Exodus Chapter 19  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Exodus 19
 
Exo 19:1(top)
Exo 19:2(top)
Exo 19:3

“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’ 2nd trip up Mt. Sinai, God told Moses to put boundaries around the Mountain so no one would touch the mountain. Then on his 3rd 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 (3rd 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 5th 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 any more (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].

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Exo 19:4(top)
Exo 19:5

“if you will listen, yes, listen to my voice.” In a context like this, the word “listen” can also be used idiomatically and have the meaning “obey,” and many versions translate it that way (cp. ASV; CEB; ESV; KJV; NASB; NIV; NRSV). Some scholars refer to this as the “pregnant sense” of the word. Here in Exodus 19:5, “listen” has the meaning “listen to and obey.” Many Hebrew words are used with an idiomatic or pregnant sense (see commentary on Luke 23:42). In this verse, the word “listen” occurs twice, “listen listen,” but the two words are in different forms, an infinitive verb and an imperfect verb. That form of doubling the verb is the figure of speech polyptoton and is done for emphasis. God is very serious about having Israel listen to and obey Him.

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Exo 19:6

“a kingdom of priests.” When Israel got to Mount Sinai, God called Moses up onto the mountain and spoke with him (Exod. 19:3-6). God told Moses it was His intention to make Israel a kingdom of priests to all the other nations (v. 6), which meant that God intended for Israel to minister to the other nations and lead them to Yahweh. But God’s statement was conditional upon Israel obeying Him, and started out with “if you will listen.” God said, “if you will listen, yes, listen to my voice and keep my covenant, then you will be my own possession from among all peoples—for all the earth is mine—and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exod. 19:5).

Things started out well. Moses led the people of Israel to the base of Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:17), and then God spoke the Ten Commandments in a loud voice from the top of the mountain (Exod. 20:1). The voice scared the people and they told Moses they did not want to hear God’s voice anymore, and that Moses could talk with God and then they would listen to Moses (Exod. 20:18-22). So God gave Moses the laws that are recorded in Exodus 21-23, and in Exodus 24:3-8, Moses told Israel what God had said. Then Moses followed that up by writing down the words God had said and he read them to the people. Israel twice stated that they would obey God (Exod. 24:3, 7), and they made a blood covenant with God that they would obey Him. Animals were sacrificed and the blood was caught in basins, and half the blood was put on God’s altar (Exod. 24:6), and half the blood was sprinkled on the people as a testimony of the covenant that they had made (Exod. 24:8). This covenant is the “Old Covenant,” usually called the “Old Testament.”

Sadly, it was only about a month later that Israel broke the first two of the Ten Commandments and all the laws God had given them about not worshipping pagan gods. They made a golden calf god and claimed it had brought them out of Egypt (Exod. 32:1-6). God and Moses were furious, and Moses called out, “Whoever is on Yahweh’s side, come to me!” At that point, “All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him” (Exod. 32:26). The Levites were bold in their defense of the worship of Yahweh and killed about 3,000 idolators that day (Exod. 32:28).

The result of the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel was that God did not make them a kingdom of priests like He had intended, while the result of the faithfulness of the people of the tribe of Levi is that God chose them to minister as priests and Levites to Him (Num. 1:47-53).

[For more on God speaking the Ten Commandments directly to the Israelites, see commentary on Exodus 19:9. For more on Moses’ seven trips up and down Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3].

“and a holy nation.” After Israel left Egypt, God stopped dealing with them as a family, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and began dealing with them as a nation, as He says here. Little is known about the time from Adam to after Noah’s Flood. It is over 1,600 years, yet it only takes 11 chapters in the Bible. In contrast, to cover the last 1,000 years of the Old Testament it takes all the books of the Bible from 2 Samuel through the Four Gospels and the time of Christ. From Seth until the Exodus the Bible follows the development of one family that goes from Seth through Abraham (Gen. 11:10-32), then Isaac and Jacob, then to Jacob’s 12 sons and their children, and ends with the Exodus. After the Exodus, God dealt with Israel as a nation (cp. Exod. 19:6).

