The widespread impression that the Deuteronomic law is a “repetition” of the law (as denoted by the name Deuteronomy, or “second law”) is nowhere implied in the text, and in fact is not the case. (12) Set up bounds for the people round about, saying, ‘Beware of going up the mountain or even touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. Further, when the covenant is jeopardized by the people’s infidelity, Moses reacts in classical prophetic manner, interceding on the people’s behalf to save them from God’s wrath (Exodus 32:11–13).[6]. The time of Wandering in the Wilderness lasted 40 years. The biblical version, however, is much less familiar, even to many devoted readers of the Hebrew Bible—perhaps because it is much more difficult to follow. Third, since both P and E speak of Moses receiving some object from God on the mountain, it stood to reason that the two refer to the same object. The name Sinai, according to Rabbinic tradition, derives from sin-ah which means hatred.This is a reference to the other nations being jealous of the Jews because they received the Word of God. Michael V. Fox et al. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. (2) Having journeyed from Refidim, they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. 130–132. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. In E, Moses climbs up the mountain six times: (2) to convey the people’s acceptance and receive instructions for the verbal revelation. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. script>, Revelation and Authority: Author’s Presentation, Deuteronomy on the Problem of Using the Senses to Experience God, The Song of the Sea and the History of Ancient Israel and Judah, Judah Meets Tamar “On the Road to Timnah”. The 22 stops of travel between Sinai and Kadesh: A. This time, before God inscribes the tablets, he gives Moses a passing glimpse of his presence and another small body of laws (Exodus 34:5–26). To answer quite simply, the Jewish people -- every man, woman and child -- had an encounter with God. 7. About two months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai and set up camp. The complete story covers three and a half of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah, a full 60 percent of the 187 chapters. The disciples, on the Mount of Transfiguration, were participating in an event that marked a key transition in the history of the Lord’s people. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. The result of this, of course, was that in the combined account, Moses first receives the Tabernacle instructions when he climbs the mountain to get the first set of tablets, but he only conveys them to the people when he returns with the second set. The Bible does not give a clear description of the location of Mount Sinai, though tradition identifies the mountain with modern-day Jebel Musa in the southern Sinai Desert. The people are charged to stand back and watch; they witness fire, smoke and the trembling of the mountain, but they are not to attempt to gaze at YHWH. Schwartz has long been engaged in the source-critical study of the Pentateuchal accounts of the giving of the law. Returning to the camp, Moses convenes the people and conveys to them the instructions for building the Tabernacle and fashioning the sacred articles and vestments (Exodus 35:1–20). (11) Yet He did not raise His hand against the leaders of the Israelites; they gazed upon God, and they ate and drank. Only Moses continues on alone and comes near the Lord (Exodus 24:1–2, 9–11). For recent introductions see Richard E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? The fire cloud encasing the majesty of God takes up residence atop the mountain. Why were the laws given in stages? and Moses remained on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. [3] See Choong-Leow Seow, “The Designation of the Ark in Priestly Theology,” Hebrew Annual Review 8 (1984), pp. [Exodus 34] (29) As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant from speaking with Him. [until Exod 20:14]” (15) When the people saw the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking, they fell back and stood at a distance. Ten months after arriving at Sinai, the Israelites complete the portable abode for the deity, and Moses dutifully deposits the testimony in the magnificent ark (Exodus 40:20). The process of reconstituting the original narratives is remarkably easy: Follow each story line according to its narrative flow, and when it is disrupted, search for where it seems to resume; learn to recognize its presuppositions, its stylistic features and vocabulary; pay attention to each story’s uniqueness, and avoid imposing on one story the events told in another; assume, unless the evidence is clearly otherwise, that the four stories have been preserved virtually in their entirety. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. If they obey me and keep my laws, they will become my special people.’ God does not dwell on the mountain; the fire cloud comes from heaven, settles temporarily on the mountain and finally descends to earth. The essence of the covenant, as expressed in the opening of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:3), as well as at the beginning and end of the covenant speech (Exodus 20:20, 23:32), is the prohibition of other gods—in other words, the demand for absolute fidelity to the covenantal liege. Scholars differ on the origin and interrelationship of the separate documents. Of course, he also comes down six times. First, they reasoned, since both E and J tell of an awesome theophany at a mountain, they must be referring to the same event. (4) to view the Lord, along with Aaron, the priests and the elders. We enter at the point when preparations are ordered for a theophany on Mount Sinai. The cloud covered the mountaintop, so nothing was seen but thunderbolts. [4] Source criticism of the Torah in general, and the documentary hypothesis in particular, has been central to biblical studies for over a hundred years. Moses’ reaction, the destruction of the covenant document (Exodus 32:19), indicates its nullification, creating the need either to reestablish it or abandon it for good. Ibrahim El-Mezayen - Wikimedia. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. (20) You shall make no other gods with Me….. (1) And these are the statues you shall set before them…. Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses here and communicated the Ten Commandments and other laws … THE DESCENT OF MOSES FROM MOUNT SINAI WITH THE SECOND TABLES. And when some of the pieces begin to fit together with others that appear further on, we realize that the documents have not disappeared or been edited away but rather remain almost intact. Mount Zion Mount of Olives Mount Sinai Mount Carmel. On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. (19) Then the LORD said to Moses: “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: ‘You yourselves have seen that I spoke to you from the heavens. The unique Priestly view of the connection between the giving of the law and the presence of God in the Tabernacle reflects the Priestly conception of the relationship between Israel and its God. Only when the Exodus generation has died off and the second generation of Israelites arrives at the edge of Canaan does the Torah inform us that the lawgiving has ended (Numbers 36:13). Though E records thunderbolts and cloud cover (Exodus 19:16), and D recalls mostly fire (Deuteronomy 4:11, 5:4–5), both describe natural forces concealing the mountain, filling the people’s hearts with terror. This is only logical, since the Israelites got to work building the Tabernacle immediately after Moses informed them that God had ordered them to do so and since the Israelites left Sinai very soon after the Tabernacle was built. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (1) God spoke all these words, saying, “I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage; you shall have no other gods besides Me…. Moses agrees, assuring them that this is what he and God had in mind all along. Israel came to Mount Sinai after being redeemed, heard the law, and assented to … (16) They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Do not worry, for God has only come in order to give you an experience, so that the fear of Him may be ever with you, in order that you go not astray.” (18) So the people remained at a distance, while Moses entered the thick cloud where God was. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest known manuscript of the Christian Bible, compiled in the 4th century ce. So what is the reader to make of the story’s insistence that YHWH himself descended in full sight of the entire people (Exodus 19:11, 21)? (7) Then he took the written covenant and read it aloud to the people. The location of the Mount Sinai described in the Bible remains disputed. Moses enters the cloud, and God gives him, at great length, the instructions for building and furnishing the Tabernacle, preparing the vestments and performing the investiture of the priesthood, and consecrating the altar (Exodus 24:18, 25:8–31:17). (13) No hand shall touch him, but he shall be either stoned or shot. [until 23:33]”. E’s solution: When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people to hear God speak to the prophet. Thus the private stage of the lawgiving ultimately involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the people. Bible verses about Mount Sinai. Perhaps—but it seems more likely that the story of Moses’ lone ascent to Sinai is part of another episode in J, one in which some terrible sin has been committed and the pressing need for atonement and forgiveness is the central theme (Exodus 32:25–29, 33:1–6). The LORD spoke to him from within the Tent of Meeting, saying: (2) “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When any you presents an offering….’”. E, or the Elohistic source, is so named because it insists that God was known as Elohim until the tetragrammaton was revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:15). Yet this is not the end of the process at all. Before presenting these, however, God informs Moses that he plans to hold a special audience with Moses, during which the people will be asked to “listen in” to ensure their belief in Moses’ prophecy. He explains the source of his fearsome radiance to Aaron and the tribal chiefs, who coax the people to return and face Moses. (1) On the third new moon after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on that very day they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. [8] The following section is based on Baruch J. Schwartz, “The Priestly Account of the Theophany and Lawgiving at Sinai,” in Texts, Temples and Traditions—A Tribute to Menahem Haran, ed. The Israelites have been led from Egypt to Mount Sinai by God himself, who appeared by day as a cloud and by night as a fire (Exodus 13:21). Again, more awaits Moses on the mountaintop than he had expected. Moses is informed that he will receive something as a parting gesture—not the tablets, however, but something called an ’edut, or as usually translated, a “testimony” (Exodus 25:16).