. In short, if they would faithfully worship Him, they could rest assure He would faithfully protect them! The tragic irony is that if Israel failed to keep this (and the other covenant stipulations), not only would He not protect them, but He would punish them - see Lev 26:16; Deut 28:30–31, 33, 38–40! 

Clarke- What a manifest proof was this of the power and particular providence of God! How easy would it have been for the surrounding nations to have taken possession of the whole Israelitish land, with all their fenced cities, when there were none left to protect them but women and children! Was not this a standing proof of the Divine origin of their religion?”

NET Note on covet - The verb “covet” means more than desire; it means that some action will be taken to try to acquire the land that is being coveted. It is one thing to envy someone for their land; it is another to be consumed by the desire that stops at nothing to get it (it, not something like it).

Exodus 34:25  "You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, nor is the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover to be left over until morning.

NET  Exodus 34:25 "You must not offer the blood of my sacrifice with yeast; the sacrifice from the feast of Passover must not remain until the following morning.

NLT  Exodus 34:25 "You must not offer the blood of my sacrificial offerings together with any baked goods containing yeast. And none of the meat of the Passover sacrifice may be kept over until the next morning.

ESV  Exodus 34:25 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning.

NIV  Exodus 34:25 "Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.

KJV  Exodus 34:25 Thou 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifices with leaven, neither shall the sacrifices of the feast of the passover remain till the morning.

ASV  Exodus 34:25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

CSB  Exodus 34:25 "Do not present the blood for My sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival must not remain until morning.

NKJ  Exodus 34:25 "You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.

NRS  Exodus 34:25 You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, and the sacrifice of the festival of the passover shall not be left until the morning.

YLT  Exodus 34:25 'Thou dost not slaughter with a fermented thing the blood of My sacrifice; and the sacrifice of the feast of the passover doth not remain till morning:

  • leavened : Ex 12:20 Ex 23:18 De 16:3 1Co 5:7,8 
  • be left : Ex 12:10 23:18 Ex 29:34 Lev 7:15 Nu 9:12 
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NO BLOOD
WITH BREAD

Related Resource:

Exodus 23:18+ “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor is the fat of My feast to remain overnight until morning. 

Exodus 12:10+  ‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.

Exodus 12:20+  ‘You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’” 

Exodus 29:34+ “If any of the flesh of ordination or any of the bread remains until morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire; it shall not be eaten, because it is holy. 

1 Corinthians 5:7; 8  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, Leaven was a symbol of corruption and evil (cf. Matt. 16:6). Some suggest these regulations apply only to the Passover, but others think they refer to all three (I am in the latter camp). All leaven was to have been previously purged (Ex 12:15+).

Douglas Stuart  has an excellent note to help understand the reason for this prohibition - Type of law: apodictic (unconditional, applying to all sacrifices by all Israelites at all times). Paradigmatic range: implicitly outlaw all sorts of other pagan rituals as well, not merely those specifically mentioned here because they represented some of the most common temptations for the Israelites...Ancient peoples were well aware that when the blood was drained from an animal, the animal would die. (The main reason for their familiarity with this fact was their regular observation of the common practice of slaughtering an animal by first stunning it, then bleeding it while it was still alive so that its heart would pump out its blood, a process that greatly speeds the removal of blood from the animal.) They thus rightly concluded that the life of an animal was in its blood (Cf. Gen 9:4; Lev 17:11, 14; Dt 12:23. The life of an animal is, of course, in other things as well (ancients knew that you could beat an animal to death without drawing much blood), but the absence of blood does indeed bring about the absence of life in animals.). In an attempt to strengthen or prolong their own lives, they started drinking or eating blood from animals sacrificed for worship or merely for eating, performing in effect an act of what is known as “sympathetic magic.” This was strictly forbidden to the Israelites (Lev 3:17; 7:26; Deut 15:23) and even to the patriarchs long before there was an Israel (Gen 9:4). Drinking blood is somewhat unappetizing, but using the blood as an ingredient in breads of various sorts (indicated here by the wording “anything containing yeast”) was a method sometimes employed to enable people to consume the blood in a palatable way (Note that the wording of the prohibition in Hb. (לאֹ־תִזְבּח עַל־חָמֵץ דַּם־זִבְחִי) clearly speaks of mixing blood and yeast (to which flour and oil would be added) rather than simply consuming blood and yeast in the same meal or the like.) Of special interest in this connection is the fact that Jesus did allow—even required—the drinking of blood symbolically in the observance of the Lord’s Supper. (cf Jn 6:53, 55, 1 Cor 11:25) In this regard, the Lord’s Supper is actually a purer symbol of the transfer of life from the sacrificial Lamb (Christ) to the worshiper than any sacrifice in the Old Testament could be, in which the lamb’s death was simply understood as a substitute for that of the worshiper, without the aspect of transfer of life per se.

Currid - "The blood of a sacrifice is not to be mixed with leavened bread—although that practice is strictly forbidden in connection with Passover (Exod. 34:25; Deut. 16:4), here the prohibition applies to all the major festivals. The law probably means that all leavened bread must be removed from the house during the festival periods." 

Guzik - Since leaven was a symbol of sin and corruption, atoning blood could never be offered with leavened bread.

Nor is the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover to be left over until morning - It was not to be stored so you could eat some later.  This instruction is in keeping with that given for the first Passover - "‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire." (Ex 12:10+) Another reason none of the sacrifice was to be left over until morning would be to curtail a temptation to use the evening's leftover portion as their morning sacrifice. After all this would help preserve the numbers of their herds! In the related instruction in Ex 23:18+ God calls this "My sacrifice" and "My feast," so clearly to leave some over would be to in a sense dispossess God of what was rightly (and wholly) His! It is not good to steal from God!!!

A secondary reason to not leave any of the sacrifice (Ex 23:18 - "the fat of My feast") overnight, is that it might spoil and become offensive and clearly would be unacceptable to the LORD.

Stuart adds that "Canaanites and other pagan peoples did not necessarily burn all the animal fat as a divine offering at the time of cooking animals on their altars: thus the temptation of the Israelites to imitate their neighbors instead of following God’s decrees and the need specifically to obviate such an approach."

Exodus 34:26  "You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."

NET  Exodus 34:26 "The first of the firstfruits of your soil you must bring to the house of the LORD your God. You must not cook a young goat in its mother's milk."

NLT  Exodus 34:26 "As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the LORD your God."You must not cook a young goat in its mother's milk."

ESV  Exodus 34:26 The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."

NIV  Exodus 34:26 "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. "Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk."

KJV  Exodus 34:26 The 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:26 The first-fruits of thy land shalt thou put into the house of the Lord thy God: thou shalt not boil a lamb in his mother's milk.

ASV  Exodus 34:26 The first of the first-fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of Jehovah thy God. Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

CSB  Exodus 34:26 "Bring the best firstfruits of your land to the house of the LORD your God. "You must not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."

NKJ  Exodus 34:26 "The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."

NRS  Exodus 34:26 The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.

YLT  Exodus 34:26 the first of the first-fruits of the land thou dost bring into the house of Jehovah thy God; thou dost not boil a kid in its mother's milk.'

