The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 19

Exo 19:1

Exo 19: "Israel came to the mount that burned with fire! The trumpet sounded long (v 13). The word is 'yobel' (the word for Jubilee), and signifies a continuous note. Evidently this noise was continuous, the shorter notes of the shophar gradually became longer until they have the yobale (jubilee) note. In Lev 25:9, both words are used in conjunction: the 'shophar of the yobale.' The excitement of the occasion, followed the tempting of Israel in the experiences they suffered on their walk from Egypt. Now, they came into the presence of the Great Judge, so that Sinai is Biblically the place of judgment of His people, and the purpose and mode of future judgment is set in the past. The record declares: (1) Yahweh proclaims His covenant to His people: vv 1-6. (2) The people accept the covenant: vv 7-9. (3) Moses is instructed to sanctify the people: vv 10-13. (4) The people are sanctified: vv 14,15. (5) The awe-inspiring God and the trembling people: vv 16-25" (GEM).

The Israelites stayed there one full year (Num 10:11), building the tabernacle. The nation was organized there, in the lonely desert, surrounded by mountains: a people set apart!

"If we count them up and read between the lines we find that Moses went up Mt Sinai at least six times in this short [brief period]. Considering he was over 80 years old, it was quite a feat! It was up on the mountain that God chose to communicate with Moses. We can also think of other people: Abraham, David, Elijah and Jesus, who all spent time with God up on a mountain.

"To get to the top of a mountain requires dedication and determination. Mountain tops are not for people who give up easily. They are for God's hard working servants. Mountain tops also help us to get a perspective on life. From the top of a mountain we can see ourselves and our lives more like the way God sees us, when we view the smallness of the people and futile business far below. And by the time we get to the top of the mountain we are free from distractions. People, problems and the easy sinful life all tend to stay at ground level; and the clearness of the sky and horizon bring us nearer to our creator.

"We all need time up a mountain more often than we take it. We may not be physically able to climb a mountain but we can climb a spiritual mountain to free us from distractions, give us perspective and bring us together with our creator.

"Climb a mountain today" (RP).

SINAI: "Sin" (ie brambles) (Exo 16:1) with "yod" added. Thus, sig "10 brambles", the 10 commandments -- brambles to man's natural desires.

Exo 19:4

See Lesson, Eagle and its young, the.

Exo 19:5

MY TREASURED POSSESSION: "Segullah", we are told, referred to the private treasure of kings; in societies where kings were more or less absolute dictators, everything in their realm was considered to be legally their property -- but even a king could not control and spend and enjoy all properties in his kingdom, and so he would possess certain properties, properties which were set apart as his own "special treasure", his "peculiar" or unique property, and no one else's.

In the figure here, God Almighty is the great king, and all the universe belongs to Him, and all men, and all they have -- it is all His. The cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him! But... the Heavenly Father has condescended to choose a special few of all His subjects to be His own family, His own special possession, His own cherished riches. They stay close to His person; they recline in His bosom; they hear His whispers of endearment; they feel the tender touch of His special love. They are dearer to Him than the stars in the heavens, or the glorious snow-topped mountains. They are dearer to Him than the treasures of the richest mines, or the harvests of the richest fields. They are the ones He has redeemed with the precious blood of His Son. "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 'They will be mine,' says the LORD Almighty, 'in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him' " (Mal 3:16,17).

Exo 19:18

THE LORD DESCENDED: Myriads of angels: Deu 33:2; Act 7:53; Gal 3:17; Heb 2:2.

THE WHOLE MOUNTAIN TREMBLED VIOLENTLY: Earthquakes accompany awesome manifestations of God: Exo 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4; Isa 2:10-22; Jer 4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16; Amo 9:1,5; Zec 14:4; Rev 6:12; 11:19; 16:18.

Exo 19:22

PRIESTS: The firstborn of every family. The Levites, Aaron's family, were not yet separated (Num 3:12,41).

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