“Before Moses Ever Went into the Mount, Israel Was Instructed in the Law and Covenanted to Obey It”

Exodus 24:1–8

1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 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.

An Old Testament CES (Church Educational System) manual states:

“The people, in anticipation of having Moses and the seventy special witnesses go into the presence of the Lord, were instructed in the laws. They accepted them with a covenant to keep them, accepted a copy of them as binding, and their covenants were sanctified by a sacrifice. Notice the promise the people made: ‘All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.’” (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:88–89.)

“The instructions Israel received before Moses went up to Mount Sinai were kept in the ‘book of the covenant’ (v. 7):

“But as no covenant was considered to be ratified and binding til a sacrifice had been offered on the occasion, hence the necessity of the sacrifices mentioned here.

Half of the blood being sprinkled on the altar, and half of it sprinkled on the people, showed that both God and they were mutually bound by this covenant. God was bound to the people to support, defend, and save them; the people were bound to God to fear, love, and serve Him.” (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1:425.)

“The instructions given to Israel ensured that she would not be forced into a relationship she did not understand or want. Once Israel expressed her willingness to receive the law and covenanted to live it, Moses was free to act for Israel in the presence of the Lord.”

(Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 141.)

 

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