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9 saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more
work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words.
And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith II Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw
where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be 12 diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout 13 all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And
the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your 14 daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of the
children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to-day,
as heretofore ? 15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried
(ver. 18) (quoth Legree). The Men: the fellows! Vain words :—that is, about the sacrificial festival. The religion is only a screen for laziness ; or at best, a delusion that would be costly. II. Not ought: Revis. Ver. has nought, unduly weakening the expression, which means, not a particle, if acted on.
12. Land of Egypt. This apparently spreads them, indefinitely, beyond Goshen. The word for stubble here is suggestive of chopped straw. Where labour is costly, the corn-stalks may (South Australia) be left standing, minus the heads, which are shorn off. In Egypt, where straw was dear and labour cheap, there would be little or nothing of that. Israel had to wander far on that foraging, so humiliating in wantonness of imposition, as well as aggravating in toilsomeness. All the land of Egypt was accessory witness to that outrage on the manhood of Jehovah's first-born. It is time for the theology to become effectively “polemical” (polemos, “war”). See the tyrant and his master in Mat. xviii. 27, and mark the “judge” in Ge. xv. 14 (“the mills of God grind slowly”). There has been disinterred from the sand a statue, of earlier date than the exodus, representing a “taskmaster” or working overseer, in an attitude of imperiousness so vivid, that the natives instantly named that "little tyrant of his fields,” the sheykh of the village. Daily task. The task here is imposed work, lit. day's matter for day, is not a bad motto for workers; but employers ought not to think of that alone. It may have been in use, like the, "Heave, Oh!” of sailors “pulling all together.” (See the present day Egyptian son of labour, Introd. p. 27.) On the monuments there are seen uch expressions, the songs of labour for gangs of work-people. 14, 15. Officers (as in ver. 6). Here and onward we see that the Hebrews had scribes of their own, responsible for production (so that if Moses could not write books, he could get plenty of amanuenses to do it for him). In Oriental communities at this day, the rank of an officer does not save from the degradation of bodily punishment. To beat a free Roman citizen like a slave (Act. xvi. 37) was a capital crime (cp. flogging in the British army and navy). God does not disregard outrage on His image (though it should be only “carved in ebony”), i Pe. ii. 17. The Hebrew
unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy 16 servants ? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and
they say to us, Make brick; and, behold, thy servants are 17 beaten; but the fault is in thine own people. But he
said, Ye are idle, ye are idle; therefore ye say, Let us go 18 and do sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore now and
work: for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye 19 deliver the tale of bricks. And the officers of the children
of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task.
And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as 21 they came forth from Pharaoh : and they said unto them,
The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the
officers, though servile in legal condition, were men of education, of standing in the community ; and the degradation in their punishment was a cruel aggravation of it (He. xii. 2). Cried unto Pharaoh : it was a noble Egyptian custom, that every one seeking justice should have access to the king: How this was managed on Israel's part, as through deputation to Pharaoh's representatives, does not appear.
