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the erection of the trophy, of Jehovah's victory (Ex. xv. 3), which He gained for His people, and in them, though not by them, but as “treading the wine-press alone,” in the Passage of the Red Sea. The very life of Israel, then and thenceforward consecrated because redeemed, along with the great gifts of legislation and of other means of covenant consecration, are Jehovah's gifts for men (Ps. lxviii. 17, 18), His distribution of the spoils of His victory, in that great final overwhelming Battle of the Exodus.

It now remains only that we consider the point of view, from which the various details of the great movement are to be seen in this history. That we must learn from the history itself. And in the history itself we perceive, that in fact the details are presented in a view which may be described as bird's-eye retrospective. There are one or two details which may suggest the impression, that the history, before becoming finally stereotyped in form, may have been re-touched at some point of time toward the close of the wilderness sojourning. Thus, the last paragraph, regarding the leadership of the Pillar of Cloud, speaks of that as having endured all through the period of the wandering. But there probably is only one other sentence in the Book (xvi. 35) that might not have been written thirty-eight years before the date thus implied. And that one, also, is plainly called for, and could be written by Moses. In point of fact substantially the view that is given in the Book is precisely such a view as would have been given by a writer at the close of Israel's wonder year, pausing to recall that wondrous past,-say—when Moses found his blessed rest (Ex. xxxix. 43) in completion of the building of the Tabernacle. Placing ourselves on that Pisgah of retrospection, we see the events precisely as we find them here recorded.

The erection of the Tabernacle, at the close of the first year, rounds the whole history into an epical completeness. The Tabernacle is a trophy like the Arch of Titus, with its exhibition of the spoils of fallen Jerusalem and her temple. The Symbolism and the memorials in it resume the wondrous past, while in itself, as the symbol and the medium of God's coming to dwell among men, it is a thing so great and wonderful as deservedly to fill the whole foreground of the historical picture at the close ; occupying, even in the written history, a larger place than is given to the whole period from Joseph's time to the Passage of the Red Sea. But the eyes of the historian are clear and far-seeing (De. xxxiv. 7). His retrospect embraces the whole movement, back to its remotest origination in the past. And

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in the furthest past, all that he shows is definite in outline and bearing, as in that wilderness the remotest things in space appear in clear distinctness through the pure atmosphere, on a cloudless day.

The historical perspective of the Book we can see to be not unjust, even when we take into account the contents of later Scriptures, recording the great revelations of the following ages. What was it, in the Mosaic age, that could lead a writer, of manifestly sound judgment, in the history of his nation (Ex. i.-ii.), to give to the fortunes of his people through centuries, including their connexion with a great ancient world-empire, a space which is only about a tenth part of that which he gives to the building of a tent and a tent house? It is the fact, that the tent is the Dwelling of the Living God, who has come to take up His abode among men, that He may be their God, and they may be His people. As compared with that, all temporal history of evanescent empires is a mere nothing. There is no real parallel to it, in the history of the universe, but that which was welcomed in the stable at Bethlehem, when an Infant was approached by wise men from afar, who laid the homage and the tribute of Gentile nations at His feet. In view of such an event, vulgar insignificance is the aspect that is assumed by such a power and wealth as that of Egypt at its highest,

When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
And time had not begun to overthrow
Those Temples, Palaces, and Piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous.

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Regarding that Eternal “Word” who “was made flesh," the expression (Jn. i. 14), for dwelt

among us

might be rendered, “tabernacled in us,” or “dwelt in our nature as a tent.” To the erection of the Mosaic Tabernacle in the wilderness, the only real parallel is the fulfilment, Incarnation of God.

At this stage it may be well to glance at the whole contents of the history in one view, as in the following :


Exodus, “the Second Book of Moses," V’Ellèh Shěmoth, is a history of supernatural revelation and redemption, in two parts :

ist, of Israel's deliverance from Egypt, and 2nd, of the redeemed people's consecration in Sinai. The details are as follows :



PART I. (Chaps. i.-xiv.).—of the Deliverance.

i.-ii.).—The preparation : (1) in Israel; (2) in

Moses. iii.-x.).—The campaign : (1) opening, down to the

first appeal to Pharaoh ; (2) progress,

down to the last of the Plagues. 3. xi. xiv.).-Its triumphant close: (1) inauguration,

the Passover ; (2) consummation, Passage of the Red Sea.


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PART II. (Chaps. xv.-xl.).—Of the Consecration.
XV.-xviii.).—The approach to Sinai : (1) Song of

salvation ; (2) probation, with wonders

of mercy ; (3) battle, followed by repose. xix.-xxiv.).—The Sinai Covenanting : (1) foundation,

the Moral Law; (2) superstructure, of

civil laws-the Blood of the Covenant. 3. XXV.-xl.).—The Tabernacle building : (1) direction

for it ; (2) episode; (3) erection of it.




