Friday, August 10, 2007

Deuteronomy 10:1–11

Deuteronomy 10:1–11: New stone tablets


In the last passage, Moses reminded the Israelites about the episode with the golden calf, when he broke the stone tablets. In this passage, Moses recounts the LORD giving him replacement tablets.

God told Moses to carve two new tablets, along with a wooden chest, and then come back up the mountain. God would write the words of the 10 Commandments on the two new tablets, and then Moses was to put them into the wooden chest. They did this, and then Moses spent another forty days and nights on the mountain, apparently begging the LORD not to destroy the Israelites. I say that because of the way that verse 10 is worded:

Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you. (verse 10)

So God told Moses to go and “lead the people on their way” (verse 11), to the Promised Land.

In the middle of this passage is a parenthetical aside—literally, because it’s even in parentheses—in which Moses mentions some of the Israelites’ travels, the death of Aaron, and the fact that the LORD had set apart the Levites to minister before the LORD, which is why they have no inheritance.


I can’t quite decide, when reading about this, whether the LORD was angry with Moses for breaking the first two tablets or not. For example, take a look at the first couple of verses in this passage:

At that time the LORD said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden chest. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the chest.” (verses 1–2)

When God says “which you broke,” is He just stating fact, or is He making a point of some kind? Furthermore, why does Moses feel it worthwhile to recount the story of the LORD giving him two new tablets?

But it’s not a mystery I’m likely to solve, and probably not too important, so I’m not overly worried about it.

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