This chapter is all about the judgment of Moses for his people, and the able men he appoints to judge cases under him. The streamlining of judgment is sandwiched in between the arrival and departure of Moses’ father-in-law. To me, it speaks as a metaphor of the Messiah type, receiving wisdom from His Father to judge the peoples with equity.
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity. Psa 98:7-9
In the third month Israel came to Sinai. On the third day, Israel was to prepare to meet YHVH. In fact, being prepared to meet with YHVH on the third day is mentioned three times in Exo 19:11-16! Three is a sign of Messiah in Scripture. We have been taught to think that the covenant YHVH made with Israel at Sinai is the opposite of the covenant YHVH made with us at Calvary. Here, Scripture is teaching us, that this covenant prophesies of and reveals Messiah!
But what is revealed? Earlier in Exodus, Scripture showed us that Moses was a type of Messiah. In Exo 19, notice how many times Moses went up to God, and went down to the people – back and forth, back and forth. Moses is mediating between the people and God – just as Messiah is the Mediator between God and men. Furthermore, the covenant YHVH was enacting with Israel was not just any covenant, but a marriage covenant. The actions Moses takes, going back and forth from YHVH to the people, exactly mirrors the actions which are taken to enact a ketubah, a Hebrew betrothal and marriage contract, between a potential bridegroom and his potential bride. The key that this is in fact a marriage covenant that God is enacting, is found in His declaration of love for His people:
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Exo 19:4-5
Notice that He introduces His declaration of love, by reminding them of their deliverance from slavery and kingdom of the Egyptians. This is a metaphor and type of our own deliverance from slavery to sin and the kingdom of darkness. It is the first part of His expression of love!
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died [our Passover Lamb was slain] for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8
Moses receives the tablets of the testimony, upon which are engraved the Ten Commandments, the Law of God. Not only is Yeshua the Living Torah:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Joh 1:1
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Joh 14:1
But that Living Torah is full of grace and truth. How can the written Torah be less, when understood and applied properly? It cannot be. Moreover it is by this Torah that Yeshua judges the earth.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice Law-lessness!’ Mat 7:21-23
I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Psa 2:7-9
But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Isa 11:4
Just judgment, in chapter 18, and the Law by which judgment is made, in chapter 20, surrounds the love of Yeshua for His Bride, expressed by the marriage contract, in chapter 19. Love is the heart of the Law!