Tuesday, December 12

Exodus 16-20

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Manna and Quail from Heaven

     16[1-5] Then all the people of Israel left from Elim and went into the countryside of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai on the fifteenth day of the second month, after leaving from the land of Egypt. Then all the people of Israel complained to Moses and Aaron, saying, “If only Yahweh had killed us back in Egypt, where we sat around pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you’ve brought us into this countryside to starve us all to death.” Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people will go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I’ll test them to see whether or not they’ll obey Me. On the sixth day they’ll gather twice as much as usual and get it ready.”

     [6-10] So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you’ll know it was Yahweh who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you’ll see the greatness of Yahweh, who has heard your complaints, which are against God, and not us. Who are we that you should complain about us? Yahweh will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to fill you in the morning. Yahweh has heard all your complaints against God. Who are we? Yes, your complaints are against Yahweh, not against us.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say this to all the people of Israel: ‘Come to Yahweh, who has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to all the people of Israel, they looked out toward the countryside and saw the amazing greatness of Yahweh shining in a cloud.

     [11-16] Then Yahweh said to Moses, “I’ve heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you’ll have meat to eat, and in the morning you’ll have all the bread you want. Then you’ll know that I Am Yahweh your God.’” That evening great numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew dried, a small round thing as fine as frost covered the ground. So when they saw it, they asked each other, “What’s it?” They didn’t what it was. And Moses told them, “It’s the bread Yahweh has given you to eat. This is what Yahweh tells you to do: Everyone should gather as much as they need, about three quarts for each person in your tent.”

     [17-20] So the people of Israel did as they were told, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered too much had nothing left over, and those who gathered a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. Then Moses told them, “Don’t keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some till morning anyway. But by then it was full of worms and had a very bad smell. So Moses was very angry with them.

     [21-26] After this the people gathered it every morning, each family as much as they needed. And as the sun became hot, it melted. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual, about six quarts for each person instead of three. Then all the leaders of the people came and asked Moses why. He told them, “This is what Yahweh has told you to do: Tomorrow will be a day of total rest, a Seventh Day, a day set apart to worship Yahweh. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what’s left for tomorrow.” So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had told them, and it didn’t have any worms or smell. Moses said, “Eat this food today because today is a Seventh Day, a day to worship Yahweh. There will be no food on the ground today. You may gather the food for six days, but the Seventh Day is the Day of Rest. There will be no food on the ground that day.”

     [27-31] Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. So Yahweh asked Moses, “How long will these people not do what I tell them? See, I, Yahweh, have given you the Seventh Day, so I will give you enough for two days on the sixth day. On the Seventh Day you’ll each stay in your place. Don’t go out of your place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.

     [32-36] Then Moses said, “This is what Yahweh has told you: Fill a three-quart pot with manna to save it for your descendants, so they’ll be able to see the food I gave you in the countryside when I set you free from Egypt.” Moses said to Aaron, “Get a pot and fill it with three quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before Yahweh to save it for future generations.” Aaron did just as Yahweh had told Moses. He put it up to be placed in the Ark of the Promise. So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they got to the land where there were other people living. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one tenth of an ephah; it held about three quarts.

Water from the Rock

     17[1-3] All the people of Israel left the countryside of Sin as Yahweh told them to and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained to Moses, saying, “Give us water to drink!” So Moses answered, “Why are you asking me? And why are you testing Yahweh?” But because they were thirsty, they kept arguing with Moses, saying, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us, our children, and our animals with thirst?”

     [4-7] Then Moses prayed to Yahweh, “What should I do with these people? They’re almost ready to stone me!” So Yahweh said to Moses, “Go out in front of the people and call some of the leaders of Israel to go with you. Take your stick, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and go.  I’ll stand in front of you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Hit the rock, and water will come out of it, so the people will be able to drink.” So Moses did as he was told, and water came out as the leaders watched. So Moses named the place Massah (which means “temptation”) and Meribah (which means “arguement”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tempted Yahweh by saying, “Is Yahweh with us or not?”

IsraelDefeats the Amalekites

     [8-13] While the people of Israel were at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek came to fight them. So Moses told Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow, I’ll stand at the top of the hill, holding the stick of God in my hand.” So Joshua did what Moses said to him and fought the army of Amalek.Then Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up the stick in his hand, the Israelites were winning. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands became so tired that he couldn’t hold them up, Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands stayed up until sunset and Joshua won the battle against the army of Amalek.

     [14-16] Then Yahweh told Moses, “Write this down in the book to remember it, and read it to Joshua: and I’ll erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Then Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “Yahweh is my banner”). He said, “Yahweh has promised, so Yahweh will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”

Jethro’s Visit to Moses

     18[1-6] Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites, about how Yahweh had saved them from Egypt. Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (The first was named Gershom because Moses had said when he was born, “I’ve been a foreigner in a foreign land.” The second was named Eliezer because Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; and saved me from being killed by the ruler of Egypt.” So Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came back with his wife and two sons to Moses in the countryside, where they were camped at the mountain of God.  Jethro had sent word to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.”

     [7-12] So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed to him and kissed him. They asked each other about how the other was doing and then went into Moses’ tent. So Moses told his father-in-law everything Yahweh had done to the ruler and people of Egypt for Israel. He also told him about how Yahweh had saved his people from all their troubles along the way. Jethro was happy when he heard about all the good things Yahweh had done for Israel by saving them from the hand of the Egyptians. Jethro said, “Praise Yahweh, who has saved you from the Egyptians and from the ruler of Egypt, and who has saved Israel from having to work for the Egyptians! Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all other gods, because the very things that they proudly worshipped, God used to defeat them.” Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the leaders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

Jethro’s Wise Advice

     [13-16] The next day, Moses took his seat to judge between the people and they lined up in front of him from morning till evening. So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you doing for these people? Why are you doing all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” And Moses answered, “Because the people come to me to get an answer from God. When they disagree, they come to me, and I judge between them. I tell them what God says and teach God’s laws.”

