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all the miracles I have charged thee with; yet be affured, that I will bring frael out of their bondage like a triumphant army, and the Egyptians fhall know, that I am the LORD. Go therefore, and let your mighty works convince that proud tyrant at leaft, that your meffage is from a greater and more powerful Monarch than he d.. Mofes and Aaron forthwith obeyed; and, having prefented themfelves before Pharaoh, confirmed their meilage by Firft mithe first miracle, and Mofes threw down his rod, which' Mofes's turned immediately into a ferpent. Here Pharaoh fent, rod turned to try what his magicians could do, and thefe likewife into a fer turned their rods into ferpents; fo that all the fuperiority pent. which Mofes fhewed over them at this time was, that his The magirod fwallowed up thofe of the Egyptians (E). However, cians do this the fame by theirs.
d Exod. vi.
bear quite another fenfe, and only fhew, that though he had long ago, deferved to be defroyed, yet. God thought fit to let him fubfift, till he had, by his many wonders, delivered his people, in spight of all his oppofition.
And here, fince we are entering into a long scene of Mafes's miracles, the greatest part of which were imitated by the magicians of Pharaoh, it will not be amifs to inquire who the latter were, by what power they performed thofe wonders, and why they came fhort of fome of thofe of Mofes. As to the firft, we promised in a former place to prove, that they were Jannes and Fambres (3) mentioned by St. Paul to have withftood Mofes (4) Pli ny calls them Jamnesand Jota pha (5), when, fpeaking of the fect of the magicians, he fays, that Mofes, Jamnes, and Jotas pha, were the heads and foundAnd Philo introduces the Egy-ers of it. They are celebrat
(E) The Talmud has preferved us a tradition of a proverbial taunt, with which the Egyptians flouted Mofes, when he began to work his miracles among them; Thou bringeft Araw to Affra, a place in Egypt where ftraw abounded; meaning, that he had chofen the wrong place to play his conjuring tricks in, a country that was fo well stocked with conjurers. Origen says, that they (the Egyptians) did not abfolutely deny the miracles of Mofes; but only pretended, that they were done by delufion, and not by a divine power (1).
ptian magicians fpeaking to
(4) 2 Tim. ii, 1.
(1) Orig, cint. Celf. lib. iii. (2) Phil. in vit. Mef. Vid. Warren cont. Burnet, p. 40. (3) Vid. fup. p. 348, 349, (P). (5) Lib. xxx, ce I.
this advantage made no great impreffion on Pharaoh, who Second mi.might attribute it only to his fuperior skill in magic. This miracle therefore was foon followed, by another, racle, the which was turning all the running and ftanding waters of turned in-Egypt into blood; so that there was not a drop of water left
ed in the Talmud (4) under the names of fochani and Mamri. The targum of Jonathan (5) affirms them to have been Balaam's fons; and that they went along with him to Batak king of Moab. t Some Jewish authors call them Janes and Fambres; others, Jocbanan and Mamre; and o:hers, Jonah and Jombres (6); and pretend, that they were drowned in the Red Sea with the Egyptians; though others think that they were not deftroyed till the war which Phineas waged againft the Midianites (7).
The Mohammedans (8), after their usual manner, have added many ridiculous ftories to this conteft, particularly
ישליכו איש מטהו ויהיולתננים that they were ordered to be
put to death by Pharaoh, who fufpected them to hold a fecret correfpondence with Mofes, becaufe they fuffered his ferpent to fwallow theirs; but, from
However, though this opinion hss been likewife maintained by feveral eminent perfons, both Jews and Chriflians (9); yet that of St. Auftin (10), that they were done by the power of the devil, has been more univerfally received, and that for the two following reafons; firft, because the Scriptures of the Old and New Teftament feem to attribute fome fuch power to evil fpirits ; and, fecondly, becaufe Mofes expreffes himself in fuch terms as manifeftly fhew, that they really imitated him in all thofe wonders they wrought. For, in this cafe of their rods being tu ned into ferpents, he doth not fay, that theymade them appear to be fuch by a deceptio-vifus; but that
it, it is plain, they looked upon the wonders wrought by the Egyptians rather as hocus pocus tricks, than fupernatural works.
they flung down every man his rod, and that they became Jerpents. And in all the other cafes, wherein they imitated him, he expreffes himself thus:
גם or ויעשו כן חרטומים the whole account they give of
yn, and the magicians did fo likewife; or, and the magicians, even they, did fo likewife. If it be asked, why
(5) Targ. in Num. xxii. 22,
(4) Tract. ninar, cap. 9. (6) Bux, torf. lexic. Talmud Fabric. de Apocr. Vet. Teft. (7) Num. xxv. 17, 18. (8) Herbelet biblioth. orient. p. 648, & feq. Monofab ap. Calmet, fub vee. Jennes. (9) Jof. ant. lib. i. . 13. Justin. Mart. quæft. orrbod. xvi. Tertul. lib. de anima. Greg. Nyffen, Ambrof. Hieron, cont. Jovin, lib. i.& al. (10) Auguft. lib. xxxvii. quæft. 79, 98, & lib. i. de Trinitate, cap. 7. Theodoret. in Exod. lib. xviii. quin. Toftar. Lyra, Burg. Cajet. Uffir. annal. plurim.
left in the whole land for the Egyptians to drink (F). This miracle was likewife imitated by the magicians, but whether upon fea-water brought on purpose, or fome fresh water from the land of Goshen, or fome of that which they had drawn out of their new-digged wells, is not eafy to guefs; though it is more probable, that they staid till the waters of the Nile, and other places, were restored to their former colour and taste. However that be, Pha- rash was not one jot the nearer being convincede: where
e Exod. vii.
