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11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with Pthee: 15 And God said, moreover, unto Moses, Thus and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent shalt thou say unto the children of Israel
, The thee; When thou hast brought forth the people LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent
13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto my memorial runto all generations. them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto 16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, what shall I say unto them ?
the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, ap
o Jer. 1.6. p Gen. 31. 3. Josh. 1.5. Rom. 8. 31.
9 c. 6.3. John 8. 58. Heb. 13. 8.
r P. 102. 12. 135. 13.
Note, God is not deaf to the cries of his afllicted people. 3. The raoh, to make him willing to part with them, but in dealing tyranny of their persecutors; I have seen the oppression v. 9. with them, to make them willing to move. They would be Note, As the poorest of the oppressed are not below God's scrupulous and apt to cavil, would bid him produce his comcognizance, so the highest and greatest of their oppressors are mission, and, probably, this would be the trial; “Does he not above his check, but he will surely visit for these things. know the name of God ? Has he the watch-word ?" Once
2. The promise God makes of their speedy deliverance and he was asked, who made thee a judge? Then he had not enlargement; (v. 8,) I am come down to deliver them. (1.) It his answer ready, and he would not be nonplussed so again, denotes his resolution to deliver them, and that his heart was but would be able to tell in whose name he carne. (2.) They upon it, so that it should be done speedily and effectually, and would ask this question, for their own information. It is to be by methods out of the common road of providence: when God feared that they were grown very ignorant in Egypt, by readoes something very extraordinary, he is said to come down to son of their hard bondage, want of teachers, and loss of the do it, as Is. 64. 1. (2.) This deliverance was typical of our Sabbath, so that they needed to be told the first principles of redemption by Christ, and in that the eternal Word did indeed the oracles of God. Or, this question, Il'hal is his name? come down from heaven to deliver us. It was his errand into amounted to an inquiry into the nature of the dispensation they the world. He promises also their happy settlement in the were now to expect; “ How will God in it be known to us land of Canaan, that they should exchange bondage for liberty, and what may we depend upon froin him ?" poverty for plenty, labour for rest, and the precarious condition 2. He desires instructions what answer to give them; of tenants at will, for the ease and honour of lords proprietors. “What shall I say to them? What name shall I vouch 10 Note, Whom God by his grace delivers out of a spiritual them for the proof of my authority ? I must have something Egypt, he will bring to a heavenly Canaan.
great and extraordinary to say to them; what must it be? 3. The commission he gives to Moses in order hereunto, if I must go, let me have full instructions, that I may not run v. 10. He is not only sent as a prophet to Israel, to assure them in vain." Note, (1.) It highly concerns those who speak to that they should speedily be delivered, (even that had been a people in the name of God, to be well prepared beforehand. great favour,) but he is sent as an ambassador to Pharoah, to (2.) Those, who would know what to say, most go to God, to treat with him, or rather as a herald at arms, to demand their the word of his grace, and to the throne of his grace, for indischarge, and to denounce war in case of refusal; and he is structions, Ez. 2. 7.- 3. 4, 10, 17. (3.) Whenever we have sent as a prince to Israel, to conduct and command them: 1 any thing to do with God, it is desirable to know, and our duty thus is he taken from following the ewes great with young, to a to consider, what is his name. pastoral office much more noble, as David, Ps. 78. 71. Note, IV. God readily gives him full instructions in this matter: God is the Fountain of power ; and the powers that be are or two names God would now be known by. dained of him as he pleases. The same hand that now fetched 1. A name that denotes what he is in himself; (v. 14,) I am a shepherd out of a desert, to be the planter of a Jewish that I am: this explains his name Jehovah ; and signifies, (1.) church, afterward fetched fishermen from their ships, to be the That he is self-existent; he has his being of himself, and has planters of the Christian church, That the excellency of the no dependence upon any other : the greatest and best man in power might be of God.
