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A. M. 2433. A. C. 1571; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3683. A. C. 1728. EXOD. CH. i-xiii. infancy, had taken care to instruct him in such things as | Egypt, and to secure himself by flying into the country related to the religion and history of his ancestors; and of Midian beyond the Red Sea. therefore when he arrived to maturity, he left the court, In the plains of Midian, there is a well, common to and coming to live among his brethren, was himself an all the natives of the place : here it was that Moses had eye-witness at what a merciless rate the Egyptian task- stopped to refresh himself, when seven of the daughters masters treated them.
of Jethro, the chief man of the country, came to draw This raised his resentment and indignation to such a water for their flocks; but when they had filled their degree, that seeing one day an Egyptian abuse a Hebrew troughs, a parcel of rude shepherds, being minded to in a very gross manner, he stepped in to his assistance, serve their own turn first, seized on their water, and and perceiving nobody near, slew the Egyptian, and frightened the damsels away; which Moses perceiving, buried his body in the sand.
went to their assistance, and forcing the shepherds to The next day, as he walked out again, he found two retire, drew the young virgins more water, and gave it Hebrews in contest with one another ; whereupon he to their flocks. admonished them to consider that they were brethren, Hereupon taking their leaves, they made haste home; and would have decided the quarrel between them : but and while their father was wondering at their speedy he who was the aggressor, rejected his arbitration with return, they informed him how civil a certain stranger contempt, and upbraided him with the murder of the Egyp- had been, both in watering their flocks, and protecting tian the day before. This gave Moses some uneasy them from the insults of the rustics ; which made Jethro apprehensions, that as the thing was now blown, it might send and invite him to his house, and treat him in a not be long before it reached Pharaoh's ear, and endan- manner suitable to the civility he had shown to his ger his life ; so that he thought it the a best way to leave daughters; insomuch that Moses, after he had tarried
there some time, was so pleased with his courteous of the world in all sorts of learning, to send for masters from reception, that he expressed a willingness to take up his Greece, which rather stood in need of Egyptian teachers; for to abode with him, C and become his shepherd. This pro'be learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,' as St Stephen asserts of Moses, (Acts vii. 22,) was to have the best and most liberal education that the whole world could at that time afford. reputation, was resolved to rid himself of him; but Moses having
a Josephus, who has given us several particulars of Moses' some suspicion of it made his escape, and not daring to go by life, which io modesty perhaps he might not think proper to re- the common roads, for fear of being stopped by the king's guards, cord of himself, has assigned a farther reason for his leaving was forced to pass through a great desert to reach the land of Egypt, of which it may not be improper, in this place, to give Midian." the reader this short abstract. "When Moses was grown to 6 The word cohen signifies indifferently either priest or prince; man's estate, he had an opporiunity offered him of showing his and accordingly, in these early ages, both these offices were courage and conduct. The Ethiopians, who inhabited the upper frequently united in one and the same person. It seems, howland on the south side of Egypt, had made many dreadful incur- ever, that Jethro was scarce a prince in that country; for then sions, plundered and ravaged all the neighbouring parts of the one would think that the shepherds would not have dared to have country, beat the Egyptian army in a set battle, and were become been so insolent to his daughters; and yet if he was a priest, it so elated with their success, that they began to march towards is made a matter of some contest between two famous rabbins, the capital of Egypt. In this distress, the Egyptians had re- whether he was an idolater, or a worshipper of the true God. course to the oracle, which answered, that they should make Aben Ezra is of opinion, that as he was descended from Midian, choice of an Hebrew for their general. As none was more pro- the son of Abraham, by Keturah, in all probability he professed mising thao Moses, the king desired his daughter to consent that the true religion; nor can he suppose that Moses would have he should go, and head his army; but she, after having first married his daughter, had he been bred up in a false one: expostulated with her father, how mean a thing it was for the whereas Moses, it is plain, not only owns his alliance with his Egyptians to implore the assistance of a man whose death they had family, but, upon his arrival in the camp of Israel, invites him to been complotting, would not agree to it, until she had obtained a offer sacrifices to the Lord, (Exod. xviii. 