1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place. You and the people you brought up out of Egypt must leave it. Go up to the land I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I said to them, ‘I will give it to your children after you.’ 2I will send an angel ahead of you. I will drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3Go up to the land that has plenty of milk and honey. But I will not go with you. You are stubborn. I might destroy you on the way.”
4When the people heard these painful words, they began to mourn. No one put on any jewelry. 5The Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are stubborn. If I went with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your jewelry. Then I will decide what to do with you.’ ” 6So the people took off their jewelry at Mount Horeb.
The Tent of Meeting
7Moses used to take a tent and set it up far outside the camp. He called it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone who wanted to ask the Lord a question would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8When Moses would go out to the tent, everyone would get up and stand at the entrances to their tents. They would watch Moses until he entered the tent. 9As Moses would go into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down. It would stay at the entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10The people would see the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent. Then all of them would stand and worship at the entrances to their tents. 11The Lord would speak to Moses face to face like one would speak to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp. But Joshua, his young helper, didn’t leave the tent. Joshua was the son of Nun.
Moses and the Glory of the Lord
12Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people.’ But you haven’t let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know your name. I know all about you. And I am pleased with you.’ 13If you are pleased with me, teach me more about yourself. Then I can know you. And I can continue to please you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14The Lord replied, “I will go with you. And I will give you rest.”
15Then Moses said to him, “If you don’t go with us, don’t send us up from here. 16How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and your people? You must go with us. How else will we be different from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
17The Lord said to Moses, “I will do exactly what you have asked. I am pleased with you. And I know your name. I know all about you.”
18Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19The Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass in front of you. And I will announce my name, the Lord, in front of you. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. And I will show love to those I love. 20But you can’t see my face,” he said. “No one can see me and stay alive.”
21The Lord continued, “There is a place near me where you can stand on a rock. 22When my glory passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will remove my hand. You will see my back. But my face must not be seen.”