A or

ND there went a man of the house of Levi, This chapter begins the story of Moses, that man of renown, famed for his intimate acquaintance with Heaven, and his eminent unefulness on earth; ant the most 2 And the woman conceived, and

bare a son: Old Testament. The Jews have a book among them of the life of "Moses, and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, which tells a great many stories couterung him, which we have reason to think she hid him three months; woo, far we kue that bus record is true; and ii is what we may tie satisfied 3 And when she could not longer hide him, she with for it is what lufinite WisJoin though it to preserve and transit to ustook for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it prewer valid drough the perils, and the preferment of his childhuced and youth, with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein;

23-10. ul. The pious choice of this rper years, which was, 10. own the people and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. of Goal 1. He offered them his service at prenent, if they would have accepted 21, v, 11-14. 2. He reured, that he might reserve himself for further service 4 And his sister stood afar ofl, to wit what would be reafler, v. 15–22. IV. i'be dawuing of the day of Israel's deliverance, v.

be done to him.


[blocks in formation]


innocent, was a sin which they had no cloak for. Note, 1. There That, for their piety, they were married to Israelites, and is more cruelty in the corrupt heart of man than one would Hebrew families were built up by them. imagine, Rom. 3. 15, 16. The enmity that is in the seed of the II. When this project did not take effect, Pharaoh gave pubserpent against the seed of the woman, divests men of human- lic orders to all his people to drown all the male children of the ity itself, and makes them forget all pity. One would not think Hebrews, v. 22. We may suppose it was made highly penal it possible that ever men should be so barbarous and blood- for any to know of the birth of a son to an Israelite, and not 10 thirsiy as the persecutors of God's people have been, Rev. 17. give information to those who were appointed to throw him into 6. 2. Even confessed innocence is no defence against the old the river. Note, The enemies of the church have been resto enmity; what blood so guiltless as that of a child new-born ? less in their endeavours to wear out the saints of the Most High, Yet that is prodigally shed like water, and sucked with delight Dan. 7. 25. But he that sils in heaven shall laugh at them. like milk or honey. Pharaoh and Herod sufficiently proved See Ps. 2. 4. themselves agents for that great red dragon, who stood to devour the man-child as soon as it was born, Rev. 12.3, 4. Pilate deli V.1-4. Moses was a Levite, both hy father and mother. vered Christ to be crucified, after he had confessed that he found Jacob left Levi under marks of disgrace, (Gen. 49. 5;) and no fault in him. It is well for us, that though man can kill the yet, soon after, Moses appears a descendant from him, that he body, that is all he can do.

Inight typify Christ, who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, Two bloody edicts are here signed for the destruction of all and was made a curse for us. This tribe began to be disthe male children that were born to the Hebrews.

tinguished from the rest by the birth of Moses, as afterward it I. The midwives were commanded to inurder them.

became remarkable in many other instances.' Observe, conObserve, 1. The orders given them, v. 15, 16. It added much cerning this new-born infant, to the barbarity of the intended executions, that the midwives I. How he was hidden. It seems to have been just at the were appointed to be the executioners; for it was to make them, time of his birth, that the cruel law was made for the murder of not only bloody, but perfidious, and to oblige them to betray a all the male children of the Hebrews; and many, no doubt, trust, and to destroy those whom they undertook to save and perished by the execution of it. The parents of Moses bad help. Could he think that their sex would admit such cruelty, Miriam and Aaron, both elder than he, born to them before and their employment such base treachery? Note, Those who that edict came out, and had nursed them, without that peril; are themselves barbarous, think to find, or make, others as bar but those that begin the world in peace, know not what troubles barous. Pharaoh's project was, secretly to engage the mid- they may meet with before they have got through it. Probably, wives to stifle the men-children as soon as they were born, and the mother of Moses was full of anxiety in the expectation of then to lay it upon the difficulty of the birth, or some mischance his birth, now that this edict was in force, and was ready to common in that case, Job 3. 11. The two midwives he tampered say, Blessed are the barren that never bare, Luke 23. 29. Better with in order hereunto, are here named; and perhaps, ai this so, than bring forth children to the murderer, Hos. 9. 13. Yet time, which was abuve eighty years before their going out of this child proves the glory of his father's house. Thus that Egypl, those two might suffice for all the Hebrew women, at which is most our fear, often proves, in the issue, most our least so many of them as lay near the court, as it is plain, by joy. Observe the beauty of providence : just at the time when ch.2. 5, 6, many of them did, and of them he was most jealous. Pharaoh's cruelty rose io this height, the deliverer was born, They are called Hebrew midwives, probably, not because they though he did not appear for many years after. Note, When were themselves Hebrews, (for surely Pharaoh could never men are projecting the church's ruin, God is preparing for its expect they should be so barbarous to those of their own nation,) salvation. And Moses, who was afterward to bring Israel out but because they were generally made use of by the Hebrews; of this house of bondage, had himself like to have fallen a sacriand being Egyptians, he hoped to prevail with ihem.

fice to the fury of the oppressor; God so ordering it, that, being 2. Their pious disobedience to this impious command, v. 17, afterward told of this, he might be the more animated with a They feared God, regarded his law, and dreaded his wrath holy zeal for the deliverance of his brethren out of the hands of more than Pharaoh's, and therefore saved the men-children alive. such bloody men. Norc, (1.) If men's commands be any way contrary to the com 1. His parents observed him to be a goodly child, more than mands of Gori, we must obey God and not man, Acts 4. 19.– ordinarily beautiful; he was fair to God, Acts 7. 20. They 5. 29. No power on earth can warrant us, much less oblige us, fancied he had a lustre in his countenance that was something to sin against God, our chief Lord. (2.) Where the fear of more than human, and was a specimen of the shining of his face God rules in the heart, it will preserve it from that snare which afterward, ch. 34.29. Note, God sometimes gives early earnests the inordinate fear of man brings.

