« AnteriorContinuar »
23 And it came to pass, in process of time, that the king of
Egypt died : and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried; and their cry came up unto
i a form of an Egyptian word, Gershon ; and that the allusion to the Heb. ger (stranger) and shóm (there) is not founded on etymology, but only sug. gested by the Egyptian sound of the words (perhaps Moses, who was not a schoolmaster, but a man and a father, did not care). The feeling, of melancholy tenderness, represented by the name, finds expression in song such as “ Jerusalem the Golden.”. The word parishioner originally meant, 'sojourner;" so that “ Gershom” was involved in the common description of Christians.
1. Give other cases of seclusion, introductory to a great career. (1) In O. T.
history, (2) In N. T. history, (3) In General Church History. 2. (1) State in what manner seclusion may operate upon the mind in preparing
for such a career. (2) Illustrate from the national seclusion of Israel in
Sinai. 3. (1) Show how seclusion may operate unwholesomely, disabling for a great
career. (2) Refer to cases of violence to the nature of man under the
name of separation from the world. NOTE.--The wholesome discipline of solitude may be kept out of life by abuse of blessings. Thus (1) pleasant social intercourse allowed to exclude meditation alone with God. (2) Beneficent outgoing activity allowed to exclude quiet exercise of soul, so that Christian work is a noisy and shallow evasion of Christian life. (3) Reading books only of the Martha class, not those of the Mary type : stirring objective interest alone sought, not calm reflective depth. (4) Theological thinking that is only intellectual, not intuitional ; discussion without contemplation; strenuousness without devotion. (ii
. 23–25.) GLANCE AT CONTEMPORARY HISTORY.—The cases of individuals, like Melchisedek and Raguel, drawn through their outward connection with the seed of promise into visible relationship to the kingdom of God (under xviii. 9), suggest the thought that, outside of the visible kingdom, there may be individuals who are reached by the mercy of the King. Their solitariness, and disappearance from influence in after history, illustrate the value of visible ordinances, and a visible society, for the retention and transmission of the religion. In the glance at Israel's condition, the historian may be reproducing here what was exercising the mind and heart of Moses at the time. In all the Bible history there is nothing about these Egyptian settlements, on the west side of the Sinaitic Peninsula, which are known to have existed before the exodus period. Moses (cp. Ex. iv. 14) is likely to have kept in the knowledge of Israel's experience in Goshen, even though there should have been Egyptians in Sinai ("underground railway").
23. In process of time : lit. in those many days. The king—died. This may have been, at the close of a very long reign :-2.g. as has been thought, of Rameses II. But it is not really known who was this king. The point
24 God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their
groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, 25 with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the
children of Israel ; and God had respect unto them. made in the history is, that the exile of Moses had lasted forty years, when there was a change of king in Egypt. Could it be the king in i. 8? He was of an age to oppress eighty years before this. The one from whom Moses fled may have been a successor of that oppressor. Pharaoh is found only in Egyptian and in Scripture usage. This betrays, in the Scripture writer, an intimacy with ancient Egypt that is wanting in ancient Greece and Rome. The etymology of the word has been variously explained. In Scripture usage it is equivalent to "the king of Egypt”-cp. “the Czar,” the
In the Greek-Egyptian empire, it gave place to "the Ptolemies.” 23. Sighed. This is vague distress. But the continuance of oppression works it toward a pointed articulation :-Cried-cry. The Heb. words are not the same. That for cried is indefinite-a sound of distress. That for cry is a call-as if, to some one for help, unto God: doubtless, the true God of their fathers (cp. Ps. lxxviii. 34). 24. Heard - remembered. Striking anthropomorphisms. But that is not all (cp. Mat. viii. 24). In fact, the overt action of God in helping waits for the overt action of man calling for help (cp. iii. 7, etc.). This is a rule of divine procedure in human experi. ence (Ps. xxxii. 1-5). His covenant-Jacob (on the oath, see under vi. 8). On Covenant, see Introd. God's Covenant with the Patriarchs had three promises :-(1) Generally, that their seed should possess Canaan ; (2) Specially (Ge. xv. 13-16) the deliverance from Egypt'; (3) Above all, the grand fundamental (Ge. xii. 3) of blessing through them and that seed to mankind. 25. Had respect unto. The primary meaning of the word is, to know. This would make a meaning, full and impressive without the them which our translators have added. God looked on them; and knew (under vi. 3). The knowing means, not simply acquaintance with the circumstances of their condition, but compassionate appreciation of it (Ps. ciii. 11-14):—He entered into their case, and looked into their heart.
Exercise 7. 1. Compare the stoical maxim, that pain is no evil, with the Bible view as to
pain. 2. In the experience of Christ show, (1) reality of evil in pain, (2) its working
for good. 3. Give Scripture illustration of a use of evil in leading men to God.
