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C Acts 7. 17.
The children of Israel multiply
the more they are oppressed. 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Ju 11 Therefore they did set over dah,
them taskmasters to afflict them with 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, their burdens. And they built for
4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Asher.
Raamses. 5 And all the souls that came out 12 + But the more they afflicted + Heb. And + Ileb. thigh, of the + loins of Jacob were seventy them, the more they multiplied and africted them, bGen. 16.27. souls : for Joseph was in Egypt al- grew. And they were grieved be
80 they mul
tiplied, 8c. ready.
cause of the children of Israel.
children of Israel to
service in the field : all their service,
9 And he said unto his people, 15 ý And the king of Egypt spake
10 Come on, let us deal wisely and the name of the other Puah :
if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 2. Reuben, Simeon, &c.] He does not report their should "get them up out of the land,” was a reasonable names in these three verses, according to their birth; apprehension : for Egypt was, in every age, subject to but first, the children of Leah ; then one of Rachel's; the incursions of that fierce and barbarous people, the then those of Jacob's handmaids; and last of all Joseph, Arabians, on that very side which the Israelites inwho was in Egypt before. Bp. Patrick.
habited: who, possessing their own district, unmixed 5.—for Joseph was &c.] Or, with Joseph who was with the Egyptians, had the keys of the country in &c. Joseph is not to be added to the seventy, but their hands, to admit or exclude an invader at pleasure. reckoned among them to make up the number. Bp. To prevent so probable a danger, their taskmasters Patrick.
are ordered to increase their oppressions : and they 7. And the children of Israel were fruitful, &c.] They groaned under them without power to resist, till set increased to such numbers, strength, and riches, as to free by the almighty hand of God. Bp. Warburton. fill all the country of Goshen, and some other of the Pharaoh's treatment of them was a violation of their neighbouring parts of Egypt. Pyle. In the course of rights, as a free people, naturalized in his country. Dr. two hundred years and upwards, the seventy had in- Hales. creased to about six hundred thousand men, Exod. xii. 11.--- treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.] Fortified 37. Bp. Patrick. Moses expresses the prodigious in- cities, in which he had stores of corn, provisions, amcrease of their numbers and power by a remarkable munition, &c. Bp. Patrick. Pithon or Bethon, “the amplification of terms: “and they were fruitful, and house of On," or the Sun, was a second Heliopolis, increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceed built upon the confines of Arabia, according to Ptolemy. ing mighty; and the land was filled with them.” Dr. Bryant. Instead of Raamses, the Greek version reads Hales.
Rameses ; and Eusebius says, that Rameses, which gave 8. - a new king] New in his laws and manner of name to that district of the land of Goshen, Gen. xlvii. government. Bp. Hall. Of a new house and family, 11, was built by the Israelites. Besides these store perhaps. Bp. Kidder. Or it may be sufficient to under- cities, on the confines of the desert of Arabia, Josephus stand, a king different from him who advanced Joseph, mentions that the Israelites were employed in making though of the same race. Dr. Wells.
canals and embankments, to prevent the overflowing of - knew not Joseph.] Unthankfully forgot the great the river; and also in building pyramids. Perhaps the service which Joseph had done to the kingdom and principal brick pyramids, found in Egypt, were their crown of Egypt. Bp. Hall.
work. Dr. Hales. 9. - more and mightier than we :] This was not really 15. — the name of the one was Shiphrah, &c.] It is not true; but he said it to awaken his people to consider to be supposed, that there were only two midwives to how to suppress them. Bp. Patrick. More mighty in serve the whole nation : but these were probably the proportion than we; or more than is consistent with our chief, who had the rest under their government. Bp. safety. Pyle. Pharaoh's pretences for oppressing the Patrick. Israelites were, 1st, Their great number, ver. 9. 2dly, A 16. — see them upon the stools ;] Seats contrived for fear lest they should join with the enemies of Egypt in women in labour, that the midwives might the better do the event of war, ver. 10. 3dly, Lest they should go their office. Dr. Wells. out of Egypt when they pleased, ver. 10. Bp. Kidder. if it be a son, then ye shall kill him :) By which
The fear entertained by Pharaoh, lest the Israelites means, in no long time, none would be born, that were
Before CHRIST about 1573.
