Exodus 1

Verse 33. He gathered up his feet into the bed] It is very

probable that while delivering these prophetic blessings Jacob sat

upon the side of his bed, leaning upon his staff; and having

finished, he lifted up his feet into the bed, stretched himself

upon it, and expired!

And was gathered unto his people.] The testimony that this

place bears to the immortality of the soul, and to its existence

separate from the body, should not be lightly regarded. In the

same moment in which Jacob is said to have gathered up his feet

into the bed, and to have expired, it is added, and was gathered

unto his people. It is certain that his body was not then

gathered to his people, nor till seven weeks after; and it is

not likely that a circumstance, so distant in point both of time

and place, would have been thus anticipated, and associated with

facts that took place in that moment. I cannot help therefore

considering this an additional evidence for the immateriality of

the soul, and that it was intended by the Holy Spirit to convey

this grand and consolatory sentiment, that when a holy man ceases

to live among his fellows, his soul becomes an inhabitant of

another world, and is joined to the spirits of just men made


1. IT has been conjectured (See Clarke on Ge 37:9) that the

eleven stars that bowed down to Joseph might probably refer to the

signs of the Zodiac, which were very anciently known in Egypt, and

are supposed to have had their origin in Chaldea. On this

supposition Joseph's eleven brethren answered to eleven of these

signs, and himself to the twelfth. General Vallancy has

endeavoured, in his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, vol. vi.,

part. ii., p. 343, to trace out the analogy between the twelve

sons of Jacob and the twelve signs of the Zodiac, which Dr. Hales

(Analysis, vol. ii., p. 165) has altered a little, and placed in a

form in which it becomes more generally applicable. As this

scheme is curious, many readers who may not have the opportunity

of consulting the above works will be pleased to find it here.

That there is an allusion to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and

probably to their ancient asterisms, may be readily credited; but

how far the peculiar characteristics of the sons of Jacob were

expressed by the animals in the Zodiac, is a widely different


1. RUBEN-"Unstable (rather pouring out)

as waters"-the sign AQUARIUS, represented

as a man pouring out waters from an urn.

2. SIMEON and LEVI-"The united brethren"

��the sign GEMINI or the Twins.

3. JUDAH-"The strong lion"-the sign LEO.

4. ASHER-"His bread shall be fat"-the sign

VIRGO or the Virgin, generally represented

as holding a full ear of corn.

5. ISSACHAR-"A strong ass" or ox, both used

in husbandry-the sign TAURUS or the Bull.

6. and 7. DAN-"A serpent biting the horse's

heels"-Scorpio, the Scorpion. On the

celestial sphere the Scorpion is actually

represented as biting the heel of the horse

of the archer Sagittarius; and Chelae, "his

claws," originally occupied the space of


8. JOSEPH-"His bow remained in strength"

-the sign SAGITTARIUS, the archer or

bowman; commonly represented, even on

the Asiatic Zodiacs, with his bow bent,

and the arrow drawn up to the head-the

bow in full strength.

9. NAPHTALI-by a play on his name,

taleh, the ram-the sign ARIES, according

to the rabbins.

10. ZEBULUN-"A haven for ships"-denoted

by CANCER, the crab.

11. GAD-"A troop or army"-reversed, dag, a

fish-the sign PISCES.

12. BENJAMIN-"A ravening wolf"-CAPRICORN, which

on the Egyptian sphere was represented by a

goat led by Pan, with a wolf's head.

What likelihood the reader may see in all this, I cannot

pretend to say; but that the twelve signs were at that time known

in Egypt and Chaldea, there can be little doubt.

