THE SECOND BOOK OF MOSES,
After the death of Joseph, who had sent for his father’s house into Egypt, the children of Israel exceedingly multiplied, notwithstanding Pharaoh’s cruel oppressing of them; from under which God, hearing their cry, brought them with a strong hand. Wherefore this book is called by the Greeks Exodus, i.e. a going forth; containing an historical account of passages for about one hundred and forty years; with the wonderful raising up of Moses, who, together with Aaron, were to be instruments of their deliverance; and accordingly, after the inflicting ten dreadful plagues upon Pharaoh, brought them into the wilderness through the Red Sea, wherein Pharaoh (his heart being hardened under all these plagues) and all his host pursuing of them were drowned; God having first instituted the passover, as an abiding sacrament to bring to their remembrance in after-times this great deliverance.
In their conduct through the wilderness, God gave them the signal mark of his presence in the pillar of a cloud, and the pillar of fire; who, notwithstanding their great and reiterated murmurings, gave them food, both bread and flesh from heaven, and drink out of the rock; and when they were come to Mount Sinai, he there gave them the moral law, beside other both politic and ecclesiastical ordinances. Afterwards, the breaking of the tables being occasioned by the idolatry of the golden calf, God graciously renewed his covenant with them. There being also a tabernacle, and ark, and other things to be made by God’s command, the bounty of the people, in order to the making and furnishing thereof, is here set down; which, being finished, the tabernacle is anointed, and filled with the glory of God.
Exod 1:1-5: The names and numbers of the children of Israel that came into Egypt.
Exod 1:6: Joseph, his brethren, and that generation die.
Exod 1:8: A new king, who knew not Joseph,
Exod 1:9-11: goeth about by affliction, etc. to suppress the Israelites.
Exod 1:12: They increase.
Exod 1:15-16: Pharaoh commands the midwives to kill the male children.
Exod 1:17: They fear God, and obey not the king.
Exod 1:20: For this God blesseth the midwives.
Exod 1:22: Pharaoh commands all the male children to be drowned.
Exod 1:1. This list is here repeated, that by comparing this small root with so vast a company of branches as grew upon it, we may see the wonderful providence of God in the fulfilling of his promises. And his household, his children and grandchildren, as the word house is taken Ruth 4:11; 2 Sam 7:11; 1 Kings 21:29.
Exod 1:2-3. Who, though the youngest of all, is placed before Dan, Naphtali, etc., because these were the sons of the handmaidens.
Exod 1:4-5. Seventy souls, including Jacob and Joseph, and his two sons. See Gen 46:26-27; Deut 10:22. Or if they were but sixty-nine, they are called seventy by a round number, of which we shall have many instances.
Exod 1:6. i.e. All that were of the same age with Joseph and his brethren.
Exod 1:7. Here are many words, and some very emphatical, to express their incredible multiplication. They waxed exceeding mighty; which may relate either to their numbers, which greatly added to their strength, or to their constitution, to note that their offspring was strong as well as numerous. Atheistical wits cavil at this story, and pretend it impossible that out of seventy persons should come above six hundred thousand men within two hundred and fifteen years; wherein they betray no less ignorance than impiety. For, to say nothing of the extraordinary fruitfulness of the women in Egypt who oft bring forth four or five children at one birth, as Aristotle notes, Hist. Animal. 7.4, nor of the long lives of the men of that age, nor of the plurality of wives then much in use, nor of the singular blessing of God upon the Hebrews in giving them conceptions and births without abortion, all which are but very reasonable suppositions, the probability of it may plainly appear thus: Suppose there were only two hundred years reckoned, and only fifty persons who did beget children, and these begin not to beget before they he twenty years old, and then each of them beget only three children. Divide this time now into ten times twenty years. In the first time, of 50 come 150. In the second, of 150 come 450. Of them in the third, come 1350. Of them in the fourth, 4050. Of these in the fifth, 12150. Of these in the sixth, 36450. Of them in the seventh, 109350. Of them in the eighth, 328050. Of these in the ninth, 984150. And of them in the tenth, 2952450. If it be objected, that we read nothing of their great multiplication till after Joseph’s death, which some say was not above fifty years before their going out of Egypt, it may be easily replied: 1. This is a great mistake, for there were above one hundred and forty, years between Joseph’s death and their going out of Egypt, as may appear thus: It is granted that the Israelites were in Egypt about two hundred and ten or two hundred and fifteen years in all. They came not thither till Joseph was near forty years old, as is evident by comparing Gen 41:46 with Gen 45:6. So there rests only seventy years of Joseph’s life, which are the first part of the time of Israel’s dwelling in Egypt, and there remain one hundred and forty-five years, being the other part of the two hundred and fifteen years. 2. That the Israelites did multiply much before Joseph’s death, though Scripture be silent in it, as it is of many other passages confessedly true, cannot be reasonably doubted. But if there was any defect in the numbers proposed in the first fifty-five years, it might be abundantly compensated in the one hundred and forty-five years succeeding. And so the computation remains good.
Exod 1:8. A new king, i.e. another king; one of another disposition, or interest, or family; for the kingdom of Egypt did oft pass from one family to another, as appears from the history of the Dynasties recorded in ancient writers. Which knew not Joseph, or, acknowledged not the vast obligations which Joseph had laid not only upon the kingdoms of Egypt, and the king under whom Joseph lived, but upon all his successors, in regard of those vast additions of wealth and power which he had made to that crown. This phrase notes his ungrateful disowning and ill requiting of Joseph’s favours. For words of knowledge in Scripture commonly include the affections and actions; as men are oft said not to know God, when they do not love nor serve him; and God is said not to know men, when he doth not love them.
Exod 1:9. This was not a true, but an invidious representation and aggravation of the matter, the better to justify the sororities which he designed.
Exod 1:10. War was not unusual in that country. So get them up out of the land, which they might easily learn from some of the Hebrews, that they were in due time to do. And they were very unwilling to pint with them, because of the tribute and service which they did receive and expect from them.
Exod 1:11. Taskmasters, Heb. masters of tribute, who were to exact from them the tribute required, which was both money and labour; that their purses might be exhausted by the one, their strength by the other, and their spirits by both. To afflict, or, oppress, or humble; to spend their strength by excessive labours, and so disenable them for the procreation of children. Treasure cities, where they laid the king’s money or corn, which is reckoned among treasures, 2 Chron 17:12; 2 Chron 32:27, and wherein a great part of the riches of Egypt consisted; for they had corn enough, not only for themselves, but to sell to other countries; so that Egypt was accounted the granary of the Roman empire. Or, defenced cities, in which garrisons were to be placed, which seems best to agree with the place and use of them. For they were in the borders of the land, and among the Israelites, which appears concerning the one from Gen 47:11, (where the land in which they were placed is called Rameses, which in Hebrew consists of the same letters with this Raamses, and seems to be so called then by anticipation from the city of that name now built in it,) and may be reasonably presumed concerning the other; and therefore it is most probable that they were built to keep the Israelites in subjection, and to hinder them from going out of the land.
Exod 1:12. They multiplied, through God’s overruling providence and singular blessing, which God gave them purposely to hasten first their sorer affliction, and next, and by that means, their glorious deliverance. They were grieved, through envy and fear.
Exod 1:13. Or, cruelty, or, tyranny; with hard words and cruel usage, without mercy or mitigation. This God permitted for wise and just reasons. 1. As a punishment of their idolatry, into which divers of them fell there. Josh 24:14; Ezek 20:5,7-8; Ezek 23:8. 2. To wean them from the land of Egypt, which otherwise was a plentiful and desirable land, and to quicken their desires after Canaan. 3. To prepare the way for God’s glorious works, and Israel’s deliverance.
Exod 1:14. Service in the field was the basest and most laborious of all their services.
Exod 1:15. The Hebrew midwives; such as not only were employed about the Hebrew women, but were Hebrews themselves, not Egyptians, as some suppose; as may appear, 1. Because they are expressly called, not the midwives of the Hebrews, but the Hebrew midwives. 2. The Egyptian midwives would not willingly employ their time and pains among the meanest and poorest of servants, as these were. And if they were sent in design by the king, he had lost his end, which was to cover his cruelty with cunning, and to persuade the people that their death was not from his intention, but from the chances and dangers of childbearing. 3. The Hebrew women, as they had doubtless midwives of their own, so they would never have admitted others. 4. They are said to fear God, Exod 2:17,21.
You are not to think that these were the only midwives to so many thousands of Hebrew women, but they were the most eminent among them; and it may be, for their excellency in that profession called to the service of some Egyptian ladies, and by them known to Pharaoh, who might therefore think by their own interest, and by the promise of great rewards, or by severe threatenings, to oblige them to comply with his desires; and if he met with the desired success by them, he meant to proceed further, and to engage the rest in like manner.
Exod 1:16. The stools; a seat used by women when ready to be delivered, conveniently framed for the midwife’s better discharge of her office. Ye shall kill him, which it was not difficult for them to do without much observation. If it be a daughter, then she shall live; either, 1. Because he feared not them, but the males only; and some add, that he was advised by one of their magicians, that a male child should be born of the Israelites, who should be a dreadful scourge to the Egyptians. Or, 2. They reserved them for their lust, or for service, or for the increase of their people, and the raising of a fairer breed by them.
Exod 1:17. They feared God more than the king, and therefore chose to obey God rather than the king, their commands being contrary each to other.
Exod 1:18-19. They are lively, or, vigorous and active in promoting the birth of their own children; or, like the beasts, which without any help of others bring forth their young. So the Hebrew word signifies; and so there is only a defect of the particle of similitude, which is frequent, as I have noted before.
This might be no lie, as many suppose, but a truth concerning many of them, and they do not affirm it to be so with all. And so it might be, either because their daily and excessive labours joined with the fears of the execution of the king’s command, whereof they seem to have gotten notice, did hasten their birth, as the same causes do commonly in other women; or because they, understanding their danger, would not send for the midwives, but committed themselves to God’s providence, and the care of some of their neighbours present with them. So here was nothing but truth, though they did not speak the whole truth, which they were not obliged to do.
Exod 1:20. Therefore, because they feared God, and spared the children, Exod 1:17, whereby they exposed themselves to the king’s displeasure; because they would not offend God by murdering the children, which they might have done many times secretly, and therefore it was only the fear of God which restrained them from it.
Exod 1:21. i.e. God greatly increased their families both in children and posterity, and in wealth, and other outward blessings. So this phrase is used Gen 30:30; Deut 25:9; 1 Sam 2:35; 1 Kings 2:24; 1 Kings 11:38; Ps 127:1. As houses are commonly put for families, so building is put for procreating of children, Gen 16:2; Gen 30:3.
Exod 2:1-2: Moses’s parentage and birth.
Exod 2:3: His mother makes an ark, puts him therein.
Exod 2:4-9: Pharaoh’s daughter going to wash herself, seeth him, takes him for her own child, and gives him to his mother to nurse.
Exod 2:11-12: Moses seeing an Israelite wronged by an Egyptian, kills him.
Exod 2:15: Pharaoh hearing this, seeks to slay Moses; he flees to Midian.
Exod 2:17: There he rescues Reuel’s daughters from the violence of the shepherds;
Exod 2:21: serves Reuel, and marries his daughter Zipporah.
Exod 2:22: She bears him a son, his name, and the reason of it.
Exod 2:23-25: God heareth the cry of the Israelites.
Exod 2:1. There went a man, viz. Amram, Exod 6:20; Num 26:58-59 from the place of his abode to another place for the following purpose. A daughter of Levi, namely Jochebed, Num 26:59, called a daughter, not strictly, but more largely, to wit, a grandchild, as the words father and son are oft used for a grandfather and a grandson, as hath been showed before: And so the word sister, Exod 6:20, is to be taken largely, as brother is oft used for a cousin. This seems more probable than that an Israelite should marry his own sister, which even heathens by the light of nature have condemned, especially now when he had such abundant choice elsewhere.
Exod 2:2-3. She could not longer hide him, with safety to herself, because they now grew more violent in executing that bloody decree, and the child growing up was more likely to be discovered, especially seeing the Egyptians dwelt among them, Exod 3:22. That boats were made of such materials as bulrushes in those parts, is evident from Isa 18:2, and from the testimonies of Herod, Pliny, and others. Slime and pitch; slime within, and pitch without. She hid it in the flags, which grew near the river’s side; partly that the vessel might not be carried away, and overturned by the violence of the winds and water, and partly that the child might be sooner discerned, and more easily taken out thence by any kind hand, which she hoped for.
Exod 2:4. His sister stood afar off, that she might not be thought to have laid the child there, or to be related to it.
Exod 2:5-6. This she might very probably guess, both from the circumstances in which she found him, and from the singular fairness and beauty of the child, far differing from the Egyptian hue; and she might certainly know it by its circumcision.
Exod 2:7-10. He became her son, by adoption, Heb 11:24. For, as Philo reports, she, though long married, had no child of her own; and therefore treated him as her own, and gave him royal education and instruction. See Acts 7:21.
Moses; it matters not whether this be an Egyptian name, or a Hebrew name answering to it in signification, seeing the meaning of it is here explained.
Exod 2:11. In those days, whilst Moses lived at court, and was owned as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and, as some write, designed to succeed Pharaoh in the throne. Moses was grown to maturity, being forty years old, Acts 7:23. He went out unto his brethren; partly by natural affection and inclination, that he might learn the state of his brethren, and help them, as occasion should offer itself; and partly by Divine instigation, and in design that he might give some manifestation to them that he was raised and sent of God to deliver them; as may be gathered from Acts 7:25.
Exod 2:12. Looked this way and that way; not from conscience of guilt in what he intended, but from human and warrantable prudence.
This action of Moses was extraordinary, and is not to be justified by the common right of defending the oppressed, which belongs not to private persons, Rom 12:19; but only by his Divine and special vocation to be the ruler and deliverer of Israel. Which call of his, howsoever manifested, whether by his father, as Josephus saith, or immediately to himself, was evident to his own conscience, and he gave this as a signal to make it evident to the people.
Exod 2:13. The next day after that achievement, he returns to execute the office in which God had set him as a judge, whose work it is both to destroy enemies, and to reconcile brethren.
Exod 2:14. Moses feared, through the weakness of his faith, which afterwards growing stronger, he feared not that which now he did fear, the wrath of the king, Heb 11:27. Distinguish the times, and scriptures agree which seemed to clash together.
Exod 2:15. He sought to slay Moses; not out of zeal to punish a murderer, but to secure himself from so dangerous a person, probably supposing that this was the man foretold to be the scourge of Egypt, and the deliverer of Israel.
Exod 2:16. The Priest of Midian; not of idols, for then Moses would not have married into his family; but of the true God; for some such were in those ancient times here and there, as appears by Melchisedec, though his manner of worshipping God might be superstitious and corrupt: or the Hebrew cohen may here signify a prince, or a potentate, as Gen 41:45. Nor doth the employment of his daughters contradict that translation, both because principalities were then many of them very small and mean, and because this employment then was esteemed noble, and worthy of great men’s daughters, as appears from Gen 24:15; Gen 29:6, etc.
Exod 2:17. The shepherds drove them away, that they might enjoy the fruit of their labours, and make use of the water which they had drawn for their own cattle. Moses helped them; either by persuading them with fair words, or by force; for Moses was strong, and full of courage and resolution, wherewith the shepherds were easily daunted.
Exod 2:18. Their father; either, 1. Strictly, and then he is the same who elsewhere is called Jethro, Exod 3:1; Exod 18 ofttimes; and, as some think, Hobab, Judg 4:11. Or, 2. Largely, i.e. their grandfather, for such are oft called fathers, as Gen 31:43; 2 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 18:3; so he was the father of Jethro, or Hobab, Num 10:29.
Exod 2:19. They guessed him to be an Egyptian by his habit and speech, or he told them that he came from thence. Drew water; Heb. in drawing drew, which notes that he drew it very diligently and readily, which caused their quick return.
Exod 2:20. Heb. Have left the man thus, or now, at this time of the day, when it is so late, and he a stranger and traveller.
Exod 2:21. Moses was content; or, consented to this desire or offer. And so his present and temporary repose there is turned into a settled habitation. Moses married Zipporah not instantly, but after some years of acquaintance with the family, as may probably be gathered from the youngness and uncircumcisedness of one of his sons forty years after this, Exod 4:25. In which time, as Moses would not fail to instruct them in the knowledge of the true God, which he was able excellently to do, so it is likely he had succeeded therein in some measure, and therefore married Zipporah.
Exod 2:22-23. In process of time; Heb. in those many days, viz. in which he lived or abode there, i.e. after them. In is put for after here, as it is Num 28:26; Isa 20:1; Mark 13:24, compared with Matt 24:29; Luke 9:36. After forty years, as appears by comparing Exod 7:7, with Acts 7:30. The king of Egypt died; and after him one or two more of his sons or successors, and the rest who sought for Moses’s life, Exod 4:19. The children of Israel sighed, because though their great oppressor was dead, yet they found no relief, as they hoped to do.
Exod 2:24-25. Heb. Knew them, so as to pity and help them; as words of knowledge are oft used, as Ps 1:6; Ps 31:7. He who seemed to have rejected them, now owned them for his people, and came for their rescue.
Exod 3:1: Moses keeping Jethro’s flock, cometh to mount Horeb.
Exod 3:2: There God appears to him in a burning bush.
Exod 3:3: Moses beholds it.
Exod 3:4: God calls to him out of the burning bush;
Exod 3:5-6: cautions him what to do.
Exod 3:7: God seeth their afflictions;
Exod 3:8: promises them a happy deliverance;
Exod 3:10: sends Moses to Pharaoh.
Exod 3:11: He desires to be excused because unworthy.
Exod 3:12: God encourages him,
Exod 3:13-14: and directs him what to say to the children of Israel;
Exod 3:15: makes his name known to Moses;
Exod 3:16: commands him to gather the elders of Israel;
Exod 3:17: and what he was to say to them;
Exod 3:18: likewise to Pharaoh.
Exod 3:19: Pharaoh’s obstinacy.
Exod 3:20: God threatens the Egyptians;
Exod 3:21-22: and tells Moses with what plenty the Israelites should depart.
Exod 3:1. Jethro was either the same with Reuel, or his son, who, upon his father’s death, succeeded into his office. See
Exod 2:18. To the backside of the desert, to its innermost parts, which were behind Jethro’s habitation, and the former pastures, whither he went for fresh pastures. The mountain of God; so called, either as a high or eminent mountain; or from the vision of God here following; see Acts 7:30; or by anticipation, from God’s glorious appearance there, and giving the law from thence, Exod 18:5; Exod 19:3: see also 1 Kings 19:8. Horeb, called also Sinai, Exod 19:1; Acts 7:30. Or Horeb was the name of the whole tract or row of mountains, and Sinai the name of that particular mountain where this vision happened, and the law was delivered. Or Horeb and Sinai were two several tops of the same mountain.
Exod 3:2. The angel of the Lord; not a created angel, but the Angel of the covenant, Christ Jesus, who then and ever was God, and was to be man, and to be sent into the world in our flesh, as a messenger from God. And these temporary apparitions of his were presages or forerunners of his more solemn mission and coming, and therefore he is fitly called an Angel. That this Angel was no creature, plainly appears by the whole context, and specially by his saying, I am the Lord, etc. The angels never speak that language in Scripture, but, I am sent from God, and, I am thy fellow servant, etc. And it is a vain pretence to say that the angel, as God’s ambassador, speaks in God’s name and person; for what ambassador of any king in the world did ever speak thus, I am the king, etc.? Ministers are God’s ambassadors, but if any of them should say, I am the Lord, they would be guilty of blasphemy, and so would any created angel be too, for the same reason. By a flame of fire was fitly represented God’s majesty, and purity, and power. The bush was not consumed; which doubtless represented the condition of the church and people of Israel, who were now in the fire of affliction, yet so as that God was present with them, and that they should not be consumed in it, whereof this vision was a pledge.
Exod 3:3-4. He doubles the name, partly to show kindness and familiarity, and principally to make Moses more attentive to the business before him.
Exod 3:5. Draw not nigh hither; keep thy distance; whereby he checks his curiosity and forwardness, and works him to the greater reverence and humility. Compare Exod 19:12,21; Josh 5:15. Put off thy shoes: this he requires as an act and token, 1. Of his reverence to the Divine Majesty, then and there eminently present. 2. Of his humiliation for his sins, whereby he was unfit and unworthy to appear before God; for this was a posture of humiliation, 2 Sam 15:30; Isa 20:2,4; Ezek 24:17,23. 3. Of purification from the filth of his feet, or ways, or conversation, that he might be more fit to approach to God. See John 13:10; Heb 10:22. 4. Of this submission and readiness to obey God’s will, for which reason slaves used to be barefooted. Holy ground; with a relative holiness at this time, because of my special presence in it.
Exod 3:6. The God of thy fathers, engaged to them by covenant or promise, which I am now come to perform. He was afraid to look upon God, as other excellent servants of God have been, through the sense of their own meanness and sinfulness, and of God’s majesty and holiness. See Gen 16:13; Gen 17:3; 1 Kings 19:13; Isa 6:2,5, etc.
Exod 3:7. I have surely seen; Heb. In seeing, I have seen, i.e. I have seen and observed it diligently, accurately, and certainly; for so much the doubling of the verb signifies.
Exod 3:8. I am come down: this word notes God’s manifestation of himself and his favour, and giving help from heaven. See Gen 18:21.
It was a good land and a large, not only comparatively to Goshen, where they now dwelt, and to the number of the Israelites at that time; but absolutely, if you take the Land of Promise according to its true, and first, and ancient bounds of it, as you have them described, Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; Deut 11:24, and not according to those narrow limits to which they were afterwards confined for their unbelief, sloth, cowardice, and impiety. Flowing with milk and honey, i.e. abounding with the choicest fruits, both for necessity and for delight. The excellency and singular fruitfulness of this land, howsoever denied or disputed by some ill-minded persons, is sufficiently evident, 1. From express testimony, not only of Moses, Deut 8:7-9, but also of the spies who were sent to view it, and, though prejudiced against it, yet acknowledged it, Num 13:27; and of the holy prophets that lived long in it, as David, Ps 106:24; Joel 2:3; and Ezekiel, who calls it the glory of all lands, Ezek 20:15. Which if it had not been true, it is ridiculous to think that they durst have said and writ so, when the people with whom they contested, and thousands of other persons there and then living, were able to confute them. After them Josephus, and St. Hierom, and others since, who lived long in that land, have highly commended it. And whereas Strabo speaks of the barrenness of the soil about Jerusalem, that is true, but by himself it is limited to the compass of sixty furlongs from Jerusalem. And if at this day the land be now grown barren in a great measure, it is not strange, considering both the great neglect and sloth of the people as to the improvement of it, and the great wickedness of its inhabitants, for which God hath threatened to turn a fruitful land into barrenness, Ps 107:34.
These people are diversely numbered, there are ten sorts reckoned, Gen 15:19-21, and seven, Deut 7:1, and here but six, because some of them were either destroyed or driven out of their land by others; or did by choice and design remove to some other place, as many in those times did, though it be not mentioned in Scripture; or by cohabitation and marriage with some of the other people, did make a coalition, and were incorporated with them, and so their name was swallowed up in the other; or because the names of some of these people, as particularly the Canaanites and the Amorites, were used sometimes more strictly, and sometimes more largely, so as to comprehend under them the other people, as the Girgashites, etc., whence it comes to pass that all the rest go under the names of the Canaanites, Gen 13:7, and of the Amorites in some places of Scripture, as hath been showed.
Exod 3:9. The cry of the children of Israel; either in prayer, or rather forced by their oppressions, as the next clause explains it.
Exod 3:10-11. What a mean, inconsiderable person am I! how unworthy and unfit for that employment! He was more forward in the work forty years ago, by reason of the fervours of his youth, his inexperience in affairs, the advantage of his power and interest in the court, by which he thought he could and should procure their deliverance; but now age had made him cool and considerate; the remembrance of his brethren’s rejection of him, when he was a great man at court, took away all probability of prevailing with them to follow him, much more of prevailing with Pharaoh to let them go. Thus Moses falls into that distemper to which most men are prone, of measuring God by himself, and by the probabilities or improbabilities of second causes.
Exod 3:12. This shall be a token unto thee; either, 1. This vision; or, 2. The fulfilling of this promise, that I will be with thee by signs and wonders, and a strong hand; or rather, 3. This which here follows, that he and Israel should serve God there. Signs indeed are commonly given from things past or present, but sometimes from things to come, as here, and 1 Sam 2:34; Isa 7:13-14; Isa 9:6, etc. Question. How could Moses be confirmed in his present calling and work by a thing yet to come? Answer. Such signs, if they were single, and the only evidences of a man’s calling, might leave some ground for suspicion; but when they are accompanied with other signs, as it is here and in the other places produced, they are of great use for the corroboration of a man’s faith. Moses was otherwise assured of the presence, and power, and faithfulness of that God who spake to him, and was to expect more assurances that God would be with him to help him in and carry him through his work. And as an evidence that this work of bringing Israel out of Egypt should be completed, he gives him a promise that he should serve God in that place; which promise coming from God, he knew to be as infallibly certain, as if it were already come to pass, and therefore this was an apt mean to strengthen his faith in his present undertaking.
Exod 3:13. Since I must go to them in thy name, and thou hast variety of names and glorious titles, and some of them are ascribed to idols, not only by the Egyptians, but by too many of thy own people; what name shall I use, whereby both thou mayest be distinguished from false gods, and thy people may be encouraged to expect deliverance from thee?
Exod 3:14. I am that I am; a most comprehensive and significant name, and most proper for the present occasion, It notes, 1. The reality of his being; whereas idols are nothings, 1 Cor 8:4, all their divinity is only in the fancies and opinions of men. 2. The necessariness, eternity, and unchangeableness of his being; whereas all other beings once were not, and, if he please, they shall be no more; and all their being was derived from him, and wholly depends upon him; and he only is by and from’ himself. 3. The constancy and certainty of his nature, and will, and word. The sense is, I am the same that ever I was; the same who made the promises to Abraham, etc., and am now come to perform them; who, as I can do what I please, so I will do what I have said. Heb. I shall be what I shall be. He useth the future tense; either, 1. Because that tense in the use of the Hebrew tongue comprehends all times, past, present, and to come, to signify that all times are alike to God, and all are present to him; and therefore what is here, I shall be, is rendered, I am, by Christ, John 8:58. See Ps 90:4; 2 Pet 3:8. Or, 2. To intimate, though darkly, according to that state and age of the church, the mystery of Christ’s incarnation. I shall be what I shall be, i.e. God-man; and I who now come in an invisible, though glorious, manner to deliver you from this temporal bondage, shall in due time come visibly, and by incarnation, to save you and all my people from a far worse slavery and misery, even from your sins, and from wrath to come. Of this name of God, see Rev 1:4,8; Rev 16:5.
Exod 3:15. The Lord, Heb. Jehovah; a word of the same root and signification with I am. See Exod 6:3. This he adds, because God was best known to the Israelites by that name; and to show, that though he had given himself a new name, yet he was the same God. This is my memorial, by which I will be remembered, owned, and served by my people, and distinguished from all others. See Ps 102:12; Ps 135:13.
Exod 3:16. The elders; either by age, or rather by office and authority. For though they were all slaves to the Egyptians, yet among themselves they retained some order and government, and had doubtless some whom they owned as their teachers and rulers, as heads of tribes and families, etc.
Exod 3:17-18. Hath met with us; hath appeared to us, expressing his displeasure for our neglect of him, and declaring his will that we should do what follows. Three days’ journey; to Sinai, which, going the nearest way, was no further from Egypt; for here God had declared he would be served, Exod 3:12. Question. Was not this deceitfully and unjustly spoken, when they intended to go quite away from him? Answer. No; for, 1. Pharaoh had no just right and title to them, to keep them in bondage, seeing they came thither only to sojourn for a time, and by Joseph had abundantly paid for their habitation there, and therefore, they might have demanded a total dismission. 2. Moses doth not say any thing which is false, but only conceals a part of the truth; and he was not obliged to discover the whole truth to so cruel a tyrant, and so implacable an enemy. 3. Moses cannot be blamed, both because he was none of Pharaoh’s subject, and because herein he follows the direction and command of his Master that sent him. And God surely was not obliged to acquaint Pharaoh with all his mind, but only so far as he pleased. And it pleased him for wise and just reasons to propose only this to Pharaoh, that his denial of so modest a request (which God foresaw) might make his tyranny more manifest, and God’s vengeance upon him more just and remarkable. Sacrifice to the Lord our God, which they could not do freely and safely in Egypt, Exod 8:26.
Exod 3:19. I am sure; I know it infallibly beforehand. No, not by a mighty hand; though he see and feel the miraculous and dreadful works of a strong, yea, almighty hand, yet he will not consent to your going; which the history makes good. Nor did he let them go till he could hold them no longer, till the fear of his own life, and the clamours of his people, forced him to give way to it. And yet after that he repents of his permission, and laboured to bring them back again. Others, but or except by a strong hand, i.e. except by my almighty power he be forced to it. Both translations come to the same sense.
Exod 3:20-21. I will give this people favour, so that they shall readily grant what the Israelites desire. See Exod 12:36.
Exod 3:22. Whether this was just or no, see on Exod 12:36.
Exod 4:1: Moses’s objection.
Exod 4:2: The answer.
Exod 4:3-5: God turns his rod into a serpent.
Exod 4:6-8: He adds another sign.
Exod 4:9: And lest they would not believe, water is turned into blood.
Exod 4:11: Moses’s objection, Exod 4:10. God argues with him.
Exod 4:13: God’s command and promise, Exod 4:12. Moses’s answer.
Exod 4:14: God is angry, and enjoins Aaron to the same employment;
Exod 4:15-17: tells what Aaron should be, and what Moses should do.
Exod 4:18: Moses returning to Jethro, craves leave to go to Egypt to see his brethren: Jethro’s grant.
Exod 4:20: Moses having taken the rod of God, departs with his wife and children into Egypt.
Exod 4:22-23: God tells him what he should say to Pharaoh.
Exod 4:24: God seeketh to kill Moses.
Exod 4:25-26: Zipporah with a sharp knife cuts off her son’s foreskin and what she said.
Exod 4:27: God commands Aaron to meet Moses.
Exod 4:28: Moses declares to Aaron both what he had heard and seen.
Exod 4:29: They gather together the elders of Israel;
Exod 4:30: and Aaron speaks all the words and does all the signs which God commanded.
Exod 4:31: The people believe.
Exod 4:1. They will not believe me; which he conjectured both from reason, because the greatness and strangeness of the deliverance made it seem incredible; and their minds were so oppressed with cares and labours, that it was not likely they could raise them up to any such expectation; and from the experience which he had of them forty years before, when their deliverance by his means and interest at court seemed much more credible than now it did.
Exod 4:2-3. It became a serpent, i.e. was really changed into a serpent; whereby it was intimated what and how pernicious his rod should be to the Egyptians.
Exod 4:4. The tail was the dangerous part; whereby God would try Moses’s faith, and prepare him for the approaching difficulties.
Exod 4:5. An imperfect sentence, to be thus completed, This thou shalt do before them, that they may believe. See the like in 2 Sam 5:8, compared with 1 Chron 11:6; and Mark 14:49, compared with Matt 26:56.
Exod 4:6. For whiteness. See Num 12:10. Hereby God would suggest to them how soon he could weaken and destroy the hard and strong hand by which the Egyptians tyrannised over them. It might also be done to keep Moses humble and depending upon God, and to teach him and Israel to ascribe all the future miracles not to the hand of Moses, which was weak and liable to many distempers, but wholly to the Divine power and goodness.
Exod 4:7-8. To the voice of the first sign; to the voice or word of God delivered and confirmed by the first sign. For Moses did not make dumb shows before them, but acquainted them with the mind of God therein. Or he saith the voice, to note that God’s works have a voice to speak to us, which we must diligently observe. See Mic 6:9.
Exod 4:9. The river Nile, well known to Moses, and called so by way of eminency, as Euphrates also is. Shall become, Heb. shall be, even shall be, i.e. it shall assuredly be so.
Exod 4:10. I am not eloquent; not able to deliver thy message acceptably and decently, either to Pharaoh or to the Israelites. Since thy appearance to me, thou hast made some change in my hand, but none in my tongue, but still I am, as I was, most unfit for so high an employment. But indeed he was therefore fit for it, as the unlearned apostles were for the preaching of the gospel, that the honour of their glorious works might be entirely given to God, and not to the instruments which he used.
Exod 4:11-12. By my Spirit to direct and assist thee what and how to speak. Whence Moses, though he still seems to have remained slow in speech, yet was in truth mighty in words as well as deeds, Acts 7:22. Compare Matt 10:19-20.
Exod 4:13. By one who is fitter for the work than I am. Heb. Send by the hand of him whom thou wilt send, i.e. should send; for the future tense oft signifies what one should do. See Gen 20:9; Gen 34:7; Mal 1:6; Mal 2:7. Thou usest according to thy wisdom to choose fit instruments, and to use none but whom thou dost either find or make fit for their employment, which I am not. Others, Send by the hand of Messias, whom thou wilt certainly send, and canst not send at a fitter time, nor for better work. Moses and the prophets knew that Christ would come, but the particular time of his coming was unknown to them. See 1 Pet 1:11.
Exod 4:14. He cometh forth to meet thee, by my instigation and direction; which, because I see thou art still diffident, I give thee for a new sign to strengthen thy belief that I will carry thee through this hard work.
Exod 4:15. Put words in his mouth, i.e. instruct him what to speak, and command him freely and faithfully to express it. See Isa 51:16; Isa 59:21.
Exod 4:16. To teach and command him. See Exod 7:1.
Exod 4:17. Both those which I have already made thee to do, and others as I shall direct and enable thee.
Exod 4:18. He pretends only a visit, and so indeed it was, and that no very long one neither: he knew that he should certainly return to this place, and there meet with his father-in-law. So that he did not deceive him, nor intended to do so though he thought fit to conceal from him the errand upon which God sent him, lest his father or wife should attempt to hinder or discourage him from so difficult and dangerous an enterprise. Moses shows here a rare example, as well of modesty and humility, that such glorious and familiar converse with God, and the high calling to which God had advanced him, did neither make him forget the civility and duty which he owed to his father, nor make him break forth into public and vainglorious boasting of such a privilege; as also of his piety and prudence, that he avoided all occasions and temptations to disobedience to God’s command.
Exod 4:19. This seems to have been a second vision, whereby God calls him forth to the present and speedy execution of that command which before was more generally delivered. Which sought thy life, to wit, to take it away. See the like expression, 1 Sam 22:23; 1 Kings 19:14; Matt 2:20. God knew very well that one great cause of Moses’s unwillingness to this undertaking was his carnal fear, though he was ashamed to profess it, and therefore gives him this cordial.
Exod 4:20. His sons, Gershom, Exod 2:22, and Eliezer, Exod 18:4, whom he intended to carry with him; but afterwards observing that they were like to be impediments to him in his great business, and being well assured that it would not be long ere he returned to them, he sent them back to Jethro, as may seem from Exod 18:5. Upon an ass: one ass might be sufficient for her and her two children, because one of them was but little, Exod 4:25. Or ass may be put for asses, which changes of the numbers is very frequent in Scripture. The rod of God; his shepherd’s rod so called, partly because it was appropriated to God’s special service, to be the instrument in all his glorious works; and partly to show that whatsoever was done by that rod, was not done by any virtue in the rod, or in Moses’s hand, but merely by the power of God, who was pleased for the greater confusion of his enemies to use so mean an instrument.
Exod 4:21. In thine hand, i.e. in thy power or commission, to be done by thy hand, and the rod in it. I will harden his heart, that he shall he unmerciful to all the groans and pressures of the Israelites, inexorable to the requests of Moses, unmovable and incorrigible by all my words and works. But God doth not properly and positively make men’s hearts hard, but only privatively, either by denying to them, or withdrawing from them, that grace which alone can make men soft, and flexible, and pliable to the Divine will; as the sun hardens the clay by drawing out of it that moisture which made it soft; or by exposing them to those temptations of the world or the devil, which, meeting with a corrupt heart, are apt to harden it.
Exod 4:22. By my choice and adoption. They are most dear to me, and reserved by me out of all nations to be my peculiar people; and therefore I will no longer suffer thee to invade my right, nor them to live in the neglect of my service.
Exod 4:23. I say unto thee; I command thee; for saying is put for commanding, Luke 4:3; Luke 9:54; and in 1 Chron 21:19, compared with 2 Sam 24:19. I will slay thy son; by which plague, coming after the rest, thou wilt be enforced to do what I advise thee now to do upon cheaper terms.
Exod 4:24. Met him, i.e. appeared to him in some visible shape, and sought to kill him. Whom? Moses, spoken of and to before. He offered and endeavoured to kill him, either by inflicting some sudden and dangerous disease or stroke upon him, or by showing himself in some threatening posture, possibly as the angel did to Balaam, and afterwards to David, with a drawn sword in his hand, ready to give him a deadly blow. The reason of this severity was not Moses’s distrust of God, or delay in his journey, nor the bringing of his wife and children along with him, (which it was convenient for him to carry with him, both that his father might not think he intended to desert them, and for the greater assurance and encouragement of the Israelites, when they saw that he exposed his dearest relations to the same hazards with them all,) but the neglect of circumcising his child, which also the Lord some way or other signified to Moses and Zipporah, as plainly appears, 1. From Zipporah’s following fact upon that occasion. 2. From the Lord’s dismission of Moses upon the circumcision of the child. 3. From the threatening of death, or cutting off, for this sin, Gen 17:14, which, because there was now no magistrate to do it, God himself offers to execute it, as he sometimes saith he would do that in case. And this was a greater Sin in Moses than in another man, and at this time than it had been before, because he understood the will and law of God about it better than any man, and God had lately minded him of that covenant of his with Abraham, etc., whereof circumcision was a seal; the blessings and benefits of which covenant Moses was now going to procure for himself and for his people, whilst he remained under the guilt of grossly neglecting the condition of it. Besides, what could be more absurd than that he should come to be a lawgiver, who lived in a manifest violation of God’s law? or that he should be the chief ruler and instructer of the Israelites, whose duty it was to acquaint them with their duty of circumcising their children, and, as far as he could, to punish the wilful neglect of it, and yet at the same time be guilty of the same sin? or that he should undertake to govern the church of God, that could not well rule his own house? 1 Tim 3:5. And this was not only a great sin in itself, but a great scandal to the Israelites, who might by this great example easily be led into the same miscarriage; and moreover might not without colour of probability suspect the call of such a person, and conclude that God would not honour that man who should continue in such a visible contempt of his law. And therefore it is no wonder that God was so angry at Moses for this sin. Question. How came Moses to neglect this evident duty? Answer. From Zipporah’s averseness to and dread of that painful and, as she thought, dangerous ordinance of God, which she herself evidently discovers in this place; and the rather because of the experience which she had of it in her eldest son. And as she seems to have been a woman of an eager and passionate temper, so Moses was eminently meek and pliable, and in this matter too indulgent to his wife, especially in her father’s house, and therefore he put it off till a more convenient season, when he might either persuade or overrule her therein; which was a great fault, for God had obliged all the children of Abraham not only to the thing, but to the time also, to do it upon the eighth day, which season Moses had grossly, and for some considerable time, slipped, and so had preferred the pleasing of his wife before his obedience to God.
Exod 4:25. Perceiving the danger of her husband, and the cause of it, and her husband being disenabled from performing that work, whether by some stroke or sickness, or by the terror of so dismal and unexpected an apparition to him, and delays being highly dangerous, she thought it better to do it herself as well as she could, rather than put it off a moment longer; whether because the administration of that sacrament was not confined to any kind or order of persons, or because, if it was so, she did not apprehend it to be so, or because she thought this was the least of two evils, and that it was safer to commit a circumstantial error, than to continue in a substantial fault. A sharp stone, which she took as next at hand in that stony country. Let none think this strange, for not only this work, but the cutting off of that part, which some used to do, was commonly performed with a flint, or a sharp stone, as is expressly affirmed by Herodotus, l. 2; Plin. 35. 12. See also Juvenal, Sat. 6, and Martial. Epigram. 3. 18. But the word may be rendered, a sharp knife. See Josh 5:2-3. Cast it at his feet: the words are very short, and therefore ambiguous, and may be rendered, either thus, she cast herself at his feet; either, 1. At the feet of the angel, as a supplicant for her husband’s life. But it is most probable that she directs this action and her following speech to the same person. Or, 2. The feet of her husband, to make request to him, that she and her Children might depart from him, and return to her father, which also he granted. But neither was she of so humble a temper, nor at this time in so mild a frame, as to put herself into such a lowly posture to her husband; nor was she likely to present her humble supplication to him, to whom at the same time she showed such scorn and indignation. Or rather thus, she cast it at his, i.e. her husband’s, feet: it, either the child; but that being tender, and now in great pain, she would not use it so roughly: or rather the foreskin cut off, or at least the blood which came from it; which she did in spite and anger against her husband, as the cause of so much pain to the child, and grief to herself. A bloody husband art thou to me: this some think she spake to the child, whom she calls her spouse, as some late rabbins affirm the infant used to be called, when it was circumcised, though they bring no competent proof for this usage; or her son, as the Hebrew word chathan signifies. But indeed that signifies only a son-in-law, as 1 Sam 18:18, which is not true nor proper here. Yet some make these to be the form or solemn words used in circumcision, Thou art a spouse, or a son of bloods, to me, i.e. made so to me by the blood of circumcision. But it doth not appear that this was the usual form. Nor was it likely that she, being a Midianitish, not a Hebrew woman, and doing this suddenly, and in a rage, should be so expert to know, and so punctual to use, the right form of words, when she did not use a fit and decent carriage in the action, as appears by her casting it at his feet. It is therefore more probable she spoke thus to her husband. And because she durst not accuse God, the author of this work, she falls foul upon her husband as the occasion of it, and as a costly and bloody husband to her, whose endangered life she was forced to redeem with blood, even the blood of her little child, by which as he received a new life after a sort, so she did anew, and the second time, espouse him; whence she calls him chathan, which properly signifies a spouse, not a husband.
Exod 4:26. So he let him go; or, he, i.e. God, or the destroying angel sent from God, departed from him, i.e. from Moses, and removed the tokens of God’s indignation, the sickness or stroke laid upon him.
Zipporah both repeats and amplifies her former censure, and reproacheth not only her husband, but also God’s ordinance; which perverse and obstinate spirit her husband observing in her, and wisely forecasting how much disturbance she might give him in his great and difficult work in Egypt, he thought fit to send her and her children back to her father, as appears from Exod 18:1-3. In the Hebrew it is, because of the circumcisions, to wit, of her two sons, who possibly were both circumcised at this time, though it be not so expressed; but one being mentioned for an example, we are left to suppose the like concerning the other; or the circumcision of this child brings the other to her remembrance, and so she upbraids him with both. Only this doth more provoke her than it seems the other did, because she was forced to do this speedily, and with her own hands, and that to a tender infant; whereas the elder peradventure was circumcised when he was more grown and strong, and able to bear the pain. Let none think it strange that Zipporah should quarrel so much at circumcision, because the Midianites were descended from Abraham, and therefore were circumcised. For if they were so, it was done when they were grown up, about the thirteenth year of their age, from the example of Ishmael, who was circumcised at that age. But indeed it is more likely that those people, being cast out of God’s covenant, as to the benefit of it, would, and did in a little time, throw off the sign of it, as having much more of pain and danger in it, than of use and privilege.
Exod 4:27-29. All of them whom they could easily and quickly bring together, or all that were in those parts. Of those elders, see Exod 3:16; Exod 24:1,9; Num 11:16.
Exod 4:30. Thus beginning to execute the office which God had put upon him, which was to be Moses’s mouth, or spokesman. i.e. Aaron did the signs as Moses’s minister, or by the command and direction of Moses.
Exod 4:31. Had visited, i.e. taken cognizance of their cause and condition, and resolved to deliver them, they bowed their heads and worshipped; acknowledging and adoring the kindness and faithfulness of God therein.
Exod 5:1: Moses and Aaron entreateth Pharaoh to let the people go.
Exod 5:2: Pharaoh’s blasphemous refusal.
Exod 5:4: Chides Moses and Aaron for their request.
Exod 5:5: Pharaoh, seeing the Israelites to be many,
Exod 5:6-9: commands the taskmasters and officers to increase their bondage.
Exod 5:10-11: The taskmasters go and do as Pharaoh commands.
Exod 5:12: The scattering of the people throughout Egypt.
Exod 5:14: The taskmasters’ cruelty to the officers of the Israelites.
Exod 5:15-16: The officers’ complaint to Pharaoh.
Exod 5:17: He upbraids them with idleness.
Exod 5:18: His harsh answer.
Exod 5:20-21: The officers of the children of Israel meet Moses and Aaron, and blame them.
Exod 5:22-23: Moses returns and complains to God.
Exod 5:1. Moses and Aaron went in, and with them some of the elders of Israel, as may seem from Exod 3:18, though here only the two chiefs be mentioned. Or, because Moses did not seem to be satisfied with the assistance of the elders before offered him, Exod 3:18, God was pleased to give him a more acceptable assistant in their stead, even Aaron his brother, Exod 4:14. Told Pharaoh: either both successively told him; or Aaron did it immediately, and with his tongue, Moses by his interpreter, and by his command. Or, offer a sacrifice, as they express it, Exod 5:3 and Exod 10:9. For both went together, and a good part of many sacrifices was spent in feasting before the Lord and unto the honour of the Lord. See Deut 12:6-7,11-12.
