Day 38 – The Ten Commandments

Exodus 19

1 Three months to the day after leaving Egypt, the Israelites reached the desert of Sinai.

2 Setting out from Rephidim, they reached the desert of Sinai and pitched camp in the desert; there, facing the mountain, Israel pitched camp.

3 Moses then went up to God, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Say this to the House of Jacob! Tell the Israelites,

4 “You have seen for yourselves what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you away on eagle’s wings and brought you to me.

5 So now, if you are really prepared to obey me and keep my covenant, you, out of all peoples, shall be my personal possession, for the whole world is mine.

6 For me you shall be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” Those are the words you are to say to the Israelites.’

7 So Moses went and summoned the people’s elders and acquainted them with everything that Yahweh had bidden him,

8 and the people all replied with one accord, ‘Whatever Yahweh has said, we will do.’ Moses then reported to Yahweh what the people had said.

9 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Look, I shall come to you in a dense cloud so that the people will hear when I speak to you and believe you ever after.’ Moses then told Yahweh what the people had said.

10 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and tell them to sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. They must wash their clothes

11 and be ready for the day after tomorrow; for the day after tomorrow, in the sight of all the people, Yahweh will descend on Mount Sinai.

12 You will mark out the limits of the mountain and say, “Take care not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Anyone who touches the mountain will be put to death.

13 No one may lay a hand on him: he must be stoned or shot by arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.” When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they must go up the mountain.’

14 So Moses came down from the mountain to the people; he made the people sanctify themselves and they washed their clothes.

15 He then said to the people, ‘Be ready for the day after tomorrow; do not touch a woman.’

16 Now at daybreak two days later, there were peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, dense cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast; and, in the camp, all the people trembled.

17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they took their stand at the bottom of the mountain.

18 Mount Sinai was entirely wrapped in smoke, because Yahweh had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke rose like smoke from a furnace and the whole mountain shook violently.

19 Louder and louder grew the trumpeting. Moses spoke, and God answered him in the thunder.

20 Yahweh descended on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain, and Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain; and Moseswent up.

21 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people not to break through to look at Yahweh, or many of them will perish.

22 Even the priests, who do have access to Yahweh, must sanctify themselves, or Yahweh may burst out against them.’

23 Moses said to Yahweh, ‘The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, since you yourself warned us to mark out the limits of the mountain and declare it sacred.’

24 Yahweh said, ‘Away with you! Go down! Then come back bringing Aaron with you. But do not allow the priests and people to break through to come up to Yahweh, or he may burst out against them.’

25 So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them.

Exodus 20

1 Then God spoke all these words. He said,

2 ‘I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves.

3 ‘You shall have no other gods to rival me.

4 ‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth.

5 ‘You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God and I punish a parent’s fault in the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren among those who hate me;

6 but I act with faithful love towards thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 ‘You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses his name.

8 ‘Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work,

10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the alien living with you.

11 For in six days Yahweh made the heavens, earth and sea and all that these contain, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the Sabbath day and made it sacred.

12 ‘Honour your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh 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 give false evidence against your neighbour.

17 ‘You shall not set your heart on your neighbour’s house. You shall not set your heart on your neighbour’s spouse, or servant, man or woman, or ox, or donkey, or any of your neighbour’s possessions.’

18 Seeing the thunder pealing, the lightning flashing, the trumpet blasting and the mountain smoking, the people were all terrified and kept their distance.

19 ‘Speak to us yourself,’ they said to Moses, ‘and we will obey; but do not let God speak to us, or we shall die.’

20 Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; God has come to test you, so that your fear of him, being always in your mind, may keep you from sinning.’

21 So the people kept their distance while Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.

22 Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites this, “You have seen for yourselves how I have spoken to you from heaven.

23 You must not make gods of silver to rival me, nor must you make yourselves gods of gold.

24 “You must make me an altar of earth on which to sacrifice your burnt offerings and communion sacrifices, your sheep and cattle. Wherever I choose to have my name remembered, I shall come to you and bless you.

25 If you make me an altar of stone, do not build it of dressed stones; for if you use a chisel on it, you will profane it.

26 You must not go up to my altar by steps, in case you expose your nakedness on them.” ‘

Leviticus 13

1 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron,

2 ‘If a swelling or scab or spot appears on someone’s skin, which could develop into a contagious skin-disease, that person must then be taken to the priest, either Aaron or one of his sons.

3 The priest will examine the disease on the skin. If the hair on the diseased part has turned white, or if the disease bites into the skin, the skin-disease is contagious, and after examination the priest will declare the person unclean.

