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and pour it upon the dry land : and the water, which thou
takest out of the river, shall become blood upon the dry land. at the heart of heathenism. The Nile itself, in flood, becomes reddish: the Plagues were in the line of nature, but so manifestly strange there as to show, who was master on that line, and beyond it. On the dry ground: that men might see it plain.
Exercise 10. 1. Give the three leading Scripture words for miracle, and three cases of
Scripture miracle specially illustrating these words respectively. 2. (1) When a man throws a stone into the air, is it by force of nature? If
not, then by what kind of force? (2) How does man's action in throwing a ball differ from God's action in working a miracle? (3) How does the divine action in raising the dead differ from the divine action in creating a
world? 3. In the first Cana miracle—(I) What precisely was the miracle in turning
water into wine? (2) What did it show? (3) What was the effect of
this? NOTE as to the proof of miracle. - To know that miracle is impossible, one has to know that there cannot be a God. But that will not suffice: for conceivably there may be supernatural work of demons; and even those who believe in no spirit have believed in natural magic. In order to know that miracle is a fact, one has only to believe in the trustworthiness of eyes and ears (1 Jn. i. 3). Miracles are very unlikely: so is murder, but it is established as a fact “at the mouth of two or three witnesses.' And in the case of one miracle, inquired into by a very able man, there were as eye-witnesses, twelve Apostles, five hundred brethren, and the man himself. Distance in time does not weaken the evidence, any more than distance in space. The evidence for the Vesuvian volcanic eruption of eighteen hundred years ago is just as good as the evidence for the Tarawera eruption fifteen thousand miles away. If it be very unlikely that the few New Zealand people whose evidence reaches London should lie without detection about an earthquake, it is not more likely that the twelve Apostles, five hundred brethren, and Paul, should lie about their having seen Christ alive after His death on the Cross. The Israelites and Egyptians had bodily senses perfectly well qualified to bear witness, whether the things described as Plagues really took place. It is for us to judge (as we shall be judged) whether these things are true miracles, proving the truth of the Gospel of redemption. The argument from Mosaic miracle is just as good for us as it was for Israel or for Egypt. If it then was shown to be true, that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is the only God, Living and True, the Redeemer of enslaved men, then it is true for all time that He is so, and that “in the fulness of the times He has come in Christ, who (He. ii. 12–14) took not on Him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, that He might deliver them who, through the fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
As to Utterance of the Message (iv. 10-17). Jeremiah was exercised about utterance of God's message (Jer. i.) on account of his incapacity, and Isaiah (Is. vi.) on account of his unworthiness. Paul, too, long after he is an Apostle, approved of God (Ro. XV. 18, 19) by miracles everywhere, and (I Co. ix. 2) having seals of God upon his ministry in the persons of believing Christians, is still found requesting the prayers of the brethren, that utterance may be given to him. And (Act. ii.) it was the grand result of that miracle, of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, which is second only to the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. The vital importance of the utterance appears from the fact, that the whole work, in its effect upon man, is to be dependent upon a word, operating on their minds, in exposition of the meaning of the work, and of the mind and heart of God as the
And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto
thy servant; but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth?
or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind ? 12 have not I the Lord ? Now therefore go, and I will be with 13 thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he
said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom worker. It is therefore not surprising that Moses, looking forward to the course of that ministry to which he is called, should be solicitous and diffident with reference to that utterance which has to play so great a part in it, for the honour of God as well as the benefit of Israel. What occasions the anger of Jehovah is, not a sense of personal incapacity or unworthiness on the part of this man, but a leaven of that timidity which comes from half-hearted selfishness, and still more, underlying that, a lack of confidence in God, and of that zealousness of love which thinks of self (Phil. ii, 17) only as a sacrifice, to be poured out on the altar and faith of His people.
