XVIII. AND Jethro, the rabba of Midian, the father‑in‑law of Mosheh, had heard of all that the Lord had done for Mosheh and for Israel His people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Mizraim. And Jethro, Mosheh's father‑in‑law, took Zipporah the wife of Mosheh, after he had let her go, and his two sons, the name of the one Gershom; For, he said, I have been a sojourner in a strange land; and the name of the other Eliezer; For (said he) the God of my fathers hath been my helper, and hath delivered me from the sword of Pharoh. And Jethro the father‑in‑law of Mosheh came, and his sons, and his wife, to Mosheh in the desert where he had encamped at the mountain upon which was revealed the glory of the lord. And he had told Mosheh, I, thy father‑in‑law Jethro, come to thee with thy wife, and her two sons with her. And Mosheh went forth to meet his father‑in‑law, and bowed, and kissed him, and each saluted the other with peace; and they entered the tabernacle. And Mosheh recounted to his father‑in‑law all that the Lord had done to Pharoh and to Mizraim for Israel's sake; and all the tribulation that they had found upon the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro was glad over all the good which the Lord, who had saved him from the hand of Mizraim, had wrought for Israel. And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Mizraee, and out of the hand of Pharoh, and hath delivered the people from under the domination of the Mizraee. Now know I that the Lord is great, and that there is no God but He for by the thing by which the Mizraee had thought to punish (judge) Israel, they themselves are punished. And Jethro the father‑in‑law of Mosheh offered a burnt offering and sacrificed holy things before the Lord. And Aharon came, with all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with the father‑in‑law of Mosheh before the Lord.


And on the day after, Mosheh sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Mosheh from morn till evening; and the father‑in‑law of Mosheh observed all that he did to the people. And he said, What thing is this that thou art doing to the people? Why dost thou sit alone, with all the people standing about thee from morn till evening? And Mosheh said to his father‑in‑law, Because the people‑come to me to ask instruction from before the Lord. When they have (a matter) for judgment they come to me, and I adjudicate between a man and his neighbour, and make them to know the statutes of the Lord, and His laws. But the father‑in‑law of Mosheh said to him, The thing thou art doing is not right; with weariness thou wilt be weary, thou and also this people who are with thee; for the thing is too weighty for thee, thou art not able to do it by thyself. Now hearken to me, I will give thee counsel, and the Word of the Lord shall be thy helper. Be thou for the people the seeker of instruction from the presence of the Lord, to bring the matters before the Lord: and thou shalt admonish them in the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which to walk, and the work that must be done. And thou, look out from the whole people men of ability who fear the Lord, men of truth who abhor to take mammon; and superappoint them chiefs of thousands, and chiefs of hundreds, and chiefs of fifties, and chiefs of tens. And they shall judge the people at any time, and every great matter they shall bring to thee, but every small thing they shall judge; and they will lighten it from thee, and bear it with thee. If thou wilt do this, and the Lord teach thee, thou wilt be able to endure, and (of) all this people (every one) will go to his place in peace. And Mosheh hearkened to his father‑in‑law, and did all that he had said. And Mosheh chose men of ability from all Israel, and appointed them heads over the people; chiefs[1] of thousands, chiefs of hundreds, chiefs of fifties, and chiefs of tens; and they judged the people at all times; a weighty thing they brought to Mosheh, and every minor thing they judged themselves. And Mosheh sent his father‑in‑law away, and he went unto his land.


