I. Continues and concludes God's discourse with Moses, concerning bringing Israel out of Egypt. [1.] Moses objects the peoples unbelief, ver. 1. and God answers that objection by giving him a power to work miracles: (1.) To turn his rod into a serpent, and then into a rod again, ver. 2-5. (2.) To make his hand leprous, and then whole again, ver. 6-8. (3.) To turn the water into blood, ver. 9. [2.]Moses objects his own slowness of speech, ver. 10. and begs to be excused, ver. 13. But God answers this objection, (1.) By promising him his presence, ver. 11, 12. (2.) By joining Aaron in commission with him, ver. 14-16. (3.) By putting an honour upon the very staff in his hand, ver. 17.
II. Moses's execution of his commission. (1.) He obtains leave of his father-in-law to return into Egypt, ver. 18. (2.) He receives further instructions from God, ver. 19, 21-23. (3.) He hastens his departure, and takes his family with him, ver. 20. (4.) He meets with some difficulty about the circumcising of his son, ver. 24. 26. (5.) He has the satisfaction of meeting his brother Aaron, ver. 27, 28. (6.) He produceth his commission before the elders of Israel, to their great joy, ver. 29-31.
1. They will not hearken to my voice-That is, they would not take his bare word, unless he shewed them some sign. He remembered how they had once rejected him, and feared it would be so again.
Verse 5. That they may believe - An imperfect sentence to be thus compleated, This thou shalt do, before them, that they may believe.
Verse 6. His hand was leprous, as snow - For whiteness. This signified, That Moses, by the power of God, should bring sore diseases upon Egypt, that at his prayer they should be removed. And that whereas the Israelites in Egypt were become leprous, polluted by sin, and almost consumed by oppression, by being taken into the bosom of Moses they should be cleansed and cured.
Verse 8. The voice of the first sign - God's works have a voice to speak to us, which we must diligently observe.
Verse 10. O my Lord, I am not eloquent - He was a great philosopher, statesman, and divine, and yet no orator; a man of a clearhead, great thought and solid judgment, but had not a voluble tongue, nor ready utterance; and therefore he thought himself unfit to speak before great men, and about great affairs. Moses was mighty in word, Acts vii, 22, and yet not eloquent: what he said was strong and nervous, and to the purpose, and distilled as the dew, Deut. xxxii, 2, though he did not deliver himself with that readiness, ease and fineness that some do.
Verse 13. Send by whom thou wilt send - By any but me.
Verse 14. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against him - Even self-diffidence when it grows into an extreme, when it either hinders us from duty, or clogs us in duty, is very displeasing to him.
Verse 15. I will be with thy mouth and with his mouth - Even Aaron that could speak well, yet could not speak to purpose, unless God were with his mouth; without the constant aids of divine grace, the best gifts will fail.
Verse 16. Instead of God - To teach and to command him.
Verse 17. Take this rod - The staff or crook he carried as a shepherd, that he might not be ashamed of that mean condition out of which God called him. This rod must be his staff of authority, and must be to him instead, both of sword and scepter.
Verse 19. The Lord said unto Moses - This seems to have been a second vision, whereby God calls him to the present execution of the command given before.
Verse 20. The rod of God - His shepherd's crook so called, as it was God's instrument in so many glorious works.
Verse 21. In thy hand - in thy power: I will harden his heart - After he has frequently harden'd it himself, wilfully shutting his eyes against the light, I will at last permit Satan to harden it effectually.
Verse 22. Thus saith the Lord - This is the first time that preface is used by any man, which afterwards is used so frequently by all the prophets: Israel is my son, my first-born - Precious in my sight, honourable, and dear to me.
Verse 23. Let my son go - Not only my servant whom thou hast no right to detain, but my son whose liberty and honour I am jealous for. If thou refuse, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born - As men deal with God's people, let them expect to be themselves dealt with.
Verse 24. It seems the sin of Moses, was neglecting to circumcise his son, which perhaps was the effect of his being unequally yoked with a Midianite, who was too indulgent of her child, and Moses so of her. The Lord met him, and, probably, by a sword in an angel's hand, sought to kill him - This was a great change. Very lately God was conversing with him as a friend, and now coming forth against him as an enemy. In this case of necessity Zipporah herself circumcised the child without delay; whether with passionate words, expressing the dislike of the ordinance itself, or at least the administration of it to so young a child.
Verse 26. So he let him go - The destroying angel withdrew. But still Zipporah cannot forget, but will unreasonably call Moses a bloody husband, because he obliged her to circumcise the child; and upon this occasion, (it is probable) he sent them back to his father-in-law, that they might not create him any farther uneasiness. When we have any specialservice to do for God, we should remove that as far from us as we can, which is likely to be our hindrance: let the dead bury their dead, but follow thou me.
Verse 27. In the mount of God - That is, the place where God had met with him.
Verse 28. Moses told Aaron all - Those that are fellow-servants to God in the same work, should use a mutual freedom, and endeavour, rightly and fully to understand one another.
Verse 30. Aaron did the signs - By the direction of Moses.