2. We have now seen the life of Jacob brought to a close; and

have carefully traced it through all its various fortunes, as the

facts presented themselves in the preceding chapters. Isaac his

father was what might properly be called a good man; but in

strength of mind he appears to have fallen far short of his father

Abraham, and his son Jacob. Having left the management of his

domestic concerns to Rebekah his wife, who was an artful and

comparatively irreligious woman, the education of his sons was

either neglected or perverted. The unhappy influence which the

precepts and example of his mother had on the mind of her son we

have seen and deplored. Through the mercy of God Jacob outlived

the shady part of his own character, and his last days were his

brightest and his best. He had many troubles and difficulties in

life, under which an inferior mind must have necessarily sunk; but

being a worker together with the providence of God, his

difficulties only served in general to whet his invention, and

draw out the immense resources of his own mind. He had to do with

an avaricious, procrastinating relative, as destitute of humanity

as he was of justice. Let this plead something in his excuse. He

certainly did outwit his father-in-law; and yet, probably, had no

more than the just recompense of his faithful services in the

successful issue of all his devices. From the time in which God

favoured him with that wonderful manifestation of grace at Peniel,

Ge 32:24-30, he became a new man. He had frequent discoveries

of God before, to encourage him in journeys, secular affairs, &c.;

but none in which the heart-changing power of Divine grace was so

abundantly revealed. Happy he whose last days are his best! We

can scarcely conceive a scene more noble or dignified than that

exhibited at the deathbed of Jacob. This great man was now one

hundred and forty-seven years of age; though his body, by the

waste of time, was greatly enfeebled, yet with a mind in perfect

vigour, and a hope full of immortality, he calls his numerous

family together, all of them in their utmost state of prosperity,

and gives them his last counsels, and his dying blessing. His

declarations show that the secret of the Lord was with him, and

that his candle shone bright upon his tabernacle. Having finished

his work, with perfect possession of all his faculties, and being

determined that while he was able to help himself none should be

called in to assist, (which was one of the grand characteristics

of his life,) he, with that dignity which became a great man and a

man of God stretched himself upon his bed, and rather appears to

have conquered death than to have suffered it. Who, seeing the end

of this illustrious patriarch, can help exclaiming, There is none

like the God of Jeshurun! Let Jacob's God be my God! Let me die

the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!

Reader, God is still the same: and though he may not make thee as

great as was Jacob, yet he is ready to make thee as good; and,

whatever thy past life may have been, to crown thee with

loving-kindness and tender mercies, that thy end also may be





-Year before the common Year of Christ, 1706.

-Julian Period, 3008.

-Cycle of the Sun, 7.

-Dominical Letter, F.

-Cycle of the Moon, 2.

-Indiction, 15.

-Creation from Tisri or September, 2298.


The names and number of the children of Israel that went down

into Egypt, 1-5.

Joseph and all his brethren of that generation die, 6.

The great increase of their posterity, 7.

The cruel policy of the king of Egypt to destroy them, 8-11.

They increase greatly, notwithstanding their affliction, 12.

Account of their hard bondage, 13, 14.

Pharaoh's command to the Hebrew midwives to kill all the male

children, 15,16.

The midwives disobey the king's command, and, on being questioned,

vindicate themselves, 17-19.

God is pleased with their conduct, blesses them, and increases

the people, 20, 21.

Pharaoh gives a general command to the Egyptians to drown all the

male children of the Hebrews, 22.


Verse 1. These are the names] Though this book is a

continuation or the book of Genesis, with which probably it was in

former times conjoined, Moses thought it necessary to introduce it

with an account of the names and number of the family of Jacob

when they came to Egypt, to show that though they were then very

few, yet in a short time, under the especial blessing of God, they

had multiplied exceedingly; and thus the promise to Abraham had

been literally fulfilled. See the notes on Gen. xlvi.

Verse 6. Joseph died, and all his brethren] That is, Joseph had

now been some time dead, as also all his brethren, and all the

Egyptians who had known Jacob and his twelve sons; and this is a

sort of reason why the important services performed by Joseph were


Verse 7. The children of Israel were fruitful] paru, a

general term, signifying that they were like healthy trees,

bringing forth an abundance of fruit.

