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on all occasions, promising to be with him, I promises, had no room left him to disbelieve and to assist him in his words when he was to them; so he intreated him to grant him that persuade men, and in his deeds when he was power when he should be in Egypt, and beto perform wonders. He bid him also take sought him, since he had heard and seen him, a signal of the truth of what he said, by that he would also tell him his name, and throwing his rod* upon the ground; which when he offered sacrifice he might invoke him when he had done, it crept along; and be by such name in his oblations. Hereupon came a serpentt and rolled itself round in its God declared to him that name which had folds, and erected its head, as ready to re never been discovered to men before, convenge itself on such as should assault it, and cerning which it is not lawfulf for me to say afterwards it became a rod again, as it was any more. Now these signs accompanied before. After this God bid Moses put his right Moses, not then only, but always when he hand into his bosom; he obeyed, and when prayed for them; of all which signs he attrihe took it out it was white, and in colour like buted the firmest assent to the fire in the to chalk, but afterward it returned to its bush; and believing that God would be a wonted colour again. He also, upon God's gracious supporter to him, he hoped he should command, took some of the water that was be able to deliver his own nation, and bring near him, and poured it upon the ground, and calamities on the Egyptians. saw the colour was that of blood. Upon the surprise that Moses testified at these signs,
CHAP. XIII. God exhorted him to be of good courage, and to be assured that he would be the greatest OF THE RETURN OF MOSES AND AARON INTO EGYPT, TO support to him, and bid him make use of those signs in order to obtain belief among all men, OSES having understood that Pharaoh, and to demonstrate that he did all things ac
in whose reign he fled away, was dead, cording to the Divine commands. Accord asked leave of Raguel to go to Egypt, for the ingly he was enjoined to make no more de benefit of his own people; and he took with lays, but to hasten to Egypt, and to travel him Zipporah, the daughter of Raguel, whom night and day, and not to draw out the time: he had married, and the children he had by and so make the slavery of the Hebrews, and her, Gersom and Eleazar, and hastened into their sufferings, to last no longer.
Egypt. Now the former of those names, GerMoses, having seen and heard these won som, in the Hebrew tongue signifies that he ders, that assured him of the truth of God's was in a strange land: and Eleazar, that by
* Wonderful are the stories which the Hebrew doctors Moses, but merely by the power of God, who was pleased, tell us of this rod, viz. That it originally grew in Paradise, for the greater confusion of his enemies, to use so mean an was brought away by Adam, from him passed to Noah, instrument. Nor is it an improbable conjecture, that the and so through a succession of patriarchs, till it came to be wands which great ministers are wont to carry in their transplanted into Jethro's garden, and there took root hands, in token of their power and office, were originally again, God knows how; that it was called Zaphir, (whence derived from this of Moses. Universal Hist. 1. c. 7; and Ziphorah his daughter had her name) and had the Tetra Pool's Annot. B. grammaton written upon it; that when Ziphorah fell in † Exod. iv. 3. love with Moses, her father consented that she should | This superstitious fear of discovering the name with have him if he could pluck up this Zaphir-rod, at the same four letters, which of late have been used falsely to protime published a proclamation, that whoever did it first nounce Jehovah, but seems to have been originally proshould marry his daughter; that hereupon several lusty nounced Jahoh, or Jao, is never, I think, heard of vill this young men came, and tried their strength in vain; but that passage of Josephus: and this superstition, in not proMoses, by being acquainted with the true pronunciation of nouncing that name, is continued among the Rabbinical the name of God, in virtue thereof did it with ease, and Jews to this day ; though whether the Samaritans and so not only obtained his daughter, but this rod into the bar Caraites observed it so early does not appear. Josephus gain, with which he wrought afterwards all bis wonders in also durst not set down the very words of the Ten ComEgypt. But how fictitious soever all this may be, it is mandments, as we shall see hereafter, III. 5. which supercertain that in Exod. iv. 20. this staff is called the rod of stitious silence, I think, has yet not been continued even God; and that partly because it was appropriated to God's by the Rabbins. Both these cautious concealments, howspecial service, to be the instrument of all his glorious ever, were probably taught Josephus by the Pharisees, a works; and partly to shew that whatever was done by that body of men at once very wicked and very superstitious. , rod was not done by any virtue in it, or in the hand of
the assistance of the God of his fathers he was not the only person who knew them, and had escaped from the Egyptians.