The godliness of the midwives.
Moses is born. Before 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt
1 Moses is born, 3 and in an ark cast into
the flags. 5 He is found, and brought up 18 And the king of Egypt called by Pharaoh's daughter. 11 He slayeth an for the midwives, and said unto them, Egyptian. 13 He reproveth an Hebrew. 15. Why have ye done this thing, and He fleeth into Midian. 21 He marrieth have saved the men children alive?
Zipporah. 22 Gershom is born. 23 God
respecteth the Israelites' cry. 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew wo ND there went a a man of the a Chap. 6. 20. men are not as the Egyptian wo house of Levi, and took to wife men; for they are lively, and are a daughter of Levi. delivered ere the midwives come in 2 And the woman conceived, and unto them.
bare a son: and when she saw him 20 Therefore God dealt well with that he was a goodly child, she "hid bActs 7. 20. the midwives: and the people multi- him three months. plied, and waxed very mighty.
3 And when she could not longer
and with pitch, and put the child
Hebr. 11, 32.
not half Egyptians; and so the Israelites would be soon of the simplicity of patriarchal life, and unmixed with lost in that nation. Dr. Wells.
any circumstances tending to exalt the personal charac19. — for they are lively, &c.] Many of the Hebrew ter of the lawgiver, or mark him out as peculiarly fitted women may have been such as here described, if not for so high a destiny; but it is distinguished, like the all. The answer of the midwives is therefore so far from other parts of the Pentateuch, in which Moses speaks of being, as sometimes represented, an unworthy falsehood himself, by the most decisive proofs of candour and imto save their lives, that it is a bold confession of their partiality: Dr. Graves. faith and piety to the hazard of them: purporting that 3.- she took for him an ark of bulrushes,] A little vessel they saw so plain an evidence of the wonderful hand of or basket made of rushes : which she “ daubed with slime God in that extraordinary vigour in the travail of the and with pitch," to keep out the water; and “laid in the women, that, do what Pharaoh would, they durst not, flags by the brink of the river” Nile, that it might remain would not, obey him, because they would not strive concealed, without being carried away by the stream, or against God. Dr. Lightfoot.
that she might suckle the child in the night. Bp. Patrick. 21. — he made them houses.] That is, He blessed the an ark of bulrushes,] This ark was probably of midwives with a peculiar increase of their own families the form of one of those boats, with which the river was and estates. Pyle. Others refer them to the Israelites, always covered, and made like them of“ bulrushes,” or understanding the sense to be, “God by these means flags of the papyrus, of which the Egyptians made their multiplied and increased the Israelites,” which is ex- paper, and which grew particularly on the banks of the pressed by "making them houses.” Bp. Kidder. Nile. This papyrus was strong enough to hold out the
22. And Pharaoh charged all his people, &c.] This water, and smooth enough to receive the “slime and decree was in force at the birth of Moses, sixty-four pitch” with which it was smeared ; and by its lightness years after the death of Joseph; and was probably en fittest to swim with the child's weight. The vessels of acted soon after the birth of his elder brother Aaron, bulrushes, mentioned both in sacred and profane history, three years earlier, who was not subject to the decree. were no other than larger fabricks made of the papyrus, We may date it therefore about the thirty-second year in the same manner as this ark of Moses. Dr. Waterof their bondage; and about an hundred and thirty- land, Dr. Shaw. three years after their settlement. Dr. Hales.
