Exodus 20:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance

New Living Translation
When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram's horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.

English Standard Version
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off

New American Standard Bible
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.

King James Bible
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance."

International Standard Version
All the people experienced the thunder and lightning, the sound of the ram's horn, and the smoking mountain. And as the people experienced it, they trembled and stood at a distance.

NET Bible
All the people were seeing the thundering and the lightning, and heard the sound of the horn, and saw the mountain smoking--and when the people saw it they trembled with fear and kept their distance.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
All the people heard the thunder and saw the lightning. They heard the blast of the ram's horn and saw the mountain covered with smoke. So they shook with fear and stood at a distance.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.

King James 2000 Bible
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they moved, and stood far off.

American King James Version
And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

American Standard Version
And all the people perceived the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off,

Darby Bible Translation
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw [it], they trembled, and stood afar off,

English Revised Version
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off.

Webster's Bible Translation
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

World English Bible
All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.

Young's Literal Translation
And all the people are seeing the voices, and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking; and the people see, and move, and stand afar off,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

20:18-21 This law, which is so extensive that we cannot measure it, so spiritual that we cannot evade it, and so reasonable that we cannot find fault with it, will be the rule of the future judgment of God, as it is for the present conduct of man. If tried by this rule, we shall find our lives have been passed in transgressions. And with this holy law and an awful judgment before us, who can despise the gospel of Christ? And the knowledge of the law shows our need of repentance. In every believer's heart sin is dethroned and crucified, the law of God is written, and the image of God renewed. The Holy Spirit enables him to hate sin and flee from it, to love and keep this law in sincerity and truth; nor will he cease to repent.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 18-21. - WITHDRAWAL OF THE PEOPLE, AND NEARER APPROACH OF MOSES TO GOD. The effect produced upon the people by the accumulated terrors of Sinai - "the thunderings and the lightnings, the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking" - the cloud, and the voice out of the cloud - was an awful and terrible fear. They could not bear the manifestation of the near presence of God; and therefore "they removed and stood afar off." It seemed to them as if, on hearing the voice of God, speaking out of the thick darkness, they must die (ver. 19). Moses, upon their expressing these feelings, comforted them with an assurance that God had shown his terrors, not for their injury, but to put his fear in their hearts (ver. 20), and allowed them to retire to a distance from the mount, while he himself "drew near unto the thick darkness where God was" (ver. 21). Verse 18. - The people saw the thunderings. The use of a specific verb for a generic one, with terms to all of which it is not, strictly speaking, applicable, is common to many writers, and is known to grammarians as zengma. "Saw" here means "perceived, witnessed." The mountain smoking. Compare Exodus 19:18. In Deuteronomy 5:23 it is said that "the mountain did burn with fire." When the people saw it, they removed. It appears, from Deuteronomy 5:23, that. before retiring, the people sent a deputation of heads of tribes and elders up to Moses in the mount, to convey to him their wishes, and suggest that he should be their intermediary with God. Moses laid their wishes before God, and was directed to give them his sanction, whereupon they withdrew to their tents (ib, 30).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings,.... That is, they heard the one, and saw the other; they heard the dreadful volleys of thunder, and saw the amazing flashes of lightning, which were like lamps and torches, as the word used signifies; by a communication of senses, one sense is put for another, and the sense of sight being the principal, as Ben Melech observes, it is put for the rest, and so in the following. It is an observation of Austin's (o) that to "see" is used of all of the five senses, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling:

and the noise the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: they the sound of the trumpet, which made them tremble and saw the mountain all in a smoke, which made it look very terrible. Though the words may be rendered, as they are by some, "they perceived the thunders", &c. (p); had a sensible perception of them with their eyes ears, which greatly affected them, and made strong impressions upon their minds, and filled them with fear and dread:

and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off; their minds were not only terrified and distressed, and their bodies shook with fear; but they could not stand their ground, but were obliged to retreat, who but just before were curious to draw near, and gaze and see what they could, to prevent which bounds were set; but now these were needless, what they saw and heard were sufficient to keep them at a distance, nay, obliged them to quit their places; they were at the lower part of the mount before, and now they removed a good way from it, even to their camp, and to their tents in it, see Deuteronomy 5:30. The Targum of Jonathan says, they removed twelve miles; and so Jarchi, who observes, that this was according to the length of their camp.

(o) Confess. l. 10. c. 35. (p) "percipiebant", Junius & Tremellius, "intelligebant"; so some in Drusius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

18-21. all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings—They were eye and ear witnesses of the awful emblems of the Deity's descent. But they perceived not the Deity Himself.

Exodus 20:18 Additional Commentaries
Context
Moses Comforts the People
18All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. 19Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die."…
Cross References
Hebrews 12:18
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm;

Hebrews 12:19
to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them,

Genesis 3:10
He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

Exodus 19:16
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.

Exodus 19:18
Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

Deuteronomy 4:36
From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire.

Deuteronomy 5:5
(At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:

Deuteronomy 5:25
But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer.

Deuteronomy 18:16
For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die."

Psalm 81:7
In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Treasury of Scripture

And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

and all

Exodus 19:16-18 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were …

they removed

Psalm 139:7,8 Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence…

Jeremiah 23:23 Am I a God at hand, said the LORD, and not a God afar off?

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