11, 12.) as one who solemn promise upon oath, that no practices or attempts should be adored the same God with the Israelites. Kimchi, however, on made upon his life. When Moses, by the princess's persuasion, the other hand, affirms, that at first he was an idolatrous priest, had at last accepted the commission, he made it his first care to but afterwards, when he came to Moses in the wilderness, and come up with the enemy before they were aware of him; and to was particularly informed of all those great and wonderful things this purpose, instead of marching up the Nile as the custom was which God had wrought in Egypt for the deliverance of the before, he chose to cross the country, though the passage was very Hebrews, he became a convert to the worship of the true God; dangerous, by reason of the poisonous flying serpents which in- and for this he produces a passage in the same chapter, ver. II, fested those parts: but for this he had a new expedient. The • Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods; for in the bird ibis, though very friendly to every other creature, is a mortal thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them. But besides enemy to all serpents; and therefore having got a sufficient num- this, there is a farther difficulty in relation to this Jethro. In ber of these, he carried them along with him in cages, and as soon Exod. iii. 1. he is expressly called the father-in-law of Moses;" as they came into any dangerous places, he let them loose upon and yet the father of the young women, whom Moses defended the serpents, and by their means and protection, proceeded with at the well, and whereof he certainly married one, is said to be out any harm or molestation. He entered the enemy's country, Reuel, (ii. 18,) and not Jethro: either therefore this Reuel took several of their cities, and obliged them at last to retreat must be their grandfather, who, being head of the family, might, into Saba, the metropolis of Ethiopia. Moses sat down before it; in a larger sense, be called father, as we find instances of the like but as it was situate in an island, with strong fortifications about nature in Gen. xxxi. 43; 2 Kings xiv. 14, &c.: or, as others will it
, in all probability it would have cost him a longer time to carry have it, this Reuel, or Jethro, was one and the same person, it
, had not Tharbis, the king of Ethiopia's daughter, who had the under different denominations. Upon supposition, therefore, that fortune once to see him from the walls behaving himself with the he was descended from the family of Cush, it is imagined, that utmost gallantry, fallen in love with him. Whereupon she sent while he continued in Idumæa, his name might be Reuel, but privately to let him know, that the city should be surrendered to upon his removal into Midian, to avoid the wars and tumults in him
upon condition that he would marry her immediately after. his own country, he came to be called Jethro, as being the only Moses agreed to the proposal; and having taken possession of remainder (for so the word signifies) of the Cushites in that the place, and of the princess, returned with his victorious army country.— Bibliotheca Biblica, and Bedford's Scripture Chronto Egypt. Here, instead of reaping the fruits of his great achieve- ology, b. 3. c. 4. ment, the Egyptians accused him of murder to the king, who c It can hardly be supposed, but that a person of Moses' educahaving already taken some umbrage at his valour and great . tion would, in the space of forty years, which he abode iu Midian A. M. 2433. A. C. 1571; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3683. A. C. 1728. EXOD. CH. i–xiii. posal Jethro very readily embraced; and to attach him Horeb, he saw a bush on fire, and, as he thought, flaming the more to his interest, gave him his a daughter Zip- for a considerable while, but, what occasioned his porah in marriage, by whom he had two sons, whereof astonishment, not in the least damaged or consumed. the elder he named Gershom, which signifies a stranger, This raised his curiosity to go a little nearer, and see alluding to his own condition in that country; and the if he could discover the cause of it; but as he was younger Eliezer, importing, God my help, in grateful approaching, d he heard a voice out of the bush, calling acknowledgment of God's having delivered him from the unto him, and ordering him to e pull off his shoes, hands of Pharaoh, who sought his life.
While Moses lived in the family of Jethro, the king, and forty nights; 6. That from hence he brought the two tables who was upon the Egyptian throne when he left the of the law; and, 7. That here Elijah was vouchsafed a noble country, died; but his successor, who was no less a vision ; with some others of the like nature.-Calmet's Diction. tyrant, and oppressor of the Israelites, laid such heavy ary, Universal History, b. 1. c. 7, and Wells' Geography of the
Old Testament, vol. 2. burdens upon them, as made their lives extremely
c Exod. iii. 2. • And the angel of the Lord appeared unto hima miserable, till at length their complaints reached heaven; in a flame of fire. The traditionary notion of a miraculous light and as the time of their deliverance grew near, God or fire being the token of a divine presence, prevailed among the remembering the covenant which he had made with their Greeks in the time of Homer; for after relating that the goddes
Minerva attended on Ulysses with her golden lamp, or rather forefathers, began to look upon them with an eye of pity torch, and afforded him a refulgent light, he makes Telemachus and compassion.