  • first : Ex 23:19 De 26:2,10 Pr 3:9,10 Mt 6:33 1Co 15:20 Jas 1:18 
  • boil: Ex 23:19 De 14:21 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

BRING YAHWEH
THE BEST!

Related Passage:

Exodus 23:19+ “You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. “You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.

Deut 14:21 “You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk

You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God - NLT = "As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the LORD your God." Giving God the first and the best honored Him as the Good Provider of all good things (James 1:17+). They were not to attempt to short change the LORD! Any first fruits they had were because of His rains and His allowing and energizing them to grow. How foolish we are when we think we have a right to hold back anything from the hand of the LORD, because He already in a sense holds it in His omnipotent hand! 

Guzik - When Israel came into Canaan, they had a special responsibility to make a firstfruit offering to God, in addition to their regular firstfruit offering (Exodus 23:16). Giving God the first and the best honored Him as the Good Provider of all things.

Stuart - “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God” moves the topic from possible abuse of animal offerings to possible abuse of crop offerings. With crop tithes and offerings, there was presumably less likelihood of the temptation to offer some and leave some for a later point or for one’s personal use at or around the tabernacle. Instead, the danger was that Israelites would be tempted not to bring the proper portion at all (if it were a tithe) or the proper quality (if it were either a tithe or any other grain/oil/wine offering). One could not leave at home a portion of a live lamb. The whole thing was brought to the tabernacle alive for slaughter there. But one could leave at home whatever portion of one’s soil produce one wished—and perhaps in the absence of nosy neighbors one could hope that no one would be aware that the portion brought to the tabernacle was smaller and of poorer quality than it should have been compared to the portion retained at home for the family to enjoy. Such a practice would be comparable to the practice of denying God his portion of an animal sacrifice at the time the rest of the cooked animal was shared between the priests and worshipers. It would be cheating God, failing to honor him properly as the Lord of his people who deserved their best, not their leftovers. Accordingly, both the first and the best of one’s harvest was due to God—from any of the various harvests that the festivals followed.

You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. The interpretation of this verse is uncertain. Some possibilities are mentioned below.

The mode of cooking alluded to in this passage, is not unknown among the Orientals, one traveler writing "We alighted at the tent of the sheikh, or chief, by whom we were well received, and invited to take shelter with him for the night. Immediately after our halting a meal was prepared for us; the principal dish of which was a young kid seethed in milk." (Buckingham)

John MacArthur - Canaanite ritual, according to excavations at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit), called for sacrificial kids to be boiled in milk, but the damaged Ugaritic text does not clearly specify mother’s milk. If it were so, then it is understandable that Israel was being prevented from copying pagan idolatrous ritualism. Another option suggests that the dead kid was being boiled in the very substance which had sustained its life; hence the prohibition. Until more archeological information comes to light, the specific religious or cultural reason remains as supposition.

Stuart explains it this way - Since mother’s milk (the milk of the goat doe) was what made the goat kids grow big and strong, the folk theory developed that doe’s milk employed in the process of a sacrifice (in this case by boiling rather than by roasting on an altar) (Even Israelite sacrifices were boiled, although not exclusively when the law was properly enforced. The main way that most sacrificial meat was cooked was via boiling, after or before which it was placed on the sacrificial altar just briefly and in a token manner, since the altar was too small to cook fully all the meat that needed to come in contact with it in a day. Cf. Lev 6:28; 1 Sam 2:14; 2 Chr 35:13; Zech 14:20–21) would somehow impart strength to the goat flock, making the whole flock more fertile. Such nonsense, if believed, could have led the Israelites to conclude that the power to shape their destiny and to live the abundant life was to be found in magical practices and fertility religion rather than in the only true, alive God.  Even if all other people groups known to them practiced these sorts of rituals, the Israelites could not. As Yahweh’s people, they were to be above such things, attributing all life to the single Source thereof.

Guzik - This strange-sounding command was actually a command to not imitate a common pagan fertility ritual. “It was a custom of the ancient heathens, when they had gathered in all their fruits, to take a kid and boil it in the milk of its dam; and then, in a magical way, to go about and besprinkle with it all their trees and fields, gardens and orchards; thinking by these means to make them fruitful, that they might bring forth more abundantly in the following year.” (Cudworth cited in Clarke)  But because of strange rabbinical interpretations, today this command is the reason why an observant Jew cannot eat a kosher cheeseburger. Observant Jews today will not eat milk and meat at the same meal (or even on the same plates with the same utensils cooked in the same pots), because the rabbis insisted that the meat in the hamburger may have come from the calf of the cow that gave the milk for the cheese, and the cheese and the meat would “boil” together in one’s stomach, and be a violation of this command.. This law also speaks of keeping distance between a mother and the death of her offspring. Meyer says this law was meant “to inculcate a tender appreciation of the natural order, and of the relation subsisting between the mother and her offspring. It was against nature to make the mother an accomplice in the death of her child.”

John Currid - The second statute of the verse is repeated in the Torah in Exodus 34:26 and Deuteronomy 14:21. Its basis is as a polemic against a Canaanite ceremony connected with a fertility cult. In the Ugaritic Texts, we read about an idolatrous custom of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk as part of a festival. One text, called The Birth of the Gods Fair and Beautiful, says, ‘Cook a kid in milk, a lamb(?) in butter.’ The Hebrews were not to celebrate fertility in the same way as the pagans. So end the laws of the Book of the Covenant.

Rayburn - The prohibition against cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk illustrates the importance of reading the Bible in its historical context.  The rabbis never agreed on the reason for this law but nevertheless spun out regulations forbidding the eating of meat and dairy products in the same meal.  Among the ultra orthodox Jews different crockery and cutlery must be used for meat and milk, and, where practicable, separate kitchens and refrigerators.  [Ellison, 134]  But this prohibition, archaeological evidence now almost certainly has shown, was, in effect, a command not to worship as the pagans did.  It was a commandment requiring God’s people to be separate in their worship. Like the commandment in Deut. 14:1 against cutting oneself or shaving the front of one’s head for the dead, or the commandment against getting a tattoo, the objection is not to the act itself – which separated from its historical context in Canaanite usage is entirely unobjectionable – but to the act as part of pagan worship.  An Ugaritic poem, describing a Canaanite rite, reads: “Cook a kid in the milk, a lamb in the cream.”  This was apparently part of a fertility rite thought to have some magical power, the kind of magic forbidden already in 22:18.

