Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch As Narrative. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
Chapter 2, “Exodus” pp. 241-322.
Part 9 “The Restoration of Israel (33:1-34:35)” pp. 313-317.
After the incident with the golden calf Sailhamer asserts a major change of status. “The text has several indications that the author now wants to show that Israel’s relationship with God had been fundamentally affected by their ‘great sin’ of worshiping the golden calf. All was not the same. The narrative shows that there was now a growing distance between God and Israel that had not been there before” (Sailhamer 1992, 313). First, we see a difference in the angel. While previously God sent an angel to protect Israel from enemies, in 33:5 the angel protects Israel from God (Sailhamer 1992, 314). Second, the tabernacle, which was not to be built as a place for God to meet with the people, is superseded by a different Tent of Meeting where Moses would meet God and bring God’s word back to Israel. Third, while God had previously shown his glory from the top of the mountain, now he shines just through Moses’ face, which is normally kept veiled. Fourth, the stone tablets Moses brings are written on by him, not by the finger of God. These “ten words” from Exodus 34:11ff are slightly different from what is recorded in Exodus 20. Finally, Moses’ role as a mediator is established when he has returned from the mountain.