EXODUS ch. 19 – 24


19:1 In the third month after their departure from the land of Egypt, on its first day, the Israelites came to the desert of Sinai. 2 After the journey from Rephidim to the desert of Sinai, they pitched camp. While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain, 3 Moses went up the mountain to God. Then the LORD called to him and said, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob; 4 tell the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. 5 Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. 6 You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites.”

So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people. When he set before them all that the LORD had ordered him to tell them, 8 the people all answered together, “Everything the LORD has said, we will do.” Then Moses brought back to the LORD the response of the people. 9 The LORD also told him, “I am coming to you in a dense cloud, so that when the people hear me speaking with you, they may always have faith in you also

When Moses, then, had reported to the LORD the response of the people, 10 the LORD added, “Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. 12 Set limits for the people all around the mountain, and tell them: Take care not to go up the mountain, or even to touch its base. If anyone touches the mountain, he must be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him; he must be stoned to death or killed with arrows. Such a one, man or beast, must not be allowed to live. Only when the ram’s horn resounds may they go up to the mountain.” 14

Then Moses came down from the mountain to the people and had them sanctify themselves and wash their garments. 15 He warned them, “Be ready for the third day. Have no intercourse with any woman.” 16 On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. 18

Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder. 20 When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up to him. 21 

Then the LORD told Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through toward the LORD in order to see him; otherwise many of them will be struck down. 22 The priests, too, who approach the LORD must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them.” 23 Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot go up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us to set limits around the mountain to make it sacred.” 24 The LORD repeated, “Go down now! Then come up again along with Aaron. But the priests and the people must not break through to come up to the LORD; else he will vent his anger upon them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them this

Chapter 20

1 Then God delivered all these commandments: 2 “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. 3 You shall not have other gods besides me. 4 You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 5 you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; 6 but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain. 8 “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. 9 Six days you may labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. 11 In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 12

“Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. 13 “You shall not kill. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.” 18 When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we shall die.” 20

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin.” 21 Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was. 22 The LORD told Moses, “Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven. 23 Do not make anything to rank with me; neither gods of silver nor gods of gold shall you make for yourselves. 24 “An altar of earth you shall make for me, and upon it you shall sacrifice your holocausts and peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In whatever place I choose for the remembrance of my name I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stone for me, do not build it of cut stone, for by putting a tool to it you desecrate it. 26 You shall not go up by steps to my altar, on which you must not be indecently uncovered.  


Chapter 21

1 “These are the rules you shall lay before them. 2 When you purchase a Hebrew slave, he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he shall be given his freedom without cost. 3 If he comes into service alone, he shall leave alone; if he comes with a wife, his wife shall leave with him. 4 But if his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall remain the master’s property and the man shall leave alone. 5 If, however, the slave declares, ‘I am devoted to my master and my wife and children; I will not go free,’ 6 his master shall bring him to God and there, at the door or doorpost, he shall pierce his ear with an awl, thus keeping him as his slave forever. 7

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go free as male slaves do. 8 But if her master, who had destined her for himself, dislikes her, he shall let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to a foreigner, since he has broken faith with her. 9 If he destines her for his son, he shall treat her like a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife, he shall not withhold her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 If he does not grant her these three things, she shall be given her freedom absolutely, without cost to her. 12

“Whoever strikes a man a mortal blow must be put to death. 13 He, however, who did not hunt a man down, but caused his death by an act of God, may flee to a place which I will set apart for this purpose. 14 But when a man kills another after maliciously scheming to do so, you must take him even from my altar and put him to death. 15 Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. 16 “A kidnaper, whether he sells his victim or still has him when caught, shall be put to death. 17 “Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death. 18

“When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, not mortally, but enough to put him in bed, 19 the one who struck the blow shall be acquitted, provided the other can get up and walk around with the help of his staff. Still, he must compensate him for his enforced idleness and provide for his complete cure. 20 “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. 21 If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. 22

“When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman’s husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges. 23 But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. 26 “When a man strikes his male or female slave in the eye and destroys the use of the eye, he shall let the slave go free in compensation for the eye. 27 If he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let the slave go free in compensation for the tooth. 28

“When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox must be stoned; its flesh may not be eaten. The owner of the ox, however, shall go unpunished. 29 But if an ox was previously in the habit of goring people and its owner, though warned, would not keep it in; should it then kill a man or a woman, not only must the ox be stoned, but its owner also must be put to death. 30 If, however, a fine is imposed on him, he must pay in ransom for his life whatever amount is imposed on him. 31 This law applies if it is a boy or a girl that the ox gores. 32 But if it is a male or a female slave that it gores, he must pay the owner of the slave thirty shekels of silver, and the ox must be stoned. 33

“When a man uncovers or digs a cistern and does not cover it over again, should an ox or an ass fall into it, 34 the owner of the cistern must make good by restoring the value of the animal to its owner; the dead animal, however, he may keep. 35 “When one man’s ox hurts another’s ox so badly that it dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide this money as well as the dead animal equally between them. 36 But if it was known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner would not keep it in, he must make full restitution, an ox for an ox; but the dead animal he may keep. 37 “When a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for the one ox, and four sheep for the one sheep.

