Forgiven or Passed Over? Part 4

As I continue to study nâśâʼ[1] and ʽâbar in Exodus 20:7 – Deuteronomy 4:26 I’ll begin with an aside.  The first occurrence of nâśâʼ in this section translated pardon was an angel who will not pardon [Israel’s] transgressions.  A table contrasting two mentions of an angel follows.

The Forty Day Covenant

After the Golden Calf

The Lord said to Moses, “Go up from here, you and the people whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’

Exodus 33:1 (NET)

“I am going to send an angel before you…

Exodus 23:20a (NET)

I will send an angel before you…

Exodus 33:2a (NET)

…to protect you as you journey and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.  Take heed because of him, and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him.  But if you diligently obey him and do all that I command, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will be an adversary to your adversaries.

Exodus 23:20b-22 (NET)

For my angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them completely.

Exodus 23:23 (NET)

…and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

Exodus 33:2b (NET)

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey.  But I will not go up among you, for you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way.”

Exodus 33:3 (NET)

When the people heard this troubling word they mourned; no one put on his ornaments.  For the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people.  If I went up among you for a moment, I might destroy you.  Now take off your ornaments, that I may know what I should do to you.’”  So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments by Mount Horeb.

Exodus 33:4-6 (NET)

It’s worth noting that the angel’s function—to protect—and the warning—Take heed—were both forms of shâmar in Hebrew.  The former (לשמרך) was translated φυλάξῃ (a form of φυλάσσω) in the SeptuagintIf anyone hears my words but does not keep (φυλάξῃ, a form of φυλάσσω) them, Jesus said, I do not judge that person.  For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.[2]  The latter (השמר) was translated πρόσεχε (a form of προσέχω) in the SeptuagintUntil I come, Paul wrote Timothy, give attention (πρόσεχε, a form of προσέχω) to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.[3]

The Hebrew word translated obey in obey his voice was shâmaʽ (ושמע; See Table below) which was translated εἰσάκουε (a form of εἰσακούω) in the Septuagint.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard (εἰσηκούσθη, another form of εἰσακούω), and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John.[4]  The Hebrew word translated rebel in do not rebel was mârar (תמר) which was translated ἀπείθει (a form of ἀπειθέω) in the Septuagint.  He who believes (πιστεύων, a form of πιστεύω) in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe (ἀπειθῶν, another form of ἀπειθέω) the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.[5]

And finally pardon was nâśâʼ (ישׁא) in Hebrew which was translated ὑποστείληταί (a form of ὑποστέλλω) in the Septuagint.  You know that I did not hold back (ὑπεστειλάμην, another form of ὑποστέλλω) from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful,[6] Paul declared to the Ephesian elders.  But here the translators of the Septuagint took a different turn since they didn’t even translate peshaʽ (לפשעכם; transgressions): “For he shall not hold you in undue awe, for my name is upon him.”[7]  It makes me wonder if they were trying to put a better spin on for he will not pardon (or, bear) your transgressions for Greek consumption.

The clause detailing the angel’s purpose—to protect you as you journey[8]—was missing from the restatement of the covenant after the golden calf incident, yet for forty years in the wilderness yehôvâh[9] cared and provided for them.  So why don’t I consider that all of the missing elements of the covenant should be assumed in the later restatement?

I’m no lawyer but I did spend several years calculating and writing the conditions that went into my employer’s boilerplate contracts.  It seems pretty apparent to me that when yehôvâh did not destroy Israel and make a great nation of Moses, when He accepted Moses’ description of that act as evil, then both parties had abrogated the covenant and the contract became null and void.  Care and provision for Israel became a matter of grace, no longer stipulated by contract, by law.

What is clearly missing from the restatement of the covenant is the contractual language: But if you diligently obey him and do all that I command, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will be an adversary to your adversaries.  For my angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them completely.[10]  This was replaced by a simple unilateral statement: I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.[11]

I hesitate to call this grace (though it may qualify as election) since yehôvâh called it dread (Deuteronomy 32:26, 27 Tanakh):

I thought I would make an end of them, I would make their memory cease from among men; Were it not that I dreaded (gûr, אגור) the enemy’s provocation, lest their adversaries should misdeem, lest they should say: Our hand is exalted, and not HaShem hath wrought all this.

Accepting that the clauses missing from the restatement of the covenant are truly missing helps me to track the transition from [Sin] (chaṭṭâʼâh, חטאת; Septuagint: ἥμαρτες, a form of ἁμαρτάνω) desires (teshûqâh, תשוקתו) to dominate you, but you must subdue (mâshal, תמשל) it,[12] to Paul’s declaration to believers in Galatia (Galatians 2:20, 21 NET):

I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!

Who would have thought that the way to subdue or rule over sin was to die to it (Romans 6:8-11 NET)?

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God.  So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Who would have thought that the way to subdue or rule over sin was to die to the law (Romans 7:4-6 NET)?

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.  For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.