of his gifis, and manifests himself betimes in those for whom, 3. Their justifying of themselves in this disobedience, when and by whom, he designs to do great things. Thus he put an they were charged with it as a crime, v. 18. They gave a early strength into Samson, (Judg. 13. 24, 25,) an early forwardreason for it, which, it seems, God's gracious providence had ness into Samuel, (1 Sam. 2. 18,) wrought an early deliverance fumished them with—that they came too late to do it, for, gene- for David, (1 Sam. 17. 37,) and began betimes with Timothy, rally, the children were born before they came, v. 19. I see no 2 Tim. 3. 15. reason we have to doubt of the truth of this ; it is plain that the 2. Therefore they were the more solicitious for his preserHebrews were now under an extraordinary blessing of increase, vation, because they looked upon this as an indication of some which may well be supposed to have this effect, that the women kind purpose of God concerning him, and a happy omen of had very quick and easy labour, and the mothers and children something great. Note, A lively active faith can take enbeing both lively, they seldom needed the help of midwives : couragement from the least intimation of the divine favour; a this these midwives took notice of, and concluding it to be the merciful hint of Providence will encourage those whose spirits finger of God, were thereby einboldened to disobey the king, in make diligent search. Three months they bid him in some prifavour of those whom Heaven thus favoured, and with this jus vate apartment of their own house, though, probably, with the tified themselves before Pharaoh, when he called them to an ac hazard of their own lives, had he been discovered. Herein Count for it. Some of the ancient Jews expound it thus, Ere the Moses was a type of Christ, who, in his infancy, was forced mnidurife comes to them, they pray to their Father in heaven, and he to abscond, and in Egypt too, (Matt. 2. 13,) and was wonderanswereth them, and they do bring forth. Note, God is a readier fully preserved, when many innocents were butchered. helper to his people in distress than any other helpers are, and said, '(Heb. 11. 23,) that the parents of Moses hid him by faith; often presents them with the blessings of his goodness ; such some think they had a special revelation to them that the deliverances lay them under peculiarly strong obligations. Deliverer should spring from their loins; however, they had

4. The recompense God gave them for their tenderness the general promise of Israel's preservation, which ihey acted toward his people; he dealt well with them, v. 20. Note, God faith upon, and in that faith hid their child, not being afraid of will be behindhand with none for any kindness done to his peo the penally annexed to the king's commandment Nole, (1.) ple, taking it as done to himself. In particular, he made ihem Faith in God's promise is so far from superseding, that it raiher houses, (v. 21,) built them up into families, blessed their chil- excites and quickens to, the use of lawful means for obtaining dren, and prospered them in all they

did. Note, The services mercy. Duty is ours, events are God's. (2.) Faith in God done for Gol's Isracl are often repaid in kind. The midwives will set us above the insnaring fear of man. kept up the Israelite's houses, and, in recompense for it, God

II. How he was exposed. At three months' end, probably, marle then houses. Observe, The recompense has relation to when the searchers came about to look for concealed children, the principle upon which they went; because they feared God, so that they could not hide him any longer, (their faith perhaps he made them houses. Note, Religion and piety are good friends beginning now to fail,) they put him in an ark of bulrushes by to outward prosperity : the fear of God in a house will help to the river's brink, (v. 3,) and set his little sister at some distance build it up and establish it. Dr. Lightfoot's notion of it, is, I to watch what would become of him, and into whose hands ho

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked she called his name Moses :* and she said, Because along by the river's side; and when she saw the I drew him out of the water. ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch 11 And it came to pass in those days, when it.

Moses was grown, that he went out unto his 6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: brethren, and looked on their burdens : and he and, behold, the babe wept. And she had com- spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his passion on him, and said, This is one of the brethren. Hebrews' children.

12 And he looked this way and that way, and, 7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 13 And when he went out the second day, be

8 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Go. hold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and And the maid went and called the child's mother. he said unto him that did the wrong, Wherefore

9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take smitest thou thy fellow? this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give 14 And he said, Who made thee a prince tand a thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, judge over us ? intendest thou to kill me, as thou and nursed it.

killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, 10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Surely this thing is known. c Ps. 106. 46. d Ps. 9. 10. • that is, drawn oul.

e c. 1. 11. Acts 7. 23, 24. Heb. 11. 21-2. 16 man, a prince. would fall, v. 4. God put it into their hearts to do this, to bring Note, (1.)Providence pleases itself sometimes in raising the poor about his own purposes ; that Moses might by this means be out of the dust, to set them among princes, Ps. 113. 7,8. Many brought into the hands of Pharaoh's daughter, and that by his who, by their birth, seem marked for obscurity and poverty, by deliverance from this imminent danger, a specimen might be surprising events of Providence, are brought to sit at the given of the deliverance of God's church, which now lay thus upper end of the world, to make men know that the Heavens do exposed. Note, 1. God lakes special care of the outcasts of rule. (2.) Those whom God designs for great services, he Israel, (Ps. 147. 2,) they are his outcasts, Is. 16. 4. Moses finds out ways to qualify and prepare beforehand. Moses, by seemed quite abandoned by his friends, his own mother durst having his education in a court, is the fitter to be a prince and not own him, but now the Lord took him up and protected him, king in Jeshurun; by having his education in a learned court, Ps. 27. 10. 2. In times of extreme difficulty, it is good to ven- (for such the Egyptian then was,) is the fitter to be an histolure upon the providence of God. Thus to have exposed their rian ; and by having his education in the court of Egypt, is child while they might have preserved it, had been to tempt the fitter to be employed, in the name of God, as an ambassador Providence; but when they could not, it was bravely to trust to that court. to Providence. Nothing venture, nothing win;" If I perish, 4. Moses named. The Jews tell us that his father, at his I perish.

