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4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did 'swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
9 ¶ And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
12 And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? 13 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto
1 Heb. lift up my hand. 2 Heb. shortness, or straitness. 6 Num. 26. 57. 1 Chron. 6. 2.
the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
14 These be the heads of their fathers' houses: "The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben.
15 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon.
16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
17 The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families.
18 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years.
19 And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations.
20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and
3 Gen. 46.9 1 Chron. 5. 3. 41 Chron. 4. 24. 7 Chap. 2.2. Num, 26, 59,
28¶ And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,
29 That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto
Verse 3. "By my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.”—There have been many different interpretations of this passage. The name frequently occurs in Genesis; but Calmet and many others think that, as that book was written after God had revealed this name to Moses, it is used there by way of anticipation. Calmet's editor, Mr. Taylor, however, enters into an elaborate criticism of the Hebrew verb " to know," showing that it implies in one sense "appropriation ;" and he understands the passage to mean, that although God had before been known to the patriarchs, and to other persons, not of their family, in a general way, it now became the name by which he constituted himself the appropriate Deity of the Hebrew nation; and by that name he, on one part, and they, on the other, entered into covenant. This interpretation has much claim to attention; and seems to be confirmed by many subsequent passages, in which the name occurs as an "appropriate" name. Thus, "I am Jehovah;" or "I am Jehovah your God," are the expressions in which He indicates his claim to their allegiance and obedience. It would seem to have the emphasis which would result from the fact that He of whom other nations had no knowledge, or, at most, only some faint and trembling notions, had by express revelation made known to the descendants of Abraham a large measure of his glory and perfections, and took them under his more peculiar care.
It is to be observed that where, in our translation, the word LORD occurs in capital letters, it stands for the JEHOVAH of the original. This substitution has the sanction of the Septuagint, which commonly renders it by Kúpios, or "Lord," whence Calmet infers that the translators were not accustomed to pronounce the name; to which we may add that they were probably unwilling to communicate what they knew of it to strangers. It is certain that the Jews came to associate much superstition and mystery with the name of Jehovah. Their respect for the name led them to abstain from pronouncing it after the captivity, until they ultimately forgot the true pronunciation. Jerome, Origen, Eusebius, and others mention, that in their time the Jews wrote the name in their copies of the Bible in Samaritan characters, instead of the common Chaldee or Hebrew, in order to veil it from the profane inspection of strangers. Josephus, in his account of the transaction in the text, manifests the same feeling. He says" that Moses entreated God to tell him his name, that he might know how to invoke him properly when he offered sacrifice. Whereupon God declared to him his name, which had never before been revealed to man, and concerning which it is not lawful for me to say more."
20. "Father's sister."-The Septuagint and the Syriac both read, "uncle's daughter."
30. "I am of uncircumcised lips.”—Moses thus expresses figuratively, what he had said before more plainly, "I am not eloquent," or rather, "not of ready utterance." In consequence of uncircumcision being considered not only impure but dishonourable, the term "uncircumcised" is frequently applied as a term of degradation and reproach to the Philistines and other neighbouring nations of the Jews; and we also find it often applied, as here, figuratively to imply any thing impure, useless, dangerous, or defective. Thus we read of " uncircumcised ears" (Jer. vi. 10), that is, ears averse to instruction; and of "uncircumcised hearts" (Lev. xxvi. 41), or hearts intractable and inattentive.
Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
30 And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?
6 And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.
7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.
8 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
10 ¶ And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
13 And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that
he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.
15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.
16 And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
17 Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.
19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and
upon their ponds, and upon all their 'pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.
23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.
24 And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.
25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river.
1 Heb. gathering of their waters. 2 Chap. 17.5. 3 Psal. 78. 44. 4 Wisd. 17.7..
Verse 15. "Stand by the river's brink."-This is the Nile. This indefinite indication "the river,” always sufficiently denotes the Nile in speaking of Egypt, because in fact that country does not possess any other river. In a distance of 1350 nautical miles, from the mouth of the Tacazze to the Delta, the Nile does not receive a single tributary stream from either the east or west, which, as remarked by Humboldt, is a solitary instance in the hydrographic history of the globe. It is to this noble river that Egypt owes its fertility and even its existence. The soil of Egypt was no doubt originally formed by the earth brought down by the river from Abyssinia and the interior of Africa, and deposited during the annual inundation; and that it has been progressively elevated in the course of ages from the same cause, is demonstrated by a considerable number of distinct facts. Thus towns and buildings which are known from history to have been originally built on mounds, to secure them from the effects of the inundation, now lie so low on the plain as to be inundated every year: and it also appears that a greater rise in the river seems now necessary to prevent a dearth, than was required in the age of Herodotus. Thus, in time, the land of Egypt would become desolate, from the failure of the inundation which is essential to its fertility, were not an equilibrium preserved by a nearly corresponding elevation of the river's bed, so that the point of overflow is maintained nearly in the same ratio with the elevation of the soil. Among other facts, this is demonstrated by the ancient Nilometer near Elephantine, mentioned by Strabo, which is still in existence. The highest measure marked upon it is twenty-four cubits; but the water now rises, when at its greatest elevation, nearly eight feet above this mark; while it appears from an inscription on the wall, made in the third century A.D., that the water then rose only a foot above that level. This gives an elevation of about five inches in a century; and it has been collected, from quite independent data, that the rise in the circumjacent soil has been nearly in the same proportion. It is true that there are isolated facts which seem to militate against this general conclusion; but they may be accounted for by supposing certain irregularities, in themselves very probable, which in some places make the rise in the bed of the river exceed that in the neighbouring soil, and in others, make the elevation of the soil to exceed that of the river's bottom. Dr. Shaw, who estimates the increase in the depth of the soil at rather more than a foot in a century, observes that Egypt must have gained 41 feet 8 inches of soil in 4072 years; and as he does not sufficiently advert to the corresponding elevation of the river's bed, he sees cause to fear that, in process of time, the river will not be able to overflow its banks, and Egypt, from being the most fertile, will become, from the want of the annual inundation, one of the most barren countries in the universe.
