EXODUS CHAPTER NINETEEN

EXODUS CHAPTER NINETEEN

1 In the third month and on the first day after

The Israelites left Egypt−on that day−

They reached the Sinai Desert. 2 After they

Set out from Rephidim, they went into

The Sinai Desert. Israel camped there

In desert in front of the mountain. 3 Moses

Moses on Mount Sinai
By Jean-Léon Gérôme (1895-1900)

Went up to God, and the LORD called to him

Out of the mountain and he said, “This is

What you are to tell Jacob’s progeny

And what to tell the Israelites: 4 ‘You’ve seen

Yourselves what I have done to Egypt, and

How I have carried you on eagles’ wings

And brought you to myself. 5 If you obey

Me fully and you keep my covenant,

You’ll be my treasure of all nations. Though

The earth is mine, 6 you’ll be for me a kingdom

Of priests, a holy nation.’ These are words

You are to tell the Israelites,” 7 so Moses

Went back and summoned leaders of the people

And set before them all the words the LORD

Had ordered him to speak, 8 and people all

Moses Comes Down from Mount Sinai

Replied together, “We’ll do everything

The LORD has said,” so Moses brought their answer

Back to the LORD, 9 who said to Moses, “I

Will come to you in a dense cloud, so that

People will hear me speaking with you and

Will always put their trust in you.” Moses

Told God what people had said, 10 and the LORD

Told Moses, “Go down to the people and

Consecrate them on this day and tomorrow,

And have them wash their clothes 11 and be prepared

By the third day, for on that day the LORD

Will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight

Of all the people. 12 Set limits for them

Around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful

That you do not approach the mountain or

Contact the foot of it. Whoever touches

The mountain, you shall put to death. 13 He shall

Be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand

Is to be placed on them. No person or

Animal shall be let to live,’ and only

When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they

Approach the mountain.” 14 After Moses had

Gone down the mountain to the people, he

Consecrated them, and they washed their clothes.

15 He told the people, “Get yourselves prepared

For the third day. Abstain from sex.” 16 Upon

The morning of the third day there was thunder

And lightning, and above the mountain was

A thick cloud; then came a loud trumpet blast.

Everybody in the camp trembled. 17 Moses

Then led the people from the camp to meet

With God, and they stood at the mountain’s base.

18 Smoke covered up Mount Sinai, for the LORD

Came down to it in fire. Smoke billowed up

From it like smoke out of a furnace, and

The entire mountain trembled violently,

19 And as the trumpet’s blast grew louder and

Louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God

Replied to him. 20 The LORD descended to

Mount Sinai’s peak and called for Moses to

Climb to the mountain top. So Moses went

Up 21 and the LORD told him, “Go down and warn

The people so they do not force their way

Through to see God and many of them die.

22 Even the priests, who come close to the LORD,

Must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will

Break out against them.” 23 Moses told the LORD,

“The people can’t come up Mount Sinai, for

You cautioned us yourself, ‘Put limits ’round

The mountain and set it apart as holy.'”

24 The LORD replied, “Go down and bring up Aaron

With you, but priests and people must not force

Their way through to come up to God, or he’ll

Break out against them.” 25 Moses went ahead

And told the people what the Lord had said.

EXODUS CHAPTER EIGHTEEN


1 Jethro, the priest of Midian and father‑

In‑law of Moses, heard of everything

That God had done for Moses and for his

People Israel, and how God had brought

Israel out of Egypt. 2 After Moses

Had sent away his wife Zipporah, Jethro,

His father‑in‑law, 3 met her and her

Two sons. The first son=s name was Gershom, for

Moses said, “I’ve become a foreigner

Within a foreign land;” 4 the other was

Named Eliezer, for he stated this:

“My father’s God helped me; he saved me from

The sword of Pharaoh.” 5 Jethro, Moses’father‑

In‑law, along with Moses’ sons and wife,

Traveled to him within the desert, where

He’s camped beside God’s mountain. 6 Jethro had

Sent him this message, “I, your father‑in‑law

Jethro, am coming to you with your wife

And her two sons,” 7 so Moses went to meet

His father‑in‑law and bowed down and kissed him.

