The Second Tablets
||At that time, God said to me, 'Carve out two stone tablets like the first ones, and come up to Me on the mountain. Make yourself a wooden ark.
||I will write on the tablets the words which were on the first tablets that you broke, and you shall place them in the ark.'
||I made an ark out of acacia wood and carved out two tablets like the first. I then climbed the mountain with the two tablets in my hand.
||[God] wrote on the tablets the original script of the Ten Commandments which he declared to you from the mountain out of the fire on the Day of Assembly. God gave them to me,
||and I turned around and went down from the mountain. I placed the tablets in the ark I made, and they remained there as God had commanded.
||[Later], after the Israelites had left the wells of Beney Yaakan [and] Moserah, Aaron died and was buried there, so that Eleazar his son became priest in his stead.
||From those areas, they had traveled to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Yatvath, an area of flowing brooks.
||[After I came down from the mountain], God designated the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of God's covenant, to stand before God and serve Him, and to offer blessing in His name.
||It is for this reason that Levi was not given any portion or inheritance along with his brethren. God is his heritage, as God promised him.
||I had thus remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights, just like the first time, and God listened to me this time as well, agreeing not to destroy you.
||God then said to me, 'Get moving and resume the march at the head of the people. Let them come and occupy the land that I swore to their fathers that I would give to them.'
Following God's Way
||And now, Israel, what does God want of you? Only that you remain in awe of God your Lord, so that you will follow all His paths and love Him, serving God your Lord with all your heart and with all your soul.
||You must keep God's commandments and decrees that I am prescribing for you today, so that good will be yours.
||The heaven, the heaven of heaven, the earth and everything in it, all belong to God!
||Still, it was only with your ancestors that God developed a closeness. He loved them and therefore chose you, their descendants, from among all nations, just as the situation is today.
||Remove the barriers from your heart and do not remain so stubborn any more!
||God your Lord is the ultimate Supreme Being and the highest possible Authority. He is the great, mighty and awesome God, who does not give special consideration or take bribes.
||He brings justice to the orphan and widow, and loves the foreigner, granting him food and clothing.
||You must also show love toward the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
||Remain in awe of God, serve Him, cling to Him, and swear by His name.
||He is your praise and your God, the One who did for you these great and awesome deeds that you saw with your very eyes.
||Your ancestors emigrated to Egypt with only seventy individuals, but now God your Lord has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.
Exodus 34:1. This was on 1 Elul, after Moses had prayed for the people forty days (Rashi).
Some say that this was a temporary ark, that was used until the golden ark mentioned in Exodus 25:10 was made (Ramban; Bachya). According to others, this ark was used for the broken tablets, and it was taken out in war (Rashi; see Numbers 10:33). Some say that Moses made the basic ark out of acacia wood, and then Betzalel covered it with gold (Malbim; cf. Ibn Ezra; Yoma 3b, 72b).
|the words which were on...|
Hence, both the first and second tablets had exactly the same wording.
Some say that this denotes the second tablets, while others say that it denotes the first. See note on Deuteronomy 10:1.
See Exodus 25:4.
(Rashbam; cf. Saadia). Moses was stressing that Aaron had survived forty years because of his prayer (Ibn Ezra).
|wells of Beney Yaakan|
Some say that this is identical with Beney Yaakan in Numbers 33:31 (Yerushalmi, Yoma 1:1, 2a; Ralbag). In Numbers, however, we see that the Israelites traveled from Moserah to Beney Yaakan. Therefore, some say that after Aaron's death they turned back and went as far as Beney Yaakan to Moserah (Yerushalmi loc. cit.). Others say that while Beney Yaakan (sons of Yaakan) lived to the north of Moserah, the wells of Beney Yaakan were to the south of Moserah (Ramban). According to others, 'Wells of Beney Yaakan' is in no way related to Beney Yaakan (Ibn Ezra; Baaley Tosafoth).
(Ralbag). Others have, 'had left the wells of Beney Yaakan toward Moserah'; see above note, 'wells of Beney Yaakan'. Since Aaron died on Mount Hor, which was several stages later (Numbers 20:22, 33:38), we would then have to say that 'Wells of Beney Yaakan' is distinct from Beney Yaakan, or that the Israelites had turned back. According to the translation followed here, however, there is no contradiction.
See Numbers 20:22, 33:38.
Or, 'Hagudgodah,' or 'Gudgod.' Possibly Chor HaGidgod in Numbers 33:32. See note on Deuteronomy 10:6.
(Targum). Or, 'Yatvathah' (Septuagint). Possibly the same as in Numbers 33:33.
But when they came to Kadesh (Numbers 20:1, 2), there was a shortage of water (Ralbag).
|After I came down from the mountain|
(Ralbag); cf. Numbers 8:6,14. Or at the time of the golden calf; cf. Exodus 32:26,29 (Rashbam). Literally, 'at that time.' Possibly, after Aaron's death, when the priests were given special status (cf. Ramban).
|to carry the ark...|
See Numbers 4:15.
Numbers 8:19. Some say that this denotes the Levites' song (Arakhin 11a). See next note, 'to offer blessing...'
|to offer blessing...|
Some say that this denotes the levitical song during the service (Ralbag). Others say that it denotes the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:22-27 (Rashi; Ibn Ezra).
|I had thus remained...|
This was a third 40 day period, during which Moses received the second tablets; cf. Exodus 34:28 (Rashi). Others say that this was the second period (Ibn Ezra).
|God then said...|
See Exodus 33:1, Numbers 10:11. This was after the Levites had been separated (Rashi).
|Remove the barriers...|
(Rashi). Literally, 'circumcise the foreskin of your heart.' That is, remove the barriers keeping you from the truth (Ibn Ezra; Ramban). Or, 'remove from your hearts' foolishness' (Targum), 'the evil urge' (Sukkah 52a), 'thoughts of sin' (Saadia), 'coarse desires' (Ibn Ezra), or, 'bad traits' (Bachya).
|ultimate Supreme Being|
Literally, 'God of Gods,' Elohey HaElohim in Hebrew. See Deuteronomy 4:35,7:9. Or, 'God of judges' (Targum), or, 'God of the angels' (Midrash HaGadol; Moreh Nevukhim 3:6; Ramban).
|highest possible Authority|
Literally, 'Master of masters.' Or, 'Master of kings' (Targum), or, 'master of all natural forces' (Bachya; cf. Moreh Nevukhim 3:6).
|does not give special consideration|
Even to the perfectly righteous (Bachya). Or, 'who does not automatically forgive sin' (Rashi).
Even of good deeds (Rambam on Avoth 4:22; Ramban). Thus, when a person does good deeds, it does not diminish the punishment for his sins (cf. Sotah 21a).
This is a special commandment to show love toward a proselyte (Sefer HaMitzvoth, Positive 207).
See Deuteronomy 13:5.
The reason you are praised (Ramban), or the object of your praise (Saadia). Or, 'your pride' (Chizzkuni).
Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5.