circumcision, called him Joachim, but Pharaoh's daughter called V. 5-10. Here is,

him Moses, Drawn out of the waler, so it signifies in the 1. Moses saved from perishing. Come, see the place where Egyptian language. The calling of a Jewish lawgiver by an that great man lay, when he was a little child; he lay in a Egyptian name is a happy omen to the Gentile world, and bulrush basket by the river's side. Had he been left to lie there, gives hopes of that day when it shall be said, Blessed be Egypt he must have perished in a little time with hunger, if he had my people, Is. 19. 25. And his tuition at court was an earnest not been sooner washed into the river, or devoured by a cro of the performance of that promise, (Is. 49. 23,) Kings shall codile. Had he fallen into any other hands than those he be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers. did fall into, either they would not, or durst not have done V. 11-15. Moses had now passed the first forty years of otherwise, than have thrown him straightway into the river; his life in the court of Pharaoh, preparing himself for business; but Providence brings no less a person thither than Pharaoh's and now it was time for him to enter upon action, and, daughter, just at that juncture, guides her to the place where I. He boldly owns and espouses the cause of God's people; this poor forlorn infant lay, and inclines her heart to pity it, when Moses was grown, he went out unto his brethren, and looked which she dares do, when none else durst. Never did poor on their burdens, v. 11. The best exposition of these words, we child cry so seasonably, so happily as this did; the babe wept, have from an inspired pen, Heb. 11. 24–26, where we are told which moved the compassion of the princess, as, no doubt, his that this bespeaks, 1. His holy contempt of the honours and beauty did, v, 5, 6. Note, (1.) Those ar hard-hearted in- pleasures of the Egyptian court; he refused to be called the son deed, that have not tender compassion for helpless infancy. of Pharaoh's daughter, for he went out. The temptation was How pathetically does God represent his compassion for the indeed very strong; he had a fair opportunity (as we say) to Israelites in general, considered in this pitiable state! Ez. 16. make his fortune, and to have been serviceable to Israel too, 5, 6. (2.) It is very commendable in persons of quality, to with his interest at court; he was obliged, in gratitude, as well take cognizance of the distresses of the meanest, and to be as interest, to Pharaoh's daughter, and yet he obtained a glorious helpful and charitable to them. (3.) God's care of us in our victory by faith over his templation. He reckoned it much infancy ought to be often made mention of by us to his praise. more his honour and advantage to be a son of Abraham, than Though we were not thus exposed, (that we were not, was to be the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 2. His tender concern for God's mercy,) yet many were the perils we were surrounded his poor brethren in bondage, with whom (though he might with in our infancy, out of which the Lord delivered us, Ps. 22. easily have avoided it) he chose to suffer affliction ; he looked 9, 10. (4.) God often raises up friends for his people even on their burdens, as one that not only pitied them, but was reamong their enemies.

Pharaoh cruelly seeks Israel's de- solved to venture with them, and if occasion were, to venture struction, but his own daughter charitably compassionates a He- for them. brew child, and not only so, but, beyond her intention, preserves II. He gives a specimen of the great things he was afterward Israel's deliverer. O Lord, how wonderful are thy counsels. to do for God and his Israel, in two little instances, related

2. Moses well provided with a good nurso, no worse than his particularly by Stephen, (Acts 7.23, &c.) with design to show own dear mother, v. 7-9. Pharaoh's daughter thinks it con- how their fathers had always resisted the Holy Ghost, (v. 51,) venient that he should have a Hebrew nurse, (pity that so fair even in Moses himself, when he first appeared as their delia child should be suckled by a sable Moor,) and the sister of verer, wilfully shutting their eyes against this daybreak of their Moses, with art and good management, introduces the mother enlargement. He found himself, no doubt, under a divine diinto the place of a nurse, to the great advantage of the child; rection and impulse in what he did, and that he was in an for mothers are the best nurses, and those who receive the extraordinary manner called of God to it. Now, observe, blessings of the breasts with those of the womb, are not just, if 1. Moses was afterward to be employed in plaguing the they give them not to those for whose sake they received then: Egyptians for the wrongs they had done to God's Israel; and, it was also an unspeakable satisfaction to the mother, who re as a specimen of that, he killed the Egyptian who smote the ceived her son as life from the dead, and now could enjoy him Hebrew, (v. 11, 12 ;) probably, it was one of the Egyptian without fear. The transport of her joy, upon this happy turn, task-masters, whom he found abusing his Hebrew slave, a wo may suppose sufficient to betray her to be the true mother relation (as some think) of Moses, a man of the same tribe. (had there been any suspicion of it) to a less discerning eye It was by special warrant from Heaven, (which makes not a than that of Solomon, 1 Kings 3: 27.

