ACTS CHAPTER SEVEN

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic .which largely limits the observer to the content offered by the books of Luke and Acts. Other passages must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or reference in the passage at hand. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

****** EXCERPT FROM ACTS CHAPTER 6 ******

OR SKIP TO THE BEGINNING OF CHAPTER 7

(Acts 6:9-15) THEN THERE AROSE SOME FROM WHAT IS CALLED THE SYNAGOGUE OF THE FREEDMEN [LIT., LIBERTINES] (CYRENIANS, ALEXANDRIANS, AND THOSE FROM CILICIA AND ASIA), DISPUTING WITH STEPHEN. AND THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO RESIST THE WISDOM AND THE SPIRIT BY WHICH HE [WAS SPEAKING]. THEN THEY [SUBORNED] MEN TO SAY, 'WE HAVE HEARD HIM SPEAK BLASPHEMOUS WORDS AGAINST MOSES AND GOD.' AND THEY STIRRED UP THE PEOPLE, THE ELDERS, AND THE SCRIBES; AND THEY CAME UPON HIM, SEIZED HIM, AND BROUGHT HIM TO THE COUNCIL. THEY ALSO SET UP FALSE WITNESSES WHO SAID, 'THIS MAN DOES NOT CEASE TO SPEAK BLASPHEMOUS WORDS AGAINST THIS HOLY PLACE AND THE LAW; FOR WE HAVE HEARD HIM [SAYING] THAT THIS JESUS OF NAZARETH WILL DESTROY THIS PLACE AND CHANGE THE CUSTOMS WHICH MOSES DELIVERED TO US.' AND ALL [WHO WERE SITTING] IN THE COUNCIL, [HAVING LOOKED INTENTLY] AT HIM, SAW HIS FACE AS THE FACE OF AN ANGEL

(Acts 6:9 NKJV) "Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen [lit., Libertines] (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. (Acts 6:10 NKJV) And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he [was speaking]. (Acts 6:11 NKJV) Then they [suborned] men to say, 'We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.' (Acts 6:12 NKJV) And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. (Acts 6:13 NKJV) They also set up false witnesses who said, 'This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; (Acts 6:14 NKJV) for we have heard him [saying] that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.' (Acts 6:15 NKJV) And all [who were sitting] in the council, [having looked intently] at him, saw his face as the face of an angel." =

And as a result of Stephen's astounding testimony to the people via the teaching and directives of the indwelling Holy Spirit, there arose some men who attended what was called the "Synagogue [singular] of the Freedmen." The Greek word rendered synagogue, is literally "a gathering together place." Each one contained a community center, school, and a place for reading and commenting on the scriptures on the Sabbath for each of these groups of people from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia and Asia - a category of synagogue - for those who came to the city from regions outside Palestine as a result of the Dispersion. For the term rendered "Freedmen," lit., "Libertines" was a term originally used to describe former slaves who had been set free by their Roman masters, but used in this context to refer generally to men freed from captivity. Jerusalem, at the time, traditionally contained many synagogues for a multiplicity of groups of people, because of the prejudices of the Jewish people toward others outside of their group. Those who attended these synagogues tended to meet with and keep to their own group of Jews. So each "Freedmen Synagogue" in view in verse 9 was composed of Greek speaking Jews originally from Cyrene, west of Egypt on the Mediterranean coast; from Alexandria in Egypt where there was a very large Jewish quarter, from Cilicia (Paul's home province in southeastern Asia Minor), and from the province of Asia, (in western Asia Minor) where Ephesus was the chief city. Because most of the Jews in the Dispersion had to face many threats to their beliefs and lifestyle, being surrounded by Gentiles, they tended to be quick to defend their beliefs against anything that was different from what their rabbis taught them. Hence these men readily and openly disputed with Stephen. But they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he was speaking - in the sense that they could not refute Stephen's testimony. They evidently found no logical or scriptural flaw in what he said. Despite Stephen's overwhelmingly convincing words, they refused to believe in his message. They only became more determined to get rid of Stephen, just like the rulers had done with Jesus and then His apostles. So the "Freedmen" suborned men, in the sense of persuading men to bear false witness to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." Stephen's statements were willfully and deliberately twisted by the "Freedmen" with the purpose of it sounding like capital blasphemy, in order to get him killed. This was not a simple misunderstanding of Stephen's words as some contend. For the words were those of God the Holy Spirit which were so well stated to the people that "they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he was speaking," (Acts 6:10). And then they [the "Freedmen"] stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes. And they came upon him, seized him in a violent manner, and brought him before the council. Note that just a short while ago, the council had resolved to let this movement run its course and die out if motivated by man, or not risk going up against God if He were behind it all, (cf. Acts 5:34-40). But Stephen's testimony was so persuasive and the movement of God's assembly of believers was growing so rapidly - even amongst the priests - that the rulers were determined to convict Stephen of capital blasphemy. Notice that of all the complaints against Stephen, there was nothing stipulated against his testimony Jesus of Nazareth not being the Messiah / Savior, or of not being resurrected from the dead, (Acts 6:9-12).