4 But if there is a white spot on the skin without any visible depression of the skin or whitening of the hair, the priest will isolate the sick person for seven days.

5 On the seventh day he will examine the person, and if he observes that the disease persists though without spreading over the skin, he will isolate the person for a further seven days

6 and examine him again on the seventh. If he finds that the disease has faded and has not spread over the skin, the priest will declare the person clean. This was merely a scab. Once he has washed his clothing he will be clean.

7 ‘But if the scab spreads over the skin after the sick person has been examined by the priest and declared clean, then he will let himself be examined again by the priest.

8 After examining him and certifying the spread of the scab over the skin, the priest will declare him unclean: it is a contagious skin-disease.

9 ‘Someone who has a contagious skin-disease must be taken to the priest.

10 The priest will examine the sick person, and if he finds a whitish swelling with whitening of the hair and an ulcer forming on the skin,

11 this is a dormant skin-disease, and the priest will declare the person unclean. He will not isolate him; he is obviously unclean.

12 ‘But if the disease spreads all through the skin, if it covers the person entirely from head to foot so far as the priest can see,

13 the priest will then examine the sick person and, if he finds that the skin-disease covers his whole body, declare the sick person clean. Since it has all become white, he is clean.

14 But as soon as an ulcer appears on him, he will be unclean.

15 After examining the ulcer, the priest will declare him unclean: the ulcer is unclean, it is contagious.

16 But if the ulcer becomes white again, the sick person will go to the priest;

17 the priest will examine him and if he finds that the disease has turned white, he will declare the sick person clean: he is clean.

18 ‘When an ulcer appears on someone’s skin, and then gets better,

19 and if then a white swelling or a reddish-white spot forms on the same place, the sick person will show himself to the priest.

20 The priest will examine him, and if he finds a visible depression in the skin and a whitening of the hair, he will declare the personunclean: this is a case of contagious skin-disease breaking out in an ulcer.

21 But if on examination the priest finds neither white hair nor depression of the skin, but a fading of the affected part, he will isolate the sick person for seven days.

22 If the disease has then spread over the skin, he will declare the person unclean: this is a case of contagious skin-disease.

23 But if the spot has stayed where it was and has not spread, it is the scar of the ulcer and the priest will declare the person clean.

24 ‘If someone has a burn on the skin and an abscess, a reddish-white or white spot, forms on the burn,

25 the priest will then examine it. If he finds a whitening of the hair or a visible depression of the mark on the skin, a contagious disease has broken out in the burn. The priest will declare the sick person unclean: this is a contagious skin-disease.

26 If on the other hand the priest on examination does not find white hair on the mark or depression of the skin, but a fading of the mark, the priest will isolate the person for seven days.

27 He will examine the person on the seventh day and, if the disease has spread over the skin, he will declare the sick person unclean: this is a case of contagious skin-disease.

28 If the mark has stayed where it was and has not spread over the skin, but has faded instead, it was only a swelling due to the burn. The priest will declare the person clean: it is merely a burn scar.

29 ‘If a man or a woman has a sore on the head or chin,

30 the priest will examine the sore; and if he finds a depression visible in the skin, with the hair on it yellow and thin, he will declare the sick person unclean: this is tinea, that is to say, a contagious skin-disease of the head or chin.

31 If on examining this case of tinea the priest finds no visible depression in the skin and no yellow hair, he will isolate the person so affected for seven days.

32 He will examine the infected part on the seventh day, and if he finds that the tinea has not spread, that the hair on it is not yellow, and that there is no visible depression in the skin,

33 the sick person will shave his hair off, all except the part affected with tinea, and the priest will again isolate him for seven days.

34 He will examine the infected part on the seventh day, and if he finds that it has not spread over the skin, and that there is no visible depression of the skin, the priest will declare the sick person clean. After washing his clothes the person will be clean.

35 But if after this purification the tinea does spread over the skin,

36 the priest will examine the person; if he finds that the tinea has indeed spread over the skin, the sick person is unclean, and there is no need to verify whether the hair is yellow.

37 Whereas if, so far as he can see, the tinea is arrested and dark hair is beginning to grow on it, the sick person is cured. He is clean, and the priest will declare him clean.

38 ‘If spots break out on the skin of a man or woman, and if these spots are white,

39 the priest will examine them. If he finds that the spots are of a dull white, this is a rash that has broken out on the skin: the sick personis clean.

40 ‘If someone loses the hair of the scalp, this is baldness of the scalp but the person is clean.

41 If he loses hair off the front of the head, this is baldness of the forehead but the person is clean.

42 If, however, a reddish-white sore appears on scalp or forehead, a contagious skin-disease has broken out on the scalp or forehead.