Bush- 28. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. Being of course miraculously sustained by the power of God without food or drink, as in the former case, ch. 24:18. ‘It was not long since Moses’ former fast of forty days. When he then came down from the hill his first question was not for meat; and now going up again to Sinai, he takes not any repast with him. There is no life to that of faith. ‘Man lives not by bread only.’ The vision of God did not only satiate, but feast him. What a blessed satiety shall there be when we shall see him as he is, and he shall be all in all to us; since this very frail mortality of Moses was sustained and comforted but with representations of his presence! I see Moses, the receiver of the law, Elias, the restorer of the law, Christ, the fulfiller of the old law, and author of the new, all fasting forty days; and these three great fasters I find together glorious in mount Tabor. Abstinence merits not, but it prepares for good duties. Hence solemn prayer takes ever fasting to attend it, and so much the rather speeds in heaven when it is so accompanied. It is good so to diet the body, that the soul may be fattened.’ Bp. Hall. In Deut. 9:18, this second sojourn is thus alluded to; ‘And I fel-down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.’ If we enquire into the design of this second forty days’ withdrawment and seclusion, the passage now cited seems to disclose one at least of the grand ends which were to be answered by it; viz., to convey to the people a deeper impression of the guilt of their recent iniquitous proceedings. What must they think of the heinousness of their conduct when a period of forty days’ earnest intercession, on the part of Moses, accompanied by fasting and prayer, was none too much in which to deprecate the deserved vengeance of heaven? Could they ever after venture to deem sin a light matter? Could they delude themselves with the idea that God was very easily pacified in view of a highhanded transgression? Alas, how little aware are most men of the aggravated nature of sins committed against covenant vows and engagements! It is only those who live very near to the light of the throne, and gaze like Moses upon the burning brightness of the divine purity that can appreciate it aright! They see the awful turpitude of rebellion against God, and how difficult it is to recover the lost tokens of his favor. This lesson was now to be taught to the sinning congregation, and nothing would do it more effectually than this long period of fasting and prayer. Again, the same honor was to be secured for the second tables as for the first, and though the thunders and lightnings that marked the first delivery of the law were not repeated, yet the forty days’ fasting of Moses was, and the tables were to be brought forth, in that respect, ‘as at the first.’ All the circumstances, in fine, were to be so ordered that the deepest moral impression should be produced upon the general mind of the people.
The remarks of Calvin upon this passage are well worthy of being appended in the present connexion. ‘Moses was exempted from the common lot of men that he might usher in a law evidently from heaven. Had he been detained but a few days upon the mount, his authority would not have been sanctioned by so illustrious a miracle. The forty days, therefore, thus spent gave a full attestation to his commission as a divine legate for the endurance of so long a fast evidently exceeded the powers of human nature. In order that the majesty of the law might be unquestioned, its minister was distinguished by an angelical glory. He expressly asserts of himself that he neither drank water nor tasted of bread, that by being thus distinguished from ordinary mortals his official dignity might he superior to exception. We are to understand the fast, therefore, here mentioned not as one of mere temperance or sobriety, but of singular privilege, in which a temporary immunity from the infirmity of the flesh was granted, that his condition might be shown to be super-human. He was unconscious of thirst, nor did he struggle any more with the appetite for food than one of the angels. Therefore this abstinence was never drawn into a precedent by any of the prophets, nor did any one think of imitating what all knew was not intended for themselves. I except the case of Elijah, who was sent to renew the law which had almost perished from Israel, and who, as a second Moses, abstained from food and drink for forty days.’

Exodus 34:27  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

NET  Exodus 34:27 The LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

NLT  Exodus 34:27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down all these instructions, for they represent the terms of the covenant I am making with you and with Israel."

ESV  Exodus 34:27 And the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

NIV  Exodus 34:27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

KJV  Exodus 34:27 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:27 And the Lord said to Moses, Write these words for thyself, for on these words I have established a covenant with thee and with Israel.

ASV  Exodus 34:27 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.

CSB  Exodus 34:27 The LORD also said to Moses, "Write down these words, for I have made a covenant with you and with Israel based on these words."

NKJ  Exodus 34:27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

NRS  Exodus 34:27 The LORD said to Moses: Write these words; in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.

YLT  Exodus 34:27 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, 'Write for thyself these words, for, according to the tenor of these words I have made with thee a covenant, and with Israel.'

  • Write : Ex 17:14 Ex 24:4,7 De 31:9 
  • I have : Ex 34:10 De 4:13 31:9 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

 WRITE DOWN
THE TEN WORDS

Related Passages:

Exodus 24:3, 4; 7  Then Moses came (CAME DOWN FROM SINAI AFTER MEETING WITH GOD) and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!” 4 Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel....7 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”...18 Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 31:18 When He (YAHWEH) had finished speaking with him (MOSES) upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

Exodus 32:15-16 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other. 16 The tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

In the related passages note (1) Moses went up the mountain, came down and recounted all the words of Yahweh. (2) Then he wrote them down in the book of the covenant. (3) Then he went back up for 40 days and nights. (4) Then after the 40 days and nights Yahweh gave him the tablets written by the finger of God. It is these tablets that he smashed (Ex 32:19) when he came down and saw the Israelites worshiping and idol

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words - What words? The words Jehovah gave him, not Moses' words. The principle of verbal plenary inspiration is evident here.

Stuart has an interesting note -  Making permanent the covenant by reducing it to writing constituted a sign of its reinstitution, the very thing Moses had been appealing to God for throughout the last two chapters, ever since he had to acknowledge the abrogation of the first covenant by his destruction of its symbolic tablets (Ex 32:19). So Moses had to write down all the words of the covenant, not just the Ten Words/Commandments, which would be recorded separately and personally on the two tablets by God himself (Ex 34:1). What did Moses write? Everything from Ex 20:18 to the present point in the narrative that constitutes covenant commands that he had not written down already, specifically the content of Exodus 25–31 minus strictly narrative portions thereof and at least Ex 34:10–26.

for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel - For the second time God emphasizes these words. In Ex 34:10 "God said, “Behold, I am going to make a covenant." And now He reiterates the cutting of this covenant. Note the phrase with you and with Israel, that is with Moses and Israel. We need to remember that his renewed covenant (like the original covenant) was not like a contract men often make with one another. It was far more solemn and binding that men's contracts. The related resources below will help give you a better understanding of just how serious this covenant was which Jehovah had cut with His people Israel. See especially the short discussion on How Serious is the Old Covenant (note also the notes that follow).

SHORT EXCURSUS ON SOLEMN NATURE OF COVENANT - Covenant is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known in the Bible. The Hebrew phrase for "make a covenant" is the idiom "Karath beriyth" which more literally is translated "cut a covenant". The noun Berit/berith/beriyth (word study) is a contract or agreement, one made by passing between pieces of cut flesh. The verb Karath means to divide or cut in two or to make a covenant. 

Covenant was considered a binding agreement among the ancients, and so was not entered into lightly. After pieces of the sacrificial animal were laid opposite one another, the individuals who were cutting covenant would walk between the flesh. This walk represented the so-called "walk into death" indicating their commitment to die to independent living and to ever after live for their covenant partner and to fulfill the stipulations of their covenant. Furthermore, this "walk into death" was a testimony by each covenant partner that if either broke the covenant God would take their life, even as had been done to the sacrificial animal. In short, we see the gravity of entering into and then breaking covenant.

Covenant is a pledge unto death. Covenant represents a pledge cut in blood. In covenant the shedding of blood demonstrates as nothing else could the intensity and solemn nature of the commitment (cp Lev 17:11). By cutting covenant the two parties were bound for life. Thus the shedding of blood in the cutting of covenant symbolized the solemn, binding nature of this transaction. And both the Old and the New Covenants were inaugurated with blood. As Trumbull notes, the practice of cutting covenant is found throughout history with traces or remnants of covenant truth in every quarter of the globe, and in those remnants we can see that even the pagan world understood the gravity and binding nature of entering into covenant with another party.

