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Bible Study September 30, 2020
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost 
Exodus 19:1 - 23:19  
[text Exodus 20:1-20]

 We’re covering a good amount of the Book of Exodus in this study. That is due in part to the sections of Scripture that are selected to be included in the Lectionary. But it is also because of the overall outline of the Book. The first part is the story of Moses, life in Egypt and liberation. Then came the travels from the Red Sea to Sinai. Today we pick up with the events at Sinai. The lectionary text is the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, but the larger section gives the context for the giving and the people’s response and also the instructions regarding the Tabernacle.  

Read Chapter 19 a few times. You might read it out loud. Describe some of the images you note here. Which are most significant to you?          



The words of Exodus 19:4-6a may be described as the covenant in a “nutshell,” hearkening back to God’s words to Abraham, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” Yet, it is even more dramatic than that, what with the images of eagle’s wings, treasured possession, kingdom of priests, and holy nation. Is there a condition to be met for this to occur? (for other places where some of these images occur in Scripture, read Isaiah 40:31 and I Peter 2:9)            



Chapter 19 includes extensive instructions for how Moses and the people were to prepare for God’s appearance on the Holy Mountain. What do you think about this? Why do you think this was required? Describe the appearance of God.          



How might this preparation and experience contributed to the formerly enslaved people becoming the people of God? The Ten Commandments (the Decalogue, the “Two Tablets”) are given in Exodus 20:2-17. In verse 2, the first words are “your God” and in verse 17 the last two words are “your neighbor.” What might this tell us about these Commandments?            

In this section of Scripture, verses 8-11 contain what we typically call the Third Commandment. It is the longest and is located in the middle of the commands. What do you think is the significance of this?              



Look at Luther’s explanation to each of the commandments. What do you note?          



Exodus 20:22 – 23:19 is described as the Book of the Covenant describing the life they are to live as a new community. How does this compare with the life they lived in Egypt?          



The following chapters deal with the construction and adornment of the Tabernacle. This term comes from the Hebrew for the word “dwell.” What other Scriptural references come to your mind as you think about God dwelling?      



Let us pray: O God you made us to be your people in the waters of our baptism. Help us to live in covenant relationship with you and each other. Strengthen us as we bear witness of your love to the world. In Jesus name, Amen.