The account of the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Law in the Book of Exodus is a pivotal point in the Bible. And there is much information to be found in that account.
As we know from last week’s lesson, Moses ascended Mount Sinai seven times. Bear in mind at that time Moses was eighty years old. These ascents were supernatural events. For example, during the last time Moses went up to meet the Lord, he neither ate nor drank during the forty day period. (Exodus 34:28) When Moses returned from his encounter with the Lord, his face glowed so much it frightened the people. (Exodus 34:30)
Despite the supernatural nature of this time, it includes the incident of worshiping the Golden Calf. I have always had difficulty understanding this after the many remarkable and supernatural events the Children of Israel witnessed. They saw the parting of the Red Sea, they were given Manna to eat, they saw water come from a rock, and they heard the Voice of God! Several times in this Exodus account, the Children of Israel are described by the Lord and Moses as a stiff-necked people.
The name “Sinai” is of uncertain derivation. Probably the name is related to the location of the mountain near the Desert of Sin. This “sin” is not the English word, but possibly the name of a pagan moon god.
While we can find no definition of the name Sinai, it is found thirteen times in the Book of Exodus. Thirteen is the number of rebellion, and it was at Sinai that the Children of Israel rebelled against the Lord. Also, in Mark 7:21-22, the Lord Jesus lists thirteen things that show a rebellious and depraved heart.
In the Book of Exodus, Sinai and Horeb are listed interchangeably. But Horeb has a much nicer implication. Horeb is found only three times in Exodus, possibly indicating Spiritual completeness (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It is defined as “dry or desert” (Strong’s H2722) which fits the location. However, the outer Hebrew letters, chet beit, forming (per rabbinic thought) the “body” of the word, are defined as a cherisher or the bosom (Strong’s H2243). The inner Hebrew letters, chet resh, are defined as white or pure (Strong’s H2715).
Horeb gives us a picture of the purity of the Lord and the fact that He cherishes His Chosen People. Whereas Sinai shows us the rebellion of those people. The definition bosom reminds me of the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, where Lazarus was in or by the comfort of the bosom of Abraham. (Luke 16:20-31) The wonderful grace of the Lord is shown in the Book of Isaiah, where He promises to comfort this stiff-necked and rebellious people in the future. (Isaiah 61:2, 66:13)
I am so thankful for the wonderful grace of the Lord toward myself. Praise the Lord for His love for us and for sending Jesus to be our Salvation!