Believer's Study Bible - The Lord spoke and Moses wrote, and the result is described as the Lord's own words. There is no contradiction here with Ex 34:1. Moses had an unusually intimate relationship with God. The result of all methods of biblical inspiration is the same: the written words of man are properly viewed as the Lord's own words (2 Pe 1:20, 21).

Related Resources:

Exodus 34:28  So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

NET  Exodus 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread, and he did not drink water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

NLT  Exodus 34:28 Moses remained there on the mountain with the LORD forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the LORD wrote the terms of the covenant-- the Ten Commandments-- on the stone tablets.

ESV  Exodus 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

NIV  Exodus 34:28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.

KJV  Exodus 34:28 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:28 And Moses was there before the Lord forty days, and forty nights; he did not eat bread, and he did not drink water; and he wrote upon the tables these words of the covenant, the ten sayings.

ASV  Exodus 34:28 And he was there with Jehovah 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.

CSB  Exodus 34:28 Moses was there with the LORD 40 days and 40 nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. He wrote the Ten Commandments, the words of the covenant, on the tablets.

NKJ  Exodus 34:28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

NRS  Exodus 34:28 He was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

YLT  Exodus 34:28 And he is there with Jehovah forty days and forty nights; bread he hath not eaten, and water he hath not drunk; and he writeth on the tables the matters of the covenant -- the ten matters.

  • forty days : Ex 24:18 De 9:9,18,25 
  • he wrote : Ex 34:1 31:18 32:16 De 4:13 10:2-4 2Co 3:7 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE TABLET OF
THE TEN WORDS

Related Passages: 

Exodus 24:18 Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Deuteronomy 9:9 “When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD had made with you, then I remained on the mountain forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water.....18 “I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke Him to anger.....25 “So I fell down before the LORD the forty days and nights, which I did because the LORD had said He would destroy you.

So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights - This is the second period of 40 days and 40 nights. 

He did not eat bread or drink water - He fasted during both 40 day periods and this is clearly supernatural for the human body cannot survive 40 days without water.

And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments (literally "ten words") - He did just as Jehovah had commanded him in verse 27. 

Stuart - The antecedent for “he wrote” is not Moses but Yahweh, the nearest grammatical antecedent in the verse. Moses had already made clear that it was God, not he, who wrote the Ten Words/Commandments on these tablets (34:1); so from the point of view of the narrative, there is no ambiguity about who “he” refers to in the statement. Note also that the term used for what God wrote is, once again, literally “the Ten Words,

Currid on the Ten Commandments - The ‘ten words’ are the Decalogue (see Deut. 4:13; 10:4). It is Yahweh who inscribes them on the two stone tablets (see 34:1). This act of writing is clearly distinguished from what Moses is writing; there is no reference to either the ‘tablets’ or the ‘ten words’ in the command to Moses. This writing is God’s work.

Exodus 34:29  It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.

NET  Exodus 34:29 Now when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand– when he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

NLT  Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn't aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the LORD.

ESV  Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

NIV  Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.

KJV  Exodus 34:29 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:29 And when Moses went down from the mountain, there were the two tables in the hands of Moses,-- as then he went down from the mountain, Moses knew not that the appearance of the skin of his face was glorified, when God spoke to him.

ASV  Exodus 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him.

CSB  Exodus 34:29 As Moses descended from Mount Sinai-- with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain-- he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the LORD.

NKJ  Exodus 34:29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' 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.

NRS  Exodus 34:29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

YLT  Exodus 34:29 And it cometh to pass, when Moses is coming down from mount Sinai (and the two tables of the testimony are in the hand of Moses in his coming down from the mount), that Moses hath not known that the skin of his face hath shone in His speaking with him,

  • Two tables : Ex 32:15 
  • did not know : Ex 16:15 Jos 2:4 8:14 Jdg 16:20 Mk 9:6 14:40 Lu 2:49 Joh 5:13 Ac 12:9 23:5 
  • the skin : Mt 17:2 Lu 9:29 Ac 6:15 2Co 3:7-9,13 Rev 1:16 10:1 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES SHINING
FACE

It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him - There is no record of Moses' face shining after his first 40 days on Mount Sinai. Moses writes that his face shone because (term of explanation) he was speaking with Jehovah. Note the fact that Moses did not know indicates the glory of God could not be felt or sensed but only seen. Also his not knowing the glorious appearance (if rays shone forth he could have held his hand up and perceived something) is surely another reason God inspired him to write "the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face (interesting "pun") of the earth." (Nu 12:3). And remember that Moses had been fasting for 40 days! What would most of us look like if we fasted 5 days? This was totally supernatural! 

F B Meyer points out that as "people become conscious of their superiority to others, and boast of it, it is certain that they have never really seen the beauty of God’s holiness, and have no clear knowledge of the condition of their own hearts.”

The face of Moses shone
because he had long looked upon the face of God.
--C H Spurgeon

THOUGHT - Paul picked up on this concept of radiating glory in 2 Cor 3:17-18 where saints who behold the glory of the Lord (today most clearly in His Word) are being transformed by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit from one degree of glory to another degree of glory into the image of Christ. Is this not another way to describe the believer's progressive growth in Christ-likeness? A synonym for this progressive sanctification. Given the truth of 2 Cor 3:18+, what should be our daily desire and delight? Clearly the answer is to sit at Jesus' feet, in His Word of Truth and Life. Recall Jesus' gentle rebuke of busy Martha who had just rebuked Mary for sitting at Jesus' feet while she bustled around the kitchen. To Martha Jesus declared "Only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”" (Lk 10:42+). Dear busy disciple of Christ, have you chosen the one thing necessary to have a "face like Moses"? Have you consciously set aside time each morning to bow before Jesus in His Word, listening to His voice? If you have, you have given the Spirit the "material" with which He can use to supernaturally transform you from glory to glory, making you more and more like Christ. If you have neglected regular intake of His Word, the Spirit has nothing to use to transform you from glory to glory. The choice is yours. Stay busy like Martha and miss the good part that shall not be taken away or sit at the Master's feet, the one thing that is necessary

Tablets of the Testimony - This term is used 3x in the Bible, all in Exodus- Ex 31:18, Ex 32:15, Ex 34:29 and "would eventually be placed, according to God’s command, in the ark of the testimony/covenant (Ex 25:15, 21; cf. Dt 10:5; 1 Ki 8:9; Heb 9:4) as symbolic documents confirming the covenant between Yahweh and his only special people on earth." (Stuart)

Criswell -  No man approaches God without being affected. Moses was noticeably changed, and being near the Lord will always lead to a change for the better in any man (cf. Mt. 17:1-8; Acts 4:3; 2 Cor. 3:7-16).

This passage reminds me of the only other human whose face was described in a similar way. When Stephen who was called before the Sanhedrin...

They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” 15 And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel. (Acts 6:13-15+)

COMMENT: Oh, to shine like Stephen for the glory of Jesus. Amen. Stephen was a man who was filled with the Spirit (Acts 6:3,5, 8+) and surely had spent time in the presence of the Lord, which accounts for his radiant countenance. He would soon spend time with Him forever, face to face eternally (Acts 7:55-60+)! Hallelujah! 