They greeted one another and then went

Inside the tent, 8 where Moses told his father‑

In‑law what God had done to Pharaoh and

Egyptians for the sake of Israel

And of the hardships they had met along

The way and how the LORD had saved them. 9 Jethro        

Was pleased to hear about the good things that

The LORD had done for Israel in saving

Them out of the Egyptians’ hand. 10 He said,

“Praise be to God, who rescued you out of

The hand of the Egyptians and from Pharaoh,

Who saved the people from th’Egyptians’ hand.

11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than

All other gods, for he did this to those

Who treated Israel like dirt.” 12 Then Jethro,

Moses’ father‑in‑law, brought in a burnt

Offering and some other sacrifices

To God, and Aaron came with all the leaders

Of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’

Father‑in‑law before the LORD. 13 The next

Day, Moses took his seat to serve as judge

For people, and they stood around him from

The morning ’til the evening. 14 When his father‑

In‑law saw all that Moses did for people,

He said, “What is this you do for the people?

Why do you sit as the sole judge, while all

These people stand around you from morning

‘Til evening?” 15 Moses answered him, “Because

The people come to me to seek God’s will.

16 Whenever they have a dispute, it’s brought

To me, and I decide between the parties

And tell them God’s decrees and regulations,”

17 Then Moses’ father‑in‑law answered, “What

You’re doing is not good. 18 You and these people

Who come to you will only tire yourselves.

The work’s too heavy for you; you can’t handle

It by yourself. 19 Now hear me out and I’ll

Advise you, and may God be with you. You

Must be the people’s representative

Before the LORD; bring their disputes to him,

20 And teach them his decrees and regulations.

Show them the way they are to live and how

They should behave, 21 but pick out able men

From all the people–men who fear the LORD,

Trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–

Appoint them as officials over thousands,

Hundreds, fifties and tens, 22 and have them serve

As judges for the people at all times,

But have them bring each hard case in to you;

They can decide the simple cases for

Themselves, and that will lighten up your load,

Because they’ll share it with you. 23 If you do

This and God so commands, you will be able

To stand the strain, and all these people will

Go home contented.” 24 Moses listened to

His father‑in‑law and did as he said.

25 He picked some able men from Israel

And made them people’s leaders, as officials

Over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

26 They served as judges for the people at

All times. Hard cases they brought Moses, but

The simple ones they decided by

            Themselves; 27 then Moses said goodbye as planned,

And Jethro went along to his own land.

In the Grandstands

He threw a football three hundred yards.
“Broke a trellis in his neighbor’s yard.”

He jumped higher than the clouds.
“He’s too self-centered, too proud.”

He ran a marathon in record time.
“He should be charged with many crimes.”

He lifted more weight than any man before.
“The man’s performance is a snore.”

As a lifeguard, he saved a thousand lives.
“He’s had trouble with his wives.”

Three men on, he hit a grand slam.
“Hand me the raspberry jam.”

He swam the sea from Spain to Greece.
“I read the stupid press release.”

He dove 5000 feet into a pool.
“The dude oughtta go back to school.”

He pitched ten consecutive perfect games.
“He’ll do anything to build his name.”

He rounded up 1000 cattle in an hour.
“Phew! Man needs to take a shower.”

The heavyweight champion–he knocked him out.
“Man’s a loser, loafer and lout.”

He pole-vaulted through the stratosphere.
“He might get better next year.”

He outran a cheetah on Serengeti’s plains.
“Bind the man in iron chains.”

~Day

American Freedom

You’re free to worship as you please, and speak
Your mind about your leaders, travel where
You want to go, associate with weak
And strong, with poor and rich, to share and care

With others, to begin an enterprise,
To start or join a group, to marry one
You love and raise a family, to buy
And sell a house, a car, some land, a gun,

To run for public office, to delight
In privacy at home, humble abode,
To be tried fairly if you’re charged with crimes

And have a lawyer for defense, to fight
The government for rights, for changing codes:
You’re free, freer than men in any time.

~Day Williams