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Exodus 6:1-8

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 his land.

1. Et dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Nunc videbis qued facturus sum Pharaoni: quia in manu robusta dimittet eos, in manu inquam robusta ejiciet eos e terra sua.

2. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord:

2. Et loquutus est Deus ad Mosen, dixitque illi, Ego Jehova.

3. And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

3. Apparui quidem Abrahae, Isaac, et Jacob in Deo onmipotente: in nomine tamen meo Jehova non sum cognitus illis.

4. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.

4. Atque etiam erexi pactum meum cum illis, ut darem illis terram Chanaan, terram peregrinationum eorum, in qua peregrinati sunt.

5. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.

5. Ideoque ego audivi gemitum filiorum Israel, quos Aegyptii serviliter opprimunt: et recordatus sum foederis mei.

6. 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 with great judgments.

6. Propterea dic filiis Israel, Ego Jehova, et educam vos ex oneribus Aegypti, et eruam vos e servitute illorum, et redimam vos in brachio extento, et in judiciis magnis.

7. 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 burdens of the Egyptians.

7. Et assumam vos mihi in populum, et ero vobis in Deum, et scietis quod ego sum Jehova Deus vester, dum vos educo ex oneribus Aegypti.

8. 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.

8. Et introducam vos in terram, de qua levavi manum meam ut darem eam Abrahae, Isaac, et Jacob: daboque eam vobis in possessionem. Ego Jehova.

1. Then the Lord said unto Moses. Moses was indeed unworthy of receiving so kind and gentle a reply from God; but the Father of all goodness of His infinite mercy pardoned both the sins of Moses and of the people, that He might effect the deliverance which he had determined. Yet He adduces nothing new, but repeats and confirms His former declaration, that Pharaoh would not obey until forcibly compelled to do so. The expression, “thou shalt see,” is a tacit reproof of his immoderate impatience, in not waiting for the result of the promise. The reason is then added why God is unwilling that His people should be spontaneously dismissed by the tyrant, viz., because He wished the work of their liberation to be conspicuous. We must remark the strength of the words “drive them out;” as if He had said, that when Pharaoh had been subdued, and routed in the contest, he would not only consent, but would consider it a great blessing, for the people to depart as quickly as possible. The sum is, that he, who today refuses to let you depart, will not only set you free, but will even expel you from his kingdom.

