This time the Lord had Moses chisel the stone tablets. Then God Himself again wrote what was on the first tablets. When the Lord ordered Moses to come back up the mountain with the chiseled stones, no one and no animal was allowed near the mountain. And it is on this second trip up the mountain the Lord answers Moses’ request to see Him. In line with what was said in the previous study, the ‘name’ of God given Moses is the character of God. God proclaims, as He passes Moses, ”The LORD [YHWH], the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God [elohim], slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 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.” Punishing? Here the KJV is again clearer when it uses the term “visits the iniquity of” – in other words, the sins of the fathers affect the children and the children’s children for several generations. The verb used there is paqad which means to oversee, to take charge of or to charge. The indication of the phrase is that the sins of the fathers cause their children problems for a number of generations. “Punish” is not a good choice for the translated word, there, for it not only does not go with the original context, but it is contradicted by what God says through Ezekiel in Ezekiel 18. Contradictions mean the interpreters went astray, not that God did! After God identifies His character to Moses, Moses asks for forgiveness for the Israelites. God promises to do wonders through them, and then repeats some of the commands which will be very necessary for them to remember when they reach the promised land. Idolatry of all sorts is to be totally destroyed and the Israelites are not to take part in it or intermarry with those who practice it. In verses 15 and 16, God warns what will happen if they do interact with pagans. God commands them to remember what we today call the Passover, but which is referred to here as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Repeated is the fact that the firstborn is His, and that the firstborn sons must be redeemed. This is going to be an important picture to help them understand the Christ later. The Sabbath commandment is repeated. The Feast of Weeks is commanded. God then ties the three commanded feasts with His giving of the Promised Land to them. Blood and yeast are not to be part of the same sacrifice. This is also an important picture. Yeast is generally a picture of sin. The blood was looking forward to the shedding of Christ’s blood. Christ had no sin in Him, and the blood sacrifice must also not be contaminated with any yeast product. I have never heard a sermon about this, but Moses relates that he was forty days and nights again with the Lord on the mountain and that he ate no bread and drank no water during that time. Assuming ‘bread’ is meaning all physical food and ‘water’ all physical drink, this was indeed a miracle. It is in this chapter we learn what was on the tablets. The Ten Commandments. These are considered “the words of the Covenant.” And then the King James tells us Moses face ‘shone’ when he came down from the mountain, and the NIV tells us his face was ‘radiant.’ The word used here in the Hebrew is a strange one, used only four times in the Bible. Three times are here and the fourth is in Psalms 69:31, where it is translated as ‘horns.’ The word does mean something projecting from the head, be it crown or horn – or radiance. It was the Hebrew use of this word which gave rise to some of the Medieval paintings of Moses showing a horn coming from his head! That is the way the Latin Vulgate translates it. Most commentators indicate that Moses, unawares, was now reflecting God’s glory, and that is why he veiled his face when around the Israelites. Chapter 35 opens with Moses repeating to the Israelites God’s commands concerning keeping the Sabbath. The death penalty is prescribed for anyone breaking the Sabbath. In verse three we read the extra “Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” In other words, all food preparation was to be done the day before. These instructions are followed immediately by instructions for the gathering of materials for the Tabernacle. The close proximity of these two pronouncements indicates, again, how seriously the Lord wanted the Israelites to understand that keeping the Sabbath was.