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first came into this country, and now forty years more were lapsed; and the Israelites still in bondage, without the least prospect of redemption. In respect to Moses, had he the will, yet in what possible manner could he exert himself? If he fled away at first without hopes, what new expectations could be produced after a lapse of forty years? In this long interval, what little influence remained at his departure must have been utterly extinct. The elders of the people, in whom he confided, were probably dead; and all memory of him was in great measure effaced. If it were possible for him to make himself known to the prince of the country, the recollection would probably be fatal to him. And, if he applied to his own people, what reason was there for their accepting of him for their judge and leader now; whom they had rejected forty years before? Yet the children of Israel were delivered; and Moses was destined to bring about that deliverance.
If we were to suppose him at this time to have been younger, the interval will be in consequence of it longer; and the difficulties proportionably greater.
Of his being appointed by God to free his People.
Moses was now eighty years old; and, in an humble and recluse state, took care of the sheep of his father-in-law, the priest of Midian.---Exodus, ch. iii. ver. 1. And he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
V. 2. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
V. 3. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. V. 4. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
Upon this it pleased God to assure him, that he had not forgot his people; that he had been witness to their affliction; and their cry was come up before him. He would therefore put an end to their servitude; and they should be brought out of Egypt and be placed in the land of Canaan, in the country of the Hittites, Perizzites, Amorites, and other nations.
V. 10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
V. 11. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Moses was frightened when he heard his destination. He started back; from a just sense of the greatness of the undertaking; and a fearful consciousness of his own inability. It pleased God to assure him of his guidance and protection: and he added, V. 12. This shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee; when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. This was a circumstance, were it not for the person, who promised, and appointed it, scarcely to be believed. For what connection had Horeb with the borders of Canaan? When however this was afterwards accomplished, it was a sure token, that the mission of Moses was from God. Moses however is still in a state of uncertainty, and dreads some illusion.---He accordingly says, V. 13. Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent
'The road from Egypt was in a quite different direction. Q
me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? By this I should imagine, that the Israelites were far gone in the idolatries of Egypt; so as to have forgotten the Lord Jehovah; or else Moses was not quite assured of the person before whom he stood; and apprehended some illusion. The Lord upon this told Moses, that the title and character by which he would be made known to the people, should be,---' I am that I am:-Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
Observations upon this Order.
The reason why it pleased God to be described in this particular manner, seems to have been owing to the false worship of the Egyptians, whom the Israelites copied and to the abuse of this divine title, which it was necessary to remedy. The chief deity of Egypt was the Sun, who was improperly called On as by that term, I conceive, was denoted the living God. That this was a title given to the Sun we may learn from Cyril upon
Exodus iii. 14.
Hoseah. Ων εσιν ὁ Ἥλιος
Ων δε εςιν παρ
αυτοις (τοις Αιγυπτιοις) ὁ Ἥλιος. The term On among the Egyptians signifies the sun. Hence the city On of Egypt was uniformly rendered Heliopolis, or the City of the Sun. Theophilus, upon the authority of Manetho of Sebennis, in speaking of this place, says,* Ων, ἥτις εσιν *Hλ1870λ15. On, which is Heliopolis, or the city of the Sun and the authors of the Greek version afford the same interpretation. When mention is made of Potiphera, or rather Petephre, the Priest of On, it is rendered 3 Пlogn ¡Egews Hλ18Toλews: Petephre, the Priest of Heliopolis. The same occurs in another place. * Ασενεθ θυγάτης Πετεφρη ἱερεως Ηλιοπολεως. Aseneth, the daughter of Petephre, the priest of On, or Heliopolis. It is also to be found in the Coptic version, where the same city is described —5 WN ETE OВεk, рн пе: On, which is
the city of Ree, the Sun.
From hence it is manifest that the term On among the Egyptians, in those times and afterwards, was applied to Helius, the same as Osiris, the Sun: but how properly remains to
3. Gen. xli. 45.
* Ad Autolycum, 1. 3. p. 392.