THE ROMANCE OF JEWISH HISTORY
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament showeth his handiwork (Ps. 19:1).
BUT "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Ps. 14:1). All who by faith see the Eternal God standing behind the physical, material universe, as David in Psalm 19 did, recognize the truth expressed in the following quotation:
10 Wherefore David blessed Jehovah before all the assembly; and David said, Blessed be thou, 0 Jehovah, the God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11 Thine, 0 Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, 0 Jehovah, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou rulest over all; and in thy hand is power and might; and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all (I Chron. 29:10-12).
In keeping with the truth of this quotation is that which the Apostle Paul uttered at Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, when he stood before the philosophers and statesmen of the supreme court.
24 The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us: 28 for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (Acts 17:24-28).
According to this inspired utterance, God "made of one every nation of men ... having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation ..." Figuratively speaking, the Lord has a blueprint of all the nations of earth, on which is indicated the rise, the expansion, and the decline or the continuance of each racial and national group. During the centuries of time, the Lord is directing the course of human history, as indicated on the blueprint, because
19 God is not a man, that he should lie,
Neither the son of man, that he should repent:
Hath he said, and will he not do it?
Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good? (Num. 23:19).
When the Lord created man, He had one object in view, namely, "that they should seek God ... for in him we live, and move and have our being … for we are also his offspring." Since man is the offspring of God, naturally God loves every person individually and wants to do all in His power for the blessing and welfare of each. He would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4). God is longsuffering toward all, "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Pet. 3:9). He showed His profound interest in every individual by sending "his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Man is a free moral agent, having the power of choice, which he may exercise for his own good or to his detriment. The Lord never forces or coerces anyone's will. In His great solicitude for His creatures, He uses all spiritual and moral forces possible to influence them, never crossing the threshold of man's personality.
Wise and impartial parents are equally interested in all their children and plan to bring the greatest blessing to each. Some children however, not appreciating their relation to the parents, assume attitudes and pursue courses which make it impossible for the parents to do for them what they would like to do. Most frequently it is thus with men in relation to God. This fact is brought out in Romans 1:18-32. Notwithstanding man's rebellion and sinfulness God is endeavoring to bring the greatest blessing to the largest number in the shortest length of time.
God in His wisdom and love has chosen to bless men in and through others. He declares that He will bless all nations through Abraham and his seed (Gen. 12:1-3). God's great concern and love for all mankind gave birth to the unique miraculous elements which are seen in Israel throughout the centuries, and on account of which one can speak of "the Romance of Jewish History." The Lord had this plan in mind when He dispersed the nations and separated the children of men.
8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
When he separated the children of men,
He set the bounds of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel (Deut 32:8).
In giving to each group its inheritance, the Lord made allotments in accordance with the number of the children of Israel. As this Scripture indicates, each nation, in the plan of God, is related to Israel. God selected Abraham and his seedhis literal seed and Messiah the seed par excellenceto be the channel of world blessing. In view of all the facts presented thus far, it is clear that God loves all men equally; but He chose the Hebrew race to be the channel through which that love might flow out to all people. Moreover, the Lord's giving special advantages and opportunities to Israel is not to be interpreted as favoritism but as a necessary step in equipping them for their special mission in the world.
Not realizing that a man cannot receive anything except it be given him of God (John 3:27), and that the special gifts of the Jewish people were conferred upon them by the Almighty to equip them for their world mission, some people look with jealousy and envy at the Hebrew racebecause of their great contribution to the civilization of the world. It is a well-known fact that the Jews stand foremost in the ranks of all the arts, the sciences, and the professions, and that their contribution to our civilization is out of all proportion to their numberin comparison with that of other nations. When all the facts are marshaled and understood, there is no logical reason for racial prejudice and jealousy. Let allboth Jew and Gentilehumbly accept the gifts and the calling of God, as they pertain to each one, and look upon each other with mutual respect and good will.