     [17-23] Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “This isn’t good! Both you and those with you are going to wear yourselves out. This job is too much for you to do by yourself. Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should keep on teaching them what God says and the laws, and show them how to live right and what work they need to do. But select from all the people some men who are able to do this, who fear God, are honest and hate bribes. Make them leaders over groups of 1,000, 100, 50, and 10. Let them always judge the people in the less important things themselves, but have them bring the moor important things to you. They’ll help you carry the load, making things easier for you. If you do this, and if God tells you so, then you’ll be able to go on, and all these people will go home in peace.”

     [24-27] So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did what he said. Then Moses chose men who were able to do this from all over Israel and made them leaders over the people, leaders over 1,000’s, 100’s, 50’s, and 10’s. So they always judged the people in the little things themselves and brought the more important things to Moses. Then Moses let his father-in-law go, who went back to his own land.

Yahweh Reveals Himself at Sinai

     19[1-6] In the third month after the Israelites had left Egypt, they came to the countryside of Mount Sinai. They had left Rephidim, and came to Mount Sinai and set up camp there in the countryside. So Israel camped beside the mountain. Then Moses climbed up to God, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain, saying, “Tell this to the family of Jacob; tell it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You’ve seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now if you’ll obey Me and keep My Law, you’ll be My own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; because all the earth is Mine. And you’ll be a land of priests to me, my holy nation.’ Say this to the people of Israel.”

     [7-13] So Moses came down and called the leaders of the people and told them everything Yahweh had told him. And all the people answered together, saying, “We’ll do everything Yahweh has told us to do.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to Yahweh. Then Yahweh said to Moses, “I’ll come to you in a thick cloud, so the people will hear Me when I speak with you and always believe you.” So Moses told Yahweh what the people had said. Then Yahweh told Moses, “Go down to the people and dedicate them. Get them ready today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothes. Make sure they’re ready on the third day because on that day Yahweh will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch. Set a boundary all around the mountain, warning the people, ‘Be careful that you don’t go up to the mountain or even touch its base. Anyone who touches the mountain will be put to death without a doubt. No hand will touch that person or animal, but they will be stoned or shot with an arrow. Whether human or animal, they will be put to death. But when the trumpet sounds a long blast, then they’ll come near the mountain.”

     [14-20] So Moses went down to the people, and got them ready for worship, and they washed their clothes. He told them, “Get ready for the third day, and don’t have sex.” On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a thick cloud came down on the mountain. The sound of the trumpet was very loud, so all the people in the camp were scared. But Moses led them out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because Yahweh had come down on it in fire. The smoke went up like smoke from an oven, and the whole mountain quaked. As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him aloud. Then Yahweh came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed up the mountain.

     [21-25] Then Yahweh told Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to cross the boundaries to try to see Yahweh, or they’ll die. And let the priests who minister to Yahweh purify themselves so they won’t be killed.” But Moses argued, “The people can’t come up to the mountain. You warned us, saying, ‘Set a boundary all around the mountain to set it apart as holy.’” But Yahweh said, “Go away! Go down and come back with Aaron. But don’t let the priests or the people cross the boundary to see Yahweh, or they’ll be killed.” So Moses went down to the people and told them what Yahweh had said again.

The Ten Laws of God

    20[1-6] Then God spoke all these words:

“I Am Yahweh your God, who saved you from the land of Egypt, the place where you had to work so hard. Don’t worship anything else but Me. “Don’t make yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens, on the earth, or in the sea. Don’t bow down to them or worship them because I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, whopasses the parents’ sins down to the children up to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but forgiving many generations of those who love and obey Me. 

     [7] “Don’t use the name of Yahweh your God with disrespect. Yahweh won’t let anyone go unpunished who misuses God’s name.

     [8-11] “Remember the Seventh Day and keep it set aside to worship. You may do all your work in six days, but the seventh day is the Day of Rest of Yahweh your God. On that day no one may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female workers, your animals, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them and rested the seventh day. So Yahweh blessed the Seventh Day and set it apart to worship God.

     [12] “Respect your father and mother, so you’ll live a long life in the land Yahweh your God is giving you.

     [13] “Don’t kill anyone.

     [14] “Don’t be sexually unfaithful to your spouse.

     [15] “Don’t steal anything.

     [16] “Don’t tell lies about anyone.

     [17] “Don’t want what someone else has. Don’t want their spouse, their workers, their animals, or anything else that belongs to someone else.”

     [18-20] When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke pouring out of the mountain, they stood trembling at a distance. And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we’ll listen. But don’t let God speak to us, or we will die!” So Moses answered them, saying, “Don’t be afraid; God has come to test you, so that your fear of God will keep you from sinning!”

Proper Use of Altars

     [21-26] As the people stood in the distance, Moses went to the dark cloud where God was. And Yahweh said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: You saw that I spoke to you from heaven. Remember, don’t worship anything else along with Me. Don’t make any idols of silver or gold for yourselves. “Build for me an altar made of earth, and offer your sacrifices on it, your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep, and your cattle. Wherever I put My Name, I’ll come to you and bless you. If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Don’t shape the stones with a tool because that would make them unfit for use on the alter. And don’t build My altar with steps or you’ll show your nakedness on it.

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