Scala/Art Resource, NY

Thick clouds, rising smoke, and thunder and lightning accompany God’s appearance on Mt. Sinai in Exodus, as depicted in this gold-plated bronze panel from the 15th-century Doors of Paradise, sculpted by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Florence Baptistery. In an attempt to disassociate Israelite religion from the nature worship of neighboring peoples, Deuteronomy eliminated those meteorological elements associated with storm deities of the surrounding peoples, such as Baal and Hadad.

Further, in Exodus (and in Ghiberti’s relief) blaring horns warn the Israelites to stay away from the mountain because God is present. No horn is needed in Deuteronomy, however, because in this book God remains in heaven.