Viewed from this perspective the worship of the golden calf and yehôvâh’s restatement of the covenant follows the pattern of Paul’s explanation to believers in Rome (Romans 5:20, 21 NET):

Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Why would anyone want transgression to increase?  This is scandalous to the religious mind.  But Jesus taught a Pharisee (Luke 7:40-47 NET):

“Simon, I have something to say to you.”  He replied, “Say it, Teacher.”  “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both.  Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”  Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”  Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I entered your house.  You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”

Ultimately, this love from God Himself subdues and rules over sin (Romans 13:8-10 NET):

Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Jesus warned (Matthew 5:17-20 NET):

“Do not think that I have come to abolish (καταλῦσαι, a form of καταλύω) the law or the prophets.  I have not come to abolish (καταλῦσαι, a form of καταλύω) these things but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place.  So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

After explaining that the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, Paul continued (Romans 6:1-4 NET):

What shall we say then?  Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?  Absolutely not!  How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.

In other words, believers can say with Paul: We have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us.  So the life we now live in the body, we live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.  We do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing (ἀνακαινώσεως , a form of ἀνακαίνωσις) of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior.  And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”[13]

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.[14]  This is the salvation believers in Philippi were enjoined to continue working out (Philippians 2:12-18 NET):

So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed (ὑπηκούσατε, a form of ὑπακούω), not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God.  Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world by holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain.  But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice together with all of you.  And in the same way you also should be glad and rejoice together with me.

It is much better news than the Septuagint’s translation of Exodus 23:21b: “For he shall not hold you in undue awe, for my name is upon him.”  A table of the translations of shâmaʽ in the KJV, NET and Septuagint from Genesis through Exodus 23:22 follows.

