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“ For I am the Lord that healeth thee," said God to the people.
They soon began to murmur because they had no bread and meat. Then God caused vast swarms of quails to come; and, on the second morning, something which lay upon the ground, round and small, like hoar frost. What was it, then? The Israelites called it What-in Hebrew Man; for they did not know what it was. Then said Moses, “ This is the bread which the Lord hath given you
It consisted of little round grains, sweet like honey, and palatable and nourishing like fine flour.
They were soon again in want of water; and again they began to murmur. Moses cried to the Lord, and the Lord commanded him to take his rod and smite the rock. Moses smote the rock, and the rock gave forth water. How seldom is the value of that precious gift of God, pure water, which he causes to flow out of rocks, properly felt by men !
Not long after, the robber tribes of the Amalekites came and fought against Israel. Moses sent Joshua against them, while he himself went to the top of the hill, and stretched out his hands towards God in prayer. And so long as Moses held
his hands, Israel prevailed; but
when he let down his hands, Amalek prevailed. Then Aaron and Hur took hold of his hands and supported them. And the Israelites overcame the Amalekites.
But the best of all remains to be told. How did Moses find a way in the desolate wilderness? The
a Exod. xv. 23–26.
Exod. xvi. 13_-15. C Exod. xvii. 6.
cloud and the fire which had guided them through the Red Sea never left them; and through the whole way God led the people, in the day time by a pillar of cloud, and in the night by a pillar of fire.
In the third month after their departure from Egypt, the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Mount Sinai. In the beautiful and grassy valleys in the neighbourhood of this mountain they remained with their flocks a whole year. And that was an important year. It was here that the tribes and families were set in order; the people numbered; and captains, rulers, and judges appointed over them. The number of the men of Israel was about six hundred thousand; and the whole number, including women and children, must have been about three millions. Here God gave them the law by which the whole course of their domestic and public life was to be regulated ; and here it was that the Israelites were in a peculiar manner constituted the people of God. As soon as they had encamped, Moses ascended Mount Sinai. And the Lord said unto him, “ Make ready the people against the third day: for on the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, for whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death.”a
When the third day was come, there was a thick cloud all round the mountain, and thunders and lightnings, and the sound of a trumpet exceeding loud. And the whole of Mount Sinai was on a smoke, and the sound of the trumpet waxed louder and louder. Moses stood on the mount before God, and all the people stood below in clean washed
a Exod. xix. 10 - 13.
garments, fearing and trembling.
And God spake all these words, saying, “ I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth : thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them : for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me ; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates : for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
“Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may
be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt
not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” b
And all the people saw the lightnings, and the mountain smoking; and they heard the thunderings, and the voice of the trumpet; and when they saw it they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Oh that they had such a heart to fear me and to keep my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children for ever.
And Moses went up in the midst of the cloud to the top of the mount, and remained there forty days and forty nights. And when the Lord had finished speaking with Moses, he gave him the two tables of the covenant, made of stone, and written with the finger of God.
So Moses descended from the mountain, carrying in his hands the two tables of testimony which God had written. But, alas ! what had Moses to behold when he came near the camp! The people had made an image of a calf, and were dancing round it with music and with singing. Then Moses was very angry, and threw the tables in wrath out of his hands, and they were broken beneath the mountain. And he said to Aaron, “What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them ?" And Aaron
• Exod. xx. 1--17.
C Exod. xx. 19.
said, “Let not the
wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” d
And Moses took the calf which they had made, and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And Moses said unto God, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. if thou wilt forgive their sin ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” And the Lord said unto Moses, “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out
book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless, in the day when I visit I will visit their
them.”e And the Lord said unto him, “ Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first : and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto Mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.” ?
So Moses was again forty days and forty nights with the Lord on the mount; and during all that
d Exod. xxxii. 19_24. e Exod. xxxii. 30-35.
f Exod. xxxiv. 1, 2.