This chapter is about the new stone tablets & Moses’ radiant face. These new stone tablets aren’t written by the finger of God, they’re actually written down by Moses. And the text says the words on the tablets were the 10 commandments. Plus Moses’ radiant face comes from God & Moses hanging out, being bros. I hope you enjoy the read.
God tells Moses to chisel out 2 stone tablets like the 1st ones. God continues on saying that He’ll write on them what was on the 1st set of tablets. (Later on, it says that Moses writes on the tablets. He writes the 10 commandments on them. God writes other things on the tablets.) Moses is to be ready the next morning & go up Mount Sinai. Moses was to come alone, no Aaron, no Joshua, no elders. (I hear the song “All By Myself” playing all of a sudden! I feel slightly Rick Rolled!) No one was allowed to even been seen ON the mountain, not even their flocks/herds were allowed to graze there.
So Moses went to task & chiseled out those 2 tablets. He then meandered his way up Mount Sinai, early in the morning. Moses made sure he had his 2 tablets. God came down in the cloud & stood there with Moses. God passed in front of Moses, pretty much giving Himself an ego boost: “I’m the compassionate & gracious God, I’m slow to anger, abounding in love & faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion, & sin. Yet I don’t leave the guilty unpunished!”
Moses bowed & worshipped God. Moses says to take the Israelites as God’s inheritance. (This has always got me. Why would God need an inheritance?) God then tells Moses that He’s making a covenant with Moses, that God would do all kinds of wonders never done before in any nation. God tells Moses that He’ll drive out those pesky people groups that are living in the “promised land.” Moses was also told not to make any treaties with those people who live in the land where they were going. (It was a tempting kind of a thing. If they went into treaties with these people, they might say ‘let’s worship together.’ Something like that.) Plus the Israelites had to break down their altars, smash their sacred items, & poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah. (Alright friends, this is where the fun times start. An Asherah pole is a sacred tree, or pole in our case, that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah, consort of El. El is a generic term for the father god of many people groups in antiquity. The Ugaritic script is a cuneiform “language” used from around either the fifteenth century BCE or 1300 BCE for Ugaritic, an extinct Northwest Semitic language, and discovered in Ugarit, Syria, in 1928. Language family: Afro-Asiatic (This is exactly what it sounds like): Semitic, West Semitic, Central Semitic, Northwest Semitic, Ugaritic.)
God tells Moses that the Israelites not to make casted idols. Also God told Moses that no one should come empty-handed before God. God tells Moses to write down everything that He’s told Moses; this includes the 1st offspring every womb, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Sabbath, the Feast of Weeks & Ingathering (Ingathering is when all the men are to appear before God), Passover, & the cooking of young goats in its mother’s milk.
Moses stayed on Mount Sinai with God for 40 days & nights. He didn’t eat bread or drink water for those 40 days/nights. (The text doesn’t say if Moses ate/drink anything else. Like did he drink wine or did he eat meat?) Moses then wrote the words on the tablets the 10 Commandments.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the 2 tablets in his hands, he wasn’t aware that his face was radiant because he’d talked to God. When all the Israelites saw Moses’ face was radiant, they all got scared! And they didn’t want to go near him. But Moses called to them, so Aaron & the elders came to him. They had a little powwow. After that, all of the Israelites came closer to Moses. Moses gave the Israelites all the commands God gave him (Moses) on Mount Sinai.
When Moses was done speaking to them, he HAD to put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went to talk to The Big Man (a.k.a. God), he’d (Moses) would remove his veil until he (Moses) would come back to the Israelites.