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Verse 1. • Floreb.'-We shall give some account of this pean does by uncovering his head. But it is not so well mountain when tracing the course of the Israelites in their known that it is a custom belonging to the most ancient march from Egypt to the Land of Promise. We may here times. What were the patriarchal usages in this matter observe, that the sacred locality is under the guardianship we know not; but monuments far more ancient than Heroof a body of Greek monks, who occupy an ancient convent dotus confirm the testimony of that historian-that when at the foot of the mountain, called the Convent of St. the Egyptian priests adored any of their deities their feet Catherine. The monks indicate, as the spot where Moses were uncovered. To Moses, therefore, who had been fed the flocks of Jethro, a valley at the back of the mount, brought up in all the conventional visages of Egypt, this between two ranges of mountains, in the centre of which was a call to manifest the same respect to the Being who is a solitary group of trees. They state that the original | now addressed him, as the Egyptians were wont to shew to church, built here by the empress Helena, the mother of their gods, and was an impressive preparation for the oral Constantine, was erected over the spot where the Divine declaration of the Divinity which immediately follows. Presence was manifested to Moses; and when, afterwards, It announced. He who speaks to you is God ;' and then he the present fortified convent was erected under the direc | is told what God— The God of thy fathers. Under the tion of the emperor Justinian, it was made to include the hierarchy afterwards established, the custom for the priests same sacred spot.
to minister barefoot in the temple, was maintained. Such What is called the Chapel of the Burning Bush, in this also was the custom among other nations. According to convent, stands at the back of the altar of the church, and Strabo (lib. viii.) it was the practice with the sacerdotal is regarded as the holiest spot of the peninsula ; and as order among the Germans, and such was the case in the Moses put off his shoes in order to approach it, all who now worship of Diana and Vesta, which the Fathers assert to visit the place are expected to do the same. The walls of have been borrowed from Moses. In 2 Chron. xxviii. 14, this chapel are covered with mosaics and old Greek paint the captives taken by the children of Israel from the cities ings, and from the ceiling are suspended thirty silver lamps, of Judah and Jerusalem are depicted as barefooted, prewhich are all a-light during the celebration of Divine ser viously to the harangue of Oded; and Isaiah walked bare. vice. The precise spot which the sacred bush is supposed footed to typify the captivity in Babylon. Several Gentile to have occupied is marked by an oblong shaft of white | philosophers affected to do the same, to enforce reverence marble, over which is an altar sustained by four columns, from their disciples. also of white marble. From under the table of this altar It is well remarked by the Rev. R. M. Macbriar, that are suspended three silver lamps, kept continually burning. this eastern custom of uncovering the foot instead of the That this marks the exact site of the burning bush is head is not an arbitrary practice, but proceeds from the doubtful enough; but a degree of curiosity and interest kind of clothing which is adopted in hot countries. The nevertheless attaches to the structures by which, amid head is usually surrounded with many folds of cotton or these wild solitudes, men have sought to commemorate the muslin to shelter it from the powerful rays of the sun; and remarkable events which occurred in them.
it would hence be very inconvenient to adopt our Europ 5. • Put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon manner of salutation. On the other hand, slippers or santhou standest is holy ground:-- It is well known that it is a dals are universally worn in eastern climes; and the taking custom of all the Orientals to appear with bare feet in a | off these is attended with no trouble whatever, as the shoes superior presence, or in any place accounted holy; thus are worn with the heels down. It is true that the higher manifesting the same sentiment of respect which a Euro- | classes wear an inner slipper, of very fine leather, which
sits close to the foot, and which is not taken off; but this is an invention of modern luxury, and is only practised by the richer classes of persons inhabiting the larger towns or cities.
