« PreviousContinue »
simply a promise to give him the land, and to land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great afflic. make him a great nation, &c. It was never pro tion; and our fathers found no sustenance. posed to Abraham, with the supposition that he was at liberty to reject it, or to refuse to comply Now there came a dearth.-A famine. Gen. with its conditions. Circumcision was appointed | xli. 54. And Chanaun.-Jacob was living at that as the mark or indication that Abraham, and time in Canaan. Found no sustenance.—No food; those thus designated, were the persons included | no means of living. in the gracious purpose and promise. It served to separate them as a peculiar people; a people VER. 12. But ? when Jacob heard that there whose peculiar characteristic it was, that they
was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers obeyed and served the God who had made the promise to Abraham. The phrase, "covenant
first. of circumcision” means, therefore, the covenant
9 Gen. xlii. 1, 2. or promise which God made to Abraham, of | which circumcision was the distinguishing mark Was corn in Egypt.—The word “corn” here,
or sign. The twelve patriarchs.- The word “pa- rather denotes wheat. Note, Matt. xii. 1. Our triarch" properly denotes the father and ruler of fathers.-His ten sons; all his sons except Joa family. But it is commonly applied, by way of 'seph and Benjamin. (Gen. xlii.) Stephen here eminence, to the progenitors of the Jewish race, ' refers only to the history, without entering into particularly to the twelve sons of Jacob. Note, details. By this general reference, he sufficiently Acts i. 29.
showed that he believed what Moses had spoken,
and did not intend to show him disrespect. Ver. 9. And the patriarchs, moved with "enry,
sold Joseph into Egypt; but God was with VER. 13. And at the second time Joseph was him,
made known to his brethren; and Joseph's
kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. a Gen. xxxvii. 28. Psa. cv. 17. n Gen. xxxix. 2, 21.
Gen. xlv. 4, 16. Mored with enry.—That is, dissatisfied with the favour which their father Jacob showed Joseph was made known.-Gen. xlv. 4. Joseph's l; Joseph, and envious at the dreams which indi- kindred, &c.—His relatives; his family. (Gen.
cated that he was to be raised to remarkable xlv. 16.) - honour above his parents and brethren. (Gen.
xxxvii. 3-11.) Sold Joseph into Egypt.—Sold | Ver. 14. Then sent Joseph, and called his father him, that he might be taken to Egypt. This
Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore 1 was done at the suggestion of Judah, who ad· vised it that Joseph might not be put to death
and fifteen souls. by his brethren. (Gen. xxxvii. 28.) It is pos
s Gen. xlvi. 27. Deut. x. 22. sible that Stephen, by this fact, might have de' signed to prepare the way for a severe rebuke of All his kindred.-His father, and family. (Gen.
the Jews for having dealt in a similar manner xlv. 17-28 ; xlvi. 1-26.) Threescore and fifteen with their Messiah. But God was with him. souls.-Seventy-five persons. There has been God protected him, and overruled all these much perplexity felt in the explanation of this wicked doings, so that he was raised to extra passage. In Gen. xlvi. 26, Exod. i. 5, and Deut. ordinary honours.
x. 22, it is expressly said that the number which
went down to Egypt consisted of but seventy VER. 10. And delivered him out of all his aflic
persons. The question is, in what way these
accounts can be reconciled ? It is evident that tions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the
Stephen has followed the account which is given sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he by the Septuagint. In Gen. xlvi. 27, that ver.made him governor over Egypt and all his sion reads, “ But the sons of Joseph who were house.
with him in Egypt, were nine souls; all the souls
of the house of Jacob which came with Jacob o Gen. xli. 40.
