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and the Israelites desiring to hold out to the || a glory that would be remembered through all end under them.
While the affairs of the Hebrews were in this condition, there was this occasion offered itself to the Egyptians, which made them more solicitous for the extinction of our nation. One of these sacred scribes, * who are very sagacious in foretelling future events truly, told the king, that about this time a child would be born to the Israelites; who, if he were reared, would bring the Egyptian dominion low, and would raise the Israelites; that he would excel all men in virtue, and obtain
As to the affliction of Abraham's posterity for 400 years, see I. 10; and as to what cities they built in Egypt under Pharaoh Sesostris, and of Pharaoh Sesostris's drowning in the Red Sea, see Essay on the Old Test. Append. page 139-162.
Exodus, 1. 8.
ages; which thing was so feared by the king,
records now lost, about the birth and actions of Moses,
It is generally supposed that the midwives upon this occasion told a lie; but there is no reason for such a sup** It is a common opinion, that the word pyramid is de- position, though possibly they might conceal some part rived from the Greek Pyr or Pur, fire; and that these of the truth, which is not unlawful, but highly commendstructures were so called from their shape, which ascend-able, when it is to preserve the innocent; for many of ed from a broad basis, and ended in a point, like a flame the Hebrew women might be such as are here described, of fire. Others, whose opinion Vossius seems to approve, though not every one of them. The answer of the midsay that the name comes from the word Pyros, which, in wives therefore is so far from being a sneaking lie to save the same language, signifies wheat, because they suppose their lives, that it is a bold confession of their faith and them to have been the granaries of the ancient Egyptian piety, to the hazard of them, viz. that they saw so plain kings. But a late writer, versed in the Coptic tongue, an evidence of the wonderful hand of God, in that extrahas given us another etymology from that language, ordinary vigour in the travail of the women, that do what wherein Pouro signifies a king, and Misi, a race or gene- Pharaoh would, they durst not, would not, strive against ration; and the reason why the pyramids had this name it, because they would not strive against God; Lightgiven them was, as he tells us, because they were erect-foot's Sermons on 2 Sam. xix. 29. The making the mided to preserve the memory of the princes (who were their wives houses is, by most interpreters, ascribed to God, founders) and their families. Wilkins's Dissert. De Ling. and the thing is supposed to have been done in a metaCapt. p. 108. phorical sense, i. e. God gave them a numerous offspring or family, and a very lasting succession or posterity. For there are five things, say they, which go to complete the greatness or eminence of a family, as such; its largeness, its wealth, its honors, its power, and its duration. Aud therefore since the midwives hazarded their own lives to save those of the Hebrew children, and to preserve the Israelites a numerous progeny and posterity, the God of Israel, in return, not only made their own lives long and prosperous, but gave them very numerous families, and * Dr. Bernard informs us here, that instead of this an enduring posterity, in whom they might be said to live single priest, or prophet of the Egyptians, without a name after death, even from generation to generation. But all in Josephus, the Targum of Jonathan names the two fa- this is a very forced construction, and what the original mous antagonists of Moses, Jannes and Jambres. Nor is words will by no means bear. We should therefore rait at all unlikely, that it might be one of these who fore- ther think these houses were built, not for the midwives, boded so much misery to the Egyptians, and so much but for the Israelites, and that it was not God, but Phahappiness to the Israelites, from the rearing of Moses. raoh, who built them. The case seems to be this:- -PhaJosephus is clear that these midwives were Egyp-raoh had charged the midwives to kill the male children tians, and not Israelites, as in our other copies, which is that were born of the Hebrew women; the midwives fearvery probable, it being not easily to be supposed that Pha- ed God, omitted to do what the king had commandraoh could trust the Israelite midwives to execute so bar-ed them, pretending in excuse for their omission, that barous a command against their own nation. Consult, therefore, and correct hence our ordinary copies, Exod. i. 15-22; and, indeed, Josephus seems to have had much completer copies of the Pentateuch, or other authentic
++ Of this building of the pyramids of Egypt by the Israelites, see Perizonius Orig. Egyptiac. c. 21. It is not impossible they might build one or more of the small ones, but the large ones seem much later. See my Chronological Table, and Authent. Rec. Part II. page 885, 886, 887. Only if they be all built of stone, this does not so well agree with the Israelites' labors, which are said to have been in brick, and not in stone, as Mr. Sandys observes in his Travels, page 127, 128.