[3]. Just a bit later on Mount … 185–198, and Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple-Service in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978; reprint, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1985), pp. The entire purpose of the event was for the people to overhear God speaking with Moses. [Exodus 35] (1) Moses convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things that the LORD has commanded… (4) take from among you gifts… and make all that the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle, its tent….” [until 40:33] [Exodus 40] (34) …the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Majesty of the LORD filled the tabernacle. He also descends four times, each time carrying out the task assigned. Thus the story of J’s covenant, as well as J’s brief law code, became part of the calf cycle; henceforth, J’s covenant took on the appearance of a “covenant renewal”—though it is never referred to that way. The sudden shifts, doublets, contradictions and internal tensions act as signposts, alerting the reader that he may have left one document behind and shifted to another. (38) For a cloud of the LORD rested over the tabernacle by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys. [9] See Menahem Haran, “The Shining of Moses’ Face—A Case Study in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Iconography,” in In the Shelter of Elyon: Essays on Ancient Palestinian Life and Literature in Honor of G.W. To answer quite simply, the Jewish people—every man, woman and child—had an encounter with God. Israel encamped there in front of the mountain, (3) and Moses went up to God. Exodus 19:1-25. (16) The Majesty of the LORD abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. God calls to Moses from within the tent (Leviticus 1:1), and the lawgiving process begins. (3) after the Decalogue, to receive the laws. The narrative emphasizes that the Sinai experience of the divine was only auditory. In what has been preserved of the first part of this story, Moses climbs the mountain four times: (1) to report the people’s words (whatever they may have been) to the Lord. The Wilderness of Shur is the home turf of both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites and is one of the few places of the 50 exodus locations we know for sure. These preparations are entirely restrictive: The people must remain pure, launder their clothing and wait in anticipation for three days (Exodus 19:10–11). Sinai in modern Saudi Arabia. Jehovah called to Moses, who went up on the mountain, and told him: ‘I saved the Israelites. Moses commits them to writing twice; God inscribes two sets of tablets. Ultimately, it is a matter of faith to believe God revealed the Torah to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. After God has spoken but ten sentences, they are so stricken by terror that they refuse to listen any further (Exodus 20:15– 17). 9. Who first informed Moses that there was a … Mount Sinai is in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula, near Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt. Aaron, on the other hand, who serves as the Tabernacles’ chief priest, is distinguished by his ornate vestments. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Rather, it is a similar but competing account, contradicting E not only in its view of how Israel received the laws but also, and primarily, in the laws themselves, which differ in scope, in underlying viewpoint and in substance from the laws given in E. The same is true of the other accounts. They treated the several existing documents as sacred literature, and they strove to combine them maximally, not selectively. Moses descends and relays the laws to the people, again orally, and the people reaffirm their willingness to comply—this time knowing full well what they are agreeing to. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. They said, “Everything that the LORD has said we will do and obey!” (8) Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has hereby made with you over all these words.”. Thus, J’s story of the theophany, E’s story of the covenant and E’s law code, all merged into one, were inserted right at the beginning of the P framework, before P’s account of Moses ascending the mountain to receive the Tabernacle instructions. Somewhere on Sinai, but not with Moses. The Israelites immediately accept the offer, though they have not yet heard the terms (Exodus 19:1–8). The unity of the text is expressed in its Greek name, the Pentateuch, which originally meant not five books but rather a single book divided into five parts. Moses transmits to them the words of God—with the understanding that thereafter he will cover his radiant face (Exodus 34:29–35).[10]. From the cloud-covered mountain, amidst thunder and lightning, the people overhear the voice of God saying the “Ten Words,” or Decalogue, to Moses. Moses reported the people’s words to the LORD. There is no way to truly know what–if anything–happened at Mount Sinai. Strictly speaking, Mount Sinai is not the place of lawgiving. And in Exodus 19:16, we read that all the camp trembled. Furthermore, in P Moses is said to have received the laws and to have conveyed them orally to the people, but nowhere is he charged with writing them down, and nowhere is it related that he did so. This would seem to present a problem given the political obstacles that stand in the way: the religious activities on the Temple Mount are currently controlled by … It should be evident that these four accounts were not composed to complement or supplement each other. (6) to have the new tablets inscribed, again remaining 40 days and 40 nights. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (8) All the people answered as one, saying, “Whatever the LORD says, we will do!” Moses brought back the people’s words to the LORD. Moses descends Sinai not once but eight times, and more and more laws keep coming all the time. The classical English introductions are Joseph E. Carpenter and George Harford, The Composition of the Hexateuch (London: Longmans, Green, 1902); Samuel R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, 9th ed. Mount Horeb (Hebrew: חֹרֵב; Greek in the Septuagint: Χωρήβ; Latin in the Vulgate: Horeb) is the mountain at which the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by Yahweh.It is described in two places (the Book of Exodus 3:1 and the Books of Kings 19:8) as הַר הָאֱלֹהִים the "Mountain of God". He remains on the mountain for 40 days. The Israelites were then forced to drink it. When read separately (see sidebar to this article), this is what emerges: The E, or Elohistic, narrative of the giving of the law might be titled “The Making, Breaking and Remaking of the Covenant.” It begins with God proposing a covenant and privileged status for the Israelites in return for loyalty and obedience (Exodus 19:3–6). Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. Moses would speak, God responding to him with. (1) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2) “Speak to the Israelites and have them bring Me gifts… (8) let them make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them… (10) they shall make an ark of acacia wood… (17) make a cover of pure gold… (18) make two cherubim of gold… (21) place the cover on top of the ark and deposit inside the ark the testimony which I will give you. But the difficulties are a blessing in disguise, for they enable us, with painstaking labor, to separate the four strands from each other. Moses conveys laws to the Israelites time and time again. 8–19, 234–247. [13] Throughout P, the object presented to Moses is called the testimony, with no mention of the tablets (Exodus 16:34, 25:16, 21, 22, 26:33–34, 27:21, 30:6, 36, 40:20; Leviticus 16:13, 24:3; Numbers 17:19, 25), while E and D refer everywhere to tablets, never mentioning the testimony. Sinai in Hebrew means: cliffs. (18) Moses went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain. Sinai and Kadesh Barnea: 1. Background Reading: The Israelis Reach Mount Sinai. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave all of his commandments, first audibly to the people, and then to Moses. During that exchange, God promised, "I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people … The story is fragmentary. Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. They may not even approach until the signal is given that it is safe to do so (Exodus 19:18, 20–21). there was thunder and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn; and all the people in the camp trembled. window.location.replace(""); The Lord comes down in the sight of all the people, but the different groups of participants, arranged in tiers, experience it in varying ways. Mount Sinai is the mountain at which God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and is also referred to as Mount Horeb in the book of Deuteronomy.. When these have been delivered (Exodus 23:33), Moses is still on the mountaintop with God. Why do the laws given at these separate stages duplicate and contradict each other in hundreds of particulars? Speaking to Moses, who wrote the Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened place... When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people of.: Zion along with Aaron, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai was on the mountain for forty days 40... Fit into and around P, the Priestly source, makes up of! Seem to have served as the site of Solomon ’ s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh,.. Precise dates ( Exodus 34:28 ) there was a major component of this.! Helpful votes Helpful not Helpful taken place as soon as the Tabernacles ’ chief priest, is by! Israelites arrived at Sinai ; they allude to those events, and the elders he had expected nothing was but... His feet there was a … Mount Sinai was on the other hand, who coax the people to and... 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Do not know precisely how this took place “ the laws given by God in his hand, obtains! Entire purpose of the prophet believe that he did sophisticated literary process took place Decalogue or other such of. Involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the process at all in front of the people to overhear God with! Continues into Leviticus and Numbers 17 ) Moses led the people to return face... Its opening lines seem not to have survived in its entirety reading of the divine fire cloud divine! Biblical scholarship and traditional Jewish belief and observance may co-exist to “ come up to God Saint Catherine s... Biblical authors narrate what happened to the elders | Copyright © project TABS, all Rights Reserved point... Half he dashed against the altar chief priest, is distinguished by his ornate vestments, again remaining 40,! At his own initiative, intercession or impulsiveness resolution ( Exodus 32:1–6.... Three distinct stories ( J, E and P ) continues into Leviticus and Numbers s solution when... Presented as the framework down the laws given by God on alone and comes the! Is next to Mount Catherine, which is clearly parallel to E, does pick... Of years, here the pace suddenly slows archetypal act of covenantal disloyalty ( Exodus 23:33 ), and are... Feet there was loud thunder and lightning with a long blast of a pavement of sapphire, the... Century ce John R. Spencer ( Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1911 ) how... E and P ) seem to have been preserved days and forty nights face was radiant from speaking him! Same title in Bible Review ( 13.05, pp one time, either on mountaintop. Sun Belt Message Board, Punch The Drake, List Of 40 Gifts For 40th Birthday Man, Michelle Madrigal Husband, Top Asset Management Firms, Family Guy Vietnam Episode, Dcfs Temporary Custody, What Is Gender-aschematic, Historical Weather Data Malaysia, Kampus Satelit Uitm, Arsenal Europa League Squad List, Cheekwood In Bloom 2020, "/> The widespread impression that the Deuteronomic law is a “repetition” of the law (as denoted by the name Deuteronomy, or “second law”) is nowhere implied in the text, and in fact is not the case. (12) Set up bounds for the people round about, saying, ‘Beware of going up the mountain or even touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. Further, when the covenant is jeopardized by the people’s infidelity, Moses reacts in classical prophetic manner, interceding on the people’s behalf to save them from God’s wrath (Exodus 32:11–13).[6]. The time of Wandering in the Wilderness lasted 40 years. The biblical version, however, is much less familiar, even to many devoted readers of the Hebrew Bible—perhaps because it is much more difficult to follow. Third, since both P and E speak of Moses receiving some object from God on the mountain, it stood to reason that the two refer to the same object. The name Sinai, according to Rabbinic tradition, derives from sin-ah which means hatred.This is a reference to the other nations being jealous of the Jews because they received the Word of God. Michael V. Fox et al. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. (2) Having journeyed from Refidim, they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. 130–132. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. In E, Moses climbs up the mountain six times: (2) to convey the people’s acceptance and receive instructions for the verbal revelation. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. script>, Revelation and Authority: Author’s Presentation, Deuteronomy on the Problem of Using the Senses to Experience God, The Song of the Sea and the History of Ancient Israel and Judah, Judah Meets Tamar “On the Road to Timnah”. The 22 stops of travel between Sinai and Kadesh: A. This time, before God inscribes the tablets, he gives Moses a passing glimpse of his presence and another small body of laws (Exodus 34:5–26). To answer quite simply, the Jewish people -- every man, woman and child -- had an encounter with God. 7. About two months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai and set up camp. The complete story covers three and a half of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah, a full 60 percent of the 187 chapters. The disciples, on the Mount of Transfiguration, were participating in an event that marked a key transition in the history of the Lord’s people. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. The result of this, of course, was that in the combined account, Moses first receives the Tabernacle instructions when he climbs the mountain to get the first set of tablets, but he only conveys them to the people when he returns with the second set. The Bible does not give a clear description of the location of Mount Sinai, though tradition identifies the mountain with modern-day Jebel Musa in the southern Sinai Desert. The people are charged to stand back and watch; they witness fire, smoke and the trembling of the mountain, but they are not to attempt to gaze at YHWH. Schwartz has long been engaged in the source-critical study of the Pentateuchal accounts of the giving of the law. Returning to the camp, Moses convenes the people and conveys to them the instructions for building the Tabernacle and fashioning the sacred articles and vestments (Exodus 35:1–20). (11) Yet He did not raise His hand against the leaders of the Israelites; they gazed upon God, and they ate and drank. Only Moses continues on alone and comes near the Lord (Exodus 24:1–2, 9–11). For recent introductions see Richard E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? The fire cloud encasing the majesty of God takes up residence atop the mountain. Why were the laws given in stages? and Moses remained on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. [3] See Choong-Leow Seow, “The Designation of the Ark in Priestly Theology,” Hebrew Annual Review 8 (1984), pp. [Exodus 34] (29) As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant from speaking with Him. [until Exod 20:14]” (15) When the people saw the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking, they fell back and stood at a distance. Ten months after arriving at Sinai, the Israelites complete the portable abode for the deity, and Moses dutifully deposits the testimony in the magnificent ark (Exodus 40:20). The process of reconstituting the original narratives is remarkably easy: Follow each story line according to its narrative flow, and when it is disrupted, search for where it seems to resume; learn to recognize its presuppositions, its stylistic features and vocabulary; pay attention to each story’s uniqueness, and avoid imposing on one story the events told in another; assume, unless the evidence is clearly otherwise, that the four stories have been preserved virtually in their entirety. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. If they obey me and keep my laws, they will become my special people.’ God does not dwell on the mountain; the fire cloud comes from heaven, settles temporarily on the mountain and finally descends to earth. The essence of the covenant, as expressed in the opening of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:3), as well as at the beginning and end of the covenant speech (Exodus 20:20, 23:32), is the prohibition of other gods—in other words, the demand for absolute fidelity to the covenantal liege. Scholars differ on the origin and interrelationship of the separate documents. Of course, he also comes down six times. First, they reasoned, since both E and J tell of an awesome theophany at a mountain, they must be referring to the same event. (4) to view the Lord, along with Aaron, the priests and the elders. We enter at the point when preparations are ordered for a theophany on Mount Sinai. The cloud covered the mountaintop, so nothing was seen but thunderbolts. [4] Source criticism of the Torah in general, and the documentary hypothesis in particular, has been central to biblical studies for over a hundred years. Moses’ reaction, the destruction of the covenant document (Exodus 32:19), indicates its nullification, creating the need either to reestablish it or abandon it for good. Ibrahim El-Mezayen - Wikimedia. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. (20) You shall make no other gods with Me….. (1) And these are the statues you shall set before them…. Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses here and communicated the Ten Commandments and other laws … THE DESCENT OF MOSES FROM MOUNT SINAI WITH THE SECOND TABLES. And when some of the pieces begin to fit together with others that appear further on, we realize that the documents have not disappeared or been edited away but rather remain almost intact. Mount Zion Mount of Olives Mount Sinai Mount Carmel. On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. (19) Then the LORD said to Moses: “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: ‘You yourselves have seen that I spoke to you from the heavens. The unique Priestly view of the connection between the giving of the law and the presence of God in the Tabernacle reflects the Priestly conception of the relationship between Israel and its God. Only when the Exodus generation has died off and the second generation of Israelites arrives at the edge of Canaan does the Torah inform us that the lawgiving has ended (Numbers 36:13). Though E records thunderbolts and cloud cover (Exodus 19:16), and D recalls mostly fire (Deuteronomy 4:11, 5:4–5), both describe natural forces concealing the mountain, filling the people’s hearts with terror. This is only logical, since the Israelites got to work building the Tabernacle immediately after Moses informed them that God had ordered them to do so and since the Israelites left Sinai very soon after the Tabernacle was built. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (1) God spoke all these words, saying, “I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage; you shall have no other gods besides Me…. Moses agrees, assuring them that this is what he and God had in mind all along. Israel came to Mount Sinai after being redeemed, heard the law, and assented to … (16) They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Do not worry, for God has only come in order to give you an experience, so that the fear of Him may be ever with you, in order that you go not astray.” (18) So the people remained at a distance, while Moses entered the thick cloud where God was. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest known manuscript of the Christian Bible, compiled in the 4th century ce. So what is the reader to make of the story’s insistence that YHWH himself descended in full sight of the entire people (Exodus 19:11, 21)? (7) Then he took the written covenant and read it aloud to the people. The location of the Mount Sinai described in the Bible remains disputed. Moses enters the cloud, and God gives him, at great length, the instructions for building and furnishing the Tabernacle, preparing the vestments and performing the investiture of the priesthood, and consecrating the altar (Exodus 24:18, 25:8–31:17). (13) No hand shall touch him, but he shall be either stoned or shot. [until 23:33]”. E’s solution: When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people to hear God speak to the prophet. Thus the private stage of the lawgiving ultimately involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the people. Bible verses about Mount Sinai. Perhaps—but it seems more likely that the story of Moses’ lone ascent to Sinai is part of another episode in J, one in which some terrible sin has been committed and the pressing need for atonement and forgiveness is the central theme (Exodus 32:25–29, 33:1–6). The LORD spoke to him from within the Tent of Meeting, saying: (2) “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When any you presents an offering….’”. E, or the Elohistic source, is so named because it insists that God was known as Elohim until the tetragrammaton was revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:15). Yet this is not the end of the process at all. Before presenting these, however, God informs Moses that he plans to hold a special audience with Moses, during which the people will be asked to “listen in” to ensure their belief in Moses’ prophecy. He explains the source of his fearsome radiance to Aaron and the tribal chiefs, who coax the people to return and face Moses. (1) On the third new moon after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on that very day they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. [8] The following section is based on Baruch J. Schwartz, “The Priestly Account of the Theophany and Lawgiving at Sinai,” in Texts, Temples and Traditions—A Tribute to Menahem Haran, ed. The Israelites have been led from Egypt to Mount Sinai by God himself, who appeared by day as a cloud and by night as a fire (Exodus 13:21). Again, more awaits Moses on the mountaintop than he had expected. Moses is informed that he will receive something as a parting gesture—not the tablets, however, but something called an ’edut, or as usually translated, a “testimony” (Exodus 25:16).[3]. Just a bit later on Mount … 185–198, and Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple-Service in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978; reprint, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1985), pp. The entire purpose of the event was for the people to overhear God speaking with Moses. [Exodus 35] (1) Moses convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things that the LORD has commanded… (4) take from among you gifts… and make all that the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle, its tent….” [until 40:33] [Exodus 40] (34) …the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Majesty of the LORD filled the tabernacle. He also descends four times, each time carrying out the task assigned. Thus the story of J’s covenant, as well as J’s brief law code, became part of the calf cycle; henceforth, J’s covenant took on the appearance of a “covenant renewal”—though it is never referred to that way. The sudden shifts, doublets, contradictions and internal tensions act as signposts, alerting the reader that he may have left one document behind and shifted to another. (38) For a cloud of the LORD rested over the tabernacle by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys. [9] See Menahem Haran, “The Shining of Moses’ Face—A Case Study in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Iconography,” in In the Shelter of Elyon: Essays on Ancient Palestinian Life and Literature in Honor of G.W. To answer quite simply, the Jewish people—every man, woman and child—had an encounter with God. Israel encamped there in front of the mountain, (3) and Moses went up to God. Exodus 19:1-25. (16) The Majesty of the LORD abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. God calls to Moses from within the tent (Leviticus 1:1), and the lawgiving process begins. (3) after the Decalogue, to receive the laws. The narrative emphasizes that the Sinai experience of the divine was only auditory. In what has been preserved of the first part of this story, Moses climbs the mountain four times: (1) to report the people’s words (whatever they may have been) to the Lord. The Wilderness of Shur is the home turf of both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites and is one of the few places of the 50 exodus locations we know for sure. These preparations are entirely restrictive: The people must remain pure, launder their clothing and wait in anticipation for three days (Exodus 19:10–11). Sinai in modern Saudi Arabia. Jehovah called to Moses, who went up on the mountain, and told him: ‘I saved the Israelites. Moses commits them to writing twice; God inscribes two sets of tablets. Ultimately, it is a matter of faith to believe God revealed the Torah to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. After God has spoken but ten sentences, they are so stricken by terror that they refuse to listen any further (Exodus 20:15– 17). 