And increased] yishretsu, they increased like fishes,

as the original word implies. See Ge 1:20, and the note there.

See Clarke on Ge 1:20.

Abundantly] yirbu, they multiplied; this is a

separate term, and should not have been used as an adverb by our


And waxed exceeding mighty] vaiyaatsmu

bimod meod, and they became strong beyond measure-superlatively,

superlatively-so that the land (Goshen) was filled with them.

This astonishing increase was, under the providence of God,

chiefly owing to two causes: 1. The Hebrew women were exceedingly

fruitful, suffered very little in parturition, and probably often

brought forth twins. 2. There appear to have been no premature

deaths among them. Thus in about two hundred and fifteen years

they were multiplied to upwards of 600,000, independently of old

men, women, and children.

Verse 8. There arose up a new king] Who this was it is

difficult to say. It was probably Ramesses Miamun, or his son

Amenophis, who succeeded him in the government of Egypt about A.

M. 2400, before Christ 1604.

Which knew not Joseph.] The verb yada, which we translate

to know, often signifies to acknowledge or approve. See

Jud 2:10; Ps 1:6; 31:7; Ho 2:8; Am 3:2. The Greek verbs ειδω

and γινωσκω are used precisely in the same sense in the New

Testament. See Mt 25:12, and 1Jo 3:1. We may therefore

understand by the new king's not knowing Joseph, his disapproving

of that system of government which Joseph had established, as well

as his haughtily refusing to acknowledge the obligations under

which the whole land of Egypt was laid to this eminent prime

minister of one of his predecessors.

Verse 9. He said unto his people] He probably summoned a

council of his nobles and elders to consider the subject; and the

result was to persecute and destroy them, as is afterwards stated.

Verse 10. They join also unto our enemies] It has been

conjectured that Pharaoh had probably his eye on the oppressions

which Egypt had suffered under the shepherd-kings, who for a long

series of years had, according to Manetho, governed the land with

extreme cruelty. As the Israelites were of the same occupation,

(viz., shepherds,) the jealous, cruel king found it easy to

attribute to them the same motives; taking it for granted that

they were only waiting for a favourable opportunity to join the

enemies of Egypt, and so overrun the whole land.

Verse 11. Set over them task-masters] sarey

missim, chiefs or princes of burdens, works, or tribute;

επισταταςτωνεργων, Sept. overseers of the works. The persons

who appointed them their work, and exacted the performance of it.

The work itself being oppressive, and the manner in which it was

exacted still more so, there is some room to think that they not

only worked them unmercifully, but also obliged them to pay an

exorbitant tribute at the same time.

Treasure cities] arey miscenoth, store

cities-public granaries. Calmet supposes this to be the name of a

city, and translates the verse thus: "They built cities, viz.,

Miscenoth, Pithom, and Rameses." Pithom is supposed to be that

which Herodotus calls Patumos. Raamses, or rather Rameses, (for

it is the same Hebrew word as in Ge 47:11, and should be written

the same way here as there,) is supposed to have been the capital

of the land of Goshen, mentioned in the book of Genesis by

anticipation; for it was probably not erected till after the

days of Joseph, when the Israelites were brought under that severe

oppression described in the book of Exodus. The Septuagint add

here, καιωνηεστινηλιουπολις. and ON, which is

Heliopolis; i.e., the city of the Sun. The same reading is found

also in the Coptic version.

Some writers suppose that beside these cities the Israelites

built the pyramids. If this conjecture be well founded, perhaps

they are intended in the word miscenoth, which, from

sachan, to lay up in store, might be intended to signify places

where Pharaoh laid up his treasures; and from their structure they

appear to have been designed for something of this kind. If the

history of the pyramids be not found in the book of Exodus, it is

nowhere else extant; their origin, if not alluded to here, being

lost in their very remote antiquity. Diodorus Siculus, who has

given the best traditions he could find relative to them, says

that there was no agreement either among the inhabitants or the

historians concerning the building of the pyramids.-Bib. Hist.,

lib. 1., cap. lxiv.