Form of shâmaʽ Reference KJV NET Septuagint
שמע Genesis 16:11 …because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. …for the Lord has heard your painful groans. ἐπήκουσεν, a form of ἐπακούω
Genesis 21:12 hearken unto her voice… Do all that Sarah is telling you… ἄκουε, a form of ἀκούω
Genesis 21:17 …for God hath heard the voice of the lad… …for God has heard the boy’s voice… ἐπακήκοεν, another form of ἐπακούω
Genesis 24:52 …when Abraham’s servant heard their words… When Abraham’s servant heard their words… ἀκοῦσαι, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice… …this will come to pass because Abraham obeyed[15] me… ὑπήκουσεν, a form of ὑπακούω
Genesis 27:8 obey my voice according to that which I command thee. do exactly what I tell you! ἄκουσόν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 27:13 …only obey my voice… Just obey me! ὑπάκουσον, another form of ὑπακούω
Genesis 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice… Now then, my son, do what I say. ἄκουσόν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 29:33 Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated… Because the Lord heard that I was unloved… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 30:6 …and hath also heard my voice… He has responded to my prayer… ἐπήκουσεν, a form of ἐπακούω
Genesis 34:5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah… When Jacob heard that Shechem had violated his daughter… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 39:10 …that he hearkened not unto her… …he did not respond to her invitation… ὑπήκουσεν, a form of ὑπακούω
Genesis 42:21 …and we would not hear …but we refused to listen. εἰσηκούσαμεν a form of εἰσακούω
Genesis 42:23 …they knew not that Joseph understood them… …they did not know that Joseph could understand them… ἀκούει, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 7:13 …that he hearkened not unto them… …and he did not listen to them… εἰσήκουσεν, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 7:22 …neither did he hearken unto them… …and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron…
Exodus 8:15 …and hearkened not unto them… …and did not listen to them…
Exodus 8:19 …and he hearkened not unto them… …and he did not listen to them…
Exodus 9:12 …and he hearkened not unto them… …and he did not listen to them…
Exodus 16:9 …for he hath heard your murmurings. …because he has heard your murmurings. εἰσακήκοεν, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 18:19 Hearken now unto my voice… Now listen to me… ἄκουσόν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 22:23 I will surely hear their cry… I will surely hear their cry… ἀκοῇ, a form of ἀκοή
Exodus 23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey… But if you diligently obey him…
ושמע Exodus 23:21 Beware of him, and obey his voice… Take heed because of him, and obey his voice… εἰσάκουε, another form of εἰσακούω
ישמע Exodus 6:30 …and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me? …why should Pharaoh listen to me? εἰσακούσεταί, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 7:4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you… Pharaoh will not listen to you.
Exodus 11:9 Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you… Pharaoh will not listen to you…
Exodus 19:9 …that the people may hear when I speak… …so that the people may hear when I speak… ἀκούσῃ, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 23:13 …neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. do not let them be heard on your lips. ἀκουσθῇ, another form of ἀκούω
וישמע Genesis 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive… When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive… ἀκούσας, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 16:2 And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. Abram did what Sarai told him. ὑπήκουσεν, a form of ὑπακούω
Genesis 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad… But God heard the boy’s voice. εἰσήκουσεν, another form of εἰσακούω
Genesis 23:16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron… So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 28:7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother… Jacob obeyed his father and mother…
Genesis 30:17 And God hearkened unto Leah… God paid attention to Leah… ἐπήκουσεν, a form of ἐπακούω
Genesis 30:22 and God hearkened to her… He paid attention to her…
Genesis 31:1 And he heard the words of Laban’s sons… Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 35:22 and Israel heard it. and Israel heard about it.
Genesis 37:21 And Reuben heard it… When Reuben heard this… ἀκούσας, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 45:2 and the house of Pharaoh heard. and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. ἀκουστὸν, a form of ἀκουστός
Exodus 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing… When Pharaoh heard about this event… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 2:24 And God heard their groaning… God heard their groaning… εἰσήκουσεν, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 18:1 heard of all that God had done for Moses… heard about all that God had done for Moses… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 18:24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law… Moses listened to his father-in-law…
שמעו Genesis 37:6 Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: Listen to this dream I had: ἀκούσατε, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 43:25 they heard that they should eat bread… they had heard that they were to have a meal… ἤκουσαν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 6:9 …but they hearkened not unto Moses… …but they did not listen to him… εἰσήκουσαν, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 6:12 …the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me… If the Israelites did not listen to me…
Exodus 15:14 The people shall hear, and be afraid… The nations will hear and tremble… ἤκουσαν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 16:20 they hearkened not unto Moses… But they did not listen to Moses… εἰσήκουσαν, another form of εἰσακούω
וישמעו Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice… Then the man and his wife heard the sound… ἤκουσαν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all… …the men who assembled at the city gate agreed εἰσήκουσαν, another form of εἰσακούω
Genesis 37:27 And his brethren were content. His brothers agreed. ἤκουσαν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 45:2 Not translated …the Egyptians heard it…
Exodus 4:31 and when they heard that the LORD… When they heard that the Lord… Not Translated
ושמעו Genesis 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob… Assemble and listen, you sons of Jacob… ἀκούσατε, another form of ἀκούω
and hearken unto Israel your father. listen to Israel, your father.
Exodus 3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: The elders will listen to you… εἰσακούσονταί, another form of εἰσακούω
ישמעו Genesis 11:7 …they may not understand one another’s speech. …they won’t be able to understand each other. ἀκούσωσιν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 4:1 …nor hearken unto my voice: …or pay attention to me… εἰσακούσωσιν, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 4:8 …neither hearken to the voice of the first sign… …or pay attention to the former sign…
שמען Genesis 4:23 Hear my voice… Listen to me! ἀκούσατέ, another form of ἀκούω
ישמעון Exodus 4:9 …neither hearken unto thy voice… …or listen to you… εἰσακούσωσιν, another form of εἰσακούω
שמעת Genesis 3:17 Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife… Because you obeyed your wife… ἤκουσας, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 18:10 And Sarah heard it in the tent door… Now Sarah was listening at the entrance… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 22:18 …because thou hast obeyed my voice. Because you have obeyed me… ὑπήκουσας, another form of ὑπακούω
Genesis 27:5 And Rebekah heard[16] Now Rebekah had been listening ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 7:16 …hitherto thou wouldest not hear. But until now you have not listened. εἰσήκουσας, another form of εἰσακούω
ושמעתי Exodus 22:27 that I will hear; for I am gracious. I will hear, for I am gracious. εἰσακούσομαι, another form of εἰσακούω
שמעתם Genesis 42:22 and ye would not hear? but you wouldn’t listen? εἰσηκούσατέ, another form of εἰσακούω
שמעתי Genesis 3:10 I heard thy voice in the garden… I heard you moving about in the orchard… ἤκουσα, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 21:26 …neither yet heard I of it, but to day. I did not hear about it until today.
Genesis 27:6 Behold, I heard thy father… Look, I overheard your father…
Genesis 37:17 …for I heard them say… …for I heard them say…
Genesis 41:15 …and I have heard say of thee… But I have heard about you… ἀκήκοα, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 42:2 I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: I hear that there is grain in Egypt.
Exodus 3:7 and have heard their cry… I have heard their cry…
Exodus 6:5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of… I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites… εἰσήκουσα, another form of ἐπακούω
Exodus 16:12 I have heard the murmurings… I have heard the murmurings… εἰσακήκοα, another form of εἰσακούω
שמעתיך Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: As for Ishmael, I have heard you. ἐπήκουσά, another form of ἐπακούω
שמעני Genesis 23:11 hear me… Hear me out. ἄκουσόν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 23:13 I pray thee, hear me: Hear me, if you will.
Genesis 23:15 My Lord, hearken unto me: Hear me, my lord. ἀκήκοα, another form of ἀκούω
ישמעני Exodus 6:12 …how then shall Pharaoh hear me… …then how will Pharaoh listen to me… εἰσακούσεταί, another form of ἐπακούω
שמענו Genesis 23:6 Hear us, my Lord: thou art a mighty prince… Listen, sir, you are a mighty prince… ἄκουσον, another form of ἀκούω
שמעוני Genesis 23:8 hear me… then hear me out. ἀκούσατέ, another form of ἀκούω
שמוע Exodus 15:26 If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God… If you will diligently obey the Lord your God… ἀκοῇ, a form of ἀκοή
Exodus 19:5 Not translated …if you will diligently listen to me…
השמע Genesis 21:6 …so that all that hear will laugh… Everyone who hears about this will laugh… ἀκούσῃ, another form of ἀκούω
נשמע Genesis 45:16 And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house… Now it was reported in the household of Pharaoh… διεβοήθη, a form of διαβοάω
ונשמעה Exodus 20:19 Speak thou with us, and we will hear You speak to us and we will listen Not Translated
כשמע Genesis 27:34 And when Esau heard the words of his father… When Esau heard his father’s words… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
Genesis 29:13 when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob… When Laban heard this news about Jacob…
Genesis 39:19 when his master heard the words of his wife… When his master heard his wife say…
Exodus 16:8 …for that the LORD heareth your murmurings… …because the Lord has heard your murmurings… εἰσακοῦσαι, another form of εἰσακούω
כשמעו Genesis 39:15 when he heard that I lifted up my voice… When he heard me raise my voice… ἀκοῦσαι, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 16:7 for that he heareth your murmurings… because he has heard your murmurings… εἰσακοῦσαι, another form of εἰσακούω
כשמעם Genesis 34:7 when they heard it: when they heard the news. ἤκουσαν, another form of ἀκούω
וכשמעו Genesis 24:30 and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying… and heard his sister Rebekah say… ἤκουσεν, another form of ἀκούω
תשמע Genesis 41:15 …that thou canst understand a dream… Not translated ἀκούσαντά, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 15:26 If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God… If you will diligently obey the Lord your God… ἀκούσῃς, another form of ἀκούω
Exodus 23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey But if you diligently obey him… ἀκούσητε, another form of ἀκούω
תשמעו Genesis 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us… But if you do not agree to our terms… εἰσακούσητε, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 19:5 …if ye will obey my voice… …if you will diligently listen to me… ἀκούσητε, another form of ἀκούω
אשמע Exodus 5:2 Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice… Who is the Lord that I should obey him… εἰσακούσομαι, another form of εἰσακούω
Exodus 22:23 …I will surely hear their cry… …I will surely hear their cry…