Chapter 22

1 “(If a thief is caught in the act of housebreaking and beaten to death, there is no bloodguilt involved. 2 But if after sunrise he is thus beaten, there is bloodguilt.) He must make full restitution. If he has nothing, he shall be sold to pay for his theft. 3 If what he stole is found alive in his possession, be it an ox, an ass or a sheep, he shall restore two animals for each one stolen. 4 “When a man is burning over a field or a vineyard, if he lets the fire spread so that it burns in another’s field, he must make restitution with the best produce of his own field or vineyard. 5 If the fire spreads further, and catches on to thorn bushes, so that shocked grain or standing grain or the field itself is burned up, the one who started the fire must make full restitution. 6

“When a man gives money or an article to another for safekeeping and it is stolen from the latter’s house, the thief, if caught, must make twofold restitution. 7 If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall be brought to God, to swear that he himself did not lay hands on his neighbor’s property. 8 In every question of dishonest appropriation, whether it be about an ox, or an ass, or a sheep, or a garment, or anything else that has disappeared, where another claims that the thing is his, both parties shall present their case before God; the one whom God convicts must make twofold restitution to the other. 9

“When a man gives an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any other animal to another for safekeeping, if it dies, or is maimed or snatched away, without anyone witnessing the fact, 10 the custodian shall swear by the LORD that he did not lay hands on his neighbor’s property; the owner must accept the oath, and no restitution is to be made. 11 But if the custodian is really guilty of theft, he must make restitution to the owner. 12 If it has been killed by a wild beast, let him bring it as evidence, and he need not make restitution for the mangled animal. 13 “When a man borrows an animal from his neighbor, if it is maimed or dies while the owner is not present, the man must make restitution. 14 But if the owner is present, he need not make restitution. If it was hired, this was covered by the price of its hire. 15


“When a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall pay her marriage price and marry her. 16 If her father refuses to give her to him, he must still pay him the customary marriage price for virgins. 17 “You shall not let a sorceress live. 18 “Anyone who lies with an animal shall be put to death. 19 “Whoever sacrifices to any god, except to the LORD alone, shall be doomed. 20

“You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. 21 You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. 22 If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. 23 My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans. 24 “If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him. 25 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; 26 for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate. 27

“You shall not revile God, nor curse a prince of your people. 28 “You shall not delay the offering of your harvest and your press. You shall give me the first-born of your sons. 29 You must do the same with your oxen and your sheep; for seven days the firstling may stay with its mother, but on the eighth day you must give it to me. 30 “You shall be men sacred to me. Flesh torn to pieces in the field you shall not eat; throw it to the dogs.

Chapter 23

1 “You shall not repeat a false report. Do not join the wicked in putting your hand, as an unjust witness, upon anyone. 2 Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong, nor shall you, when testifying in a lawsuit, side with the many in perverting justice. 3 You shall not favor a poor man in his lawsuit. 4 “When you come upon your enemy’s ox or ass going astray, see to it that it is returned to him. 5 When you notice the ass of one who hates you lying prostrate under its burden, by no means desert him; help him, rather, to raise it up. 6

“You shall not deny one of your needy fellow men his rights in his lawsuit. 7 You shall keep away from anything dishonest. The innocent and the just you shall not put to death, nor shall you acquit the guilty. 8 Never take a bribe, for a bribe blinds even the most clear-sighted and twists the words even of the just. 9 You shall not oppress an alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. 10

“For six years you may sow your land and gather in its produce. 11 But the seventh year you shall let the land lie untilled and unharvested, that the poor among you may eat of it and the beasts of the field may eat what the poor leave. So also shall you do in regard to your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 “For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest, that your ox and your ass may also have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the alien may be refreshed. 13


Give heed to all that I have told you. “Never mention the name of any other god; it shall not be heard from your lips. 14 “Three times a year you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast to me. 15 You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread. As I have commanded you, you must eat unleavened bread for seven days at the prescribed time in the month of Abib, for it was then that you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me empty-handed. 16 You shall also keep the feast of the grain harvest with the first of the crop that you have sown in the field; and finally, the feast at the fruit harvest at the end of the year, when you gather in the produce from the fields. 17 Thrice a year shall all your men appear before the Lord GOD. 18

