Much ado there was to bring Moses to his work, and when the ice was
broken, some difficulty having occurred in carrying it on, there was no
less ado to put him forward in it. Witness this chapter, in which,
I. God satisfies Moses himself in an answer to his complaints in the
close of the foregoing chapter,
II. He gives him fuller instructions than had yet been given him what
to say to the children of Israel, for their satisfaction
but to little purpose,
III. He sends him again to Pharaoh,
But Moses objects against
upon which a very strict charge is given to him and his brother to
execute their commission with vigour,
IV. Here is an abstract of the genealogy of the tribes of Reuben and
Simeon, to introduce that of Levi, that the pedigree of Moses and Aaron
might be cleared
and then the chapter concludes with a repetition of so much of the
preceding story as was necessary to make way for the following
|The Promise of Deliverance.
||B. C. 1491.|
1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will
do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and
with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.
2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by
the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not
known to them.
4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give
them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein
they were strangers.
5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel,
whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my
6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD,
and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,
and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you
with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you
a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which
bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I
did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I
will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they
hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel
I. God silences Moses's complaints with the assurance of success in
this negotiation, repeating the promise made him in
After that, he will let you go. When Moses was at his wit's end,
wishing he had staid in Midian, rather than have come to Egypt to make
bad worse--when he was quite at a loss what to do--Then the Lord
said unto Moses, for the quieting of his mind, "Now shalt thou
see what I will do to Pharaoh
now that the affair has come to a crisis, things are as bad as they can
be, Pharaoh is in the height of pride and Israel in the depth of
misery, now is my time to appear." See
Now will I arise. Note, Man's extremity is God's opportunity of
helping and saving. Moses had been expecting what God would do; but now
he shall see what he will do, shall see his day at length,
Moses had been trying what he could do, and could effect nothing.
"Well," says God, "now thou shalt see what I will do; let me
alone to deal with this proud man,"
Note, Then the deliverance of God's church will be accomplished, when
God takes the work into his own hands. With a strong hand, that
is, being forced to it by a strong hand, he shall let them go.
Note, As some are brought to their duty by the strong hand of God's
grace, who are made willing in the day of his power, so others by the
strong hand of his justice, breaking those that would not bend.
II. He gives him further instructions, that both he and the people of
Israel might be encouraged to hope for a glorious issue of this affair.
1. From God's name, Jehovah,
He begins with this, I am Jehovah, the same with, I am that
I am, the fountain of being, and blessedness, and infinite
perfection. The patriarchs knew this name, but they did not know him in
this matter by that which this name signifies. God would now be known
by his name Jehovah, that is,
(1.) A God performing what he had promised, and so inspiring confidence
in his promises.
(2.) A God perfecting what he had begun, and finishing his own work.
In the history of the creation, God is never called Jehovah till the
heavens and the earth were finished,
When the salvation of the saints is completed in eternal life, then he
will be known by his name Jehovah
in the mean time they shall find him, for their strength and support,
El-shaddai, a God all-sufficient, a God that is enough and will
2. From his covenant: I have established my covenant,
Note, The covenants God makes he establishes; they are made as firm as
the power and truth of God can make them. We may venture our all upon
3. From his compassions
I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel; he means
their groaning on occasion of the late hardships put upon them. Note,
God take notice of the increase of his people's calamities, and
observes how their enemies grow upon them.
4. From his present resolutions,
Here is line upon line, to assure them that they should be brought
triumphantly out of Egypt
and should be put in possession of the land of Canaan
I will bring you out. I will rid you. I will redeem you. I will
bring you into the land of Canaan, and I will give it to
you. Let man take the shame of his unbelief, which needs such
repetitions; and let God have the glory of his condescending grace,
which gives us such repeated assurances for our satisfaction.
5. From his gracious intentions in all these, which were great, and
worthy of him,
(1.) He intended their happiness: I will take you to me for a
people, a peculiar people, and I will be to you a God; more
than this we need not ask, we cannot have, to make us happy.
(2.) He intended his own glory: You shall know that I am the
Lord. God will attain his own ends, nor shall we come short of them
if we make them our chief end too. Now, one would think, these good
words, and comfortable words, should have revived the drooping
Israelites, and cause them to forget their misery; but, on the
contrary, their miseries made them regardless of God's promises
They harkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit. That is,
[1.] They were so taken up with their troubles that they did not heed
[2.] They were so cast down with their late disappointment that they
did not believe him.
[3.] They had such a dread of Pharaoh's power and wrath that they durst
not themselves move in the least towards their deliverance. Note,
First, Disconsolate spirits often put from them the comforts
they are entitled to, and stand in their own light. See
Secondly, Strong passions oppose strong consolations. By
indulging ourselves in discontent and fretfulness, we deprive ourselves
of the comfort we might have both from God's word and from his
providence, and must thank ourselves if we go comfortless.
10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the
children of Israel go out of his land.
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?
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.
