At that time the LORD said to me, Hew you two tables of stone like to the first, and come up to me into the mount, and make you an ark of wood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) At that time the Lord said unto me.—The forty days of intercession alluded to in the previous chapter followed this command (Exodus 34:28).
Hew thee two tables of stone . . . and make thee an ark.—The command to make the ark was given in the former period of forty days (Exodus 25:10); the command to hew the two tables was given after Moses had seen the glory of God (Exodus 33) from the cleft in the rock, but before the forty days spent in intercession. Rashi, the Jewish commentator, thinks there were two arks: one to go out to war, and the other to remain in the tabernacle. But there is no foundation for this statement. There may, of course, have been a temporary receptacle for the tables made by Moses (like the temporary tabernacle mentioned in Exodus 33:7), to receive them until the completion of the ark which Bezaleel was to make. This was not put in hand until after Moses descended with the second pair of tables. (See Exodus 35 &c.)Deuteronomy 9:25-29. The people are reminded that all their blessings and privileges, forfeited by apostasy as soon as bestowed, were only now their own by a new and most unmerited act of grace on the part of God, won from Him by the self-sacrificing mediation of Moses himself Deuteronomy 10:10.
Deuteronomy 10:1-5. The order for making the ark and tabernacle was evidently given before the apostasy of the people (Exodus 25ff); but the tables were not put in the ark until the completion and dedication of the tabernacle Exodus 40. But here as elsewhere (compare the Deuteronomy 9:1 note) Moses connects transactions closely related to each other and to his purpose without regard to the order of occurrence.
De 10:1-22. God's Mercy in Restoring the Two Tables.
1. At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first—It was when God had been pacified through the intercessions of Moses with the people who had so greatly offended Him by the worship of the golden calf. The obedient leader executed the orders he had received as to the preparation both of the hewn stones, and the ark or chest in which those sacred archives were to be laid.Moses repeats God’s mercies in restoring the two tables, Deu 10:1-5. Aaron’s death. Eleazar his son officiates in his stead, Deu 10:6. The tribe of Levi is separated for the priesthood, Deu 10:8,9. God hearkening to Moses not to destroy them, Deu 10:10; he is commanded to lead them towards Canaan, Deu 10:11. God requires their obedience, Deu 10:12-15. To circumcise their hearts, Deu 10:16,17. To help the fatherless and widow, Deu 10:18. To love strangers, Deu 10:19. To fear and serve the Lord for his mercies towards them, Deu 10:20-22.
hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, &c. Of the same sort of stone, of the same size and form with those God gave him in the mount the first time he was there, and which he broke in his descent from thence; they were the work of God, but these were to be hewed by Moses: the order seems to be given between the request Moses made to see the glory of the Lord, and the proclamation made of it, see Exodus 34:1, and come up unto me into the mount; Mount Sinai; this was certainly the third time of his going up there, and where he continued forty days and nights; but whether he continued there so long the second time may be a matter of question, though he certainly did the third time; see Exodus 32:30.
and make thee an ark of wood; Jarchi thinks this was not the ark Bezaleel made, but made after, and is that which went out to battle; and some take it to be a temporary ark, made for the present purpose till that was finished; but Aben Ezra is of opinion it is the same that Bezaleel made: and it may be said to be made by Moses, because he was not only ordered to make it, but it was by his orders and the direction he gave to Bezaleel that it was made; and this seems the more probable, because there the tables remained, Deuteronomy 10:5.At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first] So Exodus 34:1 a, JE.
and come up unto me into the mount] So probably in the original E; J has, come up in the morning unto Mt Sinai and present thyself to me, etc., followed by a command to keep the Mount free of men and cattle, Exodus 34:2-3.
and make thee an ark of wood] Almost certainly from the original E; see general note above. Ark or chest, so in Assyr. and Arabic, cp. 2 Kings 12:9 f., a chest for the temple-offerings, a money box; in Phoen. a coffin or sarcophagus, and so in Genesis 50:26. Of wood, in P, Exodus 25:10-16, of acacia wood (as below in Deuteronomy 10:3) with the dimensions 2½ x 1½ x 1½ cubits, to be overlaid, in and out, with pure gold, with a moulding and rings of gold, and staves of acacia wood likewise overlaid with gold. A great contrast to the very simple statement of D.! Further, according to P, the divine direction is not that Moses shall make the Ark, but that they shall make it.Verse 1. - At that time. When Moses thus interceded, God commanded him to prepare two new tables of stone, and to construct an ark in which to keep them (cf. Exodus 34:1, etc.). Directions had been given for the construction of the ark before the apostasy of the people, and it was not made till after the tabernacle had been erected, nor were the tables placed in it till the tabernacle had been consecrated (cf. Exodus 25:10, etc.; Exodus 40:20). But as the things themselves were closely connected, Moses mentions them here together, without regard to chronological order. Numbers 11:1-3); at Massah, by murmuring on account of the want of water (Exodus 17:1.); at the graves of lust, by longing for flesh (Numbers 11:4.); and at Kadesh-barnea by unbelief, of which they had already been reminded at Deuteronomy 1:26. The list is not arranged chronologically, but advances gradually from the smaller to the more serious forms of guilt. For Moses was seeking to sharpen the consciences of the people, and to impress upon them the fact that they had been rebellious against the Lord (see at Deuteronomy 9:7) from the very beginning, "from the day that I knew you."
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