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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Exodus 2

 

 

Verse 1

Exodus 2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took [to wife] a daughter of Levi.

Ver. 1. And took to wife.] His own aunt. [Exodus 6:20 Numbers 26:59] The law against incest [Leviticus 18:12] was not yet given, nor the state of Israel settled. But what excuse can there be for that abominable incest of the house of Austria by Papal dispensation? King Philip of Spain was uncle to himself, first cousin to his father, husband to his sister, and father to his wife! (a) And what shall we say of our modern sectaries, whose practising of incest is now avowed publicly in print? They shame not to affirm that those marriages are most lawful that are between persons nearest in blood, brother and sister, father and daughter, mother and son, uncle and niece. The prohibition of degrees in Leviticus is to be understood, say they, of fornication, not of marriage (b) Tamar did not doubt to be her brother Amnon’s wife, but detested the act of fornication, &c. Lo, here, what noonday devils do now, in this unhappy time, walk with open face among us! (c)


Verse 2

Exodus 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he [was a] goodly [child], she hid him three months.

Ver. 2. A goodly child.] "Fair to God" (a) [Acts 7:20] See the note there. Art thou fair? be not like an Egyptian temple, where some beast is worshipped. Art thou foul? let thy soul be like a rich pearl in a rude shell.


Verse 3

Exodus 2:3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid [it] in the flags by the river’s brink.

Ver. 3. And she laid it in the flags.] This she did by the force of her faith; [Hebrews 11:23] casting the child upon God, and "against hope believing in hope."


Verse 4

Exodus 2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

Ver. 4. And his sister.] By a singular instinct of the Holy Spirit, as appears by the event. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord." [Psalms 37:23] "He keepeth the feet of his saints." [1 Samuel 2:9]


Verse 5

Exodus 2:5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash [herself] at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

Ver. 5. And the daughter of Pharaoh.] She was brought hither at this time by a special providence, to do that which she little dreamed of. So when Heidelberg was taken by the Imperialists, the copy of Ursinus’s Catechism enlarged by Pareus was among many other papers carried away by a plundering soldier; but happily dropped in the streets, and found the next day by a young student, who, knowing his master’s hand, restored it to his son Philip Pareus, who afterwards published that golden book, to the great glory of God, who had so graciously preserved it. (a)


Verse 6

Exodus 2:6 And when she had opened [it], she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This [is one] of the Hebrews’ children.

Ver. 6. One of the Hebrews’ children.] So called of Heber. {See Trapp on "Genesis 13:14"}


Verse 7

Exodus 2:7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

Ver. 7. A nurse of the Hebrew women.] God’s providence excludeth not man’s prudence. Here is a concurrence of both, for the preservation of the child.


Verse 8

Exodus 2:8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.

Ver. 8. The child’s mother.] None to her: as David said of Goliath’s sword, "None to that."


Verse 9

Exodus 2:9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give [thee] thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

Ver. 9. And I will give thee thy wages.] The nurse expects not her pay from the child, but from the parents. Ministers, in case their people prove unkind or unthankful, must look up.


Verse 10

Exodus 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

Ver. 10. She called his name Moses.] He was also by the Egyptians called MOneves, as Diodorus Siculus relateth; and Monies, as Aben Ezra. Musaeus calleth him υδρογενης, Water sprung, because "drawn," as David was afterwards, "out of many waters." [Psalms 18:16] Clement of Alexandra saith, that at his circumcision, Moses was called Melchi; others say Joachim: but that is as uncertain as that he was the same with Mercurins Trismegistus.


Verse 11

Exodus 2:11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

Ver. 11. When Moses was grown.] In stature and authority, being "mighty in words and deeds," [Acts 7:22] being a great orator, a great warrior. {See Trapp on "Hebrews 11:24"} He was, as Pliny saith of Cato Censorius, optimus Orator, optimus Imperator, optimus Senator, omniumque bonarum artium magister, a man every way accomplished.

That he went out unto his brethren.] Associating himself to them, though afflicted, and refusing the pleasures and "treasures of Egypt: for he had respect to the recompense of reward" - he {απεβλεπε, Hebrews 11:26} cast an eye, he stole a look from glory, when he was on his journey, and so got fresh encouragement.


