Exodus 19:15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

What would happen if a man did?

  • The Judaeo-Christian view of God is different from that of paganism, whose idols are the embodiment of human passions (Baal and Asherah, Zeus raping Europa, Mars laying with women whose men have gone to war, Eros, Cupid, Kama, etc). – Lucian Sep 29 '20 at 7:45
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    Preemptively downvoted, since I strongly suspect an ideological agenda behind the questions; the user is probably trying to argue Moses to have been a sexist as well. – Lucian Sep 29 '20 at 10:07

Ex 19:15 is well translated by the OP (unnamed, but probably ESV) version. "Woman" here might also be rendered "wife" as well.

The allusion is obvious as rendered by many versions:

  • NIV: Then he said to the people, "Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations."
  • NLT: He told them, “Get ready for the third day, and until then abstain from having sexual intercourse.”
  • CSB: He said to the people, "Be prepared by the third day. Do not have sexual relations with women."
  • CEV: He told them to be ready in three days and not to have sex in the meantime.
  • HCSB: He said to the people, "Be prepared by the third day. Do not have sexual relations with women."

That, is, God was preparing the people for the most sacred event in Israel's history, the giving of the Israelite covenant that would make of them a special people:

Ex 19:5, 6 - Now if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you will be My treasured possession out of all the nations—for the whole earth is Mine. And unto Me you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’

In order to prepare the people, God asked them deny themselves for a few days in preparation so that they might have their minds concentrated on sacred matters. The Pulpit commentary offers this background:

Verse 15. - Come not at your wives. Compare 1 Samuel 21:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 7:5. A similar obligation lay on the Egyptian priests (Porphyr. De Abstin. 4:7); and the idea which underlies it was widespread in the ancient world (See Herod. 1:198; Hesiod. Op. et Di. 733-4; Tibul. Carm. 2:1; 51:11, 12.)

What would happen if they did? Probably not much (and that is the point) - they would not be prepared to fully appreciate what the LORD was about to share and it might make a lesser impact on their minds.

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