[1] I used the second spelling (nâsâh) offered in Strong’s Concordance in the tables and in a previous essay, which confused me when I linked to the Hebrew dictionary.

[2] John 12:47 (NIV)

[3] 1 Timothy 4:13 (NET)

[4] Luke 1:13 (NET)

[5] John 3:36 (NKJV)

[6] Acts 20:20a (NET)

[7] Exodus 23:21b (NETS)  The Tanakh reads: for he will not pardon your transgression; for My name is in him.

[8] I won’t argue that the angel’s purpose was to keep believing Israelites within the covenant, though I considered it.

[9] In these essays I’ve used several names for the Hebrew יהוה.  Admittedly, I was being catty when I used Jehovah to obliquely reference the undercurrent in religious thought that Jesus died to save us from an evil god.  I abandoned the name Yahweh for reasons akin to the genetic fallacy: I learned Yahweh from Nietzsche.  He was not only an atheist but a philologist as well.  I settled on yehôvâh because it was in Strong’s Concordance, the same source I’ve used for all the other Hebrew words addressed in these essays.  Subsequently I’ve come across an argument favoring Yahweh on YAHWEH’S restoration ministry online in an article titled “The Yehovah Deception: Reinventing a Misnomer.”

The most succinct form of their argument reads: “As confirmed by the Jewish Talmud, hundreds of years before the birth of Yahshua the Messiah the Jews stopped pronouncing the divine Name and began concealing it by reading the vowel points from Adonai into the Tetragrammaton.  The motivation behind this practice was not from irreverence but through a strong veneration for the Name.  They were afraid that if it were pronounced, someone might misuse or blaspheme the Name.  Part of this hesitation doubtless arose from their time in Babylon.  While their reasoning was admirable, it is against the clear teachings of Scripture.”

I find that argument plausible and discouraging.  My own working hypothesis concerning the Masoretes was that they were generally honorable when dealing with the words of Scripture but may have shaded the meaning of certain Hebrew words a bit to defend Jewish religion from Christian scholarship.  As a working hypothesis it limited the search field to points of contention.  The idea that they may be the heirs of those who deliberately corrupted the name of God with vowels from a different word offers no limit to the mischief they may have perpetrated on words of lesser importance.  If true, a searchable list of Hebrew homographs is no mere convenience but an absolute necessity for Old Testament study.  Creating such a list is well beyond my abilities.

My only purpose in using yehôvâh is to remind myself that Lord is not the word used in Scripture.  I was taught from the pulpit that it is disrespectful to call Jesus by name, that Paul called Him Lord, though now I think that was Paul’s way of designating Him yehôvâh (Isaiah 45:18-23; Romans 14:10-12; Philippians 2:5-11; John 5:22, 23).  So for the time being I’ll continue using yehôvâh since I definitely don’t believe the name of God is a magical incantation that must be pronounced correctly for the magic to work.

[10] Exodus 23:22, 23 (NET)

[11] Exodus 33:2 (NET)

[12] Genesis 4:7b (NET)  Here, the Tanakh presents the subduing of sin as a comforting possibility rather than an imperative: …and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it (Genesis 4:7b Tanakh).  The Septuagint comforted Cain that he would once again rule over Abel (if he offered the appropriate sacrifice): “Be still, his recourse is to you, and you will rule over him” (Genesis 4:7b NETS).

[13] Titus 3:3-7 (NET)

[14] Romans 10:10, 11 (KJV)

[15] So then faith comes by hearing (ἀκοῆς, a form of ἀκοή), and hearing (ἀκοὴ, another form of ἀκοή) by the word of God (Romans 10:17 NKJV).  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws (ἑλκύσῃ, a form of ἑλκύω) him (John 6:44a NET)…  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (ἑλκύσω, another form of ἑλκύω) all people to myself.

[16] For it is not those who hear (ἀκροαταὶ, a form of ἀκροατής) the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law will be declared righteous (Romans 2:13 NET).  This is an interesting example.  Relative to Isaac’s word Rebekah was a hearer only because she did everything in her power to deceive her husband and change the outcome of his word.  But was she hearing/obeying yehôvâh (Genesis 25:21-26) instead?  Was her deception necessary?  Would we be reading the history of Esau/Israel rather than Jacob/Israel without it?  Or would yehôvâh have chosen (Malachi 1:1-5) Jacob even if Isaac had blessed Esau as he intended (Romans 9:10-18)?  Was Rebekah’s deception righteous?  Or might her faith have been counted as righteousness (Romans 4:1-5)?

Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 2

Instruct these people as follows, yehôvâh had said to Moses: ‘You are about to cross the border of your relatives the descendants of Esau [Jacob’s brother], who inhabit Seir.  They will be afraid (yârêʼ, וייראו; Septuagint: φοβηθήσονται, afraid) of you, so watch yourselves carefully.’[1]

The rabbis who translated the Septuagint understood the last phrase, καὶ εὐλαβηθήσονται ὑμᾶς σφόδρα (“and they will be very cautious,” of you; i.e., of Israel).  Either works in context.  The origin of this fear was the destruction of the Egyptians in the Red Sea: The nations will hear, Moses and the Israelites sang to yehôvâh.  Israel by contrast overflowed with confidence (Exodus 15:13 NET):

By your loyal love you will lead the people whom you have redeemed; you will guide them by your strength to your holy dwelling place.

The Hebrew word translated By your loyal love was chêsêd (בחסדך).  Below is a table of forms of chêsêd and their translations in Genesis to the giving of the law.

chêsêd

Hebrew KJV NET Tanakh

Septuagint

Genesis 19:19 חסדך mercy kindness mercy δικαιοσύνην
Genesis 20:13 חסדך kindness loyalty kindness δικαιοσύνην
Genesis 21:23 כחסד kindness loyalty kindness δικαιοσύνην
Genesis 24:12 חסד kindness Be faithful kindness ἔλεος
Genesis 24:14 חסד kindness you have been faithful kindness ἔλεος
Genesis 24:27 חסדו mercy faithful mercy δικαιοσύνην
Genesis 24:49 חסד kindly faithful kindly ἔλεος[2]
Genesis 32:10 החסדים mercies faithful mercies δικαιοσύνης
Genesis 39:21 חסד mercy kindness kindness ἔλεος
Genesis 40:14 חסד kindness kindness kindness ἔλεος
Genesis 47:29 חסד kindly kindness kindly ἐλεημοσύνην
Exodus 15:13 בחסדך mercy By your loyal love in Thy love δικαιοσύνῃ
Exodus 20:6 חסד mercy covenant faithfulness mercy ἔλεος

This equation of mercy, kindness, faithfulness, loyalty and loyal love with δικαιοσύνῃ, righteousness, is a profound lesson in itself for one who neglected what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness: the righteousness (δικαιοσύνη) of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, The righteous (δίκαιος) by faith will live.”[3]  Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4.  The Tanakh reads, Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just (tsaddı̂yq, וצדיק) shall live by his faith.  The Septuagint translated into English reads, “If it draws back, my soul is not pleased in it, But the just shall live by my faith.”  The first part was translated, if he shrinks back, I take no pleasure in him[4] in the New Testament.

NET Parallel Greek

Septuagint

if he shrinks back, I take no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:38b

ἐὰν ὑποστείληται, οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐν αὐτῷ

Hebrews 10:38b

ἐὰν ὑποστείληται οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐν αὐτῷ

Habakkuk 2:4a

The righteous by faith will live

Romans 1:17b

ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται

Romans 1:17b

ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ζήσεται

Habakkuk 2:4b


The nations will hear and tremble
,[5] the song Moses and the Israelites sang continued.  The Hebrew word translated tremble was râgaz (ירגזון).  As Joseph sent his brothers back to Canaan to bring their father and their families to Egypt, He said to them, “As you travel don’t be overcome with fear.”[6]  The Hebrew word translated be overcome with fear was also râgaz (תרגזו) but a footnote (31) acknowledged:

The verb means “stir up.” Some understand the Hebrew verb רָגָז (ragaz, “to stir up”) as a reference to quarreling (see Prov 29:9, where it has this connotation), but in Exod 15:14 and other passages it means “to fear.” This might refer to a fear of robbers, but more likely it is an assuring word that they need not be fearful about returning to Egypt. They might have thought that once Jacob was in Egypt, Joseph would take his revenge on them.

The rabbis who translated the Septuagint did not agree.  They chose ὀργίζεσθε (a form of ὀργίζω) in Genesis 45:24.  Be angry (ὀργίζεσθε) and do not sin,[7] Paul quoted the Psalm[8] in his letter to the Ephesians.

NET

Parallel Greek

Septuagint

Be angry and do not sin

Ephesians 4:26a

ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε

Ephesians 4:26a

ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε

Psalm 4:4a

And in Exodus 15:14 they chose ὠργίσθησαν (another form of ὀργίζω).  The nations were enraged[9] (τὰ ἔθνη ὠργίσθησαν) is nearer the rabbis’ understanding in the Septuagint ἤκουσαν ἔθνη καὶ ὠργίσθησαν.