Josephus expressly says that one part of the oppression suffered

by the Israelites in Egypt was occasioned by building pyramids.

See Clarke on Ex 1:14.

In the book of Genesis, and in this book, the word Pharaoh

frequently occurs, which, though many suppose it to be a proper

name peculiar to one person, and by this supposition confound the

acts of several Egyptian kings, yet is to be understood only as a

name of office.

It may be necessary to observe that all the Egyptian kings,

whatever their own name was, took the surname of Pharaoh when they

came to the throne; a name which, in its general acceptation,

signified the same as king or monarch, but in its literal

meaning, as Bochart has amply proved, it signifies a crocodile,

which being a sacred animal among the Egyptians, the word might be

added to their kings in order to procure them the greater

reverence and respect.

Verse 12. But the more they afflicted them] The margin has

pretty nearly preserved the import of the original: And as they

afflicted them, so they multiplied and so they grew That is, in

proportion to their afflictions was their prosperity; and had

their sufferings been greater, their increase would have been

still more abundant.

Verse 13. To serve with rigour] bepharech, with

cruelty, great oppression; being ferocious with them. The word

fierce is supposed by some to be derived from the Hebrew, as well

as the Latin ferox, from which we more immediately bring our

English term. This kind of cruelty to slaves, and ferociousness,

unfeelingness, and hard-heartedness, were particularly forbidden

to the children of Israel. See Le 25:43, 46, where the same word

is used: Thou shalt not rule over him with RIGOUR, but shalt fear

thy God.

Verse 14. They made their lives bitter] So that they became

weary of life, through the severity of their servitude.

With hard bondage] baabodah kashah, with grievous

servitude. This was the general character of their life in Egypt;

it was a life of the most painful servitude, oppressive enough in

itself, but made much more so by the cruel manner of their

treatment while performing their tasks.

In mortar, and in brick] First, in digging the clay, kneading,

and preparing it, and secondly, forming it into bricks, drying

them in the sun, &c.

Service in the field] Carrying these materials to the places

where they were to be formed into buildings, and serving the

builders while employed in those public works. Josephus says "The

Egyptians contrived a variety of ways to afflict the Israelites;

for they enjoined them to cut a great number of channels for the

river, and to build walls for their cities and ramparts, that they

might restrain the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating

upon its overrunning its own banks; they set them also to build

pyramids, (πυραμιδαςτεανοικοδομουντες,) and wore them out, and

forced them to learn all sorts of mechanic arts, and to accustom

themselves to hard labour."-Antiq., lib. ii., cap. ix., sec. 1.

Philo bears nearly the same testimony, p. 86, Edit. Mangey.

Verse 15. Hebrew midwives] Shiphrah and Puah, who are here

mentioned, were probably certain chiefs, under whom all the rest

acted, and by whom they were instructed in the obstetric art. Aben

Ezra supposes there could not have been fewer than five hundred

midwives among the Hebrew women at this time, but that very few

were requisite see proved on Ex 1:19.

See Clark on "Ex 1:19".

Verse 16. Upon the stools] al haobnayim. This

is a difficult word, and occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible

but in Jer 18:3, where we translate it the

potter's wheels. As signifies a stone, the obnayim has

been supposed to signify a stone trough, in which they received

and washed the infant as soon as born. Jarchi, in his book of

Hebrew roots, gives a very different interpretation of it; he

derives it from ben, a son, or banim, children;

his words must not be literally translated, but this is the sense:

"When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and ye

see that the birth is broken forth, if it be a son, then ye shall

kill him." Jonathan ben Uzziel gives us a curious reason for the

command given by Pharaoh to the Egyptian women: "Pharaoh slept,

and saw in his sleep a balance, and behold the whole land of Egypt

stood in one scale, and a lamb in the other; and the scale in

which the lamb was outweighed that in which was the land of Egypt.

