Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Covenant and Commandments
Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17 Commentary
by Brent A. Strawn
The preacher who takes up this unit has a lot to talk about. Too much, in fact.
All by itself, the section on the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) could fund a series of sermons -- or rather a series of series! One sermon just won’t be able to deal with all of this material; neither will one brief exegetical essay. Tough choices will have to be made, then, and this is equally true for the present treatment, which focuses on Exodus 19:3-7, given its importance for all that follows in the Sinai pericope, and then offers a few remarks on the Ten Commandments, which are important far beyond the Sinaitic unit (see, e.g., Matthew 5:21-30).1
The lectionary picks up in mid-thought with verse 3, after verses 1-2 set the stage. Exactly three months after departing Egypt, Israel arrives at the mountain of God (see Exodus 12:40-42; cf. 3:12). Verses 3-6 contain God’s introductory address to the Sinaitic covenant that follows.
Technically the Sinai pericope runs through Numbers 10:10, when the people finally depart from the mountain to resume their ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 143: Covenant and Commandments
October 05, 2014
Join Profs. Cameron Howard, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 1 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the reading for Oct. 5, 2014: Exodus 19:3-7; 20:1-17. Accompanying reading: Matthew 5:17.