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try, and you shall find, by the event, that I have sent you.' of these interpretations the former is more agreeable to the Hebrew accents, which indicate a marked distinction between the former and the latter clauses of the verse; and it seems also better to accord with our ordinary conceptions of the use of a sign, which is usually mnderstood to be something addressed to the outward senses rather than to the faith of the recipient, and is of course naturally regarded rather as a cause, help, or confirmation of faith, than its object. The latter view of the passage, however, it must be adınitted, is strongly corroborated by Isaiah, 7. 14. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' Here both the sign and the thing promised are future. The reader will adopt that construction which he thinks the most plausible. Upon this mountain ;' more correctly at’orby' this mountain.
What hypothetical difficulty does Moses state, what does he ask in respect to it, and what does God answer him? y. 13, 14.
"They shall say unto me, What is his name? ' i. e. What is his nature, his character ?—Under what significant denomination doch he make himself known ?' God and his name may be said to be one and the same.-'I am that I am.' The Heb.' Fhyeh asher ehyeh,' literally signifies, 'I will be that I will be.' The Gr. resolves it, I am he that is, or the t xisting One;' Arab. “the Eternal who passeth not away. A somewhat similar denomination occurs, Rev. 1. 4. where John invokes grace and peace
from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come,' which is supposed to be a paraphrase or exposition of the name Jehovah, a word derived from the same root, and of kindred import with the phrase before us. See note on Ex. 6. 3. The title, 'I am that I amn, properly denotes the underived, eternal, and unchangeable ex. istence of the great Being to whom it is applied, carrying in it also the implication that He, in distinction from all others, is the one only true God, the God who really is, while all the pretended deities of the Egyptians and other nations were a non-entily, a vanity, and a lie. It implice, moreover, as founded upon the immutability of the Divino nature, the certain and faithful performance of every pro. mise which he had uttered, so that whatever he had bound himself by covenant to do for Au.aham, for Isaac, and for Jacob, he pledges himself by the annunciation of this au. gust title to make the same good to their seed. 'I am that (which) I will be, and I will be that (which) I am; the same yesterday, 10.day, and for ever.'
What was the grand burden of the message which he was to deliver to the children of Israel ?
* This is my memorial unto all generations ;' i. c. that by which I will be remembered and mentioned in all time to come. Accordingly, in allusion to this declaration, we have, Hos. 12.5. "Even the Lord (Jehovah) God of hosts; thc Lord (Jehovah) is his memorial.' Ps. 135. • Thy name, O Lord, (Jehovah,) endureth for over; and thy inemorial, O Lord, (Jehovah,) unto all generations.'
To whom was Moses directed in the first instance to deliver his message, what was to be its purport, and what was he next to do in the proses cution of his mission ? v. 16--18. • Gather the elders of Israel together;' Gr. 'the senate, or eldership;' not so much all the aged men of the congregation of Israel, as the elders in office, the persons of principal note and influence in the tribes, teachers and rulers, men who were qualified by age, experience, and wisdom, to preside over the affairs of the nation, and who it appears were usually employed as organs of communication between Moses and the body of the people. Thus when Moses and Aaron are said, ch. 12, 3. to have been conmanded to speak unto all the congregation of Israel, saying,' &c. we find that in the account of the execution of this order, v. 21. “Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said
&c. Sec note on Gen. 24. 24.--I have surely visited you, and seen,' &c. i. e. have so absolutely purposed and decreed to deliver you from Egypt, that it may be said to be already done. Although the word 'seen' is supplied in our version, it is not indispensably necessary to complete the sense, as the import of the preceding verb may be, that God had determined to visit the Israelites in mercy, and their oppressors in judgment. And I have said ;' i. e. I have resolved.--'Hath met with us;' i. e. appeared unto us.-- Three days' journey;' Heb. three days' way.'
What does he declare, notwithstanding, as to the effect of their message upon the king of Egypt, and what consequent judgments does he announce? v. 19, 20. . Will not let you go ;' Heb.' will not give you to go.'"No, not by a mighty hand;' i. e. he will at first resist and rebel, notwithstanding all the demonstrations of my great power against him: but at length he shall yield. Or, it may be rendered, 'Unless by a strong hand, Chal. “Nor suffer you to go out for a strong fear.'
By what means, and under what circumstances, was their egress from the land of Egypt to be brought about? v. 21, 22.
Shall borrow;' Heb. Shall ask.' Sec note on Ex. 12. 35.— Jewels of silver and jewels of gold;' rather 'vessels of silver, vessels of gold;' the original denotes any kind of instruments or utensils made of gold or silver.
HEADS OF PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS.
V. 1. Desert and lonely places are often those which God
selects for the most marked manifestations of himself to his servants. Such displays usually made, not to the idle, but to those who are busied in some useful em
ployment. V. 2. When the Most High appears in behalf of his
Church, he does, if needs be, lay his interdict on the power of the elements and the instinct of the animal
tribes. V. 4. God's calls and encouragements, his visions and
voices, are graciously vouchsafed to those who first evince a strong disposition to draw near and to know his mind.
V. 5. Rash and hasty approaches into the Divine pre
sence expose one to encounter a sensible rebuke. A reverential frame of spirit, and a devout carriage of the outwarı man, become the hallowed place of the
sanctuary. V. 6. God is in very near relation to those with whom
he is in covenant; a relation too which is not broken,
but consummated, by death. V. 6. Clear apprehensions of the Divine Majesty cannot
but overawe the souls even of the most eminent saints,
and prompt them, like the angels, to veil their faces. V. 7. The Lord's interest in his people engages him to sce thoroughly to their afflictions, especially those which
emanate from the cruety of their fellow-men. V. 8. The speedy deliverance of the oppressed follows
upon the Divine descent in their behalf. V. 8. The place of the wicked doth God make the posses
sion of his chosen, while towings of milk anu honey
shall enter largely into their inheritance. V. 9. God's hearing the cry of Israel, and seeing the op
pression of Egypt, iinpiy suitable returns to both. V. 10. Jehovah's going before in the annunciation of his
purpose, is a powerful inducement to his servants to
follow after in the accomplishment of bis will. V. 10. God's cominand and commission is enough to em
power the weakest man for the hardest service. V. 11, 12. Those who are, in reality, the best fitted for the
peculiar work of God, are usually prone to esteem thenselves the least so. But however the infirmity of nature may shrink from an allotted agency in effecting any signal deliverance, reformation, or change in the church,
the promised presence of Jehovah silences every plea. V. 15. The covenant relation of God to fathers, is often,
and justly, a ground of signal comfort io children. V. 17. Whatever God solemnly promises may be consi
dered as good as actually accomplished. V. 18. True wisdom may sometimes dictate that that
should be sought as a favor, which, at the same time,
might be claimed as a right. V. 19. Although the Most High knows well the reception
which his enemies will give to his ministers and their messages, yet he will not suffer his purposes to be stayed on this account, but urges on his servants, that the hearts
of his adversaries may be made manifest. V. 20–22. It is only by the express command of God that
his injured peo are to take into their own hands the business of redressing their wrongs.
What was Moses' desponding answer ? v. 1. "But, behold, they will not believe me.' The original Ve-han,' and behold, may, perhaps, be more properly rendered as in the Gr..and if making it a conditional instead of an absolute affirmation of Moses. The Heb. word is expressly so rendered, Jer. 3. 1. “They say, if a man put away his wife, and she go from him,' &c.
eh. "behold, a man put away' &c. It may, indeed, be asked, if the language of Moses is to be understood affirmatively, how lie knew that the people would not believe him ?
What means did the Most High see fit to adopt in order to remove the apprehensions of Moses on this score? v. 2-4. And he said, A rod;' or Heb. 'a staff,' as it is rendered, Gen. 38. 18. i. e, such a rod, or crook, as is used by shepherds in tending their flocks. Thus, Mic. 7. 14. “Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage.' In v. 20, it is called the rod of God,' from the miraculous effects which it was instrumental in working. It became a serpent;' Heb. it became to a serpent. Nahash. The original word for “serpent,' in this place is, as we have remarked on Gen. 3. 1. often used interchangeably with «Tannin,' dragon, and as Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is termed, Ezek. 29, 3, "The great dragon that lieth in the midst of