Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

24. And, seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, “that was overpowered," and smote the Egyptian :

25. For he supposed his brethren would have understood, how that God, by his hand, would deliver them: but they understood not.

The design of delivering the Israelites from bondage and from Egypt, in the manner in which it was accomplished, originated with God, and it was with much difficulty, and not till after he had made many objections, that Moses could be prevailed upon to engage in the undertaking. It is not likely, therefore, that he should offer his services for that purpose. Yet his visit to his countrymen and his interference in their behalf, were intended to show that he was willing to exert himself for their benefit, although he might thereby incur personal danger. He probably thought that his influence at court would have enabled him to remove, or at least to alleviate, their sufferings. But the Israelites were too much oppressed with their sufferings to attend to any hint of this kind.

26. And the next day he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, "would have reconciled them," saying, Sirs, ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one to another?

27. But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who

made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

28. Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday?

29. Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons.

30. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him, in the wilderness of mount Sina, an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

For

This passage, as well as many in the Old Testament, affords a proof that by "an angel of the Lord," nothing more is to be understood than some instrument of the Divine Being, for communicating his will to mankind, or for executing his purposes. we here find that a flame of fire, or rather, perhaps, the voice that came out of it, is so called. That there was no intelligent being present on this occasion, besides God himself, is evident from the words that follow, in which the Divine Being speaks in his own person. In like manner, a dream, à vision, a voice from heaven, a plague, a burning wind, are called angels of God. And whatever God is pleased to do by them is said to be done by an angel of the Lord*.

31. When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight;

What excited his surprise, as we learn from the history, was that the bush should not be consumed by what appeared to be a burning flame.

And as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,

Lowman's three Tracts, p. 25.

32. Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.

He was approaching the bush, curious to examinę the appearance; but hearing the voice of God from it, he durst no longer look towards it. From the strong manner in which Moses was affected, it is probable that this was the first appearance which the Divine Being ever made to him.

33. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet; for the place where thou standest is holy ground.

The ground was rendered holy by the presence of God; and Moses was required to uncover his feet, as a testimony of respect usually paid to a superior, as uncovering the head is in modern times. In the history of this transaction in the book of Exodus, this order precedes the declaration in the foregoing verse; a change which is of little importance in itself, but which shows that Stephen was guided by his memory, and not by any superior assistance.

34. I have seen, I have seen, or, as it is in Exodus, "I have surely seen," the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

As God is every where present, and knows what takes place at all times, when he here speaks of him

self as now hearing of the afflictions of the children of Israel for the first time, and coming down from heaven to deliver them, he only accommodates his language to the gross conceptions of men.

35. This Moses, whom they re-. fused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer, by the hands of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

By reminding the Jews of the folly of their ancestors, in despising the services of a man whom God honoured, by employing him as the fittest instrument of their deliverance, Stephen plainly insinuates that his countrymen might have been guilty of the like folly a second time, in rejecting Jesus of Nazareth.

36. He brought them out, after that he had showed wonders and signs, in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness, forty years.

37. This is that Moses which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, as he has raised me: him shall ye hear.

This declaration of Moses referred originally to a succession of prophets or teachers among the children of Israel, and not to any one individual. Yet it is properly applied to the Messiah, because he must be included in the number.

38.

This is he that was in the

church "in the congregation," in the wilderness, with the angel that spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles, rather, "the doctrines of life," to give

unto us.

It was God who delivered the law from mount Sinai the angel, therefore, to whom it is attributed, must be understood, as before explained, to mean either the fire which appeared on the top of the mountain, or the voice which proceeded from it. The laws of Moses are here called the doctrines of life, because they prolonged the lives of those who observed them, in the land of Canaan.

39. To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt;

They wished to return thither, though they did not actually do so.

40. Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods, to go before us; for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not, "we know not," what is become of him.

41. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsæt »