Chapter 33- This chapter confuses me, but I’ll summarize it as best I can. God tells Moses to continue on the journey to the promised land, but says He will not go with the people. Moses sets up a tent outside the camp where people come who want to seek the Lord. The pillar of cloud descends on the tent, Moses and God have a chat, God agrees to go with them after all.
Verse 11 says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” But then verse 20 says, “But He said, ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.'” Well, which is it?
God does concede to let Moses see his back, though, for what that’s worth.
Chapter 34- God has Moses cut 2 new stone tablets and bring them to the mountain so He can replace the ones Moses broke. God repeats his commandments to keep the feasts, to observe the Sabbath, to give to God the first born animals and sons, and the command against intermarrying with the locals. Moses spends 40 days on the mountain again, and when he comes down, his face shines. He starts wearing a veil.
Apparently the commandment against boiling a goat in its mother’s milk was so important that it gets repeated here. Still not sure why, but it was clearly a big deal.
I found verses 6 and 7 to be amusing: “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 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.” Hey, I’m a nice guy, and I’ll forgive your sins…but I’ll enact my vengeance upon your great-grandchildren who had nothing to do with your sins!
Verse 28 refers to this set of stone tablets as the Ten Commandments, so that answers my previous question about why people refer to the tablets covered with all God’s rules as simply the 10 Commandments.
Chapter 35- Moses speaks to the people and reminds them to keep the Sabbath, and asks them to bring offerings of the materials needed for building the tabernacle. They bring the offerings and work begins.
There is a lot of reference made to those whose hearts were willing, or whose hearts were stirred to give offerings. I wonder what, if anything, became of those who weren’t willing to give up their gold and fine fabrics for the tabernacle.