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“modernized,”-say, by an inspired editor like Ezra. But apart from that we observe, that, while a language may change, very suddenly, there is no must in the matter :-in some cases languages may long remain substantially unchanged. In Mecca to-day men understand the language of the Koran, written 1200 years ago. In the Egyptian monuments there are inscriptions, of which the writing was 1000 years apart, but of which the language shows no appreciable trace of change in all that millennium. And now we say, (3), the language of Ex. i.-xv. is, with a somewhat stronger flavour of Egyptism, just the language of the Pentateuch generally. If that section was written in the Mosaic period, the presumption is, that the whole was written in that period. Any writer in that period—who was not a lazy schoolboy-going on to xv., would be sure to go on to the natural termination in xl. For the whole Book of Exodus is one, the dual-unity of Israel's wonder-year, rounded in redemption and in consecration. It is a history completed only at xl., an Epic poem in two parts, of dualunity indivisible as a face.
3. The materials of the whole Book, as we now have it, were, at that termination in the completion of the Tabernacle, in the substance of it-and it is all substance—really ready to a writer's hand. The exceptional sentences, xvi. 35 and xl. 38, are needed, and can have been written by Moses. It is perhaps impossible to see how very completely that must have been the case, otherwise than by detailing part of the Book itself in its contents, part for part with that history of Israel which it sets forth. The first two Chapters are introductory. The matter of them was no doubt familiarly known to
crossers” of the Red Sea (Hebrew means crosser” -of the Jordan, in Abraham). What follows, from chap. iii. downward, is what now affects us. That great marvellous history lies within two years. And the Book has nothing in it but materials, regarding those two years, that would naturally come into existence within the period ; if only Israel, in this great business of God's kingdom, exercised that business carefulness with which they had long been familiar in Egypt, where there was careful recording of all important matters. At the end of the two years, what materials of history may have thus come to be in readiness ? (1) The account of the process of erecting the Tabernacle fabric, and the detail of directions before that work began, are precisely such as would have been taken down at the time by a man of business instructed in the wisdom of the Egyptians. But that, already, is, with the episodical
many of the “
narrative of circumstances connected with the worship of the golden calf, sixteen of the thirty-eight chapters after the second. (2) Immediately before that (xxiv. 4, 7), we find Moses in the very act of writing the Book of the Covenant, which contains the civil laws of xxi.-xxiii., and probably the account of the Moral legislation in xix.-xx. Stepping back over one chapter (xviii.), we again find Moses engaged in writing, for a “memorial," into a book that is called the Book (xvii. 14) an account of that day's memorable transaction. Stepping back over one other chapter (xvi.), we reach (xv.) the great Song, which of course was taken down in writing. We thus have reached the actual Passage of the Red Sea, the morning of Israel's birth as a nation. And we have found in readiness the whole history after that morning, excepting about Jethro's great reform, and the great matter of the manna at Sin. But, further, we have seen that Israel are in the habit of keeping a record of events, taking minutes of proceedings, in this new kingdom of God. The very act of writing is mentioned when the act of writing is itself a part of the solemnity recorded : in the two cases we have referred to, and also at the renewing of the Covenant (xxxiv. 27). If they kept a record of transactions, we may be sure that it contained the matters in the two chapters we stepped over. Then, beyond the Red Sea, there are traces (See Comm. under xii., Note on vers. 14-17) of a record having been taken of the ordinance of the Passover at the time of institution in Egypt. As to the preceding history, of the Mission of Moses, and of the Plagues, it is the most likely of all to have been recorded at the time of occurrence ; for the whole was gone about methodically, as a diplomatic procedure, in a dealing with the king of Egypt, on the part of the true King of heaven and earth.
But for our present purpose there is no real need of supposing that, literally,—what however is far from unlikely,—there was a diary of events, as a merchant puts everything daily into his account book. All that we need to see is, what we do see clearly when we look steadily, that there was a habit of careful attention to matters of real importance, such as is shown by writing ; so that the materials of a simple narrative of events, such as we have in this book, must, at the close of those two years, have been for substance, just as it is here, in the mind, not only of Moses, and Aaron, and of the seventy elders who (xxiv. 9-11) were ennobled in Sinai, but of every intelligent Israelite alive on that day. The transactions themselves, though vast in far-extending significance, were in reality few and simple ;-and
especially, they were of a character to make them easily remembered, impossible to forget. The reasonable suggestion is, that a record was kept of them all as a diary of occurrences, like the records of a Parliament's procedure in legislation. But, as regards ready prepared materials for real contemporary history, there was no need of the formality of paper and ink. The thing was clear, distinct, fresh, on the “fleshly tables” (2 Co. iii. 3) of the hearts of tens of thousands of men; as on the day of Pentecost the resurrection of Christ, on the part of witnesses who had “seen" Him (1 Co. xv. 5-8), was fresh and living in the mind, not only of the eleven apostles, but of the five hundred who had met Him by appointment on the mountain in Galilee. That preparedness, exactly and completely corresponding to the inward character of the Book, must have existed in the Mosaic period, and cannot have existed at any later period.