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Exo 19:7

“And Moses came.” This is referring to Moses coming back to the camp of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. This is Moses’ first trip down Mount Sinai. He went up in Exodus 19:3. [For more on Moses’ seven trips up and down Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3].

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Exo 19:8

“Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.” Yahweh was on the top of Mount Sinai, and so this was Moses’ second trip up Mount Sinai, in which he brought the words of the people back to Yahweh. God gives Moses more instructions for the children of Israel, and Moses takes those instructions to Israel when he goes back down Mount Sinai on his second time down (Exod. 19:14). [For more on Moses’ seven trips up and down Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3. For more on God speaking directly to Israel with a loud voice from the top of Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exodus 19:9].

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Exo 19:9

“so that the people can hear when I speak with you.” It is commonly taught that the first time Israel got the Ten Commandments was when Moses came down Mount Sinai with them, but that is not correct. The first time Israel got the Ten Commandments was when God personally spoke them in a loud voice from Mount Sinai to the people of Israel at the foot of the mountain (Exod. 20:1-17). Then, after that, Moses went up on Mount Sinai and got the commandments on stone tablets—but Moses broke those first tablets (Exod. 24:15-18; 31:18; 32:19). Then Moses went up again to the top of Mount Sinai with a second set of stone tablets that God commanded Moses to make, and then God wrote the Ten Commandments again on that second set of tablets (Exod. 34:1-4).

God spoke the Ten Commandments in a loud voice to the Israelites between Moses’ third and fourth time up Mount Sinai. It was later, on Moses’ fifth trip up Mount Sinai, that God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone and gave them to him, but Moses broke those tablets. It was on Moses’ seventh and final trip up Mount Sinai that Moses got the Ten Commandments that he then put in the ark of the Covenant.

The Bible says in a number of places that the children of Israel heard the Ten Commandments spoken by God (cp. Exod. 20:22; Deut. 4:10-13, 15, 36; 5:4-6, 22-27; 18:16; Heb. 12:18-21). God spoke audibly to people on a number of occasions. He spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:9ff), and He often spoke audibly to Moses (Num. 7:89). He also occasionally came into human form and appeared to people (see commentary on Acts 7:55).

The voice of God frightened the Israelites, so they asked that God not speak directly to them anymore, but that He would speak to Moses and Moses then could tell them what He said (Exod. 20:19-21). So it was that the rest of the Law of Moses was given by God to Moses who then told the people.

[For more information on Moses’ seven trips up Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3].

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Exo 19:10(top)
Exo 19:11(top)
Exo 19:12

“death, yes, death.” The Hebrew text contains the figure of speech polyptoton. For more on polyptoton and the way it is translated in the REV, see commentary on Genesis 2:16.

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Exo 19:13

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.

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Exo 19:14

“So Moses went down from the mountain.” This is Moses’ second time down Mount Sinai, and he brought more instructions from Yahweh down to the people. He had gone up for a second time in Exodus 19:8. Moses’ next (and third) trip up Mount Sinai is in Exodus 19:20. [For more on Moses’ seven trips up and down Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3. For more on God speaking directly to Israel with a loud voice from the top of Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exodus 19:9].

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Exo 19:15(top)
Exo 19:16

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.

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Exo 19:17(top)
Exo 19:18(top)
Exo 19:19

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.

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Exo 19:20

“Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.” This is Moses’ third trip up Mount Sinai, and on this trip Yahweh has warnings for the Israelites, which Moses brought back to Israel when he went down Mount Sinai for the third time (Exod. 19:25). [For more on Moses’ seven trips up and down Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3].

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Exo 19:21(top)
Exo 19:22(top)
Exo 19:23(top)
Exo 19:24(top)
Exo 19:25

“So Moses went down to the people.” This is Moses’ third time down Mount Sinai. He had gone up to speak with God in Exodus 19:20, and now at Exodus 19:25 he went back down the mountain to bring God’s warning to the people. This trip down Mount Sinai puts Moses down with the people when God spoke the Ten Commandments off Mount Sinai with a loud voice. Moses did not go back up Mount Sinai until Exodus 20:21. [For more on Moses’ seven trips up and down Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exod. 19:3. For more on God speaking directly to Israel with a loud voice from the top of Mount Sinai, see commentary on Exodus 19:9].

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