The swell of the river varies in different parts of its channel. In Upper Egypt it is from 30 to 35 feet; at Cairo it is about 23 feet, whilst in the northern part of the Delta, it does not exceed four feet, which is owing to the artificial channels and the breadth of the inundation. Yet the four feet of increase is as necessary to the fertility of the Delta as the twenty-three or the thirty feet elsewhere. The river begins to swell in June, but the rise is not rapid or remarkable until early in July; the greatest height is attained about the autumnal equinox, and the waters remain nearly at the same level until the middle of October. After this the subsidence is very sensible, and the lowest point is reached in April. These phenomena, however striking, are by no means peculiar to the Nile: they are more or less common to all rivers whose volume is annually augmented by the periodical rains which fall within the tropics; but there is no river the annual swelling of which is so replete with important consequences, or so essential to the existence of a nation. This is because Egypt depends wholly upon the river for its fertility; and wherever the influence of its inundation does not extend, there the soil is desert. Very little rain ever falls in Egypt. In Upper Egypt it is scarcely known: and in Lower Egypt, a very slight and almost momentary shower is all that is occasionally experienced even during the cool part of the year. Therefore the irrigation which the land receives through the direct overflow of the Nile, and by means of the canals which convey its waters where the inundation does not directly extend, is quite essential to that fertility for which Egypt has in all times been proverbial. The inhabitants of Egypt have with great labour cut a vast number of canals and trenches through the whole extent of the land. These canals are not opened till the river has attained a certain height, nor yet all at the same time, as then the distribution of the water would be unequal. The sluices are closed when the water begins to subside, and are gradually opened again in the autumn, allowing the waters to pass on to contribute to the irrigation of Delta. The distribution of the Nile water has always been subject to distinct and minute regulations, the necessity for which may be estimated from the common statement, that scarcely a tenth part of the water of the Nile reaches the sea in the first three months of the inundation. Minute regulations are necessary in our own land for the equal distribution of streams which afford power to mills. In a country where fertility essentially depends upon one great fertilizing power, such regulations must have been amongst the first steps in the laws of civilization. Lower Mesopotamia, which in the time of Herodotus competed the palm of exuberant production with Egypt, is now a desert in consequence of the abandonment of a system of irrigation, which, from actual inspection, we should judge to have been nearly analogous to that which continues to fertilize the land of the Nile. During the inundation, the whole level country appears like a series of ponds and reservoirs; and it is not merely the saturation of the ground, but the deposit of mould or soil which takes place during the overflow, that is so favourable to the agriculture of Egypt. This mud contains principles so friendly to vegetation, that it is used as manure for those places which have not been adequately benefited by the inundation; and, on the other hand, where the deposit has been complete, the people are said to mingle sand with it to abate its strength. The cultivation of the ground commences as soon as the waters have retired, and where the soil has been sufficiently saturated the labours of agriculture are exceedingly light. The seed is sown in the moistened soil, and vegetation and harvest follow with such rapidity, as to allow a succession of crops, wherever water can be commanded. The influence of the river upon the condition and appearance of the country can only be estimated by comparing its aspect in the season which immediately precedes, with that which follows the inundation. Volney has illustrated this, by observing that the surface of the land successively assumes the appearance of an ocean of fresh water, of a miry morass, of a green level plain, and of a parched desert of sand and dust.
It was the feeling generally entertained of their entire dependence upon the Nile, co-operating with the natural disposition of man to look rather to the secondary causes, than to the infinitely great and good God from whom all blessings come, which led the Egyptians to deify their Nile, which had its appointed priests, festivals, and sacrifices: and even now, under the sterner system of the Moslem religion, the reverence entertained for this stream, still called "the Most Holy River," and the rites with which its benefits are celebrated, seem to exhibit a tendency towards the same form of acknowledgment and gratitude.
17. "The waters which are in the river.... shall be turned to blood."-This probably means no more than that the water became red like blood, it being a common Hebrew form of speech, of which we have already had several instances, to describe similarity by identity. The class of commentators who are anxious to explain the Scripture miracles on natural principles have been very unfortunate with this one. It is attested by various travellers that the waters of the Nile, at one period during the time of increase, become of a brownish red colour; owing probably to the earth which
he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go
15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning: lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.
16 And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying. Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
17 Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold. I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.
19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and 1 Heb. gathering of their waters.
| upon their ponds, and upon all their 'p of water, that they may become blood; that there may be blood throughout all land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, in ressels of stone.
20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as LORD commanded; and he lifted up rod, and smote the waters that were in river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in sight of his servants; and all the w that were in the river were turned to bl
21 And the fish that was in the died; and the river stank, and the I tians could not drink of the water o river; and there was blood througho the land of Egypt.
22 And the magicians of Egypt with their enchantments: and Ph heart was hardened, neither d unto them; as the LORD
23 And Pharaoh turne house, neither did he s
24 And all the T about the river for could not dri