Take 2 Tablets and Come Back in 40 Days (Deuteronomy 10:1-11)

Today’s reading finishes Moses’ rehearsal of historic events before moving on to an important exhortation for the people – which will be our reading for tomorrow.

Here today we have the account of the replacement stones for those that were previously broken when Moses first came down from Mt. Horeb and found the nation worshipping a golden calf that was claimed to have essentially “jumped out of the fire.”  The Bible really is so full of humor. Here is something humorous you’ll have to link to in order to see. It is a Mel Brooks clip from the movie “The History of the World, Part 1.”


In the event that you were unable to see it, the scene shows Moses with 3 tablets of 5 commandments. And he says, “Here are the 15 commandments … (one drops and breaks) … ah, the 10 commandments from the Lord our God.”  So, to blow that scene all to pieces for you, let me tell you that in all likelihood, the two tablets EACH contained all 10 commandments (which we know from the archeological record of ancient Near Eastern Suzerainty treaties). Aren’t you so glad you’ve read this, and now you know things that nobody else in your office today will know!

So Moses again went to the mountain for 40 days, and again came back with the Commandments. This time they were not broken, but were rather put into the Ark of the Covenant. This oozes with all sorts of theological significance – see the book of Hebrews for the fabulous details!

Along with this discussion of the commandments naturally flows the issue of the family of Aaron (the brother of Moses) and also the tribe of Levi. As you know from the division of the Promised Land, there was no area given to the tribe of Levi. And there is no “Tribe of Joseph.”  That is because Joseph had a double portion – Manasseh and Ephraim; and the Levites were to be the religious leaders throughout Israel, with Aaron’s family being the priests. They would be supported through the tithes of the rest of the nation.

This passage today rehearses how, by God’s grace, the Lord renewed the covenant with the people. He didn’t need to do that. He didn’t need to do anything after Adam rebelled and led the whole human race into death and separation. God didn’t need to devise a plan of redemption that would be fulfilled by a new covenant in the person of Christ. He didn’t need to – again by HIS grace – bring it, in the course of life events, to your understanding that you may receive life eternal. But, as you have named Christ as savior, you know that he did indeed do that for you.

Feel revived yet?

Deuteronomy 10:1-11

10:1  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 ark. 2 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 ark.”

3 So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. 4 The Lord wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me. 5 Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the Lord commanded me, and they are there now.

6 (The Israelites traveled from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah. There Aaron died and was buried, and Eleazar his son succeeded him as priest. 7 From there they traveled to Gudgodah and on to Jotbathah, a land with streams of water. 8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today. 9 That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as the Lord your God told them.)

10 Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and forty 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. 11 “Go,” the Lord said to me, “and lead the people on their way, so that they may enter and possess the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”