Immediately he sent and called all the chief magicians, and told

them his dream. And Janes and Jimbres, (see 2Ti 3:8.) who were

chief of the magicians, opened their mouths and said to Pharaoh,

'A child is shortly to be born in the congregation of the

Israelites, whose hand shall destroy the whole land of Egypt.'

Therefore Pharaoh spake to the midwives, &c."

Verse 17. The midwives feared God] Because they knew that God

had forbidden murder of every kind; for though the law was not yet

given, Ex 20:13, being Hebrews they must have known that God had

from the beginning declared, Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by

man shall his blood be shed, Ge 9:6. Therefore they saved the

male children of all to whose assistance they were called.

See Clarke on Ex 1:19.

Verse 19. The Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women] This

is a simple statement of what general experience shows to be a

fact, viz., that women, who during the whole of their pregnancy

are accustomed to hard labour, especially in the open air, have

comparatively little pain in parturition. At this time the whole

Hebrew nation, men and women, were in a state of slavery, and

were obliged to work in mortar and brick, and all manner of

service IN THE FIELD, Ex 1:14, and this at once accounts for the

ease and speediness of their travail. With the strictest truth

the midwives might say, The Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian

women: the latter fare delicately, are not inured to labour, and

are kept shut up at home, therefore they have hard, difficult, and

dangerous labours; but the Hebrew women are lively, chayoth,

are strong, hale, and vigorous, and therefore are delivered ere

the midwives come in unto them. In such cases we may naturally

conclude that the midwives were very seldom even sent for. And

this is probably the reason why we find but two mentioned; as in

such a state of society there could be but very little employment

for persons of that profession, as a mother, an aunt, or any

female acquaintance or neighbour, could readily afford all the

assistance necessary in such cases. Commentators, pressed with

imaginary difficulties, have sought for examples of easy

parturition in AEthiopia, Persia, and India, as parallels to the

case before us; but they might have spared themselves the trouble,

because the case is common in all parts of the globe where the

women labour hard, and especially in the open air. I have known

several instances of the kind myself among the labouring poor. I

shall mention one: I saw a poor woman in the open field at hard

labour; she stayed away in the afternoon, but she returned the

next morning to her work with her infant child, having in the

interim been safely delivered! She continued at her daily work,

having apparently suffered no inconvenience!

I have entered more particularly into this subject because,

through want of proper information, (perhaps from a worse motive,)

certain persons have spoken very unguardedly against this inspired

record: "The Hebrew midwives told palpable lies, and God commends

them for it; thus we may do evil that good may come of it, and

sanctify the means by the end." Now I contend that there was

neither lie direct nor even prevarication in the case. The

midwives boldly state to Pharaoh a fact, (had it not been so, he

had a thousand means of ascertaining the truth,) and they state it

in such a way as to bring conviction to his mind on the subject of

his oppressive cruelty on the one hand, and the mercy of Jehovah

on the other. As if they had said, "The very oppression under

which, through thy cruelty, the Israelites groan, their God has

turned to their advantage; they are not only fruitful, but they

bring forth with comparatively no trouble; we have scarcely any

employment among them." Here then is a fact, boldly announced in

the face of danger; and we see that God was pleased with this

frankness of the midwives, and he blessed them for it.

Verse 20. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the

people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.] This shows an especial

providence and blessing of God; for though in all cases where

females are kept to hard labour they have comparatively easy and

safe travail, yet in a state of slavery the increase is generally

very small, as the children die for want of proper nursing, the

women, through their labour, being obliged to neglect their

offspring; so that in the slave countries the stock is obliged to

be recruited by foreign imports: yet in the case above it was not

so; there was not one barren among their tribes, and even their

women, though constantly obliged to perform their daily tasks,

were neither rendered unfruitful by it, nor taken off by premature

death through the violence and continuance of their labour, when

even in the delicate situation mentioned above.