20. · I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders. There is a learned and curious book, by M. Eusebe Salverte, on the Occult Sciences of the Ancients (Des Sciences Occultes, ou Essai sur la Magie, les Prodiges et les Miracles), the author of which, while professing to be a firm believer in the truths of revealed religion, yet falls into the grievous error of referring to superior science in the acting parties, the prodigies which the Bible records as miracles wrought by the finger of God. The wonders wrought by Moses in Egypt are, with this writer and others of the school to which he belongs, special objects of this kind of explanation. As many readers of the Bible are—as much in society as in books-harassed by remarks of this tendency, we are tempted to introduce some sensible remarks with which a writer in the Foreign Quarterly Review (vol. vi. 453-4), concludes a very elaborate review of the work we have named. He says: That some few of the miraculous phenomena recorded in Scripture may be explained upon physical principles is unquestionably true; but that in nearly fifty instances this should be the case, is a position as incorrect as it is untenable. Granting that one of the plagues of Egypt might have occurred accidentally, the doctrine of chances to which M. Salverte so frequently appeals with so much reason will not support the hypothesis that they are all fortuitous. When even admitting Moses to have been, as he was, “ learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,” he is represented as excavating and charging with combustibles a pitfall for Korah and his associates, and Joshua applying gunpowder to overthrow the walls of Jericho, etc., our smile at the absurdity of the author is suppressed from sorrow for the man that should class the ministers of the true God with the thaumaturgists of polytheism, the more than authorized the commanded-manifestations of heavenly power by the first, with the artifices of the last, and not see that by so doing he was undermining the faith he pretended to hold, is an instance of mental blindness, too frequent, we admit, in the present illuminated schools, but not the less reprehensible from the guise it may assume, or the names which may be adduced in its support.
Throughout these yolumes, in whatever concerns the sacred narrative, we find the ridiculous speculations of the Jewish Rabbins mixed up with the historical truths of Philo and Josephus. The test of miracles, improperly ascribed to Paley (having been proposed by Calmet nearly a century before), is not infallible; but the rationalizing system strikes at the root of all. The question here is not, which is a miracle and which is not, but-is there such a thing as a miracle at all? Is not whatever is reported as such, the effect of superior science directed in its application by the highest order of human intellect? On what basis, then, doth religion rest? The systems of the Old and of the New Testament are too intimately connected for an evaporation of the miracles of either not to produce the same effect. Pascal has sagaciously remarked (Peasees, ii. 2.): “Moses was a skilful man, that is manifest. If then his design had been to deceive, he would have done it so that he could not be convicted of deceit. He hath done altogether the contrary, for if he had brought forward fables (an observation equally applicable to his works and writings), there was no Jew who would not bave been able to detect the imposture.” Conceding, however, that the acts of that great man were imposture, inasmuch as resulting from science, not from inspiration, what science could the other Jewish prophets have possessed ? men taken from the plough and fold; and if in one instance inspiration could be proved, down comes the whole system together. The strangest fact, however, is that, while every miracle is to be explained away, the inspiration of the in dividuals reputed to have performed them is not denied.'
22. ` Every woman shall borrow of her neighbour .... jewels of silver, and jewels of gold – The word · borrow' is an exceedingly unfortunate rendering of the Hebrew word gw shaal. But this unhappy rendering is quite peculiar to our version. The proper meaning of the term is to ask,' or to · demand,' and Horne states that it is so understood in every ancient version, and in every modern! version except our own. The fact would seem to be, that the Hebrews were instructed to take advantage of the consternation of the Egyptians at the death of the firstborn (see ch. xii. 33), to demand compensation for having been ! so long obliged to labour without wages in their service, The Egyptians, in the anxiety they then felt to have the Israelites gone, were in no condition to refuse the demand.
Perhaps they feared that there would be some new cala- raiment is added in ch. xii. 35, personal ornaments were mity if they did not comply; and the natural effect of the most probably included among the valuables which the terrible infiction they had just sustained would be, for the Hebrews obtained on this occasion; and as they almost time, to render the precious things which the Hebrews certainly wore during their forty years' wanderings the required, of small value in their sight. The word ren ornaments which they obtained now, and which they dered jewels' does not mean jewellery in precious stones, afterwards took from the Egyptians overthrown in the etc., but denotes in a general way any articles of superior Red Sea, we have introduced a cut, with a number of value, whether for personal ornament or any other pur- such ornaments as are known, from existing paintings pose. It would be better translated : 'articles of gold and and sculptures, to have been worn by the ancient Egyparticles of silver,' without specifying what articles. As | tian females.
