Exodus 30:11 – 34:35
This Portion of scripture can be broken down into sections as follows:
The Ransom Money
The Bronze Laver
The Holy Anointing Oil
Artisans for Building the Tabernacle
The Sabbath Law
The Incident of the Golden Calf
The Command to Leave Sinai
Moses Meets With the LORD
The Promise of the LORD’s Presence
Moses Makes New Tablets
The Covenant Renewed
The Shining Face of Moses
When the children of Israel sinned with the golden calf, HaShem wanted to destroy them all and raise up a nation from Moses (32:9-10). Moses was greatly concerned and no doubt wondered if forgiveness could ever be found for the people who had greatly displeased their God. However, He was willing to stand in the gap for them, going so far as to tell HaShem that if He would not forgive them then He could just blot his name out of the Book of Life also (32:31-32).
What a great leader he was, and what a great love for the people he had. Not many people would be willing to make such an offer before God for their immediate family, much less a multitude of people. Also, not many people would have the boldness to stand before a Holy LORD with that much confidence.
In chapter 34 Moses returns to the mountain, for the second time, to receive the commandments on tablets of stone. It is during this time that God calls out to Moses and proclaims to Him the attributes of His holy name, YHWH. If Moses had any reservations that HaShem would forgive the people of their sin, they all vanished. In Jewish literature these attributes of the holy name are called: The 13 Attributes of Mercy.
In these two verses, YHWH gives us a glimpse of His ever abiding mercy. What would we do without His mercy? We have all sinned and fall short of the requirements of a holy God, but His mercy …...
Let us examine these verses in Hebrew and see what HaShem declares about Himself, so that we never forget:
YHWH — Shows mercy even before a person sins;
YHWH — Shows mercy even after a person has sinned and gone astray;
EL — His name denoting power as creator of all and mighty in compassion to give all creatures according to their need;
Rachum — merciful, so that humankind may not be distressed and tempted beyond which he can endure; having sympathy for human frailty.
VeChanun — and gracious if humankind is already in distress; raising up the oppressed.
Erech appayim — slow to anger; giving time for the sinner to reflect, improve and repent.
VeRav chesed — and plenteous in kindness; even to those undeserving by merit
VeEmet — and truth; never forgetting a promise made to those who serve Him
Notzer chesed laalafim — keeping kindness unto thousands; remembering the righteousness of the faithful, even down to their undeserving descendants
Noseh avon — forgiving iniquity; forgiving intentional sin as long as there is repentance.
VaFeshah — and transgression; forgiving those who rebel against Him, if they repent.
VeChata'ah — and sin; forgiving sins of carelessness and apathy
VeNakeh — and pardoning, wiping away the sins of those who repent.
The number 13 and their meanings is adopted from Rabbinic tradition and translation, but describes the scriptures perfectly.
For more insight into the difference between sin, transgression, and iniquity please see: