Richard Agee

Exodus 18-19: God introduces Himself to Yisra’el

Richard AgeeWhen Moshe was on this mountain with the burning bush, which didn’t actually burn, he had to ask God who He was. Now he is back at this same mountain, but this time God has set the entire mountain on fire with smoke. This was not just for Moshe and Aaron, but it’s for all the people to see and respect.

The events of Exodus 18 may have followed the events of Exodus 19, because chapter 18 starts with Moshe (Moses) hearing judgements (Ex. 18:16). But Moshe hadn’t yet received all the laws and judgements. So this advice that Yitro (Jethro) gave to Moshe on appointing judges probably occurred sometime after the giving of the 10 Commandments.

In Exodus 19, they are leaving Rephidim heading to Mt. Sinai. God says that the children of Israel were going to become a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6), meaning they would all be priests of a sort.

We have been programmed see priesthood in the Catholic sense, but what God is talking about is broader than that.

Some assume that only Moshe heard these instructions, but we are told in Exodus 19 that Aharon (Aaron) and the elders were with Moshe as well. Moshe gave all the words to the elders, and they went to their people and passed them down. This was told to them before the 10 Commandments were given.

The point of God’s speech in Ex. 19:9 is that God is going to reveal enough of himself to the elders, that they will “believe in [Moshe] forever.”

Moshe was told to consecrate the people over the next three days. The people were to make sure their garments were clean and to refrain from sexual relations.

God came down onto the mountain in a fire and burned everything like a furnace with black smoke. The fear that God put into the people was a profound fear. God didn’t have to do this more than once to make His point. That’s why it was written down.

This is more about God’s covenant with Abraham, Yitzkhak (Isaac) and Ya’akob (Jacob) than with Moshe. This covenant, given to Moshe, was given due to the increase of sin, as the Apostle Paul taught.

After the three days, God spoke and the people heard His voice. Moshe went up the mountain as God instructed. Then he had to go back down to remind the people to stay away from the mountain.

“Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.” (Ex. 19:22)

The Levite priests had not been appointed yet so this is most likely referring to the eldest sons of each family, who up to this point, would have had a priestly role with the people.

This shocking display was to help the people understand that there is only one God, not many gods as they saw in Egypt. After this Israel would be changed, they would never be the same. They only saw the power, might and authority of Moshe but now they will see who was really in control all along.

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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