cry out to his father in rapture, Moses was to be his instrument in bringing about their
What miracle thus dazzles with surprise ? deliverance : and therefore, while he was feeding his
Distinct in rows the radiant columns rise. father-in-law's flock, and as they wandered in their
The walls, where'er my wondering sight I turn,
And roofs, amidst a blaze of glory burn : feeding, followed them as far into the desert as . Moimt
Some visitant of pure ethereal race
With his bright presence deigns the dome to grace.-ED. find some other employment for himself than keeping sheep; and d In the text it is said, that the angel of the Lord appeared therefore some have imagined, that in this time he wrote the book unto him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of the bush,' Exod. of Job, as we mentioned before, to comfort the Israelites, by the ii. 2. But whether was a created angel, speaking in the persim example of his admirable patience, under their heavy oppression of God, or God himself, or, as the most received opinion is, in Egypt, and the book of Genesis likewise, that they might the Christ the Son of God, has been matter of some controversy better understand what promises had been made to their ancestors, among the learned. Those who suppose it no more than an Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that the time for their accom- angel, seem to imply, that it would be a diminution of the majesty plishment was approaching. Nor can we suppose, but that the of God to appear upon every occasion, especially when he has several arts and sciences, which he had been taught in his youth, such a number of celestial ministers, who may do the business as he took care, in this place of happy retirement, to cultivate and well. But considering that God is present everywhere, the improve.- Patrick's Commentary.
notification of his presence, by some outward sign, in one detera It may be made a standing observation, that divine authors minate place, which is all we mean by his appearance, is, in our do not relate all the passages of a story, as other authors delight conception, less laborious (if any thing laborious could be conto do, but such only as are most material. We may therefore ceived of God) than a delegation of angels, upon every turn, from suppose, that a great many things intervened between Moses' heaven, and seems in the main to illustrate, rather than debase, entrance into Jethro's family, and his marriage to his daughter; the glory of his nature and existence. But however this be, it especially considering that his children were so young at the is plain, that the angel here spoken of was no created being, from time of his return into Egypt. The observation of Philo, how the whole context, and especially from his saying, 'I am the ever, is not altogether to be neglected, namely, " That men of a Lord God, the Jehovah,' &c., since this is not the language of great genius quickly show themselves, and are not made known angels, who are always known to express themselves in suela by length of time;" and therefore he thinks, “ That Jethro, humble terms as these, • I am sent from God, I am thy fellow being first struck with admiration of his goodly aspect, and then servant,' &c. It is a vain pretence to say, that an angel, as God's of his wise discourse, immediately gave him the most beautiful ambassador, may speak in God's name and person ; for what of all his daughters to be his wife, not staying to inquire of any ambassador of any prince ever yet said, 'I am the king?' Since body who he was, because his own most excellent qualities therefore no angel, without the guilt of blasphemy, could assume sufficiently recommended him to his affection." -De Vita Mosis, these titles, and since neither God the Father, nor the Holy b, 1.
Ghost, are ever called by the name of an angel, that is, a més6 Horeb is a mountain in Arabia Petræa, at so small a distance senger, or person sent, whereas God the Son is called by the from Mount Sinai, that they seem to be no more than two tops prophet Malachi, chap. iii. 1, the angel of the covenant,' it belonging to the same mountain. Sinai lies to the east, and hence seems to follow, that this angel of the Lord was God tha Horeb to the west ; but we find them frequently in Scripture Son, who might very properly be called an angel; because
, in used promiscuously. For, whereas the author of the Hebrews the fulness of time, he was sent into the world in our flesh, as a several times asserts, that God gave his law to the Israelites at messenger from God, and might therefore make his temporary Horeb, though other places expressly say, that it was at Sinai, apparitions, presages, and forerunners, as it were, of his more this is easily agreed, by observing, that they both made but as it solemn mission.