Exod 5:2. I am the sovereign lord of Egypt, and I own no superior here.
Exod 5:3. Hath met with us, i.e. hath appeared to us lately, and laid this command upon us. Others, is called upon us, i.e. his name is called upon us, or we are called by his name. But why should Moses so solemnly tell that to Pharaoh which all the people knew, to wit, that the Hebrews did worship the God of the Hebrews? And our translation is confirmed by comparing this with Exod 3:18, where this very message is prescribed. Lest he fall upon us; lest he punish, either us, if we disobey his command, or thee, if thou hinderest us from obeying it: but this latter they only imply, as being easily gathered from the former.
Exod 5:4. Either, 1. Ye, the elders of Israel, who are here come with Moses and Aaron: see Exod 5:1. Or, 2. Ye, Moses and Aaron. So far am I from granting the liberty which you desire for the people, that as a just punishment upon you for your seditious attempt, I command you also to go with the rest, and to take your share in their burdens, and to perform the task which shall be required of you. And that so cruel a tyrant did not proceed further against them, must be ascribed to the mighty power of God, who governs the spirits and restrains the hands of the greatest kings when he pleaseth.
Exod 5:5. The Israelites in this land are very numerous, and therefore it were a madness in me to permit them all to meet and go together as you desire, which may tend to the ruin of my whole kingdom, and probably it is designed by you to that purpose. Or, therefore your injury to me is the greater, in attempting to rob me of the benefit of their labours. This I prefer, because it suits best with the following words.
Exod 5:6. The taskmasters were Egyptians, and the officers were Israelites, under-officers to them, Exod 5:14-15,19.
Exod 5:7. The straw was used either to mingle with the clay, that it might not be too brittle; or to cover the clay when it was formed into bricks, that the heat of the sun might not dry them too much, which might easily be done in that hot country; or for fuel, either wholly or in part, to burn their bricks with, straw being abundant there, and much used for that purpose.
Exod 5:8-9. The words of Moses and Aaron, which are vain or false, i.e. which they falsely pretend to come from God, when it is only an ill design of their own to advance themselves by raising sedition.
Exod 5:10-12. All the land of Egypt, i.e. all that part of it; which is a very usual synecdoche.
Exod 5:13-16. i.e. The Egyptian taskmasters, who, by sending us abroad to gather straw, hinder us from doing the work which they require; and so they are both unjust and unreasonable. They charge the taskmasters, not the king, either in civility and duty, casting his fault upon the instruments; or because they did not know, or at best not believe, that this was the king’s act. Others, Thy people, i.e. the Egyptians, make themselves guilty, and will bring the vengeance of God upon them for their cruelty.
Exod 5:17-19. Did see that they were in evil case, or, looked upon them with sadness, or with an evil eye, i.e. with a sorrowful and angry countenance, as those that could obtain no relaxation for themselves or for their brethren.
Exod 5:20. They, i.e. the officers who went to pour out their complaints to Pharaoh, Exod 5:15
Exod 5:21. To give them what they have long sought and thirsted after, to wit, an occasion to destroy and root us out.
Exod 5:22. Moses returned unto the Lord, to expostulate with him, and pray to him. To the people he saith nothing, but meekly passeth by their severe censures, as forced from them by intolerable oppression; and because their minds being now imbittered and exasperated, they were incapable of admonition. Wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people, by giving occasion to their greater bondage? He expostulates the matter with God, not from pride and arrogance, as one that would censure and condemn his actions, but from zeal for God’s glory, and his people’s happiness, as one that would prevail with God to relieve them; though it must be confessed that Moses exceeded his bounds, being transported with grief and passion, which the gracious God was pleased to pass by.
Exod 5:23. In thy name; not of my own head, but by thy command and commission. Neither hast thou delivered thy people, according to thy promise and mine, and thy people’s just expectation.
Exod 6:1: God encourageth Moses;
Exod 6:3-8: reneweth his covenant, confirms it by his name Jehovah.
Exod 6:9: Their unbelief.
Exod 6:10-13: God commands Moses to speak to Pharaoh to let Israel go.
Exod 6:15: The genealogy of Reuben, Exod 6:14; of Simeon;
Exod 6:16: of Levi;
Exod 6:23: of Aaron.
Exod 6:27: Moses and Aaron spake to Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go.
Exod 6:1. With a strong hand; being compelled to do so by my powerful and terrible works.
Exod 6:2-3. Question. How is this true, when God was known to them, and called by the name Jehovah? Gen 15:7; Gen 26:24, etc. Answer 1. He speaks not of the letters or syllables, but of the thing signified by that name. For that denotes all his perfections, and, amongst others, the eternity, constancy, and immutability of his nature and will, and the infallible certainty of his word and promises. And this, saith he, though it was believed by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet it was not experimentally known to them; for they only saw the promises afar off, Heb 11:13. Answer 2. This negative expression may be understood comparatively, as many others are, as Gen 32:29; Matt 9:13; 1 Cor 1:17: q.d. They knew this but darkly and imperfectly, which will now be made known more clearly and fully.
Exod 6:4-6. With a stretched-out arm, i.e. my almighty power. A metaphor from a man that stretcheth out his arm, and puts forth all his strength to give the greater blow. With great judgments, i.e. punishments justly inflicted upon them, as the word judging and judgments is oft used, as Gen 15:14; 2 Chron 20:12; Prov 19:29.
Exod 6:7. Will take you to me for a people, i.e. for my people; ye shall no longer be the people and slaves of the king of Egypt, but my people and servants, whom I will bless and preserve. And I will be to you a God, to judge and deliver you.
Exod 6:8. And therefore, have authority and power to dispose of lands and kingdoms as I please; and faithful to give you what I have promised.
Exod 6:9. Their minds were so oppressed with their present burdens and future expectations, that they could not believe nor hope for any deliverance, but deemed it impossible; and having been once deceived in their hopes, they now quite despaired, and thought their entertainment of new hopes, or use of further endeavours, would make their condition worse, as it had done.
Exod 6:10-12. i.e. Of polluted lips. Uncircumcision being a great defect and blemish, whereby men were rendered profane, contemptible, and unfit for many services and privileges, may note any defect, whether moral, and of the spirit, or natural, and of the body. So here it notes Moses’s inability to clothe God’s commands in such words as might prevail with Pharaoh. But this was a great weakness of faith, as if God could not effect his purpose, because the instrument was unfit.
Exod 6:13-14. This genealogy he describes here, to show the lineage of Moses and Aaron, by whom this great work was to be effected. Only he promiseth in brief the genealogy of his two elder brethren. Reuben and Simeon, to make way for the third, which he intended more largely to insist upon. And he mentions them rather than any other, either to advanc the favour of God in preferring that tribe before the descendants of their elder brethren; or to show that, although the parents were sharply censured, and rather cursed than blessed by Jacob, Gen 49, yet their posterity was not rejected by God, but received to mercy, and admitted to the same privilege with their brethren.
Exod 6:15-16. From each of which proceeded a distinct generation or family called by their father’s name.
Exod 6:17-20. His father’s sister or rather, kinswoman, or cousin, or niece; for so this Hebrew word is sometimes used, as appears from Jer 32:8-9,12. Objection. She is called the daughter of Levi, Exod 2:1. Answer. Even nieces are oft called daughters, as we have showed. See Luke 1:5, and the notes on Exod 2:1.
Exod 6:23. Amminadab; a prince of the tribe of Judah, Num 1:7; Num 2:3. Marriages were not yet confined to their own tribes; and when they were, the Levites seem to have had this privilege, that they might marry a daughter of any other tribe, because indeed the reason of that law did not concern them, there being no danger of confusion or loss of inheritance on their part. And especially there were many marriages made between the tribes of Judah and Levi, to signify that both were united in Christ, who was to be both king and priest. It is observable, that Moses is here silent in his own progeny, but gives a particular account of his brother’s, not only from his great humility and modesty, which shines forth in many other passages, but because it was of more concernment; and the honour of priesthood given to Aaron was to be hereditary, and peculiar to his seed, and therefore it was necessary they should be exactly known; whereas Moses’s honour and government was only personal, and did not pass to his children.
Exod 6:24-26. i.e. According to their numerous families, which were equal to great armies, and which went out of Egypt like several armies in military order, and with great power. See Exod 12:41,51; Exod 13:18; Exod 14:8.
Exod 7:1: God encourages Moses to speak to Pharaoh.
Exod 7:3-4: God foretells the hardness of, Pharaoh’s heart, that he might multiply his wonders in Egypt,
Exod 7:5: to declare to the Egyptians that he only is the Lord.
Exod 7:6: Moses and Aaron obey God’s command.
Exod 7:7: Their age.
Exod 7:8-9: God commands them to show a miracle for the confirmation of their authority.
Exod 7:10: Their rod turned into a serpent.
Exod 7:11: The magicians do the same.
Exod 7:12: Aaron’s rod devoureth theirs.
Exod 7:13: Pharaoh is hardened, as the Lord had said;
Exod 7:14: and refuseth to let the people go.
Exod 7:17-18: God denounces judgments on the Egyptians.
Exod 7:19: Commands Moses and Aaron to stretch out their hands oven the waters.
Exod 7:21: The waters are turned into blood, Exod 7:20. The fish die, and the river stinks.
Exod 7:22: The magicians do the same, whereby Pharaoh’s heart is hardened.
Exod 7:24: The means they used against this plague.
Exod 7:25: The continuance of it.
Exod 7:1. To represent my person, to act like God, by requiring his obedience to thy commands, and by punishing his disobedience with such punishments as none but God can inflict, to which end thou shalt have my omnipotent assistance. i.e. Thy interpreter, or spokesman, as Exod 4:16, to deliver thy commands to Pharaoh.
Exod 7:2. Heb. And he will send or dismiss, to wit, at last, being forced to it. Success shall attend your endeavours.
Exod 7:3-6. An emphatical repetition, to show their courage in attempting to say and do such things to so great a monarch in his own dominions, and their fidelity in the execution of all God’s commands.
Exod 7:7. The ages of Moses and Aaron here, as of Levi and Kohath Exod 6:16,18, and before them of Jacob and Joseph, are so exactly set down, that thence we may, understand the accomplishment of God’s prediction, Gen 15:13, and the time of Israel’s being in Egypt.
Exod 7:8-9. Say unto Aaron, by whose hands this and other miracles were to be done, and not by Moses immediately; partly to take off the some suspicion that these miracles were wrought by magical artifice of Moses; and partly for the greater honour of Moses, that he might be what God had said, Exod 7:1, a god to Pharaoh, who not only could work wonders himself, but also give power to others to do so. Take thy rod: the same rod is called the rod of God, and of Moses, and of Aaron, here and Exod 7:12, because it was appointed, and as it were consecrated by God, and used both by Moses and Aaron in their great works. And this rod Moses ordinarily held in his hand, and delivered it to Aaron upon occasion for the execution of his commands. A serpent; Heb. a dragon, which is a great serpent. Others, a crocodile, to whose jaws he had exposed the Israelitish infants.
Exod 7:10-11. Under the general title of wise men he seems to comprehend all who were most eminent in any sort of wisdom, either natural, or civil, or divine, who were all called to give their opinion and advice in these matters. The magicians, the same now called sorcerers, who acted by the power of the devil, whom by certain rites and ceremonies they engaged to their assistance. Of these the two chief were Jannes and Jambres, 2 Tim 3:8. They also did in like manner, in show and appearance, which was not difficult for the devil to do, either by altering the air and the spectators’ sight, and by causing their rods both to look and move like serpents; or by a sudden and secret conveyance of real serpents thither, and removing the rods. Nor is it strange that God permitted those delusions, partly because it was a just punishment upon the Egyptians for their horrid and manifold idolatry, and barbarous cruelty towards the Israelites, and their other wickedness; and partly because there was a sufficient difference made between their impostures, and the real miracles wrought by Moses and Aaron, as appears from the next verse, and from Exod 8:18, and from other passages. And this is a great evidence of the truth of Scripture story, and that it was not written by fiction and design. For if Moses had written these books to deceive the world, and to advance his own reputation, (as some have impudently said,) it is ridiculous to think that he would have put in this, and many other passages, which might seem so much to eclipse his honour, and the glory of his works.
Exod 7:12. They became serpents; either, 1. In appearance. For the Scripture oft speaks of things otherwise than they are, because they seem to be so. And therefore as the devil appearing to Saul in the likeness of Samuel is called Samuel; so may these rods upon the same account be called serpents, because through diabolical illusion they seemed to be so. Or, 2. Really, in manner expressed, Exod 7:11. Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods; by which it was evident, either that Aaron’s rod was turned into a real serpent, because it had the real properties and effects of a serpent, viz. to devour; or, at least, that the God of Israel was infinitely more powerful than the Egyptian idols or devils.
Exod 7:13. He, the Lord, to whom this act of hardening is frequently ascribed both in this book and elsewhere.
Exod 7:14. He is obstinate, and resolved in his way, so as neither my word nor my works can make any impression upon him.
Exod 7:15. He goeth out unto the water, i.e. the Nile, whither he went at that time, either for his recreation, or to pay his morning worship to that river, which the Egyptians had in great veneration, as Plutarch testifies.
Exod 7:16-17. Because thou saidst, Who is the Lord? and, I know not the Lord, Exod 5:2, thou shalt know him experimentally, and to thy cost. Behold, I will smite, viz. by Aaron’s hand, who shall do it by my command and direction. Thus Pilate is said to give Christ’s body to Joseph, Mark 15:45, because he commanded it to be delivered by others to him. The same action is ascribed to the principal and instrumental cause. The river Nile, which was one of their principal gods; and therefore it was inexcusable in them, that they would not renounce those feeble gods, which were unable to help not only their worshippers, but even themselves, nor embrace the service and commands of that God whose almighty power they saw and felt. They shall be turned to blood, which was a very grievous plague to them; both because it was an eternal dishonour to their religion, and because from hence they had both their drink, Deut 11:10-11; Jer 2:18, and their meat, Num 11:5; for greater and lesser cattle they would not eat, Exod 8:26. And it was a very proper punishment for them, who had made that river an instrument for the execution of their bloody design against the Israelitish infants, Exod 1:22.
Exod 7:18. Therefore the Israelites were free from this plague, and those branches of Nilus which they used were uncorrupted, when all others were turned into blood. Shall lothe, or, shall weary themselves, in running hither and thither in hopes of finding water in some parts or branches of the river.
Exod 7:19. Not that he was to go to every pool to use this ceremony there, but he stretched his hand and rod over some of them in the name of all the rest, which he might signify either by his words, or by the various motions of his rod several ways.
Exod 7:20-22. It was not difficult for the devil to convey blood speedily and unperceivably, and that in a great quantity, which might suffice to infect with a bloody colour those small parcels of water which were left for them to show their art in. Question. Whence could they have water, when all their waters were turned into blood? Answer. It might be had, either, 1. By rain, which at that time God was pleased to send down either for this purpose, or to mitigate the extremity of the plague, or for other reasons known to him, though not to us. For that rain sometimes falls in Egypt, though not much nor often, is affirmed by ancient writers and late travellers. Or, 2. From Goshen, which was not far from the court, or from some houses of the Israelites, who dwelt amongst the Egyptians, as appears from many places of this history, and who were free from these plagues. See Exod 8:22; Exod 9:26; Exod 10:23; Exod 12:13 etc. Or, 3. From the pits which they digged, Exod 7:24. Or, 4. From some branch of Nilus, or some vessels in their houses, whose waters were not yet changed; for this change might be wrought not suddenly, (which is not affirmed in this relation,) but by degrees, which God might so order for this very end, that the magicians might have matter for the trial of their experiment.
Exod 7:23. He did not seriously consider it, nor the causes or cure of this plague, and was not much affected with it, because he saw this fact exceeded not the power of his magicians.
Exod 7:24. It is not much material to us, whether they lost their labour, and found only blood there, as Josephus affirms; or whether they succeeded and found water there, which seems more probable, because these come not within the compass of Moses’s commission, Exod 7:17,19-20, or whether they found the water something purified and less bloody, though mixed with blood. But it is observable, that though the devil could do something which might increase the plague, or imitate it, yet he could do nothing to remove it.
Exod 7:25. For seven days were fulfilled, ere all the waters of Egypt were perfectly free from this infection. Question. How could the Egyptians subsist so long without water? Answer 1. Philo tells us that many of them died of this plague. 2. As the plague might come on, so it might go off, by degrees; and so the water, though mixed with blood, might give them some relief. 3. The juices of herbs, and other liquors, which were untouched with this plague, might refresh them. 4. They might have some water, either from their pits, or by rain from heaven, as was said before; or from Goshen; for though it be said that the blood was in all their vessels, Exod 7:19, yet it is not said that all that should afterwards be put into them should be turned into blood.
Exod 8:1: God sends Moses to Pharaoh that he might let the people go.
Exod 8:2-4: He threatens his denial with a judgment of frogs.
Exod 8:6: Aaron stretching forth his rod, Egypt is covered with frogs.
Exod 8:7: The magicians do so.
Exod 8:8: Pharaoh calls Moses and Aaron to entreat the Lord to remove the frogs, and promises them to let them go.
Exod 8:12: Moses and Aaron cry to the Lord to take away the frogs;
Exod 8:13: which he did.
Exod 8:15: Pharaoh’s heart still hardened.
Exod 8:17: Aaron stretching forth his rod smites the dust, which becomes lice.
Exod 8:18: The magicians attempt the same, but could not;
Exod 8:19: which extorted a confession from them that this is the finger of God, yet Pharaoh is hardened.
Exod 8:20-23: Swarms of flies threatened.
Exod 8:24: God fulfills his word.
Exod 8:25: Pharaoh sends for Moses and Aaron, and permits a sacrifice in Egypt.
Exod 8:27: Moses would go three days into the wilderness.
Exod 8:28: Pharaoh permits that, but not far.
Exod 8:29-31: The flies are removed.
Exod 8:32: Pharaoh is hardened.
Exod 8:1-2. All thy land which is within thy borders; a synecdoche; so that word is used also Exod 10:4,19; 1 Kings 1:3; Ps 147:14; Jer 15:13. So the gate and the wall are put for the city to which they belong, Gen 22:17; Amos 1:7,10,14.
Exod 8:3. The river; under which are comprehended all other rivers, streams, and ponds, as appears from Exod 8:5. But the river Nilus is mentioned, because God would make that an instrument of their misery in which they most gloried, Ezek 29:3, and to which they gave divine honours, and which was the instrument of their cruelty against the Israelites, Exod 1:22. Into thy bedchamber; either because God made the doors and windows to fly open, which it is easy to believe concerning God, seeing that this hath been many times done by evil angels; or because whensoever men entered into any house, or any room of their house, which their occasions would oft force them to do, the frogs, being always at their heels in great numbers, would go in with them. This plague was worse than the former, because it was more constant and more general; for the former was only in the waters, and did only molest them when they went to drink or use the water; but this infected all liquors, and all places, and at all times, and annoyed all their senses with their filthy substance, and shape, and noise, and stink, and mingled themselves with their meats, and sauces, and drinks, and crawling into their beds made them restless. And many of them probably were of a more ugly shape and infectious nature than ordinary.
Exod 8:4. Not upon the Israelites, whom he hereby exempts from the number of Pharaoh’s people and subjects, and owns them for his peculiar people. The frogs did not only invade their houses, but assault their persons, which is not strange, considering that they were armed with a Divine commission and power.
Exod 8:5. The Lord spake unto Moses, by inward instinct or suggestion to his mind; for He was now in the king’s presence.
Exod 8:6-7. Nor was it hard for the devil to produce them out of their own spawn, and the slime of the river.
Exod 8:8-9. Glory over me: as I have gloried over thee in laying first my commands, and then my plagues upon thee, so now lay thy commands upon me for the time of my praying; and if I do not what thou requirest, I am content thou shouldst insult over me, punish me. Or, glory, or boast thyself of, or concerning me, as one that thy God’s power can do that for thee which all thy magicians cannot, of whom therefore thou now seest thou canst not glory nor boast, as thou hast hitherto done. When shall I entreat for thee? Appoint me what time thou pleasest. Hereby he knew that the hand and glory of God would be more conspicuous in it. And this was no presumption in Moses, because he had a large commission, Exod 7:1; and also had particular direction from God in all that he said or did in these matters.
Exod 8:10. Why not presently? Answer 1. Because he hoped ere that time they might be removed, either by natural causes or by chance, and so he should not need the favour of Moses or his God. 2. Because he thought it a hard and long work to remove so vast a number of frogs, and that Moses might use divers ceremonies, as the magicians did, in his addresses to God, which would require some considerable time.
Exod 8:11-12. Or, as the place is fitly rendered by others, because of the word, or matter of, or about the frogs which he had given or propounded to Pharaoh. Because he had given his word both for the thing and the time of it, he prayed more earnestly lest God should be dishonoured, and Pharaoh have occasion of triumph. The Hebrew verbs to put and to give are frequently exchanged, as appears by comparing 1 Kings 10:9, with 2 Chron 9:8; and Isa 42:1, with Matt 12:18. Moses cried unto the Lord: though he was assured that the frogs would depart at his word, yet he would use the means appointed by God for the accomplishment of it.
Exod 8:13. A short speech for they died and were removed out of, etc., as appears from the next verse; it being frequent in the Hebrew tongue under one verb expressed to understand another agreeable to it. See examples in the Hebrew, Gen 43:33-34; Exod 18:12; Exod 25:2; Prov 25:22.
Exod 8:14. Doubtless they cast them into their rivers, or pits, etc., though that be not here mentioned. God would not instantly and wholly take them away, both to convince them of the truth of the miracle, and to make them more sensible of this judgment, and more fearful of bringing another upon themselves.
Exod 8:15-16. God, it seems, gave him no warning, because he showed himself in the very last plague to be both perfidious and incorrigible. Others think he was forewarned, though that be not here expressed. Lice, so the Hebrew word is rendered by all the Jewish and most other interpreters. But it is probable that what is said of the locusts, Exod 10:14, was true of these, that they were much more loathsome and troublesome than ordinary.
Exod 8:17. The dust was not fit matter to produce lice, and therefore shows this work to be Divine and miraculous. All the dust of the land, i.e. a great part of it, the word all being commonly so understood in Scripture.
Exod 8:18. Did so, i.e. endeavoured to do so. Thus to enter, Matt 7:13, is put for striving to enter, Luke 13:24. Thus men are said to deliver, Gen 37:21; to fight, Josh 24:9; to return, Josh 10:15; when they only attempted or endeavoured to do so. And therefore when it is said in any of the plagues that the magicians did so, it is not to be understood that they really did the same thing, but that they endeavoured to do so, and that they did something which looked like it.
It was as easy for them to produce lice as frogs, but God hindered them, partly to confound them and their devilish arts, and to show that what they did before was only by his permission; and partly to convince Pharaoh and the Egyptians of their vanity in trusting to such impotent magicians, and in opposing that God who could control and confound them when he pleased.
Exod 8:19. The finger is put either synecdochically for the hand, as it is Exod 31:18; Ps 8:3; Ps 144:1; or metaphorically for the power or virtue, as Luke 11:20, compared with Matt 12:28. Of God; of that supreme God, whom both the Egyptians and other heathen idolaters acknowledged as superior to all men, and idols, and devils. This they said, lest they should be thought inferior to Moses and Aaron in magical art. But hereby they own the sovereign God to be on Israel’s side; and yet, like the devils, they proceed to fight against him. He hearkened not unto them; either to his magicians, of whom he last spake; or rather to Moses and Aaron, as the following words show. For relatives oft belong to the remoter antecedents, as Gen 9:13; 1 Sam 7:17; Mark 2:13.
Exod 8:20-21. Swarms of flies; Heb. a mixture of insects or flies, as appears from Ps 78:45, which were of various kinds, as bees, wasps, gnats, hornets, etc., infinite in their numbers, and doubtless larger and more venomous and pernicious than the common ones were.
Exod 8:22. Either, 1. Of the whole earth, and consequently of Egypt, that I am not only the Lord of Israel, but of thee and thy dominions too. God is here spoken of after the manner of earthly princes, who use to reside in the midst of their kingdoms, that they may more conveniently rule and influence them. Or rather, 2. Of Goshen; the words being properly thus rendered, that I the Lord am in the midst of that land, to wit, the land of Goshen now spoken of, to defend and preserve it. For God is said to be in the midst of them whom he protects, Deut 7:21; Deut 23:14; Josh 3:10; Ps 46:5; and not to be in the midst of others whom he forsakes, and designs or threatens to destroy, Num 14:42; Deut 1:42; Deut 31:17. Compare Exod 33:3, with Exod 34:9.
Exod 8:23. A division; Heb. a redemption or deliverance, i.e. a token or mean of deliverance, by a metonymy; a wall of partition, by which I will preserve the Israelites, whilst I destroy the Egyptians. Tomorrow shall this sign be. This he saith, partly to gain the more belief to himself in what he now did or should timber speak in God’s name to them; and partly to warn them of their danger, and make their disobedience more inexcusable.
Exod 8:24. The Lord did so, immediately by his own word, and not by Moses’s rod, lest the Egyptians should think it was a magician’s wand, and that all Moses’s works were done by the power of the devil. A grievous swarm of flies; Heb. a heavy mixture of flies. Heavy, i.e. either great, as this Hebrew word is used, Gen 41:31; Isa 32:2, or mischievous and troublesome; or rather, numerous, as it is taken, Gen 1:9; Num 11:14; 1 Kings 3:9, compared with 2 Chron 1:10. The land, i.e. either the fruits or products of the land; or rather, the inhabitants of the land, as the word land is taken, Gen 41:36; 1 Sam 27:9 many of the people were poisoned or stung to death by them, as appears from Ps 78:45. See also the Book of Wisdom 16:9.
Exod 8:25-26. It is not meet, Heb. not right, neither in God’s eyes, who hath appointed us the place as well as the thing; nor in the Egyptians’ eyes, as it follows. The abomination of the Egyptians; that which the Egyptians abhor to kill, or to see killed; as not only Scripture, but profane authors, as Diodorus, and Tully, and Juvenal, witness, because they worshipped them as gods, as is notoriously known. Their fear was just; for when once a Roman had but killed a cat, though imprudently, the people tumultuously met together, and beset his house, and killed him in spite of the king and his princes, who used their utmost power and diligence to prevent it.
Exod 8:27. For we know not what kind or number of sacrifices to offer to him till we come thither.
Exod 9:1-3: God threatens to smite his cattle with a pestilence;
Exod 9:4: but spares Israel’s.
Exod 9:5: Appoints a time for the execution hereof;
Exod 9:6: wherein the Egyptians’ cattle dies.
Exod 9:7: Pharaoh’s obstinacy.
Exod 9:10: God strikes all Egypt with boils, which is the sixth plague.
Exod 9:11: The magicians are not able to stand before Moses.
Exod 9:12: Pharaoh’s heart hardened according to the word of the Lord.
Exod 9:13: God commands Moses to repeat his message;
Exod 9:14: and threatens Pharaoh with more grievous plagues.
Exod 9:16: God’s end in raising up Pharaoh.
Exod 9:18: The seventh plague, viz. hail and rain.
Exod 9:19: God’s counsel for the securing of their cattle.
Exod 9:23: The execution of this plague.
Exod 9:25: The effects of it.
Exod 9:26: The land of Goshen is preserved.
Exod 9:27: Pharaoh’s confession.
Exod 9:29: Moses’ prayer for him.
Exod 9:30: He foretells Pharaoh’s obstinacy.
Exod 9:33: By Moses’s entreaty the plague is stayed.
Exod 9:34-35: Pharaoh’s heart remains hardened.
Exod 9:1-3. The hand of the Lord; in an immediate manner, not by my rod, that thou mayst know it is not I, but the Lord, which doth all these things to thee. Thy cattle which they kept for their wool or milk, or manifold uses and services, though not for food and sacrifice.
Exod 9:4-6. All the cattle; either of all sorts, or a very great number of them, as the word all is frequently used; or rather, all that were in the field, as it is expressly limited, Exod 9:3, but not all absolutely, as appears from Exod 9:9,19,25; Exod 14:23.
Exod 9:7-8. Take to you handfuls of ashes, to mind them of their cruel usage of the Israelites in their furnace, of which see Deut 4:20; Jer 11:4. Both were to take them up, but Moses only to sprinkle them, as at other times Aaron only did the work, to show that they were but instruments, which God could use as he pleased, and God was the principal author of it.
Exod 9:9. A burning scab, which quickly raised blains and blisters; whereby they were both vehemently inclined to scratch themselves, and yet utterly disenabled from it by its great soreness.
Exod 9:10. God multiplying that dust, and heating it, and then dispersing it over all the land, and causing it to fall and rest upon the bodies of the Egyptians.
Exod 9:11. Could not stand before Moses, as they hitherto had done, both as spies and as adversaries; for though their understandings were convinced of God’s hand and infinite power, yet their hearts were not changed; but for their worldly interest they persisted to rebel against their light, and therefore are justly plagued. It was no favour to Pharaoh that the plague was not upon him, but only a reservation to a greater mischief, as it follows.
Exod 9:12-14. Upon thine heart, or, into thy heart: thou hast hitherto not felt my plagues upon thy own person or thy body, but I shall shortly reach and wound it, and that not only in the skin, as the magicians and others are now smitten, but even to thy heart, such as shall make thy heart sick, Mic 6:13, such as shall give thee a mortal and irrecoverable wound. Some understand it of inward and spiritual judgments upon Pharaoh’s heart, such as hardness of heart; but that plague had been inflicted upon him, and is recorded before this time. And Pharaoh’s heart being here opposed to his servants and people, seems rather to denote his person, the heart or soul being often put synecdochically for the whole man.
Exod 9:15. Pestilence; not properly so called, but largely, as the word is used Hos 13:14, meaning with an utter and irrecoverable destruction. This relates partly to the killing of the firstborn, which plague did more immediately and nearly concern both him and his people, and principally to their destruction in the Red Sea.
Exod 9:16. Raised thee up; so the Hebrew word is translated, Rom 9:17. I have raised thee up out of thy first nothing, into thy being, and life, and kingdom; and upheld thy being and reign even in the midst of thy tyranny. Heb. I have made thee to stand, i.e. to remain alive and untouched, when thy magicians could not stand, Exod 9:11. I have preserved thee in life, not for want of power to destroy thee, as thou mayst fancy, nor for want of provocation from thee, but for my own glory. To show in thee my power, in those mighty works which have been occasioned by thy rebellion and obstinacy. My name; my being and providence, and my manifold perfections; my patience in bearing thee so long, my justice in punishing thee, my power in conquering thee, my wisdom in overruling thy pride, and tyranny, and cruelty, to thy own destruction, and the redemption of my oppressed people, and my faithfulness in making good my promises to them, and my threatenings to thee.
Exod 9:17. Against my people, i.e. against me acting for my people. The gracious God takes what is done to or against his people as done to or against himself. See Zech 2:8; Matt 25:40,45; Acts 9:4-5.
Exod 9:18. Since they were a kingdom or a nation.
Exod 9:19. This forewarning God gives, partly, to initiate the severity of the judgment; partly, that a considerable number of horses might be reserved for Pharaoh’s expedition, Exod 14; partly, to show the justice of God in punishing so wicked and obstinate people, as would take no warning neither from God’s words, nor from his former works; and partly, to make a difference between the penitent and the incorrigible Egyptians.
Exod 9:20-22. Upon man, i.e. upon those men that presumed to continue in the field after this admonition.
Exod 9:23. The fire ran along upon the ground, devouring both herbs and cattle which were upon it, Ps 78:47-48; Ps 105:32-33
Exod 9:24. Which strange mixture much increased the miracle. That hail and rain did sometimes, though but seldom, fall in Egypt, is attested by divers eyewitnesses.
Exod 9:25. i.e. Most of them; or herbs and trees of all sorts, as appears from Exod 10:12,15. See before, Exod 9:6.
Exod 9:26. It seems the Egyptians that dwelt there were spared for the sake of their neighbours the Israelites; which great obligation probably made them more willing to lend their jewels to them, Exod 12:35.
Exod 9:27. I now plainly see and freely acknowledge my sin in striving with God. He seems not to deny that he had sinned before, for even the light of nature would discover his sin, in breaking his faith, and the word of a King given to Moses for Israel’s dismission.
Exod 9:28. Or, and let it be enough, (let God content himself that he hath punished me so long, and that I have confessed my sin, and promised amendment,) that there may be hereafter no more.
Exod 9:29. Or, that this land is the Lord’s, even his whom thou deniedst to have any jurisdiction in it, or over thee, Exod 5:2. Or the earth is put for the world, the heaven and the earth: q.d. That thou mayst see that he can either cause the heavens to send forth such thunders and hails, or restrain them as he pleaseth.
Exod 9:30-31. The flax and the barley were not so necessary for human life as the wheat and rye. Thus God still sends smaller judgments to usher in the greater.
Exod 9:32. The Hebrew word may be rendered either dark or hid, to wit, under the ground, whereby it was secured from this stroke; or late, as divers of the Hebrews and other interpreters render it. This kind of corn coming later up, was now tender and hidden, either in the ground or in the herb; whereby it was in some measure secured both from the fire by its greenness and moisture, and from the hail by its pliableness and yielding to it, whereas the stalks of barley were more dry and stiff, and therefore more liable to the hail and fire.
Exod 9:33. Moses went out of the city, that, being solitary, he might pour forth his heart in fervent prayers.
Exod 10:1-2: The reason why God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
Exod 10:4: Egypt threatened with locusts.
Exod 10:7: Pharaoh’s servants persuade him to let the Israelites go.
Exod 10:8: Pharaoh inquires of Moses who are they that shall go to serve the Lord.
Exod 10:9: Of Moses’s answer.
Exod 10:10-11: Pharaoh’s reply.
Exod 10:13-15: Locusts come over all Egypt.
Exod 10:16-17: Pharaoh sends for Moses, and confesseth his sin.
Exod 10:18: Moses prays to God.
Exod 10:19: The plague is stayed.
Exod 10:20: Pharaoh’s heart hardened.
Exod 10:22-23: The ninth plague, to wit, darkness over all Egypt.
Exod 10:24: Pharaoh would let Israel go, but without cattle.
Exod 10:25-26: Moses will not leave a hoof behind.
Exod 10:27: Pharaoh hardened;
Exod 10:28: and charges Moses, upon pain of death, never to appear in his sight any more;
Exod 10:29: which also came to pass.
Exod 10:1-5. The residue; the wheat and the rye, the staff of their lives. Every tree; the fruits and leaves of every tree.
Exod 10:6. Such for number, or shape, or mischievous effects, as were never seen before.
Exod 10:7. How long shall this man be a snare; an occasion of sin and destruction? See Exod 23:33; Josh 23:13.
Exod 10:8-9. A feast upon a sacrifice, wherein all are concerned, and therefore all must be present and ready to do what God requires us.
Exod 10:10. I wish God may be no more ready and willing to be with you, and to do you good, than I am willing to let you go. Evil is before you; either, 1. Evil of sin. You have some ill design against me, either to stir up sedition or war against me, or utterly to depart out of my kingdom. Or rather, 2. Evil of calamity or mischief. 1. Because it is here said to be before their faces, whereas evil designs are in men’s hearts, and the fair pretenses wherewith they cover them are said to be before their faces. 2. The word of caution he gives to them, look to it, or take heed, seems to simply that he speaks not of the evil they designed against Pharaoh, but of that which they would unavoidably bring upon themselves from so potent a king, by the refusal of such fair offers, and continuing in such insolent and unreasonable demands.
Exod 10:11. For that ye did desire; which was not true, but only was gathered by him out of their declared intention of going to sacrifice, wherein he thought the presence of the women and children wholly unnecessary.
Exod 10:12. This is no unusual plague in Africa and Arabia, where, when the harvest is ripe, they frequently come in vast numbers, and upon all their corn, and what they do not eat they infect with their touch, and the moisture coming from them, and afterwards dying in great numbers, they poison the air, and cause a pestilence. So that it is no wonder that Pharaoh and his servants were so concerned for this plague, so well known to them, especially considering that this was like to be far worse than all of the same kind which they had either seen or heard of.
Exod 10:13. Over the land; over divers parts of the land, shaking his rod towards the several quarters of it. An east wind in those parts is a most violent and pernicious wind, Exod 14:21; Num 11:31, and a dry wind, and therefore fit for the engendering of those creatures. This wind brought them from Arabia, where they are in great numbers, as we have seen, Exod 10:12, though God miraculously increased their numbers, and their power of doing mischief.
Exod 10:14. Question. How can this be true, when the same words are used of the locusts in Joel’s time? Answer. It might be true of both in divers respects; of these for number and quality, of them for long continuance, for they lasted three or four years, when these were but for a little time; of these for Egypt, of them for Judea, where they were fixed.
Exod 10:15. The land was darkened; either by their flying in vast numbers, and so darkening the air, as they have ofttimes done; or by covering the green and lightsome herbs and productions of the earth with their dark and direful bodies. They did eat every herb of the land. How could this be, when the hail had smitten every herb, and broken every tree? Exod 9:25. Answer 1. There seems to have been some distance of time between these two plagues, in which space new productions might be sprouting forth, both out of the ground, and from the trees. 2. The words all and every are commonly understood of the greatest part.
Exod 10:16. Pharaoh called for them, because this kind of plague in itself was most pernicious, whereby whole countries had been wasted, and grievous famines and pestilences caused, and was mightily aggravated by the vengeance of God, and by the peculiar quality of these locusts, which did not only fall upon their herbs and fruits, as they use to do, but invade their very houses, Exod 10:6, infect their meats, fill their beds, poison them with their stink and with their venomous bitings, whereby they killed many men, as it is written in Wisdom 16:19. Against you; by contempt of your great and terrible works, by breach of my promise made to you, and by my denial of your just desires and commands given to me in his name, whom I now find and feel to be the almighty and sovereign God.
Exod 10:17. I desire no further favour, I will no more offend nor need your pardon.
This death; this deadly plague, compare 2 Kings 4:40; 2 Cor 11:23. Besides it did destroy the life of herbs and trees, yea, of beasts and men, either directly, or at least by consequence, in depriving them of the necessary supports of life.
Exod 10:18-19. A mighty strong west wind; Heb. a wind of the sea, i.e. coming from the sea, called there the great sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, from whence came the northwest wind, which did blow the locusts directly into the Red Sea.
Cast them, as the Hebrew word signifies, with a great noise, and with great force, so as they should never rise again to molest them. The Red Sea; Heb. the sea of bulrushes, so called from the great number of bulrushes near its shore; or, the sea of bounds or limits, q.d. the narrow sea, whereas they could see no bounds nor shore beyond the Mediterranean Sea. It was called the Arabian Gulf, and by others the Red Sea, either from its red sand, or rather from Esau, called also Edom, which signifies red, Gen 25:30, from whom as the adjoining country was called Edom, or red, so this was called the Red Sea.
Exod 10:20-21. It is an hyperbolical expression, such being very frequent both in Scripture and in all authors. For darkness being only a privation, cannot be properly felt, yet it might be felt in its cause, to wit, those thick and gross vapours which filled and infected the air. But the place may be rendered thus, that there may be darkness after that (so the Hebrew vau is sometimes used, as Mic 7:13) the darkness (i.e. the darkness of the night, or the common and daily darkness) is departed or removed, and the time of the day come; for so the root from whence this word may be derived signifies, Exod 13:22. And to this purpose the words are rendered by the Chaldee and Syriac, and some others; and the sense is, that the darkness may continue in the daytime as well as in the night.
Exod 10:22-23. They saw not one another, because these gross and moist fogs and vapours did not only quite shut out the light of the heavenly bodies, but also put out their candles, or other artificial lights, or at least so darken them that men could have no benefit by them.
From his place. Place here may be taken, either, 1. More strictly and particularly; so the sense is, The horror of that darkness was so great that they durst not remove at all, but stood or sat where the darkness found them, like men astonished or affrighted, and therefore unmovable, having their minds disturbed, being terrified with their guilty consciences, which most affect men in the dark, and with the dreadful noises which they heard, Wisdom 17:5, and with the apparitions of evil angels, as may seem from Ps 78:49 where the plague of evil angels is put instead of this plague of darkness, which therefore is omitted in that place where all the rest are reckoned up. Or rather, 2. More largely, for their own houses or dwellings, for so the Hebrew word is certainly used, Exod 16:29. So the sense is, They did not stir abroad out of their houses upon their most necessary occasions. Objection. He saith not that they could not go, but that they could not rise from their place, which may seem to limit this expression to their particular places. Answer. The word to rise is commonly put for going about any business; and here it is a pregnant word, as they call it, and implies going in it, none arose, viz. to go or remove from his place. And rising cannot be properly taken here for that particular posture, unless we will suppose that this darkness found all men sitting, which is absurd to imagine.
The children of Israel had light in their dwellings, whereby they might have conveyed themselves, and families, and goods away, as afterwards they did in haste; but they waited for Moses’s orders, and he for God’s command; and God intended to bring them forth, not by stealth, but in a more honourable and public manner, in spite of all opposition.
Exod 10:24. And Pharaoh, or therefore, or then, to wit, after the darkness was either wholly or in part removed. Let your flocks and your herds be stayed, either as a pledge of your return after your sacrifice is ended, or as a recompence for the cattle which I have lost by your means. Let your little ones also go with you, and consequently the women, whose help and service was necessary for their little ones in divers regards.
Exod 10:25. Thou must give us, i.e. suffer us to take of our own stock
Exod 10:26. Which was not a pretence, but a real truth. For this being a solemn and extraordinary sacrifice by the express and particular appointment of God, they knew not either of what kinds, or in what number or manner their sacrifices must be offered. And for all these things they did not receive particular directions till they came to Mount Sinai.
Exod 10:27-29. Thou hast spoken well, Heb. right; not morally, for so it was very ill said; but logically, that which agrees, though not with thy duty, yet with the event and truth of the thing; for as thou hast warned me to see thee no more, so I in the name of God assure thee that thou shalt see me no more, to beg my prayers, or to be helped out of thy troubles by my means. And therefore that discourse of Moses to Pharaoh, which follows, Exod 11:4, etc., though it be put there out of its order and proper place, as many other passages are, yet was delivered at this time, and upon occasion of these words.
Exod 11:2: God commandeth the Israelites to borrow jewels of the Egyptians.
Exod 11:3: God giveth them favour among the Egyptians.
Exod 11:4-5: Moses denounceth the last plague.
Exod 11:6: A great cry.
Exod 11:7: The Israelites’ safety.
Exod 11:8: The Egyptians thrusting them out.
Exod 11:9: God foretells Pharaoh’s hardness.
Exod 11:1. The Lord said unto Moses; either, 1. Whilst Moses was not yet gone out of Pharaoh’s presence; so God might suggest this to his mind, as he did other things to Micaiah, when he was before Ahab and Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings 22. Or rather, 2. Before his last coming to Pharaoh; and the words may be rendered thus, Now the Lord had said unto Moses. And this is here added as the reason why Moses spake so boldly to Pharaoh, because God had assured him of a good issue. He shall surely thrust you out hence altogether; men, and women, and children, and cattle, and all that they had, which he would never do before.
Exod 11:2. The Israelites, who at first lived distinctly by when they themselves, were greatly multiplied, and Pharaoh began to cast a jealous eye upon them, and to take cruel counsels against them, were more mixed with the Egyptians, as appears from Exod 12:12-13, and many other places, either by their own choice, that they might receive protection and sustenance from them; or rather by Pharaoh’s design, who planted many of his own people among them to watch and chastise them, Exod 1:11; and, it may be, removed some of them from Goshen to the parts adjoining to it, which were inhabited by his people. Jewels, or vessels, as the Hebrew word properly signifies; for they might more plausibly ask, and the Egyptians would with less suspicion lend them vessels, which might be proper and useful, both for their sacrifices and feasts, than jewels, for which they had no present need or use.
Exod 11:3. Therefore they complied with their request, not only out of love to the people, but out of fear to Moses, lest he should punish them severely in case of refusal.
Exod 11:4. Moses said this to Pharaoh before his departure, as appears by comparing Exod 11:8 with Exod 10:29. And therefore the three first verses of this chapter come in by way of parenthesis; and now he returns to the story, and sets down the last words which Moses spake to Pharaoh for a final parting:
God is said to go out, or go forth, or come down, etc., by way of condescension to the custom and capacity of men, when he doth any eminent act of power either in way of justice or mercy.
Exod 11:5. That sitteth upon his throne; either now actually ruling with his father, as Solomon did even whilst David lived, 1 Kings 1:34; or, more probably, he that is to sit, the present time for the future, he whose right this is by the custom of Egypt, and by the law of nations. The firstborn of the maidservant; the poor captive slave that was in the prison, as it is Exod 12:29, and there did grind at the mill. In those times and places they had divers mills, which were not turned about by wind or water, as ours are, but by the hands of their servants, who for that purpose stood behind the mill, and so with hard labour turned it about. See Judg 16:21; Isa 47:1-2; Lam 5:13.
Exod 11:6-7. Instead of those loud cries of the Egyptian families, there shall be so great a tranquillity among the Israelites, that even the dogs, which are sensible of, and awaked, and provoked by, the least noise, shall not be stirred up by them.
Exod 11:8. Thy courtiers and great officers, who now are so insolent and obstinate, shall come down unto me, both by their own inclination and necessity, and in thy name, and by thy command. That follow thee; that are under thy conduct and command; as this or the like expression is used Judg 4:10; 1 Kings 20:10; 2 Kings 3:9; Isa 41:2. In a great anger; not so much for the affront offered to himself, as for his incurable rebellion against God. Compare Mark 3:5.