precedent in ordinary cases,) that Moses slew the Egyptian, 3. Moses preferred to be the son of Pharaoh's daughter, v. 10. and rescued his oppressed brother. The Jews' tradition is, His parents herein perhaps not only yielding to necessity, that he did not slay him with any weapon, but, as Peter slew having nursed him for her, but too much pleased with the honour Ananias and Sapphira, with the word of his mouth. His thereby done to their son ; for the smiles of the world are hiding him in the sand signified, that hereafter Pharaoh and all stronger temptations than its frowns, and more hardly resisted. his Egyptians should, under the control of the rod of Moses, be The tradition of the Jews is, That Pharaoh's daughter had no buried in the sand of the Red Sea. His taking care to execute child of her own, and that she was the only child of her father, this justice privately, when no man saw, was a piece of need$0 that when he was adopted for her son, he stood fair for the ful prudence and caution, it being but an assay, and perhaps his crown: however, it is certain he stood fair for the best pre faith was yet weak, and what he did, was with some hesitation. ferments of the court in due time, and in the mean time had Those who come to be of great faith, yet began with a little, the advantage of the best education and improvements of the and at first spake trembling: courl, with the help of which, having a great genius, he became 2. Moses was afterward to be employed in governing Ismaster of all the lawful learning of the Egyptians, Acts 7. 22. rael, and, as a specimen of that, we have him here trying to

† Num. 10. 29. called also

15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he he said, How is it that ye are come so soon tosought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the day? face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian : 19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out and he sat down by a well.

of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water 16 Now the priest of *Midian had seven daugh- enough for us, and watered the flock. ters: and they came and drew water, and filled 20 And he said unto his daughters, And where the troughs to water their father's flock.

is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call 17 And the shepherds came and drove them him, that he may beat bread. away : but Moses stood up and helped them, and 21 And Moses was content hto dwell with the watered their fock.

man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 18 And when they came to 'Reuel their father, 22 And she bare him a son, and he called his er, prince. Gen. 2. II. 29. 10. 1 Sam. 9. II.

Jethro, or, Jether. g Gen. 31.51. A Phil. 4. 11. i c. 18.2. end a controversy between two Hebrews, in which he is forced years; thus the things that belonged to their peace, were (as he did afterward for forty years) to suffer their manners. hidden from their eyes, because they knew not the day of their Observe here,

visitation. As lo Moses, we may look on it as a great damp (1.) The unhappy quarrel which Moses observed between and discouragement to him. He was now choosing to suffer (wo Hebrews, v. 13, It does not appear what was the occa affliction with the people of God, and embracing the reproach of sion; but, whatever it was, it was certainly very unseasonable Christ; and now, ai his first setting out, to meet with this for Hebrews to strive with one another, when they were all ailliction and reproach from them, was a very sore trial of his oppressed and ruled with rigour by the Egyptians. Had they resolution. He might have said, " If this be the spirit of the not beating enough from the Egyptians, but they must beat one Hebrews, I will go to court again, and be the son of Pharaoh's another? Note, [1.] Even sufferings in common do not als daughter." Note, First, We must take heed of being prejuways unite God's professing people to one another, so much as diced against the ways and people of God, by the follies and one might reasonably expect. [2.) When God raises up peevishness of some particular persons that profess religion. instruments of salvation for the church, they will find enough Seconully, It is no new thing for the church's best friends to meet to do, not only with oppressing Egyptians, to restrain them, with a great deal of opposition and discouragement in their but with quarrelsome Israelites, to reconcile them.

healing saving attempts, even from their own mother's ehildren; (2.) The way he took of dealing with them: he marked him Christ himself was set at naught by the builders, and is still that caused the division, that did the wrong, and mildly rea- rejected by those he would save. soned with him, Wherefore smiles! thou thy fellow ?

The (1.) The flight of Moses to Midian, in consequence. The injurious Egyptian was killed, the injurious Hebrew was only affront given him thus far proved a kindness to him; it gave reprimanded; for what the former did was from a rooted him to understand that his killing of the Egyptian was discomalice; what the latter did, we may suppose', was only upon a vered, and so he had time to make his escape, otherwise the sudden provocation. The wise God makes, and according to wrath of Pharaoh might have surprised him and taken him off. his example, all wise governors make, a difference between one Note, God can overrule even the strife of tongues, so as, one offender and another, according to the several qualities of the way or other, to bring good to his people out of it. Information same offence. Moses endeavoured to make them friends; a was brought to Pharaoh (and it is well if it were not brought good office; thus we find Christ often reproving his disciples' by the Hebrew himself whom Moses reproved) of his killing strife, (Luke 9. 46, &c.—22. 24, &c.) for he was a Prophet the Egyptian; warrants are presently out for the apprehending like unto Moses, a healing Prophet, a Peacemaker, who vi- of Moses; which obliged him to shift for his own safety, by sited his brethren with a design to slay all enmities. The flying into the land of Midian, v. 15. (1.) Moses did this out reproof Moses gave on this occasion, may still be of use, of a prudent care of his own life. If this be his forsaking of Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow ? Note, Smiting our fellows Egypt, which the apostle refers to, as done by faith, (Heb. 11. is bad in any, especially in Hebrews; smiting with tongue or 27, ) it teaches us, that when we are at any time in trouble and hand, either in a way of persecution, or in a way of strife and danger for doing our duty, the grace of faith will be of good use contention. Consider the person thou smitest; it is thy fellow, to us in taking proper methods for our own preservation. thy fellow-creature, thy fellow-christian, it is thy fellow-servant, Yet there, it is said, He feared not the wrath of the king; here thy fellow-sufferer. Consider the cause, IVherefore sinitest? it is said he feared, v. 11. He did not fear with a fear of difPerhaps it was for no cause at all, or no just cause, or none fidence and amazement, which weakens, and has torment, but worth speaking of.