10 9 And Moses said unto the LORD, O 1 Moses' rod is turned into a serpent. 6 His hand is my Lord,
my Lord, I am not 'eloquent, neither 'hereleprous. 10 He is loth to be sent. 14 Aaron is tofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy appointed to assist him. 18 Moses departeth from servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a Jethro. 21 God's message to Pharaoh. 24 Zip slow tongue. porah circumciseth her son. 27 Aaron is sent to
11 And the LORD said unto him, Who meet Moses. 31 The people believeth them.
hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the AND Moses answered and said, But, behold, dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind ? they will not believe me, nor hearken unto have not I the LORD? my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath | 12 Now therefore go, and I will be 'with not appeared unto thee.
thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt 2 And the Lord said unto him, What is say. . that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. | 13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray
3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt And he cast it on the ground, and it became send. a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. L 14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled
4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. Levite thy brother? I know that he can And he put forth his hand, and caught it, speak well. And also, behold, he cometh and it became a rod in his hand :
forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, 5 That they may believe that the LORD | he will be glad in his heart. God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, I put words in his mouth : and I will be with hath appeared unto thee.
thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach 6 And the LORD said furthermore unto you what ye shall do. him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto And he put his hand into his bosom : and the people: and he shall be, even he shall be when he took it out, behold, his hand was to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt leprous as snow.
be to him instead of God. 7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy 17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine bosom again. And he put his hand into his hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs. bosom again ; and plucked it out of his bosom, 18 9 And Moses went and returned to and, behold, it was turned again as his other Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, flesh.
Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, of the first sign, that they will believe the Go in peace. voice of the latter sign.
19 And the LORD said unto Moses in 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the not believe also these two signs, neither men are dead which sought thy life. hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, of the water of the river, and pour it upon and set them upon an ass, and he returned the dry land : and the water which thou to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the takest out of the river 'shall become blood rod of God in his hand. upon the dry land.
21 9 And the LORD said unto Moses, 1 Heb. shall be and shall be. Heb. a man of words. 3 Heb. since yesterday, nor since the third day. Matt. 10. 19. Mark 13. 11.
Luke 12. 11.
5 Or, shouldest.
6 Chap. . .
When thou goest to return into Egypt, see | bloody husband thou art, because of the cirthat thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, cumcision. which I have put in thine hand: but I will 27 | And the LORD said to Aaron, Go i harden his heart, that he shall not let the into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he people go.
went, and met him in the mount of God, and 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, kissed him. Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words my firstborn:
of the Lord who had sent him, and all the 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, signs which he had commanded him. that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to 29 | And Moses and Aaron went and let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even gathered together all the elders of the children thy firstborn.
of Israel : 24 T And it came to pass by the way in 30 And Aaron spake all the words which the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did to kill him.
the signs in the sight of the people. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp "stone, and 31 And the people believed: and when cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at | they heard that the LORD had visited the his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband children of Israel, and that he had looked art thou to me.
upon their affliction, then they bowed their 26 So he let him go : then she said, A heads and worshipped:
70r, knife. 8 Heb. made it touch.
Verse 2. • A rod.' —By this it appears that Moses car- ) ass. We do not recollect any modern instance of asses 1 ried a rod or staff, and this we afterwards find to be his being employed in a journey across this desert, whereas inseparable companion. That in this he follows an Egyp- the present is far from being the only ancient instance.' tian custom, is evident from ch. vii. 2, where each of the In fact, there seem to have been, in very ancient times, magicians carries bis rod. According to the monuments, greater facilities for travel through this desert than at the Egyptian nobles generally carried a staff from three to present. Perhaps it was not so desolate as now; although six feet long when they went out. One of them, preserved even now we believe that during the winter and early
spring it might be crossed on asses. Then there seem also to have been caravanserais in districts where no one nov expects to find such a convenience; and that the way across this and other deserts was comparatively safe appears from numerous instances, such as the journeys of the patriarchs to Egypt, those of Eliezer and Jacob to Mesopotamia, and this of Moses to Egypt from the eastern gulf, with his wife and two children. Indeed, if there were no attendants with this party, it would seem that the wife of Moses returned to Midian with her two sons, unaccompanied by any man. We think it very possible, however, that there may have been attendants, although the Scriptural narrative has no intimation to that effect. However, the absence of any acts of robbery, or of the fear of any such acts, from those who traversed the deserts in all the early Hebrew history, is a remarkable circumstance when we consider the acts of constant violence upon travellers which now take place, and the strong apprehensions with which a journey across any of the Arabian or Syrian deserts is now regarded.