4. All this is powerfully corroborated by what is pers ally special in Moses himself. Everything tending to place the authorship in his period goes to show that the author must have been Moses. That we may take widely, so as to include writing from his dictation, or under his authoritative inspection or direction, and with his authorization as well as sanction. Hebrews is not the less an Apostolic Epistle, if it was written with apostolic authorization, though the actual writer should not have been an Apostle, but some Apostolic man, like Apollos, or Luke, or Mark. It is only in a like sense that we as students of Exodus have any serious interest in Mosaic authorship of the Book. And looking at the matter so, we see that Mosaic authorship is a fair conclusion from the supposition that the Book was written in the Mosaic age. We know of no one but Moses in that age to whom it would naturally fall to be the writer of such a record. Peter had a Mark as travelling secretary (“interpreter," said Papias, about A.D. 125); but Moses had no such “minister” in Joshua (Ex. xxiv.), who was Captain Sword, not Captain Pen. And if any one had a gift, or even a passion, for literary composition, the awful threats against a "stranger's" intermeddling (Ex. xxix., xxx.) in sacred things, involving premonitions of the fate of Nadab and Abihu, might not be necessary for preventing unauthorized production of the fundamental central history of the origination of the kingdom of God among men. Mere natural modesty, good sense and good feeling, might suffice to keep men from usurping an office so appropriately the mediator's own ; or from writing without such authorization as would practically make the authorship Mosaic.
Then, when we look directly at him, we see that appropriateness on every account. (1) It was natural for him to prepare such a record, of the great events in which he was the great human agentquorum pars magna fui. Not merely for his own glory, or his personal vindication, but for the sake of God's kingdom, to which his life was given, and of that people, for the love of which he was ready to sacrifice the highest life itself, no other man had an interest so profound in the existence of such a record for the following ages : no other men of that time could have comprehended, as this greatest of legislators could, the vast importance of such a record, which now lies at the foundation of the civilised world. (2) It would be easy for him to prepare it. Though apparently no great speaker, he was
“ mighty in words” (Act. vii. 22), so that he could pour out his great soul in most noble song (Ex. xv.). His was one of those most highly gifted minds which naturally seek utterance in written composition. And God, who bestows the gifts, employs them ; —witness David, Isaiah, Paul, John, Luke, Mark. Deuteronomy is not a speech, but an historical lecture. The history in Exodus could be written by Moses almost without a conscious effort. He was the only man, probably the only creature (see note on Exodus Angelophany under xiv. 19), who perfectly knew everything in it at first hand. All that is here recorded, he would have said to Jethro in one day's interview. The writing of it could be done by him in a few days. And he had thirty-eight years, in full possession of his great powers, during which, with comparative leisure, his mind must have mainly lived in those few wondrous months. His “ Sinaitic Rock Inscription" would be, V' Ellěh Shěmoth. (3) The Book is like him. The simple greatness of it resembles him in the simple greatness of his soul, from which there proceeded naturally in supernaturalism) the fundamental constitution of God's kingdom, such as it remains until the second coming of the Lord. His writing about himself in the third person is a natural historical manner-witness Knox in History and Cæsar in Commentaries. What he says about himself is Mosaic (see under xi. 1-3). On one occasion we are told, that “the man Moses * rose to greatness-not his own :—that is a necessary explanation of the history at the point. Otherwise, there is not in the Book a syllable in his praise, nor a look of admiration of him. If there have been only one Christian that could write the Fourth Gospel without naming John the son of Zebedee, Moses is the only Israelite that could have written as the author of Exodus writes about the son of Amram.
THE REVELATION, SPECIFICALLY OF REDEMPTION.
There never was a clearer case of legitimacy under the rule, -Nec deus intersit nisi
dignus vindice nodus Inciderit (Bring not a God not needed).
BEYOND the fact, that there is a supernatural revealed in this history, there is to be observed, the measure in which it is there. And the measure is, like that of the soul's being in the body, “all in the whole, and all in every part.” The history is full of nature, of man and of his world. The nature is completely natural: man is man, whether good or evil, always rationally free and responsible; and in the non-rational world around him there is everywhere that substantive reality of second causes, which shows that creation was not illusory, and that providence has a sphere, of sustaining and governing realities. But, as in the bush that burned and was not consumed, so in this Book, and in the real world as seen in the light of it, there glows and shines an all-pervasive thoroughgoing supernaturalism. Not only here and there, we perceive the pointed “finger of God,” and His hand outstretched, in warning or entreaty, and His arm uplifted, to deliver or to smite. These are only “signs” of an omnipresent supernaturalism, in which all creatures, as in an unseen atmosphere, “live, and move, and have their being." What the Book discloses is, not simply the Being, and Providence, and Redeeming grace, of the Living God, but His being everywhere, and everywhere supreme, sovereignly “ doing according to His will," "filling all in all," "working all in all.”
In heathen annals there is occasional mention made of some supernatural appearance, in this or that year; which however may be only a meaningless “ prodigy” or “monster," that has no intelligible connection with divine moral government of the world. Its effect on the mind of men is only vague bewilderment of wonder, as if it had been an earthquake or a comet seen by men who know nothing of the physical causation of such unusual events. But the terrible wonders of Exodus have no resemblance to mere terrific freaks of nature. They are always means to an end, that is, in the view of a sovereign Almighty, directing His omnipotence to His purpose of relieving or punishing, establishing the kingdom of God,