The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Exodus
Chapter 19
The third new moon was rising since they left the land of Egypt, on the day when the Israelites reached the wilderness of Sinai.
They set out from Raphidim, and marched all the way to the Sinai desert before they encamped, pitching their tents there in full view of the mountain.
Here Moses went up to meet God, and the voice of God came to him from the mountain, A message to the race of Jacob; to Israel’s sons proclaim it:
You have seen for yourselves what I did to the Egyptians, how I carried you as if on eagle’s wings, and took you up into my care.
Listen, then, to my voice, and keep your covenant with me; and I, to whom all the earth belongs, will single you out among its peoples to be my own.
You shall serve me as a royal priesthood, as a consecrated nation; tell the Israelites this.
So, when Moses came back, he summoned the elders of the people, and told them what message it was the Lord had entrusted to him;
whereupon the whole people answered with one voice, We will do all the Lord has said.

Moses went back to the Lord with this promise from the people,
and the Lord said to him, The time has come now when I mean to visit thee, wrapped in a dark cloud, so that all the people may hear me talking with thee, and obey thee without question henceforward. And when Moses had told him of the people’s promise,
he said, Go back to the people, and spend to-day and to-morrow ridding them of defilement. Let them wash their clothes,
and hold themselves in readiness for the third day; two days from now, the Lord will come down on to mount Sinai in the presence of all the people.
Keep them within bounds along the whole circle of it, and bid them beware of going up on to the mountain, or touching even the fringes of it; if anyone touches the mountain, his life must pay for it.
No hand must be laid on him, he must be stoned, or shot down with javelins; beast or man that touches the mountain is to die. All this, until they hear a blast on the ram’s horn; then let them go up on to the mountain.
So Moses went down again to the people, and rid them of defilement. First they must wash their clothes;
then he bade them hold themselves in readiness for the third day, and have no commerce with their wives.

And now the third day had come. Morning broke, and all at once thunder was heard, lightning shone out, and the mountain was covered with thick mist; loud rang the trumpet-blast, and the people in the camp were dismayed.
But Moses brought them out from the camp itself to meet the Lord, and they stood there close by the spurs of the mountain.
The whole of mount Sinai was by now wreathed in smoke, where the Lord had come down with fire about him, so that smoke went up as if from a furnace; it was a mountain full of terrors.
Louder yet grew the noise of the trumpet, longer its blast; and then Moses spoke to the Lord, and the Lord’s voice was heard in answer.
It was on the very top of mount Sinai that the Lord had come down, and now he called Moses up to the summit. When he had climbed up there
he was bidden go down again, and warn the people not to pass beyond their bounds in their eagerness to see the Lord; or it might be that a great multitude of them would incur death.
Even the priests who came into the Lord’s presence were to come sanctified, for fear he should smite them.
But, Lord, said Moses, the common folk will be in no danger of climbing up on to Sinai; thou thyself hast warned them, and bidden us set bounds, to keep the mountain inviolable.
Go down, the Lord said to him, and come back with Aaron alone; neither priests nor people are to go beyond their bounds, and come into the Lord’s presence, or he will slay them.
So Moses went back to the people, and told them all he was bidden.