24:4 and Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Early in the morning he built 1 an altar at the foot 2 of the mountain and arranged 3 twelve standing stones 4 – according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 24:5 He sent young Israelite men, 5 and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls for peace offerings 6 to the Lord.
1 tn The two preterites quite likely form a verbal hendiadys (the verb “to get up early” is frequently in such constructions). Literally it says, “and he got up early [in the morning] and he built”; this means “early [in the morning] he built.” The first verb becomes the adverb.
2 tn “under.”
3 tn The verb “arranged” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied to clarify exactly what Moses did with the twelve stones.
4 tn The thing numbered is found in the singular when the number is plural – “twelve standing-stone.” See GKC 433 §134.f. The “standing-stone” could be a small piece about a foot high, or a huge column higher than men. They served to commemorate treaties (Gen 32), or visions (Gen 28) or boundaries, or graves. Here it will function with the altar as a place of worship.
5 tn The construct has “young men of the Israelites,” and so “Israelite” is a genitive that describes them.
6 tn The verbs and their respective accusatives are cognates. First, they offered up burnt offerings (see Lev 1), which is וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלֹת (vayya’alu ’olot); then they sacrificed young bulls as peace sacrifices (Lev 3), which is in Hebrew וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זְבָחִים (vayyizbÿkhu zÿvakhim). In the first case the cognate accusative is the direct object; in the second it is an adverbial accusative of product. See on this covenant ritual H. M. Kamsler, “The Blood Covenant in the Bible,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 94-98; E. W. Nicholson, “The Covenant Ritual in Exodus 24:3-8,” VT 32 (1982): 74-86.