into Egypt, were seventy-five souls." This
number is made out by adding these nine souls And delivered him, &c.—That is, restored him to the sixty-six mentioned in ver. 26. The difto liberty from his servitude and humiliation, ference between the Septuagint and Moses is, and raised him up to high honours and offices in that the former mentions five descendants of Egypt. Favour and wisdom.- The favour was Joseph who are not recorded by the latter. The the result of his wisdom. His wisdom was par names of the sons of Ephraim and Manasseh ticularly evinced in interpreting the dreams of are recorded in 1 Chron. vii. 14–21. Their Pharaoh. (Gen. xli.) And made him governor, names were Ashriel, Machir, Zelophehad, Pe&C.-Gen. xli. 40. Al his house.- All the fami resh, sons of Manasseh ; and Shuthelah, son of ly, or all the court and government, of the Ephraim. Why the Septuagint inserted these, Dation.
it may not be easy to see. But such was evi
dently the fact; and the fact accords accurately VER. 11. Now P there came a dearth over all the with the historic record, though Moses did not
insert their names. The solution of difficulties p Gen. xli. 54.
in regard to chronology, is always difficult; and
what might be entirely apparent to a Jew in the Macpelah, of the sons of Heth, in Hebron. (Gen. time of Stephen, may be wholly inexplicable to xxiii.) Various solutions have been proposed of
this difficulty, which it is not necessary to detail.
It may be remarked, however, (1.) That as the VER. 15. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and text now stands, it is an evident error. This is died, he, and our fathers,
clear from the passages cited from the Old Testa16. And were carried over into Sychem,
ment, above. (2.) It is not at all probable that
either Stephen or Luke would have committed and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham such an error. Every consideration must lead bought for a sum of money of the sons of us to the conclusion that they were too well acEmmor, the father of Sychem.
quainted with such prominent points of the Jew
ish history, to commit an error like this. (3.) The 1 Josh. xxiv. 32.)
probability therefore is, that the error has arisen
since; but how, is not known, nor is there any And died.-Gen. xlix. 33. He and our fathers. way of ascertaining. All the ancient versions -The time which the Israelites remained in agree in reading “ Abraham.” One MS, only Egypt was two hundred and fifteen years; so reads, “ Abraham, our father.” Some have supthat all the sons of Jacob were deceased before posed, therefore, that it was written " which our the Jews went out to go to the land of Canaan. father bought," and that some early transcriber And were carried over.-Jacob himself was buried inserted the name of Abraham. Others, that in the field of Macpelah, by Joseph and his brethren. the name was omitted entirely by Stephen; and (Gen. I. 13.) It is expressly said that the bones of then the antecedent to the verb " bought," will Joseph were carried by the Israelites when they be “ Jacob,” in ver. 15, according with the fact went into the land of Canaan, and buried in Other modes have been proposed also, but none Shechem. (Josh. xxiv. 32. Comp. Gen. 1. 25.) are entirely satisfactory. If there was positive No mention is made in the Old Testament of proof of Stephen's inspiration, or if it were netheir carrying the bones of any of the other cessary to make that out, the difficulty would be patriarchs, but the thing is highly probable in much greater. But it has already been remarked itself. If the descendants of Joseph carried his that there is no decisive evidence of that: and it bones, it would naturally occur to them to take also is not necessary to make out that point to defend | the bones of each of the patriarchs, and give them the Scriptures. All that can be demanded of the an honourable sepulchre together in the land of historian is, that he should give a fair account of promise. Josephus (Antiq. b. ii. chap. viii. $ 2,) | the defence as it was delivered ; and though the says, that “the posterity and sons of these men, probability is that Stephen would not commit (of the brethren of Joseph,) after some time, such an error, yet, admitting that he did, it by carried their bodies and buried them in Hebron; / no means proves that Luke was not inspired, or but as to the bones of Joseph, they carried them that Luke has committed any error in recording il into the land of Canaan afterward, when the what was actually said. Of the sons of Emmor. Hebrews went out of Egypt.” This is the ac- - In the Hebrew, (Gen, xxxiii. 19,) "the children count which Josephus gives, and it is evidently of Hamor”—but different ways of rendering the l' in accordance with the common opinion of the same word. Jewish writers, that they were buried in Hebron. Yet the tradition is not uniform. Some of the VER. 17. But when the time of the promise Jews affirm that they were buried in Sychem. drew nigh, which God had sworn to AbraKuinoel. As the Scriptures do not any where
