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Exodus 6:9-13

9. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

9. Et ita loquutus est Moses ad filios Israel: sed non audierunt Mosen prae angustia spiritus, et prae dura servitute.

10. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

10. Loquutus autem est Jehova ad Mosen, dicens,

11. Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.

11. Ingredere et Ioquere ad Pharaonem regem Aegypti, ut dimittat filios Israel e terra sua.

12. And Moses spake before the Lord, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?

12. Tunc loquutus est Moses coram Jehovah, dicendo, Ecce, filii Israel non audierunt me: et quomodo audiet me Pharao qui sum incircumcisus labiis?

13. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

13. Loquutus autem fuerat Jehova ad Mosen, et Aharon, dederatque eis mandata ad filios Israel et ad Pharaonem regem Aegypti, ut emitteret filios Israel e terra Aegypti.

9. And Moses spake so. From this verse it appears that Moses is referring to the second message which he was commanded to bear. For they had before heard with great joy and approbation, and had expressed their thankfulness to God, that the time of their deliverance was come. Now Moses relates that their hearts were shut against the announcement that he made to them of this grace. Thus do the afflicted often, by closing their ears, shut the gate against the promises of God, which is indeed a marvelous thing. For it is not to be wondered at, if they who are full and intoxicated with prosperity, reject the mercy of God; but it is contrary to nature that the sorrow which ought to awaken the longings of those who are overwhelmed with trouble, should be an obstacle to their receiving the comfort freely offered them of God. But it is too common for people the more they are respectively afflicted, to harden themselves against the reception of God’s help. Moses relates that the children of Israel were affected by this disease, when so kind an invitation of God was repulsed from their deaf ears, because anguish had taken possession of their hearts. But since it is natural for us to be thus straitened by pain and grief, let us learn from this example to struggle that our minds should escape from their sorrows, so far at least as to be able to receive the grace of God; for there is no greater curse than to be rendered heavy and dull, so as to be deaf to God’s promises.

10. And the Lord spake unto Moses. Moses more clearly sets forth how indulgently God bore with the malevolent repulse of the people; the just reward of which would have been, that He should have suffered them to rot a hundred times over in their miseries, when they so obstinately rushed to their own destruction. It is, therefore, of His extraordinary loving-kindness, that He ceases not to aid those who are willing to perish. Moreover, it must be observed, that Moses was strengthened by this new command, since he had been himself shaken by the despair of the people. But; it was no trifling sin to be so hardened and stupified by misfortune, as to reject the remedy proposed to them. He might then reasonably conjecture, that he was to proceed no further, lest he should be foolishly exposing himself to so many anxieties at his own great peril, and with no profitable result. But God meets this temptation, and commands him, nevertheless, to contend perseveringly with the obstinacy of Pharaoh. But the answer of Moses shews, that this legation had been again enjoined upon the holy man, since the time that the anguish of the people had closed the way of God’s grace. For when at first the people were aroused by the first message to a cheerful hope of deliverance, this happy commencement had encouraged Moses to extraordinary energy for the performance of his task; and this might naturally fail him upon the unprosperous event which had now taken place, until he had been animated anew to perseverance. He therefore asks to be dismissed, lest his labor should be in vain, and reasons from the less to the greater, since it would be much more difficult to influence the mind of Pharaoh to give up his claims against his will, than to persuade the afflicted (people) to receive the aid proffered to them from on high. But he had now learnt from experience, that the people’s hearts were as a door closed against God; why then should he try to move the exceeding great rock from its place? Although it was not his design to shake off the burden of the vocation imposed upon him, yet he would have willingly withdrawn himself indirectly, and turned his back upon it. Thus we sometimes see the heartiest of God’s servants beginning to faint in the midst of their course, especially when they encounter difficulties, and stumble upon some path which is worse than they expected. Wherefore we must the more earnestly entreat of God, that amidst the various trials against which we have to struggle, He may never deprive us of the assistance of His power, but rather continually inspire us with new strength in proportion to the violence of our contests. But what hope of the deliverance now survived, the minister of which was so down-hearted and depressed, and which the people themselves had so openly despised, if God had not accomplished all things by Himself? Nor is there any doubt that He wished to shew, by this failure on the part of men, that His own hand was sufficient for Him. That Moses should call himself “of uncircumcised lips,” I refer to his stammering, which he had before alleged as an obstacle; although, if any prefer to understand it otherwise, I make no strong objection.

13. And the Lord spake unto Moses. I translate it, “the Lord had spoken unto Moses;” because reference is here made to the commencement of his calling, and, therefore, the sense will be more accurately rendered by the perfect past tense; for he repeats, what he had already said, that he and Aaron his brother had not acted rashly, but had been commissioned by the command of God. The drift is, that however often the work might have been in some way interrupted, the counsel of God still held firm for the liberation of the people. But it is evident that he speaks of the first command, because he says that he and his brother were sent as well to the children of Israel as to Pharaoh.

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