Why Did God Punish the Jews

The Preparations

On Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the first day of the third month after the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel reached the desert of Sinai and camped near the mountain. During the few weeks of traveling in the desert under Divine protection, with daily miracles, such as the manna and the birds, the miraculous sweetening of the water, the defeat of Amalek, and the crossing of the Red Sea, the Jewish people had become more and more conscious of God. Their faith grew more intense daily, until they attained a standard of holiness, solidarity, and unity, never achieved before or after by any other nation.

                                                                                                    

Moses ascended Mount Sinai, and God spoke to him the following words
(Exodus 3-6):

"So shall you say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel. You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles' wings, and I brought you to Me. And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation."

 

Moses returned from Sinai and called for the elders of the people and put all these words of God before them. Unanimously, with one voice and one mind, the people answered: Naaseh Venishma - "Everything God has said, we will do." Thus they accepted the Torah outright, with all its precepts, not even asking for a detailed enumeration of the obligations and duties it involved. When Israel had voiced its eagerness to receive the Torah, God spoke to Moses again (Exodus: 20:17):

"Go to the people and prepare them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their garments. And they shall be prepared for the third day, for on the third day, the Lord will descend before the eyes of all the people upon Mount Sinai. And you shall set boundaries for the people around, saying, Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.' No hand shall touch it, for he shall be stoned or cast down; whether man or beast, he shall not live. When the ram's horn sounds a long, drawn out blast, they may ascend the mountain."

  

The Revelation on Sinai

The dawn of the third day broke amid thunder and lightning that filled the air. Heavy clouds hung over the mountain, and steadily growing sound of the Shofar horn  made the people shake and tremble with fear. Moses led the children of Israel out of the camp and placed them at the foot of Mount Sinai, which was all covered by smoke and was quaking, for God had descended upon it in fire.

 

The Ten Commandments

The blasting of the Shofar (ram's) horn grew louder, but suddenly all sounds ceased, and an absolute silence ensued; and then God proclaimed the Ten Commandments as follows:

1. "I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

2. You shall not have the gods of others in My presence. You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness which is in the heavens above, which is on the earth below, or which is in the water beneath the earth. You shall neither prostrate yourself before them nor worship them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a zealous God, Who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, upon the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, and [I] perform loving kindness to thousands [of generations], to those who love Me and to those who keep My commandments.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain, for the Lord will not hold blameless anyone who takes His name in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days may you work and perform all your labor, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities. For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

5. Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you. 

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor."

 

Moses Receives the Torah

The entire people heard the words of God, and they became frightened.

 

They begged Moses to be the intermediary between God and them, for if God Himself would continue to give them the entire Torah, they would surely die. Moses told them not to be afraid, for God had revealed Himself to them so that they would fear Him and not sin.

 

Then God asked Moses to ascend the mountain; for he alone was able to stand in the presence of God. There Moses was to receive the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments, and the entire Torah, to teach it to the children of Israel. Moses went up the mountain and stayed there forty days and forty nights, without food or sleep, for he had become like an angel. During this time, God revealed to Moses the entire Torah, with all its laws and the interpretations thereof. Finally, God gave Moses the two stone Tables of Testimony, containing the Ten Commandments, written by God Himself.

The Jews in Egypt Will Be Punished for
Their Idolatry

Jeremiah 44:1-14 HCSB
1
This is the word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt--at Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and in the land of Pathros:

2 "This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: You have seen all the disaster I brought against Jerusalem and all Judah's cities; look, they are a ruin today without an inhabitant in them  

3 because of their evil ways that provoked Me to anger, going and burning incense to serve other gods that they, you, and your fathers did not know.

4 So I sent you all My servants the prophets time and time again, saying: Don't do this detestable thing that I hate.

5 But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their evil or stop burning incense to other gods.

6 So My fierce wrath poured out and burned in Judah's cities and Jerusalem's streets so that they became the desolate ruin they are today.

7 "So now, this is what the LORD, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says:
Why are you doing such great harm to yourselves
? You are cutting off man and woman, child and infant from Judah, leaving yourselves without a remnant.

8 You are provoking Me to anger by the work of your hands. You are burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to live for a while. As a result, you will be cut off and become an object of cursing and insult among all the nations of earth.

9 Have you forgotten the evils of your fathers, the evils of Judah's kings, the evils of their wives, your own evils, and the evils of your wives that were committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

10 They have not become humble to this day, and they have not feared or followed My instruction or My statutes that I set before you and your ancestors.

11 "Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says:
I am about to turn against you to bring disaster, to cut off all Judah
.

12 And I will take away the remnant of Judah, those who have resolved to go to the land of Egypt to live there for a while; they will meet their end. All of them in the land of Egypt will fall by the sword; they will meet their end by famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by the sword and by famine. Then they will become an object of cursing, scorn, execration, and disgrace.

13 I will punish those living in the land of Egypt just as I punished Jerusalem by sword, famine, and plague.

14 Then the remnant of Judah--those going to live for a while there in the land of Egypt--will have no fugitive or survivor to return to the land of Judah where they are longing to return to live, for they will not return except for a few fugitives."