Shemot (Exodus): Yitro > Ch 19

Children of Israel encamp in the desert of Sinai opposite the mountains. G-d prepares Israel for His descent upon Mt. Sinai

  • They arrive in the 3rd month after departure from Egypt.
  • Moses ascended to G-d, and G-d told him: So shall you say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel, You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles' wings, and I brought you to Me. And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.
  • Moses summoned the elders of Israel and all the people replied in unison and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we shall do!"
  • G-d told Moses:
    • Behold, I am coming to you in the thickness of the cloud, in order that the people hear when I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever.
    • Go to the people and prepare them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their garments. And they shall be prepared for the third day,
    • For on the third day, the Lord will descend before the eyes of all the people upon Mount Sinai.
    • And you shall set boundaries for the people around, saying, Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.'
    • No hand shall touch it, for he shall be stoned or cast down; whether man or beast, he shall not live.
    • When the ram's horn sounds a long, drawn out blast, they may ascend the mountain."
  • Moses descended from the mountain and he prepared the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, "Be ready for three days; do not go near a woman."


G-d descends upon Mt. Sinai

  • On the third day, in the morning,
    • There were thunder claps and lightning flashes
    • And a thick cloud was upon the mountain
    • And a very powerful blast of a shofar
    • The entire nation that was in the camp shuddered. Moses brought the people out toward G-d from the camp, and they stood at the bottom of the mountain.
    • The entire Mount Sinai smoked because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and its smoke ascended like the smoke of the kiln
    • And the entire mountain quaked violently.
  • The sound of the shofar grew increasingly stronger; Moses would speak and G-d would answer him with a voice. G-d descended to the peak of Mount Sinai, He summoned Moses and told him: Go down, warn the people lest they break [their formation to go nearer] to the Lord, and many of them will fall. And also, the priests who go near to the Lord shall prepare themselves, lest the Lord wreak destruction upon them.
  • Moses replied that the people have already been warned, but G-d insisted that Moses should warn them again. Moses did so, then ascended again and brought Aaron with him as G-d has commanded.


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