Poole's Annotations. were one mountain with two tops, whereof that of Sinai is much e Justin Martyr, in his second apology, is of opinion, that the the higher, though that of Horeb exceeds it in fruitfulness and custom of putting off the shoes, both among the Jews and Genpleasure. It is not for that reason, however, no nor yet for its tiles, before they began to officiate in holy things, took its rise vast height, that it obtained the title of the mount of God. from this precept given to Moses; but our learned Mr Mede Josephus indeed tells us, (b. 2. c. 12.) that the people of the seems to be of a different opinion, namely, that Moses did not country had a tradition, that God, in a more particular manner, give the first occasion to this rite, but that it was derived from dwelt there; and that therefore, in reverence to the place, they the patriarchs before him, and transmitted to future ages from always declined feeding their flocks upon it: but the true reason that ancient general tradition. It is certain that Pythagoras
, of its being so called is, that, in after ages, it became famous for who took his institutes chiefly from the Egyptians, delivers it 25 sundry events, and at this time received its name by way of a rule in his Rubric, "he who sacrifices, should put off his shoes, anticipation. For here it was, 1. That God appeared to Moses and so approach to the holy ordinance;" and therefore God, in in the bush; 2. That he manifested his glory at the delivery of compliance to an ancient custom, then in practice among the the law; 3. That Moses, with his rod, brought water out of the Egyptians, might speak to Moses, who was a person well rock; 4. That by lifting up his hands, he made Joshua prevail acquainted with their ceremonies, to decalceate, as very well against the Amalekites; 5. That here he fasted twice forty days knowing, that it would be a means to create in him a greater
od commanded this miracle of ich was inventleper, and the were forced to afection. This ptian History; historian; and in authors, unirst maliciously from whom he isage of Moses' which was preier part of his e argument of eing no leper, that no lepers i live apart in iched a leper, ild be reputed d of that dish himself with such and such ly city. Now his distemper ver have been ed was a dis“ The leprosy ile in Middle ) and Plutarch be presumed a intention to ir which they ther with the
For that the lent from the nds is agreed, by the Egypeir will, their ir lives with ed by several ion.—Joseph, Biblica, vol.
posal Jethro the more to porah in ma the elder he alluding to 1 younger Eli acknowledg hands of Ph
While Mo who was up country, die tyrant, and burdens up miserable, ti and as the remembering forefathers, and compas
Moses wa deliverance father-in-lav feeding, fol
find some oth therefore som of Job, as we example of hi in Egypt, and better underst Abraham, Isa plishment was several arts ai he took care, improve.-P
a It may bi do not relate to do, but su suppose, that entrance into especially con time of his re ever, is not a great genius by length of being first str of his wise di of all his dau body who he sufficiently re b. 1.
6 Horeb is from Mount belonging to Horeb to the used promisc several times Horeb, thoug this is easily were one mo the higher, t1 pleasure. It vast height, Josephus ind country had dwelt there; always declin of its being s sundry event anticipation. in the bush; the law; 3. rock; 4. The against the
A, M. 2433. A. C. 1571; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3723. A. C. 1688. EXOD. CH. i-xiii. because the ground whereon he stood was holy. Moses | rod that was in his hand upon the ground, it instantly obeyed; and while the voice went on to declare itself became a serpent terrible to bebold; but when he ordered the God, who had all along been kind to his ancestors, bim to take it up, it resumed its former shape ; when he and had now with compassion seen the afflictions of his put his hand into his bosom, upon pulling it out, it was brethren, and was come down to deliver them from their all over leprous, but upon putting it in, and pulling it oppressors, he fell down upon the ground, and covered out again, it became as clean as before ; and, as if this his face with his garment, as being unable to sustain the were not enough, to gain him a further credit among the refulgency of the divine presence.
people, he gave him a standing power to convert water Moses, by this time, had entirely laid aside all into blood, whenever there was occasion. thoughts of rescuing his brethren, the Israelites, from But the promise of all this miraculous power
could their thraldom; nor had he any opinion of his own abili- not prevail with Moses to accept of this office. He ties, if he should make the attempt, to succeed in so alleged in excuse, his want of eloquence, and c the difficult an undertaking; and therefore, when God pro- natural impediment he had in his speech. But this posed the thing to him, and opened the whole manner and inethod in which he would have it executed, he began to Moses to work all his wonders before Pharaoh, this miracle of
6 It is no improbable conjecture, that as God commanded excuse himself, by urging his meanness and insufficiency the leprosy gave occasion to the fabulous story, which was inventto take upon him the character of a divine ambassador. ed in after ages, namely, That Moses was a leper, and the This difficulty God endeavoured to remove, by assuring Israelites a scabby race, whom the Egyptians were forced to him that he would be with him, and assist him in every defamation is first met with in Manetho's Egyptian History;
drive out of their country, for fear of the infection. This step he took; that he would enable him to accomplish from Manetho it descended to Apion, the Greek historian; and the thing, though never so perplexed and arduous; and from him Justin and Tacitus, two noted Roman authors, upfor a token of his veracity herein, that within a small doubtedly took it. But as Manetho might not at first maliciously compass of time, he should see that very people, who devise it out of his own head, so those writers from whom he now were in slavery, set free, and worshipping him on appearing with a leprous hand before Pharaoh, which was pre
compiled his history, might derive it from this passage of Moses' that very mountain.
