Exactly three months after the people of Israel left Egypt, they came to the Desert of Sinai.
After they started out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai. They camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.
Then Moses went up to God. The LORD called out to him from the mountain. He said, "Here is what I want you to say to my people, who came from Jacob's family. Tell the Israelites,
'You have seen for yourselves what I did to Egypt. You saw how I carried you on the wings of eagles and brought you to myself.
" 'Now obey me completely. Keep my covenant. If you do, then out of all of the nations you will be my special treasure. The whole earth is mine.
But you will be a kingdom of priests to serve me. You will be my holy nation.' That is what you must tell the Israelites."
So Moses went back. He sent for the elders of the people. He explained to them everything the LORD had commanded him to say.
All of the people answered together. They said, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
The LORD spoke to Moses. He said, "I am going to come to you in a thick cloud. The people will hear me speaking with you. They will always put their trust in you." Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said.
The LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people. Today and tomorrow set them apart for me. Have them wash their clothes.
Have the people ready by the third day. On that day I will come down on Mount Sinai. Everyone will see it.
"Put limits for the people around the mountain. Tell them, 'Be careful that you do not go up the mountain. Do not even touch the foot of it. You can be sure that all who touch the mountain will be put to death.
Do not lay a hand on any of them. Kill them with stones or shoot them with arrows. Whether they are people or animals, do not let them live.' They may go up to the mountain only when the ram's horn gives out a long blast."
Moses went down the mountain to the people. After he set them apart for the Lord, they washed their clothes.
Then he spoke to the people. He said, "Get ready for the third day. Don't make love."
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning. A thick cloud covered the mountain. A trumpet gave out a very loud blast. Everyone in the camp trembled with fear.
Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God. They stood at the foot of the mountain.
Smoke covered Mount Sinai, because the LORD came down on it in fire. The smoke rose up from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain trembled and shook.
The sound of the trumpet got louder and louder. Then Moses spoke. And the voice of God answered him.
The LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai. He told Moses to come to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up.
The LORD said to him, "Go down and warn the people. They must not force their way through to see me. If they do, many of them will die.
The priests approach me when they serve me. But even they must set themselves apart for me. If they do not, my anger will break out against them."
Moses said to the Lord, "The people can't come up Mount Sinai. You yourself warned us. You said, 'Put limits around the mountain. Set it apart as holy.' "
The LORD replied, "Go down. Bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through. They must not come up to me. If they do, my anger will break out against them."
So Moses went down to the people and told them.
Here are all of the words God spoke. He said,
"I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt. That is the land where you were slaves.
"Do not put any other gods in place of me.
"Do not make statues of gods that look like anything in the sky or on the earth or in the waters.
Do not bow down to them or worship them. I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God. I punish the children for the sin of their parents. I punish the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who hate me.
But for all time to come I show love to all those who love me and keep my commandments.
"Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will find guilty anyone who misuses his name.
"Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Do all of your work in six days.
But the seventh day is a Sabbath in honor of the LORD your God. Do not do any work on that day. The same command applies to your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and your animals. It also applies to any outsiders who live in your cities.
In six days I made the heavens and the earth. I made the oceans and everything in them. But I rested on the seventh day. So I blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
"Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long time in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
"Do not commit murder.
"Do not commit adultery.
"Do not steal.
"Do not give false witness against your neighbor.
"Do not long for anything that belongs to your neighbor. Do not long for your neighbor's house, wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey."
The people saw the thunder and lightning. They heard the trumpet. They saw the mountain covered with smoke. They trembled with fear and stayed a long way off.
They said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself. Then we'll listen. But don't let God speak to us. If he does, we'll die."
Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid. God has come to put you to the test. He wants you to have respect for him. That will keep you from sinning."
Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. But the people remained a long way off.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Here is what you must tell the people of Israel. Say to them, 'You have seen for yourselves what I said to you from heaven.
Do not put any other gods in place of me. Do not make silver or gold statues of them for yourselves.
