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somfort afflicted saints ; and lead us to pray, that God would arise and help those that are persecuted and oppressed ; that he would stretch out his hand against their enemies. His kindness to Israel manifests his mercy, and gives encouragement to his afflicted servants in all ages. Wait on the Lord, then, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart ; and though the afflictions of the righteous are many, the Lord will deliver them out of them all.

CHAP. IV.

God answers the objections of Moses against going to Egypt to deliv.

er Israel ; his journey toward it ; in which he meets with Aaron, and delivers his messuge to Israel. 1 AND Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will

A not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice : for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee; how then 2 shall I prove my divine mission to them ? And the LORD said

unto him, What [is] that in thine hand ? consider it well, and

regard it attentively. And he said, A rod, or shepherd's staff. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the

ground, and it became a serpent, of a large and terrible kind,

such as that desert abounds with ;* and Moses fled from before 4 it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand,

and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and

caught hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand : and God 5 said, Thou shalt do this miracle, That they may believe that

the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto

thee. 6 And the LORD gave him another sign, and said furthermore

unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put

his hand into his bosom ; and when he took it out, be7 hold, his hand (was) leprous as snow. And he said, Put

thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into

his bosom again ; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, be8 hold, it was turned again as his other] flesh.t And it shall

come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken

to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice 9 of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not

believe also these two signs, neither hearken into thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, which they wor.

• Or, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, with some reason, a crocodile, to whose devouring jaw the Hebrew infants had been exposed.

+ To cleanse and cure a leper, was reckoned the work of God alone ; and this might be designed to teach him and them, that God can change things on a sudden ; and that th miracles Moses should work, were not done by any inherent power in himself.

shipped as a god, and pour [it] upon the dry [land :) and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry [land :] thou shalt work this miracle, if they are not convinced by the other two. Muse: then raised a second

objection, taken from his own inability. 10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I (am) not

eloquent, not of a free and ready utterance, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant, that is, since I

have received thy commission : but I (am) slow of speech, and Il of a slow tongue. God then makes a very grand reply: And

the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth?

or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? 12 have not I the LORD ? Now therefore go, and I will be with

thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say ; I will sug

geal words, and make thee speak superior to all the orators of 13 the age. Nevertheless, Moses desired to be excused; And he ... said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand (of him

whom] thou wilt send ; such an one as thou knowest to be

fitter for the employment than I am.* This however was a poor 14 excuse : And the anger of the LORD was kindled against

Moses, for neglecting the divine commission, and he said, [IS] not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak

well; Aaron's tongue, and thy head and heart, will make a como plete ambassador, (as Mr. Henry observes.) And also, behold, • he cometh forth to meet thee by my direction : and when he . seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart to erecute this com

mission. This was said to reprove Moses for his backwardness. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth ;

clearly instruct, and strictly charge him, faithfully to declare my

words: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and 16 'will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman

unto the people : and he shall be, [even] he shall be to thee

instead of a mouth, to deliver thy commands to Pharaoh, and * thou shalt be to him instead of God, to direct and enjoin him 17 what to say. And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand,

wherewith thou shalt do signs. Hence it wu8 called the rod of

God. 18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law,

and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which (are] in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. He did not tell Jethro the great reason, lest he should

have hindered him. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, (this was a second

appearance,t) Go, return into Egypt : for all the men are

. Both these objections of Moses are remarkably perplexed in the Hebrew, and critics scarce know how to render it. In this view, they are very natural, as expressing the pr. plexity of his mind.

† Moses probably was still backward to go for fear of being slain there ; but God assures him that his enemies were all dead. This was a further encouragement which he had not before.

dead which sought thy life. Herein was Moses a type of 20 Christ. Matt. ii. 20. And Moses, thus encouraged, took his

wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt : and Moses took the rod of God in his hand, because God had commanded him to carry it, and do wonders quith it. Thus it was honoured above the scepire of Pharaoh.

And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand : but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go : he hath wicked

ly hardened his heart against Israel, for a long time, and now, in 22 righteous judgment, I will harden it. And thou shalt say unto

Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel (is) my son, I have adopted him as mine, [even] my firstborn; the first and only

nation that I have chosen for my peculiar people, and therefore 23 not to be any longer subject to thy commands : And I say unto

thee, Let my son go, that he may serve nhe : and if thou refuse to let him go,* behold, I will slay thy son, (even] thy firstborn. This plague was afterward inflicted.

