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Ex 4:1-31. MIRACULOUS CHANGE OF THE ROD, &c.
1. But, behold--Hebrew, "If," "perhaps," "they will not believe me."--What evidence can I produce of my divine mission? There was still a want of full confidence, not in the character and divine power of his employer, but in His presence and power always accompanying him. He insinuated that his communication might be rejected and he himself treated as an impostor.
2. the Lord said, . . . What is that in thine
hand?--The question was put not to elicit information which God
required, but to draw the particular attention of Moses.
9. take of the water of the river--Nile. Those miracles, two of which were wrought then, and the third to be performed on his arrival in Goshen, were at first designed to encourage him as satisfactory proofs of his divine mission, and to be repeated for the special confirmation of his embassy before the Israelites.
10-13. I am not eloquent--It is supposed that Moses labored under a natural defect of utterance or had a difficulty in the free and fluent expression of his ideas in the Egyptian language, which he had long disused. This new objection was also overruled, but still Moses, who foresaw the manifold difficulties of the undertaking, was anxious to be freed from the responsibility.
14. the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses--The Divine Being is not subject to ebullitions of passion; but His displeasure was manifested by transferring the honor of the priesthood, which would otherwise have been bestowed on Moses, to Aaron, who was from this time destined to be the head of the house of Levi (1Ch 23:13). Marvellous had been His condescension and patience in dealing with Moses; and now every remaining scruple was removed by the unexpected and welcome intelligence that his brother Aaron was to be his colleague. God knew from the beginning what Moses would do, but He reserves this motive to the last as the strongest to rouse his languid heart, and Moses now fully and cordially complied with the call. If we are surprised at his backwardness amidst all the signs and promises that were given him, we must admire his candor and honesty in recording it.
19. all the men are dead which sought thy life--The death of the Egyptian monarch took place in the four hundred and twenty-ninth year of the Hebrew sojourn in that land, and that event, according to the law of Egypt, took off his proscription of Moses, if it had been publicly issued.
20. Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an
ass--Septuagint, "asses." Those animals are not now used in
the desert of Sinai except by the Arabs for short distances.
24. inn--Hebrew, "a halting place for the night."
26. So he let him go--Moses recovered; but the remembrance of this critical period in his life would stimulate the Hebrew legislator to enforce a faithful attention to the rite of circumcision when it was established as a divine ordinance in Israel, and made their peculiar distinction as a people.
27. Aaron met him in the mount of God, and kissed him--After a separation of forty years, their meeting would be mutually happy. Similar are the salutations of Arab friends when they meet in the desert still; conspicuous is the kiss on each side of the head.
29-31. Moses and Aaron went--towards Egypt, Zipporah and her
sons having been sent back. (Compare