Exodus 19

Moses on Sinai

1 1In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of 2Sinai.
2 When they set out from 3Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of 4the mountain.
3 Moses went up to God, and 5the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:
4 '6You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on 7eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself.
5 'Now then, 8if you will indeed obey My voice and 9keep My covenant, then you shall be 10My own possession among all the peoples, for 11all the earth is Mine;
6 and you shall be to Me 12a kingdom of priests and 13a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel."
7 14So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him.
8 15All the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.
9 The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will come to you in 16a thick cloud, so that the 17people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever." Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.
10 The LORD also said to Moses, "Go to the people and 18consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them 19wash their garments;
11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on 20the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
12 "You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, 'Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; 21whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.
13 'No hand shall touch him, but 22he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.' When the ram's horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to 23the mountain."
14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments.
15 He said to the people, "Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman."
16 24So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

The LORD Visits Sinai

18 25Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because * * the LORD descended upon it 26in fire; and its smoke ascended like 27the smoke of a furnace, and 28the whole mountain quaked violently.
19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and 29God answered him with thunder.
20 30The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
21 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, "Go down, warn the people, so that 31they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
22 "Also let the 32priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them."
23 Moses said to the LORD, "The people cannot * come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, '33Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.' "
24 Then the LORD said to him, "Go * down and come up again, 34you and Aaron with you; but do not let the 35priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them."
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Exodus 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

The people come to Sinai, God's message to them, and their answer. (1-8) The people directed to prepare to hear the law. (9-15) The presence of God on Sinai. (16-25)

Verses 1-8 Moses was called up the mountain, and was employed as the messenger of this covenant. The Maker and first Mover of the covenant, is God himself. This blessed charter was granted out of God's own free grace. The covenant here mentioned was the national covenant, by which the Israelites were a people under the government of Jehovah. It was a type of the new covenant made with true believers in Christ Jesus; but, like other types, it was only a shadow of good things to come. As a nation they broke this covenant; therefore the Lord declared that he would make a new covenant with Israel, writing his law, not upon tables of stone, but in their hearts, ( Jeremiah 31:33 , Hebrews 8:7-10 ) . The covenant spoken of in these places as ready to vanish away, is the national covenant with Israel, which they forfeited by their sins. Unless we carefully attend to this, we shall fall into mistakes while reading the Old Testament. We must not suppose that the nation of the Jews were under the covenant of works, which knows nothing of repentance, faith in a Mediator, forgiveness of sins, or grace; nor yet that the whole nation of Israel bore the character, and possessed the privileges of true believers, as being actually sharers in the covenant of grace. They were all under a dispensation of mercy; they had outward privileges and advantages for salvation; but, like professing Christians, most rested therein, and went no further. Israel consented to the conditions. They answered as one man, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. Oh that there had been such a heart in them! Moses, as a mediator, returned the words of the people to God. Thus Christ, the Mediator, as a Prophet, reveals God's will to us, his precepts and promises; and then, as a Priest, offers up to God our spiritual sacrifices, not only of prayer and praise, but of devout affections, and pious resolutions, the work of his own Spirit in us.

Verses 9-15 The solemn manner in which the law was delivered, was to impress the people with a right sense of the Divine majesty. Also to convince them of their own guilt, and to show that they could not stand in judgment before God by their own obedience. In the law, the sinner discovers what he ought to be, what he is, and what he wants. There he learns the nature, necessity, and glory of redemption, and of being made holy. Having been taught to flee to Christ, and to love him, the law is the rule of his obedience and faith.

Verses 16-25 Never was there such a sermon preached, before or since, as this which was preached to the church in the wilderness. It might be supposed that the terrors would have checked presumption and curiosity in the people; but the hard heart of an unawakened sinner can trifle with the most terrible threatenings and judgments. In drawing near to God, we must never forget his holiness and greatness, nor our own meanness and pollution. We cannot stand in judgment before him according to his righteous law. The convinced transgressor asks, What must I do to be saved? and he hears the voice, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. The Holy Ghost, who made the law to convince of sin, now takes of the things of Christ, and shows them to us. In the gospel we read, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Through him we are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses. But the Divine law is binding as a rule of life. The Son of God came down from heaven, and suffered poverty, shame, agony, and death, not only to redeem us from its curse, but to bind us more closely to keep its commands.

Cross References 35

  • 1. Exodus 12:6, 51; Exodus 16:1
  • 2. Deuteronomy 1:6; Deuteronomy 4:10, 15; Deuteronomy 5:2
  • 3. Exodus 17:1; Numbers 33:15
  • 4. Exodus 3:1, 12; Exodus 18:5
  • 5. Exodus 3:4
  • 6. Deuteronomy 29:2
  • 7. Deuteronomy 32:11; Revelation 12:14
  • 8. Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 5:2
  • 9. Psalms 78:10
  • 10. Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18; Psalms 135:4; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9
  • 11. Exodus 9:29; Deuteronomy 10:14; Job 41:11; Psalms 50:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • 12. 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10
  • 13. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:21; Deuteronomy 26:19; Isaiah 62:12
  • 14. Exodus 4:29, 30
  • 15. Exodus 4:31; Exodus 24:3, 7; Deuteronomy 5:27; Deuteronomy 26:17
  • 16. Exodus 19:16; Exodus 24:15, 16; Deuteronomy 4:11; Psalms 99:7
  • 17. Deuteronomy 4:12, 36
  • 18. Leviticus 11:44, 45
  • 19. Genesis 35:2; Leviticus 15:5; Numbers 8:7, 21; Numbers 19:19; Revelation 22:14
  • 20. Exodus 19:16
  • 21. Hebrews 12:20
  • 22. Hebrews 12:20
  • 23. Exodus 19:17
  • 24. Heb 12:18, 19, 21
  • 25. Deuteronomy 4:11; Psalms 104:32; Psalms 144:5
  • 26. Exodus 3:2; Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 5:4; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3; Hebrews 12:18
  • 27. Genesis 15:17; Genesis 19:28
  • 28. Judges 5:5; Psalms 68:7, 8; Jeremiah 4:24
  • 29. Psalms 81:7
  • 30. Nehemiah 9:13
  • 31. Exodus 3:5; 1 Samuel 6:19
  • 32. Exodus 19:24; Exodus 24:5; Leviticus 10:3; Leviticus 21:6-8
  • 33. Exodus 19:12
  • 34. Ex 24:1, 9, 12
  • 35. Exodus 19:22

Footnotes 12

Chapter Summary


In this chapter we have an account of the coming of the children of Israel to Mount Sinai, Ex 19:1,2, of the covenant made with them there, the proposal on the part of God, and their acceptance of it, Ex 19:3-8, the previous notice God gave three days before of his appearance on the mount, the orders for their preparation to meet him, and the execution of them, Ex 19:9-15, the awful and tremendous appearance of God upon the mount, Ex 19:6-20 and the strict charge given, that neither people nor priests should come near and gaze, only Moses and Aaron with him were to come up, bounds being set to prevent the rest, Ex 19:21-24, and the chapter is closed with observing, that Moses went down from the mount, and delivered to the people what the Lord spoke to and by him, Ex 19:25.

Exodus 19 Commentaries

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