I. MOUNTAIN PEAKS OF JEWISH HISTORY
For all who have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to comprehend, sense to perceive the beautiful and the sublime, and spiritual insight to recognize the living God as He stands in His majesty behind His handiwork, a journey through Switzerland, for instance, is an experience never to be forgotten. But for all who lack these perceptive powers, such a journey would be merely a commonplace thing of life. The country which God gave to Israel, the Holy Land, is, as is well known, a country of mountains and valleys, streams and deserts. Let us think of the history of Israel in terms of the topography of the land. Certain periods of Jewish history were indeed rich with spiritual blessings and may be compared with well-watered green valleysas, for instance, the period of the Exodus. Some of the mountaintop experiences of Israel's history were the wars of conquest under the generalship of Joshua, who led the hosts of Israel from victory to victory, and the glorious reigns of David and Solomon. In our analogy the period of the Judges would be symbolized by the dry desert sections of the country.A. The Call Of Abraham
Let us now make a journey through the country of Israel's history, stopping only to glance at the mountain peaks. There are several such peaks which, figuratively speaking, penetrate the blue, and from which the glory of the Eternal God flashes forth in miraculous power and works.
We are told that Diogenes went through the streets of ancient Athens with a lamp burning at noonday. When asked why he was acting thus, he explained that he was looking for an honest man. God told Jeremiah: "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that doeth justly, that seeketh truth; and I will pardon her" (Jer. 5:1). Jeremiah's search was in vaina lamentable situation!B. The Birth Of Isaac
God is always looking for a man whom He can trust, and whom He can use. To King Asa He declares: "For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; for from henceforth thou shalt have wars" (II Chron. 16:9). Note the statement particularly: God is looking for men whose hearts are perfect toward Him. The average person would look for a man with a fine physique, an excellent personality, a ready and polished speech, and the ability to win and influence people. It is not so with God. He looks upon the heart. When Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse, stood before Samuel the Prophet, he said, "Surely Jehovah's anointed is before him. 7 But Jehovah said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart" (I Sam. 16:6,7).
In the days of Abram God was looking for a mana real man whose heart was perfect toward Him. As He searched throughout all nations, He found one man whose heart was right, and whom He could trustAbram.
12 Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2 and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: 3 and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed (Gen.12:1-3).
The call of God to one is usually a call to separation and service. Sometimes His call is to a literal separation, as in the case of Abram: "Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee." Sometimes the call of God is to spiritual separation, the breaking of fellowship with evil companions and unregenerated and worldly-minded kindred. Regardless of the type of separation, such a call is designed for the individual's good, though it often means heart-rending experiences.
The statement, "and I will make of thee a great nation," involves a biological miracle of creation, as one will presently see, since Abram was past the age of parenthood.
The promise blended with the command, "and I will bless thee ... and be thou a blessing," is characteristic of God's dealings with His special servants. God blesses His people in order that they may pass on to others the blessings conferred upon them, both of a material and of a spiritual nature, whenever it will advance the divine purpose or aid and assist the needy.
God has always honored His promise "and I will bless them that bless thee"as many can testify personally, who have favored, whenever possible, the Hebrew people.
The solemn warning, "and him that curseth thee will I curse," God has likewise carried out. A glance at the punishmentand oftentimes the doomof the nations that persecuted Israel bears incontrovertible evidence that God will, at the right time, punish all anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jews. Look at ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Spainand, in modern times, Adolph Hitler's Third Reich. As a matter of fact, history bristles with examples of pogroms and persecutions launched against the Jews throughout the Christian centuries by certain rulers and by some modern nations. God declares that He watches over His Word to perform itto fulfill every promise and to carry out every threat (Jer. 1:11,12).
