When the children of Israel had encamped before Mount Sinai, the Lord called Moses up into the mountain, and gave him a message for the people. This message was concerning an agreement, a covenant, which he proposed to make with them. He enumerates great blessings, which he would confer on them if they would on their part fulfill certain conditions. He said to them, "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto myself."

After thus reminding them of all the care which he had had over them, he goes on, "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant" these are the conditions, and now come the blessings "then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people : .... and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation." Then, to show that he was able to bestow these blessings, he adds, "For all the earth is mine." See Exodus 19:3-6.

Moses came down from the mount, and presented the words of the Lord unto the people, and they said, "All that the Lord hath spoken will we do. "And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord, and thus they entered into a solemn covenant with God. They promised on their part to obey his voice, and on his part the Lord promised the blessings already mentioned.

And God told Moses to sanctify the people against the third day; for on that day he would come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai. Neither man nor beast was to come near the mount on pain of death. "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning that there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly." The voice of God was then heard from out the thick darkness speaking the words of the ten commandments. Then the people were afraid, and stood afar off, and said to Moses, "Speak thou to us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."

After this, the Lord called Moses up into the mount, and gave him certain statutes and judgments by which the people were to be governed. 

Moses then came down from the mountain, and told the people all the words which the Lord had spoken; and they answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the Lord hath said will we do." Before the commandments were given from Mount Sinai, the people had   covenanted to obey the voice of God. Now they had heard that voice, and they renewed their covenant to obey it.

And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning and built an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings unto the Lord. And he took the book of the covenant, in which he had written the words of the Lord, and read in the audience of all the people, and again they said, "All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient." Moses then took of the blood of the offerings, and sprinkled it upon both the book and the people, saying, "Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words." Thus was this covenant ratified in the most solemn manner.