Israel Camps at Sinai
1Exactly three months after the Israelites had left Egypt, they reached the Desert of Sinai. 2When they left Rephidim, they came to the Desert of Sinai and camped in the desert in front of the mountain. 3Then Moses went up on the mountain to God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Say this to the family of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4‘Every one of you has seen what I did to the people of Egypt. You saw how I carried you out of Egypt, as if on eagle’s wings. And I brought you here to me. 5So now if you obey me and keep my agreement, you will be my own possession, chosen from all nations. Even though the whole earth is mine, 6you will be my kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ You must tell the Israelites these words.”
7So Moses went down and called the elders of the people together. He told them all the words the Lord had commanded him to say. 8All the people answered together, “We will do everything he has said.” Then Moses took their answer back to the Lord.
9And the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud and speak to you. The people will hear me speaking with you and will always trust you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and have them spend today and tomorrow preparing themselves. They must wash their clothes 11and be ready by the day after tomorrow. On that day I, the Lord, will come down on Mount Sinai, and all the people will see me. 12But you must set a limit around the mountain that the people are not to cross. Tell them not to go up on the mountain and not to touch the foot of it. Anyone who touches the mountain must be put to death 13with stones or shot with arrows. No one is allowed to touch him. Whether it is a person or an animal, he will not live. But the trumpet will make a long blast, and only then may the people go up on the mountain.”
14After Moses went down from the mountain to the people, he made them prepare themselves for service to God, and they washed their clothes. 15Then Moses said to the people, “Be ready in three days. Do not have sexual relations during this time.”
16On the morning of the third day, there was thunder and lightning with a thick cloud on the mountain. There was a very loud blast from a trumpet, and all the people in the camp trembled. 17Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord came down on it in fire. The smoke rose from the mountain like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook wildly. 19The sound from the trumpet became louder. Then Moses spoke, and the voice of God answered him.
20When the Lord came down on top of Mount Sinai, he called Moses to come up to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21The Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people that they must not force their way through to see me. If they do, many of them will die. 22Even the priests, who may come near me, must first prepare themselves. If they don’t, I, the Lord, will punish them.”
23Moses told the Lord, “The people cannot come up on Mount Sinai, because you yourself told us, ‘Set a limit around the mountain, and set it apart as holy.’ ”
24The Lord said to him, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you, but don’t allow the priests or the people to force their way through. They must not come up to the Lord, or I will punish them.”
25So Moses went down to the people and told them these things.