Note on “Anthropomorphism” of compassion. It is like figurative speech. Figurative speech is not meaningless, but presents the meaning in a figure. Anthropomorphic sorrow is sorrow in human form. But it is sorrow in the bosom of God. That is incomprehensible to us. It is “anthropomorphic" in Christ weeping over Jerusalem. So, in the sympathy of Jesus, we see incarnate the pity of the Lord, who toward them that fear Him is like as a father pitying his children. Any feeling in God is to us inconceivable. Incarnation, dealing with Israel, shows the feeling as a fact. We do not understand it. Do we understand anything? (Jn. i. 14).
CHAP. III. 1. Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in
law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even
The Campaign in Plan: 1. CALL OF MOSES (Chap. iii.).
In the Introduction we have noted similar cases of miraculous manifestation of God, for the personal establishment of men in the faith, on occasions of dependence of God's kingdom on their personal establishment. The three disciples, and Paul, were in the early prime of life when they were thus visited. Jesus and John the Baptist were only thirty when they began their ministries. Moses, eighty years old (Ps. xc. is “of Moses”), may have completely despaired, -excepting one thing, and that, only a vague traditionary word. If the personal conviction and establishment of Moses bé a foreshadow and first-fruits of what is to be seen in Israel ; on the other hand, the low and lost condition of Israel, in utter depression of spirit and depletion of soul, is that from which the mediator had to be himself raised, before he could become a meet leader and commander.
Note on the three names of Raguel, Jethro (Těther in the Heb. of Ex. iv. 18), and Hobab.— There is a difficulty in making out what persons they belong to respectively. The following are the facts in the case.—(1) The “father-in-law” in Nu. x. 29 may be, not Hobab but Raguel. (2) The word (chộthen) there translated “father-in-law” really means, any relation by marriage : thus, in Ex. iv. 25, 26, the chộthen is husband; and in Ge. xix. 12, a son-in-law. (3) All the three names have a meaning in common, or a similarity of meaning, such as if they had all belonged to one person variously regarded. Thus Raguel (Reuel), friend of God;" Jethro,"excellency;" Hobab, “beloved.” No explanation that has been suggested is clear. Ě.g. (1) That the Raguel of Ex. ii. 18 was grandfather of the “ daughters” in ver. 16; father being employed (cp. "daughter of Levi" in ii. 1) in the sense of "progenitor.” This is not rigorously excluded by Heb. usage of the word; but it does not fit well (dovetail) into the narrative there, ii. 16-21. (2) That he was the father of Hobab, and that the chộthen (in our Vers., father-in-law) in Nu. X. 29 (and Ju. iv. 11) should be, brother-in-law. This view is widely received among scholars. (3) That the Jethro of our text is the Raguel of ii. 18: the one name being a title of honour, and the other, the proper name of the same person. We need not, for comprehension of the history, decide between these explanations. The point, as regards the history, is the clear fact, of close relationship to Moses through affinity. The (2) explanation has commended itself to scholars as being the least difficult. But there is no difficulty in comprehending the history without any explanation of this matter.
The direct intimation (iii. 1-10). —In our time shepherds, of the eastern low country there, at the beginning of the season take their flocks west, to the central uplands of Sinai, where there is moisture and consequently grass. Horeb here may not be a particular summit or mount, but the mountain range or system in which the Sinai Mount is an individual. The description, Mountain of God, occurs repeatedly afterwards (Ex. xviii. 5; 1 Ki. xix. 8). Here it is given after the manifestation of divine presence; which (cp. ver. 5) may have been the occasion of its receiving that name of sacredness. The suggestion that Horeb had a reputation of sacredness before this consecration is countenanced by the discovery of an ancient Pagan chapel there, with an inscription that speaks of a pilgrimage thither,
2 to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in
a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked,
and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was of a time as early as Abraham's. (Benledi in Perthshire, Scotland, is supposed to mean Beinn-le-Dē—"Hill of God," and to have been given to the mountain in pre-Christian times, as a name of druidical sacredness.)
1. Kept: was herding-his habit of life. The flock: the Heb. here means only, small cattle—which might include sheep and goats. Oxen and horses are not in the present day pastured on Sinai. To-the desert: on the way to the (well-known) pasturage. To the back side: round along the skirts, as far as to (the individual mountain) Horeb; from Midian westward (beyond the Akabah Gulf). 2. The angel : or, an angel. The word (malach) means messenger, and thus, minister or administrator (cp. “angel" of the churches in Re., and i Co. xi. 10). In ver. 4, in place of angel we find God. This has been explained as meaning, that an angel is representative of God (cp. Jn. x. 35). A widely prevalent view, especially in the Primitive Church, has been, that in this case, and not a few other cases in Scripture, the angel is God. That view is naturally associated with the Scripture doctrine of that Word which is God (Jn. i. 1-3); and whose incarnation (Jn. i, 14) results to us in the manifestation of God (Jn. i. 18, ii. 11)-like the luminous flame in that bush (cp. Jn. i. 4, 5, 9, 10). Hebrews, when (Lev. ix. 18–36) they come to know Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, can (He. i. 3) see a native propriety in His being made angel of manifestation, if (Phi. ii. 6-10) He stoop to "the form of a servant. THE LORD : Jehovah (on the word and thing, see Introduction).