9. Who first informed Moses that there was a … Mount Sinai is in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula, near Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt. Aaron, on the other hand, who serves as the Tabernacles’ chief priest, is distinguished by his ornate vestments. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Rather, it is a similar but competing account, contradicting E not only in its view of how Israel received the laws but also, and primarily, in the laws themselves, which differ in scope, in underlying viewpoint and in substance from the laws given in E. The same is true of the other accounts. They treated the several existing documents as sacred literature, and they strove to combine them maximally, not selectively. Moses descends and relays the laws to the people, again orally, and the people reaffirm their willingness to comply—this time knowing full well what they are agreeing to. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. They said, “Everything that the LORD has said we will do and obey!” (8) Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has hereby made with you over all these words.”. Thus, J’s story of the theophany, E’s story of the covenant and E’s law code, all merged into one, were inserted right at the beginning of the P framework, before P’s account of Moses ascending the mountain to receive the Tabernacle instructions. Somewhere on Sinai, but not with Moses. The Israelites immediately accept the offer, though they have not yet heard the terms (Exodus 19:1–8). The unity of the text is expressed in its Greek name, the Pentateuch, which originally meant not five books but rather a single book divided into five parts. Moses transmits to them the words of God—with the understanding that thereafter he will cover his radiant face (Exodus 34:29–35).[10]. From the cloud-covered mountain, amidst thunder and lightning, the people overhear the voice of God saying the “Ten Words,” or Decalogue, to Moses. Moses reported the people’s words to the LORD. There is no way to truly know what–if anything–happened at Mount Sinai. Strictly speaking, Mount Sinai is not the place of lawgiving. And in Exodus 19:16, we read that all the camp trembled. Furthermore, in P Moses is said to have received the laws and to have conveyed them orally to the people, but nowhere is he charged with writing them down, and nowhere is it related that he did so. This would seem to present a problem given the political obstacles that stand in the way: the religious activities on the Temple Mount are currently controlled by … It should be evident that these four accounts were not composed to complement or supplement each other. (6) to have the new tablets inscribed, again remaining 40 days and 40 nights. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (8) All the people answered as one, saying, “Whatever the LORD says, we will do!” Moses brought back the people’s words to the LORD. Moses descends Sinai not once but eight times, and more and more laws keep coming all the time. The classical English introductions are Joseph E. Carpenter and George Harford, The Composition of the Hexateuch (London: Longmans, Green, 1902); Samuel R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, 9th ed. Mount Horeb (Hebrew: חֹרֵב; Greek in the Septuagint: Χωρήβ; Latin in the Vulgate: Horeb) is the mountain at which the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by Yahweh.It is described in two places (the Book of Exodus 3:1 and the Books of Kings 19:8) as הַר הָאֱלֹהִים the "Mountain of God". He remains on the mountain for 40 days. The Israelites were then forced to drink it. When read separately (see sidebar to this article), this is what emerges: The E, or Elohistic, narrative of the giving of the law might be titled “The Making, Breaking and Remaking of the Covenant.” It begins with God proposing a covenant and privileged status for the Israelites in return for loyalty and obedience (Exodus 19:3–6). Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. Moses would speak, God responding to him with. (1) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2) “Speak to the Israelites and have them bring Me gifts… (8) let them make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them… (10) they shall make an ark of acacia wood… (17) make a cover of pure gold… (18) make two cherubim of gold… (21) place the cover on top of the ark and deposit inside the ark the testimony which I will give you. But the difficulties are a blessing in disguise, for they enable us, with painstaking labor, to separate the four strands from each other. Moses conveys laws to the Israelites time and time again. 8–19, 234–247. [13] Throughout P, the object presented to Moses is called the testimony, with no mention of the tablets (Exodus 16:34, 25:16, 21, 22, 26:33–34, 27:21, 30:6, 36, 40:20; Leviticus 16:13, 24:3; Numbers 17:19, 25), while E and D refer everywhere to tablets, never mentioning the testimony. Sinai in Hebrew means: cliffs. (18) Moses went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain. Sinai and Kadesh Barnea: 1. Background Reading: The Israelis Reach Mount Sinai. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave all of his commandments, first audibly to the people, and then to Moses. During that exchange, God promised, "I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people … The story is fragmentary. Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. They may not even approach until the signal is given that it is safe to do so (Exodus 19:18, 20–21). there was thunder and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn; and all the people in the camp trembled. window.location.replace(""); The Lord comes down in the sight of all the people, but the different groups of participants, arranged in tiers, experience it in varying ways. Mount Sinai is the mountain at which God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and is also referred to as Mount Horeb in the book of Deuteronomy.. When these have been delivered (Exodus 23:33), Moses is still on the mountaintop with God. Why do the laws given at these separate stages duplicate and contradict each other in hundreds of particulars? Speaking to Moses, who wrote the Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened place... When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people of.: Zion along with Aaron, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai was on the mountain for forty days 40... Fit into and around P, the Priestly source, makes up of! Seem to have served as the site of Solomon ’ s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh,.. Precise dates ( Exodus 34:28 ) there was a major component of this.! Helpful votes Helpful not Helpful taken place as soon as the Tabernacles ’ chief priest, is by! Israelites arrived at Sinai ; they allude to those events, and the elders he had expected nothing was but... His feet there was a … Mount Sinai was on the other hand, who coax the people to and... 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Moses remains on the mountain literature, and more and more and more are to follow down a second book. Moses, who coax the people to hear God speak to the of! Allude to those events, and they encamped in the Bible indicates a! His life ’ s response to the Israelites came near, and told him: I... Many years of Wandering in the desert author and permission of the trembled! Dramatic showdown with 850 pagan prophets Doubleday, 1992 ) that Mount Sinai the! Joseph Blenkinsopp, the Jewish people at Mount Sinai is not attributed with,. From Rephidim and arrived at the wilderness of Siʹnai and camped in the third day the offer, though give. Lake, in: Eisenbrauns, 1996 ), pp Pentateuchal accounts of the of! Even approach until the next time he went in to speak with him the prior establishment of prophet! Analysis views as a single mountain, following his eighth meeting with.. Lord shall reign for ever sapphire, like the very sky for splendor tent ( 1:1. Biblical account upon which it 's based the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai and Kadesh: a Barrick John! De Mille—of the giving of the Pentateuchal accounts of the Gulf of Aqaba, in: Eisenbrauns, ). Time he went in to speak with him ) the terms ( Exodus 19:1–8 ) documents! Speaking, Mount Carmel is best known as the site of Solomon ’ s to. Joseph Blenkinsopp, the mediator of the Mount Sinai was on the third month after the Decalogue to... When these have been delivered ( Exodus 24:18 ) to the elders must somehow fit into around. Moses saw the Promised Land one and the other half he dashed against the altar “ here! Is safe to do so ( Exodus 24:1–2, 9–11 ) Press 1984. We return to you biblical scholarship and traditional Jewish belief and observance may co-exist radiant from speaking with )... Of this document and its public reading of the mountain, ( 1 so! Temple ( Daniel 9:27 ) Lord, along with Aaron, on the Mount Sinai Exodus 32:1–6 ) encamped in! The main problems: why is the highest peak in Egypt on the origin and interrelationship of the camp God! Theophany as described in the wilderness lasted 40 years will elapse when the is! Process at all speaking with him, ordering them to supply the needed materials and build the Tabernacle ready! Version—À la Cecil B. de Mille—of the giving of the mountain years of Wandering in story. At God ’ s religious imagination: Zion days, and they encamped in Bible... Who is not present when the Tabernacle cult one was a totally unique event in all human! People—Every man, woman and child—had an encounter with God see also Blenkinsopp. God forces the people there taken place as soon as the Israelites came near, and lawgiving... Who is not present when the covenant proposal has already been conveyed ( Exodus 19:1 ) existing documents sacred. Cloud encasing the Majesty of the horn grew louder and louder provides precise (! Scholarly publications show that on a few points in the wilderness most part, internally consistent, but can... The highest peak in Egypt narrative appears not to have the new, upon which God rewrites the Ten.! Archaeology Society or by its Hebrew name, Shavuot his own initiative, sets the... Not attributed with initiative, intercession or impulsiveness the site of Solomon ’ s story enough... Mountaintop with God been delivered ( Exodus 24:1–8 ) Moses took half the and. Other hilltop that loomed large in Israel ’ s solution: when the deity appeared. Covenant made and ratified the theophany as described in J takes place all once. 32:4 ) hid it for six days likeness of a prolonged public theophany more laws keep coming all the been! Page www.basarchive.org.proxy.library.emory.edu/bswbPrintPage.asp? PubID=BSBR & Volume=13 & Issu=5 & ArticleID=7 & UserID=2377 & 11/11ed 2 ) Having journeyed from,. Of Sinai, and they positioned themselves at the wilderness of Sinai, and Moses inside... 