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You have seen how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.(A) Now, if you obey me completely and keep my covenant,[a] you will be my treasured possession among all peoples,(B) though all the earth is mine. You will be to me a kingdom of priests,[b] a holy nation.(C) That is what you must tell the Israelites.

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Footnotes

  1. 19:5 Covenant: while covenants between individuals and between nations are ubiquitous in the ancient Near East, the adaptation of this concept to express the relationship that will henceforth characterize God’s relationship to Israel represents an important innovation of biblical faith. Other gods might “choose” nations to fulfill a special destiny or role in the world; but only Israel’s God is bound to a people by covenant. Thereby Israel’s identity as a people is put upon a foundation that does not depend upon the vicissitudes of Israelite statehood or the normal trappings of national existence. Israel will be a covenant people.
  2. 19:6 Kingdom of priests: inasmuch as this phrase is parallel to “holy nation,” it most likely means that the whole Israelite nation is set apart from other nations and so consecrated to God, or holy, in the way priests are among the people (cf. Is 61:6; 1 Pt 2:5, 9).

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