The blessings connected with Abram's call reach a climax in the statements, "and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3) and "in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18). What is meant by Abram's seed? The Apostle Paul gives us some information on this point: "Now to Abraham¹ were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one. And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Gal. 3:16). From this verse it is clear that the seed of Abraham is the Messiah of Israel, par excellence. The word seed in the original is in the singular number and signifies one. But this word is likewise used as a collective noun. In this sense it signifies many. After Abraham rescued Lot from his captors (Genesis, chapter 14), the Lord appeared to Abraham "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:5,6). In the light of this usage, it is also clear that Abraham's seed includes his literal progeny. Thus God plans to bless all families of the earth in and through the Hebrew Messiah and the faithful remnant of Abraham's literal seed.
This cursory view of the call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) scintillates with the presence and glory of the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Thus from this first mountain peak of Jewish history there flash forth rays of divine glory.
In Genesis, chapter 18, is found an account of Jehovah's appearing to Abraham. In explaining this unusual visit, the sacred writer states that Abraham lifted up his eyes "and lo, three men stood over against him ..." Abraham received these strangers in regular oriental style. Who were these men? By reading the entire account (Genesis, chapters 18 and 19), we learn that one of these visitors was one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, who in the text is called Jehovah. The other two are called angels. In view of these facts it is certain that Jehovah and the angels assumed the form of men in order to communicate with Abraham.C. Israel's Deliverance From Egyptian Bondage
9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? 14 Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh (Gen.18:9-15).
Since Abraham and Sarah were stricken in years and both were past the age of parenthood, Sarah laughed at the thoughtin unbelief. When, however, she was confronted with the seriousness of her doubts, she denied having laughedto her discredit. Many good people today, when they, like Sarah, are faced with a grave situation, deal carelessly with the truth. Few people will stand up and be counted. In reply, Jehovah said, "Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son."
God miraculously fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah, as seen in the following quotation:
21 And Jehovah visited Sarah as he had said, and Jehovah did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh; every one that heareth will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should give children suck? for I have borne him a son in his old age (Gen. 21:1-7).
According to the Genesis account, Isaac's birth was the result of a miracle. Isaiah the Prophet confirms this position. "But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, 0 Jacob, and he that formed thee, 0 Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine" (Isa. 43:1). According to this verse, God performed a biological miracle upon the bodies of Abraham and Sarah, which made possible the birth of Isaac. His birth was as much the result of a miracle as creation itself. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). In the beginning there was no material universe. Then God put forth the act which is spoken of as creation. The result of this act was the coming into existence of the physical, material universe. In Isaiah 43:1-7 the Prophet discusses the faithful remnant of Israel of the end time, and speaks of "everyone that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made." Each one of the remnant will be used in some special manner to glorify and honor God. Concerning these same ones, the Prophet in verse 21 speaks of them as "the people which I formed for myself, that they might set forth my praise."
In Romans, chapter 4, Paul discusses the case of Abraham and the birth of Isaac. When the bodies of Abraham and Sarah were as good as dead so far as procreation is concerned, Abraham believed God's promise that he should have a son. He, therefore, staggered not in unbelief, but was assured by his unswerving faith that what God had promised He was able to fulfill.
16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace; to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, even God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. 18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned unto him; 24 but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned, who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. (Rom. 4:16-25).
When God performed the biological miracle of creation upon the bodies of Abraham and Sarah, He, so to speak, injected new powers, capabilities, and special talents into the bloodstream of Abraham's descendantsa special blessing enjoyed by no other race. This fact accounts for the marvelous contribution which the Jewish people have made to civilization. Because of this general principle, God will punish the people of Israel double for all their sins (Isa. 40:1,2).
By the providence of God, Jacob and his family went down into Egypt during a severe famine in the land of Canaan. Before Jacob and his sons went, the Lord in a most mysterious and unthinkable manner sent Joseph ahead to be divinely used in working out the problem of national survival and increase. While Joseph was ruler of Egypt, the Hebrews enjoyed great favors from the crown. In the process of time there arose a Pharaoh who knew not Josephwho did not recognize the blessings that Joseph had conferred upon the Egyptian people. In Pharaoh's ingratitude he became anti-Semitic. He changed the political status of the Hebrews into abject slavery and became more unreasonable as the days passed. The lot of the Hebrews became unbearable. Finally, they cried out to God for deliverance. The Lord used the inhuman treatment of the Hebrews by the Egyptians in weaning them from the fleshpots of Egypt, and in creating in them a desire to return to their own country, the land of Canaan. The all-wise and omnipotent God uses every situationregardless of all factorsand makes it contribute to the furthering of His cause among men.
