Israel at Sinai
1In the third month from the very day the Israelites left the land of Egypt, they came to the Sinai Wilderness. 2They traveled from Rephidim, came to the Sinai Wilderness, and camped in the wilderness. Israel camped there in front of the mountain.
3Moses went up the mountain to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob and explain to the Israelites: 4‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5Now if you will carefully listen to me and keep my covenant, you will be my own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, 6and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”
7After Moses came back, he summoned the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8Then all the people responded together, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” So Moses brought the people’s words back to the Lord.
9The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear when I speak with you and will always believe you.” Moses reported the people’s words to the Lord, 10and the Lord told Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. They must wash their clothes 11and be prepared by the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12Put boundaries for the people all around the mountain and say: Be careful that you don’t go up on the mountain or touch its base. Anyone who touches the mountain must be put to death. 13No hand may touch him; instead he will be stoned or shot with arrows and not live, whether animal or human. When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they may go up the mountain.”
14Then Moses came down from the mountain to the people and consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15He said to the people, “Be prepared by the third day. Do not have sexual relations with women.”
16On the third day, when morning came, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and a very loud blast from a ram’s horn, so that all the people in the camp shuddered. 17Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the Lord came down on it in fire. Its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19As the sound of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder.
20The Lord came down on Mount Sinai at the top of the mountain. Then the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and he went up. 21The Lord directed Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to see the Lord; otherwise many of them will die. 22Even the priests who come near the Lord must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out in anger against them.”
23Moses responded to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, since you warned us: Put a boundary around the mountain and consecrate it.” 24And the Lord replied to him, “Go down and come back with Aaron. But the priests and the people must not break through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out in anger against them.” 25So Moses went down to the people and told them.