At the trial of Stephen before the council, false witnesses were set up to testify against him. They said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him [saying] that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us." Just as with Jesus' trials, false witnesses misrepresented what Stephen said, twisting it into what was considered blasphemy punishable by death.

While the false witnesses were twisting the words of Stephen into blasphemy, all who were there were gazing intently at Stephen, for his face appeared as the face of an angel, evidently reflecting the glory of God similar to what Moses experienced, (cf. Exodus 34:29-35): "And all who were sitting in the council, having looked intently at him, saw his face as the face of an angel," (Acts 6:13-15).

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM ACTS CHAPTER 6 ******

I) [Acts 7:1-16]:

(Acts 7:1 NKJV) "Then the high priest said, 'Are these things so?'

(Acts 7:2 NKJV) And he said, ['Men, brethren, and fathers], listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

(Acts 7:3 NKJV) and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'

(Acts 7:4 YLT) Then having come forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran, and from thence, after the death of his father, He did remove him to this land wherein [you] now dwell,

(Acts 7:5 YLT) and He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a footstep, and did promise to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him -- he having no child.

(Acts 7:6 NKJV) But God spoke in this way: that his [Abram's] descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.

(Acts 7:7 NKJV) 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.'

(Acts 7:8 NKJV) Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

(Acts 7:9 NKJV) And the patriarchs, [having become] envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him

(Acts 7:10 NKJV) and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

(Acts 7:11 NKJV) Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance.

(Acts 7:12 NKJV) But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

(Acts 7:13 NKJV) And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to the Pharaoh.

(Acts 7:14 YLT) and Joseph having sent, did call for his father Jacob, and all his kindred - with seventy and five souls.

(Acts 7:15 NKJV) So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers.

(Acts 7:16 NKJV) And they [the fathers] were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem."

A) (Acts 7:1-3) STEPHEN DIRECTLY ADDRESSED THE CHARGES OF BLASPHEMY BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN. HIS USE OF THE WORDS "BRETHREN" AND "FATHERS" IMPLIED HIS RESPECT FOR JEWISH LAW AND TRADITIONS AND HENCE HIS INNOCENCE. WHEREUPON HE DECLARED "THE GOD OF GLORY APPEARED TO OUR FATHER ABRAHAM WHEN HE WAS IN MESOPOTAMIA, BEFORE HE DWELT IN HARAN, AND SAID TO HIM, 'GET OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY AND FROM YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME TO A LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU'. STEPEHEN'S TESTIMONY OF ABRAHAM DID NOT CONTRADICT SCRIPTURE AS SOME CONTEND, RATHER IT CORROBORATED IT AND FURTHER SUPPORTS HIS BEING INNOCENT OF THE CHARGES

(Acts 7:1 NKJV) "Then the high priest said, 'Are these things so?' (Acts 7:2 NKJV) And he said, ['Men, brethren, and fathers], listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, (Acts 7:3 NKJV) and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' " =