Verse 21. He made them houses.] Dr. Shuckford thinks that there

is something wrong both in the punctuation and translation of this

place, and reads the passage thus, adding the 21st to the 20th

verse: "And they multiplied and waxed mighty; and this happened

( vayehi) because the midwives feared God; and he (Pharaoh)

made ( lahem, masc.) them (the Israelites) houses; and

commanded all his people, saying, Every son that is born, &c."

The doctor supposes that previously to this time the Israelites

had no fixed dwellings, but lived in tents, and therefore had a

better opportunity of concealing their children; but now Pharaoh

built them houses, and obliged them to dwell in them, and caused

the Egyptians to watch over them, that all the male children might

be destroyed, which could not have been easily effected had the

Israelites continued to live in their usual scattered manner in

tents. That the houses in question were not made for the midwives,

but for the Israelites in general, the Hebrew text seems pretty

plainly to indicate, for the pronoun lahem, to them, is the

masculine gender; had the midwives been meant, the feminine

pronoun laken would have been used. Others contend that by

making them houses, not only the midwives are intended, but also

that the words mark an increase of their families, and that the

objection taken from the masculine pronoun is of no weight,

because these pronouns are often interchanged; see 1Ki 22:17,

where lahem is written, and in the parallel place, 2Ch 18:16,

lahen is used. So bahem, in 1Ch 10:7, is

written bahen, 1Sa 31:7, and in several other places.

There is no doubt that God did bless the midwives, his approbation

of their conduct is strictly marked; and there can be no doubt of

his prospering the Israelites, for it is particularly said that

the people multiplied and waxed very mighty. But the words most

probably refer to the Israelites, whose houses or families were

built up by an extraordinary in crease of children,

notwithstanding the cruel policy of the Egyptian king. Vain is

the counsel of man when opposed to the determinations of God! All

the means used for the destruction of this people became in his

hand instruments of their prosperity and increase. How true is

the saying, If God be for us, who can be against us?

Verse 22. Ye shall cast into the river] As the Nile, which is

here intended, was a sacred river among the Egyptians, it is not

unlikely that Pharaoh intended the young Hebrews as an offering to

his god, having two objects in view: 1. To increase the fertility

of the country by thus procuring, as he might suppose, a proper

and sufficient annual inundation; and 2. To prevent an increase

of population among the Israelites, and in process of time procure

their entire extermination.

It is conjectured, with a great show of probability, that the

edict mentioned in this verse was not made till after the birth of

Aaron, and that it was revoked soon after the birth of Moses; as,

if it had subsisted in its rigour during the eighty-six years

which elapsed between this and the deliverance of the Israelites,

it is not at all likely that their males would have amounted to

six hundred thousand, and those all effective men.

IN the general preface to this work reference has been made to

ORIGEN'S method of interpreting the Scriptures, and some specimens

promised. On the plain account of a simple matter of fact,

related in the preceding chapter, this very eminent man, in his 2d

Homily on Exodus, imposes an interpretation of which the following

is the substance.

"Pharaoh, king of Egypt, represents the devil; the male and

female children of the Hebrews represent the animal and rational

faculties of the soul. Pharaoh, the devil, wishes to destroy all

the males, i.e., the seeds of rationality and spiritual science

through which the soul tends to and seeks heavenly things; but

he wishes to preserve the females alive, i.e., all those animal

propensities of man, through which he becomes carnal and devilish.

Hence," says he, "when you see a man living in luxury,

banquetings, pleasures, and sensual gratifications, know that

there the king of Egypt has slain all the males, and preserved all

the females alive. The midwives represent the Old and New

Testaments: the one is called Sephora, which signifies a sparrow,

and means that sort of instruction by which the soul is led to

soar aloft, and contemplate heavenly things; the other is called

Phua, which signifies ruddy or bashful, and points out the

Gospel, which is ruddy with the blood of Christ, spreading the

doctrine of his passion over the earth. By these, as midwives,

the souls that are born into the Church, are healed, for the

reading of the Scriptures corrects and heals what is amiss in

the mind. Pharaoh, the devil, wishes to corrupt those

midwives, that all the males-the spiritual propensities, may be

destroyed; and this he endeavours to do by bringing in heresies

and corrupt opinions. But the foundation of God standeth sure.