Within the narrow limits of Egypt, men were all as if within one great city, in comparison with really wide empires. It now is ascertained that in the Tanis region, where Goshen lay, there was at this period, the age of Rameses the Great, a seat of Egyptian empire there, if not, the seat. Thy servants: this implies an appeal to his self-interest as well as justice ;-oppression of the working-class is bad economy for a nation, demoralizing its “machinery” of production. But, 16, the appeal is to justice. Fault is in thine own people, is lit. Thy people are sin, a commentary on 2 Co. v. 21, which text is written by a Hebrew who sees Exodus there (1 Co. x. 1-5). This relieves Pharaoh personally, so as to make it easier for him to right the wrong. 17, 18. He takes the whole responsibility on himself. As for fault: it is only in their laziness; and he will persist in the medicinal course of plenty of work. There is manifest mockery here, intended to embitter the toil. 19. They: emphatic ;-a bad business for them. After it was said: lit. in its being said, in this determination of the matter, which they had to report to their people, and which came round to them in personal punishment. 20, 21. Moses and Aaron : keenly solicitous as the prime movers (Ga. v. 2). Said—because. The officers themselves are now unjust, ungrateful, base (Mat. vii. 6), forgetting the word and the miracles of the LORD whom they appeal to. Savour_eyes : mixed metaphor, but natural association, of eyes with nostrils, as when the smoke of Noah's sacrifice is seen (Ge. viii. 21). The word for savour here (note under xxix. 18) is, with “sweet,” that for divine satisfaction with sacrifice (Eph. v. 1). For Pharaoh it was not as fragrant incense to see an altar rising to Jehovah. To be abhorred: lit. to be a stinking thing. Even apart from personal feeling of religion, a despot is abhorrent of religious freedom in the people, and of a religion that makes free (Jn. xix. 12, 15. James VI. said, “No bishop, no eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, where
fore hast thou so evil-entreated this people? why is it that 23 thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak
in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast
thou delivered thy people at all. king;”. for which Charles I. answered on the scaffold). A sword : a reason of justice, though only pretended : so that Pharaoh's own conscience is accusing him. The sword is a judge, trenchantly discriminative (He. iv.): not like a hammer (the army), or a “deceitful bow" (the flattering courtier, of whom self is the chief). 22, 23. Moses : not Aaron, he is not the Mediator. Returned: to his true home (Ps. xc. I-observe the title of this Psalm). Evil entreated : leading them on the ice. Sent me: to mock them, with a story of the burning Bush, which they now will take for a cunningly devised fable” (2 Pe. i. 16). Thy--thou-thy: Jehovah's “ name” is now in question. This is a great point (Ex. xxxiv. 4-7, cp. Jn. xvii.), which the Mediator well may plead : though Moses the man seems to be distrustful, as if he, too, had forgotten (cp. Mat. xvi. 9, 10).
Exercise 13. 1. Is it in all cases wrong for work-people to strike work? Give your reason. 2. Has an employer in all cases a right to do what the law gives him power to
do? Explain. 3. What "golden” rule would help to settle questions between employers and employed?
'great commandment” shows that inhumanity is ungodliness? How? 5. What is the significance of Napoleon's saying to the Protestant ministers,
“Where conscience begins, my empire ends”?
NOTE 1.—The land question may be variously dealt with, but justice and generosity are of unvarying obligation. The settlement in Egypt under Joseph seems to have been formally state-ownership, but really perpetual lease, equivalent to freehold under burden of a land-tax. This underlies the feudal system-perhaps along with a certain tribal ownership (e.g. " the Douglas country"). Israel may at first have been free tribes paying tribute. Under the oppression they were as the field-hands on great estates of ancient Italy, or in American slave plantations, though still retaining a certain corporate unity as a “sojourning" people (on a wider Semitic occupation of that Tanis region, see Introduction). NOTE 2.
-On religious guarantee of a people's freedom (see Introd. chap. ii.).—The licence of a "Book of Sports” took away the shield of religious feeling from between the people and a despot's will. At a meeting of letterpress printers in Edinburgh, one said, Do not allow any exceptional violation of the Day of Rest: in New York, they began with exceptions under pressure, and now it is the rule there to print for Monday's issue on the Lord's Day, so that practically there is no Day of Rest. A Scottish minister (the late Rev. John Powrie) wrote from India-Do not base your defence of the Day of Rest on the economical advantages of it: nothing will guard it against selfish worldliness but the claim to be God's law of the Bible. It was when the banner of revolt from religious tyranny was raised by a small section of Covenanters, that William of Orange saw that Britain was ripe for political emancipation.
CHAP. VI. 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 2 his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I 3 am the Lord; and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and
unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name 4 JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also
established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Opening of the Campaign : 2. VIEW OF THE SITUATION
OF JEHOVAH'S CAUSE (Chap. vi.). He now is openly defied, so that the honour of His name is in question (cp. I Sa. xvii.). His people are in despairing perplexity; since that name, in which they have trusted, has brought them no deliverance, but aggravation of their bitter shameful bondage. The kingdom of darkness among mankind appears to be triumphant in the world. It is to be noted that in the review of the situation on Israel's part, there is taken into account no force but simply that of this name. Jehovah Himself is to do the whole work of the warfare. The Israelites are only the heirs of His covenant promises, the beneficiaries of the spoils of His victory. The genealogical notice at the close of the chapter is not an exhibition of warlike force in Israel. It is only a description of the then condition, in respect of the tribal distribution of the people ; which, among other things, shows that, as material of this history there is available, not vague tradition, but distinct knowledge of the facts. The fulness of detail regarding the Levites ha
express reference to selection of Levites, Moses and Aaron, to be the instruments of God in the Deliverance.