the world must say, By the grace of God, I am what I am ; V. 11-15. God, having spoken to Moses, allows him also but God says it absolutely, and it is more than any creature, a liberty of speech, which he here improves: and
man or angel, can say, I am that I am. Being self-existent, I. He objects his own insufficiency for the service he was he cannot but be self-sufficient, and therefore all-sufficient, called to; (v. 11,) Who am I? He thinks himself unworthy and the inexhaustible Fountain of being and bliss. (2.) That of the honour, and not par negotio equal to the task. He he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterthinks he wants courage, and therefore cannot go to Pharaoh, day, to-day, and for ever; he will be what he will be, and what to make a demand which might cost the demandant his head: he is : see Rev. 1.8. (3.) That we cannot by searching find he thinks he wants conduct, and therefore cannot bring forth him out; this is such a name as checks all bold and curious inthe children of Israel out of Egypt; they are unarmed, undisci- quiries concerning God, and, in effect, says, Ask not after my plined, quite dispirited, utterly unable to help themselves, it is name, seeing it is secret, Judg. 13. 18. Prov. 30. 4. Do we ask morally impossible to bring them out. 1. Moses was incom- what is God? Let it suffice us to know, that he is what he parably the fittest of any man living for this work, eminent for is, what he ever was, and ever will be. How little a portion is learning, wisdom, experience, valour, faith, holiness; and yet, heard of him! Job 26. 14. (4.) That he is faithful and true he says, Who am I? Note, The more fit any person is for to all his promises, uncbangeable in his word as well as in his service, commonly the less opinion he has of himself; see nature, and not a man that he should lie ; let Israel know this, Judg. 9. 8, &c. 2. The difficulties of the work were indeed LAM hath sent me unto you. very great, enough to startle the courage, and stagger the 2. A name that denotes what he is to his people; lost that faith, of Moses himself. Note, Even wise and faithful in name I AM should amuse and puzzle them, he is further distruments may be much discouraged at the difficulties that lie recied to make use of another naine of God, more familiar and in the way of the church's salvation. 3. Moses had formerly intelligible ; (v. 15,) The Lord God of your fathers hath sent been very courageous when he slew the Egyptian, but now his me unto you. Thus God had made himself known to him, (0.6,) heart failed him; for good men are not always alike bold and and thus he must make him known to them, (1.) That he zealous. 4. Yet Moses is the man that does it at last: for might revive among them the religion of their fathers, which it God gives grace to the lowly. Modest beginnings are very is to be feared, was much decayed, and almost lost. This was good presages.
necessary, to prepare them for deliverance, Ps. 80. 19. (2.) II. God answers this objection, v. 12. 1. He promises him that he might raise their expectations of the speedy performhis presence, Certainly I will be with thee, and that is enough. ance of the promises made unto their fathers: Abraham, Isaac, Note, Those that are weak in themselves, yet may do won- and Jacob, are particularly named, because with Abraham the ders, being strong in the Lord and in the power of his might; covenant was first made, and with Isaac and Jacob often exand those that are most diffident of themselves, may be most pressly renewed, and these three were distinguished from their confident in God. God's presence puts an honour upon the brethren, and chosen to be the trustees of the covenant, when worthless, wisdom and strength into the weak and foolish, their brethren were rejected. God will have this to be his name makes the greatest difficulties dwindle to nothing, and is for ever, and it has been, is, and will be, his name, by which enough to answer all objections. 2. He assures him of suc bis worshippers know him, and distinguish him from all false cess, and particularly that the Israelites should serve God upon gods : sec i Kings 18.36.' Note, God's covenant relation to this mountain. Note, (1.) Those deliverances are most his people is what he will be ever mindful of, what he glories valuable, which open to us a door of liberty to serve God. in, and what he will have us never forget, but give him the (2.) If God give us opportunity and a heart to serve him, it is glory of: if he will have this to be his memorial into all genea happy and encouraging earnest of further favours designed rations, we have all the reason in the world to make it so with
lis, for it is a precious memorial. III. He begs instructions for the executing of his commis V. 16—22. Moses is here more particularly instructed in sion, and has them, thoroughly to furnish him. He desires to his work, and informed beforehand of his success. know by what name God would at this time make himself 1. He must deal with the elders of Israel, and raise their known, v. 13.
expectations of a speedy remorn to Canaan, ». 16, 17. He 1. He supposes the children of Israel would ask him, What must repeat to them what God had said to him, as a faithful is his name?
This they would ask either, (1.) To perplex ambassador. Note, That which ministers bave received of Moses : he foresaw difficulty, not only in dealing with Phas' the Lord, they must deliver to his people, and keep back
A , ,
1 Gen. 15. 13-20. 46. 4.
27. Jer. 32. 20. Acts 7. 36.
ze. 12. 36.
6 Job 27. 17.
rc. 12. 31.
ec. 19. 9.
peared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you,
CHAPTER IV. and seen that which is done to you in Egypt : 17 And I have said, I will bring 'you up out of the concepter his continues and concludes God's discourse with Moses at the bush
concerning this great affair or bringing Israel vut of Egypt. 1. Ma olijects the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, people's unbelei, (v. 1,) and God answers that objection by giving him a power
to work miracles, (1.) To turn his rol into a berpent, and then into a rod again, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Periz v. 2-5. (2.) To make his band leprous, and then whole again, v. 6-5. (3.) zites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a
To turn the water into blood, v. 9. 2. Moses objects his own aluwnesa of speech,
(v. 10.) and legs to be excused, (v. 13;) but God answers this objection, (i.) By land Howing with milk and honey.
promising him his presence, v. 11, 12. (2.) By joining Aaron in commission with
him, v. 11-16 18 And they shall hearken tó thy voice: and
(3.) By putting an honour upon the very wat in his hand, v. 17.
