|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:16-25 Never was there such a sermon preached, before or since, as this which was preached to the church in the wilderness. It might be supposed that the terrors would have checked presumption and curiosity in the people; but the hard heart of an unawakened sinner can trifle with the most terrible threatenings and judgments. In drawing near to God, we must never forget his holiness and greatness, nor our own meanness and pollution. We cannot stand in judgment before him according to his righteous law. The convinced transgressor asks, What must I do to be saved? and he hears the voice, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. The Holy Ghost, who made the law to convince of sin, now takes of the things of Christ, and shows them to us. In the gospel we read, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Through him we are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses. But the Divine law is binding as a rule of life. The Son of God came down from heaven, and suffered poverty, shame, agony, and death, not only to redeem us from its curse, but to bind us more closely to keep its commands.
Verse 17. - Moses brought forth the people out of the camp. The camp itself must have been withdrawn to some little distance from the foot of the mount, so that a vacant space intervened between the first tents and the "fence" which Moses had caused to be erected almost close to the mount. Into this vacant space Moses now led "the people" - i.e., the chief of the people - so bringing them as near as they might come to God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp,.... Which was before the mountain and near it, when the above tokens were given of the divine Presence on it; as they were thrown into a panic upon the sound of the trumpet, it was, perhaps, with some difficulty that they were brought out of the camp, or persuaded to quit it; and nothing short of the presence of Moses at the head of them, to go before them, and lead them to the foot of the mountain, could have prevailed upon them to have done it:
to meet with God; who came forth in such an awful and solemn manner, as their King and lawgiver, to deliver a body of laws to them, to be the rule of their future conduct:
and they stood at the nether part of the mount; at the bottom of it, where bounds were set, and a fence made, that they should proceed no further, and yet near enough to hear what God said to Moses and to them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God—Wady-er-Raheh, where they stood, has a spacious sandy plain; immediately in front of Es Suksafeh, considered by Robinson to be the mount from which the law was given. "We measured it, and estimate the whole plain at two geographical miles long, and ranging in breadth from one-third to two-thirds of a mile, or as equivalent to a surface of one square mile. This space is nearly doubled by the recess on the west, and by the broad and level area of Wady-es-Sheikh on the east, which issues at right angles to the plain, and is equally in view of the front and summit of the mount. The examination convinced us that here was space enough to satisfy all the requisitions of the Scripture narrative, so far as it relates to the assembling of the congregation to receive the law. Here, too, one can see the fitness of the injunction to set bounds around the mount, that neither man nor beast might approach too near, for it rises like a perpendicular wall." But Jebel Musa, the old traditional Sinai, and the highest peak, has also a spacious valley, Wady Sebaiyeh, capable of holding the people. It is not certain on which of these two they stood.
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