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Exo 19:1 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they [into] the wilderness of Sinai.
Ver. 1. Into the wilderness of Sinai. ] A place where were many bushes and briers. Here they received the law, which, like briers and brambles, pricketh and pierceth the consciences of evil men. And this happened four hundred and thirty years after the promise made to Abraham; not to disannul the promise, Gal 3:17 but to advance it; and, that guilt being discovered, and "every mouth stopped," Rom 3:19 we might acknowledge the riches of free grace and mercy.
Exo 19:2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come [to] the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
Ver. 2. For they were departed. ] See Trapp on " Exo 18:5 "
Exo 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
Ver. 3. And Moses went up. ] See Trapp on " Exo 3:12 "
Exo 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
Ver. 4. On eagles’ wings.] The eagle beats her young ones out of their sluggish nest, that they may learn to fly: there was somewhat to do to bring Israel out of Egypt. The eagle carries her young upon her wings - and not between her talons, as other birds do - openly, safely, speedily: so did God his Israel, being choice and chary of them all the way; securing them also from their enemies, who could do them as little harm as any can do the eagle’s young, which cannot be shot but through the body of the old one. a Some by eagles here understand Moses and Aaron, who are so called, say they, propter acumen intelligentiae et altitudinem vitae, for the sharpness of their understanding and the loftiness of their lives. See Trapp on " Deu 32:11 "
a Munster, in Schol. in Deuteronomy 32:11 , ex R. Solomon.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine:
Ver. 5. If ye will obey my voice indeed. ] As I am good to you in deed, and not in pretence or profession only. Nathanael was "an Israelite indeed." Joh 1:47 And Caleb fulfilled after God, or fully followed him; so did not Solomon. 1Ki 11:6
Exo 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Ver. 6. A kingdom of priests. ] A holy state, such as shall be all satiated with fatness. Jer 31:14 See Trapp on " 1Pe 2:9 " See Trapp on " Rev 1:6 "
Exo 19:7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
Ver. 7. Laid before their faces. ] Or, Plainly proposed the mind of God. So did Paul. παρατιθεμενος , Act 17:3 So must ministers.
Exo 19:8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
Ver. 8. All that the Lord hath spoken. ] Sed, quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu! How easily over estimate we our own abilities! Pollicitis dives quilibet esse potest. Words are good cheap.
Exo 19:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
Ver. 9. And believe thee. ] Without suspicion of an imposture; such as was that of Mohammed.
Exo 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
Ver. 10. Sanctify them to day and to morrow. ] Men must come before God with the best preparation they can get. He will be sanctified in all them that draw nigh unto him. This the blind heathens saw, and therefore said, Oυκ εκ παροδου προσκυνειν αλλ οικοθεν παρασκευασμενοι , worship not God by the by, but with all possible preparation. a Hence they had their caena pura before their solemn sacrifices. b Numa nihil rerum sacrarum cives voluit neglectim agere. Hinc solenne illud, Hoc agite. The ministers likewise in the primitive Church prepared the people’s minds by saying Sursum corda, Lift up your hearts; and the deacons used to call upon the people in these words, Oremus, attendamus: Let us pray, let us attend. c
c Cyprian., De Oratione. Chrysost. Basil.
Exo 19:11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
Ver. 11. Against the third day. ] That is, three days hence, on the day of Pentecost.
Exo 19:12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, [that ye] go [not] up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
Ver. 12. That ye go not up into the mount. ] God loves at once familiarity and fear, saith a learned divine; a familiarity with him in our conversation, and fear of him in his commands. He loves to be acquainted with men in the walks of their obedience, yet he takes state upon him in his ordinances, and will be trembled at in his word and judgments.
a Dr Hall.
Exo 19:13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether [it be] beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
Ver. 13. They shall come up to the mount, ] i.e., To the bottom of the mount, to the foot thereof. Exo 19:17 See Trapp on " Heb 12:20 " "The way of life is above to the wise," saith Solomon. Pro 15:24 As Moses was with God in the mount, when the people were below in the valley.
Exo 19:14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
Ver. 14. And they washed their clothes. ] In token of washing their hearts, and "cleansing themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit." The Gentiles also washed, that they might go to sacrifice: and the primitive Christians before prayer. a
a Plaut., in Alul., act. iii. scen. 6. Tertul., De Orat., cap. 11.
Exo 19:15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at [your] wives.
Ver. 15. Be ready against the third day. ] If the word of a command expected such readiness, what shall the word of promise? &c.
Come not at your wives. ] For the legal uncleanness that was in it, Leviticus 15:18 1Sa 21:4 figuring the filth of original sin.
Exo 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.
Ver. 16. There were thunders and lightnings. ] The law was delivered in this terrible manner; partly to procure reverence to the doctrine of it, and partly to set forth the nature and office of it; which is to terrify and thunder struck offenders.
Exo 19:17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
Ver. 17. To meet with God. ] Who "came with ten thousands of his saints," as Moses, that climbed up that hill, and alone saw it, says. Deu 33:2 And if he thus gave the law, how shall he require it at the last day
Exo 19:18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
Ver. 18. The Lord descended upon it in fire. ] This fire wherein the law was given, is still in it, and will never out. Deu 33:2
Exo 19:19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
Ver. 19. Moses spake. ] Yet not without horror. Heb 12:21
Exo 19:20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses [up] to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
Ver. 20. And Moses went up. ] As a mediator between God and his people. Gal 3:19 Act 7:38 A mediator Moses was, not of redemption, as Christ that "Mediator of the new covenant" and "surety of a better testament," Hebrews 7:22 ; Heb 9:15 but of receiving the law, and delivering it to the people, for which end here he went up.
Exo 19:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
Ver. 21. And many of them perish. ] As the men of Bethshemesh did for prying into the ark. 1Sa 6:19 Arcana Dei, sunt Arca Dei: God’s secrets are his ark. Eorum quae scire nec datur, nec fas est, docta est ignorantia; scientiae appetentia, insaniae species. a Not to know what is not fit to know, is a learned ignorance; to desire to know in that case is a kind of madness. He that curiously searcheth into God’s majesty, shall be oppressed of his glory.
Exo 19:22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
Ver. 22. And let the priests. ] The firstborn of the family, which before the Levitical law had the priesthood.
Sanctify themselves. ] With a singular care, above that of the rest of the people. Much is required of ministers.
Exo 19:23 And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
Ver. 23. The people cannot come up, ] i.e., Siquid ego aut capio, aut sapio, they cannot: that which I know not teach thou me.
Exo 19:24 And the LORD said unto him, Away, 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 the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.
Ver. 24. Away, get thee down. ] Abundans cautela non nocet. It is fit that men should know and keep their distance.
Thou, and Aaron with thee. ] These only, who were types of Christ’s princely and priestly office, might come up unto the Lord.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 19". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent