Ten Commandments Rulings - The Revelation At Sinai

The Revelation At Sinai

The biblical narrative of the revelation at Sinai begins in Exodus 19 after the arrival of the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, (also called Horeb). In the morning of the "third day" of their encampment, "there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud", and the people assembled at the base of the mount. After "the LORD came down upon mount Sinai", Moses went up briefly and returned and prepared the people, and then in Exodus 20 "God spoke" to all the people the words of the covenant, "even ten commandments" as it is written. The people were afraid to hear more and moved "afar off" and even Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake". Nevertheless, he drew near the "thick darkness" to hear the additional statutes and "judgments", (Exodus 21–23) all which he "wrote" in the "book of the covenant" which he read to the people the next morning, and they agreed to be obedient and do all that the LORD had said. Moses escorted a select group consisting of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and "seventy of the elders of Israel" to a location on the mount where they worshipped "afar off" and they "saw the God of Israel" above a "paved work" like clear sapphire stone. (Exodus 24:1-11)

And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into 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. 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. —First mention of the tablets in Exodus 24:12,13

The mount was covered by the cloud for six days, after which Moses went into the midst of the cloud and was "in the mount forty days and forty nights." (Exodus 24:16-18) And Moses said, "the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly." (Deuteronomy 9:10) Before the full forty days expired, the children of Israel decided that something happened to Moses, and compelled Aaron to fashion a golden calf, and he "built an altar before it" (Ex.32:1–5) and the people "worshipped" the calf. (Ex.32:6–8) After the full forty days, Moses and Joshua came down from the mountain with the tables of stone: "And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount." (Ex.32:19) After the events in chapters 32 and 33, the LORD told Moses, "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." (Ex.34:1) "And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me." (Deuteronomy 10:4)

According to Jewish tradition, Exodus 20:1–17 constitutes God's first recitation and inscription of the ten commandments on the two tables, which were broken in pieces by Moses, and later rewritten on replacement stones and placed in the ark of the covenant; and Deuteronomy 5:4–20 consists of God's re-telling of the ten commandments to the younger generation who were to enter the promised land. The passages in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 contain more than ten imperative statements, totalling 14 or 15 in all.

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