Verse 34. "From the midst of another nation" - This was a most extraordinary thing, that a whole people, consisting of upwards of 600, 000 effective men, besides women and children, should, without striking a blow, be brought out of the midst of a very powerful nation, to the political welfare of which their services were so essential; that they should be brought out in so open and public a manner; that the sea itself should be supernaturally divided to afford this mighty host a passage; and that, in a desert utterly unfriendly to human life, they should be sustained for forty years. These were such instances of the almighty power and goodness of God as never could be forgotten.
In this verse Moses enumerates seven different means used by the Almighty in effecting Israel's deliverance.
1. TEMPTATIONS, tsm massoth, from hn nasah, to try or prove; the miracles which God wrought to try the faith and prove the obedience of the children of Israel.
2. SIGNS, tta othoth, from hta athah, to come near; such signs as God gave them of his continual presence and especial providence, particularly the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire, keeping near to them night and day, and always directing their journeys, showing them when and where to pitch their tents, &c., &c.
3. WONDERS, µytpwm mophethim, from tpy yaphath, to persuade; persuasive facts and events, says Parkhurst, whether strictly miraculous, and exceeding the powers of nature, as Exod. vii. 9; xi. 9, 10; or not, as Isa. xx. 3; Ezek. xii. 6, 11. It probably means typical representations: in this signification the word is used, Zech. iii. 8. Joshua, the high priest, and his companions were tpwm yna anshey mopheth, typical men, raised up by God as types of Christ, and proofs that God would bring his servant THE BRANCH. All the dealings of God with this people, and even the people themselves, were types- present significators of distant facts and future occurrences.
4. WAR, hmjlm milchamah, hostile engagements; such as those with the Amalekites, the Amorites, and the Bashanites, in which the hand of God was seen rather than the hand of man.
5. A MIGHTY HAND, hqzj dy yad chazakah; one that is strong to deal its blows, irresistible in its operations, and grasps its enemies hard, so that they cannot escape, and protects its friends so powerfully that they cannot be injured. Neither stratagem nor policy was used in this business, but the openly displayed power of God.
6. A STRETCHED-OUT ARM, hywfn [wrz zeroa netuyah; a series of almighty operations, following each other in quick astonishing succession.
Let it be noted that in the Scriptures, 1. The finger of God denotes any manifestation of the Divine power, where effects are produced beyond the power of art or nature. 2. The hand of God signifies the same power, but put forth in a more signal manner. 3. The arm of God, the Divine omnipotence manifested in the most stupendous miracles. 4. The arm of God stretched out, this same omnipotence exerted in a continuation of stupendous miracles, both in the way of judgment and mercy. In this latter sense it appears to be taken in the text: the judgments were poured out on the Egyptians; the mercies wrought in favour of the Israelites.
7. GREAT TERRORS, µyldg µyarwm moraim gedolim; such terror, dismay, and consternation as were produced by the ten plagues, to which probably the inspired penman here alludes: or, as the Septuagint has it, en oramasin megaloiv, with great or portentous sights; such as that when God looked out of the cloud upon the Egyptians, and their chariot wheels were taken off, Exod. xiv. 24, 25. More awful displays of God's judgments, power, and might, were never witnessed by man.
Verse 41. "Then Moses severed three cities" - See the law relative to the cities of refuge explained, See "Num. xxxv. 11", &c.
Verse 43. "Bezer in the wilderness" - As the cities of refuge are generally understood to be types of the salvation provided by Christ for sinners; so their names have been thought to express some attribute of the Redeemer of mankind. See them explained Josh. xx. 7, 8.
I SUPPOSE the last nine verses of this chapter to have been added by either Joshua or Ezra.