The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleExodus 19:4
Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians…
The plagues he
brought upon them in Egypt, and the destruction of them at the Red sea;
these things they were eyewitnesses of, and needed no other proof or
evidence to convince and assure them of them, and therefore must be
under obligation to attend to what he was about to recommend unto them,
for which reason this is observed:
and [how] I bare you on eagles' wings;
that is, as on eagles' wings,
the note of similitude being wanting, but to be supplied; for it cannot
be thought that they were literally bore on eagles' wings; but as that
creature is reported to be very affectionate to its young, and careful
of it, and, as is said, only to one; for, having more, it will cast
away all but one, and reserve that, which it carefully nourishes; and
being swift of flight, and strong of wing, it will in a remarkable
manner take its young upon it, and safely and swiftly convey it where
it pleases; of which (See Gill on 32:11). The eagle excels other
birds both in its strength and in the size of its body; and
especially its pectoral muscles, by which its wings are supported; are
very strong, so that it can carry its young, and other things, on its
back and wings; and some such thing nature itself seems to have
required, as naturalists observe F4; and there are some histories,
which, if true, greatly confirm and illustrate this. Aelianus F5
reports of Tilgamus, a Babylonian, and who afterwards was king of
Babylon, and who seems to be the Tilgath Pilneser of the Scriptures,
king of Assyria, that when a lad, being thrown down from the top of a
tower, an eagle, which is a very quick sighted bird, saw him, and,
before he came to the ground, flew under him, took him upon its back,
and carried him into a garden, and gently let him down. So it is
related of Aristomenes F6, that as he was casting headlong into a deep
ditch by the Lacedemonians, where they used to throw condemned
malefactors, an eagle flew under him, and bore him on its wings, and
carried him to the bottom, without any hurt to any part of his body.
Jarchi observes, that whereas other birds carry their young between
their feet, for fear of those that fly above them, the eagle flying
above all others, and so in no fear of them, carries its young upon its
wings, judging it better that a dart should pierce that than its young.
The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase the words,
``and I bore you on clouds, as on eagles' wings;''
which covered, and protected, and sustained them, as the eagles' wings
do its young; the former adds, from Pelusium, a city in Egypt, supposed
by the Targumist to be the same with Rameses; where Jarchi observes the
people of Israel were very swiftly gathered together as the place of
their rendezvous, and were as safely brought from thence to the place
where they now were. Thus the Lord showed an affectionate concern for
Israel, took them under his care and protection, stood between them
and the Egyptians in a pillar of cloud, and secured them from their
arrows, and swiftly and safely removed them from the land of Egypt to
the place where they now were, distinguishing them from all other
nations, having chosen them to be a special people to himself:
and brought you unto myself:
to the mountain of God, where he had
appeared to Moses, and given this as a sign and token of the truth of
his mission, that he and Israel, when brought out of Egypt by him,
should serve him on this mount; and now they were brought thither,
where he was about not only to grant his presence in a very singular
manner, but to deliver his law unto them, and enter into a covenant
with them, and establish and settle them as his people; so that they
were a people near unto the Lord, taken into covenant, and indulged
with communion with him, and made partakers of various distinguished
blessings of his: both the above Targums are, "I brought you to the
doctrine of my law", to receive it at this mount.
F4 Scheuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 2. p. 186.
F5 Hist. Animal. l. 12. c. 21.
F6 Pausaniae Messenica, sive, l. 4. p. 250, 251.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Exodus 19:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=ex&chapter=019&verse=004>. 1999.