In Exodus 19:8 it reads:
8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.
The part I am interested in is the part that the people say "we will do". It seems to be that the time before the Law was a time of Mercy (2500 years) and the Law came in after the Isrealites said what they said in verse 8, which coincidentally also lasted for 2500 years. (My timescales are approximations of course) Until Nowadays, where we live in a time of Grace.
My understanding of this passage is that the Israelites are signing up to what God has said, and they have responded positively to God. However, I have heard that the Law came (instead of Grace, which was what God really wanted to establish at the time) as a result of the Israelites claiming that they would do all God asked, but claiming with the attitude that they can do it in their own power.
What are the views of others in this forum, and what understanding can they bring to this backed up of course and as usual with biblical verses. I am particularly interested in goig back to the Hebrew to understand the connotations of this verse to see if there are any indications of the attitude of the Israelites in their promise to do as God had spoken.
Ok, so to add a bit more context to what I asked and why I have asked it I will explain a few things which caused me to ask this question.
My understanding is that the Israelites were trying to be obedient and had the right intentions, I had not even considered that the Israelites had anything but the right intentions and right attitude. So, I am trying to ask this question from a point of view that I am not sure I agree with. However let me continue trying to give a fuller explanation of the argument I had heard around this.
The argument put forward gave reference to Adam and how he was cast out of Eden as an act of mercy because God could not allow Adam to remain alive in Eden after what had happened. So as an act of mercy God cast Adam out and continued to maintain a relationship with Adam. The next phase happened with Cain and how God dealt with him after he murder Abel. God showed mercy to Cain. I am glossing over this a lot he so please bear with me as I try and get the gist across of what I heard. The next part spoke about the decisions Abraham took and how it affected his relationship with God. For example when God told him to leave Canaan and take no one but Sarah with him, but he also took Lot, an act of disobedience to God which triggered quite a few issues for Abram in the future. Abraham also lied/deceived about Sarah being his wife instead of trusting his safety to God who had sent him on his journey. Abraham later took matters into his own hands in trying to take matters into his own hands regarding the promise God made to him about having descendants. This gave rise to Ismael, but also 13 years of silence from God because Abraham tried to take matters into his own hands rather than trust in the promises and provision of God.
Another example was taken from the New Testament; the story of the rich young ruler who had come to Jesus asking what more he should do and explaining to Jesus how he kept all the rules and done all that was required of him. Jesus responded to him by saying sell all you own at which point the young ruler went away upset because he could not do what was asked of him. He could not do it because he did not trust that God was more than able to provide but Jesus also knew the young rulers heart as someone that did things by their own strength rather than rely on God to provide the answer for him. What was interesting is that the very next story was also about a rich man Zachaeus, who was likely even wealthier than the young ruler. The story highlights how Jesus went and ate with Zachaeus and Jesus said 'Salvation has come to this house' instead of putting a regulation or demand on Zachaeus. The reason was that Zachaeus came with an attitude of allowing Jesus to do what was neccessary rather than like the young ruler who wanted to know what he must do rather than what Jesus would do.
I hope that I have managed to explain the premises sufficiently (I probably haven't) for you to see the arguments presented. I have come to the conclusion that the only way to know if there is any meaning lost in the translation from Hebrew to English as to whether or not the Israelites demonstrated the same attitude as the rich young ruler or whether they were truly submitting with the attitude that Zachaeus demonstrated, is to go back to the Hebrew and understand what it means in the original Hebrew and see if it does indeed connote what the arguments say they were attempting to do.
Of course if the former truly is the case then it has massive significance to understanding how the Covenant God made with the Israelites was based around the Law, because it would mean that the Israelites were given what they had asked for rather than what God wanted to give them, which is a covenent based more around the grace principles rather than a rule based system. If you see what I am saying.