II. It begins Mos's execution of his commission. I. He obtains leave of his thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto father in law to return into Egypt, v. 18. 2. He receives further instructions
and encouragements from God, v. 19-3. 3. He bastens his departure, and the king of Egypt; and ye shall say unto him, takes his family with him, v, 20. 4. He meets with some difficulty in the way The Lord God of the Hebrews hath umet with about the circumcising of his son, v. 23. 5. He has the satisfaction of meet.
ing his brother Aaron, v. 27, 28. 6. He produces his commission before the elders us : and now let us go, we beseech thee, three of Israel, to their great joy, v. 2–31. And thus the wheels were set a guing
toward that great deliverance. days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God,
19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not they will not believe me, nor hearken unto let you go, *no, not by a mighty hand.
my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite appeared unto thee. Egypt with all my "wonders which I will do in the 2 And the Lord said unto him, What is that in midst thereof: and after that she will let you go. thine hand? And he said, A rod.
21 And I will give this people ylavour in the 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty;
and Moses fled from before it. 22 But every woman shall borrow zof her neigh 4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth bour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon in his hand : your daughters; and ye shall aspoil the Egyptians. 5 That they may believe that the Lord God of * Gen. 50. 24. Luke 1.69. u Num. 23. 3, &c. c. 5.
y c. 11. 3. or, bas! by a strong hourd. 10 c. 7.3. 11. 9. Deut. 6. 22. Neh. 9. 10. B, 105, Prov. 13. 22. Is. 33. I, 1 or, Egypt, nothing that is profitable. Lay an emphasis on that, (v. 17,) because it contradicts what God had said, (ch. 3. 18,) They I have said, I will bring you up; that is enough to satisfy them, shall hearken to thy voice. IfGod says, They will, does it become I have said it: and hath he spoken, and will he not make it Moses to say, They will not ? Surely, he means, "Perhaps, good? With us saying and doing are two things, but they are they will not at first,” or “Some of them will not.” If there not so with God, for he is in one mind, and who can turn him? should be some gainsayors among them who would question his “I have said it, and all the world cannot gainsay it ;" his coun- commission, how should he deal with them? And what course sel shall stand.
should he take to convince them? He remembered how they His success with the elders of Israel would be good; so he had once rejected him, and feared it would be so again. Note, is told, (v. 18,) They shull hearken to thy voice, and not thrust | 1. Present discouragements often arise from former disappointthee away, as they did forty years ago: he who, by his grace, ments. 2. Wise and good men have sometimes a worse opinion inclines the heart, and opens the ear, could say beforehand, of people than they deserve; Moses said, (v. 1,) They will not They shall hearken to thy voice, having determined to make believe me; and yet he was happily mistaken, for it is said, them willing in this day of power.
(v. 31,) The people believed; but then the signs which God 2. He must deal with the king of Egypt, v. 18. (1.) They appointed in answer to this objection, were first wrought in must not begin with a demand, but with an humble petition; their sight. that gentle and submissive method must be first tried, even with II. God empowers him to work miracles, directs him to three one who, it was certain, would not be wrought upon by it; We particularly, two of which were now immediately wrought for beseech thee, let us go. (2.) They must only beg leave of Pha- his own satisfaction. Note, True miracles are the most conraoh to go as far as Mount Sinai to worship God, and say vincing external proofs of a divine mission attested by them. nothing to him of going quite away to Canaan; that would Therefore our Saviour ofien appealed to his works, as John 5. have been immediately rejected, but this was a very modest and 36, and Nicodemus owns hiinself convinced by then, John 3.2. reasonable request, and his denying of it was utterly inexcusable, And here Moses, having a special commission given him as a and justified them in the total deserting of his kingdom. If he judge and lawgiver to Israel, has this seal affixed to bis comwould not give them leave to go sacrifice at Sinai, justly did mission, and comes supported by these credentials. they go without leave to settle in Canaan. Note, The calls 1. The rod in his hand is made the subject of a miracle, a and commands which God sends to sinners, are so highly rea- double miracle: it is but thrown out of his hand and it becomes sonable in themselves, and delivered to them in such a gentle a serpent, he resumes it and it becomes a rod again, v. 2–4. winning way, that the mouth of the disobedient must needs be Now, (1.) Here was a divine power manifested in the change for ever stopped.