I. God sends Moses the second time to Pharaoh
upon the same errand as before, to command him, at his peril, that he
let the children of Israel go. Note, God repeats his precepts
before he begins his punishments. Those that have often been called in
vain to leave their sins must yet be called again and again, whether
they will hear or whether they will forbear,
God is said to hew sinners by his prophets
which denotes the repetition of the strokes. How often would I have
II. Moses makes objections, as one discouraged, and willing to give up
1. The unlikelihood of Pharaoh's hearing: "Behold the children of
Israel have not hearkened unto me; they give no heed, no credit, to
what I have said; how then can I expect that Pharaoh should hear me? If
the anguish of their spirit makes them deaf to that which would compose
and comfort them, much more will the anger of his spirit, his pride and
insolence, make him deaf to that which will but exasperate and provoke
him." If God's professing people hear not his messengers, how can it be
thought that his professed enemy should? Note, The frowardness and
untractableness of those that are called Christians greatly discourage
ministers, and make them ready to despair of success in dealing with
those that are atheistical and profane. We would be instrumental to
unite Israelites, to refine and purify them, to comfort and pacify
them; but, if they hearken not to us, how shall we prevail with those
in whom we cannot pretend to such an interest? But with God all things
2. He pleads the unreadiness and infirmity of his own speaking: I am
of uncircumcised lips; it is repeated,
He was conscious to himself that he had not the gift of utterance, had
no command of language; his talent did not lie that way. To this
objection God had given a sufficient answer before, and therefore he
ought not to have insisted upon it, for the sufficiency of grace can
supply the defects of nature at any time. Note, Though our infirmities
ought to humble us, yet they ought not to discourage us from doing our
best in any service we have to do for God. His strength is made
perfect in our weakness.
III. God again joins Aaron in commission with Moses, and puts an end to
the dispute by interposing his own authority, and giving them both a
solemn charge, upon their allegiance to their great Lord, to execute it
with all possible expedition and fidelity. When Moses repeats his
baffled arguments, he shall be argued with no longer, but God gives him
a charge, and Aaron with him, both to the children of Israel and to
Note, God's authority is sufficient to answer all objections, and binds
us to obedience, without murmuring or disputing,
Moses himself has need to be charged, and so has Timothy,
1 Timothy 6:13,2Ti+4:1.
|Genealogies of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi.
||B. C. 1491.|
14 These be the heads of their fathers' houses: The sons of
Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and
Carmi: these be the families of Reuben.
15 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and
Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman:
these are the families of Simeon.
16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to
their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years
of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
17 The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their
18 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and
Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred
thirty and three years.
19 And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the
families of Levi according to their generations.
20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and
she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram
were an hundred and thirty and seven years.
21 And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
22 And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri.
23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister
of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar,
24 And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph:
these are the families of the Korhites.
25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of
Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads
of the fathers of the Levites according to their families.
26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said,
Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according
to their armies.
27 These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to
bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that
Moses and Aaron.
28 And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto
Moses in the land of Egypt,
29 That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD:
speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
30 And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of
uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?
I. We have here a genealogy, not an endless one, such as the apostle
(1 Timothy 1:4),
for it ends in those two great patriots Moses and Aaron, and comes in
here to show that they were Israelites, bone of their bone and flesh of
their flesh whom they were sent to deliver, raised up unto them of
their brethren, as Christ also should be, who was to be the prophet and
priest, the Redeemer and lawgiver, of the people of Israel, and whose
genealogy also, like this, was to be carefully preserved. The heads of
the houses of three of the tribes are here named, agreeing with the
accounts we had,
Dr. Lightfoot thinks that Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, are thus dignified
here by themselves for this reason, because they were left under marks
of infamy by their dying father, Reuben for his incest and Simeon and
Levi for their murder of the Shechemites; and therefore Moses would put
this particular honour upon them, to magnify God's mercy in their
repentance and remission, as a pattern to those that should afterwards
believe: the two former seem rather to be mentioned only for the sake
of a third, which was Levi, from whom Moses and Aaron descended, and
all the priests of the Jewish church. Thus was the tribe of Levi
distinguished betimes. Observe here,
1. That Kohath, from whom Moses and Aaron, and all the priests,
derived their pedigree, was a younger son of Levi,
Note, The grants of God's favours do not go by seniority of age and
priority of birth, but the divine sovereignty often prefers the younger
before the elder, so crossing hands.
2. That the ages of Levi, Kohath, and Amram, the father, grandfather,
and great grandfather, of Moses, are here recorded; they all lived to a
great age, Levi to 137, Kohath to 133, and Amram to 137. Moses himself
came much short of them, and fixed seventy or eighty for the ordinary
stretch of human life
for now that God's Israel was multiplied and had become a great nation,
and divine revelation was by the hand of Moses committed to writing and
no longer trusted to tradition, the two great reasons for the long
lives of the patriarchs had ceased, and therefore henceforward fewer
years must serve men.
3. That Aaron married Elisheba (the same name with that of the wife of
Zecharias, Elizabeth, as Miriam is the same with Mary), daughter of
Amminadab, one of the chief of the fathers of the tribe of Judah; for
the tribes of Levi and Judah often intermarried,
4. It must not be omitted that Moses has recorded the marriage of his
father Amram with Jochebed his own aunt
and it appears by
that it must be taken strictly for his father's own sister, at least by
the half blood. This marriage was afterwards forbidden as incestuous
which might be looked upon as a blot upon his family, though before
that law; yet Moses does not conceal it, for he sought not his own
praise, but wrote with a sincere regard to truth, whether it smiled or
frowned upon him.
5. He concludes it with a particular mark of honour on the persons he
is writing of, though he himself was one of them,
These are that Moses and Aaron whom God pitched upon to be his
plenipotentiaries in this treaty. These were those to whom God
and who spoke to Pharaoh on Israel's behalf,
Note, Communion with God and serviceableness to his church are things
that, above any other, put true honour upon men. Those are great indeed
with whom God converses and whom he employs on his service. Such were
that Moses and Aaron; and something of this honour have all his saints,
who are made to our God kings and priests.
II. In the close of the chapter Moses returns to his narrative, from
which he had broken off somewhat abruptly
1. The charge God had given him to deliver his message to Pharaoh
Speak all that I say unto thee, as a faithful ambassador. Note,
Those that go on God's errand must not shun to declare the whole
counsel of God.
2. His objection against it,
Note, Those that have at any time spoken unadvisedly with their lips
ought often to reflect upon it with regret, as Moses seems to do