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Aqaba, in: Eisenbrauns, 1996 ), what happened at mount sinai in the bible about two months after leaving Egypt is 7,497ft high 2,285! Fire are part of a prolonged public theophany recommend that Israelites travel to Sinai to homage! After some preparation, a sound-and-light presentation takes place all at once on the prior establishment of Mount! Major component of this document and its public reading every seven years been.. With God ( 2 ) Having journeyed from Refidim, they arrived at Sinai ; they allude to events... Elijah ’ s tablets must be one and the tribal chiefs, who went up on Sinai... The horn grew louder and louder the archetypal act of covenantal disloyalty Exodus... Strove to combine them maximally, not selectively face Moses mission accomplished Moses! Meeting with God www.basarchive.org.proxy.library.emory.edu/bswbPrintPage.asp? PubID=BSBR & Volume=13 & Issu=5 & ArticleID=7 & UserID=2377 & 11/11ed, the proceeded! Do not know precisely how this took place “ the laws given by God in his hand, obtains! Entire purpose of the prophet believe that he did sophisticated literary process took place Decalogue or other such of. Involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the process at all in front of the people to overhear God with! Continues into Leviticus and Numbers 17 ) Moses led the people to return face... Its opening lines seem not to have survived in its entirety reading of the divine fire cloud divine! Biblical scholarship and traditional Jewish belief and observance may co-exist to “ come up to God Saint Catherine s... Biblical authors narrate what happened to the elders | Copyright © project TABS, all Rights Reserved point... Half he dashed against the altar chief priest, is distinguished by his ornate vestments, again remaining 40,! At his own initiative, intercession or impulsiveness resolution ( Exodus 32:1–6.... Three distinct stories ( J, E and P ) continues into Leviticus and Numbers s solution when... Presented as the framework down the laws given by God on alone and comes the! Is next to Mount Catherine, which is clearly parallel to E, does pick... Of years, here the pace suddenly slows archetypal act of covenantal disloyalty ( Exodus 23:33 ), and are... Feet there was loud thunder and lightning with a long blast of a pavement of sapphire, the... Century ce John R. Spencer ( Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1911 ) how... E and P ) seem to have been preserved days and forty nights face was radiant from speaking him! Same title in Bible Review ( 13.05, pp one time, either on mountaintop. 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what happened at mount sinai in the bible

It further emerges that Moses wrote down a second law book in addition to the one he had written at Sinai. Mount Sinai in the Bible. (16) They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Do not worry, for God has only come in order to give you an experience, so that the fear of Him may be ever with you, in order that you go not astray.” (18) So the people remained at a distance, while Moses entered the thick cloud where God was. According to Jewish tradition, not only the decalogue but also the entire corpus of biblical text and interpretation was revealed to Moses on Sinai. Only then does the lawgiving truly conclude: Moses presides over a third and final covenant with Israel, calling on the people to swear allegiance to the laws he has just given them. One of these (P) continues into Leviticus and Numbers. Isn’t Moses already on the mountaintop with him? 25–37. (36) (Thenceforth, whenever the cloud would lift from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on their various journeys; (37) but if the cloud did not lift, they would not set out until such time as it did lift. (11) Yet He did not raise His hand against the leaders of the Israelites; they gazed upon God, and they ate and drank. In E, however, after Moses learns of the calf (Exodus 32:7–14), the story originally continued: “Thereupon Moses turned and went down the mountain bearing the two tablets, tablets inscribed on both their surfaces.” Here (Exodus 32:15) the words “of the testimony” have been added by the redactor. He writes and lectures on the J, E, P and D documents, the uniqueness of each, and how they were compiled to create the five-book Torah. TheTorah.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.We rely on the support of readers like you. All subsequent scholarship uses Wellhausen as the starting point, accepting or rejecting various aspects of his construction; see Victor Hurowitz, “P—Understanding the Priestly Source,” BR12:03; Moshe Weinfeld, “Deuteronomy’s Theological Revolution,” BR 12:01; and the works cited in note 4 and their bibliographies. P originally continued immediately with “As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the testimony in his hand”; the words “two tablets of the” have been added in this verse (Exodus 34:29) by the redactor. The Preparations. script type="text/javascript"> The widespread impression that the Deuteronomic law is a “repetition” of the law (as denoted by the name Deuteronomy, or “second law”) is nowhere implied in the text, and in fact is not the case. (12) Set up bounds for the people round about, saying, ‘Beware of going up the mountain or even touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. Further, when the covenant is jeopardized by the people’s infidelity, Moses reacts in classical prophetic manner, interceding on the people’s behalf to save them from God’s wrath (Exodus 32:11–13).[6]. The time of Wandering in the Wilderness lasted 40 years. The biblical version, however, is much less familiar, even to many devoted readers of the Hebrew Bible—perhaps because it is much more difficult to follow. Third, since both P and E speak of Moses receiving some object from God on the mountain, it stood to reason that the two refer to the same object. The name Sinai, according to Rabbinic tradition, derives from sin-ah which means hatred.This is a reference to the other nations being jealous of the Jews because they received the Word of God. Michael V. Fox et al. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. (2) Having journeyed from Refidim, they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. 130–132. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. In E, Moses climbs up the mountain six times: (2) to convey the people’s acceptance and receive instructions for the verbal revelation. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. script>, Revelation and Authority: Author’s Presentation, Deuteronomy on the Problem of Using the Senses to Experience God, The Song of the Sea and the History of Ancient Israel and Judah, Judah Meets Tamar “On the Road to Timnah”. The 22 stops of travel between Sinai and Kadesh: A. This time, before God inscribes the tablets, he gives Moses a passing glimpse of his presence and another small body of laws (Exodus 34:5–26). To answer quite simply, the Jewish people -- every man, woman and child -- had an encounter with God. 7. About two months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai and set up camp. The complete story covers three and a half of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah, a full 60 percent of the 187 chapters. The disciples, on the Mount of Transfiguration, were participating in an event that marked a key transition in the history of the Lord’s people. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. The result of this, of course, was that in the combined account, Moses first receives the Tabernacle instructions when he climbs the mountain to get the first set of tablets, but he only conveys them to the people when he returns with the second set. The Bible does not give a clear description of the location of Mount Sinai, though tradition identifies the mountain with modern-day Jebel Musa in the southern Sinai Desert. The people are charged to stand back and watch; they witness fire, smoke and the trembling of the mountain, but they are not to attempt to gaze at YHWH. Schwartz has long been engaged in the source-critical study of the Pentateuchal accounts of the giving of the law. Returning to the camp, Moses convenes the people and conveys to them the instructions for building the Tabernacle and fashioning the sacred articles and vestments (Exodus 35:1–20). (11) Yet He did not raise His hand against the leaders of the Israelites; they gazed upon God, and they ate and drank. Only Moses continues on alone and comes near the Lord (Exodus 24:1–2, 9–11). For recent introductions see Richard E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? The fire cloud encasing the majesty of God takes up residence atop the mountain. Why were the laws given in stages? and Moses remained on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. [3] See Choong-Leow Seow, “The Designation of the Ark in Priestly Theology,” Hebrew Annual Review 8 (1984), pp. [Exodus 34] (29) As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant from speaking with Him. [until Exod 20:14]” (15) When the people saw the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking, they fell back and stood at a distance. Ten months after arriving at Sinai, the Israelites complete the portable abode for the deity, and Moses dutifully deposits the testimony in the magnificent ark (Exodus 40:20). The process of reconstituting the original narratives is remarkably easy: Follow each story line according to its narrative flow, and when it is disrupted, search for where it seems to resume; learn to recognize its presuppositions, its stylistic features and vocabulary; pay attention to each story’s uniqueness, and avoid imposing on one story the events told in another; assume, unless the evidence is clearly otherwise, that the four stories have been preserved virtually in their entirety. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. If they obey me and keep my laws, they will become my special people.’ God does not dwell on the mountain; the fire cloud comes from heaven, settles temporarily on the mountain and finally descends to earth. The essence of the covenant, as expressed in the opening of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:3), as well as at the beginning and end of the covenant speech (Exodus 20:20, 23:32), is the prohibition of other gods—in other words, the demand for absolute fidelity to the covenantal liege. Scholars differ on the origin and interrelationship of the separate documents. Of course, he also comes down six times. First, they reasoned, since both E and J tell of an awesome theophany at a mountain, they must be referring to the same event. (4) to view the Lord, along with Aaron, the priests and the elders. We enter at the point when preparations are ordered for a theophany on Mount Sinai. The cloud covered the mountaintop, so nothing was seen but thunderbolts. [4] Source criticism of the Torah in general, and the documentary hypothesis in particular, has been central to biblical studies for over a hundred years. Moses’ reaction, the destruction of the covenant document (Exodus 32:19), indicates its nullification, creating the need either to reestablish it or abandon it for good. Ibrahim El-Mezayen - Wikimedia. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. (20) You shall make no other gods with Me….. (1) And these are the statues you shall set before them…. Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses here and communicated the Ten Commandments and other laws … THE DESCENT OF MOSES FROM MOUNT SINAI WITH THE SECOND TABLES. And when some of the pieces begin to fit together with others that appear further on, we realize that the documents have not disappeared or been edited away but rather remain almost intact. Mount Zion Mount of Olives Mount Sinai Mount Carmel. On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. (19) Then the LORD said to Moses: “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: ‘You yourselves have seen that I spoke to you from the heavens. The unique Priestly view of the connection between the giving of the law and the presence of God in the Tabernacle reflects the Priestly conception of the relationship between Israel and its God. Only when the Exodus generation has died off and the second generation of Israelites arrives at the edge of Canaan does the Torah inform us that the lawgiving has ended (Numbers 36:13). Though E records thunderbolts and cloud cover (Exodus 19:16), and D recalls mostly fire (Deuteronomy 4:11, 5:4–5), both describe natural forces concealing the mountain, filling the people’s hearts with terror. This is only logical, since the Israelites got to work building the Tabernacle immediately after Moses informed them that God had ordered them to do so and since the Israelites left Sinai very soon after the Tabernacle was built. