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Exodus 19-20 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Israel at Sinai

19 In the third month from the very day the Israelites left the land of Egypt, they came to the Sinai Wilderness. They traveled from Rephidim, came to the Sinai Wilderness, and camped in the wilderness. Israel camped there in front of the mountain.

Moses went up the mountain to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob and explain to the Israelites: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant, you will be my own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”

After Moses came back, he summoned the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. Then all the people responded together, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” So Moses brought the people’s words back to the Lord.

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear when I speak with you and will always believe you.” Moses reported the people’s words to the Lord, 10 and the Lord told Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. They must wash their clothes 11 and be prepared by the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put boundaries for the people all around the mountain and say: Be careful that you don’t go up on the mountain or touch its base. Anyone who touches the mountain must be put to death. 13 No hand may touch him;[a] instead he will be stoned or shot with arrows and not live, whether animal or human. When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they may go up the mountain.”

14 Then Moses came down from the mountain to the people and consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15 He said to the people, “Be prepared by the third day. Do not have sexual relations with women.”

16 On the third day, when morning came, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people in the camp shuddered. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder.

20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai at the top of the mountain. Then the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and he went up. 21 The Lord directed Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to see the Lord; otherwise many of them will die. 22 Even the priests who come near the Lord must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out in anger against them.”

23 Moses responded to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, since you warned us: Put a boundary around the mountain and consecrate it.” 24 And the Lord replied to him, “Go down and come back with Aaron. But the priests and the people must not break through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out in anger against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

The Ten Commandments

20 Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Do not have other gods besides me.

Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ iniquity, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.

Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates. 11 For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 Do not murder.

14 Do not commit adultery.

15 Do not steal.

16 Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The People’s Reaction

18 All the people witnessed[b] the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it[c] they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 “You speak to us, and we will listen,” they said to Moses, “but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.”

20 Moses responded to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not[d] sin.” 21 And the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the total darkness where God was.

Moses Receives Additional Laws

22 Then the Lord told Moses, “This is what you are to say to the Israelites: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. 23 Do not make gods of silver to rival me; do not make gods of gold for yourselves.

24 “Make an earthen altar for me, and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your flocks and herds. I will come to you and bless you in every place where I cause my name to be remembered. 25 If you make a stone altar for me, do not build it out of cut stones. If you use your chisel on it, you will defile it. 26 Do not go up to my altar on steps, so that your nakedness is not exposed on it.

Footnotes:

  1. 19:13 Or it
  2. 20:18 Lit saw
  3. 20:18 Sam, LXX, Syr, Tg, Vg read smoke. The people (or they) were afraid,
  4. 20:20 Lit that the fear of him may be in you, and you do not
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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