It has been well said that God has the man of His choice for every emergency. As has already been seen, the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, searching for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him. In the present case the man whom God chose was none other than Moses, who became His spokesman and Israel's deliverer from serfdom. Spiritually speaking, he was of noble birth, inheriting those characteristics and talents that equipped him for his life's work.
By the overruling providence of God, as seen in Exodus, chapters 1 and 2, the baby Moses was taken out of the wretched, miserable existence of an Egyptian Hebrew hovel and, to the amazement of all, was brought into the glamorous cultural life of the imperial palace, having been adopted by Pharaoh's daughter as her son. By this one act, the wealth and riches of Egypt, figuratively speaking, were laid at the feet of this Hebrew infant. Not only so, but the treasures of knowledge, education, and culture were placed at his disposal: "And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; and he was mighty in his words and works" (Acts 7:22). He lived in the imperial palace until he was forty years of age. During this time, he was busily engaged in his studies, mastering the arts and the sciences of Egypt. Thus we may think of this time as a period of his undergraduate studies. From all the evidence, it is clear that he was an honor student, "mighty in words and works."
Suddenly Moses' schooling in the imperial palace came to an abrupt end. But such is life. He had to flee from Egypt. For the details concerning his hasty departure, see Exodus 2:11-15 and Acts, chapter 7. Moses fled from Egypt to Midian and there married the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian, and became a shepherd, caring for his father-in-law's flock. Forty long years Moses herded sheep. Probably his duties as a shepherd took him throughout the length and breadth of the Sinaitic Peninsula. In this way he became familiar with the country in which he accomplished his real lifework. There is an infinitely vast difference between the schooling and the environment of the royal palace of Egypt and that of life in the desert, caring for sheep. In the former environment Moses took his undergraduate studies and prepared himself for his lifework. He needed the practical experience in dealing with animals and men and in acquiring a thorough knowledge of the country through which he was to lead the Chosen People out of Egyptian slavery into the liberty of their own homeland. Without this knowledge Moses could never have accomplished the work which God had for him to perform.
At the proper time the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush and called him to deliver His people from their serfdom in Egypt (Exodus, chapter 3) and invested him with supernatural power, thus enabling him to accomplish his divine mission. The account of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt and their passage through the waters of the Red Sea is recorded in Exodus, chapters 1 through 15. As the Hebrews were departing from Egypt, the Egyptian armies were in hot pursuit. Upon the Hebrews arrival at the Red Sea, the waters were separated, thus forming a path through the Sea so that they could leave Egypt. The Egyptian army, attempting to pursue the Hebrews through the Sea, was completely destroyed. The Hebrews, standing safely on the opposite shore of the Sea, sang the song of deliverance:
15 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto Jehovah, and spake, saying, I will sing unto Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
2 Jehovah is my strength and song, And he is become my salvation: This is my God, and I will praise him; My father's God, and I will exalt him.
3 Jehovah is a man of war: Jehovah is his name.
4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea; And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The deeps cover them: They went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Thy right hand, O Jehovah, is glorious in power, Thy right hand, O Jehovah, dasheth in pieces the enemy.
7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou overthrowest them that rise up against thee: Thou sendest forth thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble.
8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were piled up, The floods stood upright as a heap; The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: They sank as lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, The earth swallowed them.
13 Thou in thy lovingkindness hast led the people that thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habitation.
14 The peoples have heard, they tremble: Pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Then were the chiefs of Edom dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, trembling taketh hold upon them: All the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away.
