Study Guide

Book of Exodus Chapter 24

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Chapter 24

Who's On First?

  • Whew. Now that all that nice legal mumbo jumbo is over (hint: it's not), let's get back to our tour of Mount Sinai.
  • God tells Moses in 24:1-2, "Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him."
  • Basically, this is Moses's party. The elders get to witness stuff, but they can't really be in tune with God like Moses can.
  • Moses goes to the people and reads to them from the Book of the Covenant. You know, just some light reading.
  • Everyone is hunky-dory, so Moses sprays the people with animal blood to make everything nice and official. Talk about the blood oath of blood oaths.
  • Here's where things get confusing. Moses and the elders go up to see God, and the text is pretty explicit about them doing it together. Didn't God say that this was a Moses-only club?
  • Here's the actual text in 24:9-10: "Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness." Seems like some hardcore chilling to us.
  • Then, by verse 12, we're back to square one. Moses puts Aaron in charge of the people, goes up to Mount Sinai, and enters the cloud of God: "Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights." This time, it sounds like it's a Moses-only gathering.
  • So why is verse 12 (where Moses goes in alone) paired with verses 9-10 (where they all go together to check God out)? Could this be two different texts spliced into one product? See if you can divide up the chapter.

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