Exodus 18:1–20:26

Jethro, Moses’ Father-in-law

1 Now aJethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.

2 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife aZipporah, after he had sent her away,

3 and her atwo sons, of whom 1one was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have been ba 2sojourner in a foreign land.”

4 1The other was named 2aEliezer, for he said,bThe God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

5 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses 1in the wilderness where he was camped, at athe mount of God.

6 He 1sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her.”

7 Then Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and ahe bowed down and bkissed him; and they casked each other of their welfare and went into the tent.

8 Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians afor Israel’s sake, all the bhardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how cthe Lord had delivered them.

9 Jethro rejoiced over all athe goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, 1in delivering 2them from the hand of the Egyptians.

10 So Jethro said, “aBlessed be the Lord who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

11 “Now I know that athe Lord is greater than all the gods; 1indeed, bit was proven when they dealt proudly against 2the people.”

12 aThen Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat 1a meal with Moses’ father-in-law before God.

13 It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening.

14 Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?”

15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me ato inquire of God.

16 “When they have a 1adispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

Jethro Counsels Moses

17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good.

18 aYou will surely wear out, both yourself and 1these people who are with you, for the 2task is too heavy for you; byou cannot do it alone.

19 “Now listen to 1me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. 2You be the people’s representative before God, and you abring the 3disputes to God,

20 athen teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them bthe way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do.

21 “Furthermore, you shall 1select out of all the people aable men bwho fear God, men of truth, those who chate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, 2of hundreds, 2of fifties and 2of tens.

22 “Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be athat every major 1dispute they will bring to you, but every minor 1dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and bthey will bear the burden with you.

23 “If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to 1endure, and all 2these people also will go to 3their place in peace.”

24 So Moses listened 1to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

25 Moses chose aable men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, 1of hundreds, 1of fifties and 1of tens.

26 They judged the people at all times; athe difficult 1dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor 1dispute they themselves would judge.

27 Then Moses 1abade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land.

Chapter 19

Moses on Sinai

1 aIn the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, 1on that very day they came into the wilderness of bSinai.

2 When they set out from aRephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of bthe mountain.

3 Moses went up to God, and athe Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:

4 aYou yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on beagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.

5 ‘Now then, aif you will indeed obey My voice and bkeep My covenant, then you shall be cMy 1own possession among all the peoples, for dall the earth is Mine;

6 and you shall be to Me aa kingdom of priests and ba holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

7 aSo Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him.

8 aAll the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.

9 The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in aa thick cloud, so that the bpeople may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.

10 The Lord also said to Moses, “Go to the people and aconsecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them bwash their garments;

11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on athe third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

12 “You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘1Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; awhoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

13 ‘No hand shall touch him, but ahe shall surely be stoned or 1shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to bthe mountain.”

14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments.

15 He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 aSo it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were 1thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the 1foot of the mountain.

The Lord Visits Sinai

18 aNow Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it bin fire; and its smoke ascended like cthe smoke of a furnace, and dthe whole mountain 1quaked violently.

19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and aGod answered him with 1thunder.

20 aThe Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down, 1warn the people, so that athey do not break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them 2perish.

22 “Also let the apriests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, or else the Lord will break out against them.”

23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You 1warned us, saying, ‘aSet bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’ ”

24 Then the Lord said to him, “1Go down and come up again, ayou and Aaron with you; but do not let the bpriests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, or He will break forth upon them.”

25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Chapter 20

The Ten Commandments

1 Then God spoke all these words, saying,

2 aI am the Lord your God, bwho brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of 1slavery.

3 aYou shall have no other bgods 1before Me.

4 aYou shall not make for yourself 1an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

5 aYou shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a bjealous God, cvisiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

6 but showing lovingkindness to athousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

7 aYou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not 1leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

8 “Remember athe sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 aSix days you shall labor and do all your work,

10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it ayou shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who 1stays with you.

11 aFor in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

12 aHonor your father and your mother, that your bdays may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

13 aYou shall not murder.

14 aYou shall not commit adultery.

15 aYou shall not steal.

16 aYou shall not bear false witness against your bneighbor.

17 aYou shall not covet your neighbor’s house; byou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

18 aAll the people perceived the 1thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.

19 aThen they said to Moses, “Speak 1to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak 1to us, or we will die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “aDo not be afraid; for God has come in order bto test you, and in order that cthe fear of Him may 1remain with you, so that you may not sin.”

21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached athe thick cloud where God was.

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen …

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