NET Note - Now, at the culmination of the renewing of the covenant, comes the account of Moses’ shining face. It is important to read this in its context first, holding off on the connection to Paul’s discussion in 2 Corinthians. There is a delicate balance here in Exodus. On the one hand Moses’ shining face served to authenticate the message, but on the other hand Moses prevented the people from seeing more than they could handle. The subject matter in the OT, then, is how to authenticate the message. The section again can be subdivided into three points that develop the whole idea: I. The one who spends time with God reflects his glory (29–30). It will not always be as Moses; rather, the glory of the LORD is reflected differently today, but nonetheless reflected. II. The glory of Yahweh authenticates the message (31–32). III. The authentication of the message must be used cautiously with the weak and immature (33–35).

Stuart notes that "Moses reviewed the story of his radiant face here in considerable detail because it had important implications.(the following are abbreviations of his 6 implications)

  1. it confirmed—even reestablished—his leadership and role as intermediary with God on behalf of the people
  2. it confirmed Yahweh’s presence, the very thing sought so assiduously by Moses in his various appeals in chaps. 33–34
  3. it confirmed Yahweh’s greatness. What pagan worshiper ever glowed with the reflection of an idol’s glory? 
  4.  it reminded all those who seek constantly for an ever-closer relationship with God that one can actually have so close a connection with the only true and living God that one may not even notice the extent of the effect
  5. as Paul explained in his discussion of this passage in 2 Cor 3:7–18 (see notes), the “glory that lasts” from the New Covenant was in fact much greater than the Old Covenant glory on Moses’ face that faded over time

NET Note - The word קָרַן (qaran) is derived from the noun קֶרֶן (qeren) in the sense of a “ray of light” (see Hab 3:4). Something of the divine glory remained with Moses. The Greek translation of Aquila and the Latin Vulgate convey the idea that he had horns, the primary meaning of the word from which this word is derived. Some have tried to defend this, saying that the glory appeared like horns or that Moses covered his face with a mask adorned with horns. But in the text the subject of the verb is the skin of Moses’ face (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 449).

Guzik comments that "a life lived with God affects physical appearance, especially the face. The peace, joy, love, and goodness of God should be evident on the face of the one who follows Jesus." 

THOUGHT - Ponder this passage and how it might apply to your life dear disciple. As Morris says "No man approaches God without being affected. Moses was noticeably changed, and being near the Lord will always lead to a change for the better in any man." So this begs the question, do you rush into and out of presence in the morning? Or do sit at His feet with Bible and heart open, ready to hear, willing to be changed by His Spirit? 

Exodus 34:30  So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

NET  Exodus 34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to approach him.

NLT  Exodus 34:30 So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses' face, they were afraid to come near him.

ESV  Exodus 34:30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

NIV  Exodus 34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.

KJV  Exodus 34:30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

LXE  Exodus 34:30 And Aaron and all the elders of Israel saw Moses, and the appearance of the skin of his face was made glorious, and they feared to approach him.

ASV  Exodus 34:30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

CSB  Exodus 34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone! They were afraid to come near him.

NKJ  Exodus 34:30 So 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.

NRS  Exodus 34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him.

YLT  Exodus 34:30 and Aaron seeth -- all the sons of Israel also -- Moses, and lo, the skin of his face hath shone, and they are afraid of coming nigh unto him.

SUPERNATURAL
SHINING 

So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone - Notice the interjection behold here expressing strong feelings of surprise at something not seen before. They had never seen a man with a face like Moses now had. The text does not explain how his face shone, but just that it did shine forth. Clearly this was a supernatural shining forth.

The Hebrew verb for shone (qaran) is used three times in (Ex 34:29, 30, 35) and means to send out rays, to radiate light from the surface. There was a clear radiance gleaming from the face of Moses. There is one use in the Qal in Ps 69:31 which means to have horns. The Septuagint translates it with doxazo which in context speaks of splendor, magnificence, glorious. Stuart adds that "most commentators have concluded that the force of the Hebrew is to indicate that the skin of his face “sent forth rays” or “radiated” rather than merely shining brightly or the like."

And they were afraid to come near him - This was not just a glow like we sometimes describe on the face of certain people but was a radiant shining forth. The text does not explain why they were afraid to come near him. One can surmise that they identified the shining of Moses face with the LORD and knew that there were restrictions and warnings about coming to near the LORD (e.g., on this 40 day visit no one had been allowed on the mountain). So one can posit that they likely feared they might die if they came too near Moses. In a word, Moses' face reflected the glory of God's presence, which made the people afraid  to come near.  

Stuart - The people who had once dismissed Moses’ leadership by saying, “As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” (Ex 32:1) now could see for themselves that what had happened to him was that he had been with and had been accepted by the very God they needed to fear.

John MacArthur writes "A compliant and not defiant people feared the evidence of God’s presence.


Exodus 34:30 Getting Beyond Ourselves

Read: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

We all, . . . beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. —2 Corinthians 3:18

I have one of those friends who seems to be better than I am at just about everything. He is smarter; he thinks more deeply; and he knows where to find better books to read. He is even a better golfer. Spending time with him challenges me to become a better, more thoughtful person. His standard of excellence spurs me on to greater things.

That highlights a spiritual principle: It’s crucial for us to spend time in God’s Word so we can connect with the person of Christ. Reading about the impact of Jesus’ unconditional love for us compels me to love without demand. His mercy and His free distribution of grace to the most undeserving make me ashamed of my tendency to withhold forgiveness and seek revenge.

I find myself becoming a more thankful person when I realize that, despite my shameful fallenness, the Lord has clothed me in the beauty of His perfect righteousness. His amazing ways and unsurpassed wisdom motivate and transform me. It’s hard to be content with my life as it is when in His presence I am drawn to become more like Him.

The apostle Paul calls us to the joy of beholding Christ. As we do so, we are “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Lord, help us to come into Your presence with eyes and hearts wide open to all that You are and want us to become. Thank You for revealing Yourself to us
and for the joy of basking in the greatness of Your glory. Stay close to God and you will never be the same.

Insight - Paul underscores the superiority of the new covenant over the old covenant (2 Cor. 3:7-11) by referring back to Exodus 34:29-35. Moses’ face so radiated with God’s glory after having communed with God that the Israelites were afraid to come near Moses (Ex. 34:30). Paul says the ministry of the Spirit is much more glorious (2 Cor. 3:8). By Joe Stowell (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


Exodus 34:29-30 Making A Face

Read: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image. —2 Corinthians 3:18

In her book about the history of plastic surgery, Holly Brubach writes: “I myself subscribe to the notion that by the time you’re 50, you have the face you deserve. . . . After 5 decades of repetitive scowling or laughter or worry, one’s attitude toward life is etched on one’s face.” That’s a vivid reminder that every day we are making a face that tells the world a great deal about us.

