New Defender's Study Bible Notes
19:1 wilderness of Sinai. The Sinai peninsula, with its Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb) was to be the home of the vast body of Israelites for the next forty years. The exact location of Mount Sinai itself is still a matter of argument, although tradition has long associated it with the volcanic mountain called Jebel Musa, near the southern tip of the peninsula, where the Greek Orthodox Church’s St. Catherine’s Monastery was built in the sixth century A.D.
19:6 kingdom of priests. Israel was called by God to be a peculiarly holy nation, as a witness to all other nations that either had already departed from acknowledging the true God of creation, or were in the process. In the sense of mediating between other nations and God, all the Israelites were to serve as a royal priesthood, even though within their own nation the tribe of Levi would be designated as their priests. This wonderful offer was given to Israel even before they received the ten commandments. Even though they failed miserably, the promise is still there, probably to be accomplished in the millennial age (Isaiah 61:6; Revelation 5:10). In the meantime, in this present age Christian believers have been chosen spiritually to be both a “holy priesthood” and a “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:5,9), and this shall be our privilege throughout eternity (Revelation 1:6).
19:8 we will do. Moses, as the mediator between God and His people, is here a distinct type of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5). Note that the people promised, both before and after the giving of the law (Exodus 24:3) to do everything the Lord commanded.
19:17 out of the camp. This is the first of more than thirty references to events that took place outside of the camp of the Israelites in the wilderness. Anything unclean was to be “burned without the camp” (Hebrews 13:11). As He bore our sins, the Lord Jesus “suffered without the gate,” and thus we are exhorted to “go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:12,13).
19:18 mount Sinai. There has been much disagreement about the identification of Mount Sinai (same as Mount Horeb). The traditional site is the 7300 foot volcanic peak called by the Arabs, Jebel Musa (Mount of Moses), which overlooks a large plain where the children of Israel could have camped.
19:19 voice of the trumpet. There seems to have been a host of angels present around Mount Sinai as the Law was being given (note Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19) and one or more were blowing loudly on the trumpet of God. This, along with the lightning and dark cloud and great quaking of the mountain, made an awe-inspiring spectacle which the people could never forget (or so it would have seemed). Compare the exposition of this scene in Hebrews 12:18-21.
19:24 the priests. This is the only mention of priests in Israel prior to God’s instructions for ordaining Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. Possibly this is a reference to the judges (Exodus 18:25-27) serving as a temporary body of priests along with Aaron until the more formal investiture of Aaron and his sons.