Verse 12

Exodus 2:12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that [there was] no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

Ver. 12. He slew the Egyptian.] This deed of his was heroic and extraordinary, and therefore not to be imitated by every Birchet, who, by this example of Moses and that other of Ehud, persuaded himself it was lawful to kill such as oppose the truth of the gospel: whereupon he wounded Hawkins, slew his keeper, and thought he had a calling to kill a great personage in this kingdom, whom he took to be God’s enemy. The like madness is reported of the Monasterian Anabaptists. (a)


Verse 13

Exodus 2:13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?

Ver. 13. Behold, two men of the Hebrews strove.] What pity was it that brethren should strive, and one Hebrew smite another, as if blows enough were not dealt them by the Egyptians! Still Satan is thus busy, and Christians are thus malicious. Thus we have seen doves beat, and sheep butt one another. Jonathan and Rab. Solomon boldly say that these two striving Hebrews were Dathan and Abiram; and that the other Hebrew smitten by the Egyptian [Exodus 2:11] was the husband of Salomith the daughter of Dabri!


Verse 14

Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

Ver. 14. And he said.] Yea, "he thrust Moses away." [Acts 7:27] Doing wickedly "with both hands earnestly." [Micah 7:3] This act of his is imputed to the whole people, who therefore were deprived of Moses for forty years. So true is that of the wise man, "One sinner destroyeth much good." [Ecclesiastes 9:18]


Verse 15

Exodus 2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

Ver. 15. But Moses fled.] God, by forty years’ exile, fitted Moses for further light and advancement. Much he had learned in Egypt, [Acts 7:22] but more in Midian. Mr Ascham was a good schoolmaster to Queen Elizabeth, but affliction was a better. Men commonly beat and bruise their links before they light them, to make them burn the brighter. Moses had neither been so illuminate a doctor, nor so excellent a ruler, if not first humbled, as here.


Verse 16

Exodus 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew [water], and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.

Ver. 16. Now the priest.] Or, Prince. The old Egyptians chose their kings from among the priests. Samuel was both a priest and a judge in Israel. The Emperor of Rome had for one of his titles Pontifex Maximus, the high priest. Among the Turks, the judges at this day are ever ecclesiastical persons, whereby both orders joined give reputation to one another, and maintenance. (a)

And they came and drew water.] They were not so delicately bred as our dainty dames are now-a-days, but did earn before they eat.


Verse 17

Exodus 2:17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

Ver. 17. And drove them away.] From the water that they had drawn, and so had most right unto. Sic cedit viribus aequum. Might oft overcomes right. See here what we owe to good laws well executed; no man else should enjoy so much as his own water.


Verse 18

Exodus 2:18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How [is it that] ye are come so soon to day?

Ver. 18. To Reuel their father.] Indeed, their grandfather. [Numbers 10:29] Old men are usually about home, and can do little else but see to things, and advise.


Verse 19

Exodus 2:19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew [water] enough for us, and watered the flock.

Ver. 19. Delivered us out of the hand,] Moses, if he may not in Egypt, will be doing justice in Midian. Christ went about doing good. The place is the better wherever a good man cometh: his trade, saith one, is a compound of charity and justice.


Verse 20

Exodus 2:20 And he said unto his daughters, And where [is] he? why [is] it [that] ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.

Ver. 20. Call him, that he may eat bread.] If the watering of a sheep were thus rewarded, how shall God recompense a cup of cold water given to those of his little flock?


Verse 21

Exodus 2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.

Ver. 21. Zipporah his daughter.] A peevish piece; a cold armful. (a) He had better, haply, have been married to a quartan ague. Sulla felix si non hobuisset uxorem, &c. It is not ill to marry, but good to be wary, lest we make shipwreck in the haven.


Verse 22

Exodus 2:22 And she bare [him] a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Ver. 22. I have been a stranger.] So we are all, while here. Our own place is paradise; haste to it.


Verse 23

Exodus 2:23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.

Ver. 23. Sighed by reason of the bondage.] They had changed their masters, but not their miseries; αει το παρον βαρυ, but seldom comes a better. Job’s "stroke was heavier than his groaning." [Job 23:2]


Verse 24

Exodus 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Ver. 24. God heard their groaning.] Yea, their breathing. [Lamentations 3:56] Men’s very misery cries to God, as Hagar’s did.


Verse 25

Exodus 2:25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto [them].

Ver. 25. Had respect.] Heb., Knew them. He knew their souls in adversity. [Psalms 31:7]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/exodus-2.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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