itself, thaí a dry stick should be turned into a living serpent, a As to his success with Pharaoh, he is here told, (1.) That lively one, so formidable a one, that Moses himself, on whom, petitions, and persuasions, and humble remonstrances, would it should seem, it turned in some threatening manner, fled from not prevail with him, no, nor a mighty hand stretched out in before it, though we may suppose, in that desert, serpents were signs and wonders ; (v. 19;) I am sure he will not let you go. no strange things to him; but what was produced miraculously Note, God sends his messengers to those whose hardness and was always the best and strongest of the kind, as the water obstinacy he certainly knows and foresees, that it may appear turned to wine : and then, that this living serpent should be he would have them turn and live. [2.] That plagues should turned into a dry stick again, this was the Lord's doing. (2.) compel him to it; (v. 20,) I will smite Égypt, and then he will Here was an honour put upon Moses, that this change was lat you go. Note, Those will certainly be broken by the power wrought, upon his throwing it down and taking it up, without of God's hand, that will not bow to the power of his word; we any spell, or charm, or incantation: his being empowered thus may be sure that when God judges, he will overcome. [3.] to act under God, out of the common course of nature and proThat his people should be more kind to them, and furnish them vidence, was a demonstration of his authority, under God, to at their departure with abundance of plate and jewels, to their settle a new dispensation of the kingdom of grace. We cannot great enriching ; (v.21, 22,) I will give this people favour in imagine that the God of truth would delegate such a power as the sight of the Egyptims. Note, First, God sometimes makes this to an impostor. (3.) There was a significancy in the mithe enemies of his people not only to be at peace with them, but racle itself; Pharaoh had turned the rod of Israel into a serpent, to be kind to them. Secondly, God has many ways of balanc-representing thein as dangerous, (ch. 1.10,) causing their belly ing accounts between the injured and the injurious, of righting to cleave to the dust, and seeking their ruin; but now they the oppressed, and compelling those that have done wrong to should be turned into a rod again: or thus, Pharaoh had turned make restitution ; for he sits in the throne judging right. the rod of government into the serpent of oppression, from which
Moses had himself fed into Midian; but by the agency of
Moses the scene was altered again. (4.) There was a direct v.1- It was a very great honour that Moses was called tendency in it to convince the children of Israel that Moses to, when God commissioned him to bring Israel out of Egypt; was indeed sent of God to do what he did, v. 5. Miracles were yet he is hardly persuaded to accept the commission, and does for signs to them that believed not, 1 Cor. 14. 22. it at last with great reluctance, which we should rather impute 2. His hand itself is next made the subject of a miracle; he to a humble diffidence of himself and his own sufficiency, ihan puts it once into his bosom, and takes it out leprous; he puts it to any unbelieving distrust of God and his word and power. again into the same place, and takes it out well, v. 6, 7. . This Note, Those whora God designs for preferment, he clothes with signified, (1.) That Moses, by the power of God, should bring humility: the most fit for service are the least forward. sore diseases upon Egypt, and that, at his prayer, they should
1. Moses objects, that, in all probability, the people would be removed. (2.) That whereas the Israclites in Egypt were not hearken to his voice, (0.!;) that is, they wonld not take his become leprous, polluted by sin, and almost consumed by opbare word, unless he showed them some sign, which he had not pression, (a leper is as one deadl, Num. 12. 12,) by being taken been yet instructed to do. This objection cannot be justihed, I into the bosom of Moses, they should be cleansed and cured,
( 173 )
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV.
c Matt. 8. 3. • shall be and shall be. dc. 7. 20.
their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of 11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto man's mouth?" or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, thee.
or the seeing, or the blind ? have not I the Lord? 6 And the Lord said furthermore unto him, 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, 13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, behold, his hand was leprous "as snow.
by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom 14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled again. And he put his hand into his bosom again, against Moses; and he said, Is not Aaron the and plucked it out of his bosom; and, behold, it Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. was turned again as his other flesh.
And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee;
. And it shall come to pass, if they will not words "in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth,
instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him in-
18 And Moses went, and returned to "Jethro his 6 Num. 12. 10. 2 Kings 5. 27.
6, 9. f Is. 50. 4. Matt. 10. 19. Sor, shouldest, & ver. 27. h Num. 22. 38. 23. 5, &c. 1 a man of words. I since yesterday, nor since the third day, ePs. 94. 9. Jer. 1. Deut. 18. 19. Is. 51. 16. Jer. 1. 9. Luke 21. 15. ic. 7. 1. 18. 19. & ver. 2. #Jether. and all their grievances redressed. (3.) That Moses was not cerning which Moses made the objection, Who has made man's to work miracles by his own power, nor for his own praise, but mouth? Have not I the Lord? Moses knew that God made by the power of God, and for his glory; the leprous hand of man, but he must be reminded now, that God made man's Moses does for ever exclude boasting. Now it was supposed mouth. An eye to God as Creator would help us over a great that if the former sign did not convince, this latter would. many of the difficulties which lie in the way of our duty, Ps. Note, God is willing more abundantly to show the truth of his 124. 8. God, as the Author of nature, has given us the power word, and is not sparing in his proofs; the multitude and va- and faculty of speaking; and from him as the fountain of riety of the miracles corroborate the evidence.