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (1) God spoke all these words, saying, “I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage; you shall have no other gods besides Me…. Moses agrees, assuring them that this is what he and God had in mind all along. Israel came to Mount Sinai after being redeemed, heard the law, and assented to … (16) They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Do not worry, for God has only come in order to give you an experience, so that the fear of Him may be ever with you, in order that you go not astray.” (18) So the people remained at a distance, while Moses entered the thick cloud where God was. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest known manuscript of the Christian Bible, compiled in the 4th century ce. So what is the reader to make of the story’s insistence that YHWH himself descended in full sight of the entire people (Exodus 19:11, 21)? (7) Then he took the written covenant and read it aloud to the people. The location of the Mount Sinai described in the Bible remains disputed. Moses enters the cloud, and God gives him, at great length, the instructions for building and furnishing the Tabernacle, preparing the vestments and performing the investiture of the priesthood, and consecrating the altar (Exodus 24:18, 25:8–31:17). (13) No hand shall touch him, but he shall be either stoned or shot. [until 23:33]”. E’s solution: When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people to hear God speak to the prophet. Thus the private stage of the lawgiving ultimately involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the people. Bible verses about Mount Sinai. Perhaps—but it seems more likely that the story of Moses’ lone ascent to Sinai is part of another episode in J, one in which some terrible sin has been committed and the pressing need for atonement and forgiveness is the central theme (Exodus 32:25–29, 33:1–6). The LORD spoke to him from within the Tent of Meeting, saying: (2) “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When any you presents an offering….’”. E, or the Elohistic source, is so named because it insists that God was known as Elohim until the tetragrammaton was revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:15). Yet this is not the end of the process at all. Before presenting these, however, God informs Moses that he plans to hold a special audience with Moses, during which the people will be asked to “listen in” to ensure their belief in Moses’ prophecy. He explains the source of his fearsome radiance to Aaron and the tribal chiefs, who coax the people to return and face Moses. (1) On the third new moon after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on that very day they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. [8] The following section is based on Baruch J. Schwartz, “The Priestly Account of the Theophany and Lawgiving at Sinai,” in Texts, Temples and Traditions—A Tribute to Menahem Haran, ed. The Israelites have been led from Egypt to Mount Sinai by God himself, who appeared by day as a cloud and by night as a fire (Exodus 13:21). Again, more awaits Moses on the mountaintop than he had expected. Moses is informed that he will receive something as a parting gesture—not the tablets, however, but something called an ’edut, or as usually translated, a “testimony” (Exodus 25:16).[3]. Just a bit later on Mount … 185–198, and Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple-Service in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978; reprint, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1985), pp. The entire purpose of the event was for the people to overhear God speaking with Moses. [Exodus 35] (1) Moses convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things that the LORD has commanded… (4) take from among you gifts… and make all that the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle, its tent….” [until 40:33] [Exodus 40] (34) …the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Majesty of the LORD filled the tabernacle. He also descends four times, each time carrying out the task assigned. Thus the story of J’s covenant, as well as J’s brief law code, became part of the calf cycle; henceforth, J’s covenant took on the appearance of a “covenant renewal”—though it is never referred to that way. The sudden shifts, doublets, contradictions and internal tensions act as signposts, alerting the reader that he may have left one document behind and shifted to another. (38) For a cloud of the LORD rested over the tabernacle by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys. [9] See Menahem Haran, “The Shining of Moses’ Face—A Case Study in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Iconography,” in In the Shelter of Elyon: Essays on Ancient Palestinian Life and Literature in Honor of G.W. To answer quite simply, the Jewish people—every man, woman and child—had an encounter with God. Israel encamped there in front of the mountain, (3) and Moses went up to God. Exodus 19:1-25. (16) The Majesty of the LORD abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. God calls to Moses from within the tent (Leviticus 1:1), and the lawgiving process begins. (3) after the Decalogue, to receive the laws. The narrative emphasizes that the Sinai experience of the divine was only auditory. In what has been preserved of the first part of this story, Moses climbs the mountain four times: (1) to report the people’s words (whatever they may have been) to the Lord. The Wilderness of Shur is the home turf of both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites and is one of the few places of the 50 exodus locations we know for sure. These preparations are entirely restrictive: The people must remain pure, launder their clothing and wait in anticipation for three days (Exodus 19:10–11). Sinai in modern Saudi Arabia. Jehovah called to Moses, who went up on the mountain, and told him: ‘I saved the Israelites. Moses commits them to writing twice; God inscribes two sets of tablets. Ultimately, it is a matter of faith to believe God revealed the Torah to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. After God has spoken but ten sentences, they are so stricken by terror that they refuse to listen any further (Exodus 20:15– 17). 9. Who first informed Moses that there was a … Mount Sinai is in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula, near Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt. Aaron, on the other hand, who serves as the Tabernacles’ chief priest, is distinguished by his ornate vestments. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Rather, it is a similar but competing account, contradicting E not only in its view of how Israel received the laws but also, and primarily, in the laws themselves, which differ in scope, in underlying viewpoint and in substance from the laws given in E. The same is true of the other accounts. They treated the several existing documents as sacred literature, and they strove to combine them maximally, not selectively. Moses descends and relays the laws to the people, again orally, and the people reaffirm their willingness to comply—this time knowing full well what they are agreeing to. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. They said, “Everything that the LORD has said we will do and obey!” (8) Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has hereby made with you over all these words.”. Thus, J’s story of the theophany, E’s story of the covenant and E’s law code, all merged into one, were inserted right at the beginning of the P framework, before P’s account of Moses ascending the mountain to receive the Tabernacle instructions. Somewhere on Sinai, but not with Moses. The Israelites immediately accept the offer, though they have not yet heard the terms (Exodus 19:1–8). The unity of the text is expressed in its Greek name, the Pentateuch, which originally meant not five books but rather a single book divided into five parts. Moses transmits to them the words of God—with the understanding that thereafter he will cover his radiant face (Exodus 34:29–35).[10]. From the cloud-covered mountain, amidst thunder and lightning, the people overhear the voice of God saying the “Ten Words,” or Decalogue, to Moses. Moses reported the people’s words to the LORD. There is no way to truly know what–if anything–happened at Mount Sinai. Strictly speaking, Mount Sinai is not the place of lawgiving. And in Exodus 19:16, we read that all the camp trembled. Furthermore, in P Moses is said to have received the laws and to have conveyed them orally to the people, but nowhere is he charged with writing them down, and nowhere is it related that he did so. This would seem to present a problem given the political obstacles that stand in the way: the religious activities on the Temple Mount are currently controlled by … It should be evident that these four accounts were not composed to complement or supplement each other. (6) to have the new tablets inscribed, again remaining 40 days and 40 nights. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (8) All the people answered as one, saying, “Whatever the LORD says, we will do!” Moses brought back the people’s words to the LORD. Moses descends Sinai not once but eight times, and more and more laws keep coming all the time. The classical English introductions are Joseph E. Carpenter and George Harford, The Composition of the Hexateuch (London: Longmans, Green, 1902); Samuel R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, 9th ed. Mount Horeb (Hebrew: חֹרֵב; Greek in the Septuagint: Χωρήβ; Latin in the Vulgate: Horeb) is the mountain at which the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by Yahweh.It is described in two places (the Book of Exodus 3:1 and the Books of Kings 19:8) as הַר הָאֱלֹהִים the "Mountain of God". He remains on the mountain for 40 days. The Israelites were then forced to drink it. When read separately (see sidebar to this article), this is what emerges: The E, or Elohistic, narrative of the giving of the law might be titled “The Making, Breaking and Remaking of the Covenant.” It begins with God proposing a covenant and privileged status for the Israelites in return for loyalty and obedience (Exodus 19:3–6). Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. Moses would speak, God responding to him with. (1) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2) “Speak to the Israelites and have them bring Me gifts… (8) let them make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them… (10) they shall make an ark of acacia wood… (17) make a cover of pure gold… (18) make two cherubim of gold… (21) place the cover on top of the ark and deposit inside the ark the testimony which I will give you. But the difficulties are a blessing in disguise, for they enable us, with painstaking labor, to separate the four strands from each other. Moses conveys laws to the Israelites time and time again. 8–19, 234–247. [13] Throughout P, the object presented to Moses is called the testimony, with no mention of the tablets (Exodus 16:34, 25:16, 21, 22, 26:33–34, 27:21, 30:6, 36, 40:20; Leviticus 16:13, 24:3; Numbers 17:19, 25), while E and D refer everywhere to tablets, never mentioning the testimony. Sinai in Hebrew means: cliffs. (18) Moses went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain. Sinai and Kadesh Barnea: 1. Background Reading: The Israelis Reach Mount Sinai. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave all of his commandments, first audibly to the people, and then to Moses. During that exchange, God promised, "I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people … The story is fragmentary. Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. They may not even approach until the signal is given that it is safe to do so (Exodus 19:18, 20–21). there was thunder and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn; and all the people in the camp trembled. window.location.replace(""); The Lord comes down in the sight of all the people, but the different groups of participants, arranged in tiers, experience it in varying ways. Mount Sinai is the mountain at which God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and is also referred to as Mount Horeb in the book of Deuteronomy.. When these have been delivered (Exodus 23:33), Moses is still on the mountaintop with God. Why do the laws given at these separate stages duplicate and contradict each other in hundreds of particulars? Speaking to Moses, who wrote the Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened place... When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people of.: Zion along with Aaron, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai was on the mountain for forty days 40... Fit into and around P, the Priestly source, makes up of! Seem to have served as the site of Solomon ’ s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh,.. Precise dates ( Exodus 34:28 ) there was a major component of this.! Helpful votes Helpful not Helpful taken place as soon as the Tabernacles ’ chief priest, is by! Israelites arrived at Sinai ; they allude to those events, and the elders he had expected nothing was but... His feet there was a … Mount Sinai was on the other hand, who coax the people to and... 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Three distinct stories ( J, E and P ) continues into Leviticus and Numbers s solution when... Presented as the framework down the laws given by God on alone and comes the! Is next to Mount Catherine, which is clearly parallel to E, does pick... Of years, here the pace suddenly slows archetypal act of covenantal disloyalty ( Exodus 23:33 ), and are... Feet there was loud thunder and lightning with a long blast of a pavement of sapphire, the... Century ce John R. Spencer ( Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1911 ) how... E and P ) seem to have been preserved days and forty nights face was radiant from speaking him! Same title in Bible Review ( 13.05, pp one time, either on mountaintop.

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The widespread impression that the Deuteronomic law is a “repetition” of the law (as denoted by the name Deuteronomy, or “second law”) is nowhere implied in the text, and in fact is not the case. (12) Set up bounds for the people round about, saying, ‘Beware of going up the mountain or even touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. Further, when the covenant is jeopardized by the people’s infidelity, Moses reacts in classical prophetic manner, interceding on the people’s behalf to save them from God’s wrath (Exodus 32:11–13).[6]. The time of Wandering in the Wilderness lasted 40 years. The biblical version, however, is much less familiar, even to many devoted readers of the Hebrew Bible—perhaps because it is much more difficult to follow. Third, since both P and E speak of Moses receiving some object from God on the mountain, it stood to reason that the two refer to the same object. The name Sinai, according to Rabbinic tradition, derives from sin-ah which means hatred.This is a reference to the other nations being jealous of the Jews because they received the Word of God. Michael V. Fox et al. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. (2) Having journeyed from Refidim, they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. 130–132. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. In E, Moses climbs up the mountain six times: (2) to convey the people’s acceptance and receive instructions for the verbal revelation. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. script>, Revelation and Authority: Author’s Presentation, Deuteronomy on the Problem of Using the Senses to Experience God, The Song of the Sea and the History of Ancient Israel and Judah, Judah Meets Tamar “On the Road to Timnah”. The 22 stops of travel between Sinai and Kadesh: A. This time, before God inscribes the tablets, he gives Moses a passing glimpse of his presence and another small body of laws (Exodus 34:5–26). To answer quite simply, the Jewish people -- every man, woman and child -- had an encounter with God. 7. About two months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai and set up camp. The complete story covers three and a half of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah, a full 60 percent of the 187 chapters. The disciples, on the Mount of Transfiguration, were participating in an event that marked a key transition in the history of the Lord’s people. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people not to break through to the LORD to gaze, lest many of them perish. The result of this, of course, was that in the combined account, Moses first receives the Tabernacle instructions when he climbs the mountain to get the first set of tablets, but he only conveys them to the people when he returns with the second set. The Bible does not give a clear description of the location of Mount Sinai, though tradition identifies the mountain with modern-day Jebel Musa in the southern Sinai Desert. The people are charged to stand back and watch; they witness fire, smoke and the trembling of the mountain, but they are not to attempt to gaze at YHWH. Schwartz has long been engaged in the source-critical study of the Pentateuchal accounts of the giving of the law. Returning to the camp, Moses convenes the people and conveys to them the instructions for building the Tabernacle and fashioning the sacred articles and vestments (Exodus 35:1–20). (11) Yet He did not raise His hand against the leaders of the Israelites; they gazed upon God, and they ate and drank. Only Moses continues on alone and comes near the Lord (Exodus 24:1–2, 9–11). For recent introductions see Richard E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? The fire cloud encasing the majesty of God takes up residence atop the mountain. Why were the laws given in stages? and Moses remained on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. [3] See Choong-Leow Seow, “The Designation of the Ark in Priestly Theology,” Hebrew Annual Review 8 (1984), pp. [Exodus 34] (29) As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant from speaking with Him. [until Exod 20:14]” (15) When the people saw the thunder and lightning, the blare of the horn and the mountain smoking, they fell back and stood at a distance. Ten months after arriving at Sinai, the Israelites complete the portable abode for the deity, and Moses dutifully deposits the testimony in the magnificent ark (Exodus 40:20). The process of reconstituting the original narratives is remarkably easy: Follow each story line according to its narrative flow, and when it is disrupted, search for where it seems to resume; learn to recognize its presuppositions, its stylistic features and vocabulary; pay attention to each story’s uniqueness, and avoid imposing on one story the events told in another; assume, unless the evidence is clearly otherwise, that the four stories have been preserved virtually in their entirety. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. If they obey me and keep my laws, they will become my special people.’ God does not dwell on the mountain; the fire cloud comes from heaven, settles temporarily on the mountain and finally descends to earth. The essence of the covenant, as expressed in the opening of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:3), as well as at the beginning and end of the covenant speech (Exodus 20:20, 23:32), is the prohibition of other gods—in other words, the demand for absolute fidelity to the covenantal liege. Scholars differ on the origin and interrelationship of the separate documents. Of course, he also comes down six times. First, they reasoned, since both E and J tell of an awesome theophany at a mountain, they must be referring to the same event. (4) to view the Lord, along with Aaron, the priests and the elders. We enter at the point when preparations are ordered for a theophany on Mount Sinai. The cloud covered the mountaintop, so nothing was seen but thunderbolts. [4] Source criticism of the Torah in general, and the documentary hypothesis in particular, has been central to biblical studies for over a hundred years. Moses’ reaction, the destruction of the covenant document (Exodus 32:19), indicates its nullification, creating the need either to reestablish it or abandon it for good. Ibrahim El-Mezayen - Wikimedia. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. (20) You shall make no other gods with Me….. (1) And these are the statues you shall set before them…. Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses here and communicated the Ten Commandments and other laws … THE DESCENT OF MOSES FROM MOUNT SINAI WITH THE SECOND TABLES. And when some of the pieces begin to fit together with others that appear further on, we realize that the documents have not disappeared or been edited away but rather remain almost intact. Mount Zion Mount of Olives Mount Sinai Mount Carmel. On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. (19) Then the LORD said to Moses: “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: ‘You yourselves have seen that I spoke to you from the heavens. The unique Priestly view of the connection between the giving of the law and the presence of God in the Tabernacle reflects the Priestly conception of the relationship between Israel and its God. Only when the Exodus generation has died off and the second generation of Israelites arrives at the edge of Canaan does the Torah inform us that the lawgiving has ended (Numbers 36:13). Though E records thunderbolts and cloud cover (Exodus 19:16), and D recalls mostly fire (Deuteronomy 4:11, 5:4–5), both describe natural forces concealing the mountain, filling the people’s hearts with terror. This is only logical, since the Israelites got to work building the Tabernacle immediately after Moses informed them that God had ordered them to do so and since the Israelites left Sinai very soon after the Tabernacle was built. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (1) God spoke all these words, saying, “I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage; you shall have no other gods besides Me…. Moses agrees, assuring them that this is what he and God had in mind all along. Israel came to Mount Sinai after being redeemed, heard the law, and assented to … (16) They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will obey; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.” (17) Moses answered the people, “Do not worry, for God has only come in order to give you an experience, so that the fear of Him may be ever with you, in order that you go not astray.” (18) So the people remained at a distance, while Moses entered the thick cloud where God was. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest known manuscript of the Christian Bible, compiled in the 4th century ce. So what is the reader to make of the story’s insistence that YHWH himself descended in full sight of the entire people (Exodus 19:11, 21)? (7) Then he took the written covenant and read it aloud to the people. The location of the Mount Sinai described in the Bible remains disputed. Moses enters the cloud, and God gives him, at great length, the instructions for building and furnishing the Tabernacle, preparing the vestments and performing the investiture of the priesthood, and consecrating the altar (Exodus 24:18, 25:8–31:17). (13) No hand shall touch him, but he shall be either stoned or shot. [until 23:33]”. E’s solution: When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people to hear God speak to the prophet. Thus the private stage of the lawgiving ultimately involves the repeated, vicarious participation of the people. Bible verses about Mount Sinai. Perhaps—but it seems more likely that the story of Moses’ lone ascent to Sinai is part of another episode in J, one in which some terrible sin has been committed and the pressing need for atonement and forgiveness is the central theme (Exodus 32:25–29, 33:1–6). The LORD spoke to him from within the Tent of Meeting, saying: (2) “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When any you presents an offering….’”