In the trial of Stephen before the Sanhedrin, the high priest asked Stephen, relative to the testimony of the false witnesses - that Stephen spoke blasphemous words against Moses and God and against the Temple and the Law, "Are these things so?" And given the opportunity to speak, Stephen made the most of it. Stephen's response reflected an intimate knowledge of the history of Israel beginning with God's call to Abraham in Mesopotamia, "Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you;" through the generations of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob-the twelve patriarchs, focusing upon key individuals: Joseph, Moses, David and finally the One, the Prophet Whom they all foretold, Whom the rulers crucified. Stephen's tone was condemnatory toward Israel's history of rebelliousness toward God from the beginning.

And so Stephen addressed the Sanhedrin beginning with "Brethren and fathers," which expression implied that Stephen intended to be respectful and obedient to the Law and Jewish traditions - in effect indicating that the accusations that he violated them were not true. So by calling the rulers "brethren," Stephen was letting them know that he considered himself an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of God's chosen people and nation, Israel - and that he had done nothing to cut himself off from them. And by calling the rulers "fathers," he was showing respect for their authority over him and a willingness to be submissive and abide by their ruling.

Stephen's dissertation / defence began with the key phrase, "The God of Glory" - a remarkable address and confirmation of the great glory of the God of Israel - the One True God. This was certain to get the attention of those who were condemning Stephen for blasphemy. Whereupon Stephen began his defence with a Holy Spirit inspired, (cf. Acts 6:10-15), dissertation of God's plan for His people beginning with Abraham. For Abraham was the father of the Jewish people and highly revered by the people and their rulers. So for Stephen to begin by affirming who father Abraham was, was a major refutation of the accusations of blasphemy thrown at him: "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' "

Note that some contend today that there was a major flaw in Stephen's testimony. The skeptics maintain that God first appeared and spoke to Abraham after he left Ur in Mesopotamia and moved to Haran. But the account in Genesis fully corroborates Stephen's testimony, (cf. Neh 9:7, Acts 7:2):

****** EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 12 ******

(Gen 11:27-12:1) THE LORD GOD REPEATEDLY APPEARED AND SPOKE TO ABRAM FROM THE TIME HE WAS IN UR THROUGH WHEN HE WAS IN HARAN. HE GRACIOUSLY KEPT ON SAYING TO ABRAM TO GO FROM UR, HIS RELATIVES AND HIS FATHER'S HOUSEHOLD TO A LAND THE LORD WILL SHOW HIM IMPLYING PROSPERITY AND OWNERSHIP OF THAT LAND

(v. 11:27 NAS) "Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. And Haran begat Lot. (v. 11:28 NAS) And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. (v. 11:29 NAS) And Abram and Nahor took them wives: The name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. (v. 11:30 NAS) And Sarai was barren; She had no child (v. 11:31 NAS) And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. (v. 11:32 NAS) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. (v. 12:1 NKJV) Now the LORD had said [imperfect - "had been saying] to Abram: 'Get out of [lit. go from] your country, from your family [lit. relatives], and from your father's house, To a land that I will show you." =

Gen 11:27-32 indicate that when Abraham resided in Ur of the Chaldees, capital of Sumer, in Mesopotamia; "Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abrahm's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan" - the LORD's promised land. Hence it is evident at this point, that the LORD had already communicated with Abram while he was in Ur to leave his country, etc. But first the group went hundreds of miles northeast to Haran, of the land of Aram - the home of his father, instead of eastward to the land of Canaan. Notice that Abram did not heed the LORD saying to him to leave his country, (Ur, not Haran); his family and his father's household to go to Canaan when he was in Ur. Instead, Abram went first in the wrong direction to Haran, his father's home town and stayed with his father until he died. Whereupon the text beginning at Genesis chapter 12:1 changed its focus to Abram at the time when the LORD began appearing and speaking to him - which was from the time he dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, to the time when he departed from Haran and went directly to Canaan at the Terebinth Tree of Moreh.