The song continued, anguish will seize the inhabitants of Philistia.[10]  The Hebrew word translated anguish was chı̂yl (חיל).  It was translated pain (בחילה) in Job 6:10 and writhing (חיל) like a woman in childbirth in Psalm 48:6.  That is what the translators of the Septuagint picked up on with ὠδῖνες (a form of ὠδίν): Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” Paul wrote believers in Thessalonica, then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains (ὠδὶν) on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape.[11]

Then the chiefs of Edom will be terrified,[12] Moses’ song continued.  The Hebrew word translated terrified was bâhal (נבהלו).  It was also translated terrified (נבהל) in 1 Samuel 28:21, but they were dumbfounded (נבהלו) in Genesis 45:3 and panicked (ויבהל) in Judges 20:41.  That hasty confused state of mind seemed to be what the rabbis responded to in the Septuagint with ἔσπευσαν (a form of σπεύδω).  Hurry (σπεῦσον, another form of σπεύδω), Jesus said to Saul [Paul] in a vision, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.[13]

The song continued, trembling will seize the leaders of Moab.[14]  Here the Hebrew word translated trembling was raʽad (רעד).  It was translated shake uncontrollably (רעדה) in Psalm 48:6 and panic (רעדה) in Isaiah 33:14.  It was translated τρόμος in the Septuagint.  Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and ran from [Jesus’] tomb, for terror (τρόμος) and bewilderment had seized them.[15]

Moses and the people sang, and the inhabitants of Canaan will shake.[16]  The Hebrew word translated will shake was mûg (נמגו).  It was translated are cringing (נמגו) in Joshua 2:9 and seemed to melt (נמוג) in 1 Samuel 14:16.  This was the sense the rabbis understood in the Septuagint: “all those inhabiting Canaan melted away” (ἐτάκησαν, a form of τήκω), whether by death, defection or fleeing as refugees.  Peter prophesied, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away (τήκεται, another form of τήκω) in a blaze![17]

Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of your arm they will be as still as stone until your people pass by, O Lord, until the people whom you have bought pass by.[18]  In the Septuagint this was understood as a request for more supernatural fear and trembling: “May fear and trembling fall upon them.”[19]  The Hebrew word translated fear (ʼêymâh, אימתה) was translated my terror in yehôvâh’s promise: I will send my terror (ʼêymâh, אימתי) before you, and I will destroy all the people whom you encounter.[20]  This terror was associated with an angel: For my angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them completely.[21]  Fear was φόβος in the Septuagint.   And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, was seized with fear (φόβος).[22]  The Hebrew word translated dread was pachad (ופחד), which was translated τρόμος in the Septuagint.

There was a lot of anger, pain, panic, trembling and defection among the people who heard about the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea.  There was fear and dread of supernatural origin besides.  The fear (yirʼâh, יראת; Septuagint: φόβος) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.[23]  I heard that often with no trace of irony.  Apparently the NET translators heard it the same way for they went a step farther and translated yirʼâh to obey: To obey the Lord is the fundamental principle for wise living.[24]

An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked, David penned, There is no fear (pachad, פחד; Septuagint: φόβος) of God before his eyes.[25]  I didn’t hear this simply as a factual diagnosis but as a prescription for more fear.  I don’t think I’m entirely alone in this.  I had a pastor once who took No Fear sportswear as a personal insult.  Perhaps he was considering the quotation credited to Albert Camus: “Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.”

I didn’t find the context for this quote online so I’m just guessing, but I suppose that Camus didn’t know many French citizens who became committed NAZIs during the occupation out of fear, only resistance fighters and collaborators.  We see the same phenomenon in the Old Testament if we will see it: some rebelled against God, others adopted a hypocritical religiosity.  What is born of the flesh is flesh[26] and the works of the flesh[27] erupt eventually through the hypocritical veneer of any religion (Romans 3:10-18 NET).

“There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.”

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This is the diagnosis.  The prescription is given in Jesus’ summary of Israel’s history: You must all be born from above,[28] not more fear but more God, the righteousness (δικαιοσύνη) of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe,[29] more of our daily bread, more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and Holy Spirit control, not pumped up artificially by some virtue of mine like some little engine that could, but flowing freely and continuously from those rivers of living water,[30] his Holy Spirit.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.[31]

If I may assume that yehôvâh’s instruction, how to behave[32] in Edom, implies yehôvâh’s intent that Israel pass through Edom, then the result of all of this anger, pain, panic, trembling, defection, fear and dread was exactly what one believing Jesus’ summary of Israel’s history would expect: Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border.[33]  Edom said to [Israel], “You will not pass through me, or I will come out against you with the sword.”[34]  Fear (φόβος), John explained, has to do with punishment.[35]

Though fear did not supply Esau’s descendants with enough faith in yehôvâh to allow Israel to cross through their land of Edom, it kept them from attacking Israel and being destroyed by yehôvâh.  Fear can produce collaborators.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom if the collaborators don’t settle down to live in it (1 John 4:15-19).  In that case they may have been better off as resistance fighters (Revelation 3:14-22).

Back to Who Am I? Part 4

Back to Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 5

[1] Deuteronomy 2:4 (NET)

[2] Here ʼemeth (ואמת) was translated δικαιοσύνην.

[3] Romans 1:17 (NET)

[4] Hebrews 10:38b (NET)

[5] Exodus 15:14a (NET)  Also in the Tanakh, tremble

[6] Genesis 45:24b (NET) In the Tanakh, fall not out

[7] Ephesians 4:26a (NET)

[8] Psalm 4:4 Also râgaz (רגזו) in Hebrew, translated Stand in awe in the Tanakh and Tremble with fear in the NET.