ham, the people "grew and multiplied in deny that the fathers were buried in Sychem, it cannot be proved that Stephen was in error. | Egypt, There is one circumstance, of strong probability,
u Exod. i. 7-9. to show that he was correct. At the time this defence was delivered, Sychem was in the hands The time of the promise.—The time of the fulof the Samaritans, between whom and the Jews filment of the promise. The people grew, &c.there was a violent hostility. Of course the Exod. i. 7-9. Jews would not be willing to concede that the Samaritans had the bones of their ancestors ; and VER. 18. Till another king arose, which knew hence, perhaps, the opinion had been maintained,
not Joseph. that they were buried in Hebron. Into Sychem. - This was a town or village near to Samaria. Till another king arose. This is quoted from It was called Sichar, (Note, John iv. 5,) Shechem, Exod. i. 8. What was the name of this king, is and Sychem. It is now called Naplous, or Na- not certainly known. The common name of all polose, and is ten miles from Shiloh, and about the kings of Egypt was Pharaoh, as Cæsar beforty from Jerusalem, towards the north. That came the common name of the emperors of Rome Abraham bought. The word “ Abraham,” here, after the time of Julius Cæsar : thus we say, has given rise to considerable perplexity; and it | Augustus Cæsar, Tiberius Cæsar, &c. It has is now pretty generally conceded that it is a mis- commonly been supposed to have been the celetake. It is certain, from Gen. xxxiii. 19, and brated Rameses, or Ramses Meïamoun, the sixth Josh. xxiv. 32, that this piece of land was | king of the eighteenth dynasty ; and the event is bought, not by Abraham, but by Jacob, of the supposed to have occurred about 1559 years besons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. The fore the Christian era. But M. Champollion land which Abraham purchased, was the cave of supposes that his name was Mandonei, whose
reign commenced 1585, and ended 1565 years | Ver. 21. And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's before Christ. (Essay on the Hieroglyphic System,
daughter took him up, and 2 nourished him for pp. 94, 95.) That knew not Joseph.-It can hardly be supposed that he would be ignorant of the
her own son. name and deeds of Joseph; and this expression,
* Exod. ii. 10. therefore, probably means that he did not favour the designs of Joseph; he did not remember the Was cast out. When he was exposed on the benefits he had conferred on the nation ; or fur- banks of the Nile. (Exod. ii. 3.) And nourished nish the patronage for the kindred of Joseph him.--Adopted him, and treated him as her son. which had been secured for them by Joseph (Exod. i. 10.) It is implied in this, that he was under a former reign. National ingratitude and educated by her. An adopted son in the family forgetfulness of favours, have not been uncom of Pharaoh would be favoured with all the admon in the world; and a change of dynasty or vantages which the land could furnish for an succession, has often obliterated all memory of education. former obligations and compacts.
VER. 22. And Moses was learned in all the wisVer. 19. The same dealt subtilly with our kin dom of the Egyptians, and a was mighty in
dred, and evil-entreated our fathers, so that words and in deeds. they cast out their young children, to the end
a Luke xxiv. 19. they might not live. • Exod. i. 22.
Moses was learned.--Or, was instructed. It |
does not mean that he had that learning, but Dealt subtilly.--He acted deceitfully; he used that he was carefully trained or educated in that I fraud. The cunning or deceitful attempt which wisdom. The passage does not express the fa
is referred to is, his endeavour to weaken and that Moses was distinguished for learning, but destroy the Jewish people, by causing their male that he was carefully educated, or that pains children to be put to death. (Exod. i. 22.) Our were taken to make him learned. In all the wiskindred.--Our nation, or our ancestors. And dom, &c.—The learning of the Egyptians was eril-entreated.-Was unjust and cruel towards confined chiefly to astrology, to the interpretathem. So that, &c.—For that purpose, or to tion of dreams, to medicine, to mathematics, and 'cause them to cast them out. He dealt with to their sacred science or traditionary doctrines
them in this cruel manner, hoping that the Israel- about religion, which were concealed chiefly ites themselves would destroy their own sons, under their hieroglyphics. Their learning is not that they might not grow up to experience the unfrequently spoken of in the Scriptures. (1 same sufferings as their fathers had. The cun- | Kings iv. 30. * Comp. Isa. xix. 11, 12.) And
ning or subtilty of Pharaoh extended to every their knowledge is equally celebrated in the hea' thing that he did to oppress, to keep under, and then world. It is known that science was carried to destroy the children of Israel.