pretended them to be divine: he also told When they were near the borders, Aaron, hin, that when he brought such wonderful his brother, by the command of God, met sights before him, he would only be believed him: to whom he declared what had befallen by the unlearned. Now when the priests him at the mountain, and the commands that threw down their rods, they became serpents; God had given him: but as they were going but Moses was not daunted at it, and said, forward, the chief men among the Hebrews “ O king, I do not myself despise the wisdom having learned that they were coming, met of the Egyptians; but I say, that what I do is so them; to whom Moses declared the signs he much superior to what these perform by magic had seen, and when they could not believe arts and tricks, as divine power exceeds 'he them, he made them see them; so they took power of man; but I will demonstrate that courage
at these surprising and unexpected what I do is not done by craft, or so countersights, and conceived hopes of their entire feiting what is not really true, but that they deliverance, as believing now that God took appear by the providence and power of God.” care of their preservation.
When he had said this, he cast his rod down Since then Moses found that the Hebrews upon the ground, and commanded it to turn would be obedient to whatever he should itself into a serpent. It obeyed him, and went direct, as they promised, and that they were all round and devoured the rods of the Egypin love with liberty; he came to the king, tians,t which seemed to be dragons, until it who had indeed but lately* received the had consumed them all. It then returned to government, and told him how much he had its own form, and Moses took it into his hand done for the good of the Egyptians, when again. they were despised by the Ethiopians, and However, the king was no more moved their country laid waste by them, and how he when this was done than before; but being had been the commander of their forces, and very angry, he said, that he should gain nohad laboured for them, as if they had been thing by this cunning and shrewdness against his own people; and he informed him in what the Egyptians; at the same time commanding danger he had been during that expedition, the chief task-master over the Hebrews to without having any proper returns made him, give them no relaxation from their labours, as he had deserved. He also stated, dis but to compel them to submit to greater tinctly, what things happened to him at Mount oppressions than before; and though he alSinai, and what God said to him, and the lowed them chaff before for making their signs that were done by God in order to as bricks, he would allow it no longer, but he sure him of the authority of those commands made them to work hard at brick-making in which he had given him; he also exhorted the day time, and to gather chaff in the night. him not to disbelieve what he told him, nor to Now when their labour was thus doubled, oppose the will of God.
they laid the blame upon Moses, because But when the king derided Moses, he made their labour and their misery were on his him see the signs that were done at Mount account become more severe.
But Moses Sinni; yet was the king very angry, and did not let his courage sink for the king's called him a wicked man, who had formerly threatenings; nor did he abate of his zeal on run away from his Egyptian slavery, and now account of the Hebrews' complaints, but he come back with deceitful tricks, and won supported himself, and set his soul resolutely ders, and magical arts, to astonish him. And against them both, and used his utmost diliwhen he had said this, he commanded the gence to procure liberty to his countrymen: priests to let him see the same wonderful so he went to the king and persuaded him to sights; as knowing that the Egyptians were let the Hebrews go to Mount Sinai, and there skilful in this kind of learning, and that he to sacrifice to God, because God had en
* Josephus seems here mistaken in his Egyptian chro taken in this entire Egyptian chronology, and so in the nology, when he says that this Pharaoh, who was then king of Egypt, with whom Moses had to do.. king, had but lately begun his reign; nor is it any wonder, † Exod. vii. 12. suuce I have already observed, how greatly he was mis
OF THE TEN PLAGUES WHICH CAME UPON THE EGYPTIANS.
joined them so to do. He persuaded him | from what it naturally used to be. As the also not to counterwork the designs of God, || king, therefore, knew not what to do in these but to esteem his favour above all things, and surprising circumstances, and was in fear for to permit them to depart lest he should lay the Egyptians, he gave the Hebrews leave to an obstruction in the way of the Divine com go away. But when the plague ceased, he mands, and so occasion his suffering such changed his mind, and would not suffer them punishments, as it was probable any one that withstood the Divine commands should un But when God saw that he was ungrateful, dergo, since the severest afflictions arise from and upon the ceasing of the calamity would every object to those that provoke the Divine not grow wiser, he sent another plague upon wrath against them; for such as these have the Egyptians: an innumerable multitude of neither the earth, nor the air, for their friends: | frogst consumed the fruit of the ground. I nor are the fruits of the womb according to The river was also full of them; insomuch nature, but every thing is unfriendly and ad that those who drew water had it spoiled by verse towards them. He said farther, that the blood of these animals, as they died in, the Egyptians should know this by sad expe and were destroyed by, the water; and the rience, and that the Hebrew people should go country was full of filthy slime, as they were out of their country without permission. born, and as they died; they also spoiled
their vessels in their houses which they used, CHAP. XIV.