10. O my lord (“Alas! my master !"), pathetic appeal. The word for lord here is not Jehovah, but Adonai, meaning simply, sovereignty. Slow: lit. heavy-like a cart-horse as compared with a full-blood. There may in his case have been a natural impediment, perhaps aggravated by the habitual taciturnity of shepherd life. Neither heretofore : lit. Neither yesterday nor the third day (back). This may point to the period of his residence in Egypt. He may then have had painful experience of deficiency in respect of copious fit utterance, so important for a man of affairs. He was (Act. vii. 22) powerful in “words” as well as “ deeds.” But he is nowhere represented as making speeches, and may not have had the freedom which others enjoy, by nature or through practice. (Addison was almost ruined through inability on one occasion to speak in public.) He can never have been deficient in respect of the Horatian fundamental for good utterance (Ars Poetica), copious fulness of matter. Some, however, are burdened and hampered with that very fulness, while others are by their emptiness made rapidly fluent as the narrow shallow brook, which goes chattering on for ever, ever. Still, without the gift of utterance, there can be only a loaded gun that does not fire. II. THE LORD: here it is Jehovah, To whom did Moses plead impotency in excuse? To the Omnipotent (Is. xl. 28). He has power of sight and might, to wield our natural gift, or bestow a supernatural gift (1 Co. ii. 1-4), or supersede our gists (Mat. x. 19), or put the crowning gift of man to shame (2 Pe. ii. 16–“articulate-speaking” is Homeric epithet for rationality of manhood). The nolo episcopari may-like requiring great pressure to sing-be a roundabout vanity as well as a downright cowardice or sloth. And the vanity, laying emphasis on self, instead of sole depend. ence upon God, may thus be presumptuous in not venturing. There is “ pride that apes humility.” 12. With thy mouth-say (cp. Lu. xii. 12). The first clause might suggest, organic defect. But the second points to the mind as being the seat of the lumbering unreadiness. We learn to walk by walking; and Peter will sink when in walking he thinks about himself. The unreadiness of the unpractised speaker may perhaps be remedied by cauterization (Is. vi. 6). Herodotus tells about a dumb youth who cried out articulately when he saw men nurdering his father. 13. Send-send: The
14 thou wilt send. And the anger of the Lord was kindled
against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold,
he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he 15 will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him,
and put words in his mouth : and I will be with thy mouth, Heb. is highly elliptical : send by hand, thou shalt send. Perhaps it is a sample of the speaker's manner, of thought labouring helplessly for coherent fluency of utterance: the half-created lion “pawing to be free.” The heart (Jn. vii. 24) is not timid (Scotice, “no blate "). 14–16. Anger-kindled (different from the Bush fire, as in De. iv. 24). It is the Scripture phrase appropriated for description of God's feeling toward idolatry (the “jealousy of Ex. xx. 5). Perhaps Moses here betrays an inward fear (Lu. xii. 5) of the power of Egypt's heathenism, as well as lack of frank ardour of readiness for battle with it (cp. David versus Goliath with 1 Sa. xiii. 14). Aaron : first mention of him. Three years older than_Moses (Ex. vii. 7), he seems to have been all this time in good standing in Egypt : which may show that the infanticide was only a passing gust of capricious tyranny; which, however, was made to work for God to His elect (Ps. lxxvi. 10). The Levite : does not show that this tribe was priestly at that time. It may be a surnameMacLevi or O’Levi-showing which Aaron is meant. Or, this Levite Aaron may have been famous, like “ Cedric the Saxon." That fervidness of temperament, which appears to have characterized his tribe, may have drawn him into public life, so as to gain for him his reputation of eloquence. Can speak well : lit. speaking he shall speak= he is a speaker (if you are not). This probably implies that, in matters affecting Israel's interest, he was a practised man of affairs. It is to be noted afterwards, that the recluse Moses soon drops him, as a general may drop a tactician who is no strategist -a show soldier (chap. xxxii.). Aaron does not become the type of Christ, but, a kingly priest does (Ps. cx.). In Aaron we never see real greatness; in Moses, when once he is under way, we never see littleness. Coming forth to meet thee. The brothers may thus appear to have maintained communication; which might not be difficult per “underground railway,” as Goshen really bordered on the Sinaitic Peninsula. The meeting was not fortuitous (Act. x. 9): at least there was in it a “special” providence of God (see ver. 27, where said means, had said). There may have been some movement, or presentiment of approaching crisis, in Israel, with an instinct of divination pointing to Sinai for the leader. Glad in his heart: there is here perhaps a generosity (cp. 1 Sa. xvii. 38) which is not enduring (Num. xii. 1, etc.).
Note on Put words (Rev. Vers. The words) in his mouth. This is God's description (cp. vii. 1) of the process in making a prophet of God. In Aaron, to whom Moses is as God, we see the thing in picture. The thing itself is seen in Moses (ver. 13), in Jeremiah (Jer. i. 9), and in Christ (De. xviii. 15-18; Is. li. 16; Jn. xiv. 10). In Lu. xii. 12 and 2 Pe. i. 21, we may see in what manner this is brought about ; namely, by the Holy Ghost, sovereignly (2 Pe. i. 20, cp. Mat. x. 20) moving the men who speak. But the point here is in the utterance, the “mouth,” the "words,” “put into" the mouth. What is described is, dictation, such that the word spoken is “God's word” (Is. i. 2). In all the places referred to, the strong expression, "put words in a man's mouth," has
and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he
shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and 17 thou shalt be to him instead of God. And thou shalt take
this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs. reference to a prophet of the highest class; in two of the four places (Jer., Is.) it has reference to the Son of God; and in all the places, the one who employs the description is, not the author of Exodus, nor Jeremiah, nor Isaiah, but God, in words of His reported by them ; while in the New Testament Christ speaks to the effect of them, with reference both to the Apostles and to Himself. In the persons of Aaron, Moses, Jeremiah, Christ, the Apostles, we see that the divine inspiration does not destroy, but employs (and therefore will not destroy, but conserves for use) the humanity of the speaker. But the point, the essential thing, as to inspiration of prophecy, is, divinity of the word spoken. Such is the view which God Himself gives here, in the act of first creating prophecy. (On Prophecy, see Introd. pp. 75-78.)
