There shall not a hand touch it
The mountain or the border of it, which is repeated that it might be taken notice of; and to show that it would be resented if they were to stretch out their hand and only lightly touch it, much more should they set their feet upon it and attempt to ascend it: or rather, "shall not touch him" F15; that is, the man that shall touch the mountain; he shall be so detestable and abominable, whoever touches it or breaks through the bounds of it, and attempts to ascend it, that no man shall follow him to lay hold on him, in order to bring him back to justice, but shall dispatch him at once in one or other of the ways directed to:
but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through;
if near at hand, all about him shall rise upon him, and take up stones and stone him; but if he is got at a distance, then they were to shoot arrows at him; and in this way Aben Ezra interprets it; the words, says he, refer to the man that toucheth the mount, who is not to be followed and apprehended, but those that see him, and are near, abiding in the place where they are, are to stone him immediately, and if afar off they are to throw darts at him: though the Targum of Jonathan seems to understand it, as if punishment would be immediately inflicted upon such a person, not by the hands of men, but by the hand of God; for it says, such an one shall be stoned with hailstones, and fiery darts shall be spread upon him; or, as the Jerusalem Targum, shall be shot at him:
whether it be beast, or man, it shall not live;
that touches the mountain, and so it is explained, ( Hebrews 12:20 ) , the word beast comprehends all kinds of beasts, wild and tame, and all sorts of cattle, of the herd or flock; as the word "man" takes in women as well as men, as Ben Gersom observes; Aben Ezra thinks fowls are not mentioned, because they cannot be taken, but fly away immediately; but then they might be shot:
when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount;
this, according to Jarchi, was a trumpet of a ram's horn; the word used in the Arabic language signifying a ram; but it is a mere fancy and fable of his, that this was of the ram of Isaac which was sacrificed in his stead; it is much more likely that there was indeed no real trumpet, only a sound was formed like the sound of one; and, it is highly probable, was formed by the ministering angels; Aben Ezra observes, that the sound of a trumpet was never heard until the day of the decalogue, until the day that was given; and that there was not a greater wonder on Mount Sinai than this: the design and use of it was to gather, this vast body of people together, to come and hear what God had to say unto them; and when its sound was protracted to a great length, or was in one continued tone, and somewhat lower, as is usual when a trumpet is about to cease blowing, then the people were to take it as a token that they should approach the mountain; not to ascend it, but come to the lower and nether part of it, where bounds were set to direct them how far they might go, and no further: so the Septuagint version is,
``when the voices (or thunders) and the trumpets and the cloud departed from the mountain, they went up to the mountain:''a certain Jewish writer F16 interprets this, not of the people in general, but of Aaron and his sons, and of the seventy elders, see ( Exodus 19:24 ) .
F15 (vb egt al) "non tanget eum", Vatablus, Drusius, "non feriet eum", Tigurine version.
F16 R. Samuel Ben Hophni, apud Aben Ezram, in loc.