4. And his sister stood ofar off,] The mother of Moses
does not leave her child without a guardian. No tyranny Chap. II. ver. 1. there went a man &c.] The name can forbid her to love him, whom she is forbidden to keep. of the father of Moses was Amram ; and his mother's Her daughter's eyes must supply the place of her arms. name was Jochebed, chap. vi. 20. They were both of And if the weak affection of a mother were thus effecthe tribe of Levi. Aaron, his elder brother, was three tually careful, what shall we think of Him, whose love, years older than he; and Miriam, his sister, probably whose compassion is, as Himself, infinite ! seven or eight years older than Aaron. Calmet.
his hand cannot but be with us, even when we forsake 2. — and bare a son:] The entire account, which the ourselves. Moses had never a stronger protection about book of Exodus delivers of the private life of Moses, for him, no, not when all his Israelites were pitched about the eighty years which preceded his divine mission to his tent in the wilderness, than now when he lay an outdeliver the Israelites, is contained in two short chapters : cast, alone, upon the waters. No water, no Egyptian at his birth, the narrative with a beautiful simplicity can hurt him. Neither father nor mother dare own notices the very natural circumstance, that “when his him: and now God challenges his custody. When we mother saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him seem inost neglected and forlorn in ourselves, then is three months.” All that follows is plain and artless, full God most present, most vigilant.
Moses is found by Pharaoh's daughter. EXODUS.
Moses slayeth an Egyptian. 5 q And the daughter of Pharaoh | nurse it for me, and I will give thee came down to wash herself at the thy wages. And the woman took river; and her maidens walked along the child, and nursed it. by the river's side ; and when she 10 And the child grew, and she saw the ark among the flags, she sent brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, her maid to fetch it.
and he became her son. And she 6 And when she had opened it, called his name || Moses: and she | That is, she saw the child: and, behold, the said, Because I drew him out of the babe wept. And she had compassion water. on him, and said, This is one of the 11 1 And it came to pass in those Hebrews' children.
days, when Moses was grown, that
may nurse the child for thee? of his brethren.
was no man, he slew the Egyptian,
5. – to wash herself at the river ;] Not for pleasure (or persecution for Christ's sake) greater wealth than the probably, but for purification; this being an ancient treasure of Egypt: for he had respect unto the (future) rite of religion in all ages, for persons to cleanse them- recompense of the reward, or looked forward to a future selves by washing after any defilement. Bp. Patrick. state. Dr. Hales. The people of Egypt, especially the females, express Moses :] Which in the Egyptian language sigtheir veneration for the Nile, in return for the benefits nifies one saved or drawn out of the water. Mo or Mou received from it, by plunging into it when it begins to was the Egyptian for water. Calmet, Bryant. overflow the country. It is probable, that when the 11. - when Moses was grown, that he went out &c.] daughter of Pharaoh' bathed in the river, it was in com- Being now forty years old, Acts vii. 23, he was moved pliance with some such custom, perhaps of an idolatrous by God to go and acquaint himself more particularly kind. Irwin mentions a ceremony, which is observed with the condition of his brethren; and to own himself, by some of the Egyptian females, of going with singing more than he had hitherto done, to be one of them. Bp. and dances to solemnize the first visible rise of the Nile, Patrick. One of the noblest instances on record of and to bathe in the river. Harmer.
despising popular opinion, when it opposes duty, is 8. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the furnished in the conduct of Moses. He was in the maid went &c.] Here we see an amazing concurrence of highest credit in the court of Pharaoh, and enjoyed all the circumstances; and those of great moment, and highly luxuries of Egypt. He had had intercourse with the interesting, which could not be the effect of chance. They Israelites, no doubt, in various shapes; and was well were certainly brought about by that Divine Wisdom acquainted with the prophecies of Christ, from the times which can influence our hearts, and order our goings, of 'Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He had that faith and make us subservient to the will of God. Which therefore, which all true Israelites had, in a promised often makes use of a series, and evolution of events, Saviour: and in obedience to that faith he thought it simple in themselves, and obvious, but wonderful in his duty to break away from all the allurements of his their texture, and combination, towards the accomplish- splendid situation, and take his fortune with his poor ment of his high decrees. Bryant.
oppressed countrymen. Many, no doubt, were the re10. —- she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter,] Who proaches he suffered on this apparently strange choice. was a married woman, without children, according to The wit and ridicule of Pharaoh's court would undoubtthe Jewish historian Josephus. Bp. Patrick.