Although the Bible doesn’t mention cosmetic surgery, it does present the startling concept that if we know Christ and spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word, it can affect our appearance.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after meeting with God, his face shone so brightly that the children of Israel could not look steadily at him (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7). Paul compared that glory with the even greater glory that is experienced by those who have a personal relationship with Christ. He said that we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, and we are becoming more like our Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

While fellowship with Christ won’t give us a perfect face, it can replace the cause of frowns and furrowed brows with an inner peace that shows Christ’s beauty through us.  —DCM (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
—Orsborn

No cosmetic for the face can compare with God's transforming grace.


Exodus 34:29 Seeing God's Glory

I've had the privilege of viewing some glorious sights in my life.

I've seen an awe-inspiring nighttime launch of the space shuttle, the majesty of Mount Fuji in Japan, the sparkling beauty of ocean sealife off the coast of the Philippine Islands, the architectural wonders of New York City, and the gleaming midsummer spectacle of a night baseball game in a major league stadium.

But nothing I've ever seen comes close to what some Old Testament people saw. Moses, the people he led, Ezekiel, and others witnessed the most breathtaking sight of all time. They had a glimpse of the glory of God—a visible manifestation of the Lord's invisible being and character.

Moses experienced it on Mount Sinai, and his face shone (Exodus 34:29). The Israelites saw it in the cloud, before God provided them with quail (Ex 16:10). Ezekiel saw God's glory return to the temple, and he fell to the ground (Ezekiel 43:1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Someday we who have been redeemed by Jesus will experience that inspiring sight. God's glory will shine in the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10, 11). And we will see our risen and glorified Savior, the Lord Jesus (1John 3:2).

This hope encourages us as Christians to keep going. For nothing in this world compares to seeing God's glory! —J Dave Branon ((Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The glory of God
In the face of His Son
To us who behold Him
Is heaven begun.
—Hess


Exodus 34:29

The world's greatest glory is but a spark compared to the radiance of God's glory.Exodus 34:29

The late G. Campbell Morgan once told of a factory girl who. after she was saved, simply radiated Christian joy. One day while waiting for a train at York station she slowly walked up and down the platform to pass the time. A highly cultured lady, sitting nearby, observed her closely. Finally, impressed by her sweet face, she called to her, "Excuse me, Miss, but what makes you so happy?" The girl replied, "Was I looking happy? I didn't know it showed, but I certainly am. I'll be glad to tell you why!" She then witnessed to the woman concerning the wonders of salvation and the joy it brings to the heart, and eventually led her to a personal acceptance of Jesus Christ.

This girl wasn't trying to look happy. Her face just naturally reflected the joy of her soul. Moses also did not know his skin was shining with a celestial glow when he came down from the Mount. It glistened because he had been in close touch with God. The same was true of Stephen the day he laid down his life to become the first martyr of the Christian church (Acts 6:15). His face lit up with angelic glory because of his close relation-ship to Jesus Christ.

I am not much impressed when I see someone deliberately turn on a "Pepsodent smile" and assume a "happy" attitude in a Christian meeting. Unsaved people in the entertainment world have the ability "to put on a happy face," even when their hearts are full of pain and sorrow. What we need is such a glorious consciousness of the indwelling presence of the Lord that we will glow with spiritual health like Moses who "wist not that the skin of his face shone." This will give us a song in the darkest night, and joy in the midst of life's deepest trials. It will make us living demonstrations of the transforming power of the Savior.  ((Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

 You don't have to tell how you live each day, 
You don't have to say if you work or pray, 
A tried, true barometer serves in its place;
However you live, it will show in your face!
—Anon.

The light of God's Son in your heart will put His sunshine on your face!—Bosch


Exodus 34:27-35 Give Me New England!

JONATHAN Edwards (1703-58) was a brilliant theologian whose sermons had an overwhelming impact on those who heard him preach. One sermon in particular, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," moved hundreds to repentance and salvation. That single message helped to spark the revival known as The Great Awakening (1734-44).

Edwards did not have a commanding voice nor an impressive pulpit manner. He used very few gestures, and he read from a manuscript. Yet God's Spirit moved upon his hearers with con­viction and power. John Chapman tells the story of the spiritual preparation involved in Edwards's most famous sermon:

For three days Edwards had not eaten a mouthful of food; for three nights he had not closed his eyes in sleep. Over and over again he was heard to pray, "O Lord, give me New England! Give me New England!" When he arose from his knees and made his way into the pulpit that Sunday, he looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God. Even before he began to speak, tremen­dous conviction fell upon his audience.

Spending time in the presence of God is like being exposed to the sun; it leaves us with a radiant glow.—H D Bosch  

Lord, may the proof of my relationship with You be evident on my face. I don't want to fake it with a forced smile; I want the genuine thing—Your glory radiating from the inside out.

Exodus 34:31  Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.

NET  Exodus 34:31 But Moses called to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke to them.

NLT  Exodus 34:31 But Moses called out to them and asked Aaron and all the leaders of the community to come over, and he talked with them.

ESV  Exodus 34:31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them.

NIV  Exodus 34:31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them.

KJV  Exodus 34:31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.

LXE  Exodus 34:31 And Moses called them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the synagogue turned towards him, and Moses spoke to them.

ASV  Exodus 34:31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses spake to them.

CSB  Exodus 34:31 But Moses called out to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community returned to him, and Moses spoke to them.

NKJ  Exodus 34:31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.

NRS  Exodus 34:31 But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them.

YLT  Exodus 34:31 And Moses calleth unto them, and Aaron and all the princes in the company return unto him, and Moses speaketh unto them;

  • called : Ex 3:15 24:1-3 
  • and Moses talked : Ge 45:3,15 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him - Moses quelled their fears by inviting his older brother Aaron and the other leaders to come to him. Notice the verb returned which depicts them as going (maybe even running) away from Moses in fear and dread, putting distance between them!

and Moses spoke to them - This implies Moses explains where he had been and why and that they had no need to fear him. 

Exodus 34:32  Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.

NET  Exodus 34:32 After this all the Israelites approached, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.

NLT  Exodus 34:32 Then all the people of Israel approached him, and Moses gave them all the instructions the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.

ESV  Exodus 34:32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai.

NIV  Exodus 34:32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.

KJV  Exodus 34:32 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:32 And afterwards all the children of Israel came to him, and he commanded them all things, whatsoever the Lord had commanded him in the mount of Sina.

ASV  Exodus 34:32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that Jehovah had spoken with him in mount Sinai.

CSB  Exodus 34:32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he commanded them to do everything the LORD had told him on Mount Sinai.

NKJ  Exodus 34:32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

NRS  Exodus 34:32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

YLT  Exodus 34:32 and afterwards have all the sons of Israel come nigh, and he chargeth them with all that Jehovah hath spoken with him in mount Sinai.

  • he gave : Ex 21:1 Nu 15:40 1Ki 22:14 Mt 28:20 1Co 11:23 15:3 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ALL DRAW NEAR
TO MOSES

Afterward - Time phrase. After Moses spoke to them, and calmed their fearful hearts.

All the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai - The instructions and commandments of the LORD were not just for the elite, the leadership, but were for all Israel to know so that they might obey. 