[9] Revelation 11:18 (NET)

[10] Exodus 15:14b (NET)

[11] 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NET)

[12] Exodus 15:15a (NET)

[13] Acts 22:18b (NET)

[14] Exodus 15:15b (NET)

[15] Mark 16:8a (NET)

[16] Exodus 15:15c (NET)

[17] 2 Peter 3:12b (NET)

[18] Exodus 15:16 (NET)

[19] Exodus 16:16a (NETS)

[20] Exodus 23:27a (NET)

[21] Exodus 23:23 (NET)

[22] Luke 1:12 (NET)

[23] Psalm 111:10a (NKJV)

[24] Psalm 111.10a (NET)

[25] Psalm 36:1 (NKJV)

[26] John 3:6a (NET)

[27] Galatians 5:19-21 (NET)

[28] John 3:7b (NET)

[29] Romans 3:22a (NET)

[30] John 7:37-39 (NET)

[31] Romans 8:14 (NET)

[32] Deuteronomy 2:4-7 (NET)

[33] Numbers 20;21a (NET)

[34] Numbers 20:18 (NET)

[35] 1 John 4:18b (NET)

The Two Covenants

After the incident with the golden calf, after Yahweh relented over the evil that he had said he would do to his people[1] honoring the covenant they violated, after He spoke his long name to Moses, He revealed a revised covenant.  It was similar to the original covenant that ended with the worship of the golden calf, when the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.[2]  But it was different, too, in some remarkable ways.  What I have called the preamble to the two covenants is contrasted below.

The Two Covenants

Preamble

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, “Thus you will tell the house of Jacob, and declare to the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

Exodus 19:3, 4 (NET)

Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped and said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, let my Lord go among us, for we are a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

Exodus 34:8, 9 (NET)

‘And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’  These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”

Exodus 19:5, 6 (NET)

[The Lord] said, “See, I am going to make a covenant before all your people.  I will do wonders such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation.  All the people among whom you live will see the work of the Lord, for it is a fearful thing that I am doing with you.

Exodus 34:10 (NET)

Before the golden calf Moses went up to God like a victor receiving a crown.  You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, the Lord instructed him to say to the Israelites, and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  After the golden calf Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped and said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, let my Lord go among us, for we are a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”  How reminiscent this is of the righteous prayer: God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am![3]

Before the golden calf the covenant was expressed conditionally, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  But afterward it is simply a unilateral declaration: I am going to make a covenant before all your people.  I will do wonders such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation.  All the people among whom you live will see the work of the Lord, for it is a fearful (yârêʼ) thing that I am doing with you.

The Ten Commandments were part of both covenants.  It was part of the first covenant because Exodus 20 is after the preamble in Exodus 19 and before the inauguration of the covenant in Exodus 24.  Moses came and told the people all the Lord’s words and all the decisions.  All the people answered together, “We are willing to do all the words (dabar, הדברים) that the Lord has said,” and Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord.[4]  So Moses took the blood and splashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words (dabar, as above).”[5]  They were part of the next covenant because, The Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words (dabar, הדברים), for in accordance with these words (dabar, הדברים) I have made a covenant with you and with Israel….”  He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments (dabar, as above).[6]

I borrowed the subject headings from the NET to list the sections of law that were removed from the revised covenant.

The Two Covenants

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

Hebrew Servants: Exodus 21:2-11
Personal Injuries: Exodus 21:12-27
Laws About Animals: Exodus 21:28-36
Laws About Property: Exodus 22:1-15
Justice: Exodus 23:1-9

They were still law.  They still offer knowledge of sin.  That sin however did not jeopardize the covenant.  Perhaps the most significant omission for the purposes of this essay was in the section labeled “Moral and Ceremonial Laws,” Whoever sacrifices to a god other than the Lord alone must be utterly destroyed.[7]  I think all of this will become clearer with its revision at the end of the section labeled “The Angel of the Presence.”

The Two Covenants

The Angel of the Presence

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“I am going to send an angel before you to protect you as you journey and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.  Take heed because of him, and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him.

Exodus 23:20, 21 (NET)

There is no mention in the revised covenant of an angel who will not pardon [their] transgressions.

The Two Covenants

The Angel of the Presence

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“But if you diligently obey [the angel] and do all that I command, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will be an adversary to your adversaries.

Exodus 23:22 (NET)

“Obey what I am commanding you this day.

Exodus 34:11a (NET)

“For my angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them completely.

Exodus 23:23 (NET)

“I am going to drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

Exodus 34:11b (NET)

The contingent statement—if you diligently obey the angel [who will not pardon your transgressions] and do all that I command, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will be an adversary to your adversaries—was replaced by a simple imperative—Obey what I am commanding you this day.  The sense of this becomes clearer in the next statement where the typical covenant language, “if you do this I will do that,” was replaced by a unilateral declarative, I am going to drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

The Two Covenants

The Angel of the Presence

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“You must not bow down to their gods; you must not serve them or do according to their practices.  Instead you must completely overthrow them and smash their standing stones to pieces.

Exodus 23:24 (NET)

“Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it become a snare among you.  Rather you must destroy their altars, smash their images, and cut down their Asherah poles.

Exodus 34:12, 13 (NET)

Knowing what they would do beforehand, the Lord amended—You must not bow down to their gods; you must not serve them or do according to their practices—to read—Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it become a snare among you.  The provision to destroy their altars, smash their images, and cut down their Asherah poles, though more explicit, was left essentially intact.

