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rites and religion, and forget the God of his fathers. His being adopted by the chief princess of Egypt would give him influence and authority to succour his brethren; but it might possibly take away the inclination. But these evils were remedied, and all these fears rendered abortive, by the zeal of Moses for that deity, by whose blessing he had been preserved. His faith was so lively, that' when he came to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. This we may well suppose was owing to the private instructions of Jochebed his nursing mother; by whom he must have been thoroughly informed of his own history, and the history of his forefathers; and have been confirmed in the belief of the One True God. He had likewise intimations of his calling; and of the great purposes for which God had raised and preserved him. This seems to have been uppermost in his mind; and to have created in him an undue patience to have the great work effected. When therefore he had given up all right of adoption, and sacrificed every view of Egyp
I Hebrews xi. 24, 25.
* Exodus vi. 20.
tian grandeur; he went over to his brethren, and waited for the time of their deliverance. The burdens, under which they groaned, excited his compassion: and when he one day spied an Egyptian smiting (or as some interpret it killing) an Hebrew, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 2 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they understood
And they might well mistake his intention in the deed; for it does not seem to have proceeded from God. The action might be just, but was not prudent. He appears to have acted without command, and was certainly wrong in his opinion, if he thought that it was an arm of flesh, and his own particular prowess, which were to effect the deliverance of Israel. By this one mistake his whole purpose was ruined; and all views of freeing his brethren, as far as human foresight could judge, were intirely at an end. The consequence was such as no human power could remedy. The very persons, for whose sake he had acted, were the first to betray him. They refused his arbitration, where he more properly interfered;
1 Exodus vi. 11.
2 Acts vii. 25.
and asked him in opprobrious terms---Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? Exodus, ch. ii. ver. 14. Thus the secret was out, and reached the ears of the king; who resolved to have Moses put to death. There was nothing left but to flee away and Moses accordingly fled from the face of Pharaoh: he left the land of Egypt; and having passed the great desert, with which the country was bounded, betook himself to the land of Midian. This region lay upon the farther side of the two inlets of the Red-sea, to the east of the wilderness of Sin and Etham; about eight days journey from Egypt. The whole route was through a desert.
Of Moses in Midian.
He was now far separated from the place of his nativity, and the house of his fathers.
'The voluntary killing a person was, according to the laws of Egypt, certain death to the aggressor- -Ει δε τις έκέσιως αποκτειναι τον ελεύθερον, η τον δέλον, αποθνήσκειν αυτον οι νομοι προσέταττον.AgoσsTaTTOY.-Diod. 1. 1. p. 70. s. Of what antiquity this
law may have been is uncertain.
We know so much, that
all the laws of Egypt are said to have been very ancient.
And he was still more estranged from them, by becoming incorporated with a tribe of people with which the Hebrews had not the least connection. They appear to have been of the Cuthite race; but respectable and moral:. and their ruler was named Jethro: and he is stiled the priest of Midian. Moses seems here to have given up all his former views. The zeal which he had shewn for the deliverance of his people subsided; and all his hopes were extinct. Year after year passed on, and he does not appear to have had any intelligence about his brethren in Egypt. Indeed it was not easy to be obtained; for in those early times there was but little intercourse between, nation and nation; and the only correspondence kept up, seems to have been by caravans and merchants. But the Midianites, to whom he joined himself, lay rather out of the way for any communication. He probably imagined, that God had given up his purpose of freeing the Israelites; at least of using him for an agent. He, in consequence of it, married a wife of the Cuthite race; one of the
1 Exod. ch. ii. ver. 21.And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses, because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. Numbers xii, 1. The word in the original is Cushan, or Cuthite,
daughters of the priest of Midian. This was contrary to the usage of his forefathers, and of the Hebrews in general; and seems to intimate, that he thought himself quite alienated from them. We see him now, from the rank of a prince brought down almost to the state of an hireling; and feeding sheep in the wild near Horeb, instead of leading the armies of Israel. This would not have been his lot, if he had set out originally upon worldly principles, and followed the dictates of human sagacity. He would then never have foregone the advantages of adoption, which would have procured him respect and power. Had he remained in Egypt, his residence among the Israelites might have afforded him the means of planning many things in their favour; and his authority among his brethren might have induced them to comply with his schemes. But the wisdom of man is foolishness with God; and this great work of deliverance was not to be effected by human means. He is said to have been forty years old when he
In the original it is intimated that he took his flight from Egypt, when he was full grown; or as the Seventy express it pervas DEVOLEVOS. In the Acts of the Apostles it is said to have happened, when he was forty years old. ch. vii. ver. 21.