Stuart - Consequently, all the people eventually gathered around Moses (presumably rounded up and brought there by the leaders) to listen to him formally preach the instructions he had received for them in his most recent forty-day stay with God on the mountain. At this time they still were all looking at his radiating face, which must have continued to terrify and amaze them, even though it actually bore no danger for them. Here was God’s prophet speaking the very words of God to them, with a face so terrifyingly glorious that few could manage to doubt that what he was relaying to them was absolutely true and that he had been personally sent by God to make sure they knew it. In light of what is stated in the verses immediately following, it might have been so hard for the people to look directly at him that they listened with their faces turned away or perhaps bowed to the ground.

Exodus 34:33  When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

NET  Exodus 34:33 When Moses finished speaking with them, he would put a veil on his face.

NLT  Exodus 34:33 When Moses finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil.

ESV  Exodus 34:33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

NIV  Exodus 34:33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.

KJV  Exodus 34:33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

LXE  Exodus 34:33 And when he ceased speaking to them, he put a veil on his face.

ASV  Exodus 34:33 And when Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.

CSB  Exodus 34:33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

NKJ  Exodus 34:33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.

NRS  Exodus 34:33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face;

YLT  Exodus 34:33 And Moses finisheth speaking with them, and putteth on his face a vail;

  • a veil : Ro 10:4 2Co 3:13-18 4:4-6 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES WOULD
MASK UP!

When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face - How interesting that in 2020 we are all wearing masks to prevent infection with Coronavirus. So when Moses spoke to the people he took the mask off (we don't do that with Coronavirus). He was also unveiled when he was before the LORD. 

John Currid - when Moses finished reciting the law to the Hebrews he veiled his face. Why? Certainly it was out of humility, so that Moses should not receive the applause of men. But it was also to accommodate the weakness of those to whom he was ministering. The text gives the impression that the radiance slowly vanished, until it was relit in the presence of God. If the Israelites had seen it fade, they undoubtedly would have been led into unbelief. This is the conclusion of Paul in his exegesis found in 2 Corinthians 3:13+.

Stuart - the veil he donned when neither atop Sinai nor at the tent of meeting was undoubtedly for the people’s sake—not because his unveiled face would physically harm them but because it apparently scared them so much psychologically that they found it hard to be near him.

John MacArthur -  When not speaking to the Lord or authoritatively on His behalf to the people, Moses veiled his face. The Apostle Paul advised that the veil prevented the people from seeing a fading glory and related it to the inadequacy of the old covenant and the blindness of the Jews in his day (see notes on 2Co 3:7–18)."

2 Corinthians 3:7-18 (See commentary)  But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones (OLD COVENANT), came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,

8 how will the ministry of the Spirit (NEW COVENANT) fail to be even more with glory?

9 For if the ministry of condemnation (OLD COVENANT) has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness (NEW COVENANT) abound in glory.

10 For indeed what (OLD COVENANT) had glory, in this case has no glory (BY COMPARISON)  because of the glory (OF THE NEW COVENANT) that surpasses it.

11 For if that (OLD COVENANT) which fades away was with glory, much more that (NEW COVENANT) which remains is in glory.  

12 Therefore having such a hope (ABSOLUTE ASSURANCE OF FUTURE GOOD NOT CONDEMNATION), we use great boldness in our speech,

13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.

14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;

16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (See THOUGHT above.)


Question - Why did Moses have to wear a veil?

Answer: When God began to give the Law to Israel, He did so accompanied by an overwhelming atmospheric display of thunder and lightning, smoke and fire, and the sound of a trumpet on the top of Mt. Sinai. This was to warn the people that He is holy and should not be approached. Anyone who tried to come up the mountain would be killed. (See Exodus 19 and Hebrews 12:18–19.)

When God delivers the Ten Commandments, the people are so frightened that they are afraid to have God speak. They ask that Moses deliver the Law instead (Exodus 20:18–21). So Moses approaches God and receives the Law in Exodus 21–23. He delivers it to the people who are called to affirm their willingness to obey in chapter 24.

In Exodus 25–31 Moses goes up to the mountain and receives the plans for the tabernacle and the tablets of stone on which God had engraved the Ten Commandments. Upon his return to the Israelite camp, Moses finds the Israelites worshiping the golden calf in violation of the Law they had just agreed to keep. In anger Moses smashes the stone tablets to bits and proceeds to address this sin in the camp (chapter 32.)

After the sin had been dealt with, God invites Moses to come back up the mountain to receive the Law again, engraved on new tablets of stone. Moses goes up the mountain alone and meets with God. There he begs for pardon for the nation. God forgives and renews the covenant with Israel and once again provides a summary form of the Law, the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 34:1–27). Moses spends 40 days and nights with God on the mountain, and during that time he did not eat or drink (verse 28). It seems that the glory of God sustained him.

After spending this extended amount of time with God, Moses comes down the mountain, and his face is shining with the glory of God (Exodus 34:29). We don’t know exactly what this would have looked like, but it was frightening to his brother, Aaron, the high priest; and to all the rest of the people. Because everyone was afraid to come near Moses (verse 31), he wore a veil over his face to shroud the glory (verses 33–35). We are not told how long this lasted, but presumably the glory began to fade when Moses was no longer regularly going into the presence of God. How long Moses wore the veil is unknown, but the veil is not mentioned during the remaining years of his leadership—roughly 38 years.

The story of Moses’ veil as recorded in the Old Testament is pretty straightforward. But Paul’s mention of the veil in the New Testament has caused some to take a second look at the reason Moses chose to wear a veil. Second Corinthians 3:13 says, “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.” This makes it sound as if Moses put the veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing that the glory was beginning to fade. If this verse is read in isolation, it would indeed seem to imply that Moses’ veil was designed to make people think his face was still shining, even when it wasn’t; however, such an interpretation simply highlights the danger of reading verses in isolation. When 2 Corinthians 3:13 is read in the context of Paul’s total argument, we find that it says nothing about Moses’ motive for veiling his face.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul is contrasting the glories of the Old and New Covenants, and he concludes that the New Covenant is far more glorious.

• The Old Covenant was written on tablets of stone; the New Covenant is written on the heart (verse 3).
• The Old Covenant is the letter of the Law, while the New Covenant is of the Spirit. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life (verse 6).
• The Old Covenant brings condemnation; the New Covenant brings righteousness (verse 9).
• The Old Covenant had a glory that faded; the New Covenant has a glory that remains and in fact so far surpasses it that the Old Covenant appears to have no glory by comparison (verses 10–11).

Second Corinthians 3:12–13 gives another contrast. Ministers of the New Covenant are unlike Moses. New Covenant ministers proclaim the unfading glory in a bold manner, while Moses wore a veil to shield Israel from a fading glory. Paul is not giving us new insight into what Moses was doing. There is no new information in 2 Corinthians 3 concerning the events in Exodus 34. The main point is that the Old Covenant glory was temporary; the shining of Moses’ face was destined to fade, just as the Law he proclaimed. The emphasis is that the veil prevented the Israelites from seeing a temporary glory, not that they were prevented from noticing that the glory was gradually fading, much less that Moses had some personal (perhaps prideful) reason for hiding the fact that it was fading. This paraphrase may help: Unlike Moses, who wore a veil to conceal the temporary glory of the Old Covenant, we boldly proclaim the permanent glory of the New Covenant.

