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Mount Sinai and “The Promised Land”

February 10th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Debby wonders about the second trip Moses took up Mount Sinai.

Moses went up Mount Sinai to get all the laws In the process of the Lord’s giving them to the people, the mountain so quaked and thundered that it frightened the people terribly.  They begged Moses to get the laws himself and be the intermediary to relay them. The Lord said, “All right, but now keep the people and animals away from the mountain, because if they get too close they will die.”

Moses then went back up the mountain, not to get more laws, but to get (1) two stones (edut) that were to be put in the Ark and (2) the detail for building the tabernacle.  The reason for this was that both the Lord and Moses must have seen that direct communication wouldn’t work. Too dangerous. Rather it was necessary to build a specific safe place for the process (the inner area of the tabernacle) and a specific instrument for communication (the Ark, which held the edut).

That, then, is the reason for the two trips up Mount Sinai. However, equally important to this event was the fact that those who were allowed at the mountain had to be conditioned, that is, properly protected from the effects of the cloud, which was covering the mountain.  So they made sacrifices and sprinkled protective animal blood on them. In other words, they had to have proper protection from the extreme danger. (I have drastically foreshortened this explanation.  The detail is in the book on pages 2–5.)

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  1. Janice D
    March 28th, 2011 at 20:38 | #1

    Part of my undergraduate degree was in linguistics, so I followed the etymology of the many Hebrew words noting with interest their close relation to those in languages around the Fertile Crescent area. I found the book fascinating and the arguments compelling. However, the very entymological trails that were followed then begs the question: If all of these other peoples had language that dealt with the very same elements as the Hebrew words did, that would suggest they were equally familiar with this type of communication, wouldn’t it? Does that mean the Ark was less unique and possibly a more common communication tool than we’ve previously realized? But then, all of this begs a further question. If God is essentially the field of information that underlies everything, what would this field need with a radioactive communication device? Hadn’t it already proved it could communicate directly via the Mt Sinai experience that Moses had? So who/what was doing the communicating? I always find a book or premise fascinating when it leads me to further questions beyond its scope.

    • March 30th, 2011 at 18:16 | #2

      Dear Janice D,

      Thank you for your comments on the etymological discussions in my book. You note the close relationship between other ancient languages and those in the Bible, and then ask, “If all these other peoples had language that dealt with the very same elements as the Hebrew words did, that would suggest they were equally familiar with this type of communication wouldn’t it?”

      Actually my purpose in including other languages wasn’t to compare
      concepts, but only the meanings of the individual words themselves. I’ll
      give you an example.

      On page 61 I discuss other languages in relation to the ephod, a garment the High Priest wore. I say it contained “stones of communication” and was used as a sort of walkie talkie device. I then compare it to the Ugaritic word epd, which means “garment, robe,” and to the Egyptian word ifd, which
      can mean “rectangular” and “cloth.” The relationship between the words—cloth, garment, and even shape—is there, but that doesn’t mean they were each used to describe walkie talkies. It does, however, make me pretty confident about the ephod’s constitution.

      If you have any other questions, I will be glad to answer. Roger Isaacs

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