“Moses went up to God.” After the Exodus, Moses went up and down Mt. Sinai 7 times, and they all are recorded in the Book of Exodus.
- 1st time up: Exod. 19:3. 1st time down: Exod. 19:7.
- 2nd time up: Exod. 19:8. 2nd time down: Exod. 19:14.
- 3rd time up: Exod. 19:20. 3rd time down: Exod. 19:25 [it was right after Moses’ third trip down the Mountain, when Moses was down with the people, that God spoke the Ten Commandments audibly to the people, see commentary on Exod. 19:9].
- 4th time up: Exod. 20:21. 4th time down: Exod. 24:3.
- 5th time up: Exod. 24:13-15. 5th down Exod. 32:15 [Between Moses’ fourth and fifth trips up Mount Sinai, he had taken some leaders of Israel part way up the mountain (Exod. 24:1-2, 9-10). On this fifth trip, Moses was on the Mountain 40 days and nights. During that time he received the revelation about the Tabernacle, and also the Ten Commandments on stone. He had the tablets of stone with him when he went back down, but he broke them when he saw the golden calf (Exod. 32:19)].
- 6th time up: Exod. 32:31. 6th time down: Exod. 32:34.
- 7th time up: Exod. 34:4. 7th down: Exod. 34:29 [this 7th time on Mount Sinai, Moses was again with Yahweh for 40 days and nights (cp. Ex. 34:28), and he came down with a new set (the second set) of the Ten Commandments, and his face radiated].
On Moses’ second trip up Mt. Sinai, God told Moses to put boundaries around the Mountain so no one would touch the mountain. Then on his third trip up the Mountain, God again told Moses to warn the people about not touching the Mountain. Thus, Exodus 19:25 says that Moses went down Mt. Sinai to the people (third trip down), and that is where he was, at the bottom of Mt. Sinai with the people, when God spoke the Ten Commandments audibly, in a loud voice so everyone could hear (cp. Exod. 19:19; 20:1-2). It was later, on his fifth trip up the Mountain, that he got the first set of the Ten Commandments on stone.
When the people heard the voice of God shouting out the Ten Commandments, they were terrified and asked that they not hear the voice of God anymore (cp. Exod. 20:19). God honored that request and after that time spoke to Moses, who then communicated the Torah to Israel.
[For more on God speaking directly to Israel with a loud voice from the top of Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exodus 19:9.]