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19 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain. Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him. All the people answered together, and said, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.”

Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh. 10 Yahweh said to Moses, “Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, 11 and be ready for the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai. 12 You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain.”

14 Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 15 He said to the people, “Be ready by the third day. Don’t have sexual relations with a woman.”

16 On the third day, when it was morning, there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain. 18 All of Mount Sinai smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. 20 Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 Yahweh said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Yahweh to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 Let the priests also, who come near to Yahweh, sanctify themselves, lest Yahweh break out on them.”

23 Moses said to Yahweh, “The people can’t come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.’”

24 Yahweh said to him, “Go down! You shall bring Aaron up with you, but don’t let the priests and the people break through to come up to Yahweh, lest he break out against them.”

25 So Moses went down to the people, and told them.

At Mount Sinai

19 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt(A)—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai.(B) After they set out from Rephidim,(C) they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.(D)

Then Moses went up to God,(E) and the Lord called(F) to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt,(G) and how I carried you on eagles’ wings(H) and brought you to myself.(I) Now if you obey me fully(J) and keep my covenant,(K) then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.(L) Although the whole earth(M) is mine, you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests(N) and a holy nation.’(O) These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

So Moses went back and summoned the elders(P) of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak.(Q) The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.”(R) So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud,(S) so that the people will hear me speaking(T) with you and will always put their trust(U) in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.

10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate(V) them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes(W) 11 and be ready by the third day,(X) because on that day the Lord will come down(Y) on Mount Sinai(Z) in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits(AA) for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They are to be stoned(AB) or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn(AC) sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”(AD)

14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes.(AE) 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain(AF) from sexual relations.”

16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder(AG) and lightning, with a thick cloud(AH) over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast.(AI) Everyone in the camp trembled.(AJ) 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.(AK) 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke,(AL) because the Lord descended on it in fire.(AM) The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace,(AN) and the whole mountain[b] trembled(AO) violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice(AP) of God answered(AQ) him.[c]

20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai(AR) and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see(AS) the Lord and many of them perish.(AT) 22 Even the priests, who approach(AU) the Lord, must consecrate(AV) themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”(AW)

23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai,(AX) because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits(AY) around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”

24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron(AZ) up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”(BA)

25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 19:6 Or possession, for the whole earth is mine. You
  2. Exodus 19:18 Most Hebrew manuscripts; a few Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint and all the people
  3. Exodus 19:19 Or and God answered him with thunder

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