the Hebrew women were generally delivered before they
would always reward them for it; as he had formerly granted his favor to their forefathers, and made them increase from a few to so great a multitude. He reminded him, that when Abraham was come alone out of Mesopotamia into Canaan, he had been made happy, not only in other respects, but that when his wife was at first barren, she was afterward by him enabled to conceive seed, and bear him sons: that he left to Ishmael, and to his posterity, the country of Arabia:
obey him, and venture to save their male children alive, they and their families should be destroyed. This was a severe affliction, indeed, to those that suffered it, not only as they were deprived of their sons, and, while they were the parents themselves, they were obliged to be subservient to the destruction of their own children, but as it was to be supposed to tend to the extirpation of their nation; while upon their destruction of their children, and their own gradual dissolution, the calamity would become very hard and in-as also to his sons by Ketura, Troglodytis ; consolable. Such was the ill state they were and to Isaac, Canaan. By my assistance,' in; but no one can overthrow the purposes of said he, "he did great exploits in war, which, God, though he contrive ten thousand subtile unless you be yourselves impious, you must devices for that end; for this child, whom the still remember. As for Jacob, he became sacred scribe foretold, was brought up, and well known to strangers also, by the greatconcealed from the observers appointed by ness of that prosperity in which he lived, and the king; and he that foretold him did not left to his sons, who came into Egypt with mistake in the consequences of his preserva- no more than seventy souls, while you are tion, which were brought to pass under a sin- now become above six hundred thousand. gular manner :Know, therefore, that I shall provide for you A man, whose name was Amram, one of all in common what is for your good, and the nobler sort of the Hebrews, was afraid of particularly for thyself what shall make thee his whole nation lest it should fail, by the famous; for that child, out of dread of whose want of young men to be brought up here- nativity the Egyptians have doomed the Israelafter, and was very uneasy at it, his wife ite children to destruction, shall be this child being then with child, and he knew not what of thine, and shall be concealed from those to do; hereupon he betook himself to prayer who watch to destroy him; and when he is to God, and intreated him to have compassion brought up, in a surprising way he shall deon those men, who had no ways transgressed liver the Hebrew nation from the distress they the laws of his worship, and to afford them de- are under from the Egyptians. His memory liverance from the miseries they at that time shall be famous while the world lasts; and endured, and to render abortive their enemies' this not only among the Hebrews, but fohope of the destruction of their nation. Ac-reigners also; all which shall be the effect of cordingly God had mercy on him, and was moved by his supplication; he stood by him in his sleep, and exhorted him not to despair of his future favors. He said farther, that he did not forget their piety towards him, and
my favor to thee, and to thy posterity. He shall also have such a brother, that he shall himself obtain my priesthood, and his posterity shall have it after him to the end of the world."
