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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 4

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


In this Chapter we have the objections which Moses advanced against executing the commission the Lord appointed him to, of undertaking the deliverance of Israel from Egypt; in the people's unbelief to receive him under this character, and his own incompetency of standing before, Pharaoh. Here are contained also the Lord's gracious answers for silencing those objections: in imparting to Moses a power of working miracles, assuring, him of his presence to accompany him, and appointing an help-mate in his brother Aaron to act with him. This Chapter relates also the departure of Moses from his father-in-law, to return into Egypt: he meets Aaron in the way: they confer together on the important subject: on their arrival at Egypt, they communicate to the elders of Israel the Lord's gracious designs towards them: the people in token of holy joy at the report, bow their heads before the Lord and worship.

Exodus 4:1

What evils are engendered from unbelief! God hath said Exodus 3:18 that the people should hearken to Moses; but Moses notwithstanding is tempted by unbelief to say that they will not. Reader! note similar instances of unbelief. Genesis 3:6 ; 2 Samuel 24:10 ; Numbers 14:22 , Compared with Hebrews 3:19 . And when you have done with looking at these examples, look into your own heart and you will find many more.

Verses 2-3

The best comment upon this scripture is that of the apostle, where he hath remarked on tongues and prophecying. 1 Corinthians 14:22 . And the best improvement will be to remember and pray for grace to observe what the Lord Jesus said to Thomas, John 20:29 .

Verse 4

Mark 16:18 .

Verse 5

Psalms 91:13 .

Verse 6

Numbers 12:12 .

Verse 7

Matthew 8:3 These miracles were both significant of the state of Israel. As the great serpent had seduced our first parents, so his children were now brought low to the dust by reason of sin; but God's righteous servant should again restore them, like the rod of Moses to its own original state. And whereas they were now by defilement leprous and polluted, so like Moses' hand, they should again at God's command become clean.

Verse 8

Micah 6:9 .

Verse 9

Luke 1:45 ; Exodus 7:19 .

Verse 10

Jeremiah 1:6 .

Verse 11

Matthew 10:19 .

Verse 12

Isaiah 32:4 . Sweet relief to the soul in an hour of despondency is it, to be looking to the Lord for suitable aid. Psalms 124:8 . The answer of the tongue is his, and the preparation of the heart. Proverbs 16:1 . The wisdom of the mouth is his: Luke 21:15 . The grace of the lips. Psalms 45:2 . The seeing eye, the heating ear: all are his.

Verse 13

Some have thought that Moses meant by this expression the Messiah, the sent. And if so, it is a lively proof of his belief in Jesus; though not of his obedience or duty, in presuming to prescribe to infinite wisdom.

Verse 14

That is a precious scripture, Psalms 103:4 .

Verse 15

Deuteronomy 19:15 . So the Lord Jesus dismissed his preachers. Luke 10:1 .

Verses 16-17

1 Corinthians 1:27 .

Verses 18-19

Will not the Reader recollect in this place concerning a greater than Moses? Matthew 2:20 .

Verse 20

Acts 26:19

Verse 21

So many objections vain and carnal men have in all ages brought against the hardening of Pharaoh's heart; that I wish the Reader, be who he may, to pause once for all over this account of it, and consider seriously the justice, as well as the wisdom, displayed in it. Every man by nature since the fall is averse to divine things and, if this aversion be not removed by Almighty grace, becomes more and more so in proportion as the demonstrations of God's sovereignty are brought before the hardened heart; so that it may be truly said, God hardens the heart by every renewed instance which he displays. Hence the miracles which Moses at God's command wrought before Pharaoh, tended but to this purpose. So that while the children of Israel felt more convinced in every succeeding miracle, that the Lord was about to deliver them; Pharaoh and his people became more callous to conviction. Just as the same heat which melts the wax until it be dissolved, when applied to the clay tends only to harden it the more. See those scriptures. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ; Hebrews 3:12-13 ; Isaiah 6:9-10 ; Romans 11:5-10 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 ; Romans 1:28-32 .

Verses 22-23

This is the first time we meet with that solemn prefatory expression which, in the succeeding parts of scripture, holy men, acting under the divine authority, adopted: Thus saith the Lord. And when God speaks well may man hear. Jeremiah 2:14 ; Malachi 3:17 . How sweet the title! How precious the relation! Isaiah 63:3-4 .

Verse 24

There seems somewhat obscure in this verse. Probably, as Zipporah was of Midian, she had prevailed upon Moses to neglect the rite of circumcision. And if so, this omission was highly sinful. See Genesis 17:14 . The sins of God's people are cutting things, and will not pass unvisited. Psalms 89:30-32 .

Verses 25-26

Exodus 18:2-5 ; Joshua 5:2-3 . It is difficult to determine whether Zipporah meant this in anger, or whether it were an instance of faith. If the latter, it carries with it a sweet testimony of the holy joy of a parent, that by the blood of the covenant her child was espoused to God in Christ.

Verse 27

The grace of God in sending Aaron to meet Moses, and in the very spot in which the Lord had first appeared to Moses, is very striking. Reader! do not overlook this. Perhaps your own history can afford you many instances of the gracious meeting of your friends and helpmates, by the Lord's direction.

Verse 28

Acts 20:22-24 .

Verses 29-30

Exodus 4:2-9; Exodus 4:2-9 .

Verse 31

The bowing the head in token of belief had a double signification, and both beautiful. It testified that they would depend upon it. And it testified also, that they gave to God all the glory of it.


Reader! while you and I behold with concern the conduct of one of the most faithful servants of the Lord, in the repugnance which he manifested to an immediate obedience to the Lord's commands; let us consider in him a renewed evidence of the universal taint of our fallen nature, and derive from the view this sweet improvement, that none but our adored Redeemer call be endeared to the heart as holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. And did Moses need one miracle upon another to gain him over to the interests and services of his God; how many miracles of grace have you and I required, and yet in the present moment the remains of unbelief still lurk within! Well may we both cry out, not only in beholding the obduracy of the avowed enemies of God like that of Pharaoh, but even in the rebellion and unbelief of his friends like that of Moses; from hardiness of heart and contempt of thy word and commandment, good Lord deliver us.

One word more on this Chapter. We see that God's people though persecuted, we're not forsaken; though cast down by men, were not cast off by their God. They were still the Lord's people, and therefore the Lord's care. Now let you and I seek for grace to remember this amidst all our dark and trying dispensations. There is a time to favour Zion, and that time must come. In the covenant all things are ordered and sure. The season for sending trials, the season for removing trials, and one continued stream of love is running through all. Blessed God! give me grace like Israel to believe that the Lord is looking upon my afflictions, and like them in token of submission and thankfulness to bow the head and worship.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/exodus-4.html. 1828.
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