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ISRAEL AT SINAI
The Commandments (Ex. xix. 1-3, 9-20; xx. 1-21; xxiv. 3-xxv. 9; xxxi. 18). In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai; and there Israel camped before the mount.' And Moses went up unto God. And the Lord said unto Moses: "Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever."
And the Lord said unto Moses: "Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: there shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live. When the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount."
So Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people: "Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives." And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trem
1 the mount. Sinai, which seems to be the same as Horeb, "the mountain of God," is by tradition identified with Jebel Musa near the southern end of the triangular Sinaitic peninsula. Certain recent investigators, however, believe it to have been outside the peninsula, some favoring as the actual site Mt. Serbal, northwest of Jebel Musa; others, a southwestern peak of Mt. Seir. The lastnamed site would accord with its apparent nearness to Kadesh, and with such passages as:
"Jehovah came from Sinai,
And rose from Seir unto them." - Deut. xxxiii. 2.
bled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. 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 shewing 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 labor, 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.
"Honor 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 neighbor. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maid1 water under the earth. See the diagram, p. 2.
servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's."
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people 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 Moses said unto the people: "Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not." And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said: "All the words which the Lord hath said will we do." And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people and they said: "All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient." And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said: "Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words."
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the very heaven for clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand : also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
And the Lord said unto Moses: "Come up to me in the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them." And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders: "Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them." And
Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it in six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. "And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,' oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it."
[Here follow detailed instructions for making: (1) the "ark of testimony," a sacred chest to contain the stone tablets of the law, and to be surmounted by a mercy seat," a symbolic throne for Jehovah with two golden cherubim at its ends; (2) the table of shewbread; (3) the golden candlestick; (4) the tabernacle; (5) the altar of burnt offering; (6) the curtained enclosure to surround the tabernacle; (7) the priestly garments; and (8) the altar of incense.]
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
The Golden Calf (Ex. xxxii.; xxxiii. 4-6). And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him: "Up, 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 wot not what is become of him." And Aaron said unto them: "Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring 2 ephod. See note, p. 214.
1 shittim wood. Acacia.
them unto me." And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said: "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said: "To-morrow is a feast to the Lord." And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
And the Lord said unto Moses: "Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." And the Lord said unto Moses: "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people: now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them and I will make of thee a great nation."
And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said: "Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever." And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses: "There is a noise of war in the camp."