Exodus 34: The Lesser Law

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 55–56


At Mount Sinai Moses received laws, commandments, ordinances, and covenants from the Lord that were written on stone tablets. When Moses came down from Sinai and saw the children of Israel worshiping the golden calf, he threw the tablets on the ground and broke them (see Exodus 32:15–19). The Israelites had not proved worthy to receive all that was written on them.We may also lose great blessings if we are disobedient. The Lord was patient with the children of Israel, however, and gave them opportunities to repent and return to Him. Because the Lord desires to help us, He frequently gives additional or new, more strict commandments that allow us the opportunity to repent and eventually receive the full blessings He desires to give us. Exodus 34 records additional commandments the Lord gave to the disobedient children of Israel.

Understanding the Scriptures

Exodus 34

Hew, hewed (vv. 1, 4)Cut 
By no means (v. 7)In no way 
Clear (v. 7)Declare innocent 
Pardon (v. 9)Forgive 
Terrible (v. 10)Awe-inspiring 
Take heed to thyself (v. 12)Be careful 
Snare (v. 12)Trap 
Groves (v. 13)Places where false gods are worshiped 
Jealous (v. 14)Having deep feelings and expecting faithfulness 
Whoring (vv. 15–16)Unfaithful to God 
Molten (v. 17)Made of melted metal 
Openeth the matrix (v. 19)Is firstborn 
Empty (v. 20)Without paying a redemption price 
Thrice (vv. 23–24)Three times 
Tenor (v. 27)Pattern 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Exodus 34.

Activity A iconGet Help from the Joseph Smith Translation

Read the Joseph Smith Translation for Exodus 34:1–2 and write about how the second set of tablets was different from the first.

Activity B iconWhy Were They Different?

Read Mosiah 13:29–30 and Doctrine and Covenants 84:19–27 and write about why the second set of tablets was different from the first.