And now a new message came to Moses from the Lord, March on, then, with the people thou hast led out of Egypt; make thy way hence to the land I promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should be the home of their race.
I am ready to send an angel who will go before thee, so as to cast out Chanaanite, Amorrhite, Hethite, Pherezite, Hevite and Jebusite,
and bring thee into the land that is all milk and honey. But I will not go with thee myself, stiff-necked people as thou art, or I might be moved to destroy thee on the way.
The people, on hearing this bitter reproach, went mourning, and none wore his ornaments, as custom bade;
the Lord’s word came through Moses to the Israelites, You are a stiff-necked people, and if once I set out on the march among you, I would be moved to destroy you. Take off, here and now, your ornaments, and wait till I have resolved what to do with you.
So there, at mount Horeb, the sons of Israel laid their ornaments aside.
Moses, too, removed his tent, and pitched it far off, away from the camp, calling it, The tent which bears witness to the covenant; to this, all who had disputes to settle must betake themselves, away from the camp.
And when Moses repaired to this tent of his, all the people rose up and stood at the doors of their own tents, following Moses with their eyes till he went in.
And, once he was within the tent that bore witness of the covenant, the pillar of cloud would come down and stand at the entrance of it, and there the Lord spoke with Moses,
while all watched the pillar of cloud standing there, and rose up and worshipped, each at his own tent door.
Thus the Lord spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And when he returned to the camp, Josue, son of Nun, the young man who served him, never left the tent unguarded.
Then Moses complained to the Lord, Thou biddest me lead this people on the march, but thou wilt not tell me who it is thou art sending me for my guide. And this is the man whom thou callest thy familiar friend, assuring him of thy favour!
Nay, if indeed thou dost look upon me with favour, make thy own presence known to me; let me know thee, and know that thy favour is with me. Have more regard for this folk, thy own people.
My presence, the Lord said, shall go before thee, and bring thee to thy resting-place.
It must be thyself, said Moses, going before us; otherwise do not bid us leave the place where we are.
How am I and thy people to know that thou dost look upon us with favour, if thou wilt not journey with us; such a privilege as no other people in the world can boast?
And the Lord told Moses, I will grant this request of thine; such favour thou hast with me, thou, my familiar friend.
Give me, then, said Moses, the sight of thy glory.
And he answered, All my splendour shall pass before thy eyes, and I will pronounce, in thy presence, my own divine name, the name of the Lord who shews favour where he will, grants pardon where he will.
But, my face, he said, thou canst not see; mortal man cannot see me, and live to tell of it.
Then he said, There is a place here, close by me, where thou mayst stand on a rock;
there I will station thee in a cleft of the rock, while my glory passes by, and cover thee with my right hand until I have gone past.
So, when I take my hand away, thou shalt follow me with thy eyes, but my face thou canst not see.