from Egypt to Phenicia, and thence to Greece ;
and not a few of the Grecian philosophers traVER. 20. In which time Moses - was born, and velled to Egypt in pursuit of knowledge. And was y exceeding fair, and nourished up in his
was mighty.-- Was powerful, or was distinguished.
This means that he was eminent in Egypt, before father's house three months :
he conducted the children of Israel forth. It * Exod. ii. 2, &c.
y Or, fair to God. refers to his addresses to Pharaoh, and to the
miracles which he wrought before their deparIn which time, &c.—During this period of op- ture. In words.-From Exod. iv. 10, it seems pression. See Exod. ii. 2, &c. Was exceeding that Moses was “slow of speech, and of a slow ! jair.-Greek, “was fair to God;" properly ren- tongue.” When it is said that he was mighty in
dered, “was very handsome.” The word “God” words, it means that he was mighty in his comis used in the Greek here in accordance with the munications to Pharaoh, though they were spoken Hebrew usage, by which any thing that is very | by his brother Aaron. Aaron was in his place, handsome, or lofty, or grand, is thus designated. and Moses addressed Pharaoh through him, who Thus, Psa. xxxvi. 7, “ mountains of God” mean was appointed to deliver the message.' (Exod. lofty mountains; Psa. lxxx. 11, “ cedars of God”. iv. 11-16. Deeds.- Miracles. (Exod. vii. &c.) mean lofty, beautiful cedars. Thus, Nineveh is called “a great city to God," (Jonah iii. 3, Greek,)
Ver. 23. And when he was full forty years old, meaning a very great city. The expression here means, simply, that Moses was very fair, or hand
it came into bis heart to visit his brethren the some. Comp. Heb. xi. 23, where he is called "a children of Israel. proper child," i.e. a handsome child. It would
6 Exod. ii. 11, &c. Seem, from this, that Moses was preserved by his | mother on account of his beauty; and this is Full forty years of age.—This is not recorded
hinted at in Exod. ii. 2. And it would also seem in the Old Testament; but it is a constant tra
from this, that Pharaoh had succeeded, by his dition of the Jews, that Moses was forty years of ! oppressions, in what he had attempted ; and that age when he undertook to deliver them. Thus
it was not unusual for parents among the Jews to it is said, “ Moses lived in the palace of Pharaoh expose their children, or to put them to death. forty years; he was forty years in Midian ; and
he ministered to Israel forty years."-Ruinoel.
To risit, &c.-Probably with a view of deliver- | the man that does the injury that is unwilling to ing them from their oppressive bondage. Comp. | be reconciled ; and when we fin
be reconciled ; and when we find a man that rever. 25.
gards the entreaties of his friends as improper
interference, when he becomes increasingly angry VER. 24. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, when we exhort him to peace, it is usually a he defended him, and avenged him that was
strong evidence that he is conscious that he has
been at fault. If we wish to reconcile parties, oppressed, and smote the Egyptian :
we should go first to the man that has been inSuffer wrong.-The wrong or injury was, that
jured. In the controversy between God and
man, it is the sinner who has done the wrong, the Egyptian was smiting the Hebrew. (Exod.
that is unwilling to be reconciled, and not God. ii. 11, 12.) Smote the Egyptian.—He slew him,
His neighbour. — The Jew with whom he was and buried him in the sand.
contending. Who maile thee, &c.—What right
have you to interfere in this matter? The usual! Ver. 25. Fore he supposed his brethren would salutation with which a man is greeted who at
have understood, how that God by his hand | tempts to prevent quarrels. would deliver them : but they understood not.
VER. 28. Wilt thou kill me, as thou killedst the cor, now.