Exod 12:1-2: The month wherein they went out of Egypt to be to them the first month of the year.
Exod 12:3: God enjoins them to choose a spotless lamb for the passover.
Exod 12:4: How they were to eat the same.
Exod 12:5: The description of the lamb;
Exod 12:6: the time of killing it;
Exod 12:7: the manner of sprinkling;
Exod 12:8-11: the time and method of eating it.
Exod 12:12: God’s purpose to smite the firstborn.
Exod 12:13: The use of the blood upon the doors.
Exod 12:15: Seven days of unleavened bread, and the manner of keeping it.
Exod 12:21-24: Moses directeth the elders, both for their present and future safety.
Exod 12:26-27: They instruct their children concerning it.
Exod 12:29: The firstborn of all Egypt slain.
Exod 12:30: A great cry.
Exod 12:31: Pharaoh giveth Israel leave to go.
Exod 12:33: The Egyptians thrust them out.
Exod 12:34: Their hasty departure.
Exod 12:35-36: They spoil the Egyptians.
Exod 12:37: Their number.
Exod 12:39: Their baking unleavened bread.
Exod 12:40: How long they dwelt in Egypt.
Exod 12:41: The time of their deliverance.
Exod 12:43-49: Who were to partake of the passover.
Exod 12:50: The children of Israel did as the Lord commanded.
Exod 12:1. The Lord spake; had spoken, before the three days’ darkness, as may appear by comparing Exod 12:3,6 of this chapter with Exod 11:4. And the mention of it was put off by him till this place, as well that he might not interrupt the history of all the plagues, as that he might give the whole institution of the passover together.
Exod 12:2. This month was the first month after the vernal equinox, called Abib, Exod 13:4; Exod 23:15; Deut 16:1, and Nissan, Neh 2:1; Esther 3:7; containing part of our March, and part of April. The beginning; Heb. the head; which, I conceive, notes not so much the order, which is more plainly mentioned in the following words, as the eminency of it, that it shall be accounted the chief and principal of all months; as the sabbath hath been called by some the queen of days. And justly must they prefer this month before the rest, whether they looked back to their prodigious deliverance from Egypt therein, or forward to their spiritual redemption by Christ, and to the acceptable year of the Lord, Luke 4:19; for in this very month our Lord Jesus suffered, John 18:28. It shall be the first month: heretofore your first month for all affairs hath been Tisri, which in part answers to our September, and is the first month after the autumnal equinox; and so it shall be to you still as to civil affairs, as it appears from Exod 23:16; Exod 34:22; Lev 25:8-10; but as to sacred and ecclesiastical matters, this shall henceforth be your first month.
Exod 12:3. In the tenth day; partly, that they might have the lamb ready for the sacrifice, and might not be distracted about procuring it when they should be going to use it; partly, that by the frequent contemplation of the lamb, as a sign appointed by God, they might have their faith strengthened as to their approaching deliverance, and afterwards might have their minds quickened to the more serious consideration of that great deliverance out of Egypt, and of that more glorious deliverance from hell by Christ the true Passover, which should be offered for them; partly, to teach the church in all ages how necessary a thing preparation is to the solemn duties and exercises of religion; and partly, to signify that Christ should be first set apart, and separated to the ministry, which was done three or four prophetical days, i.e. years, before his death, and afterwards offered: most of which reasons being perpetual, it may seem this usage was so too, and not for the first passover only. They shall take to them, into their houses, where the Jews tell us he was tied to the bedpost. A lamb, or kid, Exod 12:5, for the same word signifies both, though a lamb was commonly used, and a kid only in case of the want of a lamb; and the Chaldee and LXX. do almost constantly translate the Hebrew word lamb. And Christ is seldom or never typified by a kid, but generally by a lamb, as he is called John 1:29, partly for his innocency, meekness, patience, etc., but principally with respect to the paschal lamb, instead whereof he was in due time to be offered; whence he is called our Passover, 1 Cor 5:7.
A lamb was to be disposed of to every house or family, according to its quantity, or the number of persons in it, as the next verse explains it. The several families are called the houses of their fathers, because they consist of those persons which come from one father or grandfather. The people were divided into tribes, the tribes were subdivided into families, and the families again into houses, which were like sprigs taken from the greater branches, and planted apart, and each of these had their several fathers, from whom they were denominated, as here they are.
Exod 12:4. Too little for the lamb, i.e. for the eating of the whole lamb at one meal, according to the rule, Exod 12:8,10; if the persons be so few that they cannot eat it up without gluttony. Take it; or rather thus, word for word, And, or Then he (the master of that family) shall take also his neighbour next unto his house; he shall take him and his family into society with himself; they shall join together. To the number of the souls, or persons, i.e. as the two families shall consist of more or fewer persons. I suppose the meaning is, that if his next neighbour’s family were of itself sufficient for the eating of the whole lamb, that he should pass over that to the next small family, which being joined with his might make up a fit number, which, as the Hebrew doctors tell us, was ten, besides women and children. According to his eating, i.e. according to the proportion which he can or commonly doth eat. The meaning is this, The whole lamb being to be eaten at once, and a sufficient number being necessary to that end, and there being great variety in men’s stomachs and meals, they were to give allowance for that, and to take either more or fewer persons, as their stomachs were better or worse.
Exod 12:5. Without blemish; without any deformity or distemper of body. Heb. perfect. Of which see Lev 22:21, etc.; Deut 15:21; Deut 17:1. And this the very light of nature taught the heathens to observe in their sacrifices. This property was required both to typify Christ, a Lamb without spot or blemish, Heb 9:14; 1 Pet 1:19, and to instruct us that all our services to God must be as perfect as possibly may be. A male, partly because that was better and more perfect than the female, whence a male is opposed to a corrupt thing, Mal 1:14; and partly to typify the man Christ Jesus. Of the first year, i.e. a year old, when it is in its rigour and perfection, and the fittest type of Christ. Most explain it thus, That it was not to be more than a year old, but it might be much less, seeing it might be offered to God any time after it was eight days old, Exod 22:30; Lev 22:27. But though it was then fit to be offered to God, it was not very fit to be eaten by men. And the Hebrew phrase, the son of a year, seems to require a year’s age, as Saul is called the son of one year, 1 Sam 13:1, when he had reigned one whole year. And it is remarkable, that he doth not say the son of this or that year, which might agree to one brought forth that year, though it was much younger than a year, but the son of a year, without any restrictive article. Or from the goats; Heb. and from the goats: if you want a lamb, you shall take a kid of or from the goats. But the particle and is here well rendered or, as it is used Gen 13:8; Exod 21:17, compared with Matt 15:4; Ps 8:4, compared with Heb 2:6.
Exod 12:6. Ye shall keep it up; separate it from the rest of the flock, and keep it in a safe place; the reasons of which, Exod 12:3. The whole assembly; or rather, every assembly, to wit, every such society as meet together for eating of the lamb. And the assembly is said to kill it, because one person did it in their name, and by their appointment; in which manner, and upon which reason, the whole congregation is said to stone a man, Lev 24:14,16; Num 15:35; Deut 22:21. It is probable it was killed by the master of the family, who was a priest in his own family, etc. In the evening; Heb. between the evenings, or the two evenings, i.e. between the beginning and end of the evening. The evening is one third part of the day, and one of the appointed and usual times of devotion, as appears from Ps 55:17; Dan 6:10; and it begun at their ninth or our third hour, as may be gathered from Acts 3:1; for then the sun began more sensibly to decline, whence that time is fitly called by the Jews the first evening, and that was the time of the evening sacrifice; the second evening was when the sun was setting or set. Between these it was to be killed. This had a respect both to the time of the world’s age when Christ came, which was its evening, or declining time, or end, Heb 1:2; Heb 9:26; 1 Pet 1:20; and the time of the day in which Christ our Passover was killed, Matt 27:46-50; Mark 15:25,33-34.
Exod 12:7. This was afterwards restrained to the priests, but at this time it was allowed to the masters of families, as their present circumstances required. They shall strike it; with a bunch of hyssop, Exod 12:22, as a badge of distinction between their houses and the Egyptians; not to direct the destroying angel where they were, who could as well discern the houses as the blood in the night, but to direct their thoughts to Christ, whose blood was hereby evidently typified, by whose merits and mediation they obtained this preservation and deliverance from Egypt, as well as their great deliverance from hell.
Exod 12:8. In that night, i.e. the night following the fourteenth, and beginning the fifteenth day. The lamb was killed upon the fourteenth day, in the evening or close thereof, but it was eaten upon the fifteenth day, to wit, in the beginning of it; whence the passover is said to be offered sometimes upon the fourteenth, and sometimes upon the fifteenth day, which may serve for the reconciliation of some seemingly contrary scriptures. Roast with fire; partly for expedition, Exod 12:11; and principally to be a type of the Lamb of God, Christ, and of the sharp and dreadful pains which he suffered, not only from men, but from God too, and from the fire of his sore displeasure against sinners, whose place and person Christ sustained in his sufferings. Unleavened bread; partly, as a monument of their speedy departure out of Egypt, which gave them not time to leaven their bread, Exod 12:34, which is the reason alleged for it, Deut 16:3; partly, to teach us how men should be qualified that come to the sacrament, they should be purged from error, and pride, and malice, and hypocrisy, which are called and compared to leaven, Matt 16:6,11; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8; and partly, to signify the singular purity of Christ from all kind of spiritual leaven. And with bitter herbs; both to remind them of their hard service and bitter usage in Egypt, Exod 1:14, from which God delivered them, Deut 16:3; and to prefigure the further crosses and troubles which they were to expect between their going out of Egypt and coming to Canaan. Or, with bitternesses, i.e. with great bitterness, or with grief of heart, that together with faith in God and in Christ, and hope and joy for their approaching deliverance, they might exercise bitter and hearty repentance for their idolatries, and other sinful practices whereof they were guilty in Egypt. And this instructs us as well as them of the absolute necessity of true and bitter repentance in all those that would profitably feed upon Christ our Passover.
Exod 12:9. Eat not of it raw, i.e. not thoroughly roasted, for such we also say is raw and so the Hebrew word na is understood by the Jewish and other doctors. It signified that Christ should suffer, as well as save, to the uttermost, all that was done for our sins. The purtenance; Heb. the inwards, which were to be taken and washed, and then to be roasted together with the rest. So do here except the fat, and caul, and kidneys which were reserved by God for himself, 2 Chron 35:12,14. But that exception was not made till after this time, and it seems not certain that that exception extended to the paschal lamb. These and the heads and legs are here mentioned, not to exclude other parts, but because they are not commonly roasted; but God would have the whole lamb roasted and eaten, to signify that we must have either nothing of Christ, or the whole Christ, and all his benefits, his Spirit to sanctify and rule us, as well as his blood to save us.
Exod 12:10. That which either was not usually eaten, or was more than all of you could conveniently eat, ye shall burn with fire; to prevent either, 1. The superstitious use of the relics of that lamb by the Israelites, who thereby had received a greater benefit than they did afterwards by the brazen serpent, which upon that account they worshipped; or, 2. The profane abuse of that which had been consecrated to God’s service. Compare Exod 29:34.
Exod 12:11. Thus shall ye eat it, to wit, for this time, because their circumstances required it, that they being suddenly to take a great journey, might be in a traveler’s habit. But that these, and some other circumstances now enjoined and used, were only temporary, and not perpetual nor obligatory, sufficiently appears from the practice not only of the Jews in following ages, but also of Christ and of his apostles. And in like manner there are some institutions in the New Testament which did only oblige that age, and not all that follow them, as Acts 15:28-29. With your loins girded, like travellers and persons undertaking some difficult service; for such used to gird up their garments, which in those parts were long and troublesome. See 2 Kings 4:29; 2 Kings 9:1; Luke 12:35. Shoes on your feet; a badge, 1. Of their readiness for their journey, Isa 5:27; Acts 12:8. 2. Of their freedom; for slaves, such as the Israelites now were in Egypt, used to go barefooted. 3. Of joy, as on the contrary going barefoot was a badge of mourning, 2 Sam 15:30. Your staff in your hand, like persons upon the point of departing, which was a very comfortable circumstance. In haste; for so the word signifies, Deut 16:3; Isa 52:12. It is the Lord’s passover: this lamb, or your eating of it, is the Lord’s passover, i.e. it is a sign of God’s passing over you and your houses, when he comes to destroy the Egyptians on every side of you, Exod 12:13,23. It is a metonymy usual in sacramental speeches, as Gen 17:10; Matt 26:26-28.
Exod 12:12. I will execute judgment; either, 1. By exposing them to shame and contempt, as vain and impotent gods that could not save their worshippers. But that appeared before. Or, 2. By destroying those beasts which they worshipped; and it is not unlikely but those particular beasts, which were their chief idols, as Apis, Mnevis, etc., were firstborn, and therefore perished in this plague. Or, 3. By overthrowing their idols, as he afterwards did Dagon. And so some Hebrew writer tells us, that this very night all their idols were broken and thrown down. And there are some footsteps hereof even in heathen authors; of whom some tell us that most of the temples of Egypt at one time fell down by an earthquake; and others affirm, that the Egyptian gods, for fear of one Typho, (by whom it is apparent they meant Moses,) did hide themselves for a season, etc.
Exod 12:13. A token, both to you, as he now said, a sign and a pledge to confirm your faith in the expectation of the promised deliverance; and to the angel, that he may know and pass over your houses, as the following words intimate. See on Exod 12:7. This is spoken of God after the manner of men; the sense is, If I find that you keep the condition which I require, you may expect the privilege which I have promised you; otherwise not.
Exod 12:14. For a memorial, or monument, both of this deliverance from Egypt, and moreover of your redemption by Christ, of which that is a type, as even the ancient Jews understood it, who also noted that Israel was to be redeemed in the days of the Messias upon the same day on which they were delivered from Egypt, to wit, upon the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan. Upon which day our blessed Lord was crucified for the redemption of his people. You shall observe it for a solemn feast or festival time. For ever, i.e. so long as your state and church continues, or till the coming of the Messias. This word doth not always signify eternity, but any long time, as Prov 29:14; Dan 3:9, and oft elsewhere.
Exod 12:15. Seven days, besides and after the day of eating the passover, which was a distinct feast, and no part of the feast of unleavened bread, shall ye eat unleavened bread, to remind them of their departure out of Egypt, which was so sudden that they had not leisure to leaven their dough. See more on Exod 12:8. That soul shall be cut off, either by excommunication, or by death to be inflicted by the magistrate, and, in case of his neglect, by God himself. Nor let any one think that this was too severe a punishment for what may seem no great offence. For this was indeed a very great crime, being a manifest contempt of God, and a rebellion against God’s authority and express command, which surely deserves as severe a punishment as is inflicted upon rebels against their prince, especially considering that the Israelites were the people and subjects of God in a peculiar manner. It was also a tacit renunciation of their religion, and of the covenant of God with them, and of their interest both in that past deliverance out of Egypt, and in the future deliverance by the Messias. See more on Gen 17:14.
Exod 12:16. An holy convocation; a solemn day for the people to assemble together, and to attend upon the public worship and service of God in hearing his word, prayers, praises, and sacrifices. And in the seventh day, because then Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the sea. As on the first day the firstborn were killed; so their deliverance was begun on the first, and completed on the seventh day, and therefore those days deserved a special character of honour. And indeed that there were seven days between those two miracles, the Jews unanimously affirm, and it seems probable from the account of their journeys. No manner of work, i.e. of servile work, Lev 23:7. Save that which every man must eat: herein, as many think, these days were inferior to the sabbath, in which that was forbidden. But of this see my notes on Exod 16:23, and Exod 35:3.
Exod 12:17. Your armies, so called, not from their military force or courage, but from their numbers, and the order and manner in which they came forth. See Exod 13:18.
Exod 12:18. Until the one and twentieth day, inclusively. For otherwise they were obliged to eat unleavened bread eight days, viz. on the day of the passover, Exod 12:8, and seven days after, which is strictly and properly called the feast of unleavened bread, because in them they were tied to that ceremony only, except the two days of a holy convocation.
Exod 12:19. A stranger, to wit, a proselyte; for strangers unconverted to the Jewish religion were not obliged nor admitted to the celebration of the passover or feast of unleavened bread. Though I see no inconvenience, if all strangers, though heathens, were forbidden to have or use any unleavened bread at that time, lest the Jews who conversed with them might be tempted to desire or partake of it with them. In the land, to wit, of Canaan, which I have promised to you, and to which I am now leading you, which was so well known to all of them, that it was needless to express it in this place.
Exod 12:20-22. A bunch of hyssop; so the Hebrew word is rightly rendered, as appears from Heb 9:19. The door of his house, i.e. of the house wherein he did eat the passover, which ofttimes was his neighbour’s house: see Exod 12:4. Until the morning; till the beginning of the morning after midnight, and after the slaughter of the Egyptians’ firstborn; which may reconcile those scriptures that seem to contradict one another, while some affirm they went out of Egypt by night, and others by day, for they went out in the morning very early when it was yet dark, as it is expressed in a like case, John 20:1.
Exod 12:23. Will not suffer, Heb. not give him license or commission. The destroyer, i.e. the destroying angel, which whether it were a good or bad angel is not agreed, nor is it necessary to determine.
Exod 12:24. This thing, viz. the substance of the thing, the passover and feast of unleavened bread, though not all the rites and ceremonies, whereof divers were peculiar to the first time.
Exod 12:25. To the land, viz. of Canaan, as Exod 12:19. For in the wilderness they kept this feast but once, and that by God’s particular direction, Num 9:2.
Exod 12:26. Or, part of Divine worship. God expects this even from the Jewish children, and much more from Christian men, that they should inquire and understand what is said or done in the public worship or service of God, and therefore not to rest in dumb signs, whereof they neither inquire nor know the meaning, or in the service of God in a language which they understand not.
Exod 12:27. The passover was both a sacrifice, as it was offered to God, as it appears from Exod 23:18; Exod 34:25; Num 9:7,13; Deut 16:2,5; and because there was in it the shedding and sprinkling of blood, wherein the essence of a sacrifice consists, 2 Chron 30:16; 2 Chron 35:11,13; and also a sacrament, as it was received and eaten by men. The people bowed the head, in token of their thankful acknowledgment of God’s favours, and of their cheerful submission to God’s command and ordinance. See 2 Chron 29:30.
Exod 12:28. They killed and did eat the paschal lamb in such manner as God prescribed.
Exod 12:29. At midnight; a great aggravation of the plague; for then darkness itself strikes men with horror, and makes any calamity more terrible; then they were asleep and secure, and least expected such a stroke. All the firstborn, both of man and beast, whether male or female. Some extend it to all that were firstborn; and so many persons might be killed in one house, as both father and mother, and several sons, which might be the firstborn by several mothers, and sons’ sons or daughters, etc. Others confine it to the firstborn child in the family. I conceive the heads of the family are not included, for these, though they might be the firstborn children of their parents’ families, yet were not, nor ever are called or accounted, the firstborn of their own families, but the heads and roots of them: but for all the rest, I conceive they are all included, because all such were really firstborn, and did first open their mother’s womb; and all such were to be set apart unto the Lord, instead of these firstborn of the Egyptians now slain, Exod 13:12,15, and therefore are in both places to be understood in the same latitude.
Exod 12:30. Not a house, to wit, of those houses which had any firstborn in them, for in divers families there might be no firstborn. And such restrictions of the universal particles are frequently understood.
Exod 12:31. I.e. He sent this message to them, for they came no more to him, Exod 10:29.
Exod 12:32. Pray to God for me, that I may not perish by this or any other plague.
Exod 12:33. They were urgent, not by force, which they durst not now use, but by earnest and importunate entreaties, Exod 11:8. This was the ground of that fable of the heathens mentioned in Tacitus, that the Jews were driven out of Egypt for their scabs; so they falsely and maliciously ascribed their own ulcers and scabs sent upon them by God to the Israelites.
Exod 12:34. Their kneading-troughs; or, as others rightly render it, their dough lumps, or food, or lumps of paste unleavened.
Exod 12:35. They borrowed of the Egyptians, either before this time, as they had opportunity, when their hearts were mollified by the foregoing plagues; or even at this time, when the Israelites might well take confidence to borrow, and the Egyptians would be willing to lend them, partly that they might gain their affections and prayers, and partly that they might more readily depart from them. Jewels, wherewith they used to adorn themselves in the worship of their idols, and therefore supposed the Israelites might use them in the worship of their God. Or, vessels; of which see on Exod 11:2.
Exod 12:36. The Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, i.e. inclined their hearts to do it willingly, and not only out of fear. So that they lent unto him; Heb. and they lent them, to wit, the jewels or vessels mentioned Exod 12:35. They spoiled the Egyptians, to wit, of their ornaments. Question. Was not this unjustly done of the Israelites to borrow these jewels which they never paid again? Answer. No, 1. Because they did nothing in this matter but by God’s appointment, Exod 11:1-2; so that if there be any injustice, it must be in God, in whom there neither can be in any thing, nor is in this thing, the least blot or shadow of injustice, as well because he hath an unquestionable right in and power to dispose of all persons and things, as being the Maker, and Giver, and Lord of all; as because there was great and evident reason both why the Israelites should be recompensed for all their hard labours and sufferings, and why the Egyptians should be spoiled for their idolatry, luxury, and cruelty to the Israelites, and the great benefits which they had received from Joseph, and from the service of the Israelites. 2. Because the supreme Lord of all forbad them to restore what they borrowed, and gave them the entire right and sole propriety therein. 3. Because though there was a form and appearance of borrowing and lending, yet indeed the Israelites did not so much borrow as desire, as the Hebrew word rendered borrow Exod 12:35 signifies; and the Egyptians did not reckon these thing; as lent, and to be restored, but as given, and never to be expected again; even as Pharaoh and his people rightly judged, that if the Israelites were once permitted to go out of the land with their whole families and estates, they would never return again, Exod 14:5. And in truth the Egyptians did and might esteem it a good bargain to give these things to redeem their lives, and to engage the Israelites to a speedy departure, knowing that otherwise both their persons and all their estates were in extreme hazard. 4. Because, if these jewels were properly borrowed, yet the Egyptians, by their causeless and hostile pursuit after the Israelites with intent to destroy them, did fully discharge them from all obligations to restitution, and give them a right not only to keep these goods, but to take ally other which they could from the Egyptians, according to the known and approved laws of war.
Exod 12:37. Succoth; a place so called, either because there the Israelites first lodged in booths or tents, whereas before they dwelt in houses; or because there God first spread his cloud of fire over them for a covering. Ps 105:39. Six hundred thousand, to wit, grown and strong men, and fit for war, among whom there was none feeble or sick, Ps 105:37. Thus the heathen writer Chæremon, mentioned by Josephus, speaking of this matter, reckons up first two hundred and fifty thousand, and then three hundred and eighty thousand more. That were men: the Hebrew word properly signifies strong and able men, fit to go on foot in battle-array; so decrepit or weak old men are not comprehended in this number. Beside children, and women, whose presence and assistance is necessary to them. See Exod 10:24. Some say the Hebrew word taph signifies their households or families, which consist principally of women and children.
Exod 12:38. A mixed multitude, consisting of Egyptians or other people, who went with them, either because they were their servants, or that by this means they might free themselves from the servitude which they endured under hard masters in Egypt; or because the glorious works which they had seen, had raised their esteem of God and of his people, and made them expect a share in the great felicities which they presumed would be conferred upon a people so highly honoured and beloved of such an almighty and all-sufficient God. And because their hearts were not sincere, nor their ends right, they soon repented of their choice, Num 11:4. Compare Zech 8:23.
Exod 12:39. It was not leavened; both because leaven was forbidden to them at that time, and because the great haste required gave them not time for leavening it. They were thrust out of Egypt; not by force, but by importunate requests, as was observed on Exod 12:33. Thus men are said to be driven to worship the sun, moon, etc., when they are persuaded to it, Deut 4:19.
Exod 12:40. It is plain that those years are to be computed from the first promise made to Abraham, Gen 12:1-2, to the giving of the law, from Gal 3:17, where this is affirmed. And although it doth not plainly appear when that promise was made, because the Scripture mentions not Abraham’s age, neither when it was made, nor when Abraham came to Haran with his father, Gen 11:31, but only when he went out of Haran, being seventy-five years old, Gen 12:4; yet a good while after it was made, and, as it may seem more than probable, thirty years afterward, it is manifest there were only four hundred years of this time to come, Gen 15:13. And many more years passed ere there was such a man as Israel or Jacob, and more ere there were any children of Israel, or of Jacob, and yet more ere they came into Egypt. How then can this be true which is here said? Answer 1. Some affirm that they were in Egypt four hundred and thirty years, which is sooner said than proved. 2. Some ancient Hebrew copies are said to have had more words than ours now have; for the LXX. and Samaritan interpreters after the words in Egypt, read, and in the land of Canaan. And some other copies after the word who, add, together with their fathers, or, and their fathers. And so rite difficulty vanisheth. And if it should be granted that there were some few such errors in our present copies in matters irately historical or chronological, which God might permit to be there for many wise and holy reasons, yet this is no prejudice to our faith, or to God’s providence, which hath been pleased to have so special a care of those texts which concern the essentials of faith and a good life, that all copies are agreed in them. 3. These four hundred and thirty years are not by the text confined to Egypt, but may be extended to any place where they were sojourners; and the Hebrew word asher is not to be rendered which, as relating to the time of their sojourning, but who, as belonging to the persons sojourning, as our translation well renders it; and the sense is, that they were sojourners, or, which is all one, strangers, or dwellers in a land that was not theirs, as it is said Gen 15:13, for four hundred and thirty years. And the emphasis lies in the Hebrew word moshab, which is here fitly rendered sojourning; as toshab, coming from the same root, is commonly used for a sojourner, or one that lives in a place or land which is not his, as Lev 22:10; Lev 25:35,40; Num 35:15; Ps 39:12. There is now but one difficulty remains, How the children of Israel can be said to be sojourners so long, seeing much of this time passed before they were born? Answer. As Levi is said to pay tithes in Abraham, Heb 7:9, because he was in the loins of Abraham when Abraham paid tithes; with much more reason might the children of Israel be said to sojourn so long, because they sojourned a great part of it in their own persons, and the rest in the loins of their parents. And as ofttimes when the parents only are mentioned, the children are included or intended, as Gen 12:3, in thee, i.e. in thy seed; and Gen 13:17, I will give it (the land) unto thee, i.e. to thy seed; and Jacob is said to be brought up again out of Egypt, Gen 46:4, to wit, in his posterity; and David is oft put for his posterity, as 1 Kings 12:16; Ezek 34:23; Ezek 37:24-25; why may not parents also be understood sometimes when the children only are mentioned? But we need not make suppositions, seeing we have examples; the persecution in Egypt, and deliverance out of it, which happened to the parents only, being attributed to their posterity, who neither felt the one, nor saw the other, Deut 26:5, etc. Compare Ps 16:6; Judg 10:11-12. And the souls of the house of Jacob, (i.e. of the children of Israel, for by house it is evident he means only children,) which came with Jacob into Egypt, are said to be threescore and ten souls, Gen 46:26-27. In which number and title Jacob himself is confessedly included. And therefore upon the very same ground, under this title of the children of Israel, we must understand Israel himself, who being the chief author and subject of this sojourning in Egypt, it were unreasonable to exclude him from the number of those sojourners. And this phrase being once extended to their immediate parent, may by a parity of reason be extended to their great grandfather Abraham, as being the first author of that famous peregrination or sojourning, which being begun in Canaan, ended in Egypt. Add to this, that the word Israel, as it is put for the people or children of Israel, is elsewhere used for the whole church of God, as Rom 9:6, and therefore may well include Abraham as the father, and, under God, the founder of it. And the title of the children of Israel might well be given to all that people, and to the family from which they descended, because they were now known by that name. And that this indeed was Moses’s meaning, which is here produced, may be further gathered from hence, that otherwise Moses had contradicted himself; for by the years of the lives of Jacob, and Levi, and Kohath, and Amram, and Moses himself, which he precisely sets down, it appears that the sojourning of the children of Israel, strictly so called, in Egypt, was not above two hundred and fifteen years. And it is absurd to think that so wise and learned a man, as all acknowledge Moses to have been, should commit so gross an error, especially seeing that generation could easily have confuted him.
Exod 12:41. If this be the right translation, the four hundred and thirty years mentioned Gal 3:17 are to be taken in a latitude, for about or near so many years, as is very frequent in Scripture and other authors; else there wants one year of it, because the law was not given till about a year after their coming out of Egypt. Nor was it of any concernment to the apostle’s argument there, whether it wanted a year of that number or no, as here it is. But the words may be rendered here, as Gen 7:12, in the body or strength of the day, i.e. when the daylight was full, and clear, and strong, when it was broad daylight, the Egyptians seeing and not being able to hinder them. If it be said they went out by night, Deut 16:1, that is true, in regard of their resolution, and preparation, and the beginning of their journey; but their actual marching forth was by daylight, or in the morning; nor could it be done sooner from the nature of the thing, and the time necessarily required for so great a work. The selfsame day: this circumstance is noted to set forth the accurateness and infallibility of God’s foreknowledge, and the efficacy of his providence in accomplishing all his own counsels in his own appointed time.
Exod 12:42-43. This which here followeth is the law or appointment of God concerning the celebration of the passover. No stranger, or, foreigner, who is so both by nation and religion; for if he were circumcised, he might eat of it, Exod 12:44,48.
Exod 12:44. When thou hast circumcised him; for the master had a power to circumcise such persons, Gen 17:12. And though it is probable, that by their interest in them, and a diligent instruction of them, they made them willing to receive circumcision, yet it seems they had a power to compel them to it; but then circumcision was not to them a seal of God’s covenant, nor of their religion, for that must be matter of choice, but only a civil badge, or a note of that family or people into which they were politically incorporated.
Exod 12:45. Except he submit to circumcision, as Exod 12:43. See Num 9:14.
Exod 12:46. Partly, because they were all obliged not to go out of the house till the morning, Exod 12:22, and to leave none of it till that time, Exod 12:10; partly, lest it should be either superstitiously or profanely abused; and partly, to signify that Christ and salvation are not to be had out of God’s house or church.
To take out and eat the marrow of it. This was required, partly to mind them of their hasty departure out of Egypt, wherein they had no leisure to break and empty the bones; and principally, that it might be an evident type of the Lord Jesus, in whom this was literally fulfilled, John 19:36. The bones were burnt with the other remainders of the lamb.
Exod 13:1-2: God commands all the firstborn to be consecrated.
Exod 13:3: The day of their going forth out of Egypt to be had in remembrance.
Exod 13:5-10: The feast of unleavened bread to be kept in the land of Canaan.
Exod 13:12: The firstlings of beasts to be set apart for the Lord.
Exod 13:15: The reason of it.
Exod 13:18: The way God led them into the wilderness.
Exod 13:19: Moses carries Joseph’s bones out of Egypt.
Exod 13:20: Israel encampeth at Etham.
Exod 13:21-22: God conducteth them by a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.
Exod 13:1-2. Sanctify unto me, to my use and service, in manner as I shall hereafter explain. And sanctify, i.e. command all the people to sanctify, as Moses did, Exod 13:12. All the firstborn, viz. if they be males, as it is limited, Exod 13:12. Whatsoever openeth the womb; every child which is the firstborn of his mother: so that if a man had many wives, either together or successively, his first child by every one of these was a firstborn. Whether clean or unclean, though in different manner; whereof see Num 18:13,15,17. It is mine, by special right and title; as being by my singular care and favour preserved from the common destruction, and therefore I challenge a peculiar interest in them, and do hereby require that they be devoted to me.
Exod 13:3-4. See Exod 12:2, in the springtime, the most proper season for a long journey.
Exod 13:5. This service; which is spoken of before, and in the following verses. From this place it is evident the Israelites were not obliged to this service in the wilderness without a particular command from God. See Deut 12:1,9.
Exod 13:6-9. The celebration of this feast shall be to thee instead of a mark which a man makes, or a ring, or any thing else which he puts upon his hand or arm, to bring any thing to his remembrance; for such things his eye is most frequently fixed upon. Compare Song 8:6; Isa 49:16; Jer 22:24; Hag 2:23. A memorial between thine eyes; instead of any monument or memorial, which is placed between, and therefore directly before a man’s eyes, which he can scarcely overlook, and therefore must needs bring to remembrance the thing which he would not forget. Such proverbial phrases are usual in Scripture, as Deut 6:8; Prov 3:3; Prov 6:21; Prov 7:3; and are not to be understood literally, as the superstitious Jews understood them, who hence derive their custom of wearing scrolls of parchment upon their foreheads, and arms, and garments, which they call phylacteries, wherein they wrote certain portions of Scripture. But they might as well have added parcels of God’s law to be kept in their mouths, because it follows, that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth; from whence we may better infer that neither mouth, nor hand, nor eyes are to be properly understood, for then, it had been an improper method to fasten a parchment between their eyes, that it might be in their mouths; but figuratively, as they are commonly understood in Scripture.
Exod 13:10. Heb. From days to days. But days in the Hebrew tongue are oft put for a complete year. Of which see Gen 4:3; Lev 25:29; Amos 4:4.
Exod 13:11. The land of the Canaanites, under which general name all the other nations are contained, as being all the children of Canaan.
Exod 13:12. Thou shalt set apart, i.e. separate it from the rest, resign thy right in it to God. Heb. Cause it to pass, not through the fire, as that verb is used, Deut 18:10; 2 Kings 16:3; but under the rod, as it is used, and more fully expressed, Lev 27:32, which was the rite when any thing was separated and consecrated to God. The males shall be the Lord’s, devoted to him, either to be sacrificed, if it was clean, or to be otherwise destroyed, if it was unclean, as it here follows.
Exod 13:13. The ass was an unclean creature, and therefore this rule was to be observed in all other unclean creatures, as appears, 1. Because the reason of this law is common to all such. 2. By comparing this place with Num 18:15. 3. Because the firstborn of all beasts were appropriated to God; and because many of them were unclean, and so could not be sacrificed, there was no other way of offering them to God, but by redemption, or a price paid for them. And the single exception of the price of a dog in this case, Deut 23:18, doth sufficiently intimate that the price of all other unclean creatures was allowed and required. The ass alone is here named for all the rest, because this creature was most common, and most useful, and yet was not to be spared; whence it was easy to infer, that this course was much rather to be observed in other creatures which were of less use. Thou shalt break his neck; or, cut off his neck, or head, as the word is used, Deut 21:4; Isa 66:3; because being consecrated to God, it was not to be applied to any profane or common use.
Exod 13:14. Which is added to teach parents in all succeeding ages, that it is their duty to instruct their children in the word and works of God, and in the nature and reasons of every particular kind or part of God’s worship and service. See Deut 15:5; Ps 66:4; Hos 2:14.
Exod 13:15-16. For frontlets; instead of frontlets. The sense is, This practice shall make your deliverance from Egypt as fresh and evident to you, and to your children, as any thing which you see hanged or written upon one another’s foreheads. See Ezek 9:4. It seems strange to me, that they that understand the sign on the hand, and the memorial between the eyes, Exod 13:9, metaphorically, should understand the frontlets between the eyes in this place properly, seeing the phrase is perfectly the same; only here is a more particular allusion to the custom of the Egyptians, which used to wear some devices upon their foreheads, which probably they called totaphoth, which were memorials of their idols, or of something relating to them. And therefore it seems unlikely that he should here prescribe the use of the same things to the Jews; and the more probable meaning of the phrase is only this, that this practice would be as effectual and useful a remembrancer of this mighty and glorious work of God in bringing them out of Egypt, as those contrivances were to the Egyptians of their idols.
Exod 13:17. The Philistines, a fierce and warlike people, whereof they had sad and late experience, 1 Chron 7:21. That was near; there being this way but a few days’ journey between Egypt and Canaan. Peradventure: God speaks after the manner of men, for nothing was unknown nor uncertain to him. Though the Hebrew particle pen doth not always imply doubting, but ofttimes only signifies lest, as Gen 3:3; Gen 38:23; Num 20:18. When they see war; which they were likely to do, because the war would probably be long and hot, and their bodies were much weakened, and their spirits and courage broken, by a tedious and grievous bondage; and therefore it was fit that before they were called to such sharp conflicts, they should be hardened by the labours of a long and troublesome journey, and their faith should be strengthened by further experience of God’s power, and faithfulness, and goodness, and by the glorious appearance of God at Mount Sinai, and those commands, promises, and encouragements there given them. But though this which is here mentioned was one, yet it was not the only reason of his counsel, but there were other causes of it; the Egyptians were to be drowned in the sea, the Israelites to be further tried, Deut 8:2 and full measure to be allowed to the iniquity of the Amorites. And they return to Egypt; as afterwards they attempted to do, Num 15, upon a like occasion.
Exod 13:18. Or, armed, or girt with swords and belts about the fifth rib, as the Hebrew word may imply. But it doth not appear how or whence they should get their arms, nor how the Egyptians would permit so numerous a people to have and to keep arms, especially when they had a long time oppressed and exasperated them, and made them desperate. It is true, some few of them might procure arms, but this word is here used concerning the whole body of them. Others render it by fives, five and five in a rank, that is, by a usual synecdoche, in military order, not doubtfully and fearfully, but confidently and courageously; not confusedly, as men that steal or run away, but in good order, so as one might not hinder another. Which interpretation is strengthened by comparing Josh 1:14. It may be rendered girt, to wit, about the fifth rib, as the word implies, the place where men used to gird their garments, this being the usual posture for travellers: he implies that they went out resolved upon and prepared for their journey.
Exod 13:19. The bones of Joseph, and the other patriarchs, as appears from Acts 7:16. The oath was taken only by the parents, but because the matter of it was not personal, and of particular concernment to them, but common to them and their children, therefore it obliged both the parents and their children, as Moses here signifieth.
Exod 13:20-21. The Lord, the Son of God, whose presence and conduct the Israelites had in the wilderness, as appears from 1 Cor 10:4,9; compare Heb 11:26; who is sometimes called the Angel of the Lord, Exod 14:19, because he was and was to be his Father’s Angel or Messenger, sent by God unto men to ratify his covenant with them; whence he is called the Angel of the covenant, Mal 3:1, as he is upon another account called the Angel of his presence, Isa 63:9. Went before them, not by local motion, but by his gracious and powerful operations for and about them. The pillar was but one, Num 9:15-16, having two different appearances and uses, of a cloud by day, to defend them from the heat, Ps 105:39, which in those parts was excessive; and of a fire by night, to illuminate them. It was a cloud erected towards heaven, like a pillar upwards; but downwards flat and broad, spread over the body of the people, and afterwards more eminently over the tabernacle. To lead them the way, which was altogether necessary in those vast and pathless deserts, Num 10:33; Deut 1:33.
Exod 13:22. Whilst they continued in the wilderness, and had need of such direction.
Exod 14:1-2: God commandeth the Israelites to encamp at Pihahiroth;
Exod 14:3-4: the reason why.
Exod 14:5: Pharaoh and his servants repent for letting the people go;
Exod 14:8-9: pursue and overtake the Israelites.
Exod 14:10: The Israelites are afraid;
Exod 14:11-12: and murmur against Moses.
Exod 14:13-14: Moses encourages the people with a promise of deliverance.
Exod 14:15: God encouraging Moses,
Exod 14:16: bids the people go forward.
Exod 14:19-20: God defends the Israelites by the pillar of cloud.
Exod 14:21: Moses dividing the sea,
Exod 14:22: the Israelites pass over on dry ground.
Exod 14:23: The Egyptians with all their forces pursue them into the sea.
Exod 14:26: God commands Moses to cause the waters to return on the Egyptians.
Exod 14:27: The waters return.
Exod 14:28: The Egyptians drowned.
Exod 14:29-30: Israel’s safety,
Exod 14:31: and faith.
Exod 14:1. Or rather, had spoken, to wit, before they came to Succoth, Exod 12:37. For what was there briefly and generally expressed, is here more largely and particularly declared, together with the occasion of it, which was God’s command.
Exod 14:2. Pihahiroth, Heb. the month of Hiroth, i.e. the entrance or straits of Hiroth, two great mountains, between which they marched, and were enclosed on both sides. Migdol, a city in Egypt, Jer 44:1, wherein it is thought there was a garrison. Baalzephon, another place of note, situated in a high place, and having a fair and large prospect, and possibly a garrison too.
Exod 14:3. There are enclosed with mountains, and garrisons, and deserts.
Exod 14:4. I will be honoured, by the manifestation of my power and justice.
Exod 14:5. That the people fled; did not only depart for three days to sacrifice at Horeb, as Moses pretended, but designed an escape and flight, as appeared by their speedy march, and other circumstances. Why have we done this? They who never truly repented of their sins, now heartily repent of their only good action. That the people fled; did not only depart for three days to sacrifice at Horeb, as Moses pretended, but designed an escape and flight, as appeared by their speedy march, and other circumstances. Why have we done this? They who never truly repented of their sins, now heartily repent of their only good action.
Exod 14:6-7. Question. How could he use or carry his chariots, when all his horses were killed by that plague? Exod 9:6. Answer. That plague slew only the horses which were in the field, Exod 9:3, not those kept in houses, as the chariot-horses generally were, and now are.
All the chariots, i.e. a great number; all that could be got together in haste, which the present service required. Over every one of them; over the men that fought out of every chariot. Or, over all of them; the command of all these chariots being distributed to several captains or commanders.
Exod 14:8. Either, 1. Of God, with a Divine hand or power, by comparing Exod 13:16. Or, 2. Their own, not with hands hanging down, a posture betraying weakness and fainting, fear and shame, Heb 12:12, but with hands lifted up; with courage and confidence, not like fugitives, but like valiant and victorious soldiers, openly, boldly, resolvedly; as men are said to sin with a high hand, Num 15:30, that sin in such a manner.
Exod 14:9-10. Which is not strange; these being now a people of low spirits, depressed by long and grievous servitude; being also generally unarmed, wearied with their journey, and their fears aggravated by the presence and outcries of their wives and children. But they should have supported themselves by the consideration of the mighty power of God, of which they had late and great experience. They cried out, partly by petition, and partly by complaint and expostulation. Which is not strange; these being now a people of low spirits, depressed by long and grievous servitude; being also generally unarmed, wearied with their journey, and their fears aggravated by the presence and outcries of their wives and children. But they should have supported themselves by the consideration of the mighty power of God, of which they had late and great experience. They cried out, partly by petition, and partly by complaint and expostulation.
Exod 14:11-13. Stand still; Heb. make yourselves to stand; let not and your hearts fail and sink, or stagger through unbelief, but with quiet minds look up to God. It notes the frame of their minds, not the posture of their bodies. Whom ye have seen; or, as ye have seen them, to wit, alive and armed, ready to devour you; for otherwise they did see them dead, and disarmed, Exod 14:30.
Exod 14:14. Ye shall contribute nothing to the victory, neither by your words nor by your deeds; for this Hebrew word signifies a cessation not only from speech, but from action too, as 2 Sam 19:11; Ps 83:1; Isa 42:14-15. Or rather, do you hold your peace, the future tense for the imperative, as it is very frequent; cease your murmuring against the Lord and me.
Exod 14:15. Wherefore criest thou unto me, by fervent, though secret prayer? for which he doth not reprove him, but only bids him turn his prayer into action. Compare Josh 7:10,13.
Exod 14:16. Divide it, i.e. do thou command it in my name to divide itself hither and thither, and I will divide it.
Exod 14:17-19. Not changing his place, for he was the omnipresent God, Exod 14:15; but his operation, from leading the Israelites forward in their way, to the protecting of them from their pursuers.
Exod 14:20. It was a cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, to whom it brought their former horrible darkness to mind, and did both exceedingly affright them, and altogether hinder them from motion or action, as that also did for three days. But it gave light by night to the Israelites, as the opposition showeth.
Exod 14:21. A strong east wind; a proper instrument both to divide that sea, which lay north and south, and to dry and harden the mud at the bottom of the sea, that the Israelites might walk upon it. See Gen 8:13; Exod 15:8. Yet the wind could never have done so great a work, especially not so speedily, if there had not been a higher, even a Divine hand to manage and improve it. The waters were divided, so largely, that a great number of the Israelites might march in one rank, and the whole number might go a good way in it in the time here mentioned.
Exod 14:22. This was about midnight, as may be gathered from Exod 14:24. The waters were a wall, both for height, and for their defence.
Exod 14:23-24. The night was anciently divided, not by hours, as now it is, but by watches, which sometimes were accounted four, and sometimes but three; howsoever the last of them was called the morning watch. Then when they hoped for most advantage in the pursuit, they met with their greatest disaster. The Lord; called the Angel of God, Exod 14:19. By which promiscuous use of these titles it sufficiently appears that this was no ordinary angel, but the Son of God. The Lord looked with an eye of indignation and vengeance, (as that phrase is used, Job 40:12 see also Amos 9:4), and troubled them with most terrible and prodigious winds, and rains, and lightnings, and both claps and bolts of thunder, as may be gathered from Exod 15:10; Ps 77:18-19; and, as some ancient historians relate, with terrors also in their minds, etc.
Exod 14:25. Took off their chariot wheels; either burning them with lightning, or tearing them in pieces with thunderbolts, or loosening them, and making them to fall off. That they drave them heavily; Heb. and he made him, or them, the singular number for the plural, i.e. the Egyptians, or their chariots, to go heavily, hardly and slowly, either for want of wheels, or for breaches in them, or because the rain had softened the bottom of the sea, or because the lightnings and thunders affrighted and dispirited their horses. For the Lord fighteth for them. Prodigious stupidity! They did not understand and consider this, though it was notorious, to them especially, by many great and fresh instances, till it was too late to prevent it; therein being a type of most sinners, who will not be convinced, nor repent, till they be past all benefit by it.