" 'Make an altar out of dirt for me. Sacrifice your burnt offerings and friendship offerings on it. Sacrifice your sheep, goats and cattle on it. I will come to you and bless you everywhere I cause my name to be honored.
" 'If you make an altar out of stones in honor of me, do not build it with blocks of stone. You will make it "unclean" if you use a tool on it.
" 'Do not walk up steps to my altar. If you do, someone might see your naked body under your robes.'
"Suppose you buy a Hebrew servant. He must serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, you must set him free. He does not have to pay anything.
"If he does not have a wife when he comes, he must go free alone. But if he has a wife when he comes, she must go with him.
Suppose his master gives him a wife. And suppose she has sons or daughters by him. Then only the man will go free. The woman and her children will belong to her master.
"But suppose the servant says, 'I love my master and my wife and children. I don't want to go free.'
Then his master must take him to the judges. He must be taken to the door or doorpost of his master's house. His master must poke a hole through his ear lobe into the doorpost. Then he will become his servant for life.
"Suppose a man sells his daughter as a servant. Then she can't go free as male servants do.
"But what if the master who has chosen her does not like her? Then he must let the man buy her back. He has no right to sell her to strangers. He has broken his promise to her.
"What if he chooses her to get married to his son? Then he must grant her the rights of a daughter.
"What if he marries another woman? He must still give the first one her food and clothes and make love to her.
If he does not provide her with those three things, she can go free. She does not have to pay anything.
"You can be sure that if anyone hits and kills someone else, he will be put to death.
Suppose he did not do it on purpose. Suppose I let it happen. Then he can escape to a place I will choose.
But suppose he kills someone on purpose. Then take him away from my altar and put him to death.
"If anyone attacks his father or mother, he will be put to death.
"If anyone kidnaps and sells another person, he will be put to death. If he still has the person with him when he is caught, he will be put to death.
"If anyone calls down a curse on his father or mother, he will be put to death.
"Suppose two men get into a fight and argue with each other. One hits the other with a stone or his fist. He does not die but has to stay in bed.
And later he gets up and walks around outside with his walking stick. Then the man who hit him will not be held accountable. But he must pay the one who was hurt for the time he spent in bed. He must be sure that the person is completely healed.
"Suppose a man beats his male or female slave to death with a club. Then he must be punished.
But he will not be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two. After all, the slave is his property.
"Suppose some men are fighting and one of them hits a pregnant woman. And suppose she has her baby early but is not badly hurt. Then the man who hurt her must pay a fine. He must pay what the woman's husband asks for and the court allows.
"But if someone is badly hurt, a life must be taken for a life.
An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth. A hand must be cut off for a hand and a foot for a foot.
A burn must be given for a burn, a wound for a wound, and a bruise for a bruise.
"Suppose a man hits his male or female servant in the eye and destroys it. Then he must let the servant go free to pay for the eye.
"Suppose he knocks out the tooth of a male or female servant. Then he must let the servant go free to pay for the tooth.
"Suppose a bull kills a man or woman with its horns. Then you must kill the bull by throwing stones at it. Its meat must not be eaten. The owner of the bull will not be held accountable.
"But suppose the bull has had the habit of attacking people. And suppose the owner has been warned but has not kept it fenced in. Then if it kills a man or woman, you must kill it with stones. The owner must also be put to death.
"But suppose payment is required of him instead. Then he can save his life by paying what is required.
"The same law applies if the bull wounds a son or daughter with its horns.
"Suppose the bull wounds a male or female slave. Then the owner must pay the slave's master 12 ounces of silver. You must kill the bull with stones.
"Suppose a man uncovers a pit or digs one and does not cover it. And suppose an ox or donkey falls into it.
Then the owner of the pit must pay the animal's owner for the loss. The dead animal will belong to the owner of the pit.
"Suppose a man's bull wounds a neighbor's bull and it dies. Then they must sell the live one. And they must share the money and the dead animal equally.
"But suppose people knew that the bull had the habit of attacking. And suppose the owner did not keep it fenced in. Then he must give another animal to pay for the dead animal. The dead animal will belong to him.