with a fear of diligence, which quickened him to take that way (3.) The ill success of his attempt; (v. 14,) He said, Who which providence opened to him for his own preservation. mule thee a prince? He that did the wrong, thus quarrelled (2.) God ordered it for wise and holy ends. Things were not with Moses; the injured party, it should seem, was inclinable yet ripe for Israel's deliverance. The measure of Egypt's egongh to peace, but the wrong-doer was thus touchy. Note, iniquity was not yet full; the Hebrews were not sufficiently It is a sign of guilt to be impatient of reproof; and it is often humbled, nor were they yet increased to such a multitude as easier to persuade the injured to bear the trouble of taking God designed ; Moses is to be further fitted for the service, wrong, than the injurious to bear the conviction of having done and therefore is directed to withdraw for the present, till the wrong, I Cor. 6.6–8. It was a very wise and mild reproof time to favour Israel, even the set lime, came. God guided which Moses gave to this quarrelsome Hebrew, but he cannot Moses to Midian, because the Midianites were of the seed of bear it, he kicks against the pricks, (Acts 9. 5,) and crosses Abraham, and retained the worship of the true God among questions with his reprover. [1.] He challenges his authority; them, so that he might have not only a safe, but a comfortable Who morle thee a prince? A man needs no great authority for sctileinent among them. And through this country he was the giving of a friendly reproof, it is an act of kindness; yet afterward to lead Israel, with which (that he mighi do it the this man needs will interpret it an act of dominion, and repre- better) he now had opportunity of making himself acquainted. sents his reprover as imperious and assuming. Thus when Hither he came, and sat down by a well, tired and thoughtful, people dislike good discourse or a seasonable admonition, they at a loss, and waiting to see which way Providence would direct will call it preaching, as if a could not speak a word for him, It was a great change with him, since he was but the God, and against, sin, but he took too much upon him. Yet other day at ease in Pharaoh's court : thus God tried his faitli, Moses was indeed a prince and a judge, and knew it, and and it was found to praise and honour. thought the Hebrews would have understood it, and struck V. 16-22. Moses here gains a settlement in Midjan, just as in with him, but they stood in their own light, and thrust him his father Jacob had gained one in Syria, Gen. 29.2, &c. And away, Acts 7. 25, 21. (2.) He upbraids him with what he had both these instances should encoarage us to trust Providence, dove in killing the Egyptian; Intendest thou to kill me? See and to follow it. Events that seem inconsiderable and purely what base constructions malice puts upon the best words and accidental, afterward appear to have been designed by the actions. Moses, for reproving him, is immediately charged wisdom of God for very good purposes, and of great consewith a design to kill him. An attempt upon his sin was inter- quence to his people. A casual transient occurrence has preted an attempt upon his life; and his having killed the sometimes occasioned the greatest and happiest turns of a Egyptian was thoughi sufficient to justify the suspicion; as if man's life. Observe, Moses made no difference between an Egyptian and a Hebrew. I. Concerning the seven daughters of Reuel, the priest or If Moses, to right an injured Hebrew, had put his life in his prince of Midian; 1. They were humble, and very industrious, hand, and slain an Egyptian, he ought therefore to have sub-according as the employment of the country was; they drew mitted to him, not only as a friend to the Hebrews, but as a water for their father's flock, v. 16.

If their father was a friend that had more than ordinary power and zeal.' But he prince, it teaches us that even those who are honourably born, throws that in his teeth as a crime, which was bravely done, and are of quality and distinction in their county, yet should and was intended as a specimen of the promised deliverance; apply themselves to some useful business, and what their hand if the Hebrews had taken the hint, and come in to Moses as

finds to do, do it with all their might. Idleness can be no one's their bead and captain, it is probable that they would have been honour. If their father was a priest, it reaches us that minisdelivered now; but, despising their deliverer, their deliverance ter's children should, in a special manner, be examples of was justly deferred, and their bondage prolonged forty years ; humility and industry. 2. They were modest, and would not as, afterward, their despising of Canaan kept them out of it ask this strange Egyptian to come home with them, (though forty years more. I would, and ye would not. Note, Men handsome and a great courtier,) till their father sent for him. koow not what they do, nor what enemies they are to their own Modesty is the ornament of that sex. interests, when they resist and despise faithful reproofs and II. Concerning Moses ; he was taken for an Egyptian, (v. 19,) reprovery, When the Hebrewy strove with Moses, God sent and strangers must be content to be mistaken, but it is observable, him away into Midian, and they never heard of himn for forly 1. Horw ready he was to help Reuel's daughters to water VOL. 1.-22

( 169 )

*sighed by reason of the bondage, and they crica; NOW. Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father

am I.


c Gen. 22. 1. 11. 46. 2.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


sador both to Pharaoh, (v. 10,) and in larael, v. 16. 3. He answers the objection name Gershom:* for he said, I have been a stranger

Mises made of his own unworthiness, v. 11, 12. 4. He gives him full instrucin a strange land.

tions what to say, both to Phanoh and to Israel, v. 13-18. 5. lle tells hiin

beforehand what the issue would be, s. 19–22. 23 And it came to pass, in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Ísrael TOW

in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the and their cry came up unto God, by reason of the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the bondage.

mountain of God, even to Horeb. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto remembered his covenant mwith Abraham, with him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush: Isaac, and with Jacob.

and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, fire, and the bush was not consumed. and God had respect unto them.

3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and

see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. CHAPTER III.