gifts and graces, comes the faculty of speaking well, the mouth 3. He is directed, when he should come to Egypt, to turn and wisdom, (Luke 21. 15,) the tongue of the learned, (Is. 50. some of the water of the river into blood, v. 9. This was 4,) he pours grace into the lips, Ps. 45. 2. (2.) His power in done, at first, as a sign, but not gaining due credit with Pharaoh, general over the other faculties, Who but God makes the dumb the whole river was afterward turned into blood, and then it and the deaf, the seeing and the blind? First, The perfections became a plague. He is ordered to work this miracle, in case of our faculties are his work, he makes the sceing : he formed they would not be convinced by the other two. Note, Unbelief the eye, (Ps. 94. 9,) he opens the understanding, the eye of the shall be left inexcusable, and convicted of a wilful obstinacy. mind, Luke 24. 45. Secondly, Their imperfections are from As to the people of Israel, God had said, (ch. 3. 18,) They shall him too; he makes the dumb, and deaf, and blind. Is there hearken ; yet he appoints these miracles to be wrought for their any evil of this kind, and the Lord has not done it? No doubt, conviction, for he that has ordained the end has ordained the he has, and always in wisdom and righteousness, and for his
own glory, John 9. 3. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were made V. 10–17. Moses still continues backward to the service deaf and blind spiritually, as Is. 6. 9, 10. But God knew how God had designed him for, even to a fault; for now we can no to manage them, and get himself honour upon them. longer impute it to his humility and modesty, but must own that (2.) To encourage him in this great undertaking, he repeats there was too much of cowardice, slothfulness, and unbelief, in the promise of his presence, not only in general, I will be wit it. Observe here,
thee, (ch. 3. 12,) but in particular, “ I will be with thy mouth; so I. How Moses endeavours to excuse himself from the work. that the imperfection in thy speech shall be no prejudice to thy
1. He pleads that he was no good spokesinan; (v. 10,) O my message." It does not appear that God did immediately remove lord! I am not eloquent; he was a great philosopher, statesman, the infirmity, whatever it was; but he did that which was and divine, and yet no orator; a man of a clear head, great equivalent, he taught him what to say, and then let the matter thought, and solid judgment, but had not a voluble tongue, or recommend itself; if others spake more gracefully, none spake ready utterance, and therefore he thought himself unfit to speak more powerfully. Note, Those whom God employs to speak before great men about great affairs, and in danger of being for him, ought to depend upon him for instructions, and it shall run down by the Egyptians. Observe, (1.) We must not be given them what they shall speak, Matt. 10. 19. judge of men by the readiness and fluency of their discourse; (3.) He joins Aaron in commission with him; he promises Moses was mighty in word, (Acts 7. 22,) and yet not eloquent : that Aaron should meet him opportunely, and that he would be what he said, was strong and nervous, and to the purpose, and glad to see him, they having not seen one another, (it is likely,) distilled as the dew, (Deut. 32.2,) though he did not deliver for many years, v. 14. He directs him to make use of Aaron himself with that readiness, case, and elegance, that some do, as his spokesman, v. 16. God might have laid Moses wholly who have not the tenth part of his sense; St. Paul's speech aside, for his backwardness to be employed; but he considered was contemptible, 2 Cor. 10. 10. A great deal of wisdom and his frame, and ordered him an assistant. Observe, (1.] That true worth is concealed by a slow tongue. (2.) God is pleased two are better than one, Ec. 4. 9. God will have his two wilsometimes to make choice of those as his messengers, who have nesses, (Rev. 11. 3,) that out of their mouths every word may least of the advantages of art or nature, that his grace in them be established. (2.) Aaron was the brother of Moses, divino may appear the more glorious; Christ's disciples were no wisdom so ordering it, that their natural affection one to another orators, till the spirit made them such.
might strengthen their union in the joint execution of their 2. When the plea was overruled, and all his excuses were commission. Christ sent his disciples two and two, and some answered, he begged that God would send some one else on of the couples were brothers. (3.) Aaron was the clder this errand, and leave him to keep sheep in Midian; (v. 13,) brother, and yet he was willing to be employed under Moses in “Send by any hand but mine ; thou canst certainly find one this affair, because God would have it so. (4.) Aaron could much more fit." Note, An unwilling mind will take up with speak well, and yet was far inferior to Moses in wisdom. God a sorry excuse rather than none, and is willing to devolve those dispenses his gifts variously to the children of men, that we services upon others, that have any thing of dificulty or danger may see our need one of another, and each may contribute in them.
soinething to the good of the body, I Cor. 12. 21.