Exod 14:26-27. The sea returned to his strength; to its natural and it ordinary course and motion, which is swift and strong, which had been hitherto restrained by a stronger hand, and rendered in a manner impotent and weak. But now, Samson-like, when its bonds are broken, it puts forth its former and natural strength. But indeed this word may belong to the morning, and so a learned man translates the place, and that very agreeably to the use and order of the Hebrew words, The sea returned, to wit, to its course, when the morning appeared according to, or in his strength, i.e. when it was full and clear morning; as we oft read of the strength of the day. See Gen 7:13; Job 21:23. So the strength of the morning is here opposed to the morning watch. Against it; against the sea, for which way soever they fled the waters met them, and fought against them.
Exod 14:28. After them, i.e. after the children of Israel. Note here, the relative is put without an antecedent before it; the antecedent being to be understood and gathered out of the following verse, or out of the course of the story. An observation which is very useful for the understanding of many scriptures. See the note on Gen 3:1.
Exod 14:29-30. Which was done either, 1. By the natural power of the sea, which casteth up its dead bodies after a certain time; till which time God caused the Israelites to abide near the sea, that they might see this for their comfort. Or, 2. By the mighty power of God, which brought them, and their arms too, as many probably conceive, to shore before the usual time. Question. How could the Israelites, both they and their cattle, in so little time get over that great sea? Answer 1. The Hebrew and some other interpreters deny that they went over, and tell us, they only went into the sea, and fetched a compass in it, that they might allure the Egyptians to follow them, and then by Moses’s conduct returned to the Egyptian shore again. The principal ground of which opinion is this, That as they went into the sea out of the wilderness of Etham, Exod 13:20, so they came again out of the sea into the wilderness of Etham, Num 33:8. But the sameness of the name doth not prove that it is the same place, nothing being more frequent in Scripture, than for divers places to be called by one and the same name. And the Israelites might possibly give the name of Etham to this desert on the Arabian side of the Red Sea, either for its great resemblance to that desert so called on the Egyptian side; or to intimate, that God by dividing the sea, had made that and this to be one continued desert. Or the name of Etham might be common to all that desert at the end of the Red Sea, and on both sides of it. Answer 2. They might all conveniently pass over the sea to the Arabian shore in the time allowed for it, either by the mighty power of God, which could easily make both men and beasts to do it in much less than ordinary time, or even by the course of nature; for that part of the sea was not above eight or nine miles over, as geographers and others affirm. And the time allotted for their passage seems to be much more than interpreters have assigned for it. For the Egyptians and Israelites were divided one from another by the cloudy pillar all the night, Exod 14:20, and a strong east wind blew all that night, Exod 14:21. The next morning, as I apprehend it, the cloud still keeping between them, and possibly covering the Egyptians with gross and horrible darkness, which hindered their march, the whole body of the Israelites, and their cattle too, are drawn by Moses’s direction near the shore, and, it may be, the cattle were put into the sea, all which might well take up most of that day; then towards the evening they enter into the sea, and so proceed; and the cloud withdrawing further from the Egyptians, and following the Israelites, the Egyptians pursue after them, and, as it is very probable from the nature and reason of the thing, stand debating some considerable time, when they came to the shore, whether they should venture to follow them into the sea or no. At last the worst counsel prevails, as it generally happens when a people are under a Divine infatuation, and into the sea they go; and by the beginning of the morning watch they draw near the Israelites, when God seasonably appears for Israel’s succour, and puts a stop to the march of the Egyptians. So the morning watch, mentioned Exod 14:24, I take to be, not the morning watch of that night, mentioned Exod 14:20-21, (for all that night, and therefore the morning watch of that night, which was a third, or at least a fourth part of it, was now past and gone,) but the next morning watch after that night and the succeeding day; which seems much more reasonable, than to shrink up the march, first of the Israelites, and then of the Egyptians, into about three hours’ time, which is the time between the midnight and the morning watch. Nor is there any thing in the text which in the least contradicts this opinion, but only that this day’s interval and work is not mentioned in this story; whereas such omissions are frequent in Scripture relations, in which the substance only is mentioned, and many circumstances omitted, whereof we have seen some instances already, and shall meet with many more hereafter.
Exod 15:1-21: Moses and the people praise the Lord.
Exod 15:22: They want water.
Exod 15:23: The waters of Marah are bitter.
Exod 15:24: The people murmur against Moses.
Exod 15:25: He crieth unto the Lord; the waters are sweetened.
Exod 15:27: They come to Elim, where they find twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees.
Exod 15:1. Moses composed the song, and he, together with the Israelites, sung it, unto the honour and praise of God.
Exod 15:2. My strength and song; the matter or subject of the present song of praise. An habitation; a place for his service and worship, where he will dwell by his special presence.
Exod 15:3. A man of war; an eminent warrior; as the phrase is used 1 Sam 17:33. Thus an eloquent man is called a man of words, Exod 4:10, and a mighty man, a man of arm, Job 22:8.
Exod 15:4. With great force, like an arrow out of a bow; as the Hebrew word signifies.
Exod 15:5-7. In the greatness of thine excellency; by thy great and glorious power. As stubble; as easily, and as speedily, and as irrecoverably.
Exod 15:8. Of thy nostrils; or, of thine anger, to wit, that vehement east wind, Exod 15:10; Exod 14:21, which was raised by thine anger in order to the ruin of thine enemies. The floods, Heb. the streams, or the flowing waters, whose nature it is to be constantly in motion. Were congealed, i.e. hardened, stood still, as if they had been frozen, and so they were a wall on both hands, Exod 14:22. In the heart of the sea, i.e. the midst; as that word is used, Ps 18:16; Ps 46:2; Ezek 28:2.
Exod 15:9. My lust; the lust of covetousness and revenge too. Shall destroy them; or, take possession of them and theirs: see of this word, Num 14:12,24.
Exod 15:10. Heb. Magnificent or honourable waters, made so by being the instrument of thy glorious work.
Exod 15:11. Amongst the gods, so called and esteemed; or prince or potentates, as Ps 29:1; Ezek 32:21. Glorious in holiness, or, righteousness: thy power is great and glorious; but thou dost not abuse it to unrighteous and unworthy purposes, but to holy and honourable designs; to the punishment of wicked tyrants, and to the vindication of thy oppressed and holy people. Fearful in praises; in praiseworthy actions; the act being put for the object, as fear is put for a thing to be feared, as Ps 14:5; 1 Pet 3:14. Or, to be feared or had in reverence when thou art praised; to be both loved and feared at the same time.
Exod 15:12. Either, 1. The globe, consisting of earth and water, which is here called earth; as it is called the deep, and the waters, Gen 1:2. Or, 2. The earth is here put for the sea, the other part of the same globe; as the soul is put for the body, or the dead carcass, the other part of the man, Lev 19:28; Lev 21:1; Num 6:6,9,11. Or, 3. The earth properly, either because many of them sunk into the mud at the bottom of the sea, and were buried in it; or because, after they were cast up upon the shore, they were buried by the Israelites in the earth.
Exod 15:13. i.e. Canaan, the place where not only they shall dwell, but thou in and with them. See Ps 78:52, etc.
Exod 15:14-16. Be as still, or, be as silent; they shall be so struck with amazement, that they shall be impotent both for speech and motion.
Exod 15:17. In the mountain of thine inheritance; either, 1. In the country of Canaan, which is a mountainous country, full of hills and valleys, Deut 11:11; not like Egypt, a plain and low country. Or, 2. In and about the mount of Moriah, where the temple was to be built, which is here put for the whole land, it being the most eminent part of it, round about which the people were planted, and to which they were frequently to resort. Have established; will certainly build and establish, i.e. cause to be built and established. The past tense for the future, to note the certainty of it, according to the style of the prophets.
Exod 15:18-20. Miriam the prophetess; so called, either in a general sense, because she was an instructer of other women in the praise and service of God; or in a more special sense, because she had the Spirit of prophecy. See Num 12:2; Mic 6:4. The sister of Aaron Question. Why not of Moses also? Answer 1. She might be Moses’s sister only by one parent, Aaron’s by both. 2. She was best known to the people by her relation to Aaron, with whom she had lived for many years, when Moses was banished. With timbrels and with dances, according to their ancient custom in public solemnities. See Judg 11:34; Judg 21:21; 1 Sam 18:6; 2 Sam 6:14,21; Jer 31:4,13.
Exod 15:21. Miriam addressed either, 1. The women, last spoken of, and then it is an enallage of the gender. Or, 2. The men spoken of before. They sung by turns, or by parts, either the same words being repeated, or some other words of a like nature added. See 1 Chron 16:41; 2 Chron 5:13; Ezra 3:11.
Exod 15:22. Shur; so usually called, Gen 16:7; and by the Israelites, Etham, as may be gathered by comparing this place with Num 33:8, for both there and here it is said they went three days in this wilderness.
Exod 15:23-25. The waters were made sweet, not so much by any virtue in that tree, as by the power of God, who used this rather as a sign to the Israelites, than as an instrument to himself in this work. There he made for them a statute: God, or Moses in God’s name, and by his order, constituted and published to them a statute. Which seems to be understood not of any, particular statute or law, as that concerning the sabbath, or their duty to their parents, or the like; for the specifying of their duties is reserved to another time
and place; but of a general law or rule formerly given, and now solemnly renewed by Moses at God’s command, like that given to Abraham their father, Gen 17:1, Walk before me, and be perfect. God having thus far performed his part of that covenant made with Abraham and his seed, to bring them out of Egypt towards Canaan, tells them that he expects and requires of them their observance of the condition of that covenant, and gives them this indefinite and universal law or precept, that they should obey and fulfil all the commands which God had already laid upon them or their parents, and which he should hereafter reveal to them. This sense may be gathered out of the following verse, wherein he explains what he meant by this statute, even all God’s statutes or commandments, which if they would keep, he engageth himself to preserve and deliver them. So it is only a change of the number, the singular, statute, being put for the plural, statutes, which is a figure very frequently used both in Scripture and in other authors. God having now eased them of the hard and iron yoke of the Egyptians, puts his sweet and easy yoke upon them; and having undertaken to be their King, and Protector, and Captain, he claims their subjection to himself, and to his laws or statutes. He proved them, or, tried them, i.e. the Israelites. There he tried both their faith by the difficulty now mentioned, viz. their want of water, and their future obedience by this general command, which he is about to branch forth into divers particulars.
Exod 15:26. None of these diseases upon thee, nor other evils or plagues; but, on the contrary, I will bless thee with all manner of blessings. Under one branch or part of the blessings of God’s covenant, he includes all the rest by a very common synecdoche. That healeth thee; or, thy physician, for all thy maladies both of soul and body.
Exod 15:27. Palm trees were both pleasant for their shade, and refreshing for their sweet fruit. Thus the Israelites are obliged and encouraged to the obedience commanded, by being put into better circumstances than they were under in their last station.
Exod 16:1: The children of Israel sojourn in the wilderness of Sin;
Exod 16:2-3: murmur against Moses.
Exod 16:4: God promises to supply their wants with bread from heaven;
Exod 16:5: and directs about preparing this bread.
Exod 16:7-8: Moses reproves the people for murmuring;
Exod 16:9: appoints them to come before the Lord.
Exod 16:10: God’s glory appeareth in the cloud.
Exod 16:13: He sendeth quails,
Exod 16:14-15: and manna.
Exod 16:16-18: Every one gather a quantity.
Exod 16:19: The command about keeping it,
Exod 16:20: is disobeyed.
Exod 16:21: The time of gathering.
Exod 16:22-24: Their increasing the quantity on the sixth day.
Exod 16:25-26: The command concerning the sabbath,
Exod 16:27: disobeyed;
Exod 16:28: for which God is angry.
Exod 16:29: Moses’s counsel.
Exod 16:30: They rest.
Exod 16:31: The name of the bread.
Exod 16:32-33: The command concerning the preservation of the manna.
Exod 16:35: The time of the manna’s continuance.
Exod 16:1. They came not immediately to the wilderness of Sin; for there is another stage of theirs by the Red Sea, mentioned Num 33:10, (in which chapter Moses designed exactly to set down all their stations,) but omitted here, because nothing remarkable happened in it; and Moses in this place designed to record only the memorable passages. The wilderness of Sin was a great wilderness between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai, but differing from that Zin mentioned Num 20:1.
Exod 16:2. For want of meat, as appears from the following verse, their provisions brought out of Egypt being now spent.
Exod 16:3. By the hand of the Lord; by any of those plagues wherewith God destroyed the Egyptians. When we did eat bread to the full; which is not probable; but they amplify their former mercies, that they might aggravate their present calamity, as the manner of impatient and ungodly men is.
Question. What danger was there of dying with hunger, seeing they had their flocks and herds which they brought out of Egypt? Answer 1. There was no great danger of it, but they use aggravating expressions, as discontented persons use to do. 2. Their flocks and herds were not so numerous as to suffice them for above a month’s provision, if they had all been slain and eaten, as it is implied Num 11:21-22. So there was some danger of it, though neither immediate nor great. 3. They were it seems resolved to spare these, partly for increase, and for their future subsistence; and partly for sacrifice, as not knowing how many of them they should be required to offer. See Exod 10:26.
Exod 16:4. Bread, i.e. manna, which shall serve them instead of bread, Num 11:8, and was a more delicate and pleasant kind of bread, called therefore the bread of angels, Ps 78:24-25. From heaven; the air, oft called heaven, in which manna is produced. Every day, Heb. the thing, i.e. the provision of a day in his day, i.e. every day, as much as was sufficient for a man’s sustenance that day. That I may prove them; either, 1. Whether by my giving them such miraculous and excellent provision they will be won to love and obey me. Or, 2. Whether by raining it down upon them for several days together they will learn to trust me for the following days, and therefore gather no more than that day required.
Exod 16:5. Prepare; lay up, grind, bake, or seethe. See Exod 16:23 and Num 11:8.
Exod 16:6. And not by your our own authority or counsel, as you suggest, Exod 16:3.
Exod 16:7. The glory of the Lord; either this glorious work of God in giving manna; or rather the glorious appearance of God in the cloud, as is evident from Exod 16:10.
Exod 16:8-9. Before the Lord; either before the cloudy pillar, where God was especially present; or in the place of God’s worship. For though the great tabernacle was not yet built, yet it seems from Exod 33:7 there was a little tabernacle. For as the solemn, and public, and sabbath worship was among them before the tabernacle was built, so it was necessary there should be some place where they did assemble together, and perform that worship which was proper to those times, and there God was supposed to be present in a peculiar manner.
Exod 16:10. An extraordinary brightness suddenly appearing in the pillar of cloud. See Lev 9:6,23.
Exod 16:11. The Lord spake, or, had spoken, to wit, before, by comparing this with Exod 16:7.
Exod 16:12. God chooseth the proper time for each kind of provision; the evening for the quails, which being brought from remote parts, by their day’s flight, about evening came thither; and the morning for manna, which usually falls at that time.
Exod 16:13. Heb. There was a bed of dew, wherewith the manna was covered, Rev 16:14. To this the hidden manna, Rev 2:17, alludes.
Exod 16:14. When the dew was gone up, to wit, into the air; or, was vanished, as the word ascend is used Jer 48:15.
Exod 16:15. It is manna; or, What is this? which best suits with the following reason, for they wist not what it was. Man signifies what in the Egyptian tongue; and it is not strange that the Israelites use one of their words, being newly come out of their land. Hence this is called manna; but it is of a different nature from the ordinary manna, which now we use only as physic for purging; whereas this manna was food, and nourishing, being prepared by the great God for this use.
Exod 16:16. According to his eating, i.e. as much as is sufficient for his eating. An omer contains the tenth part of an ephah, and therefore was a very liberal allowance, and such as might abundantly suffice a man of greatest strength and stomach. It might seem too much, but it must be remembered that it was a very light meat, and easy of digestion; nor was every one obliged to eat up his whole portion, as we shall see.
Exod 16:17. Either, 1. According as their families were more or less numerous. Or rather, 2. As the gatherers were more or less strong and active in gathering it.
Exod 16:18. All that was gathered by the members of one family was put into a heap, and then distributed to each person an omer, neither more nor less; to which St. Paul alludes, 2 Cor 8:13, etc.
Exod 16:19. viz. For the provision of the next day, as distrusting God’s care and goodness in giving them more. Not that every one was bound to eat all of it, which certainly many of their stomachs could not bear; but that they were to dissolve it, or but it, as they did the remains of some sacrifices, Exod 12:10; Exod 29:34, or consume it some other way.
Exod 16:20. Some of them left of it; either distrusting God’s providence for their future provisions; or out of curiosity to learn the nature of this manna, and what they might do when occasion required. It stank, not so much from its own nature, which was pure and durable, as from God’s judgment.
Exod 16:21. To wit, as much of it as was left upon the ground. This was not from its own nature, which was so solid that it could endure the fire, and was bruised by a pestle; but from God’s wise providence, partly, that it might not be corrupted or trodden under foot, or otherwise abused, and so despised; partly, that it might not remain there to tempt any of them to gather more of it than they should; and partly, that all their stock of provision being wasted, they might be obliged to the more entire dependence upon God. And this is here mentioned as a reason why they gathered it in the morning.
Exod 16:22. Considering God’s present providence in causing it to fall in double proportion, and remembering that the next day was the sabbath day, which God had blessed and sanctified to his own immediate service, Gen 2:3, and therefore was not to be employed in servile works, such as the gathering of manna was, they rightly concluded that God’s commands, delivered Exod 16:16,19, reached only to ordinary days, and must in all reason give place to the more ancient and necessary law of the sabbath. Either to acquaint him with this increase of the miracle, or to take his direction for their practice, because they found two commands seemingly clashing together, and therefore needed and desired his advice.
Exod 16:23. This is that which the Lord hath said; either to Moses by inspiration, or to the former patriarchs upon like occasions: this practice is agreeable to the former word and law of God concerning the sabbath, as it follow.
Bake and seethe: the manna was dressed these two ways, Num 11:8. The words today are not in the original, and possibly are better left out than taken in; or if they be taken in, they do not seem to me, as they do to many others, to prove that they were commanded to bake or seethe on the sixth day all that they were to eat both that day and upon the following sabbath, or that they were forbidden to bake or seethe it upon the sabbath day; for there is not a word here to that purpose; and it is apparent from the whole context, that the rest of the sabbath is not opposed to their baking or seething of it, but to their going out into the field to gather it. Nay, the contrary is here implied, because after they had baken and sodden what they intended to bake or seethe, part of the manna did, as is here expressly added, remain over, and was reserved for the sabbath day’s provision, and that unbaken and unsodden, otherwise it would not have been noted as a miraculous thing, that it did not stink nor breed worms, Exod 16:24. Lay up until the morning: what you do not eat this day, keep for the next day’s provision.
Exod 16:24. As there was before, Exod 16:20. So great a difference there is between the doing of a thing upon God’s command, and with his blessing, and the doing of the same thing against his will, and with his curse.
Exod 16:25. These words were spoken upon the morning of the sabbath day, as appears from the foregoing verse. A sabbath unto the Lord, i.e. wholly consecrated to his service, and therefore not to be employed in servile works.
Exod 16:26-28. The Lord spoke unto Moses, that he might speak it to the people. He signifies that this was an old disease in them, to disobey God’s precepts, and to pollute his sabbaths.
Exod 16:29. Hath given you the sabbath; hath given to you, and to your fathers, that great command and privilege of the sabbath. Let no man go out of his place, out of his house or tent, into the field to gather manna, as appears from the occasion and reason of the law here before mentioned. For otherwise they might and ought to go out of their houses to the public assemblies, as appears from Lev 23:3; Acts 15:21; and to lead their cattle to watering, Luke 13:15; or to help them out of a pit, Matt 12:11; and a sabbath day’s journey was permitted, Acts 1:12.
Exod 16:30. Or ceased, to wit, from gathering manna, by comparing this with Exod 16:27, and consequently from all works of that nature.
Exod 16:31. It was like coriander seed, in shape and figure, but not in colour, for that is dark-coloured, but this white, as it follows here, like bdellium, etc., Num 11:7. The taste of it, when it was raw; but when it was drest it was like fresh oil, Num 11:8.
Exod 16:32-33. In the tabernacle, and by the ark, when they shall be built, and at present in the place where you meet for the solemn worship of God.
Exod 16:34. i.e. Before the ark, which is called the ark of the testimony, Exod 25:16; and here, by way of abbreviation, the testimony, or witness, because in it were the tables of the covenant, or the law of God, which was a testimony of God’s authority and will, and of man’s subjection and duty, or of the covenant made between God and man. See Deut 10:5; Deut 31:26. Question. How could this be laid up before the ark, when the ark was not yet built? Answer. This text only tells us that Aaron did lay it up, but it doth not determine the time, nor affirm that it was done at this instant, but rather intimates the contrary, and that it was done afterwards when the testimony, i.e. the ark, was built. As the next verse also speaks of what was done in the following forty years.
Exod 16:35. This Moses might well write; for though he did not go into Canaan, yet he came to the borders of Canaan. And though he did not see the cessation of the manna, yet he sufficiently knew both from the nature of the thing, and by revelation from God, that it would forthwith cease upon their entrance into Canaan.
Exod 17:1-3: The children of Israel come to Rephidim; there is no water, therefore murmur against Moses.
Exod 17:4: Moses crieth to the Lord.
Exod 17:5-6: The Lord sendeth Moses to Horeb; he smiteth the rock, and water cometh out.
Exod 17:7: He names that place, and the reason of it.
Exod 17:8: Amalek warreth against the Israelites.
Exod 17:9: Moses appointeth Joshua to fight with him.
Exod 17:11-13: Joshua’s success when Moses held up his hand; when let down, Amalek prevailed.
Exod 17:15: Moses buildeth an altar, and nameth it.
Exod 17:16: The reason of it.
Exod 17:1. After their journeys; by divers stations, recorded Num 33:12-13, etc., but here omitted, because there was nothing extraordinary happened in them. According to the commandment of the Lord, expressed either by word of mouth, or by the motion or rest of the cloudy pillar, Exod 13:21.
Exod 17:2. By distrusting God’s power, and providence, and faithfulness, and goodness, upon such a small occasion, by refusing to submit to God’s will, and to wait upon him by humble and fervent prayers for relief, and instead thereof quarrelling with me, as if it were my fault, and murmuring against God under my name.
Exod 17:3-5. Take with thee of the elders of Israel, that they may be eyewitnesses of this glorious work, and may report it to the people. The river; either the Red Sea, for an arm of the sea is sometimes called a river; or the river Nilus.
Exod 17:6. I will stand before thee there, in my cloudy pillar, which shall stand over that place.
Horeb and Sinai are sometimes spoken of as the same place, and sometimes as two differing places, as here, compared with Exod 19:2. The learned write, that this was one long mountain, whereof there were two eminent parts or tops, the one at a considerable distance from the other, and Horeb was the first part of it, and near Rephidim; and Sinai the more remote, to which they came afterwards. Moses did so, i.e. smote the rock, and the waters flowed out plentifully and continually, making a river, which God caused to follow them to their several stations. See 1 Cor 10:4.
Exod 17:7. viz. To protect and provide for us according to his word given to us. Will God be as good as his word, or will he not? For it is to us very doubtful.
Exod 17:8. Then, i.e. when they were upon their march from Rephidim to Horeb, Deut 25:17-18.
The ground of the quarrel was the prosecution of the old hatred of Esau against Jacob, and the revenging of themselves and their father upon the posterity of Jacob; for which they thought this the fittest season, they being now great and potent people, Num 24:20, and Israel now weak, and unarmed, and dispirited with long servitude.
Exod 17:9. Go out; out of the camp to meet the enemy. I will stand on the top of the hill, both to observe thy carriage, and success or defeat, that I may govern myself accordingly, and that I may in that retirement pour out my soul unto the Lord of hosts, that he may give thee victory. With the rod of God; by which having done so great exploits formerly, doubt not of the same Divine assistance to accompany it, and make thee victorious.
Exod 17:10. Hur; a person of eminency both for wisdom and experience, and for place and authority, supposed to be the husband of Miriam. See Exod 24:14.
Exod 17:11. Moses held up his hand, with the rod of God in it. This gesture, though fervent prayer was doubtless joined with it, seems not to have been the gesture of praying, which is the lifting up of both hands, but of an ensign-bearer, or of one ready to smite his enemies. Howsoever this was only a sign whereby Moses strengthened his faith, and quickened his prayers, and heightened the courage of the soldiers below, and protested that he expected victory not from the skill and prowess of his army, but from the assistance of God. When he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed; God so dispensing his favour, that the honour of the day and victory might be wholly ascribed to the rod and power of God, not to Israel.
Exod 17:12. Not that both hands were erected and joined together, which was not a fit posture for one holding a rod in his hand; but that Moses shifted the rod out of one hand into the other when the former was weary, and that Aaron and Hur did each of them with both hands hold up that hand which was next to them, successively, that they also might relieve one the other.
Exod 17:13. Either, 1. The king of the Amalekites, and his people. Or, 2. The people of the Amalekites, and those other people who were leagued with them.
Exod 17:14. In a book; even in this book, which Moses was to write by God’s inspiration and appointment. See Exod 34:27; Deut 31:9,22. In the ears of Joshua, thy successor, and the captain of my people, that he and all succeeding governors may watch all occasions to execute this command. I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek, i.e. I will utterly destroy them; for a person or people dead or destroyed are soon forgotten, Ps 31:12, and the grave is called the land of forgetfulness, Ps 88:12. Or thus, Though they are now a numerous and flourishing people, and in great repute, I will make them few and inglorious, for such are little minded or remembered; for this is not to be understood absolutely of a speedy and utter extinction of them, for he supposeth their being from generation to generation, Exod 17:16, but comparatively. From under heaven; from the face of the whole earth.
Exod 17:15. Moses built an altar, both for the offering of sacrifices of praise unto God, and to be a monument of this victory, and of the author of it. The name of it, viz. of the altar, which he so calls metonymically, because it was the sign and monument of Jehovahnissi; even as circumcision is called God’s covenant, Gen 17:13, and the lamb, the passover, Exod 12:11, and the cup, the new testament, Luke 22:20, because they were the signs of them. Or the word altar is to be repeated out of the former member, which is frequent, and the place to be is read thus, he called the name of it the altar of Jehovahnissi. Or the name given to it signifies only the inscription engraven upon it, which was not the single name of God, but an entire sentence, the lord my banner. By which words he takes all the praise of the victory from the Israelites, and gives it to God.
Exod 17:16. For, or, and, as the Hebrew particle properly signifies; for these words are not a reason of the passage next preceding, but an additional sentence. Because, or, surely, (as that particle is oft used, as Job 8:6; Job 20:20; Ps 10:14; Ps 44:22, etc.) Heb. the hand upon the throne of the Lord, for the hand of the Lord upon his throne, which is perfectly the same thing, only the order of the words is a little varied after the manner of the Hebrew tongue. These words then are a paraphrastical description of a solemn oath, by the usual posture of it, viz. the lifting up the hand, which is usually put for swearing, and in that sense is ascribed both to men, as Gen 14:22, and to God, as Deut 32:40. And this hand of God lifted up upon his throne, where his majesty doth peculiarly and gloriously dwell, signifies that God swears by himself, as is said Heb 6:13. And thus the Chaldee and Arabic interpreters understand it. Others render the place thus, Because the hand (or, his hand, the pronoun being here understood, as it frequently is in the Hebrew language, of which several instances have been given before, i.e. the hand of Amalek, which may easily be understood out of the following clause, in which Amalek is named) was against the throne of the Lord, i.e. was stretched out against God himself; for so God esteems it, because it was done against that people among whom God had placed his throne, or seat, or dwelling, according to his covenant made with them; which also was well known to the Amalekites by the relation of their progenitors, who in all probability had acquainted them with their own rights, and with Jacob’s arts, whereby he robbed Esau, the father of Amalek, Gen 36:15-16, of his birthright and blessing, and consequently of the land of Canaan, to which now God was bringing them, that he might plant them there, and set up his throne among them. And the Amalekites doubtless heard, as the other neighbours also did, in what a miraculous manner God had brought them out of Egypt, and over the Red Sea. And they knew better than others, by tradition from their parents, that God had promised Canaan to them, and now they saw that he was conducting them thither, and therefore to prevent this they now commence a war against them, and against God or his throne, whose presence with and conduct over them was most manifest; which was a great aggravation of their sin. And this latter translation and interpretation seems most probable, 1. Because it exactly agrees with the Hebrew words, and the order in which they are placed. 2. It makes the coherence more clear than our translation doth, the former part of the verse containing a reason of the latter, to wit, of that severe curse and everlasting war denounced against Amalek, because they attempted by force to overthrow God’s throne and people, and that with so many aggravating circumstances; of which see Deut 25:17-18.
Exod 18:1-5: Jethro cometh to Moses with his wife and his children; their names.
Exod 18:7: Moses going to meet his father, does obeisance;
Exod 18:8: and relates to him God’s providence.
Exod 18:9-10: Jethro’s joy and thanksgiving;
Exod 18:11: confesseth God’s power therein.
Exod 18:12: Jethro sacrificeth.
Exod 18:13: Moses’s judging the people,
Exod 18:14: disliked by his father.
Exod 18:15-16: Moses’s answer.
Exod 18:19-23: Jethro’s advice.
Exod 18:24: Moses hearkening to his father,
Exod 18:25: chooseth able men for rulers;
Exod 18:26: who always judged the people.
Exod 18:27: Jethro’s departure.
Exod 18:1-2. From the way to Egypt, upon the occasion mentioned Exod 4:24-25, and because he found by experience that she was likely to hinder him from, or discourage him in, the discharge of his great and dangerous office, and to give an ill example to the Israelites.
Exod 18:3-5. Jethro came, not at this time, but after the delivery of the law at Mount Sinai; as it may appear, 1. Because he finds them encamped, as it here follows, at the mount of God, i.e. Sinai, whither they came not till Exod 19:2. 2. Because the laws of sacrifices were given before his coming, as appears from Exod 18:12. 3. Because the execution of this counsel here given about the choice of magistrates, Exod 18:19, is related after the Israelites’ departure from Sinai, Deut 1:7, etc. And therefore here is a transposal in this history, which is also frequent in other places of Holy Scripture.
Exod 18:6. He spoke, not by word of mouth, as the next verse showeth, but either by a letter, or by a messenger, as that word is used, Matt 8:6,8, compared with Luke 7:3,6.
Exod 18:7. Of their welfare, Heb. of their peace, i.e. prosperity and all happiness, which also they wished one to the other, as this phrase implies. See 1 Sam 10:4; Ps 122:6.
Exod 18:8. For Israel’s sake, or, concerning Israel’s business.
Exod 18:9-11. Now I know, viz. more clearly and by certain experience; as that phrase signifies, Gen 22:12; 1 Kings 17:18,24. For otherwise it is more than probable that Jethro had the knowledge of the true God before this time, not only because he was the great-grandchild of Abraham, but also because of his long conversation with a person of so great knowledge, and wisdom, and piety, as Moses was. Wherein they dealt proudly; either, 1. Their false gods, who wrought strange things in and by their servants the magicians, who contended with Moses, and proudly boasted of their skill as not a whit inferior to that of Moses, but at last were forced to yield up the cause, Exod 8:19; or rather, 2. The Egyptians, spoken of Exod 18:10, who dealt proudly, and scornfully, and tyrannically with the Israelites, but God showed himself to be above them, and above their king; though Pharaoh would not own him for his superior, Exod 5:2, but lift up his horn against God, and against his people: but the Lord brought that proud prince upon his knees, and forced him oft to confess his faults, and to become suppliant to Moses for deliverance from the plagues; and at last, when he continued incorrigible, he drowned him in the sea.
Exod 18:12. Took a burnt-offering, i.e. gave, or offered; as that verb is used Ps 68:18, compared with Eph 4:8; also Exod 25:2. Which he did, that he might publicly testify both his embracing of the true religion, and his thankfulness to God for the great deliverance given to his people, wherein also himself and family were concerned. And he took or offered these, not immediately, or by himself, (which would have seemed a presumptuous and unwarrantable action for a stranger to undertake in the church of Israel,) but by those who were appointed to do it; in which sense David is said to have sacrificed, 2 Sam 24:25, and Solomon, 1 Kings 8:63, and all those who brought their offerings to the priests to offer for them. A burnt offering and sacrifices, to wit, of thanksgiving, as is expressed Exod 24:5; for part of these the offerers, with others, did eat, Lev 7:15, whereas no man might eat of the burnt-offerings, Lev 1:9. To eat bread, i.e. to feast together of the remainders of the sacrifices. Before God; either before the cloudy pillar; or rather, before the altar, and in the place of public worship; for some such place undoubtedly they had, though the tabernacle was not yet built; and that was the place appointed for such feasts. See Deut 12:7; Deut 27:7; 1 Chron 29:21; Ps 116:17.
Exod 18:13. Moses sat as a civil magistrate, by hearing and determining causes and controversies arising among the people.
Exod 18:14-15. i.e. Of the mind and will of God, both as to his worship and service and as to their mutual duties to one another. 1 Sam 9:9.
Exod 18:16. i.e. Do interpret and apply them to their several cases and circumstances.
Exod 18:17. Not convenient either for thyself or for the people.
Exod 18:18. Thou wilt surely waste and destroy thy health and strength by excessive labour of mind and body; and this people, by tedious attendance and expectation ere their turn comes for the decision of their matters.
Exod 18:19. God shall be with thee, i.e. I doubt not God will assist and bless thee, as well in the course which I propose to thee, as in that which thou now dost use, because God is a God of order, and loves order; and he is a God of mercy, and would not have thee destroy thyself in his work. Or it may be taken for a prayer, and God be with thee, i.e. bless and assist thee therein. To Godward, Heb. before God, i.e. in hard and weighty causes, which the inferior judges cannot determine, as it is explained Exod 18:22; where they need and seek direction from God, there thou shalt be as a mediator between God and them, to bring their matters to God, as it here follows, and to receive directions and commands from him. See Num 15:33-34; Num 27:5-6.
Exod 18:20. Thou alone shalt deliver and explain God’s law to them, which they may apply to their particular causes and occasions, and so end their differences among themselves without giving thee any trouble.
Exod 18:21. Able men, Heb. men of might, not for strength of body, but for greatness, resolution, courage, and constancy of mind, which is the best preservative against partiality and corruption in judgment, to which men of little minds, or narrow souls, are easily swayed by fears, or hopes, or gifts. Such as fear God; which will restrain them from all injustice, even when they have ability and opportunity to do wrong so cunningly or powerfully that they may escape the observation and censure of men. Men of truth, or, of faith, or faithful, such as love the truth, and diligently labour to find it out in all causes, and then pass a true and righteous sentence; not at all respecting persons, but only the truth and right of their causes; such as hate lies and slanders, and will severely rebuke and punish them. Hating covetousness: this, though included in the former, is particularly expressed, because gifts and bribes are the great corrupters of judges and judgments.
Exod 18:22-23. If God approve of the course which I suggest, to whose wisdom I submit my opinion. For Jethro might well think that Moses neither would nor might make so great an alteration in the government without consulting God about it, and expecting his answer. Others render the place thus, both God will give thee his commands, i.e. thou wilt have leisure to ask and take his counsel in all emergencies, which now thou hast not, and thou wilt be able to endure.
To their place; to their several habitations, which are called men’s places, Judg 7:7; Judg 9:55; Judg 19:28-29; where their calling and business lies, from which they are now diverted and detained by fruitless and wearisome attendances. In peace, orderly and quietly, having their minds much eased by this course, and their contentions soon ended.
Exod 18:24. This is one evidence of that meekness for which Moses is justly magnified, that he disdained not to receive advice from one so much his inferior in wisdom, and learning, and knowledge of the things of God. And God would have this wise counsel to come from Jethro, not from Moses himself, to show how variously he distributes his gifts, and to teach all men not to think too highly of themselves, nor to despise the counsels even of their inferiors. Moses did all that he had said, not immediately, but after he had received God’s approbation, Num 11:16, and the people’s consent, Deut 1:14.
Exod 18:25. Moses chose them not solely, but together with the people, as appears from Deut 1:13.
Exod 18:27. i.e. Moses dismissed him honourably. See Num 10:29.
Exod 19:1-2: The people come to Sinai.
Exod 19:3-6: God’s proposal to them by Moses. Of the terms of the covenant.
Exod 19:7: Moses lays before them what God had commanded.
Exod 19:8: The people’s acceptance of the same.
Exod 19:10-11: God directeth Moses how to sanctify the people;
Exod 19:12: to set bounds to the people that they touch not the mount.
Exod 19:13: The punishment of those that did.
Exod 19:14: Moses sanctifying the people;
Exod 19:15: commands them to keep from their wives.
Exod 19:16,18-19: The manner of God’s appearing.
Exod 19:21-24: God talketh with Moses.
Exod 19:1. Heb. Third new moon, called Sivan, including the latter part of May, and the former part of June. The same day, Heb. in that day, to wit, when the month or new moon began, and when they departed from Rephidim, to note, that there was no station between these two. This is set down thus accurately, because it gives an account of the original of the feast of Pentecost, because the giving of the law, which was three or four days after this time, was fifty days after the passover, whereof forty-six or forty-seven were past at their first coming to Sinai, reckoning from the fifteenth day of the first month, when they came out of Egypt, to this time.
Exod 19:2. To the desert of Sinai, i.e. to that part of the desert which adjoined to Mount Sinai, as Rephidim, from whence they came, was in that part of the wilderness adjoining to Horeb, which was another part of the same mountain. See Exod 17:6. So they seem to have fetched a large compass, and to have come from one side of the mountain to the other.
Exod 19:3. Moses went up into the mount of God, to the place where God had now fixed his cloudy pillar, and where he was about to manifest himself in a glorious manner. So it is an anticipation.
Exod 19:4. i.e. Safely, out of the reach of danger; and strongly, against all opposition. Compare Deut 32:11; Isa 63:9; Rev 12:14. Unto myself, into my presence, and favour, and fellowship, to be my peculiar people, to serve and worship me as your only Lord and King.
Exod 19:5. If ye will obey my voice indeed; Heb. obeying ye will obey; i.e. if ye will obey me sincerely, diligently, and constantly. A peculiar treasure, highly prized and loved, and carefully kept by me, as men’s treasures generally are. For all people upon earth are mine by creation and dominion, and I can dispose of them all as I please, and either choose or refuse any of them as I think fit; and therefore though I might refuse you, as well as any others, yet it is my pleasure to single you out of all the world, upon whom to confer my chiefest and peculiar blessings. Or, though all the earth be mine, by general right, yet you only are mine by special title and privilege.
Exod 19:6. A kingdom of priests; so they are called in regard, 1. Of their exemption and separation from all the people of the world, as priests are taken out of the multitude of men. 2. Of their consecration to the worship and service of God, every subject of this kingdom being in some sort a priest to offer some kind of sacrifices to God, 3. Of their privileges, because God conferred upon them singular honour, safety, and immunity, and liberty of coming near to him, as priests among all nations have been esteemed privileged persons. An holy nation, purged from the idolatry and other abominations of the heathen world, and separated from them by a avail of partition; allied to me by a holy covenant, and consecrated to my use and service.
Exod 19:8. Not for God’s information, but for the people’s greater obligation, and to learn what answer he should return from God to them.
Exod 19:9. I come unto thee, as to the mediator between me and them, and the interpreter of my mind to them. In a thick cloud: Exod 19:16, and compare 1 Kings 8:12; 2 Chron 6:1. The words of the people; those mentioned Exod 19:8. This is here repeated, because God’s answer to them now follows.
Exod 19:10. i.e. Command them to sanctify and cleanse themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and to prepare their hearts for the right receiving of my laws, and solemn entering into covenant with me. Compare Lev 11:45; Josh 3:5; Josh 7:13. Let them wash their clothes; by which external washing, which was agreeable to that state of the church, they were taught to cleanse their inward man.
Exod 19:11. For the third day from this time, and the fiftieth day from the passover, as was noted before, the Lord will come down in a visible and glorious manifestation of his presence.
Exod 19:12. By this symbolical injunction God designed, 1. To restrain men’s curious and bold inquiries into the things of God. 2. To possess the Israelites then present, and all succeeding generations, with the dread and reverence of the Divine Majesty, and of his holy law. 3. To prepare and inure the people to the obedience of God’s commands, even when they discern not the reasons of them. 4. To make them sensible of their own impurity and infirmity, and of their absolute need of a mediator, through whom they might have access to God. See Gal 3:19.
Exod 19:13. There shall not an hand touch it, i.e. the mountain. But, 1. This seems to be a gross tautology, for it was twice forbidden in the words next foregoing. 2. So the word hand would seem to be ascribed both to man and beast. Others therefore render it touch him, i.e. they shall look upon such an impudent transgressor of my express command as an abominable person, whom they cannot touch without defilement, and therefore he shall be put to death in such a manner as may be performed without touching him. Whether it be beast; for though the beasts are not capable of a law, yet they might be threatened for man’s caution, and punished for the fault of their owners in not keeping them at a distance from the mount. When the trumpet soundeth long, i.e. with one continued, equal, and gentle sound, as
is usual in the end of the music song, which is opposed to a rough, and loud, and unequal sound. There was no real trumpet here, but an angel made a sound like that of a trumpet. They shall come up to the mount. Objection. This was forbidden to them, Exod 19:12. Answer 1. They were forbidden to come up to the mount whilst God was delivering his laws, but allowed it afterwards when that action ceased, which was signified by the long sound of the trumpet. 2. They might not come into the mount or towards the top of it, but they might come to the bottom or lower parts of it, where the bounds were set, or at least towards or near it, as the Hebrew preposition beth is sometimes used. So the mount may be understood, more strictly, Exod 19:12, for an eminent part or top of it, where the thick cloud appeared, and where Moses was, and here more largely for the whole mountain.
Exod 19:14. Moses sanctified the people, by commanding them to sanctify themselves, and directing them how to do it.
Exod 19:15. Abstain from the use of the marriage-bed, partly because your wives may haply have their uncleanness upon them, though unknown to themselves, at least to you, whereby you may be legally defiled; see Lev 15:18; and partly that your minds may be abstracted from all sensual delights, and wholly employed about this great and holy work and service. There is a like command 1 Cor 7:5; but both this and that do indifferently concern both ministers and people, and are limited to a certain time, and therefore are very impertinently alleged for the perpetual celibacy of ministers. See also 1 Sam 21:5.
Exod 19:16. The thunders and lightnings were sent partly as evidences and tokens both of God’s glorious presence, and of the anger of God, and the dreadful punishments due to the transgressors of the law now to be delivered; and partly as means to humble, and awaken, and convince, and terrify proud and secure sinners, that they might more reverently attend to the words and commands of God, more willingly yield obedience to them, and be more afraid of the violation of them. A thick cloud was both a fit mean for the production and reception of the thunders and lightnings, and a signification as well of the invisible and unconceivable nature of God, as of the obscurity of the legal dispensation in regard of its types and shadows, etc., 2 Cor 3:13,18; 2 Cor 4:6. The trumpet was a fit instrument, both for the promulgation of God’s law, and for the signification of that war that is between God and sinners. All the people, Moses himself not excepted, as appears from Heb 12:21.
Exod 19:17. Therefore one part of the mount they might come to, though not to another, to wit, the higher; which may clear the difficulty and seeming contradiction betwixt Exod 19:12-13.
Exod 19:18. The Lord descended in fire for further terror to obstinate sinners. Hence this law is called a fiery law, Deut 33:2. The whole mount quaked greatly, by an earthquake, as appears from Ps 60:2; Ps 104:32.Exod 19:19. Waxed louder and louder; Heb. went on, or increased and grew very strong, or vehement, or loud. This is opposed to the sounding long, Exod 19:13. God answered him by a voice, i.e. by plain, distinct, and audible words, as Ps 81:7; John 12:29, so as the people also might hear, as appears from Exod 19:9. See Deut 5:24; 1 Kings 19:12-13; Heb 12:19.
Exod 19:20. So here are three parts of the mount manifestly distinguished; the top, where the cloud was; the middle part, where Moses now stood, and about which the bounds seem to have been put; and the nether or lower part, where the people were.
Exod 19:21. Through curiosity to know in what form or manner I appear to thee.
Exod 19:22. For though the Aaronical priesthood was not yet appointed, it is certain, that as there were sacrifices before, so there were priests to offer them, which were either the firstborn, who were consecrated to God, and did execute the office of priests, as may be gathered from Exod 13:2; Exod 24:5; Num 3:12; Num 8:26, or some other persons appointed by God for doing that work till the office was settled in Aaron’s family. Which come near to the Lord; not at this time, for both priests and people are now kept at equal distance, Exod 19:24; but usually: q.d. Whose duty and privilege it is to approach unto God, and to present the people’s prayers and sacrifices to him, and therefore are here particularly admonished, because they above all others are obliged to this care, and because they might seem to claim this privilege by their function.
Exod 19:23. The people are sufficiently admonished in that particular, because as thou didst command this same thing before, Exod 19:12, so I have informed and warned them of it; so that it may seem superfluous for me to go down again to acquaint them herewith. But God, who better knew the dulness and the hardness of their hearts than Moses did, saw it necessary to repeat the same command again and again. Some read the words interrogatively, lo for halo, as it is 2 Sam 13:26; 2 Kings 5:26; Job 2:10; Mal 2:15; May not the people (i.e. some of the people, the priests at least, which, as thou hast now said, may come near to the Lord) go up? Is this a universal prohibition? To this answer is given by a distinction in the next verse, that he and Aaron might come up, but no other.
