Exodus 31:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.

King James Bible
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Darby Bible Translation
And he gave to Moses, when he had ended speaking with him on mount Sinai, the two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

World English Bible
He gave to Moses, when he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets, written with God's finger.

Young's Literal Translation
And He giveth unto Moses, when He finisheth speaking with him in mount Sinai, two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written by the finger of God.

Exodus 31:18 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

When he had made an end of communing - When the forty days and forty nights were ended.

Two tables of testimony - See Clarke's note on Exodus 34:1. Tables of stone - That the record might be lasting, because it was a testimony that referred to future generations, and therefore the materials should be durable.

Written with the finger of God - All the letters cut by God himself. Dr. Winder, in his History of Knowledge, thinks it probable that this was the first writing in alphabetical characters ever exhibited to the world, though there might have been marks or hieroglyphics cut on wood, stone, etc., before this time; see Exodus 17:14. That these tables were written, not by the commandment but by the power of God himself, the following passages seem to prove: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mountain, and be thou there; and I will give thee tables of stone Which I Have Written, that thou mayest teach them;" Exodus 24:12. "And he gave unto Moses, upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, Written With The Finger Of God;" Exodus 31:18. "And Moses went down from the mount, and the two tables of testimony were in his hand; the tables were Written on both their sides. And the tables were The Work Of God, and the Writing Was The Writing Of God, graven upon the tables;" Exodus 32:15, Exodus 32:16. "These words [the ten commandments] the Lord spake in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more, But He Wrote Them on two tables of stone;" Deuteronomy 5:22. It is evident therefore that this writing was properly and literally the writing of God himself. God wrote now on tables of stone what he had originally written on the heart of man, and in mercy he placed that before his eyes which by sin had been obliterated from his soul; and by this he shows us what, by the Spirit of Christ, must be rewritten in the mind, 2 Corinthians 3:3; and this is according to the covenant which God long before promised to make with mankind, Jeremiah 31:33. See also what is said on this subject, Exodus 20:1 (note), Exodus 34:1 (note), and Exodus 17:14 (note).

"No time," says Dr. A. Bayley, "seems so proper from whence to date the introduction of letters among the Hebrews as this, for after this period we find continual mention of letters, reading, and writing, in the now proper sense of those words. See Deuteronomy 27:8; Deuteronomy 31:9. Moses, it is said, επαιδευθη, was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians - in all the learning they possessed; but it is manifest that he had not learned of them any method of writing, otherwise there had been no want of God's act and assistance in writing the two tables of the law, no need of a miraculous writing. Had Moses known this art, the Lord might have said to him, as he does often afterwards, Write thou these words; Exodus 34:27. Write on the stones the words of this law; Deuteronomy 27:3. Write you this song for you; Deuteronomy 31:19. Perhaps it may be said, God's writing the law gave it a sanction. True; but why might it not also teach the first use of letters, unless it can be proved that they were in use prior to this transaction? It might be thought too much to assert that letters no more than language were a natural discovery; that it was impossible for man to have invented writing, and that he did not invent it: yet this may appear really the case from the following reflections: -

1. Reason may show us how near to an impossibility it was that a just and proper number of convenient characters for the sounds in language should naturally be hit upon by any man, for whom it was easy to imitate and vary, but not to invent.

2. From evidence of the Mosaic history, it appears that the introduction of writing among the Hebrews was not from man, but God.

3. There are no evident vestiges of letters subsisting among other nations till after the delivery of the law at Mount Sinai; nor then, among some, till very late."

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Exodus 24:12,18 And the LORD said to Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give you tables of stone, and a law...

Exodus 32:15,16 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand...

Exodus 34:1-4,28,29 And the LORD said to Moses, Hew you two tables of stone like to the first...

Deuteronomy 4:13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments...

Deuteronomy 5:22 These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly in the mount out of the middle of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness...

Deuteronomy 9:9-11 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you...

2 Corinthians 3:3 For as much as you are manifestly declared to be the letter of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink...

the finger

Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he listened not to them...

Exodus 32:16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven on the tables.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD...

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you.

Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come on you.

2 Corinthians 3:7,8 But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious...

The Flood-Tide of Power.
God's Highest Ideal. A flood-tide is a rising tide. It flows in and fills up and spreads out. Wherever it goes it cleanses and fertilizes and beautifies. For untold centuries Egypt has depended for its very life upon the yearly flood-tide of the Nile. The rich bottom lands of the Connecticut Valley are refertilized every spring by that river's flood-tide. The green beauty and rich fruitage of some parts of the Sacramento Valley, whose soil is flooded by the artificial irrigation-rivers, are in sharp
S.D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on Power

Gifts and Talents.
"And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him."--Judges iii. 10. We now consider the Holy Spirit's work in bestowing gifts, talents, and abilities upon artisans and professional men. Scripture declares that the special animation and qualification of persons for work assigned to them by God proceed from the Holy Spirit. The construction of the tabernacle required capable workmen, skilful carpenters, goldsmiths, and silversmiths, and masters in the arts of weaving and embroidering. Who will furnish Moses
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Preface to the Commandments
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God,' &c. Exod 20: 1, 2. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments? The preface to the Ten Commandments is, I am the Lord thy God.' The preface to the preface is, God spake all these words, saying,' &c. This is like the sounding of a trumpet before a solemn proclamation. Other parts of the Bible are said to be uttered by the mouth of the holy prophets (Luke 1: 70), but here God spake in his own person. How are we to understand that, God spake,
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Exposition of the Moral Law.
1. The Law was committed to writing, in order that it might teach more fully and perfectly that knowledge, both of God and of ourselves, which the law of nature teaches meagrely and obscurely. Proof of this, from an enumeration of the principal parts of the Moral Law; and also from the dictate of natural law, written on the hearts of all, and, in a manner, effaced by sin. 2. Certain general maxims. 1. From the knowledge of God, furnished by the Law, we learn that God is our Father and Ruler. Righteousness
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Cross References
2 Corinthians 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3:7
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was,

Hebrews 9:4
which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

Exodus 24:12
The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction."

Exodus 32:15
Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back.

Exodus 32:16
The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

Exodus 34:1
The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.

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