At Mount Sinai

19 On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt(A)—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai.(B) After they set out from Rephidim,(C) they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.(D)

Then Moses went up to God,(E) and the Lord called(F) 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: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt,(G) and how I carried you on eagles’ wings(H) and brought you to myself.(I) Now if you obey me fully(J) and keep my covenant,(K) then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.(L) Although the whole earth(M) is mine, you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests(N) and a holy nation.’(O) These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

So Moses went back and summoned the elders(P) of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak.(Q) The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.”(R) So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud,(S) so that the people will hear me speaking(T) with you and will always put their trust(U) 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(V) them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes(W) 11 and be ready by the third day,(X) because on that day the Lord will come down(Y) on Mount Sinai(Z) in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits(AA) 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(AB) 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(AC) sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”(AD)

14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes.(AE) 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain(AF) from sexual relations.”

16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder(AG) and lightning, with a thick cloud(AH) over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast.(AI) Everyone in the camp trembled.(AJ) 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.(AK) 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke,(AL) because the Lord descended on it in fire.(AM) The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace,(AN) and the whole mountain[b] trembled(AO) violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice(AP) of God answered(AQ) him.[c]

20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai(AR) 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(AS) the Lord and many of them perish.(AT) 22 Even the priests, who approach(AU) the Lord, must consecrate(AV) themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”(AW)

23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai,(AX) because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits(AY) around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”

24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron(AZ) 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.”(BA)

25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

The Ten Commandments(BB)

20 And God spoke(BC) all these words:(BD)

“I am the Lord your God,(BE) who brought you out(BF) of Egypt,(BG) out of the land of slavery.(BH)

“You shall have no other gods before[d] me.(BI)

“You shall not make for yourself an image(BJ) in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship(BK) them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,(BL) punishing the children for the sin of the parents(BM) to the third and fourth generation(BN) of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand(BO) generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.(BP)

“Remember the Sabbath(BQ) day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,(BR) 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath(BS) 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,(BT) the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested(BU) on the seventh day.(BV) Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother,(BW) so that you may live long(BX) in the land(BY) the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.(BZ)

14 “You shall not commit adultery.(CA)

15 “You shall not steal.(CB)

16 “You shall not give false testimony(CC) against your neighbor.(CD)

17 “You shall not covet(CE) 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(CF) and saw the mountain in smoke,(CG) they trembled with fear.(CH) They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak(CI) to us or we will die.”(CJ)

20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid.(CK) God has come to test(CL) you, so that the fear(CM) of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”(CN)

21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness(CO) 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:(CP) 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me;(CQ) do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.(CR)

24 “‘Make an altar(CS) of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings(CT) and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name(CU) to be honored, I will come to you and bless(CV) 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(CW) on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts(CX) may be exposed.’


  1. Exodus 19:6 Or possession, for the whole earth is mine. You
  2. Exodus 19:18 Most Hebrew manuscripts; a few Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint and all the people
  3. Exodus 19:19 Or and God answered him with thunder
  4. Exodus 20:3 Or besides

God’s Angel to Prepare the Way

20 “See, I am sending an angel(A) ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.(B) 21 Pay attention to him and listen(C) to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive(D) your rebellion,(E) since my Name(F) is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do(G) all that I say, I will be an enemy(H) to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites,(I) and I will wipe them out. 24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship(J) them or follow their practices.(K) You must demolish(L) them and break their sacred stones(M) to pieces. 25 Worship the Lord your God,(N) and his blessing(O) will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness(P) from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren(Q) in your land. I will give you a full life span.(R)

27 “I will send my terror(S) ahead of you and throw into confusion(T) every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.(U) 28 I will send the hornet(V) ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites(W) out of your way. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals(X) too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession(Y) of the land.

31 “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea[a] to the Mediterranean Sea,[b] and from the desert to the Euphrates River.(Z) I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out(AA) before you. 32 Do not make a covenant(AB) with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare(AC) to you.”

The Covenant Confirmed

24 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron,(AD) Nadab and Abihu,(AE) and seventy of the elders(AF) of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach(AG) the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”

When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws,(AH) they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.”(AI) Moses then wrote(AJ) down everything the Lord had said.

He got up early the next morning and built an altar(AK) at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars(AL) representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings(AM) and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings(AN) to the Lord. Moses(AO) took half of the blood(AP) and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed(AQ) against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant(AR) and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”(AS)

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people(AT) and said, “This is the blood of the covenant(AU) that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders(AV) of Israel went up 10 and saw(AW) the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli,(AX) as bright blue as the sky.(AY) 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw(AZ) God, and they ate and drank.(BA)

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone(BB) with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”

13 Then Moses set out with Joshua(BC) his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain(BD) of God. 14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur(BE) are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute(BF) can go to them.”

15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud(BG) covered it, 16 and the glory(BH) of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai.(BI) For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud.(BJ) 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire(BK) on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty(BL) days and forty nights.(BM)


  1. Exodus 23:31 Or the Sea of Reeds
  2. Exodus 23:31 Hebrew to the Sea of the Philistines

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