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[75] NOW Moses called the multitude together, and told them that he was going from them unto mount Sinai to converse with God; to receive from him, and to bring back with him, a certain oracle; but he enjoined them to pitch their tents near the mountain, and prefer the habitation that was nearest to God, before one more remote. When he had said this, he ascended up to Mount Sinai, which is the highest of all the mountains that are in that country 1 and is not only very difficult to be ascended by men, on account of its vast altitude, but because of the sharpness of its precipices also; nay, indeed, it cannot be looked at without pain of the eyes: and besides this, it was terrible and inaccessible, on account of the rumor that passed about, that God dwelt there. But the Hebrews removed their tents as Moses had bidden them, and took possession of the lowest parts of the mountain; and were elevated in their minds, in expectation that Moses would return from God with promises of the good things he had proposed to them. So they feasted and waited for their conductor, and kept themselves pure as in other respects, and not accompanying with their wives for three days, as he had before ordered them to do. And they prayed to God that he would favorably receive Moses in his conversing with him, and bestow some such gift upon them by which they might live well. They also lived more plentifully as to their diet; and put on their wives and children more ornamental and decent clothing than they usually wore.

1 Since this mountain, Sinai, is here said to be the highest of all the mountains that are in that country, it must be that now called St. Katherine's, which is one-third higher than that within a mile of it, now called Sinai, as Mons. Thevenot informs us, Travels, Part I. ch. 23. p. 168. The other name of it, Horeb, is never used by Josephus, and perhaps was its name among the Egyptians only, whence the Israelites were lately come, as Sinai was its name among the Arabians, Canaanites, and other nations. Accordingly when (1 Kings 9:8) the Scripture says that Elijah came to Horeb, the mount of God, Josephus justly says, Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 13. sect. 7, that he came to the mountain called Sinai: and Jerome, here cited by Dr. Hudson, says, that he took this mountain to have two names, Sinai and Choreb. De Nomin. Heb. p. 427.

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