The Bible – Old Testament
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,
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.”
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.”
1 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.
Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar.
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.”
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.”
Moses then went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel,
and they beheld the God of Israel. Under his feet there appeared to be sapphire tilework, as clear as the sky itself.
2 Yet he did not smite these chosen Israelites. After gazing on God, they could still eat and drink.
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.”
So Moses set out with Joshua, his aide, and went up to the mountain of God.
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.”
After Moses had gone up, a cloud covered the mountain.
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.
To the Israelites the glory of the LORD was seen as a consuming fire on the mountaintop.
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.
1  Pillars: stone shafts or slabs, erected as symbols of the fact that each of the twelve tribes had entered into this covenant with God; not idolatrous as in ⇒ Exodus 23:24, although the same Hebrew word is used in both passages. See note on ⇒ Genesis 28:18.
2  After gazing on God: the ancients thought that the sight of God would bring instantaneous death. Cf ⇒ Exodus 33:20; ⇒ Genesis 16:13; ⇒ 32:31; ⇒ Judges 6:22, ⇒ 23; ⇒ 13:22. Eat and drink: partake of the sacrificial meal.