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Exodus 19:10

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Sanctify them - The injunction involves bodily purification and undoubtedly also spiritual preparation. Compare Hebrews 10:22. The washing of the clothes was an outward symbol well understood in all nations.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The solemn manner in which the law was delivered, was to impress the people with a right sense of the Divine majesty. Also to convince them of their own guilt, and to show that they could not stand in judgment before God by their own obedience. In the law, the sinner discovers what he ought to be, what he is, and what he wants. There he learns the nature, necessity, and glory of redemption, and of being made holy. Having been taught to flee to Christ, and to love him, the law is the rule of his obedience and faith.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Sanctify them - See the meaning of this term, Exodus 13:2.

Let them wash their clothes - And consequently bathe their bodies; for, according to the testimony of the Jews, these always went together.

It was necessary that, as they were about to appear in the presence of God, every thing should be clean and pure about them; that they might be admonished by this of the necessity of inward purity, of which the outward washing was the emblem.

From these institutions the heathens appear to have borrowed their precepts relative to washings and purifications previously to their offering sacrifice to their gods, examples of which abound in the Greek and Latin writers. They washed their hands and clothes, and bathed their bodies in pure water, before they performed any act of religious worship; and in a variety of cases, abstinence from all matrimonial connections was positively required, before a person was permitted to perform any religious rite, or assist at the performance.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 611

Read the directions that were given to Moses to be made known to the children of Israel as God was about to come down upon the mount to speak in their hearing His holy law. What did He command Moses to have the people do? To be ready against the third day; for on the third day, said He, the Lord will come down upon the mount in the sight of all the people. They were to set bounds about the mount. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.” That great and mighty God who created the beautiful Eden and everything lovely in it is a God of order, and He wants order and cleanliness with His people. That mighty God directed Moses to tell the people to wash their clothes lest there should be impurity in their clothing and about their persons as they came up before the Lord. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and they washed their clothes, according to the command of God. 2T 611.1

And to show how careful they were to be in regard to cleanliness, Moses was to put a laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, “and put water there, to wash withal.” And Moses and Aaron, and Aaron's sons that ministered before the Lord, were to wash their hands and their feet thereat when they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they went in before the Lord. 2T 611.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 611

Read the directions that were given to Moses to be made known to the children of Israel as God was about to come down upon the mount to speak in their hearing His holy law. What did He command Moses to have the people do? To be ready against the third day; for on the third day, said He, the Lord will come down upon the mount in the sight of all the people. They were to set bounds about the mount. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.” That great and mighty God who created the beautiful Eden and everything lovely in it is a God of order, and He wants order and cleanliness with His people. That mighty God directed Moses to tell the people to wash their clothes lest there should be impurity in their clothing and about their persons as they came up before the Lord. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and they washed their clothes, according to the command of God. 2T 611.1

And to show how careful they were to be in regard to cleanliness, Moses was to put a laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, “and put water there, to wash withal.” And Moses and Aaron, and Aaron's sons that ministered before the Lord, were to wash their hands and their feet thereat when they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they went in before the Lord. 2T 611.2

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 279

The necessity of personal cleanliness was taught in the most impressive manner. Before gathering at Mount Sinai to listen to the proclamation of the law by the voice of God, the people were required to wash both their persons and their clothing. This direction was enforced on pain of death. No impurity was to be tolerated in the presence of God. MH 279.1

During the sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites were almost continually in the open air, where impurities would have a less harmful effect than upon the dwellers in close houses. But the strictest regard to cleanliness was required both within and without their tents. No refuse was allowed to remain within or about the encampment. The Lord said: MH 279.2

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Health, 102

Some are very untidy in person. They need to be guided by the Holy Spirit to prepare for a pure and holy heaven. God declared that when the children of Israel came to the mount, to hear the proclamation of the law, they were to come with clean bodies and clean clothes. Today His people are to honor Him by habits of scrupulous neatness and purity. CH 102.1

Christians will be judged by the fruit they bear. The true child of God will be neat and clean. While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, we are in no case to be careless and indifferent in regard to outward appearance. All about our persons and our homes is to be neat and attractive. The youth are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, an appearance that honors God and the truth. CH 102.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 155-6

Every Jew was required to pay yearly a half shekel as “a ransom for his soul;” and the money thus collected was used for the support of the temple. Exodus 30:12-16. Besides this, large sums were brought as freewill offerings, to be deposited in the temple treasury. And it was required that all foreign coin should be changed for a coin called the temple shekel, which was accepted for the service of the sanctuary. The money changing gave opportunity for fraud and extortion, and it had grown into a disgraceful traffic, which was a source of revenue to the priests. DA 155.1

The dealers demanded exorbitant prices for the animals sold, and they shared their profits with the priests and rulers, who thus enriched themselves at the expense of the people. The worshipers had been taught to believe that if they did not offer sacrifice, the blessing of God would not rest on their children or their lands. Thus a high price for the animals could be secured; for after coming so far, the people would not return to their homes without performing the act of devotion for which they had come. DA 155.2

A great number of sacrifices were offered at the time of the Passover, and the sales at the temple were very large. The consequent confusion indicated a noisy cattle market rather than the sacred temple of God. There could be heard sharp bargaining, the lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep, the cooing of doves, mingled with the chinking of coin and angry disputation. So great was the confusion that the worshipers were disturbed, and the words addressed to the Most High were drowned in the uproar that invaded the temple. The Jews were exceedingly proud of their piety. They rejoiced over their temple, and regarded a word spoken in its disfavor as blasphemy; they were very rigorous in the performance of ceremonies connected with it; but the love of money had overruled their scruples. They were scarcely aware how far they had wandered from the original purpose of the service instituted by God Himself. DA 155.3

When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, the place was consecrated by His presence. Moses was commanded to put bounds around the mount and sanctify it, and the word of the Lord was heard in warning: “Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: there shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live.” Exodus 19:12, 13. Thus was taught the lesson that wherever God manifests His presence, the place is holy. The precincts of God's temple should have been regarded as sacred. But in the strife for gain, all this was lost sight of. DA 155.4

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