Exodus 20:19-21

19 1Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die."
20 Moses said to the people, "2Do not be afraid; for God has come in order 3to test you, and in order that 4the fear of Him may remain * with you, so that you may not sin."
21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached 5the thick cloud where * God was.

Exodus 20:19-21 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 20

In this chapter we have an account of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai; the preface to it, Ex 20:1,2, the ten commandments it consists of, Ex 20:8-17, the circumstances attending it, which caused the people to remove at some distance, Ex 20:18, when they desired of Moses, that he would speak to them and not God, who bid them not fear, since this was for the trial of them; but still they kept at a distance, while Moses drew nigh to God, Ex 20:19-21 who ordered him to caution the children of Israel against idolatry, and directed what sort of an altar he would have made whereon to offer their sacrifices, promising that where his name was recorded he would grant his presence and blessing, Ex 20:22-26.

Exodus 20:19-21 In-Context

17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.
19 Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die."
20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."
21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
22 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.
23 'You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.

Cross References 5

  • 1. Deut 5:5, 23-27; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 12:19
  • 2. Exodus 14:13; Isaiah 41:10, 13
  • 3. Exodus 15:25; Deuteronomy 13:3
  • 4. Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 6:24; Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 16:6; Isaiah 8:13
  • 5. Exodus 19:16; Deuteronomy 5:22

Footnotes 3