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Deuteronomy 10 New American Standard Bible (NASB) The Tablets Rewritten

Deutoronomy 10:1-2 NASB

10 “At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Cut out for yourself two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to Me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood for yourself. 2 I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered, and you shall put them in the ark.’

After having received the law Moses went up the mountain to collect the two tablets of stone at the same time receiving the instruction to build the ark.Also at the same time Aaron was making the golden calf which subsequently led to the destruction of the first set tablets.

Ark of the Covenant

Exodus 25:10 NASB

10 “They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half [i]cubits [j]long, and one and a half cubits [k]wide, and one and a half cubits [l]high. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding [m]around it.

Was the instruction to build the ark given after the destruction of the two tablets of stone?

2

The Book of Deuteronomy consists of three or four speeches of Moses just before he died. The actual events that he recounts are recorded in Exodus as follows:

  • Ex 13-19; Israelites leave Egypt and gather at Mt Sinai
  • Ex 20:1-17; God speaks the 10 commandments from Sinai
  • Ex 20:18-23:33; God instructs Moses in a range of subsidiary laws
  • Ex 24; The people confirm the covenant, along with the 70 elders, which Moses writes on paper.
  • Ex 24:12-18; Then Moses is told to go up the mountain to later receive the two stone tablets with the 10 commandments written by God. He stays for 40 days on the mountain.
  • Ex 25-31; Moses is given, on the Mountain, the complete instructions for the construction of the Sanctuary ending (Ex 31:18) with receipt of the 10 commandments on the two tablets of stone. The first article described for construction is the Ark of the Covenant in Ex 25:10-22.
  • Ex 32, 33; Golden calf incident when Moses smashes the two tablets of stone in anger.
  • Ex 34; Moses ascends the mountain to receive replacement tablets of stone with the 10 commandments.
  • Ex 35-39; Construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings. The actual construction of the Ark of the Covenant is recorded in Ex 37:1-16.
  • Ex 40; Tabernacle and all its furnishings is complete, erected and dedicated; and the glory of the LORD descends in acceptance.

A shorter summary of the sequence of events (from above) might look like this:

  • Moses receives instructions about building the Ark
  • Moses receives first set of 10 commandments on stone
  • Moses smashes the stone tablets
  • Moses given replacement stone tablets
  • Craftsmen build the Ark

Thus, the instruction to build the Ark (Ex 25:1-9) as given BEFORE the stone tablets were received (Ex 31:18) and then broken (Ex 32:19). However, the Ark was constructed AFTER both sets of stone tablets were received by Moses.

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