and were found among what they ate and what they drank, and came in great numbers upon their beds. There was also a noisome
smell arose from them, as they were born, and CHEN the king despised the words of as they died therein. Now when the Egyp
Moses, and had no regard at all to tians were under the oppression of these them, grievous plagues seized the Egyptians; || miseries, the king ordered Moses to take the every one of which I will describe; both be Hebrews with him, and be gone: upon
which cause no such plagues ever happened to any the whole multitude of the frogs vanished other nation as the Egyptians now felt; and away; and both the land and the river rebecause I would demonstrate that Moses did turned to their former natures. But as soon not fail in any one thing that he foretold them; as Pharaoh saw the land freed from this and because it is for the good of mankind, plague, he forgot the cause of it, and retained that they may learn this caution, not to do the Hebrews; and, as though he had a mind any thing that may displease God, lest he be
to try the nature of more such judgments, he provoked to wrath, and avenge their iniqui- would not yet suffer Moses and his people to ties upon them.
depart; having granted that liberty rather The Egyptian river ran with bloody water, out of fear, than out of good consideration. at the command of God, insomuch, that it Accordingly, God punished his falseness could not be drank; and they had no other with another plague, added to the former. spring of water. For the water was not only For there arose, out of the bodies of the of the colour of blood, but it brought upon Egyptians, an innumerable quantity of lice ;|| those that ventured to drink it great pains, by which, wicked as they were, they miseraand bitter torment. Such was the river to
bly perished; being unable to destroy this the Egyptians. But it was sweet and fit to sort of vermin, either with washes, or with drink to the Hebrews, and no way different ointments. 9 At this terrible judgment, the * Exod. vii. 20.
cities through the common sewers, with much less diffi. † Exod. viii. 6.
culty might the frogs, these armies of the Divine vengeance, | The river Nile naturally produces frogs; but so great find a conveyance into the cities, which stood all upon the an abundance appearing on a sudden, filling the country, banks of the river, by aqueducts and subterraneous comand leaving the rivers and fields, to go into the cities and munications; and being got into the cities, they might find houses, was really miraculous. How they got into the apertures in the walls of the houses, which the inhabitants cities and houses is not so hard a matter to conceive : for never perceived before. Bibliotheca Bibl. in locuin. B. if expert generals, according to both ancient and modern || Exod. viii. 17. history, have sometimes surprised an enemy by entering $ Some would have the word Cinnim, which we render
hing of Egypt was in disorder, upon the fear | perished themselves, and the land was destiinto which he reasoned himself, lest his people tute of husbandmen for its cultivation: but if should be destroyed, and that the manner of any thing escaped destruction from them, it this death was also reproachful. So that he was killed by a distemper, which the men was forced in part to recover himself from his underwent also. wicked temper to a sounder mind; for he Pharaoh did not yet yield to the will of gave leave for the Hebrews themselves to God; but while he gave leave to the husbands depart. But when the plague thereupon to take their wives with them, he insisted that ceased, he thought it proper to require, that the children should be left behind;. God they should leave their children and wives therefore resolved to punish his wickedness behind them, as pledges of their return; with several sorts of calamities, and those whereby he provoked God to be more vehe worse than the foregoing, which had yet so mently angry at him; as if he thought to im- generally afflicted them; but their bodies had pose on his providence; and as if it were only terrible boils,f breaking forth with blains; Moses, and not God who punished the Egyp while they were already inwardly consumed; tians for the sake of the Hebrews. For he and a great part of the Egyptians perished in filled that country full of various sorts of pes