Paul goes on to say that, just as Moses gave Israel the Law with a veil over his face, even today, when the Law is read, a veil descends over the hearts of unbelieving Israelites. Then and now, Israel’s vision is obscured, and they are hard of heart. The “veil” prevents them from seeing the true glory of God. The veil is only taken away when they turn to Christ (2 Corinthians 3:14–16).

Paul ends his illustration of Moses’ veil by making something of a comparison to Moses. Moses beheld the glory of God, and his face reflected God’s glory; so New Testament believers behold the glory of God and are transformed into that glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Moses wore a veil for the reason stated in Exodus 34—his shining face frightened the Israelites. Paul uses that historical incident to contrast the ministries of the Old and New Covenants.(Source: GotQuestions.org)

THE PURPOSE OF 
THE OLD COVENANT

1). Law reveals sin for what it is.

"Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the Seed (Christ) should come (Gal 3:19+).

"Through the Law comes the knowledge of sin" (Ro 3:20+),

"What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” 8 But Sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law Sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, Sin became alive and I died." (Ro 7:7-9+

Though the law is not itself sinful ("the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." Ro 7:12+), the Law does have the effect to arouse sin!

"For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death." (Ro 7:5+)

PRINCIPLE - The law by itself arouses within us the desire to disobey. There is something about saying “Don’t” that makes us want to “Do.” There is something about saying “Do” that makes us want to “Not Do.” We all by nature instinctively rebel inwardly against rules and regulations. The sign says, “Wet Paint. Do not touch.” What do you do? You touch it.

Calvin - "As in a mirror we discover any stains upon our face, so in the Law...."

Matthew Henry - There is no way of coming to that knowledge of sin, which is necessary to repentance, and therefore to peace and pardon, but by trying our hearts and lives by the law.

Spurgeon  - There could not have been a better law. Some talk about the law of God being too severe, too strict, too stringent, but it is not. If the design had been that men should live by the law, there could not have been a better law for that purpose; and hence it is proved that, by the principle of law nobody ever can be justified because, even with the best of laws, all men are sinful, and so need that justification which comes only by grace through faith.

Plumblines (plumb bobs) are not meant to straighten the building but to tell one how crooked it is and where change is needed. The Law was given as a plumbline to show us our need for a "divine reconstruction." 

2). Law shuts up (shut in on all sides, describes fish caught in a net or trap which is a common way of fishing) all men under sin… (until they enter) "by faith (into) Christ Jesus"

"But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."(Gal 3:22+)

Spurgeon - All of us, by nature are shut up like criminals in a prison that is so securely bolted and barred that there is no hope of escape for any who are immured within it. But why are all the doors shut and fastened? Why in order that Christ may come and open the one only eternal door of salvation: “that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believes.”

3). Law keep men in custody under the Law. Keep is a military term for soldier on guard, the Law keeps unbelievers under protective custody - they cannot escape. 

"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed." (Gal 3:23+) "until we could put our faith in the coming Savior" (NLT)

Spurgeon - Well do I remember when I was “shut up” in this fashion. I struggled and strove with might and main to get out, but I found no way of escape. I was “shut up” until faith came, and opened the door and brought me out into “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

4). Law serves as a tutor ("guardian," "custodian," "disciplinarian.") to lead us to Christ. The "pedagogue" had the responsibility of taking a child to the schoolmaster in the morning and leaving him there) -

"Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24+) "until Christ came" (NLT)

Spurgeon - The pedagogue was a slave who led the children to school, and sometimes whipped them to school. That is what the law did with us; it took us under its management, and whipped us, and drove us to Christ.

Related Resource:

Exodus 34:34  But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,

NET  Exodus 34:34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. Then he would come out and tell the Israelites what he had been commanded.

NLT  Exodus 34:34 But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the LORD, he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the LORD had given him,

ESV  Exodus 34:34 Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded,

NIV  Exodus 34:34 But whenever he entered the LORD's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,

KJV  Exodus 34:34 But 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:34 And whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak to him, he took off the veil till he went out, and he went forth and spoke to all the children of Israel whatsoever the Lord commanded him.

ASV  Exodus 34:34 But when Moses went in before Jehovah to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.

CSB  Exodus 34:34 But whenever Moses went before the LORD to speak with Him, he would remove the veil until he came out. After he came out, he would tell the Israelites what he had been commanded,

NKJ  Exodus 34:34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.

NRS  Exodus 34:34 but whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,

YLT  Exodus 34:34 and in the going in of Moses before Jehovah to speak with Him, he turneth aside the vail until his coming out; and he hath come out and hath spoken unto the sons of Israel that which he is commanded;

  • he would take off the veil  2Co 3:16 Heb 4:16 10:19-22 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES WOULD UNMASK
BEFORE JEHOVAH

But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him - Presumably this relates to the Tent of Meeting. 

he would take off the veil until he came out; He was unveiled when he was before the LORD. And the radiance was recharged, because Paul tells us in 2 Cor 3:7 that "the glory of his face" was fading. 

and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded - The Israelites could see his face as he spoke what God had commanded him to speak. 

THOUGHT - All who know Christ as Savior and live for him reflect his glory—even more powerfully than Moses did, though without the visible frightening effect—by reason of living the transforming life of the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). (Stuart)

Exodus 34:35  the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.

NET  Exodus 34:35 When the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone, Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with the LORD.

NLT  Exodus 34:35 and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the LORD.

ESV  Exodus 34:35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

NIV  Exodus 34:35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.

KJV  Exodus 34:35 And 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.

LXE  Exodus 34:35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that it was glorified; and Moses put the veil over his face, till he went in to speak with him.

ASV  Exodus 34:35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

CSB  Exodus 34:35 and the Israelites would see that Moses' face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil over his face again until he went to speak with the LORD.

NKJ  Exodus 34:35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

NRS  Exodus 34:35 the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

YLT  Exodus 34:35 and the sons of Israel have seen the face of Moses that the skin of the face of Moses hath shone, and Moses hath put back the vail on his face until his going in to speak with Him.

  • Ex 34:29,30 Ec 8:1 Da 12:3 Mt 5:16 13:43  Joh 5:35 Php 2:15 
  • Exodus 34 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES WOULD
MASK UP AGAIN!

the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone - They saw the radiant glory on his face. "Before the people, the divine glow confirmed the message and demonstrated the authority of the messenger." (Currid)

So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him - Moses did this presumably because the people continued to be fearful.

THOUGHT - Believers need to UNMASK! Believers need to keep the "veil" off so the lost world can see Christ in us the hope of glory (Col 1:27+), the absolute assurance that believers will one day share His glory (1 Jn 3:2+). In the meantime, we are to "Let your light shine (aorist imperative  see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. " (Mt 5:16+). Paul adds "Do (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) ALL (IM-possible, only HIM-possible!) things without grumbling or disputing; so that (PURPOSE OF NOT GRUMBLING) you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (Php 2:14-15+) Dear disciple of Jesus, how does your light shine? Play the song Go Light Your World. I love this song but have one caveat regarding the opening line which says "There is a candle in every soul." No, not every soul but only those who have been born again (John 3:3, 5+)! I think that is what the rest of the song imples. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY - Resources Quoted in Commentary

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