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Exodus 18:1-20:23 Names of God Bible (NOG)

Moses’ Father-in-law Visits Israel’s Camp

18 Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything Elohim had done for Moses and his people Israel and how Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt. When Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro had taken her in, along with her two sons. The one son was named Gershom [Foreigner], because Moses said, “I was a foreigner living in another country.” The name of the other was Eliezer [My God Is a Helper], because he said, “My father’s Elohim was my helper. He saved me from Pharaoh’s death sentence.”

Moses’ father-in-law Jethro brought Moses’ sons and wife to Moses in the desert where he was camped near the mountain of Elohim. Jethro had sent word to Moses, “I’m coming to visit you, and I’m bringing your wife and her two sons.”

So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. Moses bowed with his face touching the ground and kissed Jethro. After they asked each other how they were, they went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law everything Yahweh had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel, all the hardships they had had on the way, and how Yahweh had saved them.

Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things Yahweh had done for Israel in rescuing them from the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Thank Yahweh! He rescued you from the Egyptians and their Pharaoh and rescued these people from the control of the Egyptians, 11 who treated Israel with contempt. Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all other gods.”

12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to Elohim. Aaron and all the leaders of Israel came to eat the meal with Moses’ father-in-law in Elohim’s presence.

13 The next day Moses was settling disagreements among the people. The people stood around Moses from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw everything Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “Why are you doing this for the people? Why do you sit here alone, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?”

15 Moses answered his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to find out Elohim’s will. 16 Whenever they have a disagreement and bring it to me, I decide which person is right, and I tell them Elohim’s laws and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you’re doing is not good. 18 You and your people will wear yourselves out. This is too much work for you. You can’t do it alone! 19 Now listen to me, and I’ll give you some advice. May Elohim be with you! You must be the people’s representative to Elohim and bring their disagreements to Elohim. 20 You must instruct them in the laws and the teachings, show them how to live, and tell them what to do.

21 “But choose capable men from all the people, men who fear Elohim, men you can trust, men who hate corruption. Put them in charge of groups of 1,000, or 100, or 50, or 10 people. 22 Let them be the ones who usually settle disagreements among the people. They should bring all important cases to you, but they should settle all minor cases themselves. Make it easier for yourself by letting them help you. 23 If Elohim commands you, and you do this, you will be able to continue your work, and all these people will have their disagreements settled so that they can go home.”

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 Moses chose capable men from all the Israelites and put them in charge of groups of 1,000, or 100, or 50, or 10 people. 26 These men were the ones who usually settled disagreements among the people. They would bring difficult cases to Moses, but they settled all minor ones themselves.

27 Moses sent his father-in-law on his way. So Jethro went back to his own country.

Israel at Mount Sinai

19 Two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sinai. Israel had moved from Rephidim and had come into the desert of Sinai. They had set up camp there in front of the mountain.

Then Moses went up the mountain to Elohim, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain, “This is what you must say to the descendants of Jacob. Tell the Israelites, ‘You have seen for yourselves what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to my mountain. If you carefully obey me and are faithful to the terms of my promise,[a] then out of all the nations you will be my own special possession, even though the whole world is mine. You will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.’ These are the words you must speak to the Israelites.”

So Moses went down and called for the leaders of the people. He repeated to them all the words that Yahweh had commanded him. All the people answered together, “We will do everything Yahweh has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to Yahweh.

Yahweh said to Moses, “I am coming to you in a storm cloud so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always believe you.” Moses told Yahweh what the people had said.

10 So Yahweh said to Moses, “Go to the people, and tell them they have two days to get ready. They must set themselves apart as holy. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the day after tomorrow. On that day Yahweh will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch. 12 Mark off a boundary around the mountain for the people, and tell them not to go up the mountain or even touch it. Those who touch the mountain must be put to death. 13 No one should touch them. They must be stoned or shot with arrows. No matter whether it’s an animal or a person, it must not live. The people may go up the mountain only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast.”

14 After Moses went down the mountain to the people, he had them get ready, and they washed their clothes. 15 Then Moses said to the people, “Be ready two days from now. Don’t disqualify yourselves by having sexual intercourse.”

16 On the morning of the second day, there was thunder and lightning with a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud blast from a ram’s horn was heard. All the people in the camp shook with fear. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with Elohim, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because Yahweh had come down on it in fire. Smoke rose from the mountain like the smoke from a kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the sound of the horn grew louder and louder, Moses was speaking, and the voice of Elohim answered him.

20 Yahweh came down on top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up. 21 Yahweh said to him, “Go down and warn the people not to force their way through the boundary to see Yahweh, or many of them will die. 22 Even the priests who are allowed to come near Yahweh must set themselves apart as holy, or Yahweh will violently kill them.”

23 Moses said to Yahweh, “The people can’t come up Mount Sinai, because you warned us yourself to mark off a boundary around the mountain and consider it holy.”

24 Yahweh said to him, “Go down, and bring Aaron back with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through the boundary to come up to Yahweh, or he will violently kill them.”

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

The Ten Commandments

20 Then Elohim spoke all these words:

“I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of slavery in Egypt.

“Never have any other god. Never make your own carved idols or statues that represent any creature in the sky, on the earth, or in the water. Never worship them or serve them, because I, Yahweh your Elohim, am El Kanna. I punish children for their parents’ sins to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. But I show mercy to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my commandments.

“Never use the name of Yahweh your Elohim carelessly. Yahweh will make sure that anyone who carelessly uses his name will be punished.

“Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day. You have six days to do all your work. 10 The seventh day is the day of worship dedicated to Yahweh your Elohim. You, your sons, your daughters, your male and female slaves, your cattle, and the foreigners living in your city must never do any work on that day. 11 In six days Yahweh made heaven, earth, and the sea, along with everything in them. He didn’t work on the seventh day. That’s why Yahweh blessed the day he stopped his work and set this day apart as holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live for a long time in the land Yahweh your Elohim is giving you.

13 “Never murder.

14 “Never commit adultery.

15 “Never steal.

16 “Never lie when you testify about your neighbor.

17 “Never desire to take your neighbor’s household away from him.

“Never desire to take your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that belongs to him.”

The People’s Reaction

18 All the people heard the thunder and saw the lightning. They heard the blast of the ram’s horn and saw the mountain covered with smoke. So they shook with fear and stood at a distance. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we’ll listen. But don’t let Elohim speak to us, or we’ll die!”

20 Moses answered the people, “Don’t be afraid! Elohim has come only to test you, so that you will be in awe of him and won’t sin.”

21 The people kept their distance while Moses went closer to the dark cloud where Elohim was.

General Rules for Worship

22 Yahweh said to Moses, “This is what you must say to the Israelites: You’ve seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven. 23 Never make any gods of silver or gold for yourselves. Never worship them.


  1. Exodus 19:5 Or “terms of my covenant.”
Names of God Bible (NOG)

The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.


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