4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside

to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the As prophecy had ceased for many ages before the coming of Christ, that the revival

and perfection of it in that creat Prophet might be the more remarkable ; s. bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here
vision had censed (for aught that appears) among the patriarchs for some ages
before the coming of Moses, that God's appearances to him for Israel's salvation
might be the more welcome, and, in this chajter, we have God's first appear. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: off

Here is, 1. The discovery Gol was pleased to make of his glory to Moses at the thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon
bush, which Moses was forbidden to approach too near to, v. 1-5. 1. Agere thou standest is holy ground.
ral declaration of God's grace and good will to his penple, who were beloved for
their fathers' sakes, v.6. II. A particular notification of God's purpose con 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father,
cerning the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. 1. He assures Moses it should

now be done, v. 7–9. 2. He gives him a commission to rct in it, as his ambas | the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God
• i.e. a arranger here. k Num. 20. 16. Deut. 26. 7. Ps. 12. 5. I Gen. 19. 20. 5, 1 Kings 19.8. b Deut. 33. 16. Is. 63. 9. Acta 7. 30.
c. 3. 9. 22. 23, 27. Deut. 24. 15. Is. 5. 7. m Gen. 15. 14. 46. 4. I knew. a c. 18. dc.19. 12. Josh. 5. 15. Ec.5.1. e Gen. 28. 13. 1 Kings 18. 36. Matt. 22. 32.
their flocks. Though bred in learning and at court, yet he this therefore they were intent, to keep them all at work, and
knew how to turn his hand to such an office as this, when there make the best hand they could of their labour.

When one
was occasion ; nor had he learned of the Egyptians to despise Pharaoh died, another rose up in his place, that was govemed
shepherds. Note, Those that have had a liberal education, by the same maxims, and was as cruel to Israel as his prede-
yet should not be strangers to servile work, because they know cessors. If there was sometimes a little relaxation, yet it pre-
not what necessity Providence may put them in of working for sently revived again with as much rigour as ever; and proba.
themselves, or what opportunity Providence may give them of bly, as the more Israel were oppressed, the more they multi-
being serviceable to others. These young women, it seems, plied, so the more they multiplied, the more they were op-
met with some opposition in their employment, more than they pressed. Note, Sometimes God suffers the rod of the wicked
and their servants could conquer; shepherds of to lie very long and very heavy on the lot of the righteous. If
neighbouring prince, as some think, or some idle fellows that Moses, in Midian, at any time began to think how much better
called themselves shepherds, drove away their flocks; but Moses, his condition might have been, had he stayed among the cour-
though melancholy and in distress, stood up and helped them, tiers ; he must of himself think this also, how much worse it
not only to get clear of the shepherds, but when that was done, would have been, if he had had his lot with his brethren: it was
to water the flocks. This he did, not only in complaisance to a great degradation to him to be keeping sheep in Midian, but
the daughters of Reuel, (though that also did very well become better so, than making brick in Egypt. The consideration of
him,) but because, wherever he was, as occasion offered itself, our brethren's affliction should help to reconcile us to our own.
(1.) He loved to be doing justice, and appearing in the defence 2. The preface to their deliverance at last.
of such as he saw injured, which every man ought to do, as far (1.) They cried, v. 23. Now, at last, they began to think of
as it is in the power of his hand to do it. (2.) He loved to be God under their troubles, and to return to him from the idols
doing good; wherever the providence of God casts us, we they had served, Ez. 20.8. Hitherto they had fretted at the
should desire and endeavour to be useful; and, when we cannot instruments of their trouble, but God was not in all their
do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can. thoughts. Thus hypocrites in heart heap up urah, they cry not
And he that is faithful in a little, shall be intrusted with more. when he binds them, Job 36. 13. But before God unbound them,

2. How well he was paid for his serviceableness. When he put it into their hearts to cry unto him, as it is explained, the young women acquainted their father with the kindnesses Num. 20. 16. Note, It is a good sign that God is coming tothey had received from this stranger, he sent to invite him toward us with deliverance, when he inclines and enables us to his house, and made much of him, v. 20. Thus God will re-cry to him for it. compense the kindnesses which are at any time shown to his (2.) God heard, v. 24, 25. The name of God is here emchildren; they shall in no wise lose their reward. Moses soon phatically prefixed to four different expressions of a kind intenrecommended himself to the esteem and good affection of this lion toward them. (1.) God heard their groaning; that is, be prince of Midian, who took him into his house, and in process made it to appear that he took notice of their complaints. The of time married one of his daughters to him, (v. 21,) by whom groans of the oppressed cry loud in the ears of the righteous he had a son, whom he called Gershom, a stranger there, (v. 22,) God, to whom vengeance belongs; especially the groans of that if ever God should give him a home of his own, he might God's spiritual Israel ; he knows the burdens they groan keep in remembrance the land in which he had been a stran- under, and the blessings they groan after, and that the blessed ger. Now this settlement of Moses in Midian, was designed Spirit, by these groanings, makes intercession in then. (2.] by Providence, (1.) To shelter him, for the present. God will God remembered his covenant, which he seemed to have forgoifind hiding-places for his people in the day of their distress; ten, but of which he is ever mindful. This God had an eye to, nay, he will himself be to them a little sanctuary, and will se and not to any merit of theirs, in what he did for them. See Lev. cure them, either under heaven, or in heaven. But, (2.) It 26. 42. [3.] God looked upon the children of Isrcel: Moses was also designed to prepare hin for the great services he was looked upon them and pitied them, (v. 11 ;) but now God looked further designed for. His manner of life in Midian, where he upon them and helped thein. [4.] God had respect unto them, a kept the flock of his father-in-law, (having none of his own to favourable respect unto them as his own. The frequent repekeep,) would be of use to him, [1.] To inure him to hardship tition of the name of God here, intimates that now we are to and poverty, that he might learn how to want as well as how to expect something great. Opus Deo dignum-- A work worthy abound. God humbles those first, whom he intends to exalt. l of God. His eyes which run to and fro through the earth, are [2.) To inure him to contemplation and devotion. Egypt ac- now fixed upon Israel, to show himself strong, to show hinisell complished him for a scholar, a gentleman, a statesman, a sol- a God in their behalf. dier, all which accomplishments would be afterward of use to him; but yet lacketh he one thing, in which the court of Egypt could not befriend him. He that was to do all by divine reve V. 1–6. The years of the life of Moses are remarkably lation, must know, by a long experience, what it was to live a divided into three forties; the first forty he spent as a prince life of communion with God; and in this he would be greatly in Pharaoh's court, the second a shepherd in Midian, the third furthered by the solitude and retirement of a shepherd's life in a king in Jeshurun; so changeable is the life of men, especially Midian. By the former he was prepared to rule in Jeshurun, the life of good men. He had now finished the second forty, but by the latter he was prepared to converse with God in when he reecived his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt. Mount Horeb, near which mount he had spent much of his | Note, Sometimes it is long before God calls his servants out time. Those that know what it is to be alone with God in holy to that work which of old he designed them for, and has been exercises, are acquainted with better delights than ever Moses graciously preparing them for. Moses was born to be Israel's tasted in the court of Pharaoh.