GOD fuffered them to borrow this power from the devil, to invalidate, if poffible, thofe miracles which his fervant wrought by his divine power, the following reafons may be given for it; namely, first, it was neceffary that these magicians fhould be fuffered to exert the utmost of their power against Mofes, in order to clear him from the imputation of magic or forcery: for, as the notion of fuch an extraordinary art was very rife, not only among the Egyptians, but all other nations, if they had not entered into this ftrenuous competition with him, and been at length overcome by him, both the Hebrews and Egyptians would have been apter to attribute all his mi racles to his skill in magic, than to the divine power. Secondly,it wasneceffary, in order to confirm the faith of the wavering and defponding Ifraelites, by making them fee the difference between Mofes's acting by the power of GOD, and the forcerers by that of Satan. And, laftly, in order to preferve them afterwards from being feduced, by any falfe miracles,
from the true worship of GoD (11).
(F) How long they conti nued fo Mofes has not told us; for what is added afterwards in the last verse of this chapter. that feven days were completed after the turning of the waters into blood, is rather the space between this miracle and that of the frogs, which they are bid to perform in the beginning of the next chapter. For, as the divifion of the Bible into chapters was of later invention, and introduced for the better conveniency of reading it, if we join the laft verfe of the feventh with the be ginning of the eighth, it will run thus; And Jeven days were fulfilled after the turning the waters into blood, and the LORD spake, and so on, which is the fame as if he had faid, And feven days after the turning of the waters into blood, GoD fpoke to Mofes. However, this change continued long enough to kill all the fish, and to oblige the Egyptians to dig round about the river for fresh water to drink, none of the reft being fit for that, or any other ufe... (11) Rupert, Perrer, Simler. Ferus, Villet. Tremel. & al. in loc.
Third mi- fore Mofes was again fent to threaten him, that, if he did racle, of not let Ifrael go, his whole kingdom should be fo filled frogs. with frogs, that their ovens, their beds and tables, fhould fwarm with them; as they accordingly did at the time appointed,whilst the magicians, indeed, went on to perfuade him, that Mofes was only fuch another miracle-monger as they were, by imitating alfo this miracle, and bringing a fresh fwarm of frogs. They might indeed have fhewed their skill to a better purpose, if they had tried to have removed those infects, of which the Egyptians did not want this fresh supply; but it seems they had not power enough to do that. Wherefore Pharaoh was re duced to fend for Mofes, and to promife him, that he would let Ifrael go, if he would but deliver him and his country from that odious vermin. Mofes took him at his word, and, defiring him to name the time when he fhould rid the land of thofe creatures, did precifely perform his part; fo that by the next day there was not one frog left alive in all the land. But whilft his subjects were gathering them up in heaps, in order to carry them off, their french being like to have bred an infection, Pharaoh was thinking how to elude his promife, not confidering that he only made way for another plague.
FOR, when Mofes found himself baffled, he touched, Fourth mi-the duft with his rod, which was immediately turned into racle, of lice, or, as fome think, into gnats; which small infect, the lice. they fay, is more common, and the fting more tormenting, in Egypt, than any-where elfe. But our verfion feems to us more agreeable to the original, and to the generality of antient and modern tranflations and expofitors f Thefe infected man and beaft in fuch quantities, that one would have imagined, that all the duft of Egypt had been turned into lice. Pharaoh fent for his magicians, and bid them try their skill, in vain; for either their power proved too fhort, or was curtailed by a fuperior hand; fo that they were forced to acknowlege, that the finger of God did plainly difplay itself in this miracle (G). However,
Chald. Targ. JOSEPH. ant. 1. ii. c. 14. Rabbin. Mon. TAN. MUNSTER, VATAEL. JUN. BOCHART, & al...
(G) What has been faid under this head in the last note will eafily lead us to an answer to the next queftion, why the
magicians could not now bring forth lice, when they had been able to produce fwarms of frogs, and other infects. For, without
However, Pharaoh not regarding their words, Mofes and Aaron met him the next morning, as he was going down to the river, and told him, that his obftinacy would only bring more and worse plagues upon him, the next of which would be fuch mixed fwarms of flies, as would Fifth midarken the air; that God, however, would put a dif- racle, of ference between his people and the Egyptians, and that farms of 1 there should none be found in all the land of Goshen, tho' flies. the rest of the kingdom fwarmed with them; adding, that the next day fhould bring this new plague upon him. Accordingly, by the next morning the air was filled with 1 thofe infects, whofe bite was fo venomous and painful, that the mischief which they did to Egypt became into→ lerable 8, and forced the king to fend for Mofes and Aaron, 3 and to tell them, that he would give them leave to facrifice to their GOD, provided it was done within his dominions. To this they anfwered, they could not comply with his command, without imminent danger of their
Vid, Pfal. Ixxviii. 45.
without having recourfe to the common folution, that this was a creation of a new kind of vermin, which therefore could not be imitated by the devil, for which we have no warrant from the text, which exprefly calls them lice, it will be fufficient to fay, that herein Mofes fhewed his fuperior power in tying their hands from working a miracle in all refpects as eafy as any they had done till then. For this was more than fufficient to extort this confef fion from them, that he acted by a fuperior power, and that the finger of GOD was in it -(15).
juft inference; which is, that
And accordingly we find, that Pharaoh was fo fully convinced of the truth of it, that we do not read of his making any farther use of them and this will lead us to another
(15) Exod. vii. 19. Vid. Lefley's eafy method with the deifts.