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And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire-stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw Gop, and did eat and drink.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments, which I have written, that thou mayest teach them.
And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and behold Aaron and Hur are with you : if any man have any matters to do,
let him come unto them
And Moses went up into the mouht, and a cloud covered the mount.
And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel.
And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: And Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sab
baths ye shall keep : for it is a sign between me and you, throughout your generations : that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore : for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it shall be surely put to death ; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from amongst his people.
Six days may work be done ; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath-day, he shall surely be put to death,
Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sab. bath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever : for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.'!
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is evident, from the beginning of this section, that neither Moses nor the people had yet beheld the IMAGE of God in the refulgence of Divine majesty. At the first visible manifestation of the Deity to him, Moses
a burning bush, from the midst of which God called unto
hini. On other occasions, during the plagues of Egypt, he heard the words of the Lord, and it is likely that he saw some token of the Divine presence ; perhaps the cloudy pillar that afterwards went before the Israelites. From this pillar, which (as we have before observed) might justly be denominated the vehicle of the LORD God, a glimpse of His glory darted
on the people, sufficient to convince them that He was actually present, and heard their murmurings for want of flesh and bread. When the Law was spoken on mount Sinai, they only heard a voice, they saw no similitude*; for the LORD GOD was hid, by clouds and thick darkness from the eyes even of Moses, who was permitted to approach much nearer to the pavilion of the ETERNAL KING, that any of the Israelites: the honour of beholding Him was reserved for the time when the LORD should personally ratify the covenant He had proposed to His people. God required that they should first testify their acceptance of the conditions specified; this we find they did, by declaring their readiness to do all that the LORD had said. As soon as the people had given their assent, Moses wrote the Covenant in a book, that it might be formally sealed.
It appears, from different parts of Scripture, that, according to the appointment of Gop, remission of sins was to be granted to mankind through the blood of the REDEEMER +. Till the time should be accomplished for the shedding of this, the blood of beasts was substi tuted as a sacramental representation of it, signifying, that the LORD would give those, who had faith in Him, and practised the obedience he required, an interest in the great sacrifice, that would be offered for mankind n general, so that they should enjoy the benefits it was designed to purchase.
It was observed in the history of Abraham, that the LORD made two covenants with him‡, both of which were solemnly ratified and confirmed; the first by a Divine promise on GoD's part, that He would fulfil the conditions of it, and on Abraham's by sacrificing ani
Rom. iiì, 25.
*Deut. iv. 12. 15.
mals; the latter by an OATH on GoD's part, and on Abraham's by offering his son.
The covenant which the LORD made with the Israelites on mount Sinai, was to them a renewal of the first of these covenants, and related to their temporal state as the descendants of Abraham. The everlasting covenant, which related to the spiritual concerns of all who should at any time come under the denomination of GOD's people, operated unperceived by them for many ages, till grace and truth came by JESUS CHRIST * but its benefits were conveyed to the Israelites, through the temporal covenant, till the time should come for the ratification of the spiritual covenant. As the everlasting covenant was to be sealed with the blood of the REDEEMER, it was requisite that the temporal covenant should be sealed with that of his appointed representative? on this account Moses made use of the blood of beasts, as is here described. The twelve pillars which he erected, were designed as memorials to each separate tribe, of the alliance they were going to make with God. By sprinkling the altar, Moses dedicated it to the purpose of receiving the sacrifices which were afterwards to be made on it, and by this means it became a witness to the contract. By sprinkling the book, he made that a witness also; and by sprinkling the people, he signified that the LORD accepted their sacrifices, and was ready to ratify the covenant with them, and consider them as His elect people.
In all civil contracts it is usual to have two copies, one for each party in like manner was the LORD'S Covenant conducted; one copy was written by Moses, as has been already related; the other was written by the finger of GOD. That Moses might not be suspected of collusion in this important affair, the LORD gra
* John i. 17.
éiously vouchsafed to appear before a number of witnesses, who were the chief heads of the families of the Israelites, men of approved abilities and integrity*, in order to convince them that He was actually present.
What a wonderful vision were Moses and his companions honoured with! from the short description which is given of it, we may judge, that it agreed with those which the prophets afterwards had; exceeding every object in the whole creation for brightness and beauty; but so moderated, that human nature might sustain itt.
As the LORD had many instructions to give to Moses, He called him up into the mount, and the glorious scene which had been just exhibited was hidden from view, Moses was left to reflect on the vision; and to exercise his faith, he waited till the return of the next Sabbath, before he received any farther communications from the LORD.
It seems, that there was, in many particulars, great resemblance between the religious ceremonies of the heathens, and those of the patriarchs, during the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for each built altars of stone or earth, and offered sacrifices on them; but the former paid these divine honours to idols, the latter to the LORD, the living GOD.
While the people of Israel abode in Egypt, they were either addicted to idolatry, or extremely inattentive to religion; and they had, in a great measure, lost the knowledge of the LORD, which Moses was sent to restore. They had been so accustomed to see a ceremonial worship, that they would not readily have received a religion purely spiritual; on this account probably GOD, in condescension to their ignorance, and with a view of representing, in a sensible manner, divine things, Isai. vi. Ezek. i. 10. Rev. i. 4.
*See Exod. xviii. 21.