The Two Covenants

The Angel of the Presence

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

You must serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will remove sickness from your midst.  No woman will miscarry her young or be barren in your land.  I will fulfill the number of your days.I will send my terror before you, and I will destroy all the people whom you encounter; I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.  I will send hornets before you that will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you.  I will not drive them out before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild animals multiply against you.  Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you become fruitful and inherit the land.  I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea   to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you.

Exodus 23:25-31 (NET)

For you must not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Exodus 34:14 (NET)

Here, You must serve the Lord your God and the list of contingent blessings was revised to read, For you must not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

The Two Covenants

The Angel of the Presence

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“You must make no covenant with them or with their gods.  They must not live in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

Exodus 23:32, 33 (NET)

“Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone invites you, you will eat from his sacrifice; and you then take his daughters for your sons, and when his daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will make your sons prostitute themselves to their gods as well.  You must not make yourselves molten gods.

Exodus 34:15-17 (NET)

The revised language of this new covenant is startlingly similar to the Lord’s words to PeterI tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know me.[8]  [W]hen they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone invites you, you will eat from his sacrifice; and you then take his daughters for your sons, and when his daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will make your sons prostitute themselves to their gods as well.  And once you see all of this, it is as if He had said, when you see that it happens as I have said, When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers,[9] or, You must not make yourselves molten gods.

And while I think it is perfectly clear that this language is a revision of Exodus 23:32 and 33, it also seems clear that it is the only language that comes close to replacing the covenant-endingWhoever sacrifices to a god other than the Lord alone must be utterly destroyed—which, as I said previously, was left out of the revised covenant.

The Two Covenants

Moral and Ceremonial Laws

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged and has sexual relations with her, he must surely endow her to be his wife.  If her father refuses to give her to him, he must pay money for the bride price of virgins.“You must not allow a sorceress to live.

“Whoever has sexual relations with a beast must surely be put to death.

“Whoever sacrifices to a god other than the Lord alone must be utterly destroyed.

“You must not wrong a foreigner nor oppress him, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

“You must not afflict any widow or orphan.  If you afflict them in any way and they cry to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my anger will burn and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children will be fatherless.

“If you lend money to any of my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender to him; do not charge him interest.  If you do take the garment of your neighbor in pledge, you must return it to him by the time the sun goes down, for it is his only covering – it is his garment for his body. What else can he sleep in?  And when he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am gracious.

“You must not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

“Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.

Exodus 22:16-29a (NET)

It is perhaps worth noting that in the revised covenant (below) it is made explicit that firstborn sons are to be redeemed and not sacrificed to the Lord.

The Two Covenants

Moral and Ceremonial Laws

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“You must give me the firstborn of your sons.  You must also do this for your oxen and for your sheep; seven days they may remain with their mothers, but give them to me on the eighth day.

Exodus 22:29b, 30 (NET)

“Every firstborn of the womb belongs to me, even every firstborn of your cattle that is a male, whether ox or sheep.  Now the firstling of a donkey you may redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then break its neck.  You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons.

Exodus 34:19, 20a (NET)

“You will be holy people to me; you must not eat any meat torn by animals in the field. You must throw it to the dogs.

Exodus 22:31 (NET)

I’ll let the rest of these contrasts stand without comment.

The Two Covenants

Sabbaths and Feasts

Before the Golden Calf

After the Golden Calf

“For six years you are to sow your land and gather in its produce.  But in the seventh year you must let it lie fallow and leave it alone so that the poor of your people may eat, and what they leave any animal in the field may eat; you must do likewise with your vineyard and your olive grove.

Exodus 23:10, 11 (NET)

“For six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you must cease, in order that your ox and your donkey may rest and that your female servant’s son and any hired help may refresh themselves.

Exodus 23:12 (NET)

“On six days you may labor, but on the seventh day you must rest; even at the time of plowing and of harvest you are to rest.

Exodus 34:21 (NET)

“Pay attention to do everything I have told you, and do not even mention the names of other gods – do not let them be heard on your lips.

Exodus 23:13 (NET)

“Three times in the year you must make a pilgrim feast to me.  You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time you came out of Egypt.  No one may appear before me empty-handed.

“You are also to observe the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors that you have sown in the field, and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year when you have gathered in your harvest out of the field.  At three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord God.

Exodus 23:14-17 (NET)

“You must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as   I commanded you; do this at the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt.

Exodus 34:18 (NET)

“No one will appear before me empty-handed.

Exodus 34”20b (NET)

“You must observe the Feast of Weeks – the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat – and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year.  At three times in the year all your men must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.  For I will drive out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one will covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.

Exodus 34:22-24 (NET)

“You must not offer the blood of my sacrifice with bread containing yeast; the fat of my festal sacrifice must not remain until morning.  The first of the firstfruits of your soil you must bring to the house of the Lord your God.

“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Exodus 23:18, 19 (NET)

“You must not offer the blood of my sacrifice with yeast; the sacrifice from the feast of Passover must not remain until the following morning.

“The first of the firstfruits of your soil you must bring to the house of the Lord your God.  You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Exodus 34:25, 26 (NET)


[1] Exodus 32:14 (NET)

[2] 1 Corinthians 10:7 (NET)

[3] Luke 18:13 (NET)

[4] Exodus 24:3, 4a (NET)

[5] Exodus 24:8 (NET)

[6] Exodus 34:27, 28 (NET)

[7] Exodus 22:20 (NET)

[8] Luke 22:34 (NET)

[9] Luke 22:32 (NET)