1. Now (see under i. I on the v'): here emphatic from position: the strong hand has to be shown;"man's extremity is God's opportunity.” Shall he drive: with all his might, doing what he now refuses. 2, 3. I am the LORD : lit. JEHOVAH AM I (see on the name, Introd. p. 67, etc.). The formula, from this time onward, often occurs in the manner of a royal signature, of the God of Israel, attached to a proclamation to those addressed. The name of Jochebed, “Glory of Jehovah," in this chapter (ver. 20), appears to show that the word was not previously quite unheard, though the significance of the name was first given in Sinai for publication as that of Israel's God (see note at close of this section). By the name of God Almighty : lit. as El Shaddai (Ge. XV I). Theologians make a topic of “The Ten Names' of the Supreme Being. These (see Shorter Catechism in its exposition of the Third Commandment) all are found on close inspection to be descriptive of attributes; which again have their import exhibited in works. There is no Scripture name of God that means, mere characterless being ; like that which was behind the Egyptian veil of Isis, “the thing that was, and is, and shall be” (cp. Re. i. 8, and see in Introd. On the name of " Jehovah,” pp. 67-69). What is spoken of in the text is, manifestation of God, the aspect which He presents toward mankind (cp. form in Phi. ii. 6-8). Known has a deep,
Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were 5 strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children
of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage ; and I have 6 remembered my covenant. 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 7 with great judgments. 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 8 burdens of the Egyptians. 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 I will 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 10, 11 bondage. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Go in,
speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of strong sense (ii. 25 with note) of comprehension and appreciation, as distinguished from merely, being aware of. 4, 5. Here are two motives : (1) covenant, (2) fatherly pity. Land of Canaan (under iii. 8).
Note on sojourning or pilgrimage. — Pilgrimage-strangers: sojournings—sojourned (Rev. Vers.). The word is the same. Our pilgrim (Fr. pèlerin) is the Latin peregrinus,-a residenter not naturalized, not invested with rights of citizenship. The Bible “sojourner” (Heb. Ger, Gr. Epidēmos) was ideally in this condition (1 Pe. ii. 11; He. xi. 13), because his appropriate citizenship is in heaven (the “lofty land'). The word paroikos, which in the primitive Church was descriptive thus of an unsettled condition of Christians on earth (see letter of the Persecuted Church of Lyons and Vienne, A.D. 177, to Asiatic Christians), has curiously come round to mean the utmost intensity of settlement"-Bumbledom.
5. Remembered: He remembers when we cry (ii. 23, iii. 7-10, cp. Ps. xxii. 5). But there also is a remembrancer in Pharaoh's defiance. 6-8. This, unto Israel. I am the Lord : Jehovah I: that is enough (1 Sa. xvii. 45). Mediæval motto, "Ni prince, etc., Je suis le Seigneur de Couci”). The Spartans, asked for military aid by a friendly state in trouble, would send no army, but simply a general. The name of Jehovah has everything in it :-(1) ver. 6, redemption from Egypt, (2) ver. 7, adoption at Sinai, and (3) instatement in the inheritance of Canaan. Stretched out arm : not only strength, but that, extended and directed by the mind and heart (cp. Act. vii. 56). Judgments : the action is to be judicial, punishing the evil-doers (Ge. xv. 14, cp. under iii. 20). I will take : “ effectual calling.” Ye shall know : assurance of God's love,” consequent on the calling (cp. 2 Pe. i. 10). Did swear : lit. did lift up my hand, most solemnly assuring (He. vi. 18). The formal oath is recorded in Ge. xxii. 16. The covenant it seals, see under ii. 24. An heritage : as unto His children (Ro. viii. 15-17; Ga. iv. 7). I-Lord: “Jehovah–I.” This, at the beginning and close of the address to Israel (6-8), like the V. Regina of royal proclamation. 9-11. Anguish: the word (quotzer) here