He'll Be up and down the Mountain When God Comes
Three months after the Israelites had left Egypt, 2 they travelled from Rephidim to the Desert of Sinai and stopped at the foot of Mount Sinai. As the Israelites set up camp, Moses set off up the mountain to talk to God. 3 As he climbed, the Lord called out from the summit, ‘Tell the descendants of Jacob…’
‘What?’ called back Moses, straining to hear.
God moved a little way down the mountain, and he called out, ‘Can you hear me now?’
‘You’re breaking up…’
God descended a bit more. ‘Now?’
‘Yeah, I can hear you now.’
4 The Lord yelled, ‘Tell the descendants of Jacob, “You have seen for yourselves that God is a badass who will smite people on your behalf. 5 If you do what he says, he will reward you. If you don’t… well, you don’t want to know. 6 Anyway, God has arbitrarily picked you out of all the nations of the Earth, which he also created, to be his special people.” Go and tell them that.’
7 Moses, who had managed to make it half way up the mountain by this point, panted, ‘Kay,’ and started back down the mountain.
8 Back at the foot of the mountain, Moses assembled the people, and he repeated what God had said. Just as he’d finished speaking, the Lord called out again from the top of the mountain.
‘Wait right there,’ said Moses to the Israelites.
‘I’m going to come down…’ shouted the Lord.
‘I can’t hear you!’ screamed Moses. ‘Give me a chance to get up the bloody mountain!’
9 When Moses was within earshot, the Lord yelled, ‘I’m going to come down in a cloud so that I can talk to people.’
‘Couldn’t you have told me that the first time?’ spluttered Moses.
‘Just go and tell them!’ ordered the Lord.
So, Moses climbed back down the mountain, and he told the Israelites what God had said. When he’d finished speaking, he heard God calling out from the top of the mountain again.
‘Oh, for fuck’s sake!’ cursed Moses.
10 The Lord cried out, ‘You know, I can smell those Israelites from here! 11 Tell them to have a wash before I come down in my cloud.’
‘We’ve been wandering in the fucking desert!’ spat Moses. ‘You can’t expect us to smell like a bloody orchard!’
12 ‘I don’t care!’ boomed the Lord. ‘And because I don’t trust them to wash themselves properly, they are forbidden to even set foot on my mountain!’
‘I thought that Horeb was your mountain…’
13 ‘I’m God, I own a lot of mountains! Anyway, anyone who touches my mountain should be killed. Pelt them with stones or shoot them with arrows or something. In fact, even if it’s an animal that doesn’t know any better, if it touches my mountain, it has to be killed.’
‘You’re in kind of a dickish mood today, aren’t you Lord?’
‘Just get your arse down the mountain and tell them!’
14 So, Moses trudged back down the mountain, and he told the people to consecrate themselves and wash their clothes. 15 Then he told them, ‘Oh, by the way, nobody is allowed to have sex for three days!’
The people were shocked, and Aaron whispered to Moses, ‘Did God really say to abstain from sex?’
‘No,’ replied Moses, ‘but Zipporah is on the rag, and if I’m not getting any, why should they?’
16 On the morning of the third day, a thick black cloud appeared over the mountain, rumbling with thunder and lightning. The Israelites nearly shit themselves. 17 Moses led them from their camp to the base of the mountain to meet God, 18 but as they drew near, the Lord transformed into a ball of fire that seethed like a furnace. 19 Smoke billowed from him, covering the mountain, and the blast of a trumpet echoed from the summit, shaking the ground beneath it.
‘Erm… Maybe he’s not in the mood to see anyone…’ said Moses, nervously.
20 The voice of the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain.
‘Jesus Christ!’ exclaimed Moses. ‘Not again.’ And he made his way back up the mountain.
21 Near the summit, Moses was catching his breath. The Lord told him, ‘Go down and tell the people not to touch the mountain!’
‘Are you taking the piss?’ snapped Moses. ‘You already told me this! It’s all well and good for you floating around in your bloody cloud, but my legs are fucking killing me!’
22 The Lord ignored him, and said, ‘If anyone touches my mountain, I’ll smite them so hard that their children’s children will feel it!’
23 ‘So, I take it that you’ve changed your mind about them being pummelled with stones, then?’
‘Yeah, yeah, I know, “get my arse back down the mountain!”’
24 ‘And bring Aaron back up with you!’
Again, Moses stumbled down the mountain. He raised his finger to signal that he was about to speak, but he could only let out a gasp.
‘What did the Lord say?’ asked Aaron.
25 ‘He… he…’ wheezed Moses. ‘He… wants you to come back up the mountain with me.’
‘Oh, okay,’ replied Aaron, happily skipping towards the mountain.
‘Yeah… you head up… I’ll be up shortly…’ And with that, he fainted.