A Treasured People Point to a Supreme God
Israel's role as God’s treasured people is part of God’s means for reclaiming his rightful place as the praised Lord of the earth.
Published December 29th, 2016; Updated January 18th, 2017
Exodus 19:4 recalls YHWH’s great deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The inference-marker וְעַתָּה ("and now") in 5a draws a conclusion from the great salvation related to Israel’s calling: because God saved Israel, if they will heed his voice, keep his covenant, and be his treasured possession from all the earth, then they will serve for him as a kingdom of priests and holy nation. This clarifies the type of conditional relationship evident in verses 5-6 . The final arc is between 5bc, with 5c providing the Ground (G) or reason for 5b. Israel must serve as God’s treasured possession amid the earth, because all the earth is God’s. The logic here appears to be that YHWH has called Israel to bear witness to his greatness and that their role of serving as God’s treasured people is part of God’s means for reclaiming his rightful place as the recognized and praised Lord of the earth. Because all the world is indeed his, Israel must complete their purpose of reflecting and representing YHWH’s supremacy on the earth.
You have seen
what I did to Egypt
אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתִי לְמִצְרָ֑יִם
and how I lifted you on eagle's wings,
וָאֶשָּׂ֤א אֶתְכֶם֙ עַל־כַּנְפֵ֣י נְשָׁרִ֔ים
and how I brought you to myself.
וָאָבִ֥א אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֵלָֽי׃
And now, if you will indeed listen unto my voice
וְעַתָּ֗ה אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ בְּקֹלִ֔י
and keep my covenant
and be my treasured possession from all the peoples,
וִהְיִ֨יתֶם לִ֤י סְגֻלָּה֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים
for all the earth is mine,
then you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
וְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