Today’s reading begins with additional laws for Hebrew society and concludes with a description of furnishings of the Tabernacle.
After God had given Moses the Ten Commandments there were numerous additional laws for the governing of Hebrew society. I think that yesterday’s post gives a good indication of what types of laws God gave to Moses, so I will refrain from additional narration of those laws. Suffice it to say, the people of Israel had a very high level of structure in their society in spite of the fact that there was no elected leader or appointed monarch. They had comprehensive laws, judges to make rulings regarding violations of the law, and a system of punishment or restitution for violations.
In addition to laws for daily life, God also gave Moses a list of requirements that the Israelites were to follow in their worship of God. Crops were to be cultivated for six years and every seventh year, the land was to lie fallow. Whatever would grow during this seventh year was to be left for the poor to consume. Weekly work was to be performed for the first six days of the week, and the Israelites were to rest on the seventh day. This day of rest applied to not just people but livestock as well.
Additionally the requirements of worship included the following:
- Make no mention of other gods
- Three times every year observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering
- Sacrificial blood was not to be offered with anything leavened, and the fat of the feast was not to be left until the morning
- The best of the first of produce was to be given to God
- A young goat was not to be boiled in its mother’s milk
When God had concluded giving the law to Moses, He promised Moses that He would go before the Israelites and conquer the land of Canaan for them. God promises great blessings–elimination of sickness, plentiful food, and expansive territory–but insists on their devotion.
Moses then meets with the elders of Israel and relays to them all that God has spoken to him. When Moses tells the elders all that God has spoken to him, they agree to keep all of God’s commandments. He then read the words of the LORD in the hearing of all of the people of Israel and they agreed that they would keep all of God’s commandments. Moses then seals the covenant between God and Israel by throwing the blood of the oxen sacrificed as a peace offering to the LORD on the congregation.
After sealing the covenant between the LORD and Israel, Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s sons, and the elders of Israel climb Mount Sinai and the LORD appears to them. Moses then goes by himself before the LORD where God gives him the tablets of stone that contain the law and commandments that God had given to Moses. When Moses went before God at this time he was absent from the people of Israel for 40 days during which time God gives to Moses instructions for the Tabernacle that the people of Israel were supposed to build as a place for God to dwell among the people of Israel.