Egyptian yesterday? For he supposed.— This is not mentioned by
Wilt thou kill me, &c.- How it was known that Moses ; but it is not at all improbable. When
he had killed the Egyptian does not appear. It they saw him alone contending with the Egyptian, when it was understood that he had come and
was probably communicated by the man who taken vengeance on one of their oppressors, it
was rescued from the hands of the Egyptian.
(Exod. ii. 11, 12.) might have been presumed that he regarded himself as directed by God to interpose, and save the people.
VER. 29. Then fled Moses at this saying, and
was a stranger in the land of Madian, where VER. 26. And the next day he showed himself he begat two sons.
unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are bre
Then Moses fled, &c.-Moses filed because he
now ascertained that it was known. He supthren; why do ye wrong one to another?
posed that it had been unobserved. (Exod. ii.
12.) But he now supposed that the knowledge And the next day.—Exod. ii. 13. He showed
of it might reach Pharaoh, and that his life might himself.-lle appeared in a sudden and unex
thus be endangered. Nor did he judge incor. pected manner to them. Unto them. - That is,
rectly; for as soon as Pharaoh heard of it, he to two of the Hebrews. (Exod. ii. 13.) As they
sought to take his life. (Exod. ii. 15.) Was a strove. - As they were engaged in a quarrel.
stranger.-Or, become a sojourner, (Tápoi roc,) Have set them at one, - Greek, “would have
one who had a temporary abode in the land. urged them to peace.” This he did by remon
The use of this word implies, that he did not strating with the man that did the wrong. Say
expect to make that his permanent dwelling. ing.- What follows is not quoted literally from In the land of Madian.-- This was a part of Arathe account which Moses gives, but it is sub
bia. It was situated on the east side of the Red stantially the same. Sirs.-Greek, “men." Ye
sea. The city of Midian is placed there by the are brethren.--You belong not only to the same / Arabian geographers; but the Midianites seem nation, but you are brethren and companions in to have spread themselves along the desert, east affliction, and should not, therefore, contend with of mount Seir, to the vicinity of the Moabites each other. One of the most melancholy scenes | To the west they extended also to the neighbour. in this world is that, where those who are poor, 1 hood of mount Sinai. This was extensively a and afflicted, and oppressed, add to all their other
desert region, an unknown land; and Moses ex. calamities altercations and strifes among them
pected there to be safe from Pharaoh. Where selves. Yet it is from this class that contentions l he begat two sons.—He married Zipporah, the and lawsuits usually arise. The address which I daughter of Reuel. (Exod. ii. 18.) or Jethro. Moses here makes to the contending Jews might | (Numb. x. 29. Exod. iii. 1.) a priest of Midian. be applied to the whole human family, in view | The names of the two sons were Gershom and of the contentions and wars of nations : “Ye are | Eliezer. (Exod. xvii. 3, 4.) brethren, members of the same great family, and why do you contend with each other?”
VER. 30. And d when forty years were expired, VER. 27. But he that did his neighbour wrong
there appeared to him, in the wilderness of thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a
mount Sina, an angel of the Lord in a flame ruler and a judge over us?
of fire in a bush.
d Exod. iii. 2, &c. But he that did, &c. Intent on his purpose, Alled with rage and passion, he rejected all inter And when forty years, &c.—At the age of eighty forence, and all attempts at peace. It is usually years. This, however, was known by tradition.