Exod 20:1-2: The object of man’s worship.
Exod 20:3-17: The decalogue.
Exod 20:18: The people fear.
Exod 20:19: They desire Moses to speak to them, and not God.
Exod 20:20: Moses encourages them.
Exod 20:21-22: Moses drawing near the darkness, God speaks to him.
Exod 20:23: God’s charge about making no other gods.
Exod 20:24-25: God’s command to build an altar, and of what they should make it;
Exod 20:26: and in what manner they should approach unto it.
Exod 20:1. Or, Then, to wit, when Moses was returned into the mount.
God spake immediately, and not by an angel. For though an ambassador or messenger may act in the name of his master, yet it is against the use of all ages and places for such to call themselves by his name. As well might an ambassador of France say, I am the king of France, which all men would account absurd, arrogant, and ridiculous, as an angel might say, I am the Lord. All these words, i.e. commands, for so the word is used, Deut 17:19; Esther 1:12.
Exod 20:2. The only true God, and thy God by special title, having entered into covenant with thee, and chosen thee for my peculiar people, to protect, and rule, and bless thee above all others. God’s authority and right over them is fitly put in the front, as the foundation of all God’s commands, and their duties. Which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt; and so by right of redemption thou art mine. Out of the house, i.e. the place; for so the word house is sometimes used, as Judg 16:21.
Exod 20:3. Heb. There shall not be to thee another god, or other gods, to wit, idols, which others have, esteem, and worship as gods, and therefore Scripture so calls them by way of supposition, Deut 32:21; 1 Sam 12:21; 1 Cor 8:4-5; but thou shalt not have them in any such reputation or veneration, but shalt forsake and abhor them, and cleave unto me alone. Before me, i.e. in my presence, in my house or Church, which you are, where I am especially present; and therefore for you to worship any other god is most impudent idolatry, even as when a woman commits adultery before her husband’s face. He may also intimate, that all the idolatry which any of them shall hereafter commit, though never so cunningly and secretly managed, is manifest to his eyes, Ps 44:20-21. Others translate it with me, or besides me, as it is rendered Matt 12:30. He forbids the worship of all others, not only in opposition to him, but also in conjunction with him, or subordination to him. See 2 Kings 17:33; Exod 32; Acts 7:41; Rev 19:10; Rev 22:8-9.
Exod 20:4. Thou shalt not make, either in thy mind, or with thy hand, Acts 17:29, or by thy command. Unto thee, i.e. for thy use, or for thee to worship; for otherwise they were not absolutely forbidden to make any images, but only to make them for worship, as may appear by comparing this place with Lev 19:4; Deut 4:15 and Amos 5:26, with Acts 7:43; and from Lev 26:1, where the setting up of a pillar, or stone, is as absolutely forbidden as the making of an image. And therefore as the former is not forbidden to be done simply and universally, as appears from Josh 24:20; 1 Sam 7:12, but only to be done in order to worship, so also is the latter. Moreover there were cherubims and other images in the temple, and afterwards the brazen serpent, which because they were not made to be worshipped, neither were indeed, nor were ever esteemed to be, any contradictions to this law. Any graven image, or molten, or any other image, as is most evident from the nature and reason of the precept. Nor is any thing more common than such synecdochical expressions, wherein under one kind named all other things of the like nature are contained. But for more abundant caution, and to put all out of doubt, he adds a more general word, nor any likeness. Anything that is in heaven; as of God, Deut 4:15; Isa 44:9,20, angels, sun, moon, or stars, which the heathens worshipped, Deut 4:19; Deut 17:3. Or in the earth; as of men, and beasts, and creeping things, which the Egyptians and other Gentiles worshipped as gods. See Deut 4:16-17; Isa 44:13; Ezek 23:14. Or in the water; as of fishes, such as Dagon was; or serpents, crocodiles, and such other Egyptian deities. Under the earth: this is emphatically added, to note the singular care of Divine Providence in bringing the waters under the earth, which naturally are lighter and higher than it, and therefore might easily overwhelm it. Compare Ps 104:6.
Exod 20:5. Not only inward reverence is forbidden, but also all outward gestures that naturally or customarily express reverence, whether bowing down the body, as here; or bending the knee, as 1 Kings 19:18; or kissing the idol, or one’s hand towards it, as Job 31:27; Hos 13:2; one gesture being by a synecdoche named for all. To them, nor before them; for to bow to them, and to bow before them, are expressions in Scripture of the same extent and use, as appears by comparing this place with Lev 26:1; 2 Chron 25:14; and 2 Sam 7:22, with 1 Chron 17:25; and Matt 4:9, with Luke 4:7. Nor serve them; or, worship them, either inwardly in thy mind, or outwardly by any sensible mean or sign of worship given to them, as incense or sacrifice, vowing to them, or swearing by them, or the like. A jealous God, i.e. impatient of any partner in thy love and worship, and full of wrath against them that give my glory to images, Isa 42:8; as jealousy is the rage of a man Prov 6:34 against the defiler of his marriage-bed. God is pleased to call and account himself the Husband of his church and people, Jer 2:2; Hos 2:19; and therefore idolatry is called adultery, Deut 31:16; Jer 3:3,10; and God’s anger against idolaters’ jealousy. The word el properly signifies the strong God, and shows God’s ability to avenge himself, as the word jealous notes his readiness and resolution to do it. Visiting, i.e. remembering, inquiring into, or punishing, (as that word is commonly used, as hath been noted before,) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children. Question. How can this be just? Answer 1. All are born sinners, and are children of wrath, and therefore justly punishable for their own sins. Answer 2. He speaks not here of eternal damnation, but of temporal punishments, in which there is no shadow of injustice; as appears, 1. Because the sins of parents are oft punished in their children, even in human courts, as is manifest in traitors, which practice being acknowledged to be just, it cannot with any sense be accounted unjust in God. 2. Because such external punishments have more good than evil in them, and are in many, and may be so in others, if themselves do not hinder it, instruments of the greatest good, exercises of their virtues and graces, and means of their eternal happiness. 3. Because children are a part and the possession of their parents, and therefore it is not unjust if they suffer with them, and for them. Answer 3. This is to be understood with an exception of repentance, and penitent children, as appears from Ezek 18 And if any such be temporally punished for their fathers’ sins, God will abundantly recompense it to them some other way. But if children tread in their fathers’ sinful steps, it is but just that they should partake of their plagues. Unto the third and fourth generation; and further too, as appears in the ten tribes, and afterwards in the two tribes, upon whom the iniquity of their fathers hath been visited now for many generations. But he mentions them in particular, partly, because a parent may live so long, and see the dreadful effects of his sin in his children’s children; partly, because so far the memory of a father may extend, and be matter of imitation to his children; and partly, to show the difference between his exercise of justice and mercy, as appears by comparing the next verse. Them that hate me. This word is opposed to the conceit that idolaters, at least many of them, have of themselves, that they love God more than others do, because they love, and honour, and worship the creatures for his sake, and for those excellencies that he hath wrought in them; but this will no more excuse their idolatry, than it will excuse him that commits adultery with his friend’s wife, that he did it for his friend’s sake, and from the love he had to his friend, and for his relations.
Exod 20:6. Unto thousands, to wit, of their generations, i.e. for ever; whereas his punishment extended only to three or four of them: so far is God’s mercy exalted above his justice. Compare Ps 103:17.
Them that love me, and keep my commandments: this conjunction is very observable, both against those that falsely and foolishly pretend or insinuate that the inward affection of love to God is not absolutely and always necessary to salvation; and also against them who, pretending inward love to God, live in the customary breach of God’s known commands.
Exod 20:7. Or, not carry, or not take, or lift up, to wit, in or into thy mouth, as the phrase is more fully expressed, Job 4:2; Ps 16:4; Ps 50:16. So men are said to take up a proverb, or a lamentation, Isa 14:4; Ezek 26:17. The name of the Lord; not only the proper name of the Lord, but any of his attributes, ordinances, and works, by which God hath made himself known. In vain; or unto vanity, or vainly. Either, 1. Falsely, or in a false oath; thou shalt not swear falsely by the name of the Lord, or not lift up the name of God into thy mouth in an oath to the confirmation of a lie. Or, 2. In vain, as we render it, and as the word schave is frequently used, as Job 7:3; Job 15:31; Ps 60:11; Ps 89:47; Isa 1:13. You shall not use the name of God, either in oaths or in common discourse, lightly, rashly, irreverently, or unnecessarily, or without weighty or sufficient cause. Which being a duty enjoined not only in many places of sacred Scripture, but also in the apocryphal Ecclesiasticus 23:15-17, and even by heathen authors, as Plato in his Book of Laws, and it being evident by the light of nature to man’s reason, it were strange if it were not here understood; especially considering that it is most reasonable to take these short laws in the most comprehensive sense, such as this, not the former, is; for the prohibition of using it vainly and rashly doth certainly include that of swearing by it falsely, but this latter doth not include the former. Besides, the former exposition restrains the words to swearing, whereas the words are more general, and speak of any taking God’s name into their mouths, either by oaths or any other way. And it becomes not us to set limits to God’s words where God hath set none. It is also here to be observed, as well as in the other commands, that when this sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded, to wit, to use the name of God, both in swearing and otherwise, holily, cautiously, and reverently. Guiltless, or, innocent, i.e. free from guilt, and the punishment of it: the meaning is, the Lord will look upon him as a guilty person, and will severely punish him. And so this or the like phrase is used 1 Kings 2:9. And it is a common figure, called meiosis, where more is understood than is expressed, as 1 Sam 12:21; Ps 25:3; Prov 10:2. And this reason is here added, because sinners of this sort are usually held innocent by men, either because they cannot discover their fault when they forswear themselves, or because they take no care to punish the abusers of God’s name by vain and customary oaths, curses, or blasphemies: q.d. Though men spare them, I will assuredly punish them.
Exod 20:8. This word remember is here very emphatical; and, 1. It reminds us of a former delivery of the substance of this command, to wit, Gen 2:3. 2. It insinuates the great necessity of consideration and preparation for the sabbath before it comes, 3. It shows the singular importance of
this command, which is therefore placed in the heart and centre of the rest, to show that the religious observation of this is the best way to secure our obedience to all the rest, and that the neglect of this will bring in the violation of all the other, as common experience shows. To keep it holy, i.e. to use it holily, by a careful abstinence from servile works or worldly business, and by a diligent employing of the day in holy thoughts, words, and exercises, in the worship of God in public and private, and the celebration of his works, and the furthering of our own and others’ sanctification and salvation. See Isa 58:13.
Exod 20:9. This may be either, 1. A command to employ those days in our worldly occasions, yet so as God and religion be not neglected on those days, as many scriptures teach us. Or, 2. A permission to do so; which I prefer, 1. Because so it is a proper argument to enforce the observation of the sabbath: q.d. Grudge not me one day, when I allow you six for it. 2. Because the command of diligence in our callings would seem improperly placed here, as being of a quite different nature, and belonging to the second table, and being provided for in a distinct command, as we shall see.
Exod 20:10. The sabbath of the Lord, or, to the Lord, i.e. consecrated to his use, honour, and service. Hence God calls them my sabbaths, Lev 26:2; Isa 56:4, because they are commended by his example, and enjoined by his command. Any work, i.e. any servile, laborious, common, or worldly work, tending to thy own profit or pleasure. See Exod 34:21; Lev 23:7; Num 28:18; Isa 58:13. Nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant: this clause is added, not as if children or servants were not immediately obliged by this command, or were excused by God for the breach of this law at their master’s commands, which were to obey men rather than God, contrary to St. Peter’s command and practice, Acts 5:29 and which were to limit the foregoing word thou, and the law of the sabbath, only to those that have children and servants, which is an idle, senseless, and absurd, as well as profane opinion; but to restrain hardhearted, and covetous, or ungodly persons, that they should neither command nor suffer their children or servants to profane the sabbath, so far as they can hinder it; which how far it concerns thousands of governors of families at this day, they shall do well seriously and in time to consider. Nor thy cattle, partly, to teach us to exercise mercy towards the brute creatures; compare Deut 5:14; partly, because the use of cattle must have drawn along with it the attendance and employment of men; and partly, that by observing the rest of the cattle, they might be more minded and quickened to the observation of this sacred rest. Nor thy stranger, i.e. the Gentile that sojourneth with thee; lest their example should provoke the Israelites to imitate them; and lest the Gentiles should have opportunity of gaining at that time when, and by that thing whereby, the Israelites were losers, even by the religious observation of the sabbath. That dwells within thy cities, which have walls and gates, or within thy villages or territories. So the word gates is oft taken, as Gen 22:17; Gen 24:60; 2 Sam 10:8, compared with 1 Chron 19:9.
Exod 20:11. In six days, and neither in more nor less time, as he could have done. Rested, i.e. ceased from his creating works; otherwise he worketh still (John 5:17) by his providence and grace; and neither is idle nor weary, Isa 40:28; but this rest is ascribed to him for our admonition and imitation. The Lord blessed the sabbath day, i.e. made it a day of blessing; as well of receiving blessings and praises from men, as of conferring his blessings and favours upon those that religiously observe it. The day is said to be blessed when men are blessed by it, and in it, by a common metonymy, as a man’s field, Gen 27:27, and basket and store, Deut 28:5, and the work of his hands, Job 1:10, are said to be blessed when a man is blessed in them. It is remarkable, the blessing and sanctification are not appropriated to the seventh day, but to the sabbath day, whether it should be the seventh day, as to the Jews it then was, or the first day, as to us Christians now it is, which change seems hereby to be insinuated. Hallowed it, i.e. separated it from the rest of the days, and from all common employments, and consecrated it to his own holy service, and man’s holy use.
Exod 20:12. The word honour doth not only note the reverence, love, and obedience we owe them, but also support and maintenance, as appears from Matt 15:4-6, and from the like signification of that word, 1 Tim 5:3,17, which is so natural and necessary a duty, that the Jews say a man is bound even to beg, or to work with his hands, that he may relieve his parents.
The father is put first here, and the mother Lev 19:3, to show that we owe this duty promiscuously and indifferently to both of them. Compare Exod 21:15,17; Deut 21:18; Deut 27:16; Prov 20:20; Prov 30:17. And because these laws are brief, and yet comprehensive, under these are contained all our superiors and governors. That thy days may be long, Heb. that they, i.e. thy parents, may prolong thy days, or the days of thy life, to wit, instrumentally, by their prayers made to God for thee, and by their blessing in my name conferred upon thee; though the active verb is commonly taken impersonally, as Job 7:3; Prov 9:11; Luke 12:10; and so it may be here, they prolong, for be prolonged.
Exod 20:13. To wit any man or woman, without authority, and without just cause; which exception must necessarily be understood, because many other scriptures command the magistrate to kill great offenders. And this prohibition being delivered by God, who made, and searcheth, and commands men’s hearts, must be extended not only to the external act of killing, but to all motions of the heart or tongue which tend that way, as anger, hatred, envy, malice, strife, blows, and the challenges of duelists; which is clearly manifest by comparing this with other scriptures, as Matt 5:21; 1 John 3:15, etc. And here, as in the rest, is commanded the contrary duty of preserving tie lives of our neighbours as much as lies in our power.
Exod 20:14. Here is mentioned one kind of uncleanness, as being eminently sinful, and unjust, and pernicious to human society. But under this are comprehended and forbidden all other kinds of filthiness, as bestiality, sodomy, whoredom, fornication, etc., and all means, occasions, and appearances of them; as it appears, 1. From other scriptures that forbid those things, which either belong to this command, or to none of the ten, which is very improbable. 2. From the large extent of the other commands, noted before. 3. From our Saviour’s explication, Matt 5:27. And contrariwise, all chastity and sobriety in thoughts, affections, words, habits, and gestures, is here prescribed. See 1 Thess 4:3-4; Heb 13:4.
Exod 20:15. i.e. Either by deceit or violence, or without his knowledge and consent, take away another man’s goods, Eph 4:28; but, on the contrary, shalt preserve and increase them, as need requires, and occasion is offered.
Exod 20:16. Heb. not answer, viz. when thou art asked in judgment, Lev 5:1; Lev 19:16; or, not speak a false testimony, or as a false witness; which doth not only forbid perjury in judgment, but also all unjust censure, slander, backbitingscorning, false accusation, and the like; and also requires a just and candid judgment of him, and of his words and actions, speaking well of him, as far as truth and justice will permit, and defending his good name against the calumnies and detractions of others. Against thy neighbour; no, nor for thy neighbours; but he saith against, both because such perjuries, slanders, etc. are most commonly designed against them, and because this is a great aggravation of the sin, when a man not only speaks evil and falsehood, but doth this from malice and ill-will. But under this kind are contained other sins of a like, though less sinful, nature, as in the other commands.
A man’s neighbour here is not only the Israelite, as some would have it, but any man; as plainly appears, 1. Because that word is frequently used in that sense, not only in the New, as all agree, but also in the Old Testament, as Gen 11:3; Lev 20:10; Esther 1:19; Prov 18:17. 2. Because it is so explained, Luke 10:29,36; Rom 13:9, compared with Matt 22:39. 3. From the reason of the thing, which is common to all; unless a man will be so hardy to say that he may bear false witness against a stranger, though not against an Israelite; and, in like manner, that when God forbids a man to commit adultery with his neighbour’s wife, Lev 20:10, he may do it with a stranger’s wife; and that though a man be commanded to speak the truth to his neighbour, Zech 8:16, he may tell lies to a stranger. 4. Because the great law of love and charity, which is the life and soul of this and all the commands, and binds us to all; binds us, and bound the Israelites, to strangers, as appears from Exod 23:4; Lev 19:33-34.
Exod 20:17. The coveting here forbidden is either, 1. The inward and deliberate purpose and desire of a deceitful or violent taking away of another man’s goods; but this is forbidden in the eighth commandment. And it is hard to conceive that St. Paul should think that this command did not forbid such a practice, Rom 7:7, which even the better sort of heathens esteemed a sin, whose words are, that they who are withheld from incest, or whoredom, or theft, only from a principle of fear, are guilty of those crimes; especially seeing the Old Testament Scriptures, which doubtless he diligently studied, do so plainly condemn evil purposes of the heart, as Lev 19:17; Deut 9:4-5; Deut 15:7,9, etc. Or, 2. The greedy desire of that which is another man’s, though it be without injury to him. Thus Ahab sinned in desiring Naboth’s vineyard, though he offered him money for it, 1 Kings 21:2. Or rather, 3. Those inward motions of the heart, which from the fountain of original corruption do spring up in the heart, and tickle it with some secret delight, though they do not obtain tie deliberate consent of the will. For seeing this law of God is spiritual and holy, Rom 7:12,14, and reacheth the thoughts, intents, and all the actual motions of the heart, as is apparent from the nature of God, and of his law; and seeing such motions are both the fruits of a sinful nature, and the common causes of sinful actions, and are not agreeable either to man’s first and uncorrupted nature, or to God’s law; they must needs be a swerving from it, and therefore sin. And this is the reason why this command is added as distinct from all the rest.
Exod 20:18. Saw the thunderings, i.e. heard them. One sense is oft put for another, as seeing, Gen 42:1, for hearing, Acts 7:12. They removed from the bottom of the mountain, where it seems they stood.
Exod 20:19. This they speak from a sense of their own guilt, and of the greatness and holiness of the Divine Majesty, to whom they durst not approach but by a mediator. See Deut 5:27; Deut 18:16; Gal 3:19.
Exod 20:20. To prove you, or try, or search you, whether you are innocent, and such as delight in my presence; or conscious of your guilt, and therefore afraid of my appearance; whether you have such a righteousness as can abide the trial of a severe Judge; or whether you are such as have cause to fear my wrath, and to flee to my grace and mercy; which of you are sincere and upright, and which are hypocrites and ungodly persons; or, to try whether this terrible appearance will produce in you that reverence, fear, and obedience which I call for; or, to give you a law, by which you will be proved whether you do indeed love and fear me, as you pretend you do, or whether you do not.
God’s fear is properly in men’s hearts; but here the sense seems to be this, That this fear, i.e. his dreadful manifestation of his majesty and justice, (the act being here put for the object,) may be now and ever before your eyes, and in your memories, as an effectual preservative from sin.
Exod 20:21-22. Ye have seen, i.e. heard, as Exod 20:18. He may use the word seen here, to intimate that this was all they could see of God, to wit, his voice and speech, and that they saw no image of him, as is expressed in a parallel place, and therefore should make no resemblances of him, as it here follows. From heaven, i.e. from the lower heaven, to wit, the air, or the clouds, which were over the top of mount Sinai, Deut 4:36; Neh 9:13; and so the word heaven is oft understood, as Gen 1:20; Job 35:11; Ps 79:2. And so this place may be reconciled with Heb 12:25, where this is said to be spoken upon earth.
Exod 20:23. With me, i.e. to worship together with me; I will allow no companion; or, to me, as it follows, unto you; and Exod 20:24, unto me; and the particle eth is sometimes used for el, or lamed, as 1 Sam 22:14; 2 Kings 22:14; or, for me, either to represent my person, by comparing this with the parallel place, Deut 4:15-16, or to worship me by, as it is apparent that the Israelites afterwards did intend to worship Jehovah in the golden calf, and therefore Aaron calls the feast of the calf a feast to Jehovah, Exod 32:5, and that with the approbation of the people, whom he then complied with, and durst not resist. Gods, i.e. idols or images, to whom you may give the name and worship of gods, of silver, and consequently not of any other materials, as wood or stone: it is a synecdoche.
Exod 20:24. An altar thou shalt make for thy present use, or whilst thou art in the wilderness: this he commanded, partly, that they might easily and readily erect an altar upon all occasions, which it might be hard for them to do there of better materials; partly, to mind them how much more God regarded the inward holiness than the outward pomp of their devotions; partly, because God would make a conspicuous difference between them and idolaters, who used much cost and curiosity about their altars; partly, that the altars might, after they left them, fall down and moulder away, and not remain as lasting monuments, which might be afterward abused to idolatry by any persons that came thither; partly, because they were uncertain of their stay any where, except at Sinai, and therefore must raise such altars as they could suddenly do. But this command only concerned their wilderness state; for there were better and more durable altars in the tabernacle and temple. In all places, therefore there is no need of building any stately altar in a certain place, as if my presence were fixed there, and not to be enjoyed elsewhere. Where I record my name, or, cause my name to be remembered by you; i.e. not in every place which you shall invent, but in all such places as I shall appoint for the remembrance or celebration of my name, or for the service of my majesty, whether it be in the wilderness, and in divers parts thereof, or in the tabernacle and temple.
Exod 20:25. An altar of stone in those rocky parts might be as easy for them to make as one of earth. Hewn stone would require both time, and cost, and art. The reasons of this precept are in part the same with the former, Exod 20:24. If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it, by thy disobedience to my express command now given; and howsoever they think to gratify me by this curiosity, I shall not look upon it as a sacred thing, by which the sacrifices offered on it shall be sanctified, but as a profane thing which will defile them. So little doth God value or approve the inventions of men in his worship, how colourable soever they be.
Exod 20:26. He seems to mean the steps of ladders, or others of the same nature, which could suddenly be made, and were proper for their present condition, where there was danger of the following inconvenience. For afterwards God appointed an altar ten cubits high, 2 Chron 4:1; though some conceive they went not up to that by steps, but by an insensible ascent upon the ground raised by degrees for that purpose. But if the priests did go up to it by steps, God provided against the indecency here mentioned, by prescribing linen breeches to them in that service. That thy nakedness be not discovered thereon; for these linen breeches were not yet appointed, and the manner then and there was for men to wear long coats or gowns like women. God would remove all appearance or occasion of immodesty, especially in sacred persons and things; and the rather, to show his detestation of that impudence and filthiness which was very usual in some of the solemnities and worships of the heathen.
Exod 21:1-5: Law concerning bondmen or slaves.
Exod 21:6: Servants bored through the ear.
Exod 21:7-11: Ordinances for bondwomen.
Exod 21:12: Of murderers.
Exod 21:17: Of them that curse their parents.
Exod 21:18-19: Of strikers.
Exod 21:22-25: Of them that hurt a woman with child.
Exod 21:26-27: Of a master of a family that strikes out an eye or tooth of his man or maid servant.
Exod 21:29: Of a pushing ox.
Exod 21:33: Of them that hurt their neighbour’s ox by digging a pit.
Exod 21:35-36: Of one ox killing another.
Exod 21:1. Or, the judicial laws, by which thou and the judges before mentioned shall govern thyself and the people in civil and criminal causes.
Exod 21:2. If thou buy an Hebrew servant; of which practice see Jer 34:14. This was allowed in two cases: 1. When a man for his crimes was condemned by the judges to be sold; of which see Exod 22:3; 2 Kings 4:1; Matt 8:25. 2. When a man pressed by great poverty sold himself or his children; of which see Lev 25:39-40. The seventh year is to be numbered, either, 1. From the last sabbatical year, or year of release, which came every seventh year; and the sense of the place is, not that he shall always serve six full years, but that he shall never serve longer, and that his service shall last only till that year comes. Or rather, 2. From the beginning of his service; for, 1. It were a very improper speech to say, he shall serve six years, of one who possibly entered into his service but a month before the year of release. 2. In the law of the sabbatical year there is no mention of the release of servants, as there is of other things, Lev 25; Deut 15; and in the year of jubilee, when servants are to be released, it is expressed so, as Lev 25:54-55.
Exod 21:3. By himself, i.e. with his own person only, not with a wife, as the opposite branch showeth.
Exod 21:4. That being a true rule, and approved both by Scripture and by heathen authors, that the birth follows the belly, Gen 21:10; Gal 4:24-25; and he that owns the tree hath right to all its fruit.
Question. How was this separation of man and wife agreeable with the first institution of marriage, by which that bond is made indissoluble? Answer 1. That bond was not necessarily dissolved by this law, both because the separation was at the man’s choice, who might have staid there if he so pleased; and because the distinction of their habitations might consist with the right and use of matrimony, which the master also would probably permit for his own advantage. Answer 2. God might here, as well as in the case of divorces, dispense with his own laws and institutions, especially in this case, where he might design this for a punishment to the man for marrying a stranger, which was not pleasing to God, as appears from Deut 21:11; Ezra 10:2; Neh 13:23. And that this woman was a stranger, and not a Hebrewess, is manifest, because then she also must have gone out free, Exod 21; 7-9; Deut 15:12.
Exod 21:5-6. Shall bring him unto the judges; partly, that it may appear he chooseth this freely, and is not overawed nor overreached by his master; and partly, that the agreement being so publicly and solemnly confirmed, might be irrevocable. He shall also bring him to the door, to wit, of his master’s house, as it is expressed, Deut 15:17; a token that he was fixed there, and never to go a freeman out of these doors. His master shall bore his ear through with an awl, as a note of a servant; as it continued to be long after this in Syria and Arabia, as Juvenal and Petronius Arbiter affirm; and it did fitly represent his settled and perpetual obligation to abide in that house, and there to hear and obey his master’s commands. See Ps 40:6. For ever, i.e. not only for six years more, but without any limitation of time, as long as he lives, until the jubilee, which is an exception made by God to this law, Lev 25:40; Deut 15:17. The Hebrew word olam, here used, oft signifies not eternity, but only a long time. See Exod 12:14.
Exod 21:7. A man, i.e. a Hebrew, as appears by the opposition of one of a strange nation, Exod 21:8.
For a man to sell his daughter to be a maidservant was allowed in case of extreme necessity, because of the hardness of their hearts. She shall not go out as the menservants do, but upon better terms, as being one of the weaker and more helpless sex. Question. How doth this agree with Deut 15:17, Also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise? Answer 1. Distinguish persons. She, Deut 15:17 was sold by herself, and that to mere servitude; this here was sold by her father, not only for service, but in order to her marriage, as the following verses sufficiently imply. 2. Distinguish things. The likeness between menservants and maidservants was only in the rites used, in case she consented to perpetual servitude. The difference here is, in case they both were made free, in which case she had some privileges, which here follow.
Exod 21:8. Who hath betrothed her to himself, for a concubine or secondary wife. Not that masters did always take maidservants upon these terms, as some conceive; but that some did so, and of them this place speaks. Though here is a differing reading; and as the margin hath lo the pronoun, signifying to him, so the text hath lo the adverb, signifying not; and so the text may be translated thus, so that he doth not betroth her, to wit, to himself, or to his son, as he gave her hopes he intended. Either reading or sense is proper and probable. Then shall he let her be redeemed, either by herself or friends, or any other person that will redeem her. Question. How could he part with her, and sell her, when she was betrothed to him? Answer 1. This might be one of those many indulgences given to them for the hardness of their hearts; and there is no doubt God could dispense with his own positive laws. 2. The latter reading avoids this difficulty. To sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power: this was in general prohibited for all Hebrew servants, but it is particularly mentioned here, because there was special reason for it; both because there was more danger of her corruption in chastity and religion in regard of her sex, and because the master in that case was under a greater temptation of selling her to a foreigner, because no Israelite would buy her, or give so much money for her as a heathen would, who would and might keep her for a perpetual servant, which the Israelites might not do. He hath dealt deceitfully with her, viz. in breaking his promise of marriage made to her, or blasting the hopes he encouraged her to have of it. The Hebrew words are exactly rendered thus, in dealing deceitfully or falsely with her or against her; and they may be added as an aggravation of that sin of selling her to a strange nation, wherein there was a double false dealing; the one towards God, who by his law forbad this; the other towards her, whom he hired upon other terms, and not with a power to dispose of her contrary to the law and manner of the Israelites.
Exod 21:9. i.e. Give her a convenient portion, as he doth to his own daughters, Exod 22:16.
Exod 21:10. Her duty of marriage is called due benevolence, 1 Cor 7:3. Or, her dwelling, as the word is oft used. So here are the three great conveniences of life, food, and raiment, and habitation, all which he is to provide for her. Or, her cohabitation, or, her time, the convenient and appointed times for conjugal converse with her; for some times were disallowed for it, Lev 15, and when there were plurality of wives, they had their vicissitudes, Gen 30:15-16. Shall he not diminish, or rather, not withdraw, or deny it, as the word signifies, and as the LXX., Chaldee, Samaritan, Vulgate, and others render it.
Exod 21:11. And with gifts also by virtue of the law, Deut 15:14. The sum is this, The master was either, 1. Willing to part with her; and then he was to let her be redeemed by herself, or any of her friends, but not by a heathen, Exod 21:8. Or, 2. Willing to keep her; and then, as he had betrothed her, he was to perform all the duties of a husband to her, although he had another wife besides her, Exod 21:10. 3. If he would keep her, and yet deny those duties to her, then as his fault was aggravated, so was his punishment; for now he cannot sell her, but must let her go freely, as in this verse.
Exod 21:12. He that smiteth a man knowingly and wilfully, as appears by the next verse, neither the friends of the party slain, nor the magistrate, shall give him a pardon, or accept a ransom for him, Num 35:31.
Exod 21:13. If it appear that the manslayer did not intend nor desire it, but only it fell out by his heedlessness, or by some casualty, or by some unexpected providence; or, God, and not man, God without the man’s contrivance or design; for otherwise, in a general sense and way, God delivered Christ into the hands of Judas and the Jews, who did advisedly and maliciously kill him. A place whither he shall flee, i.e. a city or place of refuge, Num 35:11; Deut 19:5.
Exod 21:14. If a man come presumptuously, i.e. do this proudly, boldly, purposely, and maliciously; for so the word signifies. From mine altar, which not only in the wilderness, but afterward, seems to have been esteemed a place of refuge, 1 Kings 1:50, as it also was among the heathens: but God so far abhors murder, that he will rather venture the pollution of his own altar than the escape of the murderer. See 2 Kings 11:15.
Exod 21:15. He that smiteth; either, 1. So as is before mentioned, Exod 21:12, so as they die. And to smite sometimes signifies to kill, as Gen 4:15; 2 Kings 14:5, compared with 2 Chron 25:3. And this may be here added by way of distinction: q.d. That killing of another man which is punished with death, must be done presumptuously; but the killing of parents, though not done presumptuously, is a capital crime. Or, 2. The mere smiting of them, to wit, wilfully and dangerously. Nor will any think this law too severe, that considers that this is an act full of horrid impiety against God, who hath so expressly and emphatically commanded children to honour their parents; of highest and most unnatural ingratitude, and utterly destructive to human society.
Exod 21:16. i.e. In the man-stealer’s hand; q.d. though he keep him in his own hands for his own use; for still it is a theft, and he is made that man’s slave, and it is in his power to sell him to another when he pleaseth, and therefore deserves death.
Exod 21:17. Or, revileth, to wit, wilfully, maliciously, obstinately, against all admonition, by comparing Deut 21:18.
Exod 21:18. With a stone, or any other instrument fit for such a mischievous purpose. A usual synecdoche.
Exod 21:19. The loss of his time, i.e. of the profit which he could or commonly did make of his time in the way of his calling. Cause him to be thoroughly healed, i.e. pay the charges of the cure.
Exod 21:20. His servant, namely, a stranger; for an Israelite was to be better used. See Lev 25:39-40, etc. With a rod; a fit and usual instrument for correction, whereby it is implied, that if he killed him with a sword, or any such weapon, he was to die for it. Under his hand, i.e. whilst the master is correcting him. He shall be surely punished; not with death, for then it would have been said so, as it is before and after; but as the magistrate or judge shall think fit, according to the diversity of circumstances; and therefore no particular punishment is set down.
Exod 21:21. i.e. His possession bought with his money; and therefore, 1. Had a power to chastise him according to his demerit, which might be very great. 2. Is sufficiently punished with his own loss. 3. May be presumed not to have done this purposely and maliciously.
Exod 21:22. A woman with child, to wit, the wife of the other person, who interposed herself to succour her husband. No mischief follow, neither to the woman nor child; for it is generally so as to reach both, in case the abortive had life in it.
The husband shall impose the fine, and if it be unreasonable, the judges shall have a power to moderate it.
Exod 21:23. Any mischief; either to the mother or to the child, whether it be death, or any maim or mischief.
Who shall give life for life? Answer. Not the private person, which would have introduced infinite mischiefs and confusions, but the magistrate; for these laws are given to Moses, and the execution of these things was committed to Moses, and others under him.
Exod 21:24. This is called the law of retaliation, and from hence the heathen lawgivers took it and put it into their laws. But though this might sometimes be practised in the letter, yet it was not necessarily to be understood and executed so; as may appear, 1. By the impossibility of the just execution of it in many cases, as when a man that had but one eye or hand was to lose the other, which to him was a far greater mischief than what he did to his neighbour, whom he deprived but of one of his eyes or hands. And this is a sure and righteous rule, Punishments may be less, but never should be greater than the fault. And how could a wound be made neither bigger nor less than that which he inflicted? 2. By comparing this with other laws, wherein a compensation is allowed in like cases, as Exod 21:18,30. And when it is enjoined that no satisfaction shall be taken for the life of a wilful murderer, Num 35:31, it seems therein implied that satisfaction may be taken for lesser injuries. And indeed the payment of such a price as the loss of an eye, or hand, or foot required, though it might not so much satisfy the revenge of the party so injured, yet
it was really more to his benefit. This law therefore was only minatory, but so as it was literally to be inflicted, except the injuring party would give such satisfaction as the injured person accepted, or the judges determined.
Exod 21:25-27. Some confine this to the Israelitish servants, but the text doth not so limit it; and the reason of the law seems to reach to Gentile servants, this being a just punishment to unmerciful masters, (who ought to be merciful to their beasts, much more to such servants,) and a fit recompence to a servant for such a loss. And this law reacheth the loss of any other member, these two being instanced in, the one as the chief, and the other as the meanest, to intimate that other parts of a like or middle nature are included.
Exod 21:28. Under which you are to understand any other creatures of like nature which hurt a man in such a dangerous manner, whether with their horns, or teeth, or feet; but he mentions only the ox or bull, and his goring with his horn, because this is most frequently done. Ox shall be stoned; partly, to prevent future mischiefs from that creature; partly, to punish its master for his negligence in not keeping it in; and principally, for man’s admonition, for whom seeing the beasts were made, it is not strange nor unjust if it be destroyed for man’s good. God would hereby show that he would not, and men should not, spare a wilful murderer. His flesh shall not be eaten; both because it was forbidden food, its blood being not let out; and for the punishment of the owner, who was hereby hindered from the sale of it, to beget in all the greater detestation of murderers, when they observe the poor beast upon this account accursed, and therefore not to be touched or tasted.
Exod 21:29. It hath been testified, which the Jews say was to be done thrice, and before the magistrate. A man or a woman, to wit, an Israelite, or a stranger who is free, by comparing this with Exod 21:32.
Exod 21:30. If there be laid on him; either by the avenger of blood, the next akin to the party slain, who is willing to exchange the punishment; or by the judge, who may discern some circumstances which may much lessen the crime, as if an ox had broken his cords wherewith he was tied, or broke forth through the carelessness or wickedness of his servant to whose care he was committed.
Exod 21:31. A son or a daughter; names signifying their tender age, in respect of the man or woman, Exod 21:29. And this is added, lest the foregoing sense should be restrained to their parents, whose lives were more precious, and therefore their loss greater.
Exod 21:32. The half the freeman’s price. See on Matt 26:15.
Exod 21:33. If a man shall either open an old pit which hath been covered with earth; or dig a new pit, to wit, in a public way, as the reason of the law shows; for if it were done in a man’s own house or ground, there was no danger of such an accident, except the beast transgressed his bounds, and then the man was not culpable.
Exod 21:34. The owner of the pit, i.e. he by whose hand or command it was made, shall give money equal to the worth of the dead beast, in the opinion of the judge.
Exod 21:35. They shall divide the money; not equally, for so the owner of the mischievous ox might be gainer by the mischief, his ox being much worse than that which was killed; but in such proportions as the judges shall think fit, considering the worth of the cattle, and the circumstances of the action.
Exod 21:36. Ox for ox; an ox of equal value with that slain ox, or the price and worth of it.
Exod 22:1-4: Of theft.
Exod 22:5: Of eating another man’s vineyard.
Exod 22:6: Of hurt coming by fire.
Exod 22:7-13: Of hurt coming to goods committed to one’s trust.
Exod 22:14-15: Of hurt befalling things borrowed.
Exod 22:16-17: Of committing adultery.
Exod 22:18: Of witchcraft.
Exod 22:19: Of uncleanness with beasts.
Exod 22:20: Of idolatry.
Exod 22:21-24: That none shall hurt strangers or widows.
Exod 22:25: Of usury.
Exod 22:26-27: Of pawning clothes.
Exod 22:28: Of honouring magistrates.
Exod 22:29: Of the firstfruits.
Exod 22:31: Of eating flesh torn by beasts.
Exod 22:1. An ox, or a sheep; or, an ass, which is added Exod 22:4, and consequently any other living creature, to be valued according to its worth and use to man, proportionably to the rule here laid down. Only these are instanced in for their usefulness in the service both of God and men. Or sell it, which was an aggravation of the crime, and a token of greater boldness, resolvedness, and expertness in the trade of thieving, than was in him who kept it at home, Exod 22:4. Four sheep for a sheep. Question 1. Why so much, seeing the stealer of other things was tied to restore but double? Answer 1. For terror, because these beasts being kept in the fields might more easily be stolen. 2. Because the loss of these was greater than of other things; for they did not only lose what the cattle might be sold for, but all the service, increase, and other benefits which a man might receive from them. Question 2. Why more for oxen than for sheep? Answer 1. Because it argued greater boldness and customariness in the thief to steal that which might more easily be discovered. 2. Because besides the intrinsical worth of the ox, the labour of the ox was very considerable to his owner, Prov 14:4, and therefore the loss greater.
Exod 22:2: Breaking up, to wit, an house, which the Chaldee here adds, and by night, as appears from the next verse. For him, i.e. for the thief, though he be killed by a man in his own defence. Because in that case the thief might be presumed to have a worse design, and the owner of the house could neither expect or have the help of others to secure him from the intended violence, nor guide his blows with that discretion and moderation which in the daytime he might use.
Exod 22:3. There shall be blood shed for him; he that kills him shall be put to death, because he punished him more than his crime deserved, and might have been otherwise either secured or righted; and in that case, it is probable, the thief designed not murder, but theft only. But if it were evident that the housebreaker designed murder, he might doubtless kill him in his own defence. He shall be sold; either so long till his service was worth the thing stolen, or rather for the ordinary time of six years, because this was not a simple thief, but a housebreaker, which was much worse. Question. How can he be sold, who is supposed to be killed? Answer 1. The Hebrew word may be better rendered should be sold, as the foregoing word of the same future time is rendered, should make restitution, to wit, if he were not killed; and therefore the killer of him being sufficiently secured against this injury, was more culpable in killing him without necessity.
Exod 22:4. Alive; not killed, nor sold, as Exod 22:1.
Double; not more, 1. Because in that case it was presumed, either that he intended to restore it, or at least that he was but raw and unexercised in the trade of stealing, and so should be more gently punished. 2. Because the right owner recovered his goods with less charge and trouble. Or, 3. Because it was but a single crime, whereas the other, Exod 22:1, was an aggravated and complicated crime, where one sin and injury was added to another. Objection. It is said, he shall restore sevenfold, Prov 6:31. Answer 1. Sevenfold is put for abundantly, as that word is oft used, as Gen 4:24; Ps 12:6; Ps 79:12; and a learned man observes, it is never used for that definite number. Answer 2. This sevenfold, or seven times, may relate not to the proportion of his restitution, but to the number of his thefts, or rather of his detections; and the sense is this, Though he be found guilty of theft seven times, all his punishment is, that he shall restore as the law prescribes. Whereas adultery, of which he there speaks in the following verses, is a crime of that nature, that if a man be once found guilty of it, restitution cannot be made, nor will it serve his turn, but he falls into all the mischiefs there reckoned up.
Exod 22:5. A field or vineyard, or orchard, or other things of like nature; which is generally to be observed in laws.
Exod 22:6. He that kindled the five, whether wilfully for such a purpose, or carelessly in such a time or place as was dangerous. He shall surely make restitution; which if he were not able to do, it is probable he was to be sold for it, as in like cases was provided.
Exod 22:7. Stuff, Heb. vessels, garments, utensils, or any kind of household stuff.
Exod 22:8. That they may examine all circumstances, and use all means to find out the truth, by offering him his oath, or otherwise. Unto his neighbour’s goods; either to take and reserve them for his own use, or to dispose of them to another for his own advantage.
Exod 22:9. All manner of trespass, to wit, about matters deposited upon trust, and lost, of which alone this place speaks. Which another challengeth to be his; or, when, or concerning which he shall say, This is it, viz. the thing that I have lost; or rather, This is he, to whom I committed it, and whom I suspect and charge as guilty. Whom the judges shall condemn; whether the person with whom the things were deposited, if they judged him guilty of theft, or the depositor, if he were convicted of a false accusation.
Exod 22:10. To keep, as his servant, not freely, but for wages.
Exod 22:11. An oath of the Lord; so called here, as also 1 Kings 2:43, because it is taken by his authority and appointment, and for his honour, and in his name alone, God being made both witness, and judge, and avenger thereby. Shall be between them both, i.e. shall end the difference between them both; the one shall give his oath, and the other shall accept of it: or be taken by them both; by the one, that he did deliver them to him upon agreement and for hire; by the other, that he put not his hand to them.
Exod 22:12. From him, Heb. from with him, which is an emphatical expression, and notes that this was taken away, either, 1. From those things which were with him, or which were his, i.e. from the midst of his own goods, which supposeth fraud in him. Or, 2. From under his eye, when he either did know of it, or with common care and diligence it might have been known and prevented, and this argues gross neglect in him. And this is one reason why this man is bound to make restitution, when the other, Exod 22:7, is not: another reason of the difference is, because those things, Exod 22:7, were only or principally dead things, and such things as required no great care; or if they did, (for in that case also were included oxen, asses, etc., Exod 22:9) yet he with whom they were left received no recompence for them, and therefore was not obliged to any singular care about them; but here the things were such as needed great care and diligence, which also this man was obliged to perform by the hire which he received upon that account, which was Jacob’s case, Gen 31:39.
Exod 22:13. Let him bring it; it, i.e. some part of the torn creature, which the wild beast haply had left, Amos 3:11-12. Question. What if the whole creature were carried away, as a sheep or lamb is sometimes by the wolf? Answer 1. I suppose this was not frequent, and that those ravenous creatures did speedily fall to their meal, and that something was left not far from the place, which the shepherd might easily procure. 2. The words may Be otherwise rendered, he shall bring a witness, as the Chaldee and Samaritan render it; or a testimony, i.e. some evidence whereby the judge might be satisfied; as for instance, that some wolf or lion, etc. was seen in those parts, etc., or some witness of his diligence and Faithfulness in all other things, which therefore might well be presumed in this.
Exod 22:14. Ought, i.e. any living thing, which may be hurt or die, as it follows. He shall surely make it good: this may seem hard, but all things considered is reasonable; because in doubtful cases, wherein it is not evident whether the borrower was faulty or not, as it is here, it ought to be interpreted in favour of the lender, rather than of the borrower; partly, to oblige the borrower to the greater fidelity and care in such things, which being not his own, men are commonly more careless about; partly, because the benefit being wholly the borrower’s, the loss also in all reason ought to be his, and the lender ought not to suffer for his kindness, lest he should be discouraged from such actions for the future.