43 The priest will examine it, and if he finds a reddish-white swelling on scalp or forehead, looking like a contagious skin-disease,

44 the person has such a disease: he is unclean. The priest will declare him unclean; he has a contagious skin-disease of the head.

45 ‘Anyone with a contagious skin-disease will wear torn clothing and disordered hair; and will cover the upper lip and shout, “Unclean, unclean.”

46 As long as the disease lasts, such a person will be unclean and, being unclean, will live alone and live outside the camp.

47 ‘When a piece of clothing is infected with mould, be it woollen or linen clothing,

48 linen or woollen fabric or covering, or leather or anything made of leather,

49 if the spot on the clothing, leather, fabric, covering or object made of leather is a greenish or reddish colour, it is a disease to be shown to the priest.

50 The priest will examine the infection and isolate the object for seven days.

51 If on the seventh day he observes that the infection has spread on the clothing, fabric, covering, leather or object made of leather, whatever it may be, this is a contagious disease and the object is unclean.

52 He will burn this clothing, fabric, linen or woollen covering or leather object whatever it may be, on which the infection has appeared; for this is a contagious disease which must be destroyed by fire.

53 ‘But if on examination the priest finds that the infection has not spread on the clothing, fabric, covering, or leather object whatever it may be,

54 he will order the infected object to be washed and will isolate it again for a period of seven days.

55 After the washing, he will examine the infection and if he finds that there is no change in its appearance, even though it has not spread, the article is unclean. You will burn it; it is infected through and through.

56 ‘But if on examination the priest finds that the infection has diminished after washing, he will tear it out of the clothing, leather, fabric or covering.

57 But if the infection reappears on the same clothing, fabric, covering or leather object whatever it may be, this means that the infection is active; you will burn whatever is infected.

58 The clothing, fabric, covering or leather object whatever it may be, from which the infection disappears after being washed, will be clean after it has been washed a second time.

59 ‘Such is the law governing disease in a linen or woollen garment, a fabric or covering or leather object whatever it may be, when it is a question of declaring them clean or unclean.’

Psalm 74

1 [Poem Of Asaph] God, why have you finally rejected us, your anger blazing against the flock you used to pasture?

2 Remember the people you took to yourself long ago, your own tribe which you redeemed, and this Mount Zion where you came to live.

3 Come up to these endless ruins! The enemy have sacked everything in the sanctuary;

4 your opponents made uproar in the place of assemblies, they fixed their emblems over the entrance, emblems

5 never known before. Their axes deep in the wood,

6 hacking at the panels, they battered them down with axe and pick;

7 they set fire to your sanctuary, profanely rased to the ground the dwelling-place of your name.

8 They said to themselves, ‘Let us crush them at one stroke!’ They burned down every sacred shrine in the land.

9 We see no signs, no prophet any more, and none of us knows how long it will last.

10 How much longer, God, will the enemy blaspheme? Is the enemy to insult your name for ever?

11 Why hold back your hand, keep your right hand hidden in the folds of your robe?

12 Yet, God, my king from the first, author of saving acts throughout the earth,

13 by your power you split the sea in two, and smashed the heads of the monsters on the waters.

14 You crushed Leviathan’s heads, gave him as food to the wild animals.

15 You released the springs and brooks, and turned primordial rivers into dry land.

16 Yours is the day and yours the night, you caused sun and light to exist,

17 you fixed all the boundaries of the earth, you created summer and winter.

18 Remember, Yahweh, the enemy’s blasphemy, a foolish people insults your name.

19 Do not surrender your turtledove to the beast; do not forget for ever the life of your oppressed people.

20 Look to the covenant! All the hiding-places of the land are full, haunts of violence.

21 Do not let the downtrodden retreat in confusion, give the poor and needy cause to praise your name.

22 Arise, God, champion your own cause, remember how fools blaspheme you all day long!

23 Do not forget the shouting of your enemies, the ever-mounting uproar of your adversaries.

Thoughts and Reflection

God reveals himself to his people on Mt. Sinai as he enters into a covenant with them. A covenant is not a contract. whereas a contract is based on certain conditions, the covenant exchanges persons and establish a relationship with them. Here God gives Moses and his people rules to follow – ten of them. This shows us that God wants to have a relationship with us. The commandments deepen the relationship so it can grow and remain strong.

This covenant with Moses paves the way for the new and eternal covenant we later have with Jesus where he gave himself for us.

A covenant is also formed when a husband and wife give themselves completely to each other in marriage. It seems as if today this covenant isn’t taken as seriously as it once was. I am not sure what is driving this moral divide into society.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

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