but his command could not be strictly executed whilst Moses' account of this affair. The only seeming difficulty the Israelites lived up and down the fields in tents, which is, to reconcile the words to the text in what has been was their ancient and customary way of living; for they here advanced; but this will be none at all, if the words would shift here and there, and lodge the women in child- be rightly translated, and the verses rightly distinguishbed out of the way, to save their children. Pharaohed in this manner. Exod. i. 20. And God dwelt with the therefore built them houses, and obliged them to a more midwives, and the people multiplied, and waxed very settled habitation, that the people whom he had set over mighty; and this happened (or was so, or came to pass) bethem might know where to find every family, and to cause the midwives feared God, ver. 21, 22. And Pharaoh take an account of all the children that should be born. built them (i. c._Israelites) houses, and charged all his So that this was a very cunning contrivance of Pharaoh, people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the in order to have his charge more strictly and effectually river, and every daughter ye shall save alive. Shuckford's executed than it could otherwise have beon done; and Connection, vol. 2. I. 7. B. was a particular too remarkable not to be inserted in
'Thermuthis, the king's daughter, was now diverting herself by the banks of the river; and seeing a cradle borne along by the current, she sent some that could swim, and bid them to bring the cradle to her. When those that were sent on this errand came to her with the cradle, and she saw the little child, she was greatly in love with it, on account of its largeness and beauty, for God had taken such great care in the formation of Moses,
When the vision had informed him of these || dition, almost from the very midst of their cathings, Amram awaked, and told it to Joche-lamities: those I mean whose dangers arise bed, his wife and now the fear increased by the appointment of God; and indeed such. upon them, on account of the prediction in a providence was exercised in the case of this Amram's dream, for they were under con- child as shewed the power of God. cern, not only for the child, but on account of the great happiness that was come to him also. However* the mother's labour was such as afforded a confirmation to what was foretold by God; for it was not known to those who watched her by the easiness of her pains, and because the throes of her delivery did not fall upon her with violence; and now they nourished the child at home privately for three months. But after that time, Amram fearing he should be discovered, and by fall-that he caused him to be thought worthy of ing under the king's displeasure, both he and bis child should perish, and so he should make the promise of God of none effect, he determined rather to trust the safety and care of the child to God, than to depend on his own concealment of him, which he looked upon as a thing uncertain, and whereby both the child, so privately to be nourished, and himself, should be in imminent danger; but he believed that God would some way for certain procure the safety of the child, in order to secure the truth of his own predictions. When they had thus determined, they made an ark of bulrushes, after the manner of a cradle, and of a bigness sufficient for an infant to be laid in, without being too much straitened. They then daubed it. over with slime, which would naturally keep out the water from entering between the bulrushes, and put the infant into it, and setting it afloat upon the river, they left its preservation to God: so the river received the child, and carried him along; but Miriam, the child's sister, passed along upon the bank over against him, as her mother had bid her, to see whither the ark would he carried: where God demonstrated that human wisdom was nothing, but that the Supreme Being is able to do whatsoever he pleases; that those who, in order to their own security, condemn others to destruction, and use great endeavours about it, fail of their purpose; but that others are, in a surprising manner, preserved, and obtain a prosperous con
bringing up and providing for by all those that had taken the most fatal resolutions, on account of their dread of his nativity, for the destruction of the rest of the Hebrew na tion. Thermuthis bid them bring her a woman that might suckle the child; yet would not the child admit of her breast, but turned away from it, and did the like to many other women. Now Miriam was by when this happened: not to appear to be there on purpose, but only as staying to see the child; and she said, "It is in vain that thou, O queen, callest for these women for the nourishment of the child, who are by no way of kin to it; but if thou wilt order one of the Hebrew women to be brought, perhaps it may admit the breast of one of his own nation." Now, since she seemed to speak well, Thermuthis bid her procure such a one; so when she had such authority given her, she came back, and brought the mother, who was known to nobody there; and now the child gladly admitted the breast, and seemed to adhere closely to it; and so it was that at the queen's desire the nursing of the child was entirely intrusted to the mother.
