How God Gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments

Three months after the Israelite people left Egypt, they came to the desert called Sinai. They set up camp near the mountain called Mount Sinai and Moses went up the mountain. There God spoke to Moses and told him to say to the people, "If you will obey me, and keep my covenant, you will be my very own people."

Then Moses came back down the mountain and told the people what God had said. They all answered, "We will do everything that the Lord has said. "So Moses went back up the mountain and told this to God. The God said, "Go down and tell the people to spend today and tomorrow on washing their clothes and getting ready. On the next day I will come down on Mount Sinai where everyone can see me. Mark a place around the mountain that the people must not cross and tell them not to go up on the mountain. If anyone touches the mountain, he must be put to death. Do not touch him; kill him with rocks or arrows." So Moses came down the mountain and told this to the people, they washed their clothes and got ready.

On the morning of the third day the Lord came down on the mountain in the form of fire and smoke went up from it. A dark cloud was on the mountain with lightning and thunder coming from it. There was the sound of a very loud trumpet and the whole mountain shook. All of the Israelites shook with fear. Moses led them out of the camp to meet God and they stood at the bottom of the mountain.

Then God spoke from the mountain and said, "I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of Egypt, the land where you were slaves.

"You shall have no other gods but me.

"You shall not make an image in the form of anything. You shall not bow down before them or worship them, because I am a jealous God. But I show kindness to those who love me and keep my commandments.

"You shall not use the name of God in an empty way. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. For six days you shall work, but the seventh day is a day of rest. On that day no one is to work-not even the foreigners that live in your country.

"Honor your father and mother, so that you may have a long life.

"You shale not commit murder."

"You shall not commit adultery."

"You shall not steal."

"You shall not desire your neighbor's house, or his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns."

When God has given these Ten Commandments, the people were afraid and told Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but don't let God speak to us, or we will die." So all the people stayed there, while Moses went up to the thick darkness where God was. There God gave Moses laws about how to build an altar, how to treat slaves, what to do with someone who kills, hurts, or steals from someone else, and many other laws. Then God told Moses, "Come back up the mountain and bring Aaron, his sons Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the leaders of Israelites."

When Moses went back down the mountain, he told the people about all of God's laws, and the people said, "We will do everything that the Lord has said." So Moses wrote down all of God's commandments. The next morning he built an altar at the bottom of the mountain. Then the Israelites sacrificed some cattle as offerings to God. Moses put half of the blood from the animals in bowls. The other half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant where he had written God's commandments, and read it aloud to the people. They said, "We will obey the Lord and do all that he has commanded." Then Moses took the blood in the bowls and threw it on the people. He said, "This is the blood of the covenant that God has made with you." Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the Israelite leaders went up the mountain. Then God appeared to them, and they ate and drank before the Lord.

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