deliverer, and yet pot a word is said of it to him, till he is V. 23-25. Here is,

eighty years of age. Now observe, 1. The continuance of the Israelites' bondage in Egypt, I. How this appearance of God to him found him employed. 1.23. Probably, the murdering of their infants did not continue ; He was keeping the tlock, that is, tending sheep, near moun! this part of their affliction attended only the period immediately Horeb, v. 1. This was a poor employment for a man of his connected with the birth of Moses, and served to signalize it. parts and education, yet he rests satisfied with it, and thus The Egyptians now were content with their increase, finding learns meekness and contentment to a high degree, for which that Egypt was enriched by their labour; so that they might he is more celebrated in sacred writ than for all his other learnhave them for slaves, they cared not how many they were. On I ing. Note, 1. In the calling to which we are called, we should



of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and afraid to look upon God.

the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, 7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the and the Jebusites. affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children have heard their "cry by reason of their task-mas- of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen ters; for I know 'their sorrows;

the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress 8 'And I am come down to deliver them out them. of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send "thee up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto people, the children of Israel out of Egypt.

A Ex. 22. 23. B.

Jule. 13. 22. Is. 6. 5. & Neh. 9. 9. Ps. 100. 44. Is. 63. 9. 165, 19, P. 12, 3, k , 6, 6, 8, 12, 5,

I Nom. 13. 19. Deut. 1. 25.
Mic. 6. 4.

m Deut. 26. 9. Jer. 11. 5. Ez, 20.6.

n Ps. 105. 26.

abide, and not be given to change. 2. Even those that are Old-Testament dispensation, which was a dispensation of qualified for great employments and services, must not think it darkness, bondage, and terror, which the Gospel happily frees stange if they be contined to obscurity ; it was the lot of Moses us from, giving us boldness to enter into the holiest, and inviting before them, who foresaw nothing to the contrary but that he us to draw near. (2.) He must express his reverence, and his should die, as he had lived a great while, a poor despicable readiness to obey; Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, as a sershepherd.' Let those that think themselves buried alive, be vant; the putting off the shoe was then what the putting off the content to shine like lamps in their sepulchres, and wait till hat is now, a token of respect and submission. "The ground, God's time come for setting them in a candlestick. Thus em- for the present, is holy ground, made so by this special maniployed Moses was, when he was honoured with this vision. festation of the divine presence there, and during the contiNote, (1.) God will encourage industry. The shepherds were nuance of that; therefore tread not on that ground with soiled keeping their flocks, when they received the tidings of our shoes." Keep thy foot, Ec. 5. 1. Note, We ought to apSaviour's birih, Luke 2. 8. Satan loves to find us idle; God proach to God with a solemn pause and preparation ; and, is well pleased when he finds us employed. (2.) Retirement though bodily exercise alone profits little, yet we ought to glois a good friend to our communion with God. When we are rify God with our bodies, and to express our inward reverence alone, the Father is with us. Moses saw more of God in a by a grave and reverent behaviour in the worship of God, caredeseri, than ever he had seen in Pharaoh's court.

fully avoiding every thing that looks light and rude, and unbeII. What the appearance was.

