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Exodus 34:14-26

Context
34:14 For you must not worship 1  any other god, 2  for the Lord, whose name 3  is Jealous, is a jealous God. 34:15 Be careful 4  not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when 5  they prostitute themselves 6  to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone invites you, 7  you will eat from his sacrifice; 34:16 and you then take 8  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. 34:17 You must not make yourselves molten gods.

34:18 “You must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days 9  you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you; do this 10  at the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt.

34:19 “Every firstborn of the womb 11  belongs to me, even every firstborn 12  of your cattle that is a male, 13  whether ox or sheep. 34:20 Now the firstling 14  of a donkey you may redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then break its neck. 15  You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons.

“No one will appear before me empty-handed. 16 

34:21 “On six days 17  you may labor, but on the seventh day you must rest; 18  even at the time of plowing and of harvest 19  you are to rest. 20 

34:22 “You must observe 21  the Feast of Weeks – the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat – and the Feast of Ingathering at the end 22  of the year. 34:23 At three times 23  in the year all your men 24  must appear before the Lord God, 25  the God of Israel. 34:24 For I will drive out 26  the nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one will covet 27  your land when you go up 28  to appear before the Lord your God three times 29  in the year.

34:25 “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. 30 

34:26 “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.” 31 

1 tn Heb “bow down.”

2 sn In Exod 20:3 it was “gods.”

3 sn Here, too, the emphasis on God’s being a jealous God is repeated (see Exod 20:5). The use of “name” here is to stress that this is his nature, his character.

4 tn The sentence begins simply “lest you make a covenant”; it is undoubtedly a continuation of the imperative introduced earlier, and so that is supplied here.

5 tn The verb is a perfect with a vav consecutive. In the literal form of the sentence, this clause tells what might happen if the people made a covenant with the inhabitants of the land: “Take heed…lest you make a covenant…and then they prostitute themselves…and sacrifice…and invite…and you eat.” The sequence lays out an entire scenario.

6 tn The verb זָנָה (zanah) means “to play the prostitute; to commit whoredom; to be a harlot” or something similar. It is used here and elsewhere in the Bible for departing from pure religion and engaging in pagan religion. The use of the word in this figurative sense is fitting, because the relationship between God and his people is pictured as a marriage, and to be unfaithful to it was a sin. This is also why God is described as a “jealous” or “impassioned” God. The figure may not be merely a metaphorical use, but perhaps a metonymy, since there actually was sexual immorality at the Canaanite altars and poles.

7 tn There is no subject for the verb. It could be rendered “and one invites you,” or it could be made a passive.

8 tn In the construction this verb would follow as a possible outcome of the last event, and so remain in the verbal sequence. If the people participate in the festivals of the land, then they will intermarry, and that could lead to further involvement with idolatry.

9 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.

10 tn The words “do this” have been supplied.

11 tn Heb “everything that opens the womb.”

12 tn Here too: everything that “opens [the womb].”

13 tn The verb basically means “that drops a male.” The verb is feminine, referring to the cattle.

14 tn Heb “and the one that opens [the womb of] the donkey.”

15 sn See G. Brin, “The Firstling of Unclean Animals,” JQR 68 (1971): 1-15.

16 tn The form is the adverb “empty.”

17 tn This is an adverbial accusative of time.

18 tn Or “cease” (i.e., from the labors).

19 sn See M. Dahood, “Vocative lamed in Exodus 2,4 and Merismus in 34,21,” Bib 62 (1981): 413-15.

20 tn The imperfect tense expresses injunction or instruction.

21 tn The imperfect tense means “you will do”; it is followed by the preposition with a suffix to express the ethical dative to stress the subject.

22 tn The expression is “the turn of the year,” which is parallel to “the going out of the year,” and means the end of the agricultural season.

23 tn “Three times” is an adverbial accusative.

24 tn Heb “all your males.”

25 tn Here the divine name reads in Hebrew הָאָדֹן יְהוָה (haadon yÿhvah), which if rendered according to the traditional scheme of “Lord” for “Yahweh” would result in “Lord Lord.” A number of English versions therefore render this phrase “Lord God,” and that convention has been followed here.

sn The title “Lord” is included here before the divine name (translated “God” here; see Exod 23:17), perhaps to form a contrast with Baal (which means “lord” as well) and to show the sovereignty of Yahweh. But the distinct designation “the God of Israel” is certainly the point of the renewed covenant relationship.

26 tn The verb is a Hiphil imperfect of יָרַשׁ (yarash), which means “to possess.” In the causative stem it can mean “dispossess” or “drive out.”

27 sn The verb “covet” means more than desire; it means that some action will be taken to try to acquire the land that is being coveted. It is one thing to envy someone for their land; it is another to be consumed by the desire that stops at nothing to get it (it, not something like it).

28 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct with a preposition and a suffixed subject to form the temporal clause.

29 tn The expression “three times” is an adverbial accusative of time.

30 sn See M. Haran, “The Passover Sacrifice,” Studies in the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup), 86-116.

31 sn See the note on this same command in 23:19.



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