edly be pointed against him; and all who heard of his and he became her son.] Her adopted son. Ac- leaving such advantages, for no consideration as it apcordingly she gave him a princely education; and caused peared, would deride his folly. Moses however consihim to be instructed “in all the wisdom of the Egypt-dered these scoffs of the world as trials only of his ians,” Acts vii. 22. Bp. Patrick. Josephus says, that faith : "he had respect unto the recompense of the rehe became a man of eminence among them; was made ward; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches general and leader of their armies; and fought some than the treasures in Egypt.” Gilpin. If we had Moses's battles with conduct and success. Shuckford. Thus faith, we could not but make his choice. It is only our did he find an asylum in the very palace of his intended infidelity that binds us to the world, and makes us destroyer ; while his intercourse with his own family prefer the momentary pleasures of sin unto that everand nation was still most naturally, though unexpectedly, lasting recompense of reward. Bp. Hall. maintained : so mysterious are the ways of Heaven ! 12.- he looked this way and that way,] Though he knew And while he was instructed “in all the wisdom of the he had a secret calling to deliver the Israelites, yet, Egyptians,” and bred up in the midst of a luxurious because it was not publickly known, he carried himself court, he acquired at home the knowledge of the pro- warily in the business, and looked round about. Bp. Hall. mised Redemption of Israel : and, “ by faith in the Re - he slew the Egyptian,] By comparing the two DEEMER Christ,” refused to be called the son of Pha- accounts of this matter here and in the Acts, it appears raoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with that the Israelite suffered wrongfully. For St. Stephen the people of God, than to have enjoyment of sinful says, that Moses saw him “suffer wrong," or, “ treated pleasures for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ injuriously.” The manner, as represented here, was,
He fleeth into Midian,
and marrieth Zipporah. second day, behold, two men of the 17 And the shepherds came and Hebrews strove together: and he drove them away: but Moses stood said to him that did the wrong, up and helped them, and watered Wherefore smitest thou thy fel- their flock. low ?
18 And when they came to Reuel
tendest thou to kill me, as thou kill 19 And they said, An Egyptian
for us, and watered the flock.
21 And Moses was content to dwell I Or, prince. 16 Now the || priest of Midian had with the man: and he gave Moses
seven daughters: and they came and Zipporah his daughter.
he called his name Gershom: for he c Chap. 18. 3.
may eat bread.
that he observed the Egyptian "smiting” him; and the land of Midian :] A part of Arabia Petrea, that to such a degree, that, according to St. Stephen, the where some of Abraham's posterity were settled, Gen. Israelite was "oppressed,” or rather, "quite debilitated,” xxv. 2. Bp. Patrick. It lay upon the farther side of and lay at his mercy. Upon this Moses stepped in, the two insets to the Red Sea, to the east of the wilderand “defended and avenged him;" that is, agreeable to ness of Sin and Etham : about eight days' journey from the original," rescued him, and vindicated his cause, or Egypt. The whole route was through a desert. Bryant. did him justice," by killing the Egyptian, there being
drew water,] See note on Gen. xxiv. 15; and probably no other way of doing it. It is not said in- xxix. 9. deed, that the Egyptian had a murderous design, and 17. — Moses stood up and helped them,] Moses, when would have proceeded to kill the Israelite, when he had he may not in Egypt, will be doing justice in Midian. him in his power, if Moses had not interposed. But the In Egypt, he delivers the oppressed Israelite; in Midian, circumstances of the narrative, and the character of the wronged daughters of Jethro. A good man will be Moses, as the meekest man upon earth, make it very doing good, wheresoever he is. His practice is a comprobable. Nor does the word used both by the Septua- pound of justice and charity. As therefore evil dispogint and by St. Stephen concerning Moses, as smiting sitions cannot be changed by climate, no more will good. the Egyptian, necessarily signify that he designed to kill Bp. Hall. him. But if he had not, it would certainly have been 18. Reuel their father,] The name of the priest of a very imprudent action to have struck him at all: since, Midian was Jethro, Exod. iii. 