this manner. But when the king was not tilential creatures,* with their various pro- brought to reason by this plague, hail was perties; such, indeed, as never came into the sent down from heaven;and such hail as the sight of men before. By their means the men climate of Egypt had never suffered belice, to signify gnats. The Septuagint call them Knimes; mixture of beasts, which they suppose went into Egypt to but what kind of creatures these were, is not so certainly infest and destroy the country: but this is not so probable known. Others would have them to be a new species of a construction, because the punishments hitherto inflicted animals, called analogically by an old name ; or if they were nauseous and troublesome, rather than mortal ; were lice, that they were such as had wings, and cruelly though this plague of infinite numbers of small tormentors stung and ulcerated the Egyptians. But upon the suppo is so great a one, that God calls it his army, Joel ii. 25, and sition that they were no worse than common lice, this was the Greeks thought fit (as Pliny, 1. 20. c. 28. tells us) to plague enough to the Egyptians, who affected neatness to have a god to deliver them from it, under the style of such a degree, that they bathed themselves every day, and Myiagros, or Myiodes, even as Belzebub signifies the Lord some of them frequently shaved their bodies all over, for or God of flies. Bochart, Hier. part 2. B. fear of such vermin. Those who pretended that these | The Hebrew word Shechin properly signifies an inlice were a new species, make this a reason why the magi flammation, which first makes a tumor or boil, (as we cians could not counterfeit this miracle, because, though translate it,) and thence turns a grievous ulcer. Dr. they could easily provide the serpents, the blood, and the Lightfoot indeed observes, that in the book of Job, chap. frogs, yet this sort of animal was now no where to be had ; ii. 7, 8. where the same word occurs, it signifies only a and therefore, as the organs of sight are more liable to be burning itch, or an inflamed scab; an intolerable dry itch, imposed upon than those of feeling, the magicians might which Job could not scratch off with his nails, and was impose upon the king, and the other spectators, with fan therefore forced to make use of a potsherd: but then he tastical blood and frogs, but visionary lice could not vex confesses that this Shechin here spoken of, was more ranand torment the body; so that now it was time for the en corous than that, having blains and ulcers that broke out chanters to desist, and to own their inability to mimic Moses with it, which Job's had not. So that the Egyptians, accorany farther. But supposing, that what the magicians did, ding to this, must have been vexed with a triple punishin the three former miracles, was not illusion and imposi ment at once, (a punishment fitly calculated for the morti
the senses, but reality, the true reason why they fication of a delicate and a voluptuous people,) aking boils, could proceed no farther was, that God Almighty had laid nauseous ulcers, and a burning itch; and to this that comhis restraint and prohibition upon the evil spirits, who had munication of Moses to the people, in case they proved hitherto been subservient to them, that they might not disobedient, does, without all peradventure, allude. The assist them any longer. Le Clerc's Commentary; and Bib Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the liotheca Bibl. in locum. B.
emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou * The word Arob, which we render fly in general, is by canst not be healed. Deut. xxviii. 27. B. the Septuagint called Kuvouuia, i. e. dog-fly, from its biting; | This infection was the more terrible in Egypt, befor it fastens its teeth so deep in the flesh, and sticks so cause according to the account of Herodotus, (1. 3. c. 10.) very close, that it oftentimes makes cattle run mad; and a very rare thing it was to see any rain, and much more the congruity of this plague seems to be greater, because any. hail, in that climate : and accordingly he mentions it une of the Egyptian deities, which they called Anubis, bore as a kind of prodigy, that in the reign of Psammenitus, the head of a dog. The Psalınist indeed tells us, that God there happened to be a shower in Thebes, which was sont divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured thein. never known before in the memory of man, nor ever after, Ps. lxxviii. 45. So that according to him, it was not one to the age wherein our author wrote. The Psalmist has particular kind, but all sorts of fies mingled together in given us a very poetic description of this judgment: He and prodigious swarm or conflux. Some translate it a destroyed the vines with hail, and the syçamure trees with
fore,* nor was it like to that which falls in other thick darkness,|| without the least light, spread climatest in winter time, but larger than that itself over the Egyptians; whereby their sight which falls in the middle of spring to those being obstructed, and their breathing hinthat dwell in the northern and north-western dered by the thickness of the air, they died regions. This hail brake down their boughs miserably; and under a terror lest they should laden with fruit. After this a tribe of locusts be swallowed up by the dark cloud. Besides consumed the seed which was not hurt by the this, when the darkness, after three days, and hail; so that to the Egyptians all the hopes of as many nights, was dispatched; and when future fruits of the ground were entirely lost.I Pharaoh did not still repent, and let the He