Hereupon it was that Thermuthis imposed this name, Mouses, upon him, from what had happened when he was put into the river, for the Egyptians call water by the name of Mo, and such as are saved out of it by the name of Uses; so, by putting these two words together, they imposed this name upon him and he was, by the confession of all, according to
saw this, (he was the same person that foretold that his nativity would bring the dominion of that kingdom low,) he made a violent attempt to kill him; and crying out in a frightful manner he said, This, O king! this child is he of whom God foretold, that if we kill him we shall be in no danger; he him
God's prediction, as well for his greatness of mind, as for his contempt of difficulties, the best of all the Hebrews. Abraham was his ancestor of the seventh generation, for Moses was the son of Amram, who was the son of Caath: whose father Levi was the son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. Now Moses's under-self affords an attestation to the prediction of standing became far superior to his age, and when he was taught, he discovered greater quickness of apprehension than was usual in youth, and his action at that time promised greater, when he should come to the age of a God also gave him that tallness, when he was but three years old, as was wonderful, and every one that saw him was greatly surprised at the beauty of his countenance. Nay it happened frequently, that those that met him, as he was carried along the road, were obliged to turn again upon seeing the child; that they left what they were about, and stood still a great while to look on him; for the beauty of the child was so remarkable on many accounts, that it detained the spectators, and made them stay longer to look upon
Thermuthis, therefore, perceiving him to be so remarkable a child, adopted him for her son, having no child of her own; and when one time she had carried Moses to her father, she shewed him to him, and said, she thought to make him her father's successor, if it should please God she should have no legitiinate child of her own; and said to him, "I
the same thing, by his trampling upon thy government, and treading upon thy diadem. Take him, therefore, out of the way, and deliver the Egyptians from the fear they are in about him, and deprive the Hebrews of the hope they have of being encouraged by him." But Thermuthis prevented him, and snatched the child away; and the king was not hasty to slay him, God himself, whose providence protected Moses, inclining the king to spare him: he was therefore educated with great care; so the Hebrews depended on him, and were of good hopes that great things would be done by him. The Egyptians, indeed, were suspicious of what would follow his education; yet because if Moses had been slain, there was no one, either akin or adopted, that had any oracle on his side for pretending to the crown of Egypt, and likely to be of greater advantage to them, they abstained from killing him.
OF THE WAR WHICH MOSES MADE WITH THE ETHIOPIANS.
have brought up a child who is of a divine MOSES, therefore, when he was born
form and of a generous mind; and as I have and brought up in the foregoing manreceived him from the bounty of the river, in ner, and came to the age of maturity, made a wonderful manner, I thought proper to his virtue manifest to the Egyptians, and adopt him for my son, and the heir of thy shewed that he was born for the bringing kingdom." And when she had said this, she them down and raising the Israelites: and the put the infant into her father's hands: so he occasion he laid hold of was this: the Ethiotook him, and pressed him to his breast; and pians, who are next neighbours to the Egypon his daughter's account, in a pleasant way, tians, made an incursion into their country, put the diadem upon his head. But Moses which they seized upon, and carried off the threw it down to the ground, and in a puerile effects of the Egyptians, who, in their rage, mood he wreathed it round, and trod upon it fought against them, and revenged the afwith his feet, which seemed to bring along fronts they had received; but being overcome with it an evil presage concerning the king- in battle, some of them were slain, and the dom of Egypt. But when the sacred scriberest ran away in a shameful manner, and by
that means saved themselves. Hereupon the multitude of serpents (which it produces in
Moses, at the persuasion both of Thermuthis and the king himself, cheerfully undertook this business: and the sacred scribes of both nations were glad; those of the Egyptians, that they should at once overcome their enemies by his valour, and that by the same piece of management Moses would be slain; but those of the Hebrews, that they should escape from the Egyptians, because Moses was to be their ge
he let loose these ibes, and by their means repelled the serpentine kind, and used them for his assistants before the army came upon that ground. When be had, therefore, proceeded thus on his journey, he came upon the Ethiopians before they expected him; and, joining battle with them, he beat them, and deprived them of the hopes they had of success against the Egyptians, and went on in overthrowing their cities, and indeed made a great slaughter of the Ethiopians. Now when the Egyptian army had once tasted of this prosperous success, by the means of Moses, they did not Moses took and led his army before their slacken their diligence, insomuch that the enemies were apprized of his attacking them; Ethiopians were in danger of being reduced for he did not march by the river, but by to slavery and complete destruction; and at land, where he gave a wonderful demonstra-length they retired to Saba, a royal city of tion of his sagacity: for when the ground was difficult to be passed over, because of the
This history of Moses, as general of the Egyptians against the Ethiopians, is wholly omitted in our Bibles; but is thus cited by Irenæus, from Josephus, and that soon after his own age: "Josephus said that when Moses was nourished in the king's palace, he was appointed general of the army against the Ethiopians, and conquered them, when he married that king's daughter, because out of her affection for him, they delivered the city up to him." See the Fragments of Irenæus, ap. edit. Grab. page 472. Nor, perhaps, did St. Stephen refer to any
Ethiopia, which Cambyses afterward named
thing else, when he said of Moses, before he was sent by
+ Pliny speaks of these birds called ibes, and says the