Exodus 19-20 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Israel at Sinai
19 Exactly three months after the Israelites had left Egypt, they reached the Desert of Sinai. 2 They had left Rephidim and had come to the Desert of Sinai. The Israelites camped in the desert in front of Mount Sinai. 3 Then Moses went up on the mountain to God. The Lord called to him from the mountain. The Lord said, “Say this to the family of Jacob. And tell this to the people of Israel: 4 ‘Every one of you has seen what I did to the people of Egypt. You saw how I carried you out of Egypt. I did it as an eagle carries her young on her wings. And I brought you here to me. 5 So now obey me and keep my agreement. Do this, and you will be my own possession, chosen from all nations. Even though the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be my kingdom of priests. You will be a nation that belongs to me alone.’ You must tell the Israelites these words.”
7 So Moses went down and called the elders of the people together. He told them all the words the Lord had commanded him to say. 8 And all the people answered together, “We will do everything he has said.” Then Moses took their answer back to the Lord.
9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud. I will speak to you. The people will hear me talking to you. I will do this so the people will always trust you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and have them spend today and tomorrow preparing themselves. They must wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the day after tomorrow. On that day I, the Lord, will come down on Mount Sinai. And all the people will see me. 12 But you must set a limit around the mountain. The people are not to cross it. Tell the people not to go up on the mountain. Tell them not to touch the foot of it. Anyone who touches the mountain must be put to death. 13 He must be put to death with stones or shot with arrows. No one is allowed to touch him. Whether it is a person or an animal, he will not live. But the trumpet will make a long blast. Only then may the people go up on the mountain.”
14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He made them prepare themselves for service to God. And the people washed their clothes. 15 Then Moses said to the people, “Be ready in three days. Do not have physical relations during this time.”
16 It was the morning of the third day. There was thunder and lightning with a thick cloud on the mountain. And there was a very loud blast from a trumpet. All the people in the camp were frightened. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God. They stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke. This happened because the Lord came down on it in fire. The smoke rose from the mountain like smoke from a furnace. And the whole mountain shook wildly. 19 The sound from the trumpet became louder. Then Moses spoke, and the voice of God answered him.
20 So the Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai. Then he called Moses to come up to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up. 21 The Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people. They must not force their way through to see me. If they do, many of them will die. 22 Even the priests, who may come near me, must first prepare themselves. If they don’t, I, the Lord, will punish them.”
23 Moses told the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai. You yourself told us to set a limit around the mountain. We made it holy.”
24 The Lord said to him, “Go down and bring Aaron with you. But don’t allow the priests or the people to force their way through. They must not come up to the Lord. If they do, I will punish them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them these things.
The Ten Commandments
20 Then God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt where you were slaves.
3 “You must not have any other gods except me.
4 “You must not make for yourselves any idols. Don’t make something that looks like anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the water below the land. 5 You must not worship or serve any idol. This is because I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. A person may sin against me and hate me. I will punish his children, even his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 6 But I will be very kind to thousands who love me and obey my commands.
7 “You must not use the name of the Lord your God thoughtlessly. The Lord will punish anyone who is guilty and misuses his name.
8 “Remember to keep the Sabbath as a holy day. 9 You may work and get everything done during six days each week. 10 But the seventh day is a day of rest to honor the Lord your God. On that day no one may do any work: not you, your son or daughter, or your men or women slaves. Neither your animals nor the foreigners living in your cities may work. 11 The reason is that in six days the Lord made everything. He made the sky, earth, sea and everything in them. And on the seventh day, he rested. So the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother. Then you will live a long time in the land. The Lord your God is going to give you this land.
13 “You must not murder anyone.
14 “You must not be guilty of adultery.
15 “You must not steal.
16 “You must not tell lies about your neighbor in court.
17 “You must not want to take your neighbor’s house. You must not want his wife or his men or women slaves. You must not want his ox or his donkey. You must not want to take anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
18 The people heard the thunder and the trumpet. They saw the lightning on the mountain and smoke rising from the mountain. They shook with fear and stood far away from the mountain. 19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself. Then we will listen. But don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.”
20 Then Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you. He wants you to respect him so you will not sin.”
21 The people stood far away from the mountain while Moses went near the dark cloud where God was. 22 Then the Lord told Moses to say these things to the Israelites: “You yourselves have seen that I talked with you from heaven. 23 You must not use gold or silver to make idols for yourselves. You must not worship these false gods in addition to me.
24 “Make an altar of dirt for me. Offer your whole burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on this altar as a sacrifice to me. Use your sheep and your cattle to do this. Worship me in every place that I choose. Then I will come and bless you. 25 You may use stones to make an altar for me. But don’t use stones that you have made smooth with tools. You must not use any tools on the stones. If you do, you make them unsuitable for use in worship. 26 And you must not make steps leading up to my altar. If you go up steps, people will be able to see under your clothes.”
Exodus 19-20 New International Version (NIV)
At Mount Sinai
19 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. 8 The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”
14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain[b] trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.[c]
20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”
23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”
24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
The Ten Commandments
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[d] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Idols and Altars
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
24 “‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’