Exod 22:15. If the owner thereof be with it: the law reasonably presumes, both that the borrower would not abuse it in the sight of its owner, and that the lender might and would take due care about it. He shall not make it good, except there be some manifest fault in the borrower, as if he should kill or wound the beast in the lender’s presence; which exception is easily to be understood from divers other laws of God. It came for his hire, i.e. the benefit was the lender’s, and not the borrower’s, and therefore the former reason ceaseth; and whether the master were present or absent, he that receives the gain or hire shall bear the loss, except when it came through the borrower’s gross and wilful default.
Exod 22:16. If a man entice a maid, by persuasions, promise of marriage, allurements, or rewards. But if she were betrothed, it was punished with death, Deut 22:23-24.
Exod 22:17. This shows the necessity of parents’ consent in marriage. According to the dowry of virgins, i.e. in such proportion as the virgin’s quality requires; for there was no certain and equal dowry appointed for all women. See 1 Sam 18:25. Question. Why is there no punishment for the woman? Answer 1. She had no distinct estate, being yet in her father’s house. 2. The loss of her virginity was a sufficient punishment, especially in Israel, where it was a great reproach and prejudice. 3. She was not so culpable as the man, both because she was of the weaker sex, and because she was drawn to the sin by the man’s persuasion.
Exod 22:18. i.e. Any person that is in league with the devil, and by his help either doth any mischief, or discovers and practices things above the reach of other men or women. Of which see Exod 7:11; Lev 20:27; Deut 18:10; 1 Sam 28:9. The word is of the feminine gender, partly because women are most prone to these devilish arts, and most frequently guilty of them; and partly to intimate that no pity should be showed to such offenders, though they were of the weaker sex.
Exod 22:19-20. Sacrificeth, or otherwise worshippeth, as appears from Deut 17:2-5, and many other places. One act of worship put for all by a very familiar synecdoche. Destroyed, Heb. anathematized, i.e. esteemed execrable, and as such destroyed without mercy. See Deut 13:15; Deut 18:20.
Exod 22:21-25. Any of my people, i.e. any Israelite; for it was permitted to take usury of the Gentiles, Deut 23:20. That is poor: this seems to be added not by way of apposition, as if God’s people and the poor were all one, because such are commonly poor; but by way of restriction; for God had promised greatly to bless and enrich the generality of his people, if they by their wickedness did not hinder it, and that there should be few poor among them; yet some such there should be for the trial and exercise of their charity. See Lev 19:10; Deut 15:4,7,11. Usury; the Hebrew word signifies biting; so usury is called, not by way of distinction, as if moderate usury were allowed in this case, which is manifestly false, because the borrower is here supposed to be poor, to whom not the use only, but ofttimes even the principal is to be remitted, Luke 6:34-35; but by way of explication, because all usury is of a biting or eating nature, which commonly consumes the person that pays it.
Exod 22:26. Thy neighbour’s; to wit, that is poor, as appears by comparing this with the next verse, where he is supposed to have but one garment, and with Deut 24:12-13. By that the sun goeth down; because he speaks of such raiment or covering wherein he used to sleep, Exod 22:27. But you are not to think that the creditor would every morning take, and every night redeliver his pledge; and therefore this is rather a prohibition to take any such thing for a pledge as a man hath great and daily need of, by this argument, that if he did take it, he could not keep it. Compare Deut 24:6.
Exod 22:27-28. Gods; not gods falsely so called, as some would have it, as appears by 1 Kings 18:27; Jer 10:11; but magistrates and governors, whether civil or ecclesiastical, as it is evident both from Acts 23:3-5 and from the following words, which explain the former, according to the common use of Scripture, and from the title of gods commonly given to such, as Exod 7:1; Ps 82:6; John 10:34-35. The ruler of thy people. Compare Eccles 10:20, Jude 8.
Exod 22:29. Thou shalt not delay beyond the times appointed, lest this delay grow to a total neglect. And delay may here be put for neglect, as that word is used, Deut 7:10; Deut 23:21; Hab 2:3; which may seem to be favoured by the following clause, which commands the giving or offering of the firstborn without any mention of the hastening or delaying of it. Thy ripe fruits, Heb thy fulness; and whereas this word is sometimes applied to seed or corn, as Num 18:27, and sometimes to the vintage, as Deut 22:9, the circumstances must determine, as it doth in like cases, how it must be taken; which here seem to restrain it to dry fruits, as corn, etc., because it is opposed to liquors; and so all sorts of fruits are comprehended here. Unless you will make this a usual figure called hendyadis, as judgment and justice, Deut 16:18, is put for judgment of justice, or just judgment; so here the fulness and liquors, for the fulness of thy liquors; and so this may be one kind mentioned for all the rest, than which nothing more frequent. Shalt thou give unto me, not in kind, but by a price of redemption to be paid to me in their stead.
Exod 22:30. Likewise, i.e. ye shall offer their firstborn. On the eighth day; not sooner, because it was till then tender and imperfect, and therefore not fit to be offered to God; but it was not tied to that day, for it might be offered afterwards, appears from Lev 22:27, even till it was a year old.
Exod 22:31. Ye shall be holy, i.e. separated from all filthiness, both moral and ceremonial. Neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts; partly, because the blood was not taken out of it; partly, because the clean beast was ceremonially defiled by the touch of the unclean; and partly, to beget in them a detestation of cruelty, even in the beasts, and much more in men.
Exod 23:1: False witness and report forbidden.
Exod 23:2: Right must not be wrested.
Exod 23:3-5: He commands man to do good to his enemies.
Exod 23:8: Bribes are forbidden.
Exod 23:10: The years of sowing appointed, and gathering.
Exod 23:11: Of the seventh year, which is the year of rest; God’s command concerning it.
Exod 23:12: Of the sabbath day.
Exod 23:13: Other gods shall not be mentioned.
Exod 23:14: Of the three feasts in a year.
Exod 23:15-16: The manner of keeping the feasts.
Exod 23:17: The times appointed for the males appearing before the Lord.
Exod 23:18: No sacrifice to be offered with leavened bread.
Exod 23:19: Command concerning the firstfruits.
Exod 23:20: God promiseth an Angel to prepare a way;
Exod 23:21-22: who is commanded to be obeyed.
Exod 23:23: God promising them the land of the Amorites, etc.;
Exod 23:24: forbiddeth the honouring of strange gods.
Exod 23:25-27: God promises to bless them that serve him.
Exod 23:28-30: Hornets shall expel the enemies of the Israelites.
Exod 23:31: The borders of the land of Israel.
Exod 23:32: A covenant with the heathen is forbidden;
Exod 23:33: or to let them inhabit among them.
Exod 23:1. Thou shalt not raise, Heb. not take up, to wit, into thy mouth, as Exod 20:7, either by the first raising, or further spreading of it; or not bear, or endure, as that word oft signifies; not hear it patiently, delightfully, readily, approvingly, as persons are very apt to do; but rather shalt discourage and reprove the spreader of it, according to Prov 25:23. Possibly the Holy Ghost might choose a word of such general signification to show that all these things were forbidden. Put not thine hand, i.e. not conspire or agree with them, which is signified by joining hands, Prov 11:21, not give them a helping hand in it, not encourage them to it by gifts or promises, not assist them by counsel or interest. Others, not swear with them; but swearing is not noted by putting the hand, but by lifting it up.
Exod 23:2. Thou shalt not follow a multitude, either their counsel or example. But the Hebrew rabbin both here and in the following clause is by some rendered great men, men in power and authority, whom we are commanded not to follow. And as the word is thus used Job 32:9; Jer 41:1, so this sense may seem most probable, 1. Because in the last clause he speaks of causes or controversies, as the Hebrew rib signifies; and matters of judgment, which were not determined by the multitude, but by great men. 2. Because these are opposed to the poor in the next verse. 3. Because the examples of such men are most prevalent. To do evil, either in general or particular, to work mischief, to oppress or crush another. Neither shalt thou speak, Heb. answer, when thou art summoned as a witness in any cause. To wrest judgment, or to turn aside right, or to pervert thyself the verb being taken reciprocally, as hiphil is oft put for hithpahel; or, which is all one, to do perversely, i.e. unrighteously.
Exod 23:3. Heb. honour, i.e. respect, or prefer his cause when the richer man’s cause is more just: the meaning of this and the former verse is, there shall be no respect of persons, whether rich or poor, but an impartial consideration of the cause. See Lev 19:15; Ps 72:1-2.
Exod 23:4. So far shalt thou be from revenging his injuries, that thou shalt render good to him for them, whereby if thou dost not reconcile him, thou wilt procure peace to thyself, and honour to religion.
Exod 23:5. This translation depends upon this supposition, that the Hebrew verb azab, which is thrice used in this verse, signifies not only to leave, but also to help, or erect, or lift up, or strengthen, or restore; which signification of the verb may be proved, 1. From that use of it, Neh 3:8; Neh 4:2. 2. From the parallel place, Deut 22:4, where instead of this verb azab is hakim, which is properly to erect or lift up. But if the verb did signify only to leave, it may be thus rendered according to the Hebrew words, then, or therefore, or surely (for all these ways the Hebrew particle vau is used) thou shalt forbear to leave it, to wit, the ass groaning under his burden, or the lifting up of the ass and burden, to him alone; but if thou wilt be leaving, I will appoint thee a better object for it, thou shalt surely leave or lay aside what thou hast against him, i.e. whatsoever controversy thou hast with him, that shall not hinder thee from succouring him or his in any distress. The Hebrew preposition in, doth oft signify against, as Gen 26:20; Ps 85:4; Ps 94:16; Hos 9:8. And it is a concise or short way of speaking, which is very common in the Hebrew language, against him, for what thou hast against him. Or thus, and wouldest forbear to leave, to wit, thy business which thou art going about, for him, i.e. for the sake of him who is thy enemy, as the Hebrew preposition tamed is oft used, as Exod 14:25; Num 25:13; Josh 10:14, etc.; thou shalt repress those malicious desires, and thou shalt surely leave it to be, or to tarry, or to help with him to lift up the ass. So there is only an ellipsis of the verb, which is most common in the Hebrew tongue.
Exod 23:6. i.e. Of the poor which is among thee, not of the poor Jews only, as some peradventure may conceive; for common right must be done even to the Gentiles. Compare Deut 27:19.
Exod 23:7. Keep thee far, i.e. abstain from all occasions, degrees, or appearances of it. Compare Job 22:23; Prov 4:14-15. A false matter, i.e. an unrighteous judgment; for he is speaking to the judges, as appears both by the foregoing and following verses. Slay thou not; condemn not to death, nor to any other unjust penalty, for the same reason. I will not justify the wicked, and therefore not condemn the innocent; one contrary being here understood from the other, as is frequent in the book of the Proverbs; and what I do not, thou who actest in my name and stead shouldst not do. Or rather thus, Know, O judge, (for to such he speaks,) if thou dost pronounce such a wicked sentence, I will not justify thee, or hold thee guiltless, i.e. I will severely punish thee, as Exod 20:7.
Exod 23:8. Thou shalt take no gift, namely, from such whose causes are depending before thee; because if thou dost not sell justice for it, yet thou wilt both seem to do so, and be tempted to do so. Compare Deut 16:19; 1 Sam 8:3; Prov 17:8,23; Prov 19:6. The wise, or, the open-eyed, and quick-sighted, who in this case cannot see, partly because they will not see, and partly because interest and affection do exceedingly corrupt the judgment, and render it very partial. The words of the righteous, i.e. the judgment of the righteous judges, i.e. of them who before were such, and are inclined to be so, and probably would be so, were they not tempted with bribes; or of them who by their place should be righteous. So they are called righteous, to admonish them of their duty to be so, and to aggravate their sin when they are unrighteous, and consequently to aggravate the mischief of gifts, which make those unrighteous whose office obligeth them to be righteous. Or thus, the matters or causes of the righteous, which may be understood not of the judges, but of the parties pleading, whose righteous cause is by this means perverted by the judge, and a wrong sentence given.
Exod 23:9. The heart of a stranger, i.e. the disposition, dejection, and distress of his heart, which makes him an object of pity, not of malice or mischief.
Exod 23:10-11. Thou shalt let it rest, and lie still, i.e. from manuring, ploughing, tilling, and sowing, and reaping also, by comparing Lev 25:3-5. And this God ordained not only for the reason here mentioned, the more comfortable provision of the poor, and for the cattle, but for other weighty reasons; as, 1. That the heart and strength of the land might not be eaten out by continual tillage. 2. That he might both try and exercise, and also secure the obedience of the Israelites. 3. That he might keep them in dependence upon himself, and give to them and all their neighbours a manifest proof of his singular and gracious providence over his people. 4. That by this kind of quitrent they might be admonished that God alone was the Lord and Proprietary of the land, and they were only tenants at his will. 5. That being freed from their great labours about the land, they might have the more leisure to meditate upon God’s works, and to attend upon the law, which was to be solemnly read at this time, Deut 31:10, etc. That the poor of thy people may eat. Question. What had the poor to eat? Answer. Not only the fruits of the vines, and olives, and other fruit trees, but also all that grew of its own accord, Lev 25:5, from those seeds which in the last reaping-time were scattered here and there, which were much more numerous now than in other years, because God gave a special blessing to the sixth year, whereby it did bring forth the fruit of three years, Lev 25:21, and in years of so great plenty men are generally more negligent in their reaping, and therefore the relics are more. In like manner thou shalt deal, i.e. thou shalt not prune nor dress them, nor gather and appropriate to thy own use what they shall produce, but shalt leave them to the poor.
Exod 23:12. This command is here repeated, lest any should think the weekly rest might cease when the whole year was consecrated to rest. There were three sorts of sabbaths to the Jews: 1. Of days. 2. Of years, to wit; the seventh year. 3. Of weeks of years, to wit, the jubilee; and all these are types of the eternal rest in heaven.
Exod 23:13. Make no mention, to wit, with honour or delight, or without detestation; as fornication is not to be named among saints, Eph 5:3. Or, not mention them in your worship, or in oaths, or in common discourse, and without special occasion, lest the frequent mention of them might keep up their memory, or introduce their worship. Hence the names of idols and idolatrous places were ofttimes changed by the Israelites. See Num 32:38; Josh 23:7 Compare Ps 16:4; Hos 2:17; Zech 13:2.
Exod 23:14-15. This may be either, 1. A precept, as it is generally understood, that none should ever come at those times without some offering or other, for the support of the Levites, and of the worship of God; but the determination of this, or what they would give, was left to their choice. Or, 2. A promise to encourage them to come so oft from their remotest habitations to Jerusalem, because they should never appear before God in vain, i.e. to no purpose, or without some benefit, for so the word rekam oft signifies. So it may be parallel to Isa 45:19, I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. But the former sense is more probable, by comparing this with its parallel place, Deut 16:16-17.
Exod 23:16. The feast of harvest, i.e. of wheat harvest, for barley harvest was before this time. This feast was otherwise called Pentecost. Question. How were these the firstfruits, when a sheaf was offered to God in the feast of the passover? Answer. That sheaf was generally of barley, which was less considerable than their wheat; but this was the firstfruits of their wheat, which was their principal grain, and they had no bread before this time from the growth of that year. The feast of ingathering, to wit, of all the rest of the fruits of the earth, as of the vines and olives. This was also called the feast of booths, and of tabernacles. See Lev 13:43; Num 29:12; Deut 16:13. All their three feasts had a respect to the harvest, which began in the passover, was carried on at Pentecost, and was fully completed and ended in this feast. In the end of the year; of the common or civil year, which began in September, as the sacred year began in March.
Exod 23:17. To wit, such as are of competent years, and health, and strength, and such as were at their own dispose; for that servants were not bound to this may seem probable, because none of these concerned were to appear before the Lord empty, or without an offering, but the generality of servants had not any thing to offer. And the care and management of their domestic affairs did require the presence and care of many of their males. Before the Lord God, i.e. in that place where God shall record his name, Exod 20:24, as the tabernacle or temple.
Exod 23:18. These clauses most understand of the passover, by comparing this place with its parallel, Exod 34:25, where the passover is mentioned. But the words being here universal, by the laws of interpretation they ought to be universally understood, if they can bear that sense; which here they may, for both these clauses agree to other sacrifices. For as every sacrifice had a minchah, or a meat-offering of flour, attending upon it, and offered with it; so it was expressly cautioned, that no leaven should be in that minchah, Lev 2:11. And the fat of every sacrifice was consecrated to God, Lev 3:16; 2 Chron 35:14, etc., and was presently to be burnt upon the altar, Lev 7:2-3. And for Exod 34:25, what hinders but what is here more generally prescribed, may be there particularly applied to the passover? and that seems more reasonable, than to make him an idle repetition of the same tiring. And my sacrifice may be here put for my sacrifices, by the common enallage. Moreover, the two principal things which were offered to God in every sacrifice were blood and fat, Lev 17:6,11, etc. Neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning: this, if understood of the passover, may seem superfluous, because nothing of it, neither fat nor lean, was to remain until the morning, Exod 12:10, but all of it was to be eaten, even the purtenance thereof, Exod 23:9, and that, for aught I see, without any exception of the fat, as there was in other sacrifices, Lev 16. And therefore in that parallel place, Exod 34:25, where the passover is mentioned, there is not a word of the fat, but only it is said in the general, neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning. And in that 2 Chron 35:14, where there is mention of the fat, it is manifestly restrained to the burnt-offerings, which are there distinguished from the passover, Exod 23:11-12.
Exod 23:19. This seems to be a general rule, extending to all the fruits which the earth first produced; in every kind of which the very first are here enjoined to be offered unto God, before they should presume to eat any of them. It may seem to be repeated here, where the year of rest is mentioned to leach them the firstfruits were to be given to God of all that the earth produced, not only by their labour and seed, as might be thought from Exod 23:16, but also of its own accord, as is here implied.
He names one kind, under which he understands a lamb, or a calf, etc., according to the use of Scripture style. This law many understand literally, and that it is forbidden to them, because the idolaters had such a custom, whereof yet there seems to be no sufficient proof; nor, if there were, doth it seem to be a rite of that importance or probability to entice the Israelites to imitate it, that there needed a particular law against this, more than against a hundred such ridiculous usages which were among the heathen, and are not taken notice of in the book of God’s laws. The words may be rendered thus, Thou shalt not seethe, or roast, (for the word bashal signifies to roast as well as to boil, as it is evident from Deut 16:7) a kid, being, or whilst it is (which is to be understood, there being nothing more common than an ellipsis of the verb substantive) in his mother’s milk; which it may be said to be, either, 1. Whilst it sucks its mother’s milk; and so it may admit of a twofold interpretation: (1.) That this is to be understood of the passover, of which most conceive he had now spoken, Exod 23:18, in which they used either a lamb or a kid, Exod 12:5, and then the word bashal must be rendered roast. (2.) That this speaks not of sacrifice to God, wherein sucking creatures were allowed, Exod 22:30; Lev 22:27; 1 Sam 7:9, but of man’s use; and so God ordained this, partly because this was unwholesome food, and principally to restrain cruelty, even towards brute creatures, and luxury in the use of them. Or rather, 2. Whilst it is very tender and young, rather of a milky than of a fleshy substance, like that young kid of which Juvenal thus speaks, Qui plus lactis habet quam sanguinis, i.e. which hath more milk than blood in it. And it may he said to be in its mother’s milk, by a usual hypallage, when its mother’s milk is in it, i.e. whilst the milk it sucks as it were, remains in it undigested and unconverted into flesh, even as a man is oft said to be in the Spirit, when indeed the Spirit is in him. And what is here indefinitely prohibited, is elsewhere particularly explained, and the time defined, to wit, that it be not offered to God before it was eight days old. And this interpretation may receive light and strength from hence, that the law of the firstfruits, which both here and Exod 34:26 goes immediately before this law, doth in Exod 22:30 immediately go before that law of not offering them before the eighth day, which implies, that both of them speak concerning the same thing, to wit, the firstfruits or firstborn of the cattle, which were not to be offered to God while they were in their mother’s milk, saith this place, or till they were eight days old, saith that place. And consequently, if they might not be offered to God, they might not be used by men for food.
Exod 23:20. To wit, Christ, the Angel of the covenant, as may be gathered both from the following words, because pardon of sin, which is God’s prerogative, Mark 2:7, is here ascribed to him, and God’s name is in him, and by comparing other scriptures, as Exod 32:34; Acts 7:38-39; 1 Cor 10:9. See Exod 13:21; Exod 14:19.
Exod 23:21. He will not pardon your transgressions, i.e. he will severely punish you for them, by a common meiosis, as Exod 20:7. Understand, if you continue obstinate in your sins. My name is in him, Heb. is in his inward parts, i.e. is intimately united to him, according to John 14:11, I am in the Father, and the Father in me. It not only signifies that he acts in his name, and by his power and authority, which even the apostles did, and other ministers of the gospel do, and therefore it is unreasonable to think no more is ascribed to this Angel; but that his Divine nature or essence is in him, whence he is called the Lord our Righteousness, Jer 23:6; and God, who will not give his glory to another, Isa 42:8, hath given it to Christ, that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father, John 5:23, which never was nor can be said of any angel without blasphemy. Add to this, that the word name is oft put for the thing or being, whether it be human or Divine, as is manifest from Deut 28:58; Ps 20:1; Ps 115:1; Isa 30:27; Acts 1:15; Rev 3:4; Rev 11:13. And so it must be here, because this name is not said to be given to him, as it would be, if it were properly taken; but to be in him; or in his inwards, which agrees well to the Divine nature or essence, but not to the mere name.
Exod 23:22. All that I speak; all that I have already commanded, and shall further prescribe by him unto Moses.
Exod 23:23-24. Thou shalt not bow down nor serve them, i.e. give them neither outward worship with thy body, nor inward with thy mind, nor follow their example in the worship of idols. Them shalt overthrow them, i.e. the people, lest thou be insnared by their counsel or example, and quite break down their images, or statues, or pillars, or any thing else erected in honour to their false gods. See Gen 28:18; Gen 35:20.
Exod 23:25. Thy bread and thy water, i.e. thy meat and thy drink, that they shall be able to nourish thee, and give thee comfort, which without my blessing they will never be able to do.
Exod 23:26. Here was a double mercy. God gave them strength both to conceive, and to retain the conception till the natural and proper time of bringing forth came. The number of thy days I will fulfil; I will preserve thee so as thou shalt live as long as the course of nature and temper of thy body will permit, when evil men shall not live out half their days, Ps 55:23.
Exod 23:27. My fear, i.e. a great terror, or a terror wrought by me. See Exod 33:2; Josh 24:12
Exod 23:28. Hornets, properly so called, as may be gathered from Josh 24:12; Deut 7:20. Hornets are of themselves very troublesome and mischievous; but these it is very probable were like those Egyptian flies, Exod 8:21, of an extraordinary bigness and perniciousness. Nor is it strange that such creatures did drive many of these people from their habitations; for many heathen writers give us instances of some people driven from their seats by frogs, others by mice, others by bees and wasps; of which see Herodotus, Diodorus, Pliny, Elian, Justin, etc.
He names these three people, either for all the rest, because they were the most potent about the time of Israel’s first entrance into Canaan, and gave them most trouble; or because these three were more infested with hornets than the other nations, as being more numerous and dangerous.
Exod 23:29. Desolate, void of inhabitants in a great measure, because thy present number is not sufficient to occupy and manage their whole land.
Exod 23:30-31. Compare this place with Gen 15:18; Num 34:3. The sea of the Philistines, i.e. the Mediterranean or midland sea, upon whose coast the land of the Philistines lay. The desert, of Egypt or Arabia; whereof see Gen 16:7; Exod 15:22. The river, to wit, Euphrates, as it is expressed Deut 1:7; Deut 11:24, which is oft called the river by way of eminency. All within these bounds were given them by God, but upon conditions, which they manifestly broke, and therefore were for the most part confined to a much narrower compass.
Exod 23:32. To worship them, as they made a covenant with Jehovah to worship him. The sense is, Thou shalt not engage thyself, either to the people or to their gods, but shalt root out both.
Exod 23:33. For if thou serve; or, for thou wilt serve; this will be the fruit of thy cohabitation with them, thou wilt thereby be drawn to idolatry. It will surely, or, and assuredly this will be a snare; an occasion of further sin and utter ruin.
Exod 24:1: Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu are commanded to appear before the Lord.
Exod 24:2: Who was to come near the Lord.
Exod 24:4: Moses buildeth an altar and twelve pillars.
Exod 24:5: He sends young men to sacrifice unto the Lord.
Exod 24:6: He sprinkles the altar with the blood.
Exod 24:7: The covenant being read, the people promise obedience.
Exod 24:8: The people are sprinkled with blood.
Exod 24:9-10: Moses and the elders of Israel see the Lord.
Exod 24:12: God promises to give to Moses tables of stone.
Exod 24:13: Moses and Joshua go up into the mount.
Exod 24:14: Aaron and Hur took care for the people in the mean time.
Exod 24:15-16: God’s glory on the mount;
Exod 24:17: appeareth like devouring fire.
Exod 24:18: Moses remains there forty days and forty nights.
Exod 24:1. After thou hast gone down and acquainted the people with my will, and received their answer, then come up again. This sense is gathered from the repetition of this command after that was done, Exod 24:12. Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu; Aaron and his two eldest sons, whom by this special honour and favour he prepared for that office to which they were to be called, Exod 28. Seventy of the elders of Israel; not the seventy governors which were chosen after this time, as appears from Num 11:16, compared with Exod 24:14; but seventy persons selected by Moses out of those rulers chosen and mentioned Exod 18:25; and possibly these were the chief heads of those several families which went with Jacob into Egypt, which were about seventy. See Gen 46:26-27. Worship ye afar off. Though they may come up into the mount further than the people, yet do thou, and let them especially, keep their distance; and what worship either thou or they shall offer to me, shall be performed afar off from the top of the mountain, whither thou only shalt be admitted, and that not to pray to me, but only to receive laws and oracles from me. See Exod 24:2.
Exod 24:2. Moses alone, i.e. without the persons now mentioned, though not without Joshua his minister, as some conceive from Exod 24:13, though even there Moses seems to ascend into the mount without Joshua. Neither shall the people go up with him to any part of the mount, as Aaron, and Nadab, etc. did, but they shall tarry at the bottom. See Exod 19:12.
Exod 24:3. Moses came down from the mount to the people, after he had received the laws from God. All the words which the Lord hath said will we do: this they so readily and rashly promise, because they were not sensible of their own weakness, and because they did not understand the comprehensiveness, and spirituality, and strictness of God’s law, but thought it consisted only in the external performances and abstinences expressed.
Exod 24:4. Moses wrote, to wit, in a book, Heb 9:19. And the ten commandments God himself wrote also in tables of stone, Exod 31:18. Builded an altar; representing God in Christ, as one party in the covenant. Twelve pillars; representing the people of Israel, the other party. So here are the outward signs and symbols of a covenant made between God and the Israelites.
Exod 24:5. It matters not whether they were the firstborn, or others; it is sufficient that they were persons appointed and authorized for the present service, not without God’s direction. Peace-offerings of oxen; one kind, as the principal is named for all; for there were offered also goats, as appears both from Heb 9:19, and from hence, that burnt-offerings were usually made of the goats, Lev 1:10; Num 7:28.
Exod 24:6. Half of the blood of the beasts killed, which for conveniency of sprinkling was mixed with a little water, Heb 9:19, whereby also Christ was most fitly represented, who came by water and blood, 1 John 5:6. Half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar, to signify, as well that God was appeased and atoned by this blood, as it represented the blood of Christ, as also that Christ was sanctified with his own blood, Heb 9:12.
Exod 24:7. The book of the covenant, wherein Moses had written the conditions of this covenant, to wit, the words and laws of God, above, Exod 24:4. In the audience of the people, i.e. in the hearing of a great number of them, or of some in the name of all the people, by whom it was read, or otherwise published to all the people successively.
Exod 24:8. Moses took the blood; the other half of the blood, which was put in the basons for this end, Exod 24:6. On the people; either upon the twelve pillars representing the people; or upon the people’s representatives, to wit, the elders mentioned Exod 24:1, as when the people are commanded to lay on their hands, the elders do it in their name and stead, Lev 4:15; Deut 21:2; or upon those of the people which are nearest him, which was imputed to all the rest, and was to be taken by them as if it had reached unto them all. Now this sprinkling of the blood upon the people did signify, 1. Their ratification of the covenant on their parts, and their secret wishing of the effusion of their own blood if they did not keep it. 2. Their sprinkling of their consciences with the blood of Christ, and their obtaining redemption, justification, and access to God through it alone. See Heb 9:20,22; Heb 13:20. The blood of the covenant, whereby the covenant is made and confirmed, as was usual both in Scripture, Matt 26:28; Luke 22:20, and among heathens.
Exod 24:9. In obedience to that command of God given Exod 24:1.
Exod 24:10. They saw the God of Israel; not any visible resemblance of the Divine nature, which is expressly denied, Deut 4:15; 1 Tim 6:16, and was refused to Moses when he desired it, Exod 33:18,20, and therefore surely would never be granted to the elders of Israel; but some glorious appearance or token of God’s special presence; or rather, the Second Person in the Trinity, who now showed himself to them in a human and glorious shape, as an essay and testimony of his future incarnation. This may seem probable, 1. Because here is mention of his feet. 2. Because this way of Christ’s appearance was not unusual. See Gen 18, etc. 3. Because the person who delivered the law in Sinai was Christ, as appears from Acts 7:38, though he be there called an angel, a name oft given to Christ, as hath been formerly showed. A sapphire stone is of a clear sky colour, mixed with golden spots like stars in the sky. In his clearness, or, for clearness. A clear sky in prophetical style signifying God’s favour, as a cloudy sky notes his anger.
Exod 24:11. The nobles; or, separated or select ones, i.e. the persons who were singled out to go up with Moses, Exod 24:1,9, the same of whom it is said here, and Exod 24:10, that they saw God. He laid not his hand, i.e. did not hurt or destroy them, as they might expect according to the vulgar opinion, Gen 16:13; Gen 32:20, etc., and the conscience of their own guilt, as being now before their Lord and Judge. And so the phrase of putting or stretching forth the hand is most frequently used, as Gen 37:22; 1 Sam 26:11,23; Esther 2:21; Job 1:11-12; Ps 138:7, etc. Did eat and drink; so far they were from being destroyed, that they were not affrighted at this glorious appearance of God, but were refreshed and comforted by it, and did joyfully eat and drink together in God’s presence, celebrating the sacred feast made of the remnant of the peace-offerings, according to the manner. Thus God gave them a taste of his grace and mercy in this covenant, and an assurance that he would not deal with them according to the rigours of the law, but for the sake of the blood of Christ typically represented there, would graciously pardon and accept all those that sincerely, though imperfectly, obey him.
Exod 24:12. Be there, i.e. abide, as that verb is used 1 Tim 4:15, and elsewhere. Tables of stone; he chose that material, partly as very durable, yet so that it was capable of being broken, which God, foreseeing their wickedness, intended to do; and partly for signification, to note the hardness of their hearts, upon which no impression could be made but by the finger of God. A law, and commandments, or, the law; and because that is ambiguous to the moral, and ceremonial, and judicial, he adds, even the commandment, or commandments, to wit, the ten commandments, so called by way of eminency, for these only were written by God upon the stony tables, as appears by Exod 34:28; the rest were written by Moses in a book, above, Exod 24:4.
Exod 24:13. Joshua did not go up with Moses to the top of the mount, as is sufficiently implied both here and above, Exod 24:1-2; but abode in some lower place, waiting for Moses’s return, as appears from Exod 32:17. And there Joshua abode forty days, not fasting all the while, but having, as the rest had, manna for his meat, and for his drink, water out of the brook that descended out of the mount, as we read Deut 9:21.
Exod 24:14. For us, i.e. for me and Joshua, and here, i.e. in the camp, where he was when he spake these words; for it was where not only Aaron and Hur, but the people might come, as it here follows, and therefore not upon the mount. Moses had made Aaron and Hur joint-commissioners, to determine hard causes which were brought to them from the elders, according to the order, Exod 18:22. Some make Aaron the ecclesiastical head, and Hur the civil head; but Aaron was not authorized for ecclesiastical matters till Exod 28.
Exod 24:15-16. The glory of the Lord, i.e. the tokens of his glorious presence in the fire, Exod 24:17; Deut 4:36. The cloud covered it from the eyes of the people. The seventh day; so long God made Moses wait, either to exercise his humility, devotion, and dependence upon God; or to prepare him by degrees for so great a work; or because this was the sabbath day, called therefore the seventh with an emphatical article; and God might choose that day for the beginning of that glorious work, to put the greater honour upon it, and oblige the people to a stricter observance of it. So it was upon a Lord’s day that St. John had his revelation delivered to him, Rev 1:10.
Exod 24:17. He saith like it, for it was not devouring fire, as appears by Moses’s long abode in it. Note here, whatsoever the elders of Israel saw before, the people saw no similitude of God, as Moses observes, Deut 4:15.
Exod 24:18. Into the midst of the cloud, the God that called him enabling him to enter and abide there; whereas, when he was left to himself, he could not enter into the tabernacle,
Exod 40:35. Forty days and forty nights; in which he did neither eat nor drink, Exod 34:28; Deut 9:9,18; whereby it seems most probable the six days mentioned Exod 24:16 were a part of these forty days, because Moses being in perpetual expectation of God’s call, seems not to have had leisure for eating and drinking, nor provision neither. Besides, he is not said to be in the midst of the cloud so long, but only in the mount, where he was those six days, Exod 24:15-16.
Exod 25:1-7: Moses is commanded to take a freewill offering to set up the tabernacle, and of what.
Exod 25:8: God commands him to make a sanctuary;
Exod 25:9: chargeth him how and whereof to make a tabernacle.
Exod 25:10-16: The form of the ark.
Exod 25:17-22: The mercyseat.
Exod 25:23-30: The table for the shewbread, with other utensils.
Exod 25:31-39: Of the candlestick, with its employment, and other furniture for the tabernacle.
Exod 25:40: Moses is commanded to make it answerable to the pattern which he saw in the mount.
Exod 25:1. Having delivered the moral and judicial laws, he now comes to the ceremonial law, wherein he sets down all things very minutely and particularly, whereas in the other laws he was content to lay down general rules, and leaveth many other things to be by analogy deduced from them. The reason of the difference seems to be this, that the light of reason implanted in all men, gives him greater help in the discovery of moral and judicial things than in ceremonial matters, or in the external way and manner of God’s worship; which is a thing depending wholly upon God’s institution, and not left to man’s invention, which is a very incompetent judge of those things, as appears from hence, because the wittiest men, destitute of God’s revelation, have been guilty of most foolery in their devices of God’s worship.
Exod 25:2-4. Blue, or sky-coloured; but here you must not understand the mere colours, which could not be offered, but some materials proper for the work, and of the colours here mentioned, to wit, wool, or threads, or some suchlike things, as appears from Heb 9:19, and from the testimony of the Jews. Fine linen, which was of great esteem in ancient times, and used by priests and great officers of state. See Gen 41:42; Rev 19:8,14. Goats’ hair; Heb. goats. But that their hair is understood, is apparent from the nature of the thing, and from the use of the word in that sense in other places.
Exod 25:5. A kind of wood growing in Egypt and the deserts of Arabia, very durable and precious. See Exod 35:24; Num 33:49; Isa 41:19; Joel 3:18.
Exod 25:6. Oil for the light; for the lamps or candlesticks, Exod 25:37. Anointing oil, wherewith the priests, and the tabernacle, and the utensils thereof, were to be anointed. Sweet incense; Heb. incense of spices, or sweet odours; so called to distinguish it from the incense of the fat of sacrifices, which was burnt upon the altar.
Exod 25:7. Onyx stones, or, sardonyx stones. Note, that the signification of the Hebrew names of the several stones are not agreed upon by the Jews at this day, and much more may we safely be ignorant of them, the religious use of them being now abolished. Stones to be set in the ephod; stones of fulness, or filling, or perfecting stones; so called either because they did perfect and adorn the ephod, or because they filled up the ouches, or the hollow places, which were left vacant for this purpose. What the ephod and breastplate were, see Exod 28.
Exod 25:8. A place of public and solemn worship, that I may dwell among them; not by my essence, which is every where, but by my grace and glorious operations.
Exod 25:9-10. An ark, or little chest, or coffer, for the uses after mentioned. Two cubits and a half; understand it of the common cubit, which is generally conceived to contain a foot and a half of our measure. See Gen 6:15.
Exod 25:11. Or, a border, raised up above the rest of the ark, as a crown is above that which it is applied to, only a crown is round, and this was square. This was both for ornament, and for the fastening of the covering of the ark to it.
Exod 25:12. In the four corners; in the middle of each corner, for conveniency of carriage. See 1 Kings 7:30.
Exod 25:13-16. To wit, the two tables of stone, wherein the decalogue was written, called the testimony here, and Exod 30:6; Lev 16:13; and more fully the tables of the testimony, Exod 31:18; Num 1:50; because they were witnesses of that covenant made between God and his people, whence they are called the tables of the covenant, Deut 9:9, and the ark, the ark of the covenant, Num 10:33. This being as a public record both of God’s mercy promised to them, and of the duty and conditions required of them. See Exod 16:34.
Exod 25:17. Mercyseat, or, propitiatory; which seems from the sameness of dimensions to be nothing else but the covering of the ark, upon which God is said to sit, whence the ark is called God’s footstool. This covering is a manifest type of Christ, who is therefore called the propitiation, or propitiatory, Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10, because he interposeth himself between God our Judge, and the law, by which we all stand condemned and accursed, Gal 3:10,13; that God may not deal rigorously with us according to that law, but mercifully for his sake who hath fulfilled the law, and therefore boldly presents himself to his Father on our behalf.
Exod 25:18. Figures of human shape, in which alone the angels used to appear; but they had wings, to signify their expedition in God’s work and messages. And between these angels God is said to sit and dwell. So this place was a representation of heaven, where God sitteth and dwelleth among the cherubims and other glorious angels. Of beaten work; not made of several parcels joined together, as images commonly are, nor yet melted and cast in a frame or mould, but beaten by the hammer out of one continued piece of gold, possibly to note the exact unity or indivisibility and the simplicity of the evangelical nature.
Exod 25:19. i.e. Of one and the same piece of massy gold, out of which the cherubims were made.
Exod 25:20. Towards God, who is supposed to sit there, whose face the angels in heaven always behold, and upon whom their eyes are fixed to observe and receive his commands; and towards Christ, the true propitiatory, which mystery they desire to look into, 1 Pet 1:12; not envying mankind their near and happy relation to him, but taking pleasure in the contemplation of it.
Exod 25:21. Or, after thou shalt have put in the ark; for the ark was not to be opened after the covering was put upon it. The Hebrew particle vau oft signifies after that, as Jer 43:13; Jer 51:60.
Exod 25:22. There I will meet with thee; there I will be in a special and gracious manner present with thee. From between the cherubims, which spreading forth their wings formed a kind of seat, which the Divine Majesty was pleased to possess.
Exod 25:23-24. A square border at the top of it, as Exod 25:11; partly for ornament, and principally to keep what was put upon it from falling off.
Exod 25:25. A border, which encompassed and kept together the feet of the table, and seems to have been towards the bottom of it. A golden crown; not the same mentioned before, Exod 25:24, but another for further ornament to the table.
Exod 25:27. As much below the top as the border was above the bottom of the feet of the table, which was a convenient place for the carriage. Others, near the border, in that part of the feet which is next to it.
Exod 25:28-29. The dishes, in which the bread and frankincense upon it were put, Lev 24:7. Of this sort there were twelve, one for every loaf. Spoons, in which incense was put, as appears from Num 7:14, and by which incense was either put into the dishes or taken out of them, as occasion required. Covers; so the Hebrew word is used, Exod 37:16; Num 4:7. Herewith either the bread, or incense, or both, were covered. Bowls, to cover the same things. So this and the former were two several sorts of covers, the one deeper than the other, one to cover the bread, another the incense. Or, bowls thereof, to pour out withal, to wit, liquid things, as wine and oil, when they were offered. See Gen 35:14. Or these last words may relate not only to the bowls, but the other things, here mentioned, and may be thus rendered, wherewith it, to wit, the table, shall be covered, as indeed it was in a manner quite covered with these vessels.
Exod 25:30. Heb. Bread of faces, or of the presence, so called, because it was constantly placed in God’s presence. This bread was divided into twelve loaves, one for every tribe; and they were in their name presented to God in the nature of an offering, as the frankincense shows, as a public acknowledgment that they received all their bread or food, both corporal and spiritual, from God’s hand, and were to use it as in God’s presence.
Exod 25:31. Thou shalt make, either by thyself, or by some other person whom thou shalt cause to make it. His shaft; the trunk, or main body of it. His knops, or, apples, made in form of a pomegranate. His flowers shall be of the same, to wit, beaten out of the same piece by the hammer. Compare Exod 25:36.
Exod 25:32. In every one of which was a lamp, and there was a seventh lamp in the chief stem of it, as appears from Exod 25:37. And all these together represent the seven Spirits of God, Rev 1:4; Rev 4:5; Rev 5:6; or the Spirit of God, the great Enlightener of the church, with his sevenfold or various gifts and operations.
Exod 25:33-34. In the candlestick, i.e. in the shaft or trunk of the candlestick, which is here distinguished from its branches, shall be four bowls, whereas there were but three in each of the branches.
Exod 25:35. And, to complete the number of four, mentioned in the foregoing verse, we must understand that there was another knop and bowl and flower in the upper part of the shaft, above all the branches, as the rules of proportion, and common use in making such things, will easily evince.
Exod 25:36-37. They shall light the lamps, whom I shall appoint for that work. Over against it, i.e. either, 1. The table of shewbread. Or rather, 2. The candlestick, as it is expressed, Num 8:2, where by the candlestick you are to understand, as here, Exod 25:33-34, the stem or main body of it; and the sense is, that the lamps shall be so placed, that they and their light may look towards that stem; unless you will suppose that the seven lamps were distinct and separated from the candlestick, and fastened to the sides of the tabernacle in several places, and all giving light to or over against the great candlestick, which was in the midst, as the candlestick did over-against them, which is also, now usual among us.
Exod 25:38-39. A talent contains three thousand shekels, Exod 38:25, or one hundred and twenty-five pounds.
Exod 26:1: Moses is commanded to make the tabernacle with ten curtains.
Exod 26:2: The length and breadth of the curtains.
Exod 26:3-6: The form of the curtains.
Exod 26:7: He is commanded to make eleven curtains of goats’ hair.
Exod 26:8-14: The manner of the making and placing them.
Exod 26:15: Of what the tabernacle is to be made.
Exod 26:16-30: The manner of its making, with other utensils.
Exod 26:31: Of the veil, and what it is to be made of.
Exod 26:32-33: The fashion of it.
Exod 26:36: The hanging for the tent-door.
Exod 26:1. The tabernacle, or tent; a little house wherein the ark, table, and candlestick were to be placed. And scarlet, i.e. with materials of these colours, to wit, wool, as may be gathered from hence, that it is opposed to linen. Compare Exod 25:4. Of cunning work, either woven, or rather wrought with needle, wherein is most skill and curiosity.
Exod 26:2-4. Loops together with the taches were for the joining the curtains together, as appears from Exod 26:11, which way of conjunction was most convenient for the often taking them down and setting them up. From the selvage, or from, or in the extremity, or end, or edge, Heb. lip. In the coupling, i.e. in the place where the two curtains are coupled together. And likewise the second curtain is to be made exactly like the first.
Exod 26:5-6. The taches, or hooks or buttons, which were put into the loops to unite and fasten the curtains.
Exod 26:7. Of goats’ hair, spun, Exod 35:26, and woven into a stuff, like our camlet. To be a covering; to be put next above the curtains.
Exod 26:8-9. For the better security of the inward covering.
Exod 26:10-14. To preserve the rest from the injury of the weather.
Exod 26:15-17. Two tenons, Heb. hands, i.e. parts of the boards, so cut and framed that like hands they may take hold of and be fastened into the sockets, Exod 26:19.
Exod 26:18-19. Forty sockets, or bases, or pedestals, or feet, upon which the boards stood, and to which they were fastened.
Exod 26:20-23. Which were of another fashion than the former, as may be gathered both from the distinct nomination and use of them, and from the laws of building. And whereas the rest were but single boards, these were double, for greater strength and conveniency of joining them together.
Exod 26:24. Coupled together, Heb. as twins, i.e. equal and equally joined together, and exactly answering one to the other. Unto one ring, which ring was exactly in the corner, and with the help of the bars kept the corner boards, and with them the other boards of the tabernacle, close together. But you must note, that here were two rings in each corner, the one in the upper, the other in the lower parts.
Exod 26:25-26. By bars you may understand either, 1. Several rows or orders of bars, one bar beginning at the end of the other, and each containing four cubits in length, and altogether twenty cubits, which was the length of the tabernacle; or, 2. Single bars, which seem truer, 1. Because the word signifies bars, not rows of bars; and why should we go from the proper signification of the word without cause? 2. If bars be put for rows of bars, there must be five rows of bars on a side, there being so many bars said to be on a side. But the abettors of that opinion allow only four rows of bars on a side; and it is apparent the middle bar, which is one of the five, is but one single bar, Exod 26:28, and therefore it may be presumed the rest were so too. 3. The name of the middle bar implies, that of the other four bars, two were above it, and two below it. Objection. But if they were each single bars, reaching the whole length of the building, why is it said peculiarly of the middle bar, that it should reach from end to end, or from extremity to extremity? Exod 26:28. Answer. This may be peculiarly said of this, either because the other four might want something of the just length of the building, or because the middle bar might stand out beyond the two ends of it, for conveniency of the carriage of the building.
