Ratification of the Covenant. 1Moses himself was told, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, with Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You shall all worship at some distance, 2but Moses alone is to come close to the LORD; the others shall not come too near, and the people shall not come up at all with Moses.”
3When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD, they all answered with one voice, “We will do everything that the LORD has told us.” l Ex 19, 8 . 4Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and, rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar and twelve pillars* for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD, 6Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. 7Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.” 8Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.” m 5–8: Heb 9, 18ff .
9Moses then went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, 10and they beheld the God of Israel. Under his feet there appeared to be sapphire tilework, as clear as the sky itself. 11Yet he did not smite these chosen Israelites. After gazing on God,* they could still eat and drink.
Moses on the Mountain. 12The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and, while you are there, I will give you the stone tablets n Ex 31, 18; 32, 15f; Dt 5, 22 . on which I have written the commandments intended for their instruction.” 13So Moses set out with Joshua, his aide, and went up to the mountain of God. 14The elders, however, had been told by him, “Wait here for us until we return to you. Aaron and Hur are staying with you. If anyone has a complaint, let him refer the matter to them.” 15After Moses had gone up, a cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the LORD settled upon Mount Sinai. The cloud covered it for six days, and on the seventh day he called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. o Sir 45, 4 . 17To the Israelites the glory of the LORD was seen as a consuming fire on the mountaintop. p Ex 19, 18; Heb 12, 18 . 18But Moses passed intothe midst of the cloud as he went up on the mountain; and there he stayed for forty days and forty nights. q Ex 34, 28; Dt 9, 9 .