What ye shall do: as well as (above) what ye shall say. Instead of God : or, for a god (Ex. vii. 1). 17. This rod —do signs : this here rod, tue one in my hand-do the signs. This mediator is strictly held to his commission (cp. Jn. xiv. 10, iv. 34). And his only weapon is, not a Cambyses' or an Alexander's army of invasion of Egypt, but, that rod—the walking-stick of an aged man. To put a magical power into the stick, as if it were a Caduceus wand of Mercury, is ludicrous anticlimax. “Churchianity” is a stupid parody of heathenism. Jehovahism, Christism, make the creature to be nothing, that God may be “all in all.”
Note. The inspiration of Scripture is (2 Pe. i. 18-21) put by Peter on the same footing as that of the prophetic speech. There can be no real difference. They are two modes of utterance; and utterance—what reaches us—is the thing in question. What Peter ascribes to prophetic speech and Scripture alike is, divinity, to the effect of infallibility; such that we have a perfectly trustworthy guide, as compared with (ver. 16) those who have "" followed cunningly devised fables.” So Paul (2 Ti. iii. 13-17), referring to “evil men and seducers" (göetesconjurors who may be quacks) who go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived, points to divinity of Scripture as giving it infallibility. (But as the Scriptures, like Christ, while divine are human, they must be studied accordingly: we must seek the meaning of them through the minds of their human authors, as we seek the mind of Christ in what He says and does.)
Exercise 11. 1. Revelation. (1) In a message from a father to his son at school, what is
there that the messenger cannot know by nature? (2) Could there be anything on the outside of the letter proving the authorship? What?
(3) Could there be a proof of authorship within the letter? What? 2. Prophecy, as seen in this section and in Ex. vii. 1. (1) What is it that
makes prophecy, to Pharaoh, looking upon Moses as a god? (2) What is it that makes prophecy to Aaron, looking on Jehovah as God? (3) In what respect is prediction the kind of prophecy which peculiarly constitutes
an external evidence like "mighty work”? 3. Inspiration. (1) Was Aaron a machine, when he spoke the word of Moses?
(2) When Balaam spoke unwillingly, was he a free agent? (3) Are Christians necessarily excluded from working out their salvation if it be God that worketh in them both the willing and the doing? (Explain your answer to (1), (2), (3) here.)
18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law,
and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto
my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet 19 alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. And the
Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt : for 20 all the men are dead which sought thy life. And Moses took
his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he
NOTE on the mysteriousness in De. xxix. 29. --A“mystery" was what was not known to the generality, but only to the select few,-"initiated ;" such as, the secrets of a Masonic brotherhood. There is no such mystery of Christianity, though there may be mystification of false priests: all that is revealed is for all Israel. But there are things not revealed; which are known to God, but which He has not chosen to make known to us. For instance, How it is possible for a word which is human to be divine; or, how a man can work out his own salvation while it is God that worketh ; or, how there can be any creative agency while God worketh all things.
External arrangements (iv. 18–31). The proceedings of Moses now are (He. xii. I) those of one who sets to " casting aside every weight," in order to 'run with patience the race that is set before him." The strange incident on the journey, in which Zipporah (on whom see under iii. 22) does not shine, is obviously suggestive of his having neglected to cast aside a'"sin" which might very easily beset” him, if he was a melancholy, backward man with a shrewish, worldly wife. It was a neglect of outward Israelitish ordinance, which may have been only a characteristic and decisive indication on his part of a more general conformity to the little narrow world of his Raguel connexion : an example of the unwisdom of being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers." His connexion with Jethro seems to have involved a dependence more than is natively in the position of a son-in-law or brother-in-law (initial note, iii. 1-10), who is eighty years of age. He no doubt was his servant; as Jacob had been Laban's servant. But the requisite free consent was freely given ; and the after connexion of Jethro with Moses in his greatness is honourable to the Midianite. The course of arrangements thus auspiciously begun, and ominously interrupted, was auspiciously concluded with a conference, one of many conferences (Ge. ii. 1-10) that have been held on the eve of great events in the kingdom of God.
18. Jethro (Marg. Jether : the authorities are not agreed about the textual spelling here). See initial note to iii. I-10. Moses, while honouring Jethro's right to a veto on the dissolution of their connexion, does not divulge his reason for desiring to dissolve it. Perhaps he had no commissioned right to divulge it to him (cp. Mat. xv. 24). Some think that Moses apprehended ridicule on account of the strange unlikelihood of his story: they do not know (cp. Ro. i. 16). Go in peace :=God be with you, contracted, “Goodbye. The brethren may be, not only his relatives within a degree or two, but all Israel (ii. 11, cp. Ro. ix. 1). 19. About his own personal safety, Moses had betrayed no solicitude. God, whose providence has watched over him in Midian (on which note under ii. 15), now graciously gives him an apparently unsought assurance (cp. Mat. ii. 19, 20). The assurance is all the more valuable, because on the safety of Moses now depends the salvation of Israel :-“thou carriest Cæsar and his fortunes." has reference, not only to the king, who sought to slay him, but to the relatives of the murdered man, who may have been clamouring for public justice, or held themselves personally bound to be “avengers of blood.” 20. An ass (under xiii. 13):