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Exodus 19:3-5

Context

19:3 Moses 1  went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, “Thus you will tell the house of Jacob, and declare to the people 2  of Israel: 19:4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings 3  and brought you to myself. 4  19:5 And now, if you will diligently listen to me 5  and keep 6  my covenant, then you will be my 7  special possession 8  out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine,

1 tn Heb “and Moses went up.”

2 tn This expression is normally translated as “Israelites” in this translation, but because in this place it is parallel to “the house of Jacob” it seemed better to offer a fuller rendering.

3 tn The figure compares the way a bird would teach its young to fly and leave the nest with the way Yahweh brought Israel out of Egypt. The bird referred to could be one of several species of eagles, but more likely is the griffin-vulture. The image is that of power and love.

4 sn The language here is the language of a bridegroom bringing the bride to the chamber. This may be a deliberate allusion to another metaphor for the covenant relationship.

5 tn Heb “listen to my voice.” The construction uses the imperfect tense in the conditional clause, preceded by the infinitive absolute from the same verb. The idiom “listen to the voice of” implies obedience, not just mental awareness of sound.

6 tn The verb is a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it continues the idea in the protasis of the sentence: “and [if you will] keep.”

7 tn The lamed preposition expresses possession here: “to me” means “my.”

8 tn The noun is סְגֻלָּה (sÿgullah), which means a special possession. Israel was to be God’s special possession, but the prophets will later narrow it to the faithful remnant. All the nations belong to God, but Israel was to stand in a place of special privilege and enormous responsibility. See Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; and Mal 3:17. See M. Greenburg, “Hebrew sÿgulla: Akkadian sikiltu,” JAOS 71 (1951): 172ff.



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