The tongue II. How God condescends to answer all his excuses : though of Aaron, with the head and heart of Moses, would make one the anger of the Lord was kindled against him, (v. 14,) yet he completely fit for this embassy. (5.) God promises, I will be continued to reason with him, till he had overcome him. Note, with thy mouth, and with his mouth. Even Aaron, that could 1. Even self-diffidence, when it grows into an extreme, when ií | speak well, yei could not speak to purpose, unless God was either hinders us from duty, or clogs us in duty, or discourages with his mouth; without the constant aids of divine grace, the our dependence upon the grace of God, is very displeasing to best gifts will fail. him. God justly resents our backwardness to serve him, and (4.) He bids him take the rod with him in his hand, (v. 17,) has reason to take it ill; for he is such a benefactor as is to intimate that he must bring about his undertaking, rather by beforehand with us, and such a Rewarder as will not be behind- acting than by speaking; the signs he should work with this hand with us. 2. God is justly displeased with those whom rod, might abundantly supply the want of eloquence : one yet he does not reject: he vouchsafes to reason the case even miracle would do him better service than all the rhetoric in the with his froward children, and overcomes them, as he did Moses world. Take this rod; the rod he carried as a shepherd, that here, with grace and kindness.
he might not be ashamed of that mean condition out of which (1.) To balance the weakness of Moses, he here reminds God called him. This rod must be his staff of authority, and him of his own power, v. 11. (1.) His power in that, con must be to him instead both of sword and sceptre,
father-in-law, and said unto him, Let me go, I
24 And it came to pass, by the way in the inn, pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp *stone, and 'cut Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
off the foreskin of her son, and cast fit at his feet, 19 And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead, 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody which sought thy life.
husband thou art, because of the circumcision. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and 27 And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met of Egypt: and Moses took the rod" of God in his him in the niount 'of God, and kissed him. hand.
28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all had commanded him. those "wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered in thine hand: but I will harden "his heart, that he together all the elders of the children of Israel: shall not let the people go.
30 And Aaron spake "all the words which the 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first-born: the sight of the people.
23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that 31 And the people believed : and when they he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him heard that the Lord had visited the children of go, behold, I will slay 9thy son, even thy first- Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, born.
then they bowed their heads and worshipped. I c. 2.15, 23. Matt. 2. 20. m c. 17. 9. Num. 20. 8. 9. a c. 3. 20. oc. 7. 3, &e. qc. 11.5. 12. 29. t Num. 22. 22. & Gen. 17. 14. or, knife. Josh. 5. 2, 3. Deat. 2. 30. Josh. 11. 2. Is. 6. 10. 63. 17. John 12. 40. Rom. 9. 18. 2 Thes. 2. made it touch. c. 3. 1. ver. 16. to c. 3. 18. ver. 8, 9. Gen. 17. 3. 24. 20-12. p Deat. 14. 1. Jer. 31. 9. Hos. II. 1. Rom. 9. 4.
26. c. 12. 27. I Chr. 29. 20. 2 Chr. 20, 18. V. 18-23. Here,
III. Moses addresses himself to this expedition; when God 1. Moses obtains leave of his father-in-law to return into had assured him, (u. 19,) that the men were dead who sought Egypt, v. 18. His father-in-law had been kind to him when he his life, immediately it follows, (v. 20,) he took his wife and his was a stranger, and therefore he would not be so uncivil as to sons, and set out for Egypt. Note, Though corruption may leave his family, nor so unjust as to leave his service, without object much against the services God calls us to, yet grace will giving him notice. Note, The honour of being admitted into get the upper hand, and will be obedient to the heavenly vision. communion with God, and of being employed for him, does not V. 24–31. Moses is here going to Egypt, and we are told, discharge us from the duties of our relations and callings in this I. How God met him in anger, v. 24, 26. This is a very world. Moses said nothing to his father-in-law (for anght that difficult passage of story; much has been written and excelappears) of the glorious manifestation of God to him ; such lently well to make it intelligible; we will try to make it imfavours we are to be thankful for to God, but not to boast of proving.
Here is, before men.