Exod 26:27. There was but one side westward. Either therefore here is a transposition of the Hebrew words, which is usual, and the words are thus to be placed and rendered, westward, looking to both sides, or, westward, according to both the other sides, now mentioned, to note that the number and length of bars in the west end should be equal to those on either of the other sides; or here is an enallage of the number, the dual or plural for the singular, of which there are many examples, and so the words are to be rendered, for the side looking westward.
Exod 26:28. In the midst of the boards; not within the thickness of the boards, as the Jews conceive, but in the length of them; as appears, 1. Because this bar, as well as the rest, was gilded, Exod 26:29, which was frivolous if it were never seen 2. Because all the bars had rings made to receive and hold them up, Exod 26:29.
Exod 26:29-30. Either by visible representation to his eye, or rather by mental vision or impression of it upon his imagination.
Exod 26:31. Thou shalt make a veil, which was thick and strong that none could see through it, called the second veil, Heb 9:3, whereby the holy of holies, which represented the highest heaven, was divided from the holy place, where the church militant, or its representatives, met and served God, Exod 26:33. For the signification of this veil, see Luke 23:45; Heb 9:8,24; Heb 10:19-20.
Exod 26:32. The hooks were fastened to the tops of the pillars, as the veil was fastened to them.
Exod 26:33. Under the taches, or, in the place (as the Hebrew tacheth oft signifies) of the taches, to wit, where the two curtains are joined together by taches, Exod 26:6.
Exod 26:34-36. For the door of the tent, i.e. of the holy place, where it was divided from the court of the people.
Exod 27:1-8: Of the brazen altar.
Exod 27:9-17: Of the court of the tabernacle;
Exod 27:18: the length of it.
Exod 27:20: Of the lamps burning always.
Exod 27:1. This was not that for incense, but another for sacrifices.
Exod 27:2. The horns were elevated above the body of the altar, in form either of pyramids or spires, or rather of horns, as the word signifies; nor is there any necessity; of departing from the proper signification. These were not only for ornament, but for use also, either to keep things put upon it from falling, or that beasts to be offered might be bound to them. See Ps 118:27. His horns shall be of the same, of the same piece with the altar, for its use required strength. With brass; With plates of brass of competent thickness, both above the wood and under it, that the fire might not take hold of the wood.
Exod 27:3. Basons, to receive the blood of the sacrifices, which they were to sprinkle. Fleshhooks, wherewith they took flesh out of the pot in which it was seethed, as 1 Sam 2:14. But this seems not proper here, because the flesh was never boiled upon the altar, but in other places appointed for that use. And the Hebrew word is general, and may signify either tongs or fire-forks. Firepans, in which they carried live coals from this altar to that of incense, as occasion required.
Exod 27:4. A grate of network, which was competently strong and thick, this being as it were the hearth of the altar, upon which they laid both the wood and the sacrifices, and it was full of holes, through which the blood and ashes might fall down into the place appointed for them. Upon the net, or rather at, or beside, or under the net, for so the rings were placed, as their use shows, and the Hebrew preposition al is oft so used. Four brazen rings, which were either, 1. Peculiar to the grate, which by these was carried apart from the altar, having the perpetual fire kept in it; for had it been carried with the altar, the cloth wherewith the altar was covered, Num 4:13, would have been endangered by the fire. Or, 2. Common to the altar, to which these were fixed on the outside, as on the inside to the grate, that by them the grate might be both kept even and upright, and also carried together with the altar, and that with such caution that the fire included might not hurt the covering-cloth, which was not difficult to do.
Exod 27:5. Under the compass, i.e. within the square and hollow space of the altar. That the net may be even to the midst of the altar, or, and the net shall be at (the Hebrew ad being here used for el, as Hos 14:2; Joel 2:12; Amos 4:6,8), the midst of the altar. And these words seem added to explain the word beneath, to show that as it was not to be at the top, so neither at the bottom of the altar, but in the midst of it.
Exod 27:6-7. The staves shall be put into the rings, which seem to be the same both to the altar and the grate, though some allege that place for the contrary.
Exod 27:8. i.e. Not one entire piece of wood, but consisting of four several sides, hollow within, for easiness and conveniency of carriage in their wilderness state.
Exod 27:9. A court encompassing the tabernacle, Exod 40:33, in the midst whereof the altar of sacrifices was placed, upon which the offerings were burnt in the open air, which was most convenient. By the hangings the court was distinguished and enclosed.
Exod 27:10. On the twenty pillars the hangings were fastened by the hooks here mentioned. Their twenty sockets, or, bases, upon which the pillars stood. Their fillets, or, hoops, which encompassed the pillars at the top, being placed there, as it seems, for ornament only.
Exod 27:11-14. These fifteen cubits, with the fifteen cubits Exod 27:15, and the twenty cubits Exod 27:16, make up the fifty cubits mentioned.
Exod 27:15-17. Their hooks shall be of silver, all silver, not only covered with silver, as some unduly infer from Exod 38:17.
Exod 27:18-19. With the pins the tabernacle and curtains thereof were fastened to the ground, as tents usually are with wooden pins.
Exod 27:20. Beaten out of the olives with a pestle, which is freer from dregs than that which is squeezed out with a press. To burn always, i.e. at all the times appointed; daily, though not continually; as the lamb offered only every morning and every evening is called a continual burnt-offering, Exod 29:42. For that these were lighted only at the evening, may seem probable from the next verse, and from Exod 27:21; Exod 30:8; Lev 24:3; 1 Sam 3:3; 2 Chron 13:11. But because Josephus and Philo, who were eyewitnesses of the temple service, and had no temptation to lie in this matter, expressly affirm, that some lights did burn in the daytime; and it may seem indecent and improbable that God should dwell and the priests minister in darkness, and there were no windows to give light to the tabernacle by day; it may be granted that some few burnt in the day, and all in the night, and that the latter is only mentioned in the places alleged, as being a more solemn time when all are lighted.
Exod 27:21. The tabernacle of the congregation was so called, because there the people used to meet not only one with another, but with God also. See Exod 25:22; Num 17:4. Others render it, in the tabernacle of witness, because there God declared his mind and will, and man’s duty. Without the veil, to wit, the second veil, in the holy place. Before the testimony; a short speech for before the ark of the testimony, as it is elsewhere more largely called: compare Exod 25:16. Shall order it, to wit, the lamp, or the lights, taking care that there be a constant supply of them, and that they burn well.
Exod 28:1: Aaron and his sons ordained for the priest’s office.
Exod 28:2-5: His holy garments.
Exod 28:6: The ephod.
Exod 28:8: Curious girdle.
Exod 28:9-14: The two onyx stones on which the names of the children of Israel were engraven.
Exod 28:15-22: Of the breastplate, whereon was the same;
Exod 28:23-29: with two golden rings.
Exod 28:30: The Uri and Thummim.
Exod 28:36: The golden plate which had on it, Holiness to the Lord.
Exod 28:40: The coats of Aaron’s sons, their girdles, caps, and their linen drawers,
Exod 28:43: which they put on when they served in the holy place.
Exod 28:1. Take thou unto thee cause them to come near unto thee, that thou mayst before them and before the people declare the will of God herein, and solemnly set them apart for his office.
Exod 28:2. Garments to be used only in holy ministrations, for glory and for beauty, i.e. such as are glorious and beautiful; partly to mind the people of the dignity and excellency of their office and employment; and principally to represent the glorious robes wherewith Christ is both clothed himself, and clotheth all his people, who are made priests unto God.
Exod 28:3. All that are wise-hearted, i.e. skilful artists. The Hebrews make the heart, not the brain, the seat of wisdom See Job 9:4. Whom I have filled; either, 1. By my ordinary providence and assistance, giving them both ability and opportunity to learn the arts; or rather, 2. By extraordinary inspiration, which was necessary for the Israelites, whose base and laborious drudgery took off their minds and hands from all ingenious studies and arts. To consecrate him, i.e. to be an outward sign of my calling and consecration of him to my holy service. A metonymical expression.
Exod 28:4. An ephod was a short upper garment, made without sleeves, which was girt about the body. And it was twofold; the one made of fine linen, which was common not only to all the priests, as 1 Sam 2:18; 1 Sam 22:18; but to some others also upon solemn and sacred occasions, as 2 Sam 6:14: the other made of divers stuffs and colours, peculiar to the high priest; the parts whereof were not sewed, but tied together. A robe; an upper garment like a surplice. A broidered coat; an under coat curiously wrought with circular works like eyes, as the word notes, and richly adorned with gems and other things. A mitre; a kind of bonnet or cap for the covering of the head, supposed to be something like a Turkish turban for the form of it. A girdle, to enclose and fasten all the other garments, which were loose in themselves, that he might be more expeditious in his work.
Exod 28:5-6. Of gold, beaten out into plates, and cut into wires.
Exod 28:7. The two shoulderpieces were two parts of the ephod going up from the body of the ephod, the one before, the other behind, which when the priest had put over his head, were tied together, and covered the priest’s shoulders, and part of his back and breast.
Exod 28:8. The girdle of the ephod was for the closer fastening and girding of it. Which is upon it: this is added to distinguish it from the other girdle, Exod 28:4, which was to gird all the garments, and was tied in a lower place. Of the same; either, 1. Of the same piece; or rather, 2. Of the same kind of materials and workmanship, as the following words explain it.
Exod 28:9-10. Levi seems to be omitted here, as being sufficiently represented by the high priest himself.
Exod 28:11. Hollow places, such as are made in golden rings to receive and hold the precious stones which are put in them.
Exod 28:12. Upon the shoulders of the ephod, i.e. in the place where the two shoulderpieces were joined together. Before the Lord; into the holy of holies: an evident type of Christ’s entering into heaven with the names and in the stead of his people, the true Israel, upon his shoulders, and presenting them to his Father with acceptance. For a memorial; not so much to the high priest, that he should not forget to pray for them, as to God, that he, beholding their names there, according to his order, might graciously remember them, and show mercy unto them. Such a memorial to God was the rainbow, Gen 9:13. Such things are spoken of God after the manner of men.
Exod 28:13-14. At the ends, or, with ends; i.e. not like chains that are fastened about one’s neck or arm, which seem to have no end; but two distinct chains, with two several ends, both hanging downward: compare Exod 28:22. The Syriac render it double, others equal, or of equal length.
Exod 28:15. This was a square and curiously wrought piece put over the ephod upon one’s breast, called of judgment, because from thence the Israelites were to expect and receive their judgment, and the mind of God in all those weighty matters of war or peace wherein they consulted God for direction.
Exod 28:16. It was doubled for greater strength, that it might better support and secure the precious stones which were put into it, and that it might receive the Urim and Thummim, Lev 8:8.
Exod 28:17. It is needless to trouble the reader with the explication of these stones, which the Jewish doctors themselves are not agreed in, seeing this use of them is now abolished. It may suffice to know that they were precious stones severally allotted to the names of the several tribes, according to God’s good pleasure, possibly with respect to some disposition or concernment of each tribe, which at this distance we cannot learn.
Exod 28:18-21. i.e. According to the order of their birth, the first stone to the eldest, the second to the next, etc.
Exod 28:22. Some think these are the same with those mentioned Exod 28:14. But it seems improbable and without example that Godshould in this short description, and that within a few verses, give a new and second command concerning the same thing. It may rather seem that these are other chains fastened to the breastplate, as it follows, whereas those chains, Exod 28:14, seem to have been fastened to the ephod, to those ouches made in it for that purpose, Exod 28:13. And whereas these chains also are fastened in the said ouches, Exod 28:25, two several chains may well enough be fastened in divers parts of each of the ouches; and there seems to be this difference between the chains, those chains mentioned Exod 28:14 are said to be fastened only at one end, even to the ouches of the ephod, whence they might hang down loosely, whereas these are manifestly fastened at both ends, Exod 28:24-25.
Exod 28:23-25. i.e. In the forepart of the ephod; or before him, i.e. the high priest, in his forepart, upon his breast.
Exod 28:26. Upon the two ends, to wit, upon the lower ends, for there were other rings put upon the upper ends, Exod 28:23-25. In the side of the ephod inward, i.e. in the inner side of the ephod, under which these rings were hid; for the ephod was double, Exod 28:16.
Exod 28:27. Two other rings, to answer the two rings in the breastplate, that by all these the breastplate might be the better fastened to the ephod. On the two sides of the ephod underneath; in the lower part of the ephod, or in that part of it which is under the lowest part of the breastplate. Toward the forepart thereof; towards the breast. Over against the other coupling thereof, i.e. over-against the ouches on the shoulderpieces, where the upper part of the breastplate was fastened to the ephod.
Exod 28:28-29. Partly to admonish the high priest of that dear affection he should have to his people, and with what ardency he should pray for them, and principally to represent the tender compassions of Christ, the great High Priest, towards his people, and how mindful he is of them, and of all their concerns, even when he is in the holy of holies, that is, in heaven, where he remembers them still, and incessantly intercedes for them. Unto the holy place, i.e. into the most holy place; the positive degree being put for the superlative.
Exod 28:30. The words Urim and Thummim confessedly signify light, or illuminations and perfections, which may be understood either of two differing things, the one noting the knowledge, the other the perfection, to wit, of virtues and graces, which were required in the high priest, and which were in Christ in an eminent degree, and from him alone communicated to his people; or of one and the same thing, noting perfect light or illumination, by a figure called hendyadis, oft used in Scripture, as Deut 16:18; Matt 4:16, compared with Job 10:21; John 3:5; Acts 17:25, compared with Gen 2:7. Which may seem probable, 1. Because the great use of this instrument was to give light and direction in dubious and difficult cases, and not to confer any other perfection upon any person. 2. Because sometimes both these words and things are expressed only by one of them, and that is by Urim, Num 27:21; 1 Sam 28:6, which signifies lights. And the name seems to be given from the effect, because hence the Israelites had clear light, and perfect or certain direction in dark and doubtful matters. But the great question is, what this Urim and Thummim was, and in what manner God answered by it; which God having on purpose concealed from us, and not set down the matter or form of it, as he hath done of all the other particulars, it may seem curiosity and presumption for men solicitously to inquire, and positively to determine. Many conceive it was nothing else but the twelve precious stones, wherein the names of the twelve tribes were engraven, and that the answer of God was composed out of those letters which either show more brightly, or thrust themselves further outward, than the rest did; which seems a frivolous and ungrounded conjecture, both because all the letters of the alphabet were not there, and so all answers could not be given by them; and because it was shut up within the duplicature of the breastplate, and therefore could not be seen by the high priest; and there is not a word to signify that he was to take it out thence, and look upon it, but rather the contrary is evident. And that this Urim and Thummim are not the same thing with those twelve stones may be easily proved: 1. Because the stones were set and engraven in the breastplate, Exod 28:17,21, this was only put into it, which is a word of quite different and more loose and large signification, and therefore probably doth not design the same thing. 2. It is not likely that in such a brief account of the sacred utensils the same command would be repeated again, especially in more dark and general words than it was mentioned before. And how could Moses now put it in, when the workmen had fastened it there before? or why should he be required to put it in the breastplate, when it was fastened to it already, and could not without violence be taken from it? 3. Because the stones were put in by the workmen, Exod 39:10, the Urim and Thummim by Moses himself, Lev 8:8. It is objected, that where the stones are mentioned there is no mention of Urim and Thummim, as Exod 29, and that where the Urim and Thummim are mentioned there is no mention of the stones, as Lev 8:8, which shows they were one and the same thing. But that is not necessary, and there is an evident reason of both those omissions; of the former, Exod 39, because he mentions only those things which were made by the workmen, whereas the Urim and Thummim seems to have been made immediately by God, or by Moses with God’s direction; of the latter, Lev 8, because the stones are implied in the breastplate as a part of it, and being fastened to it, whereas there he only mentions what was put in by Moses himself. There are other conjectures, as that it; as the name Jehovah, or some visible representations, etc. But such conjectures are as easily denied as affirmed. It is therefore more modest and reasonable to be silent where God is silent, than to indulge ourselves in boundless and groundless fancies. It may suffice us to know that this was a singular piece of Divine workmanship, which the high priest was obliged to wear upon solemn occasions, as one of the conditions upon which God engaged to give him answers; which answers God might give to him either by inward suggestion to his mind, or by a vocal expression to his ear. But which of those ways,
or whether by any other way, it is needless now to search, and impossible certainly to discover.
The judgment of the children of Israel. A short speech. As the testimony is oft put for the ark of the testimony, so is the judgment here for the breastplate of judgment, i.e. that breastplate which declared the judgment, or oracle, or mind of God to the Israelites in those cases which they brought to the Lord. Before the Lord continually, i.e. at all times when he shall appear before the Lord in the holy place.
Exod 28:31. Not the ephod itself, for that was prescribed before, Exod 28:6, but a long and loose robe called the robe of the ephod, because it was worn next under it, and was girded about the high priest’s body with the curious girdle of the ephod.
Exod 28:32-33. Pomegranates; the figures of pomegranates, but flat and embroidered. By the sound of the bells the people might be admonished of the work which the priest was employed in, and thereby be provoked to join their affections and devotions with his. These pomegranates and bells might note either, 1. The qualifications of the priest, who was both to declare or give forth the sound of pure and wholesome doctrine, and to adorn his doctrine with the fragrancy and fruitfulness of a good conversation. Or, 2. The glorious achievements of Christ, who caused the sound of his doctrine to be heard by all men, and offered up himself as a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour, Eph 5:2.
Exod 28:34-35. For his disobedience or carelessness. For though the matter might seem small in itself, yet it was an error in God’s worship, wherein God is more severe than in other things; and it was an error of the high priest, who had more knowledge of God’s mind herein, and was obliged to more care and diligence, not only for himself, but for the influences of his bad example upon the people.
Exod 28:36. The plate of pure gold was like a half coronet, reaching, as the Jews say, from ear to ear. Holiness to the Lord, to mind the priest of his special consecration to God, and of that singular holiness which was required of him, as at all times, so especially in his approaches to God. It might also represent Christ, who is called the Holy One of God, and who is a crowned Priest, or both King and Priest.
Exod 28:37. The words may be rendered, thou shalt put it on, or, bind it, as the Vulgate renders it, with a blue lace, to wit, upon the mitre, as it follows.
Exod 28:38. That Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things; either, 1. That he, being consecrated to God for this end, that he should take care as far as he could that both persons and things presented to God should be holy or agreeable to the mind of God, might bear the punishment for any miscarriage committed therein which he could have prevented. Or rather, 2. That he, being a holy person, and appointed by God to make a typical reconciliation for the sins of the people, and to intercede for them, might take away, or obtain from God the pardon of their iniquity, wherewith even their holy things are defiled, if God should severely mark what is amiss in them; which sense the last words of the verse favour. And the high priest was herein eminently a type of Christ, who properly and truly bare and took away the iniquity of his people’s holy things by his sacrifice and intercession. Which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, i.e. shall separate or consecrate unto God in all their offerings or gifts. If there be any thing amiss either in the thing offered, or in the manner of offering, God upon the priest’s intercession will pardon it. It shall be always upon his forehead, i.e. at all times of his solemn appearance before God.
Exod 28:39. The coat was a loose and large garment made with sleeves, worn under the ephod, reaching down to the feet, which was girt with a girdle, Lev 8:7.
Exod 28:40. The coats were not of woollen, Ezek 44:17, but of linen, Exod 39:27. These were ephods, 1 Sam 22:18.
Exod 28:41. Consecrate them, Heb. fill their hand, i.e. present them to God with part of the sacrifice in their hands, as we find, Exod 29:24, by that rite putting them into their office.
Exod 28:42. Including both. Compare Exod 20:26.
Exod 29:1-3: The manner of consecrating priests.
Exod 29:4-7: Of consecrating Aaron and his sons.
Exod 29:8-9: The priests’ vesture.
Exod 29:10-14: How the bullock of the sin-offering was to be offered.
Exod 29:15-18: One ram for a burnt-offering, and the manner of offering.
Exod 29:19-31: A ram for hallowing the priests.
Exod 29:32-33: Aaron and his sons eat of the ram wherewith they where consecrated.
Exod 29:36-37: The altar sanctified for seven days.
Exod 29:38: Two lambs offered daily.
Exod 29:39: The time.
Exod 29:40-43: The manner of offering.
Exod 29:44: God’s promise to hallow the tabernacle, Aaron, and his sons,
Exod 29:45-46: and to dwell with them.Exod 29:1. See Exod 12:5; Mal 1:13-14.
Exod 29:2. The unleavened bread was to show that the priests should be, and that Christ really was, free from all malice and hypocrisy, both which are compared to leaven, Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8, and that all the services offered to God by the priests were to be pure and unmixed.
Exod 29:3. To the door of the tabernacle, as it follows, Exod 29:4.
Exod 29:4. Taken out of that laver, Exod 30:18. This signified the universal pollution of all men, and the absolute need they have of washing, especially when they are to draw nigh to God. And this outward washing was only typical of their spiritual washing by the blood and Spirit of Christ in order to their acceptance with God.
Exod 29:5. Not about the loins, but about the paps, or breast, as Christ and his ministers are represented, Rev 1:13. The linen breeches are here omitted, because they were put on privately before they came to the door of the tabernacle, where the other things were put on.
Exod 29:6. The holy crown, i.e. the plate of gold, Exod 28:36, as appears by comparing Lev 8:9.
Exod 29:7. Which signified the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, wherewith Christ; as, and the priests ought to be, replenished. See Isa 61:1; 1 John 2:27. But here ariseth a difficulty; for this anointing is sometimes spoken of as peculiar to the high priest, as Lev 21:10, sometimes as common to all the priests, Exod 30:30; Exod 40:14-15, which may be thus reconciled: the oil, was sprinkled upon all the priests, and their right ears, thumbs, and toes, and their garments, Exod 29:20-21; Lev 8:30, but it was poured out upon the head only of the high priest, Ps 133:2, who herein was a type of Christ, who was anointed above his fellows, Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9.
Exod 29:8-9. A perpetual statute; so long as the Jewish pedagogy and policy lasts.
Exod 29:10. To signify that they offered it for themselves and for their own sins, which the offerer performing this rite was to confess, Lev 16:21, that they acknowledged themselves
to deserve that death which was inflicted upon this innocent creature for their sakes, and to testify their faith in the future sacrifice of Christ, upon whom their sins were to be laid, and by whose blood they were expiated, and that they humbly begged God’s mercy in pardoning their sins, and accepting them to and in their holy office.
Exod 29:11. Moses, who though no priest, yet for this time and occasion was called by God to this work.
Exod 29:12. Upon the horns of the altar; not of incense, as some would have it, but of the burnt-offerings, as may appear, 1. Because it was that altar at the bottom whereof the blood was to be poured, as it is here expressed; but that was not done at the altar of incense, as is evident and confessed. Compare Lev 16:18, etc. 2. It was that altar upon which the parts of the sacrifices were burnt, as it here follows, Exod 29:13, for there is no distinction here between the two altars. It is true, in the following sin-offerings of the priests the blood was put upon the horns of the altar of incense, Lev 4:7. But it must be considered, 1. That the blood was not poured out at the bottom of that altar. 2. Because Aaron and his sons were not yet complete priests, but private persons, and therefore did this at the same altar which the people used in their sin-offerings, Lev 4:25,30.
Exod 29:13. The parts which in all sacrifices were burned unto God, Lev 3:3; Lev 4:19, to signify either the mortification of their inward and most beloved lusts, or the dedication of the best of all sacrifices, and of their inward and best parts, to God and his service.
Exod 29:14. To wit, for the high priest, as is plain from the whole context, and therefore ought to be burnt by that law, Lev 4. There was indeed a law, that that sin-offering whose blood was not carried into the tabernacle, which was the case here, should not be burnt, but eaten, Lev 6:30; Lev 10:18. But that concerned the people, not the priests, who did not eat, but burn their own sin-offerings, Lev 4:3,12.
Exod 29:15-16. Which signifies, that not only our persons, but our very altars and sacrifices, and best services, need the sprinkling of Christ’s blood upon them to render them acceptable to God.
Exod 29:17-18. A sweet savour, Heb. a savour of rest, wherewith God will be well pleased, and for which, as representing Christ who offered up himself, he will graciously accept of the offerings of the priests for themselves, and for the people.
Exod 29:19. This was for a peace-offering. So here were all the three sorts of sacrifices, which were afterwards to be offered by them for the people.
Exod 29:20. These parts are consecrated in the name and stead of all the rest; the ear, as the instrument of hearing and receiving the mind and will of God in all their sacred administrations, and in their whole conversation; the hand and foot, as the instruments of action and execution of that which they hear and understand to be the mind of God; and the right parts are chosen rather than the left, as being usually more vigorous and expeditious. And all these parts are sprinkled with this blood, to show the absolute necessity of Christ’s blood to qualify them for an acceptable and successful discharge of their office.
Exod 29:21-22. Of the priests in their office. Therefore the right shoulder was burnt, which in other sacrifices was given to the priest.
Exod 29:23-24. Either toss them from one hand to another, as giving all from themselves to God; or shake them to and fro, towards the several parts of the world, to note God’s dominion over all places and people, and the extent of that true and great sacrifice, represented in these types to all.
Exod 29:25-26. To wit, the breast alone, whereas both shoulder and breast were given to Aaron afterwards; the reason whereof might be, either because Moses was not a proper and complete priest, as Aaron afterward was, but only appointed by God for this time to do that work; or because now there were in a manner two priests, the one consecrating, to wit, Moses; the other consecrated, to wit, Aaron; therefore these parts were divided, the breast went to the former to be eaten, the shoulder offered unto God for the latter, Exod 29:22; he being not yet a perfect priest, and therefore not in a capacity of eating it.
Exod 29:27. Heaved up: this was done by throwing the parts upward, and catching them again. Even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons: the words may be rendered thus, of which breast and shoulder of the ram shall be Aaron’s portion, and of which shall be the portion of his sons; so there is only an ellipsis of the verb substantive, which is most common, and the Hebrew prefix lamed designs a thing belonging to the person to whom that is prefixed, as it is in other like cases, as Gen 40:8; Deut 1:17; Ps 47:9.
Exod 29:28. It is an heave-offering; under which is comprehended also the wave-offering; as plainly appears both from the context, and from the parity of reason, these offerings being of the same nature, and designed for the same purpose.
Exod 29:29. His sons, i.e. his eldest sons successively. To be consecrated by some other priest, there being no other higher person who could do it, and therefore the necessity of it made it warrantable.
Exod 29:30. For so long the solemnity of the consecration lasted, Exod 29:35. In the holy place; both that strictly so called, and in the most holy place; for as none could go into the most holy place except the high priest, so there were some things to be done in the holy place which none but he could do. See Lev 4:7-8.
Exod 29:31. In the courtyard at the door of the tabernacle, where it was both boiled and eaten, as appears from this and the next verse, and from Lev 8:31. And part of this was eaten by the person or persons that brought the offering, though they were of the people, who were not admitted into any other holy place but this.
Exod 29:32-33. Those things, i.e. the remainders of the oblations mentioned Exod 29:32. A stranger, i.e. one who is not of the priestly race, whereas in other peace-offerings the offerer did eat a part.
Exod 29:34. Thou shalt burn the remainder, according to the law of all peace-offerings, except those which were vows or voluntary offerings, Lev 7:16-17, which these were not: compare Exod 12:10.
Exod 29:35-36. For atonement, as well for the priests as for the altar; both which, as they were or might be polluted, so they needed the sprinkling of this blood to sanctify them, to show that all persons and things were fitted for God’s service, and accepted by him only for and through the blood of Christ.
Exod 29:37. It shall be an altar most holy, as appears from the following reason, because it was not only holy in itself, but by its touch communicated a legal holiness to other things. Whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy: this may be understood either, 1. Of persons, as a caution that none should touch the altar but holy and consecrated persons. Or rather, 2. Of things, yet not of all things, for polluted things were not made holy by the touch of holy things, which is affirmed, Hag 2:12; but of things belonging to the altar Of offerings, which by God’s appointment were to be offered, which were sanctified by being laid upon this altar, and therefore the altar was greater and more holy than the gift, as our blessed Saviour notes, Matt 23:19.
Exod 29:38. This is that which thou shalt offer: this is the chief end and use of this altar, though it served also for other sacrifices. Day by day continually; to show, partly, that men do daily contract new defilement, and daily need new pardons; and partly, that God is not only to be worshipped upon rite sabbath days, and other set and solemn times, but every day.
Exod 29:39. Which two seasons were selected as most commodious, that men might both begin and end their worldly actions said businesses with God, and might see their need of God’s assistance and blessing in all their concerns, and the justness of giving him the praise and glory of all.
Exod 29:40. A tenth deal; the tenth part of an ephah, as is evident from Num 28:5, which is an omer, Exod 16:36. An hin was a measure for liquid things, as the ephah was for dry things, containing six pints of our measure.
Exod 29:42. Either, 1. At which door, for there the Lord stood and talked with Moses, Exod 33:9-10. Or rather, 2. In which tabernacle, to wit, in the innermost part of it, because that was the principal place where God did ordinarily reside and meet with his people, Exod 30:6; Lev 16:2; whereas God met but once at the door of the tabernacle, and that with Moses only, not with the people, with whom he is said to meet in this place, Exod 29:43. Add to this, that the place where God meets them is the same place which is sanctified by his glory, and that was the tabernacle, Exod 29:43, as it is expressed in our translation, and sufficiently implied in the Hebrew, by a common ellipsis of the pronoun it, i.e. that place where I meet with you, to wit, the tabernacle, shall be, etc.
Exod 29:43. i.e. By my glorious presence and appearance, of which see Exod 40:34-35; Lev 9:24.
Exod 29:44-45. I will dwell, by my special grace, and favour, and blessing; for by his essence he fills all places.
Exod 30:1: He commands to make an altar for incense, and of what.
Exod 30:2: The length and breadth of it.
Exod 30:3-6: The form of it.
Exod 30:7: Whereon the priest was to kindle incense every morning, being commanded.
Exod 30:11-16: All the children of Israel to bring half a shekel for their souls.
Exod 30:17-18: A laver of brass;
Exod 30:19-21: wherein Aaron and his sons wash their hands and their feet.
Exod 30:22-25: The making the oil of holy ointment.
Exod 30:26-28: Its use.
Exod 30:32-33: None might make the like.
Exod 30:34-38: The composition of the perfume.
Exod 30:1. Incense signifies the prayers of God’s people, Ps 141:2; Rev 8:3; which are not acceptable to God except they be offered upon the true altar, Christ. This incense also was useful to correct the bad smell of the sacrifices, which were offered on another altar not far from it. Yea, some sacrifices were offered upon this altar, as appears from Exod 30:10; Lev 4:7. But here only the principal and constant use of it is noted.
Exod 30:2. See Exod 27:2. Though these horns, as they were for another use, so they seem to be here of another form, and for ornament more than for service.
Exod 30:3. The top was made hollow like a grate, that the ashes might fall through it. The crown was a border which encompassed the altar, that the things laid on it might not fall off.
Exod 30:4-6. Before the veil; before the second veil, in the holy place, and near to the holy of holies, and consequently to the ark and mercyseat.
Exod 30:7. Aaron was to do this for the first time, but afterwards any priest might do it, as appears from Luke 1:9; this not being done in the holy of holies, which was the high priest’s peculiar. When he dresseth the lamps, i.e. cleansed them, and prepared them for the receiving of the new light.
Exod 30:8. The even was the time when all the lamps were to be lighted, 1 Sam 3:3. See Exod 27:20-21.
Exod 30:9. No strange incense, i.e. of any other sort than what I shall here appoint, Exod 30:34, etc.
Exod 30:10. Once in a year, on the day of expiation, Lev 16:19; Num 29:7. With the blood of the sin-offering of atonements; to note, that the prayers of the saints are acceptable to God no otherwise but through the blood of Christ, who was offered for the expiation of our sins.
Exod 30:11-12. A ransom for his soul; a certain price for the redemption of their lives; whereby they acknowledge the right and power which God had over their lives, and that they had forfeited them by their sins, and that it was God’s mercy to continue their lives to them. When thou numberest them, to wit, upon any just occasion, either now in the wilderness, or afterwards. It may seem that this payment was neither to be made at this time only, as some would have it; nor yet every year, as Josephus and others affirm, because it is not said to be a perpetual statute, as other things of constant observance are, but upon any eminent occasions, when the service of the tabernacle (which is the end and use of this collection) or temple required it, as may he gathered from 2 Kings 12:4, compared with 2 Chron 24:6. Compare Neh 10:32; Matt 17:24. And as now it was employed in the building of the tabernacle, so afterwards it might be laid out upon the repairs or other services of it.
Exod 30:13. The shekel of the sanctuary hath been commonly conceived to be double to the common shekel, yet divers late learned men seem more truly to judge that it was no more than the common shekel, consisting of half a crown of English money; which is called the shekel of the sanctuary, because the standard by which all shekels were to be examined was kept in the sanctuary, as afterwards the just weights and measures were kept in Christian temples, or other public places. See Lev 27:25; Num 3:47; Ezek 45:10-12. Add to this, that it was a part of the priest’s office to look to the weights and measures, as plainly appears from 1 Chron 23:29. An half shekel shall be the offering; not less, lest it should be contemptible; nor more, lest it should be too burdensome for the poor.
Exod 30:14. From twenty years old and above; the time when they began to be fit for employment, and capable of getting and paying money. Women and children are not included here, because they are reckoned in their fathers or husbands.
Exod 30:15. This was partly to teach them that all souls are of equal worth in themselves and price with God; that there is no respect of persons with God, and in God’s worship and service, but gospel graces, ordinances, and privileges are common and equal to all, Exod 12; Exod 16:18; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11; that all persons are alike obnoxious to Divine justice, and are redeemed by one and the same price: partly to check the arrogance and vanity of the rich, who are very apt to despise the poor; and partly that by this means the number of the people might be exactly known when occasion required it.
Exod 30:16. For the service of the tabernacle; for the building and furniture of it, and the maintenance of God’s worship in it. That it may be a memorial; either to the people, who hereby profess God to be their Lord and Owner, and themselves his subjects and tributaries; or to God, who hereby takes occasion to remember them, and to own them for his people.
Exod 30:17. The frequent repetition of this phrase, and the shortness of these discourses, in comparison of the length of the forty days, show that God did not deliver all these laws and prescriptions at one time, but successively at several times, possibly upon the sabbath days.
Exod 30:18. See the accomplishment Exod 38:8; to wash both the priests and the parts of the sacrifices.
The altar, to wit, of burnt-offerings.
Exod 30:19. To signify their natural impurity and unworthiness, either to handle holy things, or to come into the holy place, and their need of washing with the blood and Spirit of Christ, which was typified by this washing.
Exod 30:20. That they die not; for though the fault might seem small, yet the command was evident and easy, and therefore the disobedience was worse, arguing presumption, rebellion, and contempt. And God is more severe in the matters of his worship than in other cases.
Exod 30:21-23. Take thou also unto thee: the words are very emphatical, and the Jews from hence do rightly infer, that this ointment was but once made, and that by Moses’s own hands. Spices: see Song 4:14; Ezek 27:22; and compare Ps 45:8; Amos 6:6. Pure myrrh, Heb. myrrh of liberty; either, 1. Free from adulteration or mixture; or rather, 2. Freely dropping from the tree, which is esteemed better than that which is forced out of it. Calamus; a sweet reed, of which see Isa 43:24; Jer 6:20.
Exod 30:24. Not the common kind of cassia, which we use in purging, but another kind of it, there being seven several kinds of it, as the learned note.
Exod 30:25-26. This was only an outward ceremony, signifying the separation and sanctification of these things for the service of God; as the anointing of kings and priests noted their designation to their offices.
Exod 30:27-30. Not all of them, but only those who succeed him in the high priest’s office, as appears from Exod 40:15; Lev 4:3,5,16; Exod 16:32; Exod 21:10. This anointing of them signified both God’s election or calling them to this office, and the inward qualifications requisite for it, to wit, the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, which are oft designed by this word of anointing, as Isa 61:1; Dan 9:24; 1 John 2:27, and the solemn setting apart of Christ, the true High Priest, for the mediatorial office.
Exod 30:31. i.e. Reserved for my service alone, not employed to any profane or civil use, as it follows.
Exod 30:32. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, except those whom God himself, the author of this law, excepts, to wit, the high priests, of which see Exod 30:30; and some of the kings, of which see 1 Kings 1:39; Ps 89:20, though others think the kings were only anointed with common oil. It shall be holy unto you, as it is unto me, Exod 30:31; you shall account it holy, as I do.
Exod 30:33. The word stranger is commonly used to note the Gentiles, or such as were not of Israel’s race; but sometimes it notes those that are not of the priestly race, as Exod 29:33; Lev 22:12-13; and so it seems to be here. And if any of the kings were anointed with this oil, it was done by God’s special appointment, who may dispense with his own laws.
Exod 30:34. Stacte, and onycha, and galbanum: the Jews themselves are not agreed what these were, and it concerns not Christians much to know, the use of them being abolished. It is evident they were each of them sweet spices, and therefore this galbanum was not of the common kind, which gives a very ball scent. Of each shall there be a like weight, Heb. alone shall be with alone, i.e. each of these alone shall be with another alone, to wit, in equal quantity. Or it may note, that’ each of these was to be taken and beaten apart, and then mixed together. Or, it shall be alone alone, i.e. absolutely and certainly alone, the doubling of the word increasing the signification, and thus it doth not belong to all the ingredients, because the Hebrew verb is here of the singular number, but only to the frankincense; and the sense may be, that whereas the other things shall be tempered together, the frankincense should be alone, which may seem most agreeable both to the common use of frankincense, and to its differing nature from the other things mentioned, two of them at least being confessedly liquid things.
Exod 30:35. Tempered together, Heb. salted; either, 1. Properly, for salt was to be offered with all offerings, Lev 2:13. And the Hebrew doctors tell us that six eggshells full of salt were used. Or, 2. Metaphorically, well mixed together, as salt was with things either offered to God, or eaten by man. Pure, of the best of each kind of drugs, the most perfect and uncorrupted.
Exod 30:36. Some of it; so much as is sufficient for the daily incense.
Exod 31:1-7: Bezaleel and Aholiab are called for the work of the tabernacle.
Exod 31:8: The table and candlestick.
Exod 31:9: The altar.
Exod 31:12-17: Hallowing of the sabbath is commanded again.
Exod 31:18: Moses receiveth the two tables of the law.
Exod 31:1-2. He seems to be the same mentioned 1 Chron 2:20
Exod 31:3. I have filled him with the spirit of God, which was now necessary, because the Israelites in Egypt wanted ingenious education to learn these things, and therefore needed inspiration. In wisdom, or, with wisdom, the following clauses being explicatory of the former, showing what gifts of the Spirit God had filled him with, to wit, wisdom, etc.
Exod 31:4-6. All that are wise-hearted; that have wisdom and skill sufficient to do these things, under the inspection and direction of Bezaleel and Aholiab, the principal workmen.
Exod 31:7-8. The pure candlestick; so called by way of eminency, not only because it was made of pure gold, and was not defiled with blood, for so some other things were, but especially to mind the priests of their duty in keeping it neat and clean, it being more subject to defilement than other things.
Exod 31:9-10. The cloths of service, wherein the ark and other sacred utensils were wrapped up when they were to be removed. See Exod 35:19; Num 4.
Exod 31:11-13. My sabbaths ye shall keep: this precept is here repeated, either, 1. To show the chief use of the tabernacle, and all this cost and trouble about it, to wit, that they might there acceptably serve God, as in some measure upon every day, so especially upon the sabbath day. Or rather, 2. To restrain the time for the doing of the forementioned works: q.d. Though the work of the tabernacle and utensils be holy, and for a holy use, yet I will not have it done upon my holy day. The sabbath was not made for them, but they for it, and therefore they shall give place to it. It is a sign between me and you. The sabbath is a fivefold sign: 1. Commemorative, of God’s creation of and dominion over them and all other things, to whom they do hereby profess their subjection. 2. Indicative, showing that they were made to be holy, and that their sanctification can be had from none but from God, as it here follows, and from the observation of God’s days and appointments. 3. Distinctive, whereby they owned themselves to be the Lord’s peculiar people, by a religious keeping of those sabbaths, which the rest of the world grossly neglected and profanely scoffed at. 4. Pre-figurative, of that rest which Christ should purchase for them, to wit, a rest from the burden of the ceremonial, and from the curses and rigours of the moral law, as also from sin and the wrath of God for ever. See Heb 4. 5. Confirmative, both assuring them of God’s good will to them, and that as he blessed the sabbath for their sakes, so he would bless them in the holy use of it with temporal, spiritual, and everlasting blessings, as he declares in many places of Scripture; and assuring God of their standing to that covenant made between God and them. So that this was a mutual stipulation or ratification of the covenant of grace on both sides.
That doth sanctify you; that selecteth you out of all people, and consecrateth you to myself, and to my service and worship, a great part whereof is the observation of the sabbath. Or, that sanctifieth you by my word and ordinances, which are in more eminent and solemn manner dispensed upon the sabbath day, by the observation whereof you declare that you own me as your only Sanctifier; and so we may observe, the sabbath owns the Lord as our Creator, and as our Redeemer, and as our Sanctifier; and therefore it is no wonder God so severely enjoins the sanctification of the sabbath, and punisheth the neglect of it, it being a tacit renouncing or disowning of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Exod 31:14. Shall surely be put to death; of which see an example, Num 15:32, etc. i.e. Servile work, as it is explained. Lev 23:7, etc.
Exod 31:15. The sabbath of rest, Heb. the sabbath of sabbaths, or, of sabbaths, i.e. the great and chief sabbath, as the song of songs is the most excellent song, the holy of holies is the most holy, etc. The Jews had many sabbaths or days of rest, but this is here preferred before them all, by this emphatical repetition of the same word; and by this argument the foregoing duty is pressed upon them.
Exod 31:16. Or, shall keep the sabbath by observing or celebrating the sabbath, i.e. by observing or celebrating it, the antecedent being put for the relative, as is frequently done. So here is another most emphatical repetition to oblige us to the greater caution and diligence in this great duty, and to show what stress God lays upon it, who hath therefore placed this in the midst of the commands of the decalogue, as the heart which gives life and rigour to all the rest. Or it may be rendered thus; shall observe the day of rest to celebrate the sabbath; and so the phrase is like that in the fourth command, Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. So here, Observe the sabbath, i.e. watch its coming and approach, consider attentively the nature and use of it, and that not as a matter of idle speculation, but of serious practice; or, so that you may do or celebrate the sabbath, i.e. perform all the duties of it. Or thus, shall observe the sabbath, to make it a sabbath or day of rest, and that no idle or carnal rest, but a rest, holy to the Lord, as it is called in the foregoing verse. For a perpetual covenant, or, by a perpetual covenant, or, it is a perpetual covenant, i.e. condition or part of that agreement made between me and them. They have solemnly covenanted or promised that they will do all that I commanded them, Exod 24:7-8, among which this is a chief branch; and I have covenanted to bless and sanctify them in so doing. And this word perpetual, as also the word for ever, being added to it in the next verse, may intimate that this hath a longer perpetuity than the ceremonies, to which this phrase is sometimes ascribed, the rather because the reason of this perpetuity given in the next verse is such as hath its force not only till Christ, but even till the end of the world, and it is fit and just that men should retain this monument or memorial of the world’s creation even till its dissolution.
Exod 31:17. It is a sign, a sign of the covenant between us, that I will be their God, and they will be my people; both which depends upon this amongst other duties, and upon this in an eminent degree. Was refreshed; not as if he had been weary with working, which surely he could not be with speaking a few words, nor can God be weary with any thing, Isa 40:28; but it notes the pleasure or delight God took in reflecting upon his works, beholding that every thing he had made was very good, Gen 1:31.
Exod 31:18. i.e. The tables of the law, which was the witness of God’s will and Israel’s duty. See Exod 16:34. Tables of stone; whereby was signified both the durable and perpetual obligation of the moral law, whereas the ceremonial law was to end with the Jewish polity at Christ’s coming; and the stoniness of men’s hearts by nature, in which the law of God could not be written but by a Divine and omnipotent hand. Written with the finger of God, i.e. with the power or Spirit of God, by comparing Matt 12:18; not by any art of man, but immediately by a Divine hand.
Exod 32:1-6: The people commit idolatry by worshipping the molten image which Aaron made.
Exod 32; 7-10: God makes it known to Moses, and threatens their destruction.
Exod 32:11-13: Moses prays for them.
Exod 32:14: God repents of the evil.
Exod 32:15: Moses comes down from the mount with two tables;
Exod 32:16: being God’s own writing.
Exod 32:19: Moses hearing and seeing their idolatry, breaks the two tables;
Exod 32:20: and turns the calf into powder.
Exod 32:21-24: Aaron’s excuse.
Exod 32:25: Moses seeing their nakedness,
Exod 32:26-27: commands them to be slain.
Exod 32:29: He bids them consecrate themselves.
Exod 32:30: Moses charging them with sin,
Exod 32:31-32: prayeth for them.
Exod 32:34: God spareth them;
Exod 32:35: but afterward plagueth them.
