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Exodus 31:18

    Exodus 31:18 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him on mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And when his talk with Moses on Mount Sinai was ended, he gave him the two stones of the law, two stones on which was the writing made by the finger of God.

    Webster's Revision

    And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    World English Bible

    He gave to Moses, when he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets, written with God's finger.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

    Clarke's Commentary on Exodus 31:18

    When he had made an end of communing - When the forty days and forty nights were ended.

    Two tables of testimony - See Clarke's note on Exodus 34:1. Tables of stone - That the record might be lasting, because it was a testimony that referred to future generations, and therefore the materials should be durable.

    Written with the finger of God - All the letters cut by God himself. Dr. Winder, in his History of Knowledge, thinks it probable that this was the first writing in alphabetical characters ever exhibited to the world, though there might have been marks or hieroglyphics cut on wood, stone, etc., before this time; see Exodus 17:14. That these tables were written, not by the commandment but by the power of God himself, the following passages seem to prove: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mountain, and be thou there; and I will give thee tables of stone Which I Have Written, that thou mayest teach them;" Exodus 24:12. "And he gave unto Moses, upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, Written With The Finger Of God;" Exodus 31:18. "And Moses went down from the mount, and the two tables of testimony were in his hand; the tables were Written on both their sides. And the tables were The Work Of God, and the Writing Was The Writing Of God, graven upon the tables;" Exodus 32:15, Exodus 32:16. "These words [the ten commandments] the Lord spake in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and he added no more, But He Wrote Them on two tables of stone;" Deuteronomy 5:22. It is evident therefore that this writing was properly and literally the writing of God himself. God wrote now on tables of stone what he had originally written on the heart of man, and in mercy he placed that before his eyes which by sin had been obliterated from his soul; and by this he shows us what, by the Spirit of Christ, must be rewritten in the mind, 2 Corinthians 3:3; and this is according to the covenant which God long before promised to make with mankind, Jeremiah 31:33. See also what is said on this subject, Exodus 20:1 (note), Exodus 34:1 (note), and Exodus 17:14 (note).

    "No time," says Dr. A. Bayley, "seems so proper from whence to date the introduction of letters among the Hebrews as this, for after this period we find continual mention of letters, reading, and writing, in the now proper sense of those words. See Deuteronomy 27:8; Deuteronomy 31:9. Moses, it is said, επαιδευθη, was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians - in all the learning they possessed; but it is manifest that he had not learned of them any method of writing, otherwise there had been no want of God's act and assistance in writing the two tables of the law, no need of a miraculous writing. Had Moses known this art, the Lord might have said to him, as he does often afterwards, Write thou these words; Exodus 34:27. Write on the stones the words of this law; Deuteronomy 27:3. Write you this song for you; Deuteronomy 31:19. Perhaps it may be said, God's writing the law gave it a sanction. True; but why might it not also teach the first use of letters, unless it can be proved that they were in use prior to this transaction? It might be thought too much to assert that letters no more than language were a natural discovery; that it was impossible for man to have invented writing, and that he did not invent it: yet this may appear really the case from the following reflections: -

    1. Reason may show us how near to an impossibility it was that a just and proper number of convenient characters for the sounds in language should naturally be hit upon by any man, for whom it was easy to imitate and vary, but not to invent.

    2. From evidence of the Mosaic history, it appears that the introduction of writing among the Hebrews was not from man, but God.

    3. There are no evident vestiges of letters subsisting among other nations till after the delivery of the law at Mount Sinai; nor then, among some, till very late."

    Barnes' Notes on Exodus 31:18

    Two tables of testimony - See Exodus 25:16; Exodus 32:15.

    The tables of stone which represented the covenant between Yahweh and His people, and which, when covered with the mercy-seat were to give the sanctuary its significance, are now delivered to Moses in accordance with the promise in Exodus 24:12.

    The history of what relates to the construction of the sanctuary is here interrupted, and is taken up again in Exodus 35:1.

    Wesley's Notes on Exodus 31:18

    31:18 These tables of stone, were not prepared by Moses, but probably by the ministry of angels. They were written with the finger of God - That is, by his will and power immediately, without the use of any instrument. They were written in two tables, being designed to direct us in our duty, towards God, and towards man. And they were called tables of testimony, because this written law testified the will of God concerning them, and would be a testimony against them if they were disobedient.