For the Hebrew verb "wayyO'mer" rendered "had said" in "Now the LORD had said [imperfect - literally, "had been saying] to Abram: 'Get out of [lit. go from] your country, [Ur] from your family [lit. relatives], and from your father's house, To a land that I will show you,' " (Gen 12:1), is in the imperfect tense. The imperfect tense here indicates a sequence in time in the sense that the LORD had kept on saying to Abram from the time he was in his country of Ur in Mesopotamia to go from his land, his family and his father's household, to a land that He would show Abram. Hence there were persistent calls (and evidently appearances) made by the LORD to Abram to separate himself from his country, family, and father's household as opposed to a one time command.

Since Abram's society was pagan, it is implied in Gen 12:1 that the LORD appeared to Abram in a manner which demonstrated His glory and His power so that Abram could verify Who the LORD was and heed His words; much like the time when the LORD appeared to Abram when he arrived at Shechem, at the Terebinth Tree at Moreh in the promised land, (Gen 12:6-7).

[Compare Gen 12:6-7]:

(Gen 12:6 NKJV) "Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land."

(Gen 12:7 NKJV) Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your descendants I will give this land.' And there he built an altar to the LORD, Who had appeared to him."

[Compare Acts 7:2]:

(Acts 7:2 NKJV) "And he said, '[Men, brethren, and fathers], listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran."

So it took some time for Abram to comply to the LORD's request, evidently because Abram was so attached to his father, family and pagan way of life. And when he did set out directly for Canaan, he still took his nephew Lot and a number of household servants.

[Compare Gen 12:5]:

(v. 12:5 NKJV) "Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan."

Since Abram and his family were prosperous in Ur and Haran, having acquired considerable possessions and servants; then to leave all of this to go to an unknown land speaks of knowing of and trusting in the LORD's power and promise of prosperity and ownership. Hence the fact that the LORD told Abraham to go to a land the LORD will show him implied that the LORD would enable Abram to prosper in and own that land, once he settled there.

Note that the promise of ownership of the land is corroborated in Gen 15:7. Furthermore, Ur - Abram's country of origin, (not Haran), is indicated in this verse as the land from which the LORD was saying to Abram to leave:

[Compare Gen 15:7]:

(Gen 15:7 NKJV) "He also said to him, 'I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.' "

Hence the time of the LORD saying to go forth began when Abram was in Ur.

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 12 ******

B) (Acts 7:4-5) STEPHEN CONTINUED TO TESTIFY TO THE SANHEDRIN ABOUT ABRAHAM: "THEN HAVING COME FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF THE CHALDEANS, HE DWELT IN HARAN, AND FROM THENCE, AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER, HE DID REMOVE HIM TO THIS LAND WHEREIN [YOU] NOW DWELL, AND HE GAVE HIM NO INHERITANCE IN IT, NOT EVEN A FOOTSTEP, AND DID PROMISE TO GIVE IT TO HIM FOR A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS SEED AFTER HIM - HE HAVING NO CHILD " WHICH TESTIMONY BEING FULLY CORROBORATED BY SCRIPTURE IN TURN AFFIRMED STEPHEN'S INNOCENCE OF BLASPHEMY

(Acts 7:1 NKJV) "Then the high priest said, 'Are these things so?' (Acts 7:2 NKJV) And he said, '[Men, brethren, and fathers], listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, (Acts 7:3 NKJV) and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' (Acts 7:4 YLT)Then having come forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran, and from thence, after the death of his father, He did remove him to this land wherein [you] now dwell, (Acts 7:5 YLT) and He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a footstep, and did promise to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him -- he having no child." =

As Stephen continued to testify to the Sanhedrin, Abraham continued to be the subject: "Then [Abraham] having come forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran, and from thence, after the death of his father, [Notice that Abraham did not immediately obey the LORD, but diverted hundreds of miles in the wrong direction, not leaving his family]." But Stephen goes on to testify, "He [the LORD] did remove him [Abraham] to this land wherein [you] now dwell, and He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a footstep, and did promise to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him - he having no child,' " (Acts 7:4-5). This is corroborated in Genesis chapter 12:

****** EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 12 ******

(Gen 12:1-7) AS ABRAM CAME TO SHECHEM IN THE LAND OF CANAAN AS FAR AS THE TEREBINTH TREE OF MOREH, THE LORD AGAIN APPEARED TO ABRAM AND REMINDED HIM OF HIS PROMISE TO GIVE ABRAM'S SEED OWNERSHIP OF THE LAND - AN EVERLASTING POSSESSION. FURTHERMORE, THE LAND WOULD BE RECEIVED BY ONE WHOM WOULD BE THE PROMISED SEED THROUGH WHOM ONE WOULD RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE. WHEREUPON ABRAM BUILT AN ALTAR TO THE LORD IN ORDER TO WORSHIP HIM

(Gen 12:1 NKJV) "Now the LORD had said [imperfect - "had been saying] to Abram: 'Get out of [lit. go from] your country, from your family [lit. relatives] And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. (Gen 12:2 NAS) [The LORD said to Abram] And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing. (Gen 12:3 NAS) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.' (Gen 12:4 NAS) So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Gen 12:5 NKJV) Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. (Gen 12:6 NKJV) Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth [lit. large] tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. (Gen 12:7 NKJV) Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your seed I will give this land.' And there he built an altar to the LORD, Who had appeared to him." =

(Gen 12:7a Hebrew) "wayyErA' ............yehwAh ...............'el-'avrAm

.................................."and He appeared Yahweh [LORD] to Abram

wayyO'mer .lezar'akhA ..'ettEn .......'eth-hA'Arets .hazzO'th"

and He said .to your seed I will give .the land ..........the this"

Note that the Hebrew word transliterated ".lezar'akhA" rendered "to your seed" contains the noun "zar'a" for seed which is in its masculine singular form in this verse.

[Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Ed, Moody Press, Chicago, 1980, pp. 252-4]:

"zera'. Sowing, seed, offspring...

The most important theological usage [of this word rendered 'seed'] is found ... commencing with Gen 3:15, [where] the word 'seed' is regularly used as a collective noun in the singular. This technical term is an important aspect of the promise doctrine, for Hebrew never uses the plural of this root to refer to 'posterity' or 'offspring.'... Thus the word designates the whole line of descendants as a unit, yet it is deliberately flexible enough to denote either one person who epitomizes the whole group, [such as the Man of the Promise, Jesus Christ], or the many persons in that whole line of natural and/or spiritual descendants (of Abraham)."

So as Abram came to Shechem in the land of Canaan as far as the Terebinth tree at Moreh, where the LORD again appeared to him and reminded him of His promise to give Abram and his seed possession of the land. Whereupon Abram built an altar to the LORD in order to facilitate worship of Him as his LORD God. God's promise of giving the land to Abram's seed has in view an everlasting possession since it came through the LORD with no limitation on its duration and it was to be the possession of all descendants of Abram. For the LORD had promised (1) that He would make Abram a great nation which implied many descendants and rulership forever via a Messiah-Savior, the Seed of Abram; (2) that He would bless Abram in the promised land which implies temporal and spiritual prosperity and longevity unto eternal life; (3) that He would make Abram's name great in the promised land, which implies enabling Abram to be faithful in doing great and godly things as part of God's plan for man's eternal reconciliation with him and restoration of the loss of mankind's sovereignty over the earth through a descendant of Abram; (4) Whereby the LORD declared that in Abram all the families of the earth - forever - would be blessed inplying the temporal and eternal as part of God's plan for man's eternal reconciliation with Him and restoration of the loss of mankind's sovereignty over the earth through a descendant of Abram, (Gen 12:2-3 ). And through a moment of faith in Him would there be provision for one of an atoning sacrifice for ones sins unto eternal life. And this One will rule over the Eternal Kingdom of God forever.

But at this point in Abram's life, he and his wife Sarai were childless, at advanced ages and unable to have children, (Gen 11:30). Hence a supernatural event is inherent in the promise of the LORD.