Exod 32:1. Moses had now been in the mount for near forty days. The people, i.e. most or some of the people, as it is expressed 1 Cor 10:7. Unto Aaron, as the chief person in Moses’s absence. Make us gods, i.e. images or representations of God, whom, after the manner of idolaters, they call by God’s name. For it is ridiculous to think that the body of the Israelites, who were now lately instructed by the mouth, and words, and miraculous works of the eternal God, should be so senseless as to think that was the true God which themselves made, and that out of their own earrings; much more, that that was the God that brought them out of Egypt, as they say, Exod 32:4. Which shall go before us, to guide us through this vast wilderness to the Land of Promise, where they longed to be; for as for the cloud, which hitherto had guided them, that seemed now to be fixed upon the mount; and they thought both that Joshua and Moses had deserted them. The Jewish doctors note, that he doth not say, Make us gods whom we may worship, but which shall go before us, which, as they truly say, shows that they wanted not a God, whom they knew by infallible evidences they had, but a visible guide, who might supply the want of Moses, as the next words show. This Moses; an expression of contempt towards their great deliverer. What is become of him, whether he be not consumed by the fire in the cloud, or taken up to heaven, or conveyed away by God to some other place.
Exod 32:2. The golden earrings were of good value and common use among the eastern people, who seem to have used them superstitiously, Gen 35:4; Judg 8:24; and therefore Aaron demands these, partly that he might take away one vice, or occasion of vice, whilst the people were intent upon another; and partly that the proposed loss of their precious earrings might cool their idolatrous desires. In the ears of your wives, whom he thought most fond of their jewels, and most unlikely to part with them.
Exod 32:3. Whereby they show both their madness upon their idols, and their base ingratitude to their God, who had transferred these jewels from the Egyptians to them, Exod 12:35-36, which therefore God upbraids them with, Ezek 16:11, etc. In their ears, i.e. the men’s ears, for the affix is of the masculine gender; whereby it seems the men were more set upon idolatry than the women, parting with their earrings for it, which the women would not do.
Exod 32:4. A molten calf: the meaning of this translation is, that Aaron, to wit, by artificers, did first melt the god into one mass, and then by the graving-tool form it into the shape of a calf, and polish it; or as others render the words, he formed it in a type or mould, made in the shape of a calf, into which he cast the molten gold, and so made it a molten calf. But the words may be translated thus, He put it, or them, into a purse; for so the Hebrew verb and noun are both used, 2 Kings 5:23; and in like manner Gideon disposed the earrings given him for the like use, Judg 8:24; and afterwards he made of them a molten calf. Now the people desired, and Aaron in compliance with them made this in the form of a calf, or an ox, (for the word signifies both,) in imitation of the Egyptians, as Philo the Jew expressly affirms, and the learned generally agree; and it may thus appear: 1. The great idols of the Egyptians, Apis, Seraphis, and Isis, were oxen and cows, as is confessed. 2. The Egyptians, besides the creatures which theyadored as gods, did also make, and keep, and worship their images, as even the heathen writers, Mela and Strabo, affirm. 3. The Israelites, whilst they were in Egypt, were many of them infected with the Egyptian idolatry, as it appears from Josh 24:14; Ezek 20:7-8; Ezek 23:3; Acts 7:39. And it is not unlikely divers of them hankered no less after the idols, than after the garlic and onions of Egypt. And being now, as they thought, forsaken by Moses, they might think of returning to Egypt, as afterwards they did, and therefore chose a god of the Egyptian mode, that they might more willingly receive them again.
These be thy gods, i.e. this is thy god, the plural number being put for the singular, as it is usual in this case. The meaning is, This is the sign, or symbol, or image of thy god; for such expressions are very frequent: thus this image of a calf is called a calf frequently, and the images of the temple of Diana are called shrines or little temples, Acts 19. So they intended to worship the true God by this image, as afterwards Jeroboam did by the same image, as we shall plainly see when we come to that place of Scripture. And it is absolutely incredible that the generality of the Israelites should be so void of all sense and reason, as to think that this new-made calf did bring them out Egypt before its own creation, and that this was the same Jehovah who had even now spoken to them from heaven with an audible voice, saying, I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt.
Exod 32:5. When Aaron saw, i.e. observed with what applause they received it, and with what fury and resolution they prosecuted their former desire, he was borne down with the stream, and, as it is probable, by the people’s instigation, built an altar to it. To the Lord, Heb. to Jehovah; which title being peculiar to the true God, and being here given by Aaron to the calf, with the approbation of the people, makes it more than probable that the people designed to worship the true God in this calf, which they made only as a visible token of God’s presence with them, and an image by which they might convey their worship to God.
Exod 32:6. Brought peace-offerings, but no sin-offerings, which they most needed. The people sat down to eat and to drink; for the sacrifices were accompanied with feasting, both among the worshippers of the true God, and among idolaters. See Exod 18:12; Exod 24:11. Rose up to play, by shouting, and singing, and dancing, as it appears from Exod 32:17-19
Exod 32:7. No longer my people, as God had called them hitherto, Exod 3:7; Exod 5:1, etc.; they have forsaken me, and I do hereby renounce them.
Exod 32:8-9. Untractable, wilful, and stubborn, incorrigible by my judgments, ungovernable by mine or by any laws. A metaphor from those beasts that will not bend their necks to receive the yoke or bridle.
Exod 32:10. Do not hinder me by thy prayers, which I see thou art now about to make on their behalf. I will make of thee; to come out of thy loins.
Exod 32:11. The Lord his God; emphatically so called: q.d. Moses had not lost his interest in God, though Israel had. Why doth thy wrath wax hot, so hot as to consume them utterly? For though he saw reason enough why God should be angry with them, yet he humbly expostulates with God whether it would be for his honour utterly to destroy them. Or this is a petition delivered in form of an interrogation or expostulation, as Matt 8:29, compared with Luke 8:28. Against thy people, an ingenious retortion: q.d. They are not my people, as thou calledst them, Exod 32:7, but thy people, which he proves in the following words.
Exod 32:12. In the mountains, i.e. in or at Mount Sinai, the plural number for the singular; or, in this mountainous desert.
Exod 32:13-14. i.e. Changed his sentence. See on Gen 6:6.
Exod 32:15. Not on the inside and outside, which is unusual and unnecessary, but on the inside only, some of the ten commands being written on the right hand, and others on the left, not for any mystery, but only for conveniency of writing.
Exod 32:16-17. Joshua had waited all this while upon the middle of the hill for Moses’s return; and so neither knew what the people had done, nor heard what God had said to Moses.
Exod 32:18. The voice of them that shout for mastery, Heb. of a cry of strength, i.e. of strong men, or of the stronger and victorious party, who use to express themselves with triumphant shouts. The voice of them that cry for being overcome, Heb. of a cry of weakness, i.e. of weak, and wounded, and vanquished men, who use to break forth into doleful cries.
Exod 32:19. Not through rash anger, but by Divine instinct, partly to punish their idolatry with so great a loss, and partly to show that the covenant made between God and them, so much to their advantage, which was contained in those tables, was by their sin broken, and now of none effect, and not to be renewed but by bitter repentance.
Exod 32:20. Ground it to powder; melted it either into one great mass, or rather into divers little fragments, which afterwards by a the or other instruments he, by the help of many others, might soon grind to powder, or dust of gold. Strawed it upon the water; upon the brook which came out of the rock Horeb, Exod 17:6. The children of Israel; not all, which would require a long time, but some in the name of the rest; and most probably either the chief promoters of this idolatrous design, or the chief rulers of the people, who should by their power and authority have restrained the people from this wickedness. To drink of it; of the water into which that dust was cast; partly to make them ashamed of their madness in worshipping a god which now must be drunk, and cast out into the draught; and partly to fill them with terror and dreadful expectation of some ill effect or curse of God to come upon them, either by this draught, or by other means.
Exod 32:21. What injury or mischief had they done to thee, which thou didst so severely revenge? The sin of the people is charged upon Aaron, both because he did not resist and suppress their wicked suggestion, Exod 32:1, by his counsel, and by the authority which Moses had left in his hand, which he should have done even with the hazard of his life, as the rabbins say that Hur did, whom they report to have been slain by the people whilst he dissuaded them from their attempt, and because he did not promote, and direct, and manage their enterprise, Exod 32:4-5.
Exod 32:22. Heb. are in evil, i.e. are altogether wicked, addicted to, or bent upon wickedness, so that it was impossible for me to stop or divert their course.
Exod 32:23-24. Not that he meant or thought to persuade Moses that the melted gold came out of the fire in the form of a calf by accident, without any art or industry of his, which was a ridiculous conceit, and easily confuted; but only he conceals his own sin in the forming and graving of it, and lays the whole blame upon the people.
Exod 32:25. i.e. That they were stripped both of their ornament, which was not so much the jewels of their ears, as the
innocency of their minds and lives; and of their defence, to wit, of the favour and protection of God, by which alone they were secured from the Egyptians, and were to be defended against those many and mighty enemies towards whom they were about to march; and that being thus disarmed and helpless, they would be a prey to every enemy: when Moses considered this, he took the following course to cover their nakedness, to expiate their sins, to regain the favour of God, and by punishing the most eminent and incorrigible offenders, to bring the rest to repentance. Aaron had made them naked, as Ahaz is said to have made Judah naked, 2 Chron 28:19. Question. How were they made naked or ashamed amongst their enemies, when at this time they were in their own camp, remote from all their enemies? Answer. He speaks not only of their present shame, but of their everlasting reproach, especially among their and God’s enemies, who, being constant to their idols, would justly scorn the Israelites for their levity in forsaking their God so quickly and easily. See Jer 2:11. But the Hebrew word may be, and is by some, translated thus, amongst those that do or shall rise up or be born of them i.e. that shall succeed them; for so the word rising is used Exod 1:8; Matt 11:11. And so the Chaldee here renders it, amongst their generations; and the other Chaldee interpreter, and the Syriac, in their latter days, or in aftertimes. So the sense is, that Aaron had put a note of perpetual infamy upon them, even to all after-ages.
Exod 32:26. He chose the gate of the camp, 1. As the usual place of judicature. 2. That he might withdraw himself from the company of idolaters as far as he might. 3. As a fit place of concourse and resort for those that were on God’s side. 4. To prevent the escape of the greatest delinquents, the rest of the camp being probably surrounded with some trench, or such like thing, else gates had been superfluous and unprofitable. Who is on the Lord’s side? who will take God’s part, and plead his cause against idolatry and idolaters? All the sons of Levi, i.e. the most of that tribe, as that universal particle is oft understood; for some of them were destroyed as guilty.
Exod 32:27. The meaning is, slay every principal offender whom you meet with, without any indulgence or exception, though brother, or companion, or neighbour. There was no fear of killing the innocent in this case, because, 1. The people were generally guilty. 2. Moses had called to himself all that were on God’s side, who thereby where separated from the guilty. 3. The innocent might easily be discerned from the transgressors, either by the personal knowledge which the Levites or others had of the most forward idolaters, or by their abiding in their tents as ashamed and grieving for their sin, whilst the transgressors were impudently walking about in the camp, as trusting to their numbers; or by the direction of God’s providence, if not by some visible token.
Exod 32:28. And no more, for it is probable they slew only those whom they knew to have been the ringleaders to others in this mischief.Exod 32:29. Offer up yourselves to the honour and service of the Lord in this work, which because it was joined with the hazard of their lives, he calls it a consecration or oblation of themselves, as Abraham for the like reason is said to have offered up Isaac. Consecrate yourselves, Heb. fill your hands, etc., i.e. offer a sacrifice, for so the phrase is oft used, as Exod 28:41; Judg 17:5,12. That work of justice which they were going to execute might seem an inhuman and barbarous act, but he tells them it was an acceptable sacrifice to God, as the destruction of God’s enemies is called a sacrifice, Isa 34:6; Ezek 39:17. Or he hereby intimates that this tribe was designed by God for his immediate service, and therefore recommends this work to them as an excellent initiation into their office, and as a demonstration that they were in some sort worthy of that great trust.
Exod 32:30. He speaks doubtfully, partly because he was uncertain how far God would pardon them, and partly to quicken them to the more serious practice of repentance.
Exod 32:31-32. If thou wilt forgive their sin; understand here, forgive it, or, or it is well, or, I and others shall praise thy name. His great passion for his people stops his words, and makes his speech imperfect. Out of thy book, i.e. out of the book of life, as appears by comparing this with other places, as Ps 69:28; Dan 12:1; Luke 10:20; Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; Rev 13:8; Rev 20:12; or, out of the catalogue or number of those that shall be saved. I suppose Moses doth not in this case wish his eternal damnation, because that state implies both wickedness in himself, and the dishonour of God, but his annihilation, or the utter loss of this life, and of that to come, and of all the happiness of both of them. Nor doth Moses simply desire this, but only comparatively expresseth his singular zeal for God’s glory, and charity to his people; signifying, that the very thoughts of the destruction of God’s people, and of the reproach and blasphemy which would be cast upon God by means thereof, were so grievous and intolerable to him, that he rather wisheth, if it were possible, that God would accept of him as a sacrifice in their stead, and by his utter destruction prevent so great a mischief. And it is to be considered that Moses speaks this, as also many other things, as the mediator between God and Israel, and as the type of the true Mediator, Jesus Christ, who was in effect to suffer this which Moses was content to suffer.
Exod 32:33. Whosoever hath sinned, or, doth sin, to wit, presumptuously, obstinately, and impenitently, him will I cut off out of the land of the living, and eternally deprive of my favour and glory, and not thee who art innocent and righteous.
Exod 32:34. Behold, mine angel; not Christ, the Angel of the covenant, who had hitherto gone before them; but a created angel, as appears by comparing this with Exod 33:2-3,12; though Moses obtained the revocation of this threatening, Exod 33:14,17. I will visit theirupon them; when I shall punish them for their other sins, which I foresee they will commit, I will remember and punish this also.
Exod 32:35. This relates either to the destruction of three thousand of them by the Levites, or rather to the future plagues, in which God also reckoned with them for this sin. Because they made the calf; they made it because they urged Aaron to make it, as Judas is said to purchase the field, Acts 1:18, which was purchased by his money; and Aaron made it, by giving command to make it. The Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Samaritan render the words thus, they worshipped or sacrificed to the calf which Aaron made. And the word which signifies to make, is oft used for worshipping or sacrificing, as Exod 10:25; Judg 13:15; 1 Kings 18:26.
Exod 33:1-3: God refuseth to go with the people as formerly.
Exod 33:4: The people mourn.
Exod 33:5: God’s command what to say to the children of Israel.
Exod 33:6: They mourn, and lay by their ornaments.
Exod 33:7: Moses pitcheth the tabernacle without the camp;
Exod 33:8-9: and going in, God speaks to him.
Exod 33:10: A cloudy pillar descendeth on it.
Exod 33:11: God speaks to Moses face to face.
Exod 33:12-16: He prays for his guidance and presence.
Exod 33:14,17: God promises him;
Exod 33:19: proclaims his name.
Exod 33:20-23: His face can be seen by no man.
Exod 33:1-3. I will not go up in the midst of thee by my own special and gracious presence, as hitherto I have done, but I will depart from thee. In pursuance hereof God removes his tabernacle without the camp, Exod 33:7. I will only make good my promise to thy fathers, and send an angel to accomplish it, but I will show no peculiar and further kindness to thee. Lest I consume thee in the way; lest thy sins should be aggravated by my presence and favour, and thereby I should be provoked utterly to destroy thee. So he shows that their perverseness makes this severity necessary for them, and that God even in his judgment remembers mercy to them.
Exod 33:4. Their precious garments or jewels, which the women reserved, as we saw, Exod 33:3. This was a visible sign and profession of their inward humiliation and repentance for their sin, and of their deep sense of God’s displeasure.
Exod 33:5. I will come up into the midst of thee, to wit, in anger;
not in favour, Exod 33:3, where the words are the same, but the sense differing, and consume thee. Objection. But God had promised he would not do so, Exod 33:3. Answer. That was signified to Moses, not to the people, to whom the threatening was most proper and profitable; and this threatening hath a condition implied, to wit, except they repent, as the next words plainly show. That I may know what to do unto thee; that I may either inflict my judgments, or suspend them, as thou art penitent or impenitent.
Exod 33:6-7. The tabernacle was a tent set up by Moses for the people to meet in for sacrifice and seeking of God, and other parts of God’s worship, until the great tabernacle should be finished; for such a place was necessary, or highly expedient for that use, and therefore it is not probable they would be without it for a year’s space. Afar off from the camp; in testimony of God’s alienation from them, and displeasure against them, this being a kind of excommunication; and all was too little to bring them to a thorough repentance. The tabernacle of the congregation; it was so before, but he called it so now, to show that God had not wholly forsaken them; and that if they truly repented, he still permitted them to come into his presence, and to seek the Lord. Every one which sought the Lord; either for his favour, or for counsel and direction. See Exod 18:15,19-20.
Exod 33:8. Testifying their grief for God’s departure, their respect to Moses, whom they had lately despised, their earnest desire of his intercession for them, their longing for God’s favour, and their humble expectation of a gracious return from God by the hands of Moses.
Exod 33:9. Whereby God testified his approbation of Moses, and of that which Moses had done, which might seem to some severe and cruel.
Exod 33:10-11. Face to face, or, mouth to mouth, as Num 12:8. Not that God hath face or mouth, or that Moses could behold it, which is denied, Exod 33:20. But the sense is, he spake with him freely and familiarly, and immediately, not by an angel in a dream or vision, as he did to other prophets. See Deut 34:10.
Joshua abode in the tabernacle, either to keep it from injury or inconvenience; for as it was set up by man’s help, so it needed man’s care to preserve it; or to assist and direct those who resorted thither to seek God in Moses’s absence. And Joshua seems to be appointed for this work rather than Aaron, or any other of the elders, because they had one w or other been guilty of the late idolatry, and God would hereby punish them with a temporary suspension from his service, and their office.
Exod 33:12. Whom thou wilt send with me, i.e. what angel it is, whether it be a created angel, for then I profess I am unsatisfied with him, Exod 33:15; or the same uncreated Angel Christ, who hath hitherto accompanied us, and then I am content. But I am at a great loss by thy withdrawing thy cloudy pillar from the people to whom it is to be a guide. I know thee by name, i.e. distinctly and familiarly, as one whom I have much converse with, and great kindness for; thy name is written in my book. Compare Exod 32:32-33; Ps 87:5-6; Phil 4:3. And knowing here notes approbation and affection, as Ps 1:6; Matt 7:23 compare Jer 1:5.
Exod 33:13. Show me now thy way; the course and manner of thy dealings with men, and particularly thy purpose and will concerning me and thy people, and the method which thou wilt choose for the fulfilling of thy promise, and the course which thou wouldst have me take, and the way by which I shall conduct thy people to the Promised Land. That I may know thee, i.e. thy mind herein; men are said to know God when they know his mind and will; or that I may experimentally know thee to be what thou hast promised thou wilt be to me and to thy people; or rather, that I may thereby know thee, namely, that I shall find grace in thy sight, as it follows; that I may be assured that thou wilt be reconciled to and present with me and thy people. Thy people, both by thy own choice and purpose, and promise to their parents, and by their recognition of thee for their God, and their returning to thee again.
Exod 33:14. My presence, Heb. my face, i.e. I myself, by comparing this with 2 Sam 17:11. The Angel of my presence, Isa 63:9; the pledge of my presence, the cloudy pillar; and I will not turn thee over to an angel, as I threatened, Exod 34:2. See Deut 4:34. I will give thee rest; not only rest from thy present anguish and perplexity of mind for thy people, but in due time I will bring them to their restingplace and settled habitation; for it is evident from Exod 34:15-16, that Moses’s care and prayer was more for the people than for himself.
Exod 33:15. Let us rather live and die in the wilderness with thy presence and favour, than go into Canaan without it; for even that promise of rest I value not without thy presence. So he echoes back God’s words to himself, and turns God’s promise into a prayer.
Exod 33:16. Wherein shall it be known here? by what other token shall other nations and after-ages know? So shall we be separated, i.e. distinguished by thy peculiar kindness and privileges afforded to us. Or, be made wonderful, or eminent, or glorious above all other people.
Exod 33:18. i.e. Thy glorious majesty, the brightness of thy countenance, some such manifestation of thyself as becomes thy excellency, and such as shall be seen in the other life; or that glorious shape which, together with a human voice, thou hast now assumed. But for the essence of God, as that was and is and ever will be invisible to bodily eyes, 1 Tim 6:16, so a man of such great reason and deep knowledge in Divine things, and universal learning, could not be ignorant of it, and therefore would not desire it.
Exod 33:19. All my goodness, or, my beauty; for so that Hebrew word is sometimes used, Gen 6:2; 1 Sam 9:2; or my excellency, or my glory, as appears from Exod 33:22, which was the thing Moses desired to see; and the difference between his request and God’s answer doth not lie in glory and goodness, but in showing his glory so as Moses might gaze upon it, and making it only, as it follows, to pass before him, to wit, in a sudden and very transitory vision; though it may be understood properly of God’s goodness and kindness to men, of which the following words speak, and that was the great, if not the only thing ascribed to God, Exod 34:6-7. The name of the Lord, i.e. my name; the noun for the pronoun, as is very frequent. I will give thee notice when I come, that thou mayst attend; I will not surprise thee, nor steal by thee. Or will proclaim, or publish of the name of the Lord, or of my name, i.e. some part of it, especially my goodness, which may seem to be here principally intended, 1. By comparing this with Exod 34:6-7. 2. By the following words, which seem a limitation of this general expression: q.d. I will proclaim, manifest, and impart my goodness, but with a difference, not to all men, but to whom I please. 3. By other places, where the name of the Lord is principally, if not solely, understood of his goodness, as Isa 1:10, and in many places of the Psalms. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious: this may seem to be added, with reference to the people for whom Moses is interceding, lest Moses should misunderstand or misapply what is said here, and Exod 34:6-7. The sense is, I will show this peculiar favour to thee, I will also be gracious towards the people thou pleadest for, but not promiscuously. Some of them I will severely and eternally punish for this and their other sins; and some of them I will pardon and save, not because they are righteous, or innocent, or less sinners than the rest, but merely out of my own good pleasure and most free grace, whereby I will show mercy to some, when I will not show mercy to others. Thus this place is interpreted by the apostle, Rom 9:16, etc.
Exod 33:20. My face; either, 1. My essence. But that no man can see, neither in this life, nor in the next. Or rather, 2. My glorious presence.
This may note either, 1. God’s purpose that that blissful vision of God in glory shall be given to no man here, but is reserved for the future life. Or rather, 2. The impossibility of the thing from man’s weakness, which is such, that if God should display all the beams of his glory to him, it would certainly astonish, overwhelm, and destroy him.
Exod 33:21. There is a place by me, in this mountain where my residence and glorious presence now is, and in that part of it whence my voice now cometh to thine ears.
Exod 33:22. That thou mayst not be undone by thy own desires, nor swallowed up with the sight of my glory.
Exod 33:23. My back parts, i.e. imperfectly and in part, as when we see only a man’s back parts, and not his face. Thou shalt see a shadow or obscure delineation of my glory, as much as thou canst bear, though not as much as thou dost desire.
Exod 34:1: God commands Moses to hew two tables of stone like the former, wherein he promises to write.
Exod 34:4: Moses goes with these tables up to the mount.
Exod 24:5: God descends in a cloud.
Exod 34:6-7: He proclaims his name.
Exod 34:8-9: Moses worships.
Exod 34:10-12: God making a covenant with the people, commands them not to make a covenant with their enemies;
Exod 34:13-17: bids them beware of molten gods.
Exod 34:18: The feast of unleavened bread.
Exod 34:21: To rest on the sabbath day.
Exod 34:22-26: Other laws.
Exod 34:27: Moses wrote these words.
Exod 34:28: The time of Moses’s abode on the mount.
Exod 34:29: Moses’s face shining,
Exod 34:33-35: is covered.
Exod 34:31-32: He acquaints the people with what the Lord told him.
Exod 34:1. The first tables were made immediately by God, who of his own mere grace and good pleasure, and without man’s merit or contrivance, entered into covenant with Abraham and his seed. These tables must be made by Moses, partly in token of God’s displeasure for their sin, and partly to signify, that though the covenant of grace was first made without man’s care and counsel, yet it should not be renewed but by man’s repentance. And as the tables of stone signified the hardness of their hearts, so the hewing of them by Moses might signify the circumcision and ploughing up of their hearts, that they might be fit for the receiving of God’s mercies, and the performance of their duties. The words that were in the first tables; to show God’s reception of Israel into his favour, and their former state, and that the law and covenant of God was neither abolished nor changed by their sin.
Exod 34:2-3. This is said, not for the beasts, which are not capable of a law, but to restrain the presumption and curiosity of the people, by this argument, that even the beasts that come too near shall be destroyed, and much more man, whose knowledge aggravates his sin and punishment.
Exod 34:4-5. In the cloud; in the cloudy pillar, which ordinarily stood up in the air above the mount, but came down to the top of it when God spake with Moses. See Exod 33:9; Num 11:17,25. Stood with him there, to wit, in the mount, Exod 34:2,4, and the clift of a rock, Exod 33:22, which was in the mount, and near the top of it, as appears by comparing these places together.
Exod 34:6. The Lord God: this title shows his glorious being, power, and authority; the following titles note his goodness to men. Abundant in goodness and truth; in fulfilling all his gracious promises made to Abraham, and to his seed, and to all his people; wherein he is said to be abundant, because he generally is better than his word, and gives more than he promised. There is a truth in Divine threatenings, but here the situation of this word in the midst of the attributes of Divine goodness plainly shows that it is to be restrained to the promises; this being usual and reasonable, that general words have their signification limited by the context. And indeed here seems to be a hendyadis, goodness and truth, for true, sincere, and hearty goodness, as mercy and truth are oft put for true and real mercy. See Ps 25:10; Ps 57:3, etc.
Exod 34:7. For thousands; the Chaldee and some others render it, for a thousand generations. Iniquity, and transgression, and sin; sins of all sorts and sizes, secret or open, infirmities or presumptions, against God or men, as the heap of various words here put together signifies. That will by no means clear the guilty: this is commonly esteemed a title of justice or vengeance, which is here added by way of correction lest men should mistake or abuse God’s mercy. God is most gracious indeed, but so as he is also just, and will not pity nor spare impudent and impenitent transgressors, but will severely punish them. And the Jewish doctors hereupon observe, that the mercy of God doth far exceed his justice; here being, as they number them, thirteen attributes of mercy, and but one of justice. But this translation and interpretation is rejected by some late learned interpreters, who make this an attribute of God’s goodness or clemency, and render the words thus, In destroying he will not utterly destroy, though visiting, etc.: q.d. He is so gracious, that though he will severely punish the iniquity of the fathers, and especially their idolatry, upon themselves, and upon their children, etc., as he hath said, Exod 20:5, yet in judgment he will remember mercy, and will not utterly destroy his people for their sins. There are many things which favour this interpretation. 1. This suits most with Moses’s solicitude and prayer for the people of Israel, which was that God would not utterly destroy them, as he threatened to do. 2. This sense best agrees with God’s promise, Exod 33:19, I will make all my goodness pass before thee; which general promise is particularly explained and performed in these two verses. 3. This place doth not speak of God’s disposition and carriage towards his enemies, against whom he proceeds with great severity, and commands the Israelites to do so in the verses here following; but towards his people, whose cause Moses is all along pleading with God. See Exod 32:11-13,31-32; Exod 33:13,15; Exod 34:9. 4. The Hebrew verb here used frequently signifies to make empty or desolate, to empty men of their goods, or places of men. See Isa 3:26; Amos 4:6. So here, he will not utterly empty or destroy: though he will leave the marks of his vengeance for this sin upon thy people, even to their third and fourth generation; or, if it may be, further; yet he will not utterly root them out, which is the great thing thou fearest and labourest to prevent. And this very phrase, here used, we have in Jer 30:11, and repeated Jer 46:28, where, though interpreters generally render it, I will not leave thee altogether unpunished, which may make a good sense, yit seems much better to be rendered, I will not utterly destroy thee, (1.) Because hereby these words exactly answer to the foregoing clause, yet will I not make a full end of thee, and so the same thing is elegantly repeated in other words, which is very frequent in Scripture. (2.) Because here is an opposition between the severity God useth to other people, and the kindness he useth to his own people, which is manifest in the former member of the verse, and therefore most probable and agreeable in this. 5. This is much confirmed from Num 14:18, where Moses, pleading with God for the pardon of his people’s sin, useth this very phrase and argument, as taken out of God’s mouth, which in this sense is very proper and prevalent, Thou hast said, that even when thou dost visit iniquity, etc., thou wilt not utterly destroy them. And God answers him, Exod 34:20, I have pardoned according to thy word, i.e. so as not utterly to destroy them. But truly as I live, etc., Exod 34:21-23, i.e. But I will severely punish them. But if this had been the meaning, Lord, thou hast said thou wilt by no means clear the guilty, as we render it, it was a most improper argument, and put a sword into the Lord’s hand to slay them even by virtue of this consideration.
Exod 34:8-9. It is a stiffnecked people, and therefore need thy glorious and powerful presence to rule them. Or rather, though it be a stiffnecked people, as thou sayest, yet forsake them not. The Hebrew particle chi oft signifies though, as Exod 5:11; Isa 44:6. Take us for thine inheritance, i.e. deal with us as men do with their inheritances, dwell among us, protect us, improve us.
Exod 34:10. Behold, I make a covenant, i.e. I do hereby renew my covenant with thy people which they had violated and voided by their sin. But the shortness of the phrase, there being no mention here of any with whom this covenant is made or renewed, and the following words, make it more probable that this covenant is nothing but a solemn promise or engagement that God will do the thing which here follows. And the word covenant is oft used for a mere promise, as Gen 9:9, etc.; Lev 24:8; Num 18:19; Num 25:12. It is a terrible thing that I will do with thee; either, 1. By thy ministry, as that phrase is sometimes used, as 1 Cor 15:10. Or, 2. In the midst of thee, i.e. of thy people, as Exod 34:11, before thee, i.e. before thy people. This I prefer, because the next verse explains this of such things as were not done by Moses’s ministry, nor in his time, but afterwards.
Exod 34:11-13. Which at first were used by good men for their devotion,
as Gen 21:33; but afterwards being horribly abused to superstition and idolatry, were by God, s command to be destroyed.
Exod 34:14. Whose name is Jealous; who hath made himself known by, and glories in that name, The jealous God, who cannot endure any competitor or corrival; whereas the false and puny gods of the heathens were contented with multitudes of partners. So this is properly said to be the name of God, whereby he is known and distinguished from all other gods.
Exod 34:15. A covenant, for cohabitation, or to suffer them quietly to live among you, whom you should drive out. Go a whoring, i.e. commit idolatry, which is oft called and compared to spiritual whoredom. See Jer 2; Jer 3; Ezek 16. And thou eat of his sacrifice to wit of the parts or remainders of his sacrifice, whereby thou wilt partake with him in an idolatrous worship; because such feasts were a part of the worship offered to the idol, and were accompanied with solemn benedictions and thanksgivings to the idol. See Num 25:2; Ps 106:28; Ezek 18:6; Ezek 22:9; 1 Cor 10:20; Rev 2:20.
Exod 34:16-17. Nor graven, nor any other, as it plainly appears both from the nature of the things, and from many parallel scriptures; but he mentions molten, because their late idol was of that kind.
Exod 34:18-19. Heb. And (for that is, as the particle and is oft used; the words following here, and Exod 34:20, being a particular explication of the general sentence in the beginning of this verse) all thy cattle which (a particle oft understood) shall be born male, (as it is also explained Exod 13:12) the opening, or, whatsoever (to wit, of the male kind) openeth the matrix (which word is fitly understood out of the former member; which is very usual) of ox or (and put for or, as it is oft done) sheep.
Exod 34:20. Either without a gift to me, so it is a precept; or without benefit to himself, so it is a promise. See Exod 23:15.
Exod 34:21. Which times are expressed, because the great profit and seeming necessity of working at that time was likely to be a powerful temptation to make men break the sabbath.Exod 34:22. The feast of weeks, i.e. which is numbered by weeks being just seven weeks after the passover, whence it is called Pentecost, i.e. the fiftieth day, to wit, after the passover. See Lev 23:15; Lev 25:8. The firstfruits of wheat harvest; so this is a designation of the time and business of the feast of weeks. The feast of ingathering, to wit, of the fruits of the earth. The year’s end; so it was in regard of the jubilee and civil contracts.
Exod 34:23-24. I will cast out the nations; so thou shalt have no intestine enemy to do time or thine mischief. This God promised to do, but upon condition of Israel’s discharge of their duty in following God in this work of driving them out, which they neglecting, it was not fully done. Neither shall any man desire thy land; I will not only tie their hands, that they shall make no invasion upon you, but I will take off their thoughts and affections from such an enterprise, which it was very easy for God to effect many ways.
Exod 34:25-26. First of the firstfruits; thou shalt not delay to do this, but shalt bring the very first of them. Or, the firstfruits, even the firstfruits of thy land; which limitation seems here conveniently added, because they were not bound to bring thither all their firstfruits, to wit, those of their own bodies, their children.
Exod 34:27. Objection. God saith, I will write, Exod 34:1. Answer 1. Moses was to write the ritual precepts mentioned here above, God wrote the moral law. 2. Moses wrote what he wrote in a book; see Exod 24:7; but what was written upon the tables of stone was written by God himself, not by Moses, who had no graving instruments with him in the mount, and could not without them write upon the stone.
Exod 34:28. He was there forty days and forty nights; as he had been before, being now to renew the broken covenant. This forty days’ fast of his is mentioned four times, Exod 24:18, and here, and Deut 9:18; Deut 10:10, but it is evident it was performed but twice, as the occasion of it happened only twice. He wrote, not Moses, but the Lord, as appears from Exod 24:1, and from Deut 10, the relative pronoun being here referred to the remoter antecedent, of which there are many instances, as Gen 10:12; 1 Sam 21:14; 1 Sam 27:8; Ps 99:6.
Exod 34:29. Question. Why now, and not when he came down from God before? Answer 1. Because now he obtained what he did not before, to wit, a glimpse of the Divine glory, which, though but very transient, left its print upon his face. 2. Now it was more necessary than before, to procure the greater honour to Moses, and to the law, 2 Cor 3:7-8,11, because of the late horrid Violation and contempt of them, which the Israelites had fallen into.
Exod 34:30-31. Unto him, to the tabernacle, which was still at a distance from the camp, though afterwards, God being reconciled, it was set up in the camp, Exod 40:34.
Exod 34:32-33. In condescension to their weakness.
Exod 35:1-3: The command to observe the sabbath;
Exod 35:4-5: and to bring a freewill offering to the Lord.
Exod 35:6-19: The furniture of the tabernacle.
Exod 35:20-24: Men and women bring their jewels for the same.
Exod 35:25-26: Understanding women spin.
Exod 35:27-29: The chief of the people bring in precious stones and spices.
Exod 35:30-35: God endues Bezaleel and Aholiab with a spirit of wisdom for this work.
Exod 35:1-2. This command of the sabbath is repeated here, as also Exod 31:13, together with the instructions for the building of the tabernacle, and its utensils, to show that they were made for no other use than the service of God, which was to be performed, as every day, so in an eminent and peculiar manner upon the sabbath day, and to teach them the absolute necessity of minding that precept in and above all their ceremonial observations.
Exod 35:3. This command seems to be only temporary and extraordinary during the present season and condition, and not extending to succeeding generations. For, 1. There are instances of temporary precepts both in the Old and New Testament, which yet are not in their places said to be so. Such were some of the precepts concerning the passover, Exod 12:11, as is confessed. And such was that law of abstaining from things strangled, and blood, Acts 15. 2.
This precept is nakedly proposed, and not called a perpetual statute, nor enjoined to be observed in their generations, as other precepts are, to whom those, or some like clauses, are frequently added. 3. The sabbath is rather a feast day than a fast day. And the Jews did make feasts, and invited guests upon the sabbath day, which could not probably be without kindling a fire. And, which is more considerable, Christ himself, who fulfilled all righteousness, and therefore would not have joined in the violation of the sabbath, went to one of those feasts, Luke 14. And the Corinthians, as they received the Lord’s supper upon that day, which none question, so they had their feasts, as is confessed and apparent from 1 Cor 11:21-22, etc. 4. The kindling of a fire was no greater hinderance to the religious observation of the sabbath, than other things which were allowed upon that day, such as the washing and dressing of themselves, eating and drinking, etc. 5. This prohibition doth not seem to concern the dressing of meat, as many understand it, by comparing this with Exod 16:23, (which place I humbly conceive is misunderstood, as I have there intimated, for that was lawful to be done upon, their most solemn days, Exod 12:16) but the service of the tabernacle, which is the subject of this chapter, and the occasion of these words; and the sense seems to be this, You shall kindle no fire for any handiwork throughout your habitation, no, not for the service of this tabernacle, for the heating of any tools, or the melting of any metals, or other things belonging to it, which being to be made for God’s service, and deserving and requiring all expedition, they might probably conceive that such work might be done upon that day. And here also, as oft elsewhere, under one kind, all the rest are comprehended and forbidden.
Exod 35:4-5. Whosoever is of a willing heart, for God values not forced or grudged services, 2 Cor 9:7.
Exod 35:6-10. i.e. Every skilful artist; for though God had prescribed the things, yet it required wisdom and skill to execute what God commanded.
Exod 35:11. The tabernacle, i.e. the boards or structure of the tabernacle, as it appears, because it is distinguished here from its tent and curtains; whereas elsewhere the tabernacle is put for all together. His tent; the inward and finer curtains which covered the boards of it. His covering; the outward and coarser coverings.
Exod 35:12. i.e. Which was hanged before the ark and mercyseat.
Exod 35:13. But neither did God prescribe the making of the shewbread amongst the other utensils, Exod 25, nor was this made by the workmen here spoken of, but by others. How then comes this to be mentioned here? Answer 1. The shewbread may be here put for the vessels for the receiving the shewbread, by a usual metonymy of the adjunct, the thing contained put for the thing containing; as treasures are put for the place where the treasures are put, Ps 135:7; Matt 2:11; Matt 12:35, and the gifts or offerings of God for the treasury where they were put, Luke 21:4. Hence Tremellius renders this place, and the vessels of the shewbread. Objection. All the vessels of the table are mentioned before, of which this was one. Answer. It is not unusual after a general expression comprehending all distinctly to name one eminent member of that kind, such as this unquestionably was, the table being made principally for this use. Thus Mark 16:7, Tell my disciples and Peter. Like examples are in 2 Sam 2:30; 1 Kings 11:1; Ps 18:1; Acts 11:4, and in other authors. And for the particle vau, and, which may seem to imply that these were things of another kind, and not any vessels of the table, that is oft put for especially, as Josh 2:1; Mark 16:7, and so only notes an eminent thing of the same kind, as hath been said. Answer 2. Though God did not prescribe the making of the shewbread, yet he mentions it, together with the table, Exod 25:30, and therefore it is conveniently mentioned with the table in this place also, where Moses, to show his exactness and fidelity, doth punctually repeat the same things to the people which he had received in command from God. In like manner the oil, which fed the light of the lamps, is mentioned here in the next verse, because the lighting of the lamps was prescribed, Exod 25:37.
Exod 35:14-21. Whose heart stirred him up, i.e. whose heart being desirous and ready to serve God, engaged his hand to offer what he had to his service.
Exod 35:22. Earrings. Objection. Aaron had got these from them for the making of the calf, Exod 32. Answer. Though the generality of the people did then part with their earrings, yet there was a considerable number who did not, as being unsatisfied with that idolatrous design; and it may seem that the women would not part with theirs, being more fond of their ornaments than of their idols. See the notes on Exod 32:3.
Exod 35:23-26. In wisdom: this word seems better to agree with the following than with the foregoing word, they spun with wisdom, i.e. with skill and art.
Exod 35:27-34. That he may teach, to wit, others to work under him; for the work required many hands; and it is a peculiar gift of God to be apt to teach, which every skilful man hath not.
Exod 36:1-4: Moses committeth the work to Bezaleel and Aholiab.
Exod 36:5-6: The liberality of the people is forbid.
Exod 36:8-13: The curtains of cherubims.
Exod 36:14-38: The curtains of goats’ hair, etc. all belonging to the tabernacle.
Exod 36:1. Of the sanctuary, or, of the holy place, to wit, of the tabernacle, so called by a prolepsis and synecdoche.
Exod 36:2. God had qualified them before, but that is not sufficient without a call.
Exod 36:3. Which time they chose as the first and best part of the day, and therefore for fittest for God’s service.
Exod 36:4-6. The women did part of this work as well as the men. See Exod 35:25
Exod 36:7-14. i.e. For the outward covering of the tabernacle. See Exod 35:11
Exod 36:15-35. To wit, the second veil, which separated between the holy place and the holy of holies, because the first veil is described Exod 36:37
Exod 36:36-37. This door divided the holy place from the court.
Exod 36:38. Whereas the pillars are said to be overlaid with gold, Exod 36:37, that hence appears to be a synecdochial expression, in regard the tops and knobs of the pillars were wholly overlaid with gold, and the rest of the pillars adorned with divers golden girdles or hoops; for that place is in all reason to be explained by this, as coming after it, and containing the execution of that prescript, and that more particularly than is there expressed.
Exod 37:1-5: Bezaleel makes the ark of shittim wood.
Exod 37:6-9: The mercyseat with cherubims.
Exod 37:11-16: The table with its vessels.
Exod 37:17-21: The candlestick with its lamps and instruments.
Exod 37:25-28: The altar of incense.
Exod 37:29: The anointing oil, and sweet incense.
Exod 36:1-7. On the end, or, made out of the end; for they were to be of the same piece with the mercyseat, Exod 25:19.
Exod 38:1-7: The altar of burn offering, with its furniture,
Exod 38:8: laver of brass.
Exod 38:9-20: The court, and the hangings thereof.
Exod 38:22-23: Bezaleel and Aholiab make all ready.
Exod 38:24-31: The sums of what the people offered.
Exod 38:1-8. Lookingglasses, as now they are sometimes made of polished steel, so anciently were made of polished brass, as appears both from sacred and from profane writers. See Job 37:18; Phil 3:9, etc. The words following seem to note a company of religious women, who in a more peculiar manner devoted themselves to the service of God in or about his tabernacle, by fasting, prayer, etc. See 1 Sam 2:22; Luke 2:37. And whereas some object that the tabernacle was not yet built, it may be replied, either that this is to be understood of the tabernacle spoken of Exod 33:7, which might serve for that purpose till this was built; or that here is a prolepsis or anticipation, and that he speaks not of what the women now did, but of what they did after the tabernacle was built, which was before Moses writ these words.
Exod 38:9-10. Upon the hooks they hanged the beasts to be sacrificed, as the Jews affirm.
Exod 38:11-18. The height relates to its standing or hanging upright, and the breadth relates to the hanging itself, and the height of the hanging was taken in the breadth.
Exod 38:19-21. This doth not belong to the following account of gold and silver, but to the foregoing particulars of holy things relating to the tabernacle, for these only were committed to the care of the Levites, as it here follows, but this gold and silver was put into other hands. For the service of the Levites, i.e. for those holy uses and services which the Levites administered.
Exod 38:22-24. Every talent contained three thousand shekels. See Gen 23:15; Exod 30:13. It is not said that all this gold and following silver were used about the building of the tabernacle, for the people brought much more than enough, Exod 36:5. And these remains, it is probable, were put into the sacred treasury, to be used as occasion should require.
Exod 39:1: The holy garments.
Exod 39:2-7: The ephod.
Exod 39:8-21: The breastplate, with twelve stones therein.
Exod 39:22-26: The robe of the ephod.
Exod 39:27-29: The coats, mitre, and girdle of fine linen.
Exod 39:30-31: The plate of the holy crown.
Exod 39:32-43: All is viewed and approved by Moses.
Exod 39:1-43. i.e. Both the people for their liberal contribution, and the workmen for their great care and industry.
Exod 40:1-8: The tabernacle is commanded to be reared;
Exod 40:9-11: and anointed,
Exod 40:12-15: Aaron and his sons sanctified.
Exod 40:16-33: Moses performeth all things accordingly.
Exod 40:34-38: A cloud covereth the tabernacle.
Exod 40:1-2. To wit, of the second year after their coming out of Egypt, as is evident.
Exod 40:3-4. The things that are to be set in order; the vessels belonging to it, and the shewbread, Exod 25:29-30
Exod 40:5-6. i.e. The tabernacle which is covered with a tent. See Exod 35:11. Though elsewhere the words tabernacle and tent are promiscuously used.
Exod 40:7-15. i.e. A sign or seal that their priesthood shall continue as long as their polity lasts, till the coming of Messias. He signifies that this unction should be sufficient for all succeeding priests; they should not need to be anointed again, except the successive high priests. See Exod 29:7,29; Lev 4:3; Lev 16:32; Lev 21:10
Exod 40:16-17. Second year after their coming out of Egypt, Num 7:1.
Exod 40:18-27. This is wisely and seasonably added, because this was a work peculiar to the priest, and not to be done by Moses without God’s express command.
Exod 40:28-29. The burnt-offering and the meat offering, for the consecration of the altar, this being the first sacrifice.
Exod 40:30-34. i.e. The glorious presence of God, which having been forfeited and lost was now returned to them, and took its habitation among them.
Exod 40:35. Moses was not able to enter in, partly because of the extraordinary thickness and brightness of the cloud, which both dazzled his eyes and struck him with horror, as 1 Kings 8:11; and partly, because of his great reverence and dread of that eminent and glorious appearance of God; and partly, because he was not called to it, as he was not able to go up into the mount till he was called, Exod 24:16.
Exod 40:36-38. The same pillar which in the daytime was like a cloud, in the night-time had the appearance of fire. See Exod 13:21.