1; so that either Reuel had the Egyptian lived to make his complaint at court, was his name as well as Jethro ; or else Reuel was the it must very probably have cost Moses his life. This father of Jethro, and therefore grandfather of these action therefore may be considered, as done to save the young women. Bp. Patrick. It is usual in Scripture life of an innocent man in the utmost extremity by the to call the grandfather, father : see Gen. xxiv. 48, where death of him, who would otherwise have killed him. Rebekah is called Abraham's brother's daughter : she The Israelites had doubtless a natural right to rescue was in fact his granddaughter. Bp. Kidder. See the themselves from the unjust slavery, to which they were note on Jer. xxvii
. 7. reduced. And any one of them had the like right to 19. — An Egyptian delivered us] So they took Moses defend his own life against any single Egyptian, who to be from his speech and habit. Bp. Patrick. should attack it, though by the death of the aggressor. 21.– he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.] It may And that a third person might rescue another from one be made a standing observation, that the sacred authors about to murder him, appears from Cicero to have been do not relate all the particulars of a story, as other auan allowed case: and Grotius produces the opinion of thors delight to do; but such only as are most material. several ancient writers among both the Greeks and the We may therefore suppose that a great many things inRomans, in support of that principle. Dr. John Ward. tervened, between Moses's entrance into Jethro's family,
15. — he sought to slay Moses.] The voluntary killing and his marriage to his daughter : especially considering of a person was, according to the laws of Egypt, certain that his children were so young at his return into Egypt death to the aggressor. Of what antiquity the law was, after an absence of forty years. Stackhouse. This maris uncertain. But all the laws of Egypt are said to have riage of Moses was contrary to the usage of his forebeen very ancient. Bryant.
fathers, and of the Hebrews in general ; and seems to Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh,] Though intimate that he thought himself quite alienated from he could satisfy his own conscience in having killed the his countrymen. Bryant. Egyptian, yet he had not received a commission from 22. Gershom :] That is, a desolate stranger. Bp. God to act publickly as the deliverer of the Israelites, Patrick. A stranger here. Calmet. and so could not well justify his action to Pharaoh : nor All this while Moses's affection was not so tied to had he reason to expect, that God should protect him in Midian, that he could forget Egypt. He was a stranger an extraordinary manner, since his safety could be pro- in Midian : what was he else in Egypt ? Surely, either vided for at present by ordinary means ; namely, by Egypt was not his home, or a miserable one; and yet, withdrawing from Egypt. Dr. Wells,
in reference to it, he calls his son “ Gershom," a stran
God respecteth the Israelites' cry.
Moses keepeth Jethro's flock. said, I have been a stranger in a dren of Israel, and God + had respect
CHRIST strange land.
unto them. 23°q And it came to pass in process
Heb. knete. of time, that the king of Egypt died : 1 Moses keepeth Jethro's flock. 2 God apand the children of Israel sighed by peareth to him in a burning bush. 9 He reason of the bondage, and they cried, sendeth him to deliver Israel. 14 The name and their cry came up unto God by
of God. 15 His message to Israel. reason of the bondage.
Jethro his father in law, the a Gen. 15. 14. and God remembered his d covenant priest of Midian: and he led the
with Abraham, with Isaac, and with flock to the backside of the desert,
and came to the mountain of God,
34 And God heard their groaning, N. Moses kept the flock of
& 46. 4.
ger here. Much better were it to be a stranger there, oppressed : that they can engage an invisible hand to than a dweller in Egypt. How hardly can we forget vindicate their cause, if they truly turn to God, pour the place of our abode or education, although never so out their supplications before Him, trust in Him, and homely! And if he so thought of his Egyptian home, patiently wait for his salvation. For God is full of where was nothing but bondage and tyranny; how compassion : He delights to show mercy and lovingshould we think of that home of our's above, where is kindness ; to raise up those that are down; to release nothing but rest and blessedness! Bp. Hall.
