Exodus 19:1-20:21 Reading the Passage

How Well Do You Know Your God? – Exodus 19:1-20:21

19 In the third month after the children of Israel came out of Egypt—on that very day—they came into the wilderness of Sinai. (2) After they left Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the wilderness in front of the mountain. (3) Then Moses went up to God, and Jehovah called to him from the mountain and said, This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and tell the children of Israel: (4) You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (5) Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you shall be my treasured possession, even though the whole earth is mine. (6) You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel. (7) So Moses came back and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that Jehovah had commanded him to speak. (8) All the people responded together, All that Jehovah has spoken, we will do. Then Moses reported the peoples’ reply to Jehovah.

(9) Jehovah said to Moses, I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and always put their trust in you. Then Moses told Jehovah what the people had said. (10) Jehovah said to Moses, Go back to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes (11) and be ready by the third day, because on the third day Jehovah will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. (12) You must set boundaries for the people all around the mountain and tell them, Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or even touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. (13) No hand is to be laid on him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows. Whether man or beast, he shall not be permitted to live. Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they ascend the mountain. (14) Then Moses went back down the mountain to the people and sanctified them; and they washed their clothes. (15) Then he said to the people, Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.

(16) Then on the third day, when morning dawned, there was thunder and lightning, and a dense cloud was over the mountain, and there was a very loud trumpet blast. All the people who were in the camp trembled. (17) Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. (18) Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because Jehovah descended upon it in fire. The smoke billowed up like smoke from a furnace and the whole mountain trembled violently. (19) When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with a voice. (20) Jehovah came down upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, and Jehovah called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (21) Then Jehovah said to Moses, Go down and warn the people so that they do not break through the barriers to gaze at Jehovah and many of them perish. (22) Even the priests, who routinely approach Jehovah, must sanctify themselves, or else Jehovah will break out against them. (23) Moses said to Jehovah, The people cannot ascend Mount Sinai, because you gave us a command, saying, Set boundaries around the mountain and thereby sanctify it. (24) Then Jehovah said to him, Go down, then you shall come back up, bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through the barriers to come up to Jehovah, or else he will break out against them. (25) So Moses went down to the people and told them.

20 And God spoke all these words: (2) I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) You shall have no other gods besides me. (4) You shall not make for yourself a carved image, nor any replica of anything that is in heaven above or that is on the earth beneath or that is in the water below the earth. (5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I, Jehovah your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the iniquities of the fathers to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, (6) but showing lovingkindness to thousands of generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (7) You shall not misuse the name of Jehovah your God; for Jehovah will not regard anyone who misuses his name as being guiltless. (8) Remember the Sabbath day, remember to keep it holy. (9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work; (10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath dedicated to Jehovah your God. On that day you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor the sojourner who is staying within your gates; (11) for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that they contain, and he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  (12) Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live a long life in the land Jehovah your God has given you. (13) You shall not murder. (14) You shall not commit adultery. (15) You shall not steal. (16) You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (17) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant or his female servant, or his ox or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

(18) When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain covered with smoke, they trembled with fear and stood at a distance. (19) They said to Moses, You speak to us and we will listen. But do not let God speak to us or we will die. (20) Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, in order that the fear of him may be always before you, so that you will not sin. (21) The people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.