To his great surprise, he coming the awfulness of ihe service. saw a bush burning, when he perceived no fire either from V. The solemn declaration God made of his name, by earth or heaven to kindle it, and, which was more strange, it which he would be known to Moses ; (v. 6,) I am the God of did not consume, v. 2. It was an angel of the Lord that ap- thy father. peared to him; some think, a created angel, who speaks in the 1. He lets him know it is God that speaks to him, to engage language of him that sent him; others, the second person, the his reverence and attention, his faith and obedience ; for that Angel of the covenant, who is himself Jehovah. It was an ex is enough to command all these, I am the Lord. Let us altraordinary manifestation of the divine presence and glory; ways hear the word, as the word of God, 1 Thes. 2. 13. what was visible, was produced by the ministry of an angel, but 2. He will be known as the God of his father, his pious fahe heard God in it speaking to him. 1. He saw a flame of ther Amram, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his fire ; for our God is a consuming fire. When Israel's deliver ancestors, and the ancestors of all Israel, for whom God was ance out of Egypt was promised to Abraham, he saw a burning now about to appear. By this, God designed, (1.) To inlamp, which signified the light of joy which that deliverance struct Moses in the knowledge of another world, and strengthen sbould cause, (Gen. 15. 17;) but now it shines brighter as a his belief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our flame of fire, for God in that deliverance brought terror and de Lord Jesus, the best expositor of scripture, who from hence struction to his enemies, light and heat to his people, and dis- proves that the dead are raised, against the Sadducees; Moplayed his glory before all. See Is. 10. 17. 2. This fire was ses, says he, showed it at the bush, (Luko 20.37;) that is, not in a tall and stately cedar, but in a bush, a thorny bush, so “God there showed it to him, and in him to us,” Matt. 22. 31, the word signifies; for God chooses the weak and despised &c. Abraham was dead, and yet God is the God of Abrathings of the world, such as Moses, now a poor shepherd, with ham; therefore Abraham's soul lives, to which God stands in them to confound the wise ; he delights to beautify and crown relation; and, to make his soul completely happy, his body the humble. 3. The bush burned, and yet was not consumed; must live again in due time. This promise, made unto the an emblem of the church now in bondage in Egypt, burning in fathers, that God would be their God, must include a future the brick-kilns, yet not consumed; perplexed, but not de- happiness; for he never did any thing for them in this world spair ; cast down, but not destroyed.

sufficient to answer to the vast extent and compass of that III. The curiosity Moses had to inquire into this extraordi- great word, but having prepared for them a city, he is not Dary sight: (v. 3,) I will turn aside and see.

He speaks as ashamed to be called their God, (Heb. 11. 16,) and see Acts one inquisitive and bold in his inquiry ; whatever it was, he 26. 6, 7.–24. 15. (2.) To assure Moses of the performance would, if possible, know the meaning of it. Note, Things re of all those particular promises made to the fathers; he may vealed belong to us, and we ouglit diligently to inquire into confidently expect that, for by these words it appears God rethem.

membered his covenant, ch, 2.24. Note, [1.] God's covenant IV. The invitation he had to draw near, yet with a caution relation to us as our God is the best support in the worst of not to come too near, nor rashly.

times, and a great encouragement to our faith in particular 1. God gave him a gracious call, to which he returned a promises. [2.] When we are conscious to ourselves of our ready answer, v. 4. When God saw that he took notice of the own great unworthiness, we may take comfort from God's reburning bush, and turned aside to see it, and left his business lation to our fathers, 2 Chr. 20.6. to attend it, then God called to him. If he had carelessly ne VI. The solemn impression this made upon Moses; he hid glected it as an ignis fatuus-a deceiving meteor, a thing not his face, as one both ashamed and afraid to look upon God. worth taking notice of, it is probable that God would have de- Now that he knew it was a divine light, bis eyes were dazzled parted, and said nothing to him; but when he turned aside, with it; he was not afraid of a burning bush, eill he perceived God called to him. Note, Those that would have communion that God was in it. Yea, though God called himself the God with God, must attend upon him, and approach to him, in those of his father, and a God in covenant with him, yet he was on linances wherein he is pleased to manifest himself, and his afraid. Note, 1. The more we sce of God, the more cause power and glory, though it be in a bush; they must come to the we shall see to worship him with reverence and godly fear. treasure, though in an earthen vessel. Those that seek God 2. Even the manifestations of God's grace and covenant love, diligently shall find him, and find him their bountiful Rewarder. should increase our humble reverence of him. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. God called V.7-10. Now that Moses had put off his shoes, (for, no him by name, Moses, Moses. This which he heard, could not doubt, he observed the orders given him, v, 5,) and covered his but surprise him much more than what he saw. The word of face, God enters upon the particular business that was now to the Lord always went along with the glory of the Lord, for be concerted, which was the bringing of Israel out of Egypt. every divine vision was designed for divine revelation, Job 4. Now, after forty years of Israel's bondage, and Moses' banish16, &c.--33. 14–16. Divine calls are then effectual, (1.) ment, when we may suppose both he and they began to deWhen the Spirit of God makes them particular, and calls us spair, they of being delivered, and he of delivering them; at by name, The word calls, Ho every one! The Spirit, by the length the time is come, even the year of the redeemed. Note, application of thal, calls, Ho such a one! I know thee by name, God often comes for the salvation of his people then when they (Ex. 33. 12:) and, (2.) They are then effectual, when we re have done looking for him; Shall he find faith? Luke 18. 8. turn an obedient answer to them, as Moses here," Here am I, Here is, whal saith my Lord unto his servant? Here am I, not only to

1. The notice God takes of the afflictions of Israel; (v. 7, bear what is said, but to do what I am bidden."

9,) Secing, I have seen, not only, I have surely seen, but I have 2. God gave him a needful caution against rashness and strictly observed and considered the matter. Three things irreverence in his approach. (1.) He must keep his distance; God took cognizance of, 1. Their sorrows, (v. 7;) it is likely draw near,

but not too near; so near as to hear, but not so near they were not permitted to make a remonstrance of their as to pry; his conscience must be satisfied, but not his curi- grievances to Pharaoh, nor to seek relief against their taskosity; and care must be taken that familiarity do not breed masters in any of his courts, nor scarcely durst complain to contempt. Note, In all our approaches to God, we ought to be one another; but God observed their tears. Note, Even the deeply affected with that infinite distance that is between us secret sorrows of God's people are known to him. 2. Their and God, Ec. 5. 2. Or, this may be taken as proper to the cry; I have heard their cry, (v. 7,) it is come unto me, (v. 9.)

« ElőzőTovább »