the innocent prisoner, and break the yoke of the proud for he said, I have been a stranger &c.] During and haughty from off the neck of his servants. And his long exile, Moses was trained in the school of ad- when He is pleased to do this, who shall hinder Him? versity for that arduous mission, which he had antici- All Egypt could not hinder Israel from thriving among pated; and so became “very meek, above all the men them, though they had an army of taskmasters, and which were upon the face of the earth,” Numb. xii. 3. searchers, to murder and destroy them. All Egypt could And no man indeed had greater trials, or more occasion not murder Moses at three months old, though one of for meekness. And his humility was equal thereto : his their chiefs met with him even upon the river. backwardness afterwards to undertake that mission, for We see also, how mindful God is of his promise, which he was destined from the womb, was no less re- and how punctual in the performance of it. He had markable than his forwardness before, Exod. iv. 10–13. promised four hundred years before to give Israel the Dr. Hales.
land of Canaan, and that time was now expired. But 24, And God heard their groaning, &c.] He favour- when was Israel in so unlikely a condition to obtain it, ably condescended to listen to their petition, which was as at the expiration of this term, when they most groaned the first step to their deliverance. He “ remembered under their Egyptian servitude ? This then was a seahis covenant;" which gives the reason of his gracious son, most suitable for God to magnify his wisdom and condescension, because He was mindful of his ancient power in accomplishing his promise. When there is promises to their forefathers. He “looked upon them;" no help in man, then is the arm of the Lord most easily or, took notice of their affliction and hard labour. And seen, and the work is most confessedly to be ascribed He “had respect unto them;" and determined forthwith to Him. Let this confirm us in the faith of our eternal to effect their deliverance. Bp. Patrick.
redemption, of which the deliverance from Egypt was “God doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children a figure. Let us conclude from hence, that when our of men." It is therefore reasonable to suppose, that the burden is great, and our religion oppressed by the oversevere chastisement, which he caused the Israelites to un- flowings of impiety, and patience is much tired, and dergo, was in consequence of some great national defeo hope almost ashamed, then our spiritual Moses, our tion, such as that, of which they were in aftertimes guilty, great Prophet like unto him, shall appear, as he did, the and of which they had probably been guilty in Egypt, second time for our salvation : and deliver us out of this
neglecting his worship, and complying too much with our Egyptian servitude by a glorious resurrection and the idolatrous customs of the country: and that it was ascension into our heavenly Canaan, which He has proaccordingly designed to remind them of their sad degene- mised us and secured for us, by now living and reigning racy from the virtues of their ancestors ; and so, in the there in our nature, at the right hand of the Father, in phrase of the Prophet, to make them “look to Abraham the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without their father, and to Sarah that bare them," Isai. li. 2. end. Reading
Or supposing them to have been not thus culpable, since, “whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and Chap. III. ver. 1. Now Moses kept the flock &c.] scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," God may So Moses was taken from the sheepfold, as David was have permitted such calamities to befal his adopted in aftertimes, to be the ruler of God's people, Ps. Ixxviii. people, the more to exercise their virtue, and patience, 70. God's power herein appeared the more wonderful, and resignation to the Divine will : the more to keep that He delivered his people from the Egyptian tyranny up a distinction between them and the Egyptians, which by one, that was contemptible, or rather, abominable to friendly usage might have destroyed : the more to pre- that nation, namely a keeper of sheep. It can hardly pare and make them willing to leave Egypt, when God be supposed, however, but that a person of Moses's edushould command them to depart : and the more to cation would, during forty years, find some other emheighten the relish of their future deliverance and to ployment besides that of keeping sheep. It is probable make them more thankful, more obedient to Him and therefore, that the several arts and sciences which he his injunctions, on every remembrance of that “house had been taught in his youth, he took care to cultivate of bondage,” wherein they had suffered so much, and and improve in this happy retirement, Bp. Patrick, been so long detained. Stackhouse.
Stackhouse. In this history of Israel, here is consolation for the the mountain of God, even to Horeb.] Otherwise