Note on the Scripture use of the two names "Jehovah” and “Elohim."It has been supposed, that there was a fundamental narrative, which has been incorporated in the Pentateuch, that was written before the name ' Jehovah" came into use; and it has been endeavoured, by occurrence of this name in the existing Scripture, to show what parts of it belong to that fundamental document, and what have been added in the further composition of the existing Scripture. It is maintained, that there has been no such agreement in results as to warrant confidence in the process. In the present narrative, of the first appearance of the great Name, it is employed seven times ; and the common name for God (Elohim, which may mean also “gods ") occurs twenty times. Upon any supposition as to the history of the origin of the Scripture, there may be expected in it a certain distinction in the use of the two names:-Jehovah (THE LORD) being preferred where there is some reference to His covenant relationship to mankind ; and God (Elohim) when the reference is simply to His natural relationship to the universe. It would be an interesting exercise to trace, in the New Testament Scriptures, the distinction in the use of the two names, Jesus” and "Christ.” In many places, where there is no special reference to what is distinctive in the meaning of the name, it may be impossible for us to determine, excepting in the way of guesswork, why the one name is employed here rather than the other. And in guesswork the witnesses do not agree except in injuring the truth.
A bush : lit. the sěněh, - supposed to be a thorny shrub, a species of acacia, common in that wilderness. Since it is God who “ worketh all in all,” while He “filleth all in all,” a devout naturalist may in every plant see a Burning Bush, the localized Omnipresence of Him, in whom we live, and move, and have our being." But what Moses saw was a wonder-extra
3 not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and 4 see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when
the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto
him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. 5 And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither :
put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou ordinary supernatural. The suggestion of what is only ordinary extinguishes that flame. It is notable that the manifestation of present deity was, not through the majestic oak or cedar, but through a common shrub of the wilderness (Is. liii. 1-3; Phi. ii. 6-8). Fire: both as glowing (De. iv. 24, cp. He. xii
. 29) and as luminous (1 Jn. i. 5, cp. Jn. i. 9), is a natural symbol of deity, even among heathens. (The Scotch tongue has the word beltane, which means “Baal- fire,” druidical ; and the boys' bonfire of a certain season is sanntag—the "peace-fire”--which may be near the skirts of Ben-le-di—“hill of God.") As heat, it symbolizes holiness—under the two aspects of purity and love. The purity, which (Ps. cx. 4) is love's loveliness, may operate as a consuming resentment of wrath against sin, and thus, in administrative righteousness, be vindicating justice. The love may (He. xii. 5-8) make the loved ones pass through fire. But the gold is not consumed ; the dross is. The burning without consuming is significant of the true Israel's destination (cp. 2 Co. iv. 4-11). 3. Burnt: what is obviously meant is, the ordinary effect of fire on wood. The absence of that is what makes the miracle, “wonder,” great sight (cp. Mat. xi. 4, 5; Jn. xv. 20). Moses does not imagine he has made a surprising discovery in natural history ;-as, asbestos of our asbestos plant. It is the sěněh. If he think it is a rare freak of nature (lusus naturą), the voice will “correct” him (2 Ti. iii. 16). 4. THE LORD—God (see under iii. 2). The occurrence of the two names in one breath might be paraphrased thus :—“The Redeemer, to whom Moses was drawing near, spoke as the Creator.” Moses, Moses (cp. Jn. x. 3): iteration of urgency, here, in warning (cp. Ge. xxii. 11), has the Mosaic temperament to be restrained even here. Here am I: ready!—to hear (Ge. xxii. 11); —to obey? (1 Sa. iii. 4-10). 5. Draw not nigh: with shoes on feet-i.e. sandals ; (which in Egypt may have been richly adorned, but may be simple enough in Sinai). The ceremony of putting them off before approaching an important person is still adhered to in the East, even on occasion of an ordinary visit—the sandals being kept in the anteroom (cp. our removing the hat). On the Egyptian monuments are seen that ceremonial in approaching the king, who is a sort of God. Both now and then it has been deemed indispensable in drawing near to deity. It is by some thought that the meaning is, self-abasement (cp. Phi. ii. 7. In Homer's Odyssey a gentle. man, wishing to appear in his full rank, puts on his sandals :-otherwise, he would so far be "in the form of a servant "). A more obvious meaning is (cp. He. X. 22; Re. xxii. 11, 17), purity, cleanness. With the shoes there is left behind that dust, or impurity of earth, which is collected in walking on
Hence the laver on the way into the Holy Place (cp. Jn. xiii. 1-11). Holy ground: that spot (cp. the tapu of Polynesian heathenism : superstition is religious feeling misdirected-Act. xvii. 22). The reason for restriction of sanctity to particular places is now (Jn. iv. 21) done away in Christ. But the principle remains, that the place where God is manisested is (alone) holy (cp. politicians and others making "holy places” where the