2. And God spake. God pursues His address, that Moses may again uplift the fainting courage of the people. Moreover, He rebukes their distrust, by recalling the memory of His covenant; for if this had been duly impressed upon their minds, they would have been much more firm in their expectation of deliverance. He therefore shews that He has now advanced nothing new; since they had heard long ago from the Patriarchs that they were chosen by God as His peculiar people, and had almost imbibed from their mother’s breasts the doctrine of his adoption of them. Wherefore their stupidity is the more unpardonable, and more manifest, when they thus factiously complain of Moses, as if he had himself invented what he had promised them in the name of God. He also stings them by an implied comparison; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had eagerly embraced the promise given them, and had quietly, and perseveringly trusted in it; whilst they, who boasted of their descent from that holy stock, disdainfully rejected it, because its fulfillment did not immediately appear. And, in order to amplify their sin, he reasons from the less to the greater: since a fuller and clearer manifestation of it is presented to them than there had been to the fathers, it follows that they ought to have been more ready to believe it. Whence it is plain that their stupidity is inexcusable, since they will not receive God, when he is so familiarly presenting himself to them. Translators do not agree as to the epithet “Sadai.” Some derive it from the word שדד, shadad, and imagine that the final letter י, yod, is the double ד, daleth If we agree to this, it will mean the same as “the Destroyer;” or at any rate will signify the awful majesty of God. Others are rather of opinion that the root is שד, shad, which means “a teat.” To others it appears to be a compound word from the relative אשר, esher, or ש, and די, di, which in Hebrew means “sufficiency.” Thus he will be called “Sadai,” who abounds with all good things. It is indeed sure that they use this word in a good as well as a bad sense; for where Isaiah threatens that God will be the avenger of sins, he calls him “Sadai.” (Isaiah 13:9.) So also in Job 23:16, “Sadai troubleth me.” In these and similar passages, the terrible power of God is unquestionably expressed; but when He promises to Abraham that He will be the God “Sadai,” He is engaging himself to be merciful and bounteous. Here again, where He says that He appeared to the Fathers as the God “Sadai,” He has not respect so much to His might in exercising judgment, as to His abundant and perfect loving-kindness; as though He had said, that He had manifested to Abraham and the other Patriarchs how great was His efficiency in preserving and defending His own people, and that they had known from experience how powerfully and effectually He cherishes, sustains, and aids them that are His. But although He declares what benefits He conferred upon them, He says that He was not known to them by His name “Jehovah;” signifying thus that He now more brightly manifested the glory of His divinity to their descendants. It would be tedious to recount the various opinions as to the name “Jehovah.” It is certainly a foul superstition of the Jews that they dare not speak, or write it, but substitute the name “Adonai;” nor do I any more approve of their teaching, who say that it is ineffable, because it is not written according to grammatical rule. Without controversy, it is derived from the word היה, hayah, or הוה, havah, and therefore it is rightly said by learned commentators to be the essential name of God, whereas others are, as it were, epithets. Since, then, nothing is more peculiar to God than eternity, He is called Jehovah, because He has existence from Himself, and sustains all things by His secret inspiration. Nor do I agree with the grammarians, who will not have it pronounced, because its inflection is irregular; because its etymology, of which all confess that God is the author, is more to me than an hundred rules. 7272     “A. Pfeiffer in his Dubia vexata, rightly observes upon this passage. The name Jehovah was not, strictly and literally, unknown to the fathers, but it was so, in respect of the perfect fulfillment of the promises implied in it; more especially, that glorious one of the deliverance out of Egypt.” — Rosenmuller in Brightwell. “Prior to that time, the name Jehovah had been often used to describe the existence, the necessity, or the unchangeableness of God; but now, to indicate His faithfulness, His truth and constancy, in keeping and fulfilling His promises.” — Dathe in loco. Holden, however, and others, would elude the difficulty by reading the clause interrogatively. He says, “It is impossible to read the history of Abraham, etc., without being convinced that both the name of Jehovah, and the attributes implied by that name, were known to them. Our A.V., therefore, must be erroneous. Now every difficulty will be removed by reading it interrogatively, ‘And by my name Jehovah was I not known to them?’ which is both agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, and to the scope of the context.” Nor does God by “His name” in this passage mean syllables or letters, but the knowledge of His glory and majesty, which shone out more fully and more brightly in the redemption of His Church, than in the commencement of the covenant. For Abraham and the other Patriarchs were content with a smaller measure of light; whence it follows that the fault of their descendants would be less excusable, if their faith was not answerable to the increase of their grace. Meanwhile, Moses is awakened to activity whilst God is setting before him a magnificent and singular means of shewing forth His glory.

4. And I have also established my covenant. The hope of the deliverance which He had formerly promised, and which the Patriarchs had expected, He confirms by alluding to the covenant, as I have just above said; and the particle גם, gam, which is twice repeated, is, in the first case, causal, in the second, illative, as much as to say, “Since I covenanted with your fathers, therefore I have now determined to bring you into the land of Canaan;” unless it be preferred to resolve it thus, “I, the same who established the covenant with your fathers, now also have heard your groaning.” Moreover, because the covenant is founded on free grace, God commands the redemption to be expected as much from His good pleasure as from His steadfastness. But He again commends the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they patiently consented to be strangers and pilgrims in the land of Canaan, which by the covenant of God was their own lawful inheritance. For it was a proof of their exemplary virtue, to be wanderers all their lives, and not to have a single corner to put their foot upon, unless what was granted them by sufferance for the erection of their tents, being at the mercy of their neighbors; as natives are always apt to despise strangers. And by this comparison the slowness of heart and ingratitude of their posterity is the more condemned, if they refuse to take possession of this land, which was so earnestly desired by their holy fathers, and at the sight of which alone they counted themselves blessed, although they were only sojourners there.