1. The sin of Moses, which was, neglecting to circumcise II. He receives from God further encouragements and direc- his son, which perhaps was the effect of his being unequally tions in his work. After God had appeared to him in the bush yoked with a Midianite, who was too indulgent of her child, to settle a correspondence, it should seem, he often spake to him, while Moses was too indulgent of her. Note, (1.) We have as there was occasion, with less overwhelming solemnity: and, need to watch carefully over our own hearts, lest fondness for
1. He assures Moses that the coasts were clear: whatever any relation prevail above our love to God, and take us off
2. He orders him to do the miracles, not on before the by a sword in an gel's hand, sought to kill him. This was
3. That Pharaoh's obstinacy might be no surprise or dis- consciences, and perhaps to feel from it by cross providences; couragement to him, God tells him before, that he would harden for this cause, many are sick and weak, as some think Moses his heut. Pharaoh bad hardened his own heart against the
was here. groans and cries of the oppressed Israelites, and shut up the 3. The speedy performance of the duty, for the neglect of bowels of his compassion from them; and now God, in a way which God had now a controversy with him. His son must of righteous judgment, hardens his heart against the conviction be circumcised; he is disabled to do it; therefore, in this case of the miracles, and the terror of the plagues. Note, Ministers of necessity, Zipporah does it, whether with passionate words, must expect with many to labour in vain: we must not think it expressing her dislike of the ordinance itself, or, at least, the strange, if we meet with those who will not be wrought upon administration of it to so young a child, and in a journey, (as by the strongest arguments and fairest reasonings; our judg-to me it seems;) or, with proper words, solemnly expressing ment is with the Lord.
the espousal of the child to God by the covenant of circum4. Words are put into his mouth with which to address cision, as some read it; or her thankfulness to God for sparing Pharanh, v. 22, 23. God had promised him, (v. 12,) I will her husband, giving him a new life, and thereby giving her, as teach thee whal thou shall say; and here he does teach him. (1.) it were, a new marriage to him, upon her circumcising her son, He must deliver his message in the name of the great Jehovah, as others read it; I cannot determine: but we learn, (1.) That Thus with the Lord; this is the first time that preface is used when God discovers to us what is amiss in our lives, we must by any man, which afterward is used so frequently by all the give all diligence to amend it speedily, and particularly return prophets: whether Pharaoh will hear, or whether he will to the duties we have neglected. (2.) The putting a way of forbear, Mrses must tell him, Thus saith the Lord. (2.) He our sins is indispensably necessary to the removal of God's must let Pharash know Israel's relation to God, and God's judgments; this is the voice of every rod, it calls us to return concern for Israel. I. Israel a servant, is he a home-born slave? | io him that smites us. (Jer. 2. 14,) No, Israel is my son, my first-born ; precious in 4. The release of Moses thereupon ; so he let him go; the my sight, hmourable, and dear to me, not to be thus insulted distemper went off, the destroying angel withdrew, and all was and abused. (3.) He must demand a discharge for them. well: only Zipporah cannot forget the fright she was in, but "Let my son go; not only my servant whom thou hast no right will unreasonably call Moses a bloody husband, because he to deta in, but my son whose liberty and honour I am very jea-obliged her to circumcise the child; and, upon this occasion, lous for. It is my son, my son that serves me, and therefore it is probable,) he sent them back to his father-in-law, that must be spared, must be pleaded for,” Mal. 3. 17. (4.) He they might not create him any further uneasiness. Note, must threaten Pharaoh with the death of the first-born of (1.) When we return to God in a way of duty, he will return Egypt, in case of a refusal, I will slay thy son, even thy first to us in a way of mercy; take away the cause, and the effect born.
As men deal with God's people, let them expect so to will cease. (2.) We must resolve to bear it patiently, if our be themselves dealt with ; with the froward he will wrestle. zeal for God and his institutions be misinterpreted and dis
4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Where
fore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from Moses and Aaron are here dealing with Pharaoh, to get leave him to is worship their works? get you unto your burdens. in the wilderness. I. They demand leave in the name of God, (v.1,) and he answers thuir demand with a detiance of God, v.2. 11. They leg leave in the 5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the pame of Israel, (v. 3,) and he answers their request wild further countries terresto land now are many, and ye make them rest from -14. 2. Complained of Pharaoh, but in vuin, v. 15-19.3. Complained of their burdens, by the people w Moses, (v. 20, 21,) and by him to God, v. 22, 23.
6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the A Natteravard, Moses saith Adren went one task me stems of the people. The people slicers, savings Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast brick, as heretofore; let them go and gather straw "unto me in the wilderness.
for themselves. 2 And Pharaoh said, 'Who is the Lord, that I 8 And the tail of the bricks, which they did should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.
not diminish aught thereof: for they be idle; there3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath fore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our met with us : let us go, we pray thee, three days' God. journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the 9 Let *there more work be laid upon the men, Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence," that they may labour therein; and let them not or with the sword.
