Question:

Context: Exodus 31:18 and 32:16 make it clear that God wrote the first set of tablets of the covenant. Moses broke those tablets (Exodus 32:19).

Question: In Deuteronomy 10:1-5, Moses (talking about the second set of tablets of the covenant, not the first set that he broke) says God wrote on the tablets. Likewise, in Exodus 34:1, God says he will wrote on the tablets. But then Exodus 34:27-28 makes it sound like Moses wrote the tablets. How do you fit these statements together?


Answer:

Regarding the first set of tablets:

"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them"" (Exodus 24:12).

"And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18).

"And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets" (Exodus 32:15-16).

"So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone" (Deuteronomy 4:13).

"When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant" (Deuteronomy 9:9-11).

"So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God-had made for yourselves a molded calf! You had turned aside quickly from the way which the LORD had commanded you. Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes" (Deuteronomy 9:15-17).

Regarding the second set of tablets:

"And the LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke" (Exodus 34:1).

"At that time the LORD said to me, 'Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.' So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me" (Deuteronomy 10:1-4).

"So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him" (Exodus 34:28-29).

The first set of tablets were hewn and written upon by God. The second set were hewn by Moses, but again written upon by God. The only statement giving you difficulty is "And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments" in Exodus 34:28. The problem is the pronoun "he," does it refer to Moses or God? Deuteronomy 10:1-4 makes it clear that it refers to God. That is why the New King James Version capitalizes the He -- to make the distinction clear.

What is interesting is notice the emphasis that the Ten Commandments were placed on the tablets by God. Then consider:

"But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory" (I Corinthians 3:7-9).

"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:13-14).

"For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Ephesians 2:14-16).

You have to be fairly desperate not to see that Paul was speaking about the passing of the Ten Commandments along with the other laws found in the Old Testament.