16 Terror and dread falleth upon them; By the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone; Till thy people pass over, O Jehovah, Till the people pass over that thou hast purchased.
17 Thou wilt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, The place, O Jehovah, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, The sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
18 Jehovah shall reign for ever and ever. (Ex. 15:1-18).
Although God had performed one miracle after another in connection with the Exodus, many of the Hebrews soon forgot God's mighty acts of deliverance. For an inspired commentary on this phase of the situation, study carefully Psalms 78 and 106.D. The Giving Of The Law
By the arduous, painstaking, scientific labors of faithful archaeologists, some of the literary remains of ancient nations have been recovered from their graves and have been placed at the disposal of students in their quest for exact knowledge of the civilizations of the past. Among these documents are some legal codes. One of the most famous of these is the code of Hammurabi. Scholars have compared Hammurabi's code with the Mosaic legislation and have called attention to some striking similarities between certain laws of the two codes. Abraham and Hammurabi were contemporaries, as is seen in Genesis, chapter 14, for conservative scholars are generally agreed that Amraphel of Genesis 14:1 is Hammurabi of the monuments. Moses, the great law-giver of Israel, lived approximately four hundred years after Abraham and Hammurabi. The exact verbal agreements between certain laws of these two codes have led some scholars to say that Moses borrowed from Hammurabi. They are positive that there was borrowing done. According to them, Hammurabi did not borrow from Moses because he lived four hundred years before Moses' day. They are, therefore, sure that Moses borrowed from Hammurabi.
Candor demands that one acknowledge the verbal agreement between these codes. Is there not another logical, more reasonable explanation than the one suggested above? The verbal agreements point positively to the position that there was some borrowing done; but by whom? and how? According to Genesis 26:5, God had revealed a legal code to someone, for Abraham lived under it: "because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Originally, Abraham lived in Babylonia. God called him out of that heathen environment and brought him into the kingdom of Melchizedek, whose capital was Salem, the ancient name of Jerusalem. Melchizedek was king and "priest of God Most High." Since he was sovereign of the Kingdom of God on earth, as it existed at that time, the laws and statutes enforced were probably the laws mentioned in Genesis 26:5.
It is reasonable to suppose that Hammurabi was acquainted with this primitive revelation and saw the value of certain laws. These he copied and incorporated into his code.
When God called Moses to give a code to Israel, the Spirit of God led him to copy certain laws of this primitive revelation and to incorporate them into his code. Thus by hypothesis one can see how Hammurabi and Moses could have copied from God's primitive revelation. Moses, in his quoting, was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; Hammurabi, in his quoting, was guided by human wisdom.
From the crossing of the Red Sea, Israel's trek through the wilderness brought the people to Mount Sinai, which trembled before the omnipotence of the Almighty, which glowed with the glory of the Holy One of Israel, and which resounded and echoed with the living words of the God of Israelthe God of love, the God of redemption, and the God of life.
2 And he said,
Jehovah came from Sinai,
And rose from Seir unto them;
He shined forth from mount Paran,
And he came from the ten thousands of holy ones:
At his right hand was a fiery law for them (Deut. 33:2).
The children of Israel, having sanctified themselves according to the instruction which Moses had given them (Ex. 19:7-15), assembled in the plain at the foot of Mount Sinai to hear God speak to man.
And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai, the whole of it, smoked, because Jehovah descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And Jehovah came down upon mount Sinai, to the top of the mount: and Jehovah called Moses to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. 21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto Jehovah to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 And let the priests also, that come near to Jehovah, sanctify themselves, lest Jehovah break forth upon them. 23 And Moses said unto Jehovah, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou didst charge us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it 24 And Jehovah said unto him, Go, get thee down; and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto Jehovah, lest he break forth upon them. 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and told them.
¹ Abrahamthe name given to Abram when God renewed His promise to give him numerous posterity (Gen. 17:1-5).
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