regard vain / words. a c. 10. 9. 6 2 Kings 18. 35. Job 21. 15. Ps. 12. 4. ¢ c.3. 18. d Deut. B.21, E2.6. 11. e Ps. 106. 41. • Let the toork be heavy upon the men. 1 2 Kings 18. 20. couraged by some that should understand themselves, and us, hold a feast to him; which they may do, while they have his and their duty better, as David's zeal was misinterpreted by favour and presence, even in a wilderness, a dry and barren Michal; but if this be to be vile, if this be to be bloody, we land. must be yet more so. (3.) When we have any special service 2. Pharaoh's answer is impiously bold; (v. 2,) Who is the to do for God, we should remove that as far from us as we can, Lord, that I should obey his voice? Being summoned to surwhich is likely to be our hinderance; Let the dead bury their render, he thus hangs out the flag of defiance, hectors Moses dead, but follow thou me.
and the God that sends him, and peremptorily refuses to let II. How Aaron met him in love, v. 27, 28. 1. God sent Israel go; he will not treat about it, nor so much as bear the Aaron to meet him, and directed him where to find him, in the mention of it. wilderness, that lay toward Midian. Note, The providence Observe, (1.) How scornfully he speaks of the God of Israel; of God is to be acknowledged in the comfortable meeting of " Who is Jehovah? I neither know him nor care for him; relations and friends. 2. Aaron made so much haste, in obe- neither value him, nor fear him:" it is a hard name that he dience to his God, and in love to his brother, that he met him never heard of before, but he resolves it shall be no bugbear to in the mount of God, the place where God had met with him. him. Israel was now a despised oppressed people, looked on 3. They embraced one another with mutual endearments; the as the tail of the nation, and by the character they bore more they saw of God's immediate direction in bringing them Pharaoh makes his estima!e of their God, and concludes that together, the more pleasant their interview was; they kissed, he made po better a figure among the gods, than his people did not only in token of brotherly affection, and in remembrance among the nations. Note, [1.] Hardened persecutors are of ancient acquaintance, but as a pledge of their hearty con more malicious against God himself, than they are against his currence in the work they were jointly called to. 4. Moses people. See Is. 37. 23. (2.) Ignorance and contempt of God informed his brother of the commission he had received, with are at the bottom of all the wickedness that is in the world. all the instructions and credentials affixed to it, v. 28. Note, Men know not the Lord, or have very low and mean thoughts What we know of God, we should communicate for the benefit of him, and therefore they obey not his voice, nor will let any of others; and those that are fellow-scrvants to God in the same thing go for him. work, should use a mutual freedom, and endeavour rightly and (2.) How proudly he speaks of himself; “ That I should obey fully to understand one another.
his voice; I, the king of Egypt, a great people, obey the God
V.3—9. Finding that Pharaoh had no veneration at all for
God, Moses and Aaron next try whether he had any compassion
tion, while they went three days' journey into the desert, and 1. Their demand is piously bold; (v. 1,) Thus saith the Lord that on a good errand, and unexceptionable;“We will sacrifice God of Israel, Let my people go. Moses, in treating with the unto the Lord our God, as other people do to theirs;" and (lustly) elders of Israel, is directed to call God the God of their fathers ; they give a very good reason, “Lest if we quite cast off his but, in treating with Pharaoh, they call him the Gol of Israel, worship, he fall upon us with one judgment or other, and then and it is the first time we find him called so in scripture: he is Pharaoh will lose his vassals." called the God of Israel, the person, (Gen. 33. 20,) but here 2. Pharaoh's denial of their request is very barbarous and it is Israel, the people. They are just beginning to be formed unreasonable, v. 1—9. (1.) His suggestions were very unreainto a people, when God is called their God. Moses, it is sonable ; (1.) That the people were idle, and that therefore likely, was directed to call him so, at least, it might be inferred they talked of going to sacrifice. The cities they built for Phafrom ch. 4.22, Israel is my son. In this great name they deliver raoh, and the other fruit of their labours, were witnesses for their message, Lel my people go. (1.) They were God's them, that they were not idle; yet he thus basely inisrepresents people, and therefore Pharaoh ought not to detain them in bond-them that he might have a pretence to increase their burdens. age. Note, God will own his people, though ever so poor | [2.] That Moses and Aaron made them idle with rain words, and despicable, and will find a time to plead their cause. v. 9. God's words are here called vain words; and those that “ The Israelites are slaves in Egypt, but they are iny people," called them to the best and most needful business are accused says God," and I will not suffer them to be always trampléd of making them idle. Note, The malice of Satan has often upon.” See Is. 52. 4, 5.
(2.) Ho expected services and represented the service and worship of God as fit employment sacrifices from them, and therefore thoy must have leave to go for those only that have nothing else to do, and the business where they could freely exercise their religion, without giving only of the idle, whereas indeed it is the indispensable duty of offence to, or receiving offence from, the Egyptians. Note, those that are most busy in the world. (2.) His resolutions hereGod delivers his people out of the hand of their enemies, that upon were most barbarous : (1.) Moses and Aaron themselves they may serve him, and serve him cheerfully; that they may must get to their burdens, (v. 4,) they are Israclites, and, how