OT Bible Study #17: Who went up and Whom did they meet?

OT Bible Study #17: Mount Sinai

Make the pure light of Your divine knowledge shine in our hearts, Loving Master, and open the eyes of our minds that we may understand the message of Your Gospel. Instill also in us reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that overcoming all worldly desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, both thinking and doing all things pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the Light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give the glory, together with Your Father, without beginning, and Your All Holy, Good, and Life- Creating Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen. (2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 1:18; 2 Peter 2:11)

Review. Ten Commandments.

The Wilderness of Sinai. During the time Israel spent in the region of Mount Sinai, the area where they were camped is referred to as the “wilderness” (or “desert”) of Sinai (Numbers 1:1; 10:12). This region is the setting for the biblical account from Exodus 19:1 to Numbers 10:12. Israel is camped here when the tabernacle is constructed and when Aaron and his sons are consecrated as priests (Exodus 25–40). The ritual and sacrificial laws of Leviticus related to the priests and the tabernacle are also set here (Leviticus 7:38). After approximately a year, the Israelites break camp at Sinai and journey to the wilderness of Paran (Num 10:12).

Mount Sinai. Jebel Musa (Arabic for “Mount Moses”; on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula) has been the traditionally accepted site of Sinai since at least the fourth century AD. Eusebius and Justinian—who established a Greek Orthodox monastery at Jebel Musa in AD 527—both accepted this site as the biblical Sinai. Lacking any contradictory archaeological evidence, much of modern scholarship accepts this tradition. The terrain surrounding Jebel Musa does include the broad plains necessary for the tribes to have encamped around the mountain. Further, Y. Aharoni has followed a route from Jebel Musa to Kadesh and demonstrated that it accords well with the 11-day journey indicated in Deuteronomy 1:2. If Jebel Musa is Sinai, it appears to indicate an unusual and unnecessary detour in the route of the exodus; however, the oddness of the route itself may be validating, as it is unlikely to have been invented and befits the erratic route one might undertake to avoid being followed.

What humans were on the Mountain?

  • Exodus 19:20. So far, we have Moses by himself; meeting God, (presumably) by Himself.
  • Exodus 19:24. We add Aaron. Any thoughts on why?
  • Exodus 24:1-2. Moses alone (although it’s getting more interesting).
  • Exodus 24:9-11. NOW things are getting REALLY interesting!!!
  • Exodus 24:16. Now it is back to being just Moses… and Whom?

What Elohim were on the Mountain?

  • Acts 7:52–53. The law was delivered by angels?
  • Hebrews 2:1–2. The message that leads to retribution was declared by angels?
  • Deuteronomy 33:2-4. Note the differences between the Hebrew and Greek texts.
  • Galatians 3:19–20. A mediator? Why repeat the Shema? (Heiser!)
  • Deuteronomy 9:10. God is a spirit; how does He have a finger?
  • Acts 7:38. St. Stephen and St. Paul knew things that we don’t pay attention to!

To quote Michael Heiser; “As much as I love [the movie] The Ten Commandments, the book is more fascinating than the movie.”

Another fun thing to look forward to about an “angel”: Exodus 23:20-21.

Bibliography

Sinai articles rom J. D. Barry, et al (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The general presentation follows that of Heiser, M. S. (2014). I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible. (J. D. Barry & R. Van Noord, Eds.) (p. 171). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press; Bible Study Magazine.

Lienhard, J. T., & Rombs, R. J. (Eds.). (2001). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

NEXT WEEK: Priest and Rules.

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