25. ' Zipporah took a sharp stone.'-Flints and other hard stones formed the tools and cutting instruments of almost all nations before the art of working iron was dis
covered. We find such instruments still in use among EGYPTIAN WALKING STAVES.
savages, and discover them occasionally buried in different
parts of Europe and Asia, shewing the universality of to our time, is of cherry wood; but it appears that those their use when the people were ignorant of iron. They of acacia wood were generally preferred. Egyptian priests, were, no doubt, formed, as savages form them at present; and other persons of rank, are represented as walking with that is, they were shaped and sharpened on a kind of grind. sticks. Wilkinson, iii. 386-8; Hengstenberg, p. 79.
stone, until, at a great expense of time, labour, and patience. 20. • Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon they were brought to the desired figure. They were an ass.'-- The original narrative speaks of but one ass, 'set then fitted to a handle, and employed nearly in the same them upon an ass ;' but, as it seems preposterous to suppose way as we use our instruments and tools of iron. From that there was but one ass for them all, it is likely that, as the act of Zipporah, wc are, however, not authorized to often happens, the singular is here put for the plural; and infer that instruments and tools of metal were not common that the meaning is, he set every one of them upon an | at the time and in the neighbourhood before us. We shall
soon have occasion to see the contrary. The fact seems to be, that Zipporah knew that sharp stones were exclusively used in Egypt and elsewhere, in making incisions on the human person; and she therefore either used such an instrument, or employed in its room one of the flints with which the region they were traversing is abundantly strewed. Specimens of the ancient Egyptian flint-knives have been found, and are preserved in collections of Egyptian antiquities.
It is not expressly said in the leading narrative that Zipporah returned with her two sons to her father. But, as no notice of her presence is subsequently taken, while we find that her father brought her and her sons to Moses when he was in the Desert of Sinai, this shews that she did leave, and no occasion for her leaving seems so likely as that which the text suggests.
went out, and their officers, and they spake to I Pharaoh chideth Moses and Aaron for their message.
the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will 5 He increaseth the Israelites' task. 15 He checketh | not give you straw. their complaints. 20 They cry out upon Moses and 11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find Aaron. 22 Moses complaineth to God.
it: yet not ought of your work shall be diAnd afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of 12 So the people were scattered abroad Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold throughout all the land of Egypt to gather a feast unto me in the wilderness.
stubble instead of straw. 2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, 13 And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? Fulfil your works, your *daily tasks, as when I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel there was straw.
14 And the officers of the children of Israel, 3 And they said, 'The God of the Hebrews which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over hath met with us : let us go, we pray thee, them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore three days' journey into the desert, and sacri have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick fice unto the LORD our God ; lest he fall upon both yesterday and to day, as heretofore ? us with pestilence, or with the sword.
15 | Then the officers of the children of 4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy serpeople from their works? get you unto your vants ? burdens.
16 There is no straw given unto thy ser5 And Pharaoh said, Beliold, the people | vants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, of the land now are many, and ye make them behold, thy servants are beaten ; but the fault rest from their burdens.
is in thine own people. 61 And Pharaoh commanded the same day 17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle : the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to saying,
the LORD. 7 Ye shall no more give the people straw 18 Go therefore now, and work; for there to make brick, as heretofore : let them go and | shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye gather straw for themselves.
deliver the tale of bricks. 8 And the tale of the bricks, which they 19 And the officers of the children of Israel did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; did see that they were in evil case, after it was ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they said, Ye shall not minish ought from your be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go | bricks of your daily task. and sacrifice to our God.
20 | And they met Moses and Aaron, who 9 'Let there more work be laid upon the stood in the way, as they came forth from men, that they may labour therein ; and let | Pharaoh : them not regard vain words.
21. And they said unto them, The LORD 10 | And the taskmasters of the people look upon you, and judge ; because ye have
Chap. 3. 18. 2Jleb. Let the work be heavy upon the men. Heb. a matter of a day in his day...