“You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of my feast be kept overnight till the next day. 19 The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the LORD, your God. “You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. 20 “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him. 22 If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. 23

“My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out. 24 Therefore, you shall not bow down in worship before their gods, nor shall you make anything like them; rather, you must demolish them and smash their sacred pillars. 25 The LORD, your God, you shall worship; then I will bless your food and drink, and I will remove all sickness from your midst; 26 no woman in your land will be barren or miscarry; and I will give you a full span of life. 27

“I will have the fear of me precede you, so that I will throw into panic every nation you reach. I will make all your enemies turn from you in flight, 28 and ahead of you I will send hornets to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 But not in one year will I drive them all out before you; else the land will become so desolate that the wild beasts will multiply against you. 30 Instead, I will drive them out little by little before you, until you have grown numerous enough to take possession of the land. 31

I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River; all who dwell in this land I will hand over to you to be driven out of your way. 32 You shall not make a covenant with them or their gods. 33 They must not abide in your land, lest they make you sin against me by ensnaring you into worshiping their gods.”

24:1 Moses himself was told, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, with Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You shall all worship at some distance, 2 but Moses alone is to come close to the LORD; the others shall not come too near, and the people shall not come up at all with Moses.” 3 When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD, they all answered with one voice, “We will do everything that the LORD has told us.” 4


Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and, rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD, 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. 7 Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.” 8  

Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.” 9 Moses then went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, 10 and they beheld the God of Israel. Under his feet there appeared to be sapphire tilework, as clear as the sky itself. 11 Yet he did not smite these chosen Israelites. After gazing on God, they could still eat and drink. 12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and, while you are there, I will give you the stone tablets on which I have written the commandments intended for their instruction.” 13

So Moses set out with Joshua, his aide, and went up to the mountain of God. 14 The elders, however, had been told by him, “Wait here for us until we return to you. Aaron and Hur are staying with you. If anyone has a complaint, let him refer the matter to them.” 15 After Moses had gone up, a cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD settled upon Mount Sinai. The cloud covered it for six days, and on the seventh day he called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD was seen as a consuming fire on the mountaintop. 18 But Moses passed into the midst of the cloud as he went up on the mountain; and there he stayed for forty days and forty nights.  




This talk is by John Hall.

Full circle: burning bush and now back to Sinai/Horeb

Moses has proven to be a good leader.

Not certain where Mt. Sinai was, tradition holds, very south of the Sinai peninsula

Here the people are transformed from a bunch of slaves to a people united together and with the LORD.  Holy ground, sacred place.  (Your conversion experience place?)

Exodus 19:4: You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself.

J. T. Hyatt: “The biblical writers did not have a primary interest in geographical data, and in making precise statements . . .  They were interested in relating the events in light of the meaning which they attributed to them.”

The giving of the law (the Torah) is one of 3 major celebrations:  Shavuot (Weeks, Pentecost)    7 weeks after the second day of Passover

The commandments provided not only the Israelites, but all people the opportunity to understand who God is by living within the law.

Bernard Anderson: “The Decalogue merely stakes out general limitations … but within these limitations there is wide latitude for freedom of action or for interpretation of obligation to God and to one’s fellow human beings.”

Jesus (and the OT also): “You shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind … You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”   Mat 22:37, 39\

All of the commandments are about relationships.  First three relationship with God, next 7 relationship with one another.

  1.  Ex. 20: 2,3  “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. 3 You shall not have other gods besides me.
  2. “You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain. 8
  3. “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. 9 Six days you may labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD,


  1. “Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. 13
  2. “You shall not kill. 14
  3. “You shall not commit adultery. 15
  4. “You shall not steal. 16
  5. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17
  6. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
  7. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.”

The Decalogue is intended to create trusting relationships that build interdependence.

I keep the commandments.   What have I done to build relationships within my family, my community, the workplace and my parish?

The commandments were given in a communal setting.

Exodus 19:7-8  . When he set before them all that the LORD had ordered him to tell them, 8 the people all answered together, “Everything the LORD has said, we will do.”



  • Absolute law unique, timeless, universally applicable
  • Exodus 21-23  Book of the Covenant   conditional law – can be found in other cultures

Building community just as important as building a relationship with God

You shall love the Lord your God ….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.



Chapter 19

Propp has “I carried you on vultures’ wings and brought you to me” instead of eagles wings.   Propp p. 156: “Both etymology and ornithology favor this rendering of neser over the more comfortable “eagle.”  Although one might have expected a carrion-eater to be a negative symbol for purity-conscious Israelites, the biblical authors were more impressed with the vulture’s prowess in flight and solicitude as a parent.”  Also, a little later “don’t murder”.