One would think the aforementioned cala brews go, Moses came to him, and said, mities might have been sufficient for one that 66 How long wilt thou be disobedient to the was only foolish, without wickedness, to make command of God? for he enjoins thee to let him sensible what was for his advantage. But the Hebrews go; nor is there any Pharaoh, led not so much by his folly, as by of being freed from the calamities you are his wickedness, even when he saw the cause under, unless you do so." But the king was of his miseries, still contested with God, and angry at what he said, and threatened to wilfully deserted the cause of virtue. So he strike off his head, if he came any more to bid Moses to take the Hebrews away, with trouble him about these matters. Hereupon their wives and children; but to leave their Moses said, he would not speak to him about cattle behind, since their own cattle were them ;$ but that he himself, together with the destroyed. But when Moses said, that what principal men among the Egyptians, should he desired was unjust, since they were obliged desire the Hebrews to go away. So when to offer sacrifice to God of those cattle, and Moses had said this he went his way. the time being prolonged on this account, a When God had signified, that with one frost: he gave up the cattle also to the hail, and their flocks animals, viz. “ That in the year of our Lord, 852, an into hot thunderbolts. Ps. lxxviii. 47, 48. And from the finite number of them was seen to fly over twenty miles plain account of Moses, where he mixes thunder, hail, and in Germany in one day, in the manner of a formed army, fire together, Exod. ix. 23. the observation is obvious, that divided in several squadrons, and having their quarters here were no less than three of the elements in confede apart when they rested ; that the captains marched a day's racy against Pharaoh's obstinacy; the air in the thunder; journey before the rest, and chose the most opportune the water in the hail ; and the fire in the lightning, all places for their camp; that they never removed until sunjointly demonstrating and proclaiming, that the God of rising, at which time they went away in as much order as Israel was the God of nature. B.
any army of men could do; that at last having done great * Exod. ix. 24.
mischief wherever they passed, (after prayers made to † As to this winter or spring hail near Egypt and Judea, God,) they were driven by a violent wind into the Belgic see the like on thunder and lightning there in the note on ocean, and there drowned; but that, being cast by the sea VI. 5. and Havercamp's note on III. 1.
upon the shore, they covered 140 acres of land, and caused # This is the creature which we properly call the grass a great pestilence in the country;" which is enough to hopper; and wonderful is the account which several shew how dreadful a punishment this was, especially conauthors give of them. Thevenot, in his travels, tells us, sidering that these locusts were such as were never known 6. That in that part of Scythia which the Cossacks now before, and yet the ordinary locust (as Aristotle and Pliny inhabit, there are infinite numbers of them, especially in have described it) was an animal so fierce and formidable, dry seasons, which the north-east wind brings over from that one single one would kill a serpent, by taking it fast by Tartary, Circassia, and Mingrelia, which are seldom or the jaws, and biting it to death. Arist. Hist. Animal. 1. 5. never free from them; that they fly in the air all compact c. 23. Pliny's Nat. Hist. 1. 11. c. 9. and Le Clerc's Comtogether, like a vast cloud, sometimes 15 or 18 miles long,
mentary. B. and about 10 or 12 miles broad; so that they quite darken ll The Septuagint, and most translations, render it a the sky, and make the brightest day obscure ; and that darkness which might be felt, i. e. consisting of black vawherever they light, they devour all the corn in less than pours and exhalations, so condensed, that they might be two hours time, and frequently make a famine in the coun perceived by the organs of touch. But some commentators try. These insects,” says he, " live not above six months ; think, that this is carrying the sense too far; since, in such and when they are dead, the stench of them so corrupts a medium as this, mankind could not live an hour, much and infects the air, that it very often breeds dreadful pes less for the space of three days, as the Egyptians are said tilences.”
God (as we hinted before) calls the locust, the to have done: and therefore they imagine, that instead of canker worm, caterpillar, and the palmer worin, his great a darkness that may be felt, the Hebrew phrase may signify army which he sends amongst a wicked and rebellious peo a darkness wherein men were groping and feeling about for ple. Joel, ii. 25. And how proper the expression is, in every thing they wanted. B. relation to the locust in particular, will appear from the § Exod. viii. 7. account which Aldrovandus and Fincelius give us of these