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and anger he dashed the stone tablets out of his hands, and they were broken at the foot of the mountain. Then he advanced into the midst of the revellers, seized the calf, burned it in fire, and ground it into powder, which he scattered in water; and of this water he made the Israelites drink to their own ignominy. He then turned upbraidingly to Aaron, demanding, What has this people done to thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon it?' Aaron felt his miserable weakness, and replied in a confused manner, repeating the request of the children of Israel and his own guilty assent: “They gave me their gold ; then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.' Moses now went to the gate of the camp,
proclaimed in a loud voice: “He who is for the Lord may come to me'; whereupon the men of the tribe of Levi assembled round him as his faithful followers. Most terrible was their mission on that day; they were to wreak the Lord's vengeance on their sinful brethren. They were addressed by Moses : “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword at his side, pass on, and return from gate to gate in the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbour.'— The sons of Levi obeyed this fearful mandate, and three thousand Israelites fell on that day : 6 for Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord, yea, every man with his son, and with his brother, and bring upon yourselves a blessing to-day.' Then Moses prayed again to God, and said : "Oh this people has sinned a great sin, and they have made to themselves a god of gold. And now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin-; but if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the Lord said to Moses, Whosoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book : therefore, now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to thee. Behold, My
messenger shall go before thee; and in the day when I visit, I shall visit their sin upon them.'-The Israelites were to continue their journey to the land of promise, but the presence of the Lord would not be in the midst of them; for, said God, Thou art a stiff-necked people, lest I consume thee on the way.'—When the Hebrews heard these words, they were afflicted with grief, laid off their ornaments, and delivered themselves up to mourning. But Moses was commanded to pitch his tent outside the camp, and called it the "Tent of Meeting'; for here God met His servant Moses and communed with him. When the prophet went into the tent, all the people rose and looked until he was lost from their sight in a pillar of cloud, from which God “spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And as the pillar of cloud hovered above the door, the people, full of awe and reverence, bowed themselves down and worshipped. When Moses returned to the camp, he prayed to God with fervour and zeal until he received the promise that God's glorious presence would lead the people onwards.
44. RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT.
[Exod. XXXIII. XXXIV.] Then Moses, full of faith and trust, exclaimed: Oshow me Thy glory. He longed to see the whole mysterious greatness of God, who had hitherto only appeared to him in a cloud of smoke. But “no man might see the Lord and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock; and it shall come to pass, while My glory passes by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and I will cover thee with My hand while I pass by. And then I will take away My hand, and thou shalt see My back, but My face cannot be seen.'
For the second time Moses, on the command of God, ascended to the heights of Sinai, alone and unseen by all, bearing in his hand two tables of stone which he had hewn instead of those he had broken. As he stood on the summit of the mountain, the Lord descended in a cloud, and once again He repeated His promises to Moses; nay, He revealed to Him His very nature and being. Passing before His servant, He said: "The Eternal, the Eternal, a God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means always leave unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, to the third and to the fourth generation. He then renewed, through Moses, His covenant with the Israelites, briefly reiterating the principal pledges and commands, previously given, and revealing the pith of the new creed : “Behold I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord ; for it is a terrible thing which I will do with thee.-Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.—Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee. But you shall destroy their altars, break their images, and annihilate their Ashtartes. For thou shalt worship no other god : for the Lord, Zealous is His name, He is a Zealous God; lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land; for when they go astray after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, they might invite thee, and thou mightest eat of their sacrifice, and take of their daughters
to thy sons, and when thy daughters go astray after their gods, they might make thy sons go astray after their gods.- Thou shalt make to thyself no molten gods.- The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib thou camest out of Egypt.-All that opens the womb is Mine, and all thy male cattle which is born, the firstling of ox or of sheep. But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou dost not redeem it, then shalt thou break its neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem.—And none shall appear before Me empty.—Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest ; in the time of ploughing and of reaping thou shalt rest.—And thou shalt observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's circuit. Thrice in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. For I shall expel the nations before thee, and enlarge thy boundaries : nor shall any man desire thy land, when thou goest up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.—Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven; nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left to the morning.The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring to the House of the Lord thy God.—Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.'
Moses stayed forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai, during which time he neither ate bread nor drank water’; and the Lord wrote again the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone.
And now Moses descended the rocky sides of the mountain, and this time he was awaited by Aaron and the Israelites with reverential awe. As he came from the presence of the Lord, his face shone with a heavenly light. The
people could not look upon him; they were afraid of the wonderful radiance that played round him. But he called Aaron and the elders of the congregation and the whole people, and communicated to them all the words of the Lord which he had heard on Mount Sinai. And when he had finished speaking, he covered the glory of his face with a veil, a symbol of deep and earnest reflection, which should not be disturbed by outward objects; but when he communed with the Lord or with the people, he lifted the veil from his face.
45. ERECTION OF THE TABERNACLE,
[Exon, XXXV.-XXXVIII. XL.]
When Moses proclaimed to the Israelites how they should build a Tabernacle for the Lord, they were full of gladness and of alacrity to construct the sacred edifice as a fit and permanent dwelling-place for the glory of God.. All, both men and women, brought their share, their free-will gift, according to their ability. All offered cheerfully their wealth, their labour, and their skill to promote the holy undertaking. The camp soon presented a most lively appearance.
But in order to avoid confusion or dispute, one master-mind was to have the entire supervision of the work.
Bezaleel, of the tribe of Judah, was selected for that purpose. He was endowed with the spirit of wisdom and of understanding. He was a man experienced in all workmanship, able to invent designs in gold and silver or brass, to carve in wood, and to cut and set precious stones. With him was associated Aholiab, of the tribe of Dan, who was a skilful weaver, and who, under the directions of Bezaleel, wove and embroidered the curtains, the hangings, and the priestly vestments.