It is not expressly mentioned by Moses. It is his attention was the fact that the bush was not said, however, to have been after the king of consumed. (Exod. iii. 2, 3.) The voice of the Egypt had died, (Exod. ii. 23 ;) and the tradition | Lord.---Jehovah spake to him from the midst of is not improbable. In the wilderness of mount the bush. He did not see him, but he simply Sina.--In the desert adjacent to, or that sur-heard a voice. rounded mount Sinai. In Exod. iii. 1, it is said that this occurred at mount Horeb. But there
VER. 32. Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, is no contradiction : Horeb and Sinai are different peaks or elevations of the same mountain. They
the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, are represented as springing from the same base, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and branching out in different elevations. The
and durst not behold. mountains, according to Burckhardt, are a prodigious pile, comprehending many peaks, and
• Matt. xxii. 32. Heb. xi. 16. ateat thirty miles in diameter. From one part of this mountain, Sinai, the law was given to the Saying, I am the God, &c.—See this explained, children of Israel. An angel of the Lord.-The Notes. Matt. xxii. 32. Then Moses trembled. word "angel" means properly a messenger, Note
Exod. ii. 6. Matt. i. 20, and is applied to the invisible spirits in heaven, to men, to the winds, or pestilence, or VER. 33. Then said the Lord to him, Put off to whatever is appointed as a messenger to make
thy shoes from thy feet; for the place where known the will of God. The mere name, therefore, can determine nothing about the nature of
thou standest is holy ground. the messenger. That same might be applied to
Josh. v. 15. Eccl. v. 1. any messenger, even an inanimate object. The nature and character of this messenger are to be Then said the Lord, &c.-In Exod. iii. this is determined by other considerations. The word introduced in a different order, as being spoken may denote that the bush on fire was the mes before God said, “ I am the God,” &c. Put out senger. But a comparison with the other places thy shoes, &c.-(Exod. iii. 5.) To put off the wbere this occurs will show that it was a celestial shoes, or sandals, was an act of reverence. Esmessenger, and perhaps that it was the Messiah pecially the ancients were not permitted to enter who was yet to come, appearing to take the a temple or holy place with their shoes on. Inpeorle of Israel under his own charge and direc- deed, it was customary for the Jews to remove tion. Comp. John i. 11, where the Jews are their shoes whenever they entered any house, as called "his own." In Exod. iii. 2, it is said that a mere matter of civility. Comp. Notes, John the angel of the Lord appeared in a flame of xiii. 5. See Josh. v. 15. Is holy ground. Is fire; in ver. 4, it is said that Jehovah spake to rendered sacred by the symbol of the Divine prehim out of the midst of the bush ; language sence. We should enter the sanctuary, the place which implies that God was there, and which is set apart for divine worship, not only with rever
rongly expressive of the doctrine that the angelence in our hearts, but with every external indiwas Jebovah. In Exod. xxiii. 20, 21, God says, cation of veneration. Solemn awe, and deep ** I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the seriousness, become the place set apart to the way, and to bring thee into the place which I service of God. have prepared. Beware of him and obey his voice, &c. (Ver. 23 ; xxxii. 34 ; xxxiii. 2.) In Ver. 34. I have seen, I have seen the affliction all these places this angel is mentioned as an
of my people which is in Egypt, and I have extraordinary messenger to conduct them to the lard of Canaan. He was to guide them, defend
heard their groaning, and am come down to thein, and drive out the nations before them.
deliver them: and now come, I will send All these circumstances seem to point to the thee into Egypt. corclusion that this was no other than the future Deliverer of the world, who came then to take I have seen, &c.-The repetition of this word his people under his own guidance, as emblematic is in accordance with the usage of the Hebrew of the future redemption of mankind. In a flame writers when they wish to represent any thing of fire.-That is, in what appeared to be a flame emphatically. Their groaning.-Under their opof fire. The bush or clump of trees seemed to pressions. Am come down. -- This is spoken in te on fire, or to be illuminated with a peculiar accordance with human conceptions. It means perdour. God is often represented as encom- | that God was about to deliver them. I will send used with this splendour, or glory. (Luke ii. / thee, &c.- This is a mere summary of what is 9. Matt. xvii. 1-5. Acts ix. 3 ; xii. 7.) In a expressed at much greater length in Exod. iii. bush. In a grove, or clump of trees. Probably | 7—10. the light was seen issuing from the midst of such a grore.
| VER. 35. This Moses, whom they refused, (say
ing, Who made thee a ruler and a judge?) the VER. 31. When Moses saw it, he wondered at same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer,
the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, by the hand of the < angel which appeared to the voice of the Lord came unto him,
him in the bush.
9 Exod. xiv. 19. Numb. xx. 16. II wondered, &c.--What particularly attracted