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.Moses is surely in God's good graces — He who strikes people dead for coitus interruptus gives Moe a mulligan for destroying His testimony.
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.
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.
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.
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
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.
8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
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.
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.
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.
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:
13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
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;
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.
17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
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.
19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
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.
21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
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.
23 Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
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.
33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
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.
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.
Yahweh's mountain home is once again called "Sinai" instead of "Horeb." Changes more often than the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim.
So, Moses took two tablets and called on God in the morning.
The deity-previously-seen-as-a-cloud descends in one and gives himself a shoutout. Sounds like the dude in Almost Famous.
Imagine if a person, even a swell guy like Abraham Lincoln, talked this way. "And the PRESIDENT passed by before him, and proclaimed, The PRESIDENT, The PRESIDENT Abe, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 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."
If Honest Abe had played it like that, he'd be punishing people four-score-and-eighty years after he died. This is your God, ladies and gentlemen, visiting retribution on people's great-great grandchildren, and all generations in between. O, it is a gracious and merciful God, indeed!
And He's not only a jealous and vengeful god, he's self-pitying. Calls himself "longsuffering." Apparently, God is a concept in which he measures his own pain.
Moses promptly snaps to worshiping the great, merciful, and sorrowful Creator. And he get a little pathetic himself, once again leaning on the Big Guy for reassurance of his grace, and bugging him for the very things that YHWH has promised over and over again. For a bloke who didn't ask for directions during 40 years in the desert, he sure is getting impatient.
Yahweh reiterates those promises in the most dramatic way yet: "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."
I guess there wasn't a commandment that thou shalt underpromise and overdeliver. And the promised deliverance is called "terrible." On whether this is terrible/awesome or terrible/fearful, translations seem to disagree. But I'm sure the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites would vote for the latter.
The great Father says to treat other religious folks — whose God it's clear he ain't (even if he created the heavens, Earth, etc., he acknowledges that other gods exist) — thusly: "destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves."
Because the Lord is jealous. In fact his name is "Jealous." I wonder why they don't call the salad dressing "green god."
Hard to miss the weird sexual overtones when YHWH warns Moses and Co. not to "go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods" or to "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."
His favorite song must be "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me."
He doesn't want people to make any molten gods, eat leavened bread, or work on the Sabbath. Who knew?
He reiterates a laundry list of His standard requirements, including the bit about redeeming asses with lambs, breaking their necks if you don't, and perhaps sacrificing all the firstborn boys to His Forgiving Graciousness.
Rather than make Moses carve on the blackboard "I shall not smash the testimony, I shall not smash the testimony…" he has to spend 40 days and 40 nights scribing these long-ago given fetishistic instructions and the ten commandments. These form the basis of YHWH's deal with "Israel."
Given that He promised all this stuff to Israel (Jacob) himself and to many others in his family line, it seems like dirty pool to keep adding riders to the deal. But that's the kind of god he is.
When Moses returned, he was a man with a shining face (like a lightbulb), which frightened the Israelites. Moses reads them the memo and puts on a vail (veil).
Perhaps Moses succeeded in getting a taste of God's mojo, as he now, too, has a face that others can't bear to look at.