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cursion of amusement, under the plea of religious service. Thus the worldly wisdom, and cruel words, of the king of Egypt, though grossly foolish, and manifestly false, in the case to which he applied them, may well teach us this useful lesson; that increased diligence in our daily work, is one of the best remedies for a roving imagination, and ungovernable thoughts. Let those, who suffer by any such temptations, set themselves diligently to work, at something useful to man, and honourable to God. Whatsoever of this kind their hands find to do, let them do it with all their might. And the less time they allow their hands to be idle, there will be the less risk of their thoughts leading them astray.
The officers, having in vain complained to Pharaoh, next found fault with Moses and Aaron; to whose interference they ascribed all their trouble. And Moses, distressed by their reproachful language "returned to the Lord," that is to say, betook himself to communing with God, in the way of earnest prayer and intercession. He too made complaint; but he poured out his grief, not before man, but God. And we shall see in the chapter following, how gracious was the answer he received. And yet there appears to be more of freedom in his words, considering that they were addressed to the most high God, than in those of the officers addressed to Pharaoh. And we might almost suppose him to have spoken in disappointment, as one that was discontented with the dealings of the Lord. But no doubt it was true concern for God's honour, and not discontent in regard to his own, which gave rise to this warmth of expression. And we scarcely know how much freedom we might safely use in prayer, if it were all animated by this single motive, our wish to glorify the Lord. Whilst therefore we pray soberly, and with reverence, let us also pray fervently, and with love. Whilst we draw nigh to God under a due impression of the greatness of his Majesty; let us make known our requests with a lively zeal for the furtherance of his glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O heavenly Father, why hast Thou so long delayed, to redress the wrongs of thy faithful servants, and to put an end to the prosperity of thy enemies? Why is it allotted to the disciples of thy Son that in the world they must have tribulation? Raise up, we pray Thee, thy power, and with great might succour us. Hasten, oh hasten, we beseech Thee, the coming of the day of the Lord! And grant that we being stedfast in faith, joyful in hope, and fervent in charity, may abide in thy love, and enter into thy rest, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God reneweth his covenant by his name Jehovah.
1 Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.
2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem
you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and Iwill give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 12 And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?
Slow progress of the Gospel at home no objection to foreign missions. We read in the last chapter, the urgent intercession of Moses with God; which seemed almost to amount to a remonstrance. Here we find how graciously God replied to it. "Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh : for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land." Let but God undertake the matter, and then the most stubborn must fain yield; then Pharaoh, instead of refusing to let the people go, shall himself hasten their departure. Oh that God may overcome, by his grace, that which is yet stubborn in our will; and then the very duties which we now do unwillingly, or refuse to do at all, we shall do zealously, gladly, thankfully!
"And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord," that is to say, I am Jehovah. By way of encouraging
his messenger, and through him the children of Israel, God reminds him of the names by which He had revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; declaring that He was the same whom they had known as "God Almighty;" and asking, for it probably ought to be read as a question, "by my name Jehovah was I not known to them?" What He had promised in that name He was now about to perform. In that name He had established his covenant, and now He would fulfil it. He had not forgotten it, though He had suffered the children of Israel to groan under the burdens of the Egyptians. Wherefore He now desires Moses to give his message to his people, that He certainly would bring them out, and rid them, and redeem them, by a signal interference of divine power; that He would take them to Him for a people, and would be to them a God, so that they should know that it was Jehovah which delivered them; and that He would bring them into the promised land, and give it to them for their own inheritance. "And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage." This was indeed an "evil case," ch. 5. 19, to be so bowed down by oppression that they could not give heed to a message of deliverance. This was worse than being wrung by cruelty, to be deaf to mercy. God grant that we may never be thus stupified, either by the sufferings or by the pleasures of this present life; never made insensible to the glad tidings of great joy, to the promise of life eternal in the heavens, which God reveals to us by his Son, our Saviour!
When Moses had spoken to so little purpose to the Israelites, offering them comfort, it was no wonder that he shrunk from going in, to speak to Pharaoh, to demand the deliverance of his brethren. "Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?" who being an Israelite am as strange to an Egyptian, as one that is uncircumcised to one that is circumcised? Yet this should be no objection against the command of God. Nor because we find the labours of the Christian ministry making but slow progress amongst professed Christians, may we conclude that it is of no use to attempt by their means the conversion of the heathen. God has bidden us go in, and speak to Pharaoh, Christ has commanded us to preach the Gospel amongst all nations. And the ill success of our preaching at home, must lead us, whilst we redouble our efforts here, to be also diligent in sending preachers abroad. There is many an Egypt, that has Israelites in captivity in the midst of it. Let us go in, and proclaim the truth unto them; and lo, the truth shall make them free.
The charge given to Moses and Aaron; their genealogy. 13 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 14 These be the heads of their fathers' houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben.
21 And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zithri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri. 23 And Aaron took him Eli
15 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.
18 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years.
19 And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.
20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.
sheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
24 And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites.
25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites, according to their families.
26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.
27 These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron.
28 And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,
29 That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
30 And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?
The manifestations of private character in the inspired writers. We ought to bear in mind that the writer of this history was Moses; the same person of whom so much is herein recorded. And
we shall then better see the reason, for his making mention of several of the circumstances here set down. This will account for his repeating his own words of unwillingness to go in to Pharaoh; words of which he was no doubt afterwards himself ashamed, and which he felt so much the more bound, as a true historian, to make known to the reader. This will account, on the same principle, for his setting down the near relationship between his father and his mother. For though such marriages do not appear to have been unlawful in the time of Amram, they were afterwards forbidden by the law of Moses; and he would not suppress, as if partial to himself, what might in any measure seem a blot upon his family. This was one reason for his setting down this genealogy so fully; including, besides the children of Levi, those of Levi's elder brothers, Reuben and Simeon; that we might know exactly the proper place and rank of Moses and Aaron, in the whole family of Israel. Nor must we here omit mentioning how faithfully, in the book of Genesis, he has set down the treachery of Levi in the avenging of Dinah, and the reproof which Levi met with from the dying lips of Jacob. Lastly this circumstance, that Moses was the writer of the book, will also account for his dwelling with such care on the solemn charge which God gave to him and Aaron; that we might know that they took not their office on themselves, but were duly commissioned by God.
But in saying that these things were thus written, because Moses was the writer, do we mean to say that Moses wrote what is here written according to his own will and pleasure? Do we forget that it is of the word of God that we are speaking, and not of the word of man? Far from it. Far be it from us to doubt, as to every one of these five books, that Moses was one of those holy men of God, who "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Pet. 1. 21. But God, who vouchsafed to use their tongues and pens, for the revelation of his will, did also press into the same holy service their natural dispositions and acquired graces. And Moses, in conveying to us what the Spirit by him revealed, no more ceased to express himself in his own style, and make manifest in his words his own character, than he ceased to speak in his own voice, or to write in his accustomed hand. Whether therefore the virtues of the saint, or the frailty of the man, are observable in the earthen vessel, by whose means the heavenly treasure is conveyed, let us in any case give God the glory. Let us thank Him for the many graces, manifest for our use, in the characters of his servants the prophets. But yet more let us thank Him for that truth, revealed by them, which whether they were weak or mighty, whether they were slow of speech or eloquent, is able to make us "wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 3. 15.