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, where they stofzped to rest all night, that the LORD met him, appeared to him in some visible, shape, and sought, by showing himself in some threatening posture, to kill him, for neglecting to circumcise his

son ; which was probably done in compliance with his wife's hu., 25 mour. Then Zipporah, by the order of Moses, took a sharp

stone, or knife, made of flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast [it] at his feet in a rage, and said, Surely a bloody

husband (art] thou to me, because he insisted on the child's bea 26 ing circumcised. So he, that is, the angel, let him, namely,

Moses,ll go : then she said, A bloody husband (thou art,] be

cause of the circumcision. 27 And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to

meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of 28 God, and kissed him. And Moses received him with great

affection, and told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had

sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the *30 elders of the children of Israel : And Aaron spake all the

24

* But thou hast refused to let him go. Samar. Pent.

✓ The whole message is very grand and awful); menacing the proud prince with infinitely superior authority.

This was a great neglect in Moses, and, as he was going in a public character, would be a reproach to him and his family. • Others render it. So he, that is, Moses, let her go; sent her back to her father; it was not proper she should accompany him with such a turbulent temper: and that this was the case, is probable from ch. xviii. 2.

This plain and express revelation to Aaron, directing him to the time and place where he should meet Moses, would tend greatly to confirm the faith of Moses.

words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people, as God ordered, v. 16. And the people received them and their message with a suitable disa position, and believed : and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, had thus appeared to them, and promised to deliver them, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshippedy in token of their gratitude and readiness to comply with all the requirements of the Lord.

REFLECTIONS.

INTE are here encouraged to trust in God to furnish us

V for the work to which he calls us : as he is able to strengthen the faith and enliven the obedience of his servants. Let us not be discouraged from his service, by a sense of our own weakness. A modest selfdiffidence is allowable and com mendable ; but when it carries us so far as to neglect our duty, and distrust God, it is criminal. God made man's mouth, and gave him capacity. The consideration of this is a great comfort to private christians, when they are called to lead the devotions of their families, or more private religious societies ; and is also a great comfort to ministers, amidst the imperfections of their speech and address. He can give us a mouth and wisdom. God will take it ill if we are backward to speak and act for him, when we have so good a master to serve, so kind a mediator, so many precious proinises, and such glorious rewards. If our hearts are sincere, his spirit will help our infirmities : and then, though our address should be mean, and our language not eloquent, we may trust in him to give his blessing, who out of the mouths of babes

Cont braise. and sucklings can perfect praise.

2. God's children may depend upon it that he will defend their cause, and protect them in every circumstance ; for, as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. Israel is my son ; I will not suffer him to be abused or oppressed. God regards his children amidst all their sorrows; he remembers their relation to him ; and will, sooner or later, appear for their deliverance.

3. Those who are employed for God, and are in conspicuous stations, should manage themselves and their families wisely. God's anger against Moses for neglecting his duty, should teach ministers and heads of families to remove every thing that may be offensive to him, and to practise diligently what he requires ; not to set a bad example, or give encourageinent to sin. It is a melancholy thing, when the wives of such hang heavy on the interest of religion, and hinder the regular observance of divine in stitutions. Let heads of families, therefore, learn to rule their own houses well.

4. Learn with what temper we should receive the promises of deliverance in the gospel, v. 31. And the people believed : and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. Thus let us express our gratitude to God, that he hath visited and redeemed his people ; be ready to follow his directions, and behave worthy the favours which he intends to bestow upon us. Let us bless the Lord, who hath showed us light and mercy, and meet him in the way of righteousness and obedience.

CHAP. V. 1, to the end. CHAP. VI. 1.

Moses having delivered his message to Israel, waits upon Pharaoh,

We have here the reception which Pharaoh gave the message from God; the further hardships the people endured ; and their remonstrances to Pharaoh and Moses.

i A ND afterward Moses and Aaron, and the elders of Israel

A with them, as they were commanded, ch. lii. went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my peo.

ple go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness, 2 that is, a feast upon a sacrifice. And Pharaoh made a mostimpious

and insolent reply, and said, Who [is] the LORD, that I should

obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither 3 will I let Israel go.* And they said, This is no scheme or cona trivance of our own, for the God of the Hebrews hath met with us, hath atipeared to us and given us a command to do so i therefore let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God ; lest he fall up. on us with pestilence, or with the sword ; lest he be angry

and destroy us, and then you will lose the benefit of our Labour.fo 4. And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye,

Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works ? get you

unto your burdens, you wmong the rest, though you take upon 5 you to represent others. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the peo

ple of the land now (are] many, and ye make them rest from their burdens, and therefore I sustain great damage by these your impertinent applications.

• Pharaoh thought he was some titular, or local god of Israel, and concluded, that since he was not able to prevent their being in subjection to Egypt, there was no danger to be apprehended from hiin. 'This was an impious speech, even npon his own principles, for the heathens thouylıt it a necessary duty to treat the gods of their neighbours with great rev. erence.

t It might also intimate, that as God would punish them if they did not go, so he would also punish Pb-raoh if he did tot suffer thein to yo. There is a decency and spirit in this address, beyond what commentators have taken notive of, but it had vo good offcct,

Voc. I.

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