The Sinai Covenant

“The Sinai covenant was not the first made by God. He had already made one with Noah (Genesis 9), and another with Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 15, 17). There were subsequent covenant renewal ceremonies at the end of Moses’ life, in the days of Joshua, during the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah, and later, after the Babylonian exile, in the age of Ezra and Nehemiah. The covenant at Sinai was, however, the fulcrum on which all else turned. The Noahide and Abrahamic covenants were unilateral initiatives on the part of God. Noah and Abraham were not asked for their agreement. The subsequent ratification ceremonies were all at the initiative of human beings: prophets, kings and scribes. Only the Sinai covenant was fully mutual, a Divine initiative that involved and depended on human consent.”

Covenant and Conversation: Exodus, p. 13