Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch As Narrative. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
Chapter 2, “Exodus” pp. 241-322.
Part 6 “The Covenant at Sinai (19:1-24:18)” pp. 281-298.
In Exodus 19 it is clear that Israel arrived at Sinai on the 48th day after Passover. The covenant was established on Pentecost (Sailhamer 1992, 281). Israel remained at Sinai almost a year. Israel was set aside as God’s special people, those who follow God’s covenant, which they break promptly (Sailhamer 1992, 282). Sailhamer brings out some confusion about the reception of the commands of God. The people may have heard God, feared, and asked Moses to relay commands. Alternatively, there are two events or one event when Moses received the commands and the people were at a distance (Sailhamer 1992, 282). Regardless, God delivered his commands to the people, as detailed in Exodus 20. On p. 283 Sailhamer discusses the division of the commands to arrive at ten, observing that the Reformed and Greek churches make one division while the rest of Christianity makes another. Jewish tradition has yet another division. Beginning on p. 285 Sailhamer details the different commands, divided according to the Roman and Lutheran pattern.
After the ten commands found in Exodus 20, the author goes on to describe a proper place for worship, designed by God rather than made by man and his tools (Sailhamer 1992, 289). “God will certainly be honored with all the gold and silver of the tato be built, but his honor is not to be at the expense of the simple call to obedience exemplified in the lives of the patriarchs” (Sailhamer 1992, 289). To that end, a total of 42 “judgments” are given in Exodus 21:1-23:12 (Sailhamer 1992,290).
Beginning at Exodus 23:13, the people of Israel, having failed in the first commandment , are given a year centered around three feasts: unleavened bread, harvest, and ingathering (Sailhamer 1992, 293). God promises his angel to lead the people in taking the land.
Chapter 24 of Exodus is yet another re-establishment of God’s covenant, as given now to Moses, Aaron, and seventy elders as witnesses. Moses and Joshua continue up the mountain, though it appears Moses may have gone farther. After six days God calls Moses into the cloud where he remains for forty days.
On p. 296-298 Sailhamer draws a parallel between the encounter at Mount Sinai and the worship in the Tabernacle. He details God’s separation from the people, a call, a consecration, safeguards, and God’s use of a stated covenantal means of approach.