XIX. In the third month[2] of the outgoing of the sons of Israel from the land of Mizraim, on that day came they to the desert of Sinai. And they journeyed from Rephidim, and came to the desert of Sinai, and dwelt there by the side of the mountain. And Mosheh ascended before the Lord. And the Lord called to him from the mount, saying, As thus thou shalt speak to the house of Jakob, and show to the sons of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Mizraee, and how I bare you as on eagles' wings, and brought you nigh to serve Me: and now, if hearkening you will hearken to My Word, and will keep My covenant, you, before Me, shall be more beloved than all peoples; for all the earth is Mine. And you, before Me, shall be kings (and) priests, a holy people. These are the words which thou shalt speak with the sons of Israel. And Mosheh came, and called the elders[3] of the people, and set all these words in order before them, as the Lord had instructed him. And all the people responded together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Mosheh brought back the words of the people before the Lord. And the Lord said to Mosheh, Behold, I will be revealed to thee in the darkness of the cloud, that the people may hear, in My speaking with thee, and also that they may confide in thee for ever. And Mosheh showed the words of the people before the Lord. And the Lord said to Mosheh, Go unto the people and prepare them, to‑day and to‑morrow, and let them purify[4] their clothing; and be ready for the third day; for on the third day the Lord will be revealed in the eyes of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set a limit for the people round about, saying, Beware you of going up on the mountain, or of approaching the border of it. Whoever approaches the mountain, slain he shall be slain. No hand shall touch him; for stoned he shall be stoned, or pierced he shall be pierced; whether beast or man, he shall not live. When the trumpet is prolonged they shall be allowed to go forward to the mount. And Mosheh came down from the mountain unto the people, and prepared the people, and they made white their clothes. And he said to the people, Be ready on the third day, approach not to a woman. And it was the third day[5] at morning; and there were voices, and lightnings, and mighty clouds upon the mountain, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly strong; and all the people trembled who were in the camp. And Mosheh led forth the people out of the camp to meet the Word of the Lord; and they stood at the lower parts of the mount. And the mountain of Sinai was altogether fuming from before the revelation of the Lord upon it in fire; and the smoke went up as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount trembled greatly. But when the voice of the trumpet went forth and became exceedingly strong, Mosheh spake, and from the presence of the Lord he was answered by a voice. And the Lord was revealed upon mount Sinai, on the head of the mountain; and the Lord called Mosheh unto the head of the mount; and Mosheh went up. And the Lord said to Mosheh, Go down, warn the people lest they break through before the Lord to see, and many of them fall. And let the priests also, who are to minister before the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord slay them. And Mosheh spake before the Lord, The people are not able to come up to mount Sinai; for Thou hast warned us, saying, Set a boundary to the mountain, and sanctify it. But the Lord said to him, Go, descend, and come up, thou and Aharon with thee; but let not the priests nor the people break through to come up before the Lord, lest He slay them. And Mosheh went down to the people, and spake with them.


XX. And the Lord spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Mizraim, out of the house of servitude. Thou shalt have no other God beside Me. Thou shalt not make to thee image nor likeness of any thing that is in the heavens above, nor in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth: thou shalt not worship them nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God; visiting the sins of the fathers upon the rebellious children, unto the third generation and to the fourth generation of those who hate Me; while the children continue (or complete) to sin after their fathers; but doing good to thousands of generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. Thou shalt not swear in the name of the Lord thy God vainly; for the Lord will not acquit him who sweareth in His Name with falsity. Remember the day of Shabbatha to sanctify it. Six days shalt thou do service and do all thy work; but the seventh day is Shabbath before the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not do every work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy servant nor thy handmaid, nor thy cattle, nor thy sojourner who is in thy city.[6] For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the day of Shabbatha, and sanctified it. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be prolonged upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth to thee. Thou shalt not kill life. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not testify against thy neighbour a testimony of falsehood. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.


And all the people saw the thunders, and the flames, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and the people saw, and trembled, and stood afar off. And they said to Mosheh, Speak thou with us, and we will hearken; but let it not be spoken to us from before the Lord, lest we die. And Mosheh said to the people, Fear not; for that He may prove you He hath revealed to you the glory of the Lord, and that His fear may be before your face, that you may not sin. And the people stood afar off, but Mosheh drew nigh to the darkness where was the glory of the Lord.


And the Lord said to Mosheh, Thus shalt thou speak to the children of Israel; You have seen that I have spoken to you from the heavens. You shall not make before Me idols of silver, neither idols of gold shall you make to you. An altar of earth shalt thou make before Me, and shalt sacrifice upon it thy burnt offerings and thy sanctified victims, thy sheep and thy oxen. In every place where I may cause My Shekinah to dwell, thither will I send My blessing, and will bless thee. And if thou wilt make Me an altar of stone before Me, thou shalt not build it with hewn stones lest thou lift up thy cutting-tool[7] upon it and profane it. And thou shalt not ascend by steps to My altar, that thy nakedness may not be discerned upon it.





[1] Sam. Vers., “scribes.”

[2] Sivan

[3] Sam. Vers., “wise men.”

[4] Sam. Vers., “make white.”

[5] Sixth of Sivan.

[6] Sam. Vers., “thy cities.”

[7] Lit., “thy sword.”