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Exodus 20:18 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— 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.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— 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.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— 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,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And, all the people, were witnessing the voices and the torches, and the sound of the horn, and the mountain, smoking,—so then the people were struck with awe and shrank back, and stood afar off.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 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,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— 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,
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And all the people saw the thundrings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountaine smoking: and when the people saw it, they remooued, and stood a farre off.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And all the people perceived the thundering, and the flashes, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and all the people feared and stood afar off,
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— 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.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And all x3605
(3605) Complement
כֹּל
kol
{kole}
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
the people 5971
{5971} Prime
עַם
`am
{am}
From H6004; a people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock.
saw 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
the thunderings, 6963
{6963} Prime
קוֹל
qowl
{kole}
From an unused root meaning to call aloud; a voice or sound.
and the lightnings, 3940
{3940} Prime
לַפִּיד
lappiyd
{lap-peed'}
From an unused root probably meaning to shine; a flambeau, lamp or flame.
and the noise 6963
{6963} Prime
קוֹל
qowl
{kole}
From an unused root meaning to call aloud; a voice or sound.
of the trumpet, 7782
{7782} Prime
שׁוֹפָר
showphar
{sho-far'}
From H8231 in the original sense of incising; a cornet (as giving a clear sound) or curved horn.
and the mountain 2022
{2022} Prime
הַר
har
{har}
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively).
smoking: 6226
{6226} Prime
עָשֵׁן
`ashen
{aw-shane'}
From H6225; smoky.
and when the people 5971
{5971} Prime
עַם
`am
{am}
From H6004; a people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock.
saw 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
[it], they removed, 5128
{5128} Prime
נוּעַ
nuwa`
{noo'-ah}
A primitive root; to waver, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively (as subjoined).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
and stood 5975
{5975} Prime
עָמַד
`amad
{aw-mad'}
A primitive root; to stand, in various relations (literally and figuratively, intransitively and transitively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
afar off. 7350
{7350} Prime
רָחוֹק
rachowq
{raw-khoke'}
From H7368; remote, literally of figuratively, of place or time; specifically precious; often used adverbially (with preposition).
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Exodus 20:18-21

_ _ 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.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Exodus 20:18-21

_ _ I. The extraordinary terror with which the law was given. Never was any thing delivered with such awful pomp; every word was accented, and every sentence paused, with thunder and lightning, much louder and brighter, no doubt, than ordinary. And why was the law given in this dreadful manner, and with all this tremendous ceremony? 1. It was designed (once for all) to give a sensible discovery of the glorious majesty of God, for the assistance of our faith concerning it, that, knowing the terror of the Lord, we may be persuaded to live in his fear. 2. It was a specimen of the terrors of the general judgment, in which sinners will be called to an account for the breach of this law: the archangel's trumpet will then sound an alarm, to give notice of the Judge's coming, and a fire shall devour before him. 3. It was an indication of the terror of those convictions which the law brings into conscience, to prepare the soul for the comforts of the gospel. Thus was the law given by Moses in such a way as might startle, affright, and humble men, that the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ might be the more welcome. The apostle largely describes this instance of the terror of that dispensation, as a foil to set off our privileges, as Christians, in the light, liberty, and joy, of the New Testament dispensation, Hebrews 12:18, etc.

_ _ II. The impression which this made, for the present, upon the people; they must have had stupid hearts indeed, if this had not affected them. 1. They removed, and stood afar off, Exodus 20:18. Before God began to speak, they were thrusting forward to gaze (Exodus 19:21); but now they were effectually cured of their presumption, and taught to keep their distance. 2. They entreated that the word should not be so spoken to them any more (Hebrews 12:19), but begged that God would speak to them by Moses, Exodus 20:19. Hereby they obliged themselves to acquiesce in the mediation of Moses, they themselves nominating him as a fit person to deal between them and God, and promising to hearken to him as to God's messenger; hereby also they teach us to acquiesce in that method which Infinite Wisdom takes, of speaking to us by men like ourselves, whose terror shall not make us afraid, nor their hand be heavy upon us. Once God tried the expedient of speaking to the children of men immediately, but it was found that they could not bear it; it rather drove men from God than brought them to him, and, as it proved in the issue, though it terrified them, it did not deter them from idolatry, for soon after this they worshipped the golden calf. Let us therefore rest satisfied with the instructions given us by the scriptures and the ministry; for, if we believe not them, neither should we be persuaded though God should speak to us in thunder and lightning, as he did from Mount Sinai: here that matter was determined.

_ _ III. The encouragement Moses gave them, by explaining the design of God in his terror (Exodus 20:20): Fear not, that is, “Think not that the thunder and fire are designed to consume you,” which was the thing they feared (Exodus 20:19, lest we die); thunder and lightning constituted one of the plagues of Egypt, but Moses would not have them think they were sent to them on the same errand on which they were sent to the Egyptians: no, they were intended, 1. To prove them, to try how they would like dealing with God immediately, without a mediator, and so to convince them how admirably well God had chosen for them, in putting Moses into that office. Ever since Adam fled, upon hearing God's voice in the garden, sinful man could not bear either to speak to God or hear from him immediately. 2. To keep them to their duty, and prevent their sinning against God. He encourages them, saying, Fear not, and yet tells them that God thus spoke to them, that his fear might be before their face. We must not fear with amazement — with that fear which has torment, which only works upon the fancy for the present, sets us a trembling, genders to bondage, betrays us to Satan, and alienates us from God; but we must always have in our minds a reverence of God's majesty, a dread of his displeasure, and an obedient regard to his sovereign authority over us: this fear will quicken us to our duty and make us circumspect in our walking. Thus stand in awe, and sin not, Psalms 4:4.

_ _ IV. The progress of their communion with God by the mediation of Moses, Exodus 20:21. While the people continued to stand afar off, conscious of guilt and afraid of God's wrath, Moses drew near unto the thick darkness; he was made to draw near, so the word is: Moses, of himself, durst not have ventured into the thick darkness, if God had not called him, and encouraged him, and, as some of the rabbies suppose, sent an angel to take him by the hand, and lead him up. Thus it is said of the great Mediator, I will cause him to draw near (Jeremiah 30:21), and by him it is that we also are introduced, Ephesians 3:12.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Exodus 20:18

They removed and stood afar off — Before God began to speak, they were thrusting forward to gaze, but now they were effectually cured of their presumption, and taught to keep their distance.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

[[no comment]]

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
And all:

Exodus 19:16-18 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled. ... And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

they removed:

Psalms 139:7-8 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? ... If I ascend up into heaven, thou [art] there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou [art there].
Jeremiah 23:23 [Am] I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
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Ex 19:16. Ps 139:7. Jr 23:23.

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User-Posted Comments on Exodus 20:18


Jeff, I have no idea why you would think Exodus 20:18 has anything to do with a marriage proposal...The Israelites were terrified of God and in the next verse they ask Moses to be the intermediary for them.
- Brittany (4/23/2015 8:39:06 PM)
I thought this verse was about a marriage proposal and not a threat?
- Jeff (4/9/2015 5:21:03 AM)
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