5. And I have also heard the groaning. He assigns the reason why He so long had delayed to fulfill His promise, viz., because He would have His people sorely troubled, that He might more openly succor them in their affliction; besides, He chose that they should be unjustly oppressed by the Egyptians, in order that He might more justly rescue them from their tyrannical masters, as He had said to Abraham that He would avenge them after they had been afflicted. (Genesis 15:13, 14.) He therefore reminds them by this circumstance, that the due time for helping them had come; because, if they had been always treated humanely, and the laws of hospitality had been observed towards them, there would have been no cause for shaking off the yoke; but now, after that the Egyptians, regardless of all justice, had broken faith with them, it was just that the groaning and cries of His cruelly afflicted people should be heard by God. But He always expressly asserts that this depended on the covenant, both that the Jews might acknowledge him to be only bound to them by regard to His own free promise, and also that, being persuaded that He is true to His promises, they might more surely expect deliverance. The meaning of God’s “remembering” His promise I have elsewhere said to be, that he shews His remembrance of it by what He does.7373     Vide Note on chap. 2. 24, “demonstrationem effectus.” — Lat. What follows in the next verse, “Say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord,” is intended to remove their doubts. It was a thing as impossible to human apprehension, to tear away this weak and unwarlike people from their cruel tyrants, as to rescue sheep from the jaws of wolves, and to preserve them in safety after they had been mangled and wounded by their teeth. Therefore God begins by declaring his incomparable power, to shew that there is no difficulty with Him in performing anything whatever, although incredible. Therefore, he adds, that he would “redeem them with a stretched-out arm, and with great judgments,” as much as to say, I will give miraculous proofs of my mighty power, which shall surpass all human apprehension. By “judgments,”7474     שפטים, judicial inflictions What C. has said of the latitude of the meanings assignable to this word, is rather true of the kindred noun, סשפט. — W He means the manner of His dealing, which would at the same time testify His justice. For with the Hebrews this word means any disposition, method, order, or custom, and sometimes also measure. We say in French, facons notables ou estranges, (notable or strange fashions.)

7. And I will take you to me. The end of their liberation is here described in the continued tenor of His grace. For it would have been little that the people should once be redeemed from Egypt, unless, when redeemed, they had lived under the defense and guardianship of God. As, therefore, He had long since separated the holy seed of Abraham from the other nations by circumcision, He now again sets it apart, (sanctificat,) and promises that he will be their God. In these words, then, their peculiar election, as well as its perpetuity, is asserted; since to be accounted the people of God means the same as to be by especial privilege received into his favor, and to be called by adoption to the hope of eternal salvation. But the future tense shews that the benefit was not to be merely temporal, when God with a stretched-out arm shall bring the people out of Egypt, but that this should only be the beginning of eternal protection. Moreover, we should observe the anagoge or similitude between us and the Israelites, because God has once delivered us by the hand of his only-begotten Son from the tyranny of Satan, to this end, that he may always pursue us with his paternal love. Afterwards he subjoins the possession of the land of Canaan as an earnest or pledge, which was given to the Israelites, in order that God might always dwell among them, protect them with his aid, and defend them with his power. I have said that this was the earnest of their adoption, because the faith of the fathers was not to be tied to earthly blessings, but to tend to an higher object. Meanwhile, by this outward sign God shewed them that they were his peculiar people, for whose habitation he chose the land in which he would be worshipped. By saying He “would lift up his hand,”7575     Vide margin of A.V. He means in confirmation, because the promise was ratified by the addition of an oath. It is indeed certain that there is enough and more than enough steadfastness in the simple word of God; but He made this concession to man’s weakness, and interposed His sacred name as a pledge, that they might with fuller confidence be persuaded that nothing was promised them in vain. To lift up the hand, means to swear; a similitude taken from men, who, by this gesture, testify that they speak in the sight of God, as if they would call Him down as a witness from heaven. This is not applicable to God, who swears by Himself, because there is none greater to whom He may lift His hand, (Hebrews 6:13;) but, metaphorically, the custom of men is transferred to Him. As to the insertion, that “they should know that He was the Lord,” after they had been brought forth, it contains an indirect rebuke; since that knowledge is too late which comes after the event. But at the same time, He promises that He would cause them openly to experience how true He is in all His sayings, that the Israelites may more constantly expect their redemption. Repeating at the close that He is Jehovah, He magnifies (as He had just before done) His invincible power, which easily surmounts all impediments; whilst this expression also contains a testimony to His truth, as if He had said that He alone can be safely trusted to, because He is both faithful in His promises and possessed of infinite power.


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