27 Write these words; they are my covenant with you and Israel.
28 While Moses was up on mount Sinai with God, he went without food or water for 40 days and nights.
And he wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
The shining face of Moses
29-30 When Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables, the people were afraid of him because his face shined so brightly.
32 But the people finally came near Moses, and he gave them all the commandments that God told him about on Mount Sinai.
33 After he finished speaking he put a veil on his face to hide his shining face.
34 But Moses took his veil off when he talked to God.
35 When he came out to talk to the people, he put his veil back on.
A few more words about this episode
I'll write the same words that were on the originals ... the ten commandments. (34:1, 28)
Remember how Moses in Episode 39 broke the stone tablets with the original ten commandments written on them? Well now God decides to replace them.
Although it is far from certain, it appears that God replaced the original ten with an entirely different set. Notice, for example, that all of the good commandments (the ones that Jesus knew and listed) are gone. They are replaced with "Don't boil a kid in its mother's milk", "Don't offer the blood of my sacrifices with leaven". and other strange, obscure, and unfamiliar commandments.
Of course, it could be that God or Moses inscribed the original set just as they were stated in Exodus 20 (and, with some minor differences, Deuteronomy 5), but if so, they aren't listed here and this strange list is listed instead.
God hates "groves" for some reason. The word "groves" is mentioned 27 times in the Bible, and in every case they are condemned. God commands us to destroy them whenever we find them.
But what are they, anyway? Well, the Hebrew word "ashereth" is translated as "groves" in the KJV, but in other translations it is called "poles." These poles were apparently used in worshiping the Canaanite goddess Asherah.
God always blames the women; they're always going a whoring, then they make the men go a whoring too.
The feast of weeks, of the firstfruits, and of ingathering (34:22)
The feast of weeks, or Shavuot, occurs after the seven-week season of wheat harvesting. (Dt 16:9-11)
Jews celebrate this holiday to commemorate the day that God gave the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai, although there is nothing in the Bible that suggests that this occurred on that day.
This year Shavuot begins at sundown on Thursday, 25 May and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 27 May 2023.
The feast of first fruits is and the feast of ingathering are, apparently, just other names for the feast of weeks.
Three times a year all your males must appear before me. (34:23)
God commands every male in Israel (or the world?) to show themselves to him three times a year. He doesn't say where or on what three days. He just demands that they do it.
The ten commandments. (34:28)
This is the first mention of "the ten commandments" in the Bible. It seems to refer to the list given in this chapter (Exodus 34), not to the lists in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
Because his face shined so brightly (34:30)
Moses is often shown in medieval and Renaissance art with horns coming out of his forehead. This was caused by the translation of the Hebrew word for "shining" using a Latin word cornutam that also meant "horned."