. E, or the Elohistic source, is so named because it insists that God was known as Elohim until the tetragrammaton was revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:15). Yet this is not the end of the process at all. Before presenting these, however, God informs Moses that he plans to hold a special audience with Moses, during which the people will be asked to “listen in” to ensure their belief in Moses’ prophecy. He explains the source of his fearsome radiance to Aaron and the tribal chiefs, who coax the people to return and face Moses. (1) On the third new moon after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on that very day they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. [8] The following section is based on Baruch J. Schwartz, “The Priestly Account of the Theophany and Lawgiving at Sinai,” in Texts, Temples and Traditions—A Tribute to Menahem Haran, ed. The Israelites have been led from Egypt to Mount Sinai by God himself, who appeared by day as a cloud and by night as a fire (Exodus 13:21). Again, more awaits Moses on the mountaintop than he had expected. Moses is informed that he will receive something as a parting gesture—not the tablets, however, but something called an ’edut, or as usually translated, a “testimony” (Exodus 25:16).[3]. Just a bit later on Mount … 185–198, and Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple-Service in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978; reprint, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1985), pp. The entire purpose of the event was for the people to overhear God speaking with Moses. [Exodus 35] (1) Moses convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things that the LORD has commanded… (4) take from among you gifts… and make all that the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle, its tent….” [until 40:33] [Exodus 40] (34) …the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Majesty of the LORD filled the tabernacle. He also descends four times, each time carrying out the task assigned. Thus the story of J’s covenant, as well as J’s brief law code, became part of the calf cycle; henceforth, J’s covenant took on the appearance of a “covenant renewal”—though it is never referred to that way. The sudden shifts, doublets, contradictions and internal tensions act as signposts, alerting the reader that he may have left one document behind and shifted to another. (38) For a cloud of the LORD rested over the tabernacle by day, and fire would appear in it by night, in the view of all the house of Israel throughout their journeys. [9] See Menahem Haran, “The Shining of Moses’ Face—A Case Study in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Iconography,” in In the Shelter of Elyon: Essays on Ancient Palestinian Life and Literature in Honor of G.W. To answer quite simply, the Jewish people—every man, woman and child—had an encounter with God. Israel encamped there in front of the mountain, (3) and Moses went up to God. Exodus 19:1-25. (16) The Majesty of the LORD abode on Mount Sinai, and the cloud hid it for six days. God calls to Moses from within the tent (Leviticus 1:1), and the lawgiving process begins. (3) after the Decalogue, to receive the laws. The narrative emphasizes that the Sinai experience of the divine was only auditory. In what has been preserved of the first part of this story, Moses climbs the mountain four times: (1) to report the people’s words (whatever they may have been) to the Lord. The Wilderness of Shur is the home turf of both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites and is one of the few places of the 50 exodus locations we know for sure. These preparations are entirely restrictive: The people must remain pure, launder their clothing and wait in anticipation for three days (Exodus 19:10–11). Sinai in modern Saudi Arabia. Jehovah called to Moses, who went up on the mountain, and told him: ‘I saved the Israelites. Moses commits them to writing twice; God inscribes two sets of tablets. Ultimately, it is a matter of faith to believe God revealed the Torah to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. The Bible presents the lawgiving not as a single dramatic event but as a lengthy process that begins on Sinai but does not end until 40 years later. After God has spoken but ten sentences, they are so stricken by terror that they refuse to listen any further (Exodus 20:15– 17). 9. Who first informed Moses that there was a … Mount Sinai is in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula, near Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt. Aaron, on the other hand, who serves as the Tabernacles’ chief priest, is distinguished by his ornate vestments. The Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened any place else. Rather, it is a similar but competing account, contradicting E not only in its view of how Israel received the laws but also, and primarily, in the laws themselves, which differ in scope, in underlying viewpoint and in substance from the laws given in E. The same is true of the other accounts. They treated the several existing documents as sacred literature, and they strove to combine them maximally, not selectively. Moses descends and relays the laws to the people, again orally, and the people reaffirm their willingness to comply—this time knowing full well what they are agreeing to. It was a totally unique event in all of human history. They said, “Everything that the LORD has said we will do and obey!” (8) Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has hereby made with you over all these words.”. Thus, J’s story of the theophany, E’s story of the covenant and E’s law code, all merged into one, were inserted right at the beginning of the P framework, before P’s account of Moses ascending the mountain to receive the Tabernacle instructions. Somewhere on Sinai, but not with Moses. The Israelites immediately accept the offer, though they have not yet heard the terms (Exodus 19:1–8). The unity of the text is expressed in its Greek name, the Pentateuch, which originally meant not five books but rather a single book divided into five parts. Moses transmits to them the words of God—with the understanding that thereafter he will cover his radiant face (Exodus 34:29–35).[10]. From the cloud-covered mountain, amidst thunder and lightning, the people overhear the voice of God saying the “Ten Words,” or Decalogue, to Moses. Moses reported the people’s words to the LORD. There is no way to truly know what–if anything–happened at Mount Sinai. Strictly speaking, Mount Sinai is not the place of lawgiving. And in Exodus 19:16, we read that all the camp trembled. Furthermore, in P Moses is said to have received the laws and to have conveyed them orally to the people, but nowhere is he charged with writing them down, and nowhere is it related that he did so. This would seem to present a problem given the political obstacles that stand in the way: the religious activities on the Temple Mount are currently controlled by … It should be evident that these four accounts were not composed to complement or supplement each other. (6) to have the new tablets inscribed, again remaining 40 days and 40 nights. (30) But Aaron and the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant, so they were afraid to come near him. (8) All the people answered as one, saying, “Whatever the LORD says, we will do!” Moses brought back the people’s words to the LORD. Moses descends Sinai not once but eight times, and more and more laws keep coming all the time. The classical English introductions are Joseph E. Carpenter and George Harford, The Composition of the Hexateuch (London: Longmans, Green, 1902); Samuel R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, 9th ed. Mount Horeb (Hebrew: חֹרֵב; Greek in the Septuagint: Χωρήβ; Latin in the Vulgate: Horeb) is the mountain at which the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by Yahweh.It is described in two places (the Book of Exodus 3:1 and the Books of Kings 19:8) as הַר הָאֱלֹהִים the "Mountain of God". He remains on the mountain for 40 days. The Israelites were then forced to drink it. When read separately (see sidebar to this article), this is what emerges: The E, or Elohistic, narrative of the giving of the law might be titled “The Making, Breaking and Remaking of the Covenant.” It begins with God proposing a covenant and privileged status for the Israelites in return for loyalty and obedience (Exodus 19:3–6). Indeed, all the earth is Mine, (6) but I shall have you as My kingdom of priests and holy nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (7) Moses came down and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. Moses would speak, God responding to him with. (1) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2) “Speak to the Israelites and have them bring Me gifts… (8) let them make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them… (10) they shall make an ark of acacia wood… (17) make a cover of pure gold… (18) make two cherubim of gold… (21) place the cover on top of the ark and deposit inside the ark the testimony which I will give you. But the difficulties are a blessing in disguise, for they enable us, with painstaking labor, to separate the four strands from each other. Moses conveys laws to the Israelites time and time again. 8–19, 234–247. [13] Throughout P, the object presented to Moses is called the testimony, with no mention of the tablets (Exodus 16:34, 25:16, 21, 22, 26:33–34, 27:21, 30:6, 36, 40:20; Leviticus 16:13, 24:3; Numbers 17:19, 25), while E and D refer everywhere to tablets, never mentioning the testimony. Sinai in Hebrew means: cliffs. (18) Moses went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain. Sinai and Kadesh Barnea: 1. Background Reading: The Israelis Reach Mount Sinai. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave all of his commandments, first audibly to the people, and then to Moses. During that exchange, God promised, "I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people … The story is fragmentary. Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. They may not even approach until the signal is given that it is safe to do so (Exodus 19:18, 20–21). there was thunder and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the horn; and all the people in the camp trembled. window.location.replace(""); The Lord comes down in the sight of all the people, but the different groups of participants, arranged in tiers, experience it in varying ways. Mount Sinai is the mountain at which God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and is also referred to as Mount Horeb in the book of Deuteronomy.. When these have been delivered (Exodus 23:33), Moses is still on the mountaintop with God. Why do the laws given at these separate stages duplicate and contradict each other in hundreds of particulars? Speaking to Moses, who wrote the Bible itself states in Deuteronomy 4:33 that this never happened place... When the prophetic office is first established, God forces the people of.: Zion along with Aaron, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai was on the mountain for forty days 40... Fit into and around P, the Priestly source, makes up of! Seem to have served as the site of Solomon ’ s Monastery in Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh,.. Precise dates ( Exodus 34:28 ) there was a major component of this.! Helpful votes Helpful not Helpful taken place as soon as the Tabernacles ’ chief priest, is by! Israelites arrived at Sinai ; they allude to those events, and the elders he had expected nothing was but... His feet there was a … Mount Sinai was on the other hand, who coax the people to and... 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