The midwives feared God, therefore he builded them houses. If

this be taken literally, it has little or no meaning, and is of no

importance; but it points out that the midwives-the law and the

Gospel, by teaching the fear of God, build the houses of the

Church, and fill the whole earth with houses of prayer. Therefore

these midwives, because they feared God, and taught the fear of

God, did not fulfil the command of the king of Egypt-they did not

kill the males, and I dare confidently affirm that they did not

preserve the females alive; for they do not teach vicious

doctrines in the Church, nor preach up luxury, nor foster sin,

which are what Pharaoh wishes in keeping the females alive; for by

these virtue alone is cultivated and nourished. By Pharaoh's

daughter I suppose the Church to be intended, which is gathered

from among the Gentiles; and although she has an impious and

iniquitous father, yet the prophet says unto her, Hearken, O

daughter, and consider, incline thine ear; forget also thine own

people, and thy father's house, so shall the king greatly desire

thy beauty, Ps 45:10, 11. This therefore is she who is come to

the waters to bathe, i.e., to the baptismal font, that she may be

washed from the sins which she has contracted in her father's

house. Immediately she receives bowels of commiseration, and

pities the infant; that is, the Church, coming from among the

Gentiles, finds Moses-the law, lying in the pool, cast out, and

exposed by his own people in an ark of bulrushes, daubed over with

pitch-deformed and obscured by the carnal and absurd glosses of

the Jews, who are ignorant of its spiritual sense; and while it

continues with them is as a helpless and destitute infant; but as

soon as it enters the doors of the Christian Church it becomes

strong and vigorous; and thus Moses-the law, grows up, and

becomes, through means of the Christian Church, more respectable

even in the eyes of the Jews themselves, according to his own

prophecy: I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a

people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

De 32:21. Thus taught by the Christian Church, the

synagogue forsakes idolatry; for when it sees the Gentiles

worshipping the true God, it is ashamed of its idols, and worships

them no more. In like manner, though we have had Pharaoh for our

father-though the prince of this world has begotten us by wicked

works, yet when we come unto the waters of baptism we take unto us

Moses-the law of God, in its true and spiritual meaning; what is

low or weak in it we leave, what is strong and perfect we take and

place in the royal palace of our heart. Then we have Moses grown

up-we no longer consider the law as little or mean; all is

magnificent, excellent, elegant, for all is spiritually understood.

Let us beseech the Lord Jesus Christ that he may reveal himself to

us more and more and show us how great and sublime Moses is; for

he by his Holy Spirit reveals these things to whomsoever he will.

To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever! Amen.

Neither the praise of piety nor the merit of ingenuity can be

denied to this eminent man in such interpretations as these. But

who at the same time does not see that if such a mode of

exposition were to be allowed, the trumpet could no longer give a

certain sound? Every passage and fact might then be obliged to

say something, any thing, every thing, or nothing, according to

the fancy, peculiar creed, or caprice of the interpreter.

I have given this large specimen from one of the ancients,

merely to save the moderns, from whose works on the sacred

writings I could produce many specimens equally singular and more

absurd. Reader, it is possible to trifle with the testimonies of

God, and all the while speak serious things; but if all be not

done according to the pattern shown in the mount, much evil may be

produced, and many stumbling blocks thrown in the way of others,

which may turn them totally out of the way of understanding; and

then what a dreadful account must such interpreters have to give

to that God who has pronounced a curse, not only on those who take

away from his word, but also on those who add to it.

Copyright information for Clarke