sently noised about the country, without the other part of his Moses, still unwilling to undertake the thing, desired being immediately cured. For, according to the argument of to know what he was to say to the people, and by what Josephus," there needs no other proof of his being no leper, name he was to call the person who sent him upon this should be admitted into any towns or villages, but live apart in
than what arises from his own words, namely, that no lepers message. To which request God was pleased to reply, a distinct habit by themselves; that whoever touched a leper, That he who sent him was an eternal, independent, self- or lodged under the same roof with him, should be reputed existent being, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, unclean; and that whoever should come to be cured of that disby which name he gloried to be called ; and therefore fountain water, shave off all his hair, and offer such and such
ease, should pass through certain purifications, wash himself with he required him, first to assemble the elders of Israel sacrifices, before he should be received into the holy city. Now together, and acquaint them with his design, and then to if Moses," says he, “had been afflicted with this distemper go directly to the king, and demand of him a dismission himself, it is incongruous to think, that he would ever have been of the Israelites, at least for three days' journey into the temper in a manner peculiar to the Egyptians.
so severe upon others for it.” The leprosy indeed was a dis
" The leprosy wilderness, in order to sacrifice to their God; which, is a disease which arises by the banks of the Nile in Middle though at the first he knew he would be far from grant- Egypt, and no where else," as both Lucretius (b. 6.) and Plutarch ing, yet in the end, would be glad to consent to, when tell us; and if it was so in Moses' time, he may be presumed he should see the divine power exerted upon sundry excite the people's carefulness to avoid a distemper which they
to have made laws more strict against it, with an intention to occasions, and so many miracles wrought before his had already seen so much of, but had now, together with the eyes as would compel him to let them go.
other calamities of their bondage, happily escaped. For that the Such a solemn assurance as this from the mouth of people, at this time, were in good health, is evident from the God himself, was enough, one would think, to have long journey
they undertook, and which on all hands is agreed,
they did perform; and that they were not expelled by the Egypgained a ready compliance ; but Moses still demurs to tians, but went away from them sore against their will, their the thing, and makes it an objection, that the people, pursuit of them to the Red Sea, and losing all their lives with when he came to them, might possibly question his cre
a purpose of retaking them, facts that are attested by several
heathen authors, are dentials ; and therefore, to obviate this, God promises contra Apion, Plutarch's Quæst. Nat., Bibliotheca Biblica, vol.
an abundant demonstration.-Joseph, to enable him to work miracles for their conviction. 2. Essay 4. and Patrick's Commentary. And for a specimen of this, when he bade him throw the c Moses here tells us of himself, that he was slow of speech,
which most interpret to be a stammerer, or stutterer; and yet
St Stephen (Acts vii. 22.) declares of him, that he was mighty Teverence to the divine presence, and a more awful attention to in words as well as deeds ;' but this admits of an easy reconciliawhat he was going to say.- Patrick's and Le Clerc's Commen- tion, if we do but suppose, that the sense of what he spake was tries,
great and weighty, though his pronunciation was not answerable « God no doubt was the God of Noah, and of all the holy to it. As God, however, tells him, (Exod. iv. 11.) that he it was patriarchs, who lived before these three were born; but for a who made the mouth, and could consequently give to any man peculiar reason is he called their God, because of his covenant, what faculties he thought convenient, or remove any impediment and the promise made to each of them, that the blessed seed he might have, it seems not improbable, that either by use and should spring from their loins, in opposition to the pretensions of exercise, or else by God's immediate cure of his defect, Moses other neighbouring people, who, as the learned Dr Alix observes, had acquired a better facility in delivering his mind, since we were their rivals in that hope. And so the word will denote, as find him making several speeches to the people, especially that moch as if he had said, the God of Abraham, and not of Lot, as excellent discourse before his death, in the beginning of Deuterthe Ammonites and Moabites pretended; the God of Isaac, and onomy; as he has likewise, where his song occurs towards the not of Ishmael, as his posterity pretended; and the God of Jacob, latter end, given an ample demonstration, that he wanted not and not of Esau, as the Edomites boasted.- Patrick's Commen- eloquent words when he pleased to employ them.- Patrick's