Propp p. 134  “Jewish tradition puts the giving of the Law on the sixth day of the third month, coincident with the Rabbinic date for the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot / Pentecost).  (Peter – this dating is late, perhaps around the time of Jesus.)

Why ‘no intercourse’ before encountering the LORD?.  Propp analyzes a dozen or so theories (p. 162ff.) without definitive conclusion.  P. 163: “the command not to ‘come near to, approach’ (literal of ‘have intercourse with’) a woman stands in antithesis with the priestly requirement to ‘come close’ to the LORD.”

22 The priests, too, who approach the LORD must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them.

To be a kingdom of priests – offering sacrifices on behalf of others (the world) – NOT special for their own sakes or better.

Believing in Moses as speaking for God is key in the chapter (appearance of God etc.) – note the story in the gospel of rich man – if they did not believe Moses …

The law is given in the context of history of Israel and the story of liberation and journey – not disembodied thing.


Chapter 20

Note that the commandments are not neatly separated and enumerated – hence Jews and Protestants and Catholics all have slightly different ways of listing them.  It becomes a problem when people want to them put on public signs!    Their focus is not personal piety but on the health of the community and their life together.  Note the quick turn to issues related to worship – they are at the heart of the community and relationship with God.    Early period of Israel permitted a number of sanctuaries and altars (though only where God permitted them) while the later tradition – Jerusalem only.  Reference is to nakedness and likely in a context of other pagan religions – sacred prostitution and such.


Propp p. 167: “The Decalog neither concedes nor denies the existence and efficacy of other deities.  …  So one possible meaning is that no other deities may be worshiped in YHWH shrines. …  By the fullest rendering, the commandment bars acknowledgment of any gods beside or in precedence to YHWH, forever.”

No images – Propp p. 169: “As the Israelite Heaven holds no creator apart from the LORD, the fashioning of living creatures and their simulacra may have been regarded as a prerogative of the highest God.  There is a point where imitatio dei ceases to be a virtue and becomes sacrilege.”

There was some surprise when a mosaic of a woman was discovered on the floor of an ancient synagogue.

Propp p. 176:  keep holy the Sabbath  “’Treat the Sabbath as holy,’ like a sacrificial offering and as a thing proper to the divine realm, not to be mingled with the profane.  Just as one immolates valuable livestock to the LORD, forgoing use for oneself, so one declines to make profitable use of a seventh of one’s life, rendering the value of the time to God.”

Initially a day of rest and joy.  The ‘not working’ aspect came to dominate much discussion.

Chapter 21

Propp p. 207:  initially the one who has killed someone accidentally or without pre-meditation could flee to the Tent of Meeting and be safe.  Later to a shrine.  Later to sanctuary cities.  “The victim’s kin would feel an unsatisfied thirst for revenge, and more mischief would ensue.  The principle of asylum is a logical albeit imperfect solution.  The unfortunate killer is consigned to a circumscribed existence, with the avengers’ sword hanging above his head.  But at least he is not executed.  This may seem unfair to all parties – but that is the point: it is a compromise.”   The LORD is offended by any and all shedding of blood.  Numbers 35 and Deuteronomy 19 provide more detail and exceptional cases.

Propp p. 218  there are different kinds of slaves, sometimes the rule/law applies to all, sometimes only to a subset.  Hebrew slaves, foreign slaves, purchased slaves, debt slaves, bred slaves, war captives, impressed thieves.


Chapter 22

22:15   Propp p. 253  “Like other ancient peoples, the Israelites probably lacked our clear distinctions between elopement, abduction and rape.  Even English “rape” originally referred to “stealing” a woman from her male relatives.  Seduction, whether violent or consensual, was legally an affair between men, both in Israel and in the ancient world generally.  In Exodus 22, abduction/rape is classified as an example of theft – specifically of borrowing property and not returning it intact.  Violence need not be involved.  Since the root pty refers to taking advantage of another’s simplicity, our law can refer to a consensual situation, presumable including a false promise of marriage.”


Propp p. 270 “While I concede that the Israelites sometimes engaged in infant sacrifice, and while it would have been natural for them to sacrifice their firstborn, I find no explicit evidence that they did so – say in the fulminations of the Deuteronomistic Historian.  The sacrifice of the firstborn appears as a literary theme, both explicitly in Genesis 22 and implicitly in the stories of firstborn sons who are lost and found again, …”


Chapter 23

Propp p. 286: “One could regard the rule (don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk) like many dietary regulations, as an ethnic marker.  Canaanites (allegedly) boil kids in the mothers’ milk; Israelites do not – and the two groups should not be confused.”



Chapter 24

Sacrifices, blood, proclamation and response.

Forty days and forty nights!

“…longwinded description on the one hand and total omission of important particulars on the other.”  Importance of worship.  On-going presence of God with people, a God not fixed in one place. 





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