THE suggestion of Bunsen, that Israel's exodus should be regarded as the true beginning of history for mankind, is very interesting, and of some considerable importance. Such a suggestion from one like him, a celebrated scholar-statesman, of a peculiar type of theological speculative tendency, is fitted to give the great event something of its due place in relation to secular history; especially in the mind of a class of inquirers whose credulity takes the direction of weakly disbelieving plain facts plainly evidenced, because they happen to be connected with supernatural religion and the kingdom of God. But, while recognising the interest and importance of that aspect of


the matter, in our study of this Book we must look at the matter in the light in which it is placed by the historian. And when we so regard it we perceive that the historian, while he is not blind nor unfeeling relatively to the outward political aspect of the movement, is mainly occupied with its inward spiritual nature, as a movement of faith in God. Accordingly, it is with this that we shall now begin.

1. In its inward spiritual nature, the movement was one of faith in God. Though exodus be a common word for exit or departure, it has come to have an appropriate special meaning in reference to such a movement as that in question was. And we may profitably here for a little consider, what is meant by such an exodus ? (See in Seeley's Expansion of England.) A true exodus is not a migration of a people, such as we read of in the history of primæval Celts and Germans, occasioning so much uneasiness and trouble “civilised” Romans and others. Such a movement might be merely blind instinct, like that of bees in swarming; or it might be merely the result of some—so to speak-mechanical pressure, from within or from without. Again, those colonizing movements of individuals, through which new nationalities are coming to be formed in the British empire, differ from a true exodus in their motive impulse and spirit, as going to market on business differs from going to church for worship of God. But one of the Pilgrim Fathers of America said, that they had gone

thither across the ocean, “to serve God.” And there he expressed the true spirit of an exodus. It is a migration for the purpose of serving God. Such was the purpose of Israel's departure from Egypt. Even the three days' leave of absence, which was all they asked at first (Ex. V. 3), was for an act of high service to “the God of the Hebrews.” The Egyptians no doubt (Ex. i. 10; see Commentary) understood whither this was purposely tending. And (Ex. iv. 18, 29–31 cp. iii. 12) the Israelites themselves, from their first thought about the movement, had thought of it as one for final abandonment of Egypt, "to serve God” in the promised land. Their movement not only was religious, it was religion : religion was not a means, but the end ; as in templebuilding, religion, which is the end of the work (finis operis), ,

) ought also to be (finis operantis) the end in view of the worker.

Now such was the character of Israel's movement Canaanward. When we look close into the history, we perceive that the Hebrews were in large measure not in the true spirit of the movement (He. iji. 12). Among them there was much of ungodly selfish worldliness

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(ver. 9) ; so that in the end they as a people perished in the wilderness through unbelief (vers. 16–18). Yet a nation entered Canaan. And they were not all unbelievers who died in the wilderness ;-Miriam, for instance, and Aaron, and Moses. Even at the worst (cp. 1 Ki. xix. 18 and xx 41), there may have been in Israel as large a proportion of Calebs and Joshuas (Is. i. 9) as would have sufficed to prevent the destruction of Sodom. The true faith of some might, by contact of its enthusiasm, kindle others into great action “for a time" (Lu. viii. 13). Even a false faith (1 Co. xiii. 2) may work wonders, though (2 Thess. ii. 9, 10) they should be lying wonders. A merely “historical faith” does not go deep, and may not endure” (Hos. vi. 4). But even that of devils is operative, in trembling, though not in loving obedience, so long as it lasts and as far as it goes. What we seek to see in this movement is, its characteristic impulse, the spirit of its true life. And that, no doubt, is, faith in the living God, as revealed supernaturally, in positive covenant promises of redemption.

Such had been the distinctive nature of Abraham's life on earth (Ge. xv. 6). And it continued to be the characteristic of his covenant seed (Ro. iv. 3, 11). In Egypt, that true light of life had manifestly languished far toward extinction (Josh. xxiv. 14 ; Ezek. xvi. 1-6 ; see Commentary on chap. xxxii., Initial Note). But it was there, though it should have been only as an ember spark in the ashes. And the kindling of that spark into a flame was the exodus movement in the true cause of its life (1 Jn. v. 4). The people cried to God, because they believed that He heard them. They followed Moses, because they believed that He was Jehovah's messenger. They went through the Red Sea, looking for salvation in Abraham's God Almighty. They overcame the valiant Amalek in battle, because on their behalf faith was stretching out her hands to God. And the Sinaitic laws and constitutions were received by them, trembling and rejoicing, into the bosom of a belief, that these were the covenant gifts of God their Saviour, and ordinances of their heavenly King. faiththey passed the Red Sea; and “by faiththe walls of Jericho fell down (He. xi. 29, 30). Such was the distinctive nature of the movement from first to last. Not only the history shows this : this is what the history shows.

2. It was a movement into brotherhood of man. On the face of it, it was into nationality of social condition. At the original settlement in Goshen (Ex. i. 1-5), the sons of Israel were passing from the simply domestic condition under patriarchy, into the distinctly tribal.


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