Shemot 19

1 9 In the chodesh hashelishi (third new moon), after the Bnei Yisroel had their exodus from Eretz Mitzrayim, on that very day they came into the Midbar Sinai.
2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to Midbar Sinai, and had encamped in the midbar; and there Yisroel camped before HaHar.
3 And Moshe went up to HaElohim, and Hashem called out unto him from HaHar, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the Bais Ya’akov, and declare unto the Bnei Yisroel;
4 You yourselves have seen what I did unto the Mitzrayim, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice very carefully, and be shomer over My brit, then ye shall be a segullah (treasured possession) unto Me above all people; for kol ha’aretz is Mine;
6 And ye shall be unto Me a mamlechet kohanim, and a goy kadosh. These are the words which thou shalt recount unto the Bnei Yisroel.
7 And Moshe came and summoned the Ziknei HaAm, and set authoritatively before their faces all these words just as Hashem commanded him.
8 And kol HaAm answered together, and said, All that Hashem hath spoken we will do. And Moshe brought back the words of HaAm unto Hashem.
9 And Hashem said unto Moshe, Hinei, I am coming unto thee in a thick cloud, that HaAm may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee l’olam. Then Moshe told the words of HaAm unto Hashem.
10 So Hashem said unto Moshe, Go unto HaAm, and set them apart as kodesh today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothing,
11 And be ready by Yom HaShelishi; for Yom HaShelishi Hashem will come down in the sight of kol HaAm upon Mt. Sinai.
12 And thou shalt set boundaries unto HaAm all around, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into HaHar, or touch the edge of it; whosoever toucheth HaHar shall be surely put to death;
13 There shall no yad touch him, but he shall surely be stoned, or surely mortally shot; whether it be behemah or ish, it shall not live; when the yovel soundeth long, they shall come up to HaHar.
14 So Moshe came down from HaHar unto HaAm, and set apart as kodesh HaAm; and they washed their clothes.
15 Then he said to HaAm, Be ready by Sheloshet Yamim; come not into your isha.
16 And it came to pass on the Yom HaShelishi when the boker was breaking, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a heavy cloud upon HaHar, and the blast of the shofar exceeding loud; so that kol HaAm that was in the machaneh trembled with terror.
17 And Moshe led HaAm forth out of the machaneh to encounter HaElohim; and they stood at the foot of HaHar.
18 And Mt. Sinai was altogether smoking, because Hashem descended upon it in eish; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of the furnace, and kol HaHar shook violently.
19 And when the sound of the shofar was moving [closer], and grew louder and louder, Moshe spoke, and HaElohim answered him in thunder.
20 And Hashem came down upon Mt. Sinai, onto the top of HaHar; and Hashem summoned Moshe up to the top of HaHar; and Moshe went up.
21 And Hashem said unto Moshe, Go down, warn HaAm, lest they push through toward Hashem to gaze, and many of them fall perishing.
22 And let the kohanim also, which come near to Hashem, set themselves apart as kodesh, lest Hashem break forth upon them.
23 And Moshe said unto Hashem, HaAm cannot come up to Mt. Sinai; for You Yourself charged us, saying, Establish boundaries for HaHar, and set it apart as kodesh.
24 And Hashem said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aharon with thee; but let not the kohanim and HaAm push through to come up unto Hashem, lest He break forth upon them.
25 So Moshe went down unto HaAm and told them.

Shemot 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.

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.

Shemot 19 Commentaries