Recall that Abram was permanently settled in Ur - a substantial and sophisticated city in the Chaldees when the LORD began saying to him to move out. He was not familiar with the nomadic lifestyle which he embarked upon when he began to follow the instructions of the LORD. Yet when he got to the land he never settled anywhere indicating that Abram had not fully trusted in the LORD's promise, which evidently included trusting in the LORD to remove the people who occupied and owned the land of Canaan - and were a constant threat to Abram's settling anywhere in the land.

Notice that the LORD once more declared His promises to Abram without any conditions for Abram to meet. Hence the promises continued to be unilateral with an emphasis on the LORD's sovereign enablement in moving Abram into trusting in Him to deliver the Promised Land to Abram's descendants.

The building of an altar to the LORD was a physical memorial of the LORD's appearance to Abram and an affirmation of Abram's acceptance of and worship of the LORD, implying a faith in the LORD as his God; and in the promise He made to Abram and his seed. That the altar was built in the midst of pagan Canaanite territory was a highly visible testimony to those who worshipped other gods.

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 12 ******

C) (Acts 7:6-7) STEPHEN THEN TESTIFIED "GOD SPOKE IN THIS WAY: THAT HIS [ABRAM'S] DESCENDANTS WOULD DWELL IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BRING THEM INTO BONDAGE AND OPPRESS THEM FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. 'AND THE NATION TO WHOM THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I WILL JUDGE,' SAID GOD, 'AND AFTER THAT THEY SHALL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE

(Acts 7:1 NKJV) "Then the high priest said, 'Are these things so?' (Acts 7:2 NKJV) And he said, '[Men, brethren, and fathers], listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, (Acts 7:3 NKJV) and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' (Acts 7:4 YLT) Then having come forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran, and from thence, after the death of his father, He did remove him to this land wherein [you] now dwell, (Acts 7:5 YLT) and He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a footstep, and did promise to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him -- he having no child. (Acts 7:6 NKJV). But God spoke in this way: that his [Abram's] descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. (Acts 7:7 NKJV) 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.' " =

Stephen went on with his testimony to the Sanhedrin: "But God spoke in this way: that his [Abraham's] descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place' " - serve in the sense of worshipping and obeying Him.

1) [Compare Gen 15:13]:

(Gen 15:13 NKJV) "Then He said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years."

On the other hand, elsewhere in Scripture, a 430 year period for Israel sojourning in Egypt is stipulated, which some contend creates a contradiction to what is stipulated in Gen 15:13 and Acts 7:6 above:

2) [Compare Ex 12:40-41 translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text]:

(Ex 12:40 NKJV) "Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

(Ex 12:41 NKJV) And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years - on that very same day - it came to pass that all the armies [divisions of the people] of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt."

3) [But compare Ex 12:40-41 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts]:

(Ex 12:40 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years.

(Ex 12:41 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the LORD came forth out of the land of Egypt by night."

The key difference between the Masoretic Hebrew text (completed in the fourth century A.D.), and the Septuagint, (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures completed centuries earlier during the reign of King Ptolemy Philadelphia of Egypt, (285-246 B.C.), and the Samaritan Pentateuch which is also considerably more ancient and allowed by many scholars to be the most correct copy of the five books of Moses is the phrase "and the land of Chanaan" [Canaan - the Promised Land]. This phrase is omitted in the Masoretic text - evidently due to scribal error or deliberate omission; but it is included in the other much earlier versions. The period of 430 years for the entire time from the LORD's promise to Abram to the Exodus is corroborated by the Apostle Paul:

4) [Compare Gal 3:16-17]:

(Gal 3:16NKJV) "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' Who is Christ.

(Gal 3:17 NKJV) And this I say, that the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect."

So according to the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Apostle Paul, the period of 430 years commenced at the time when the LORD first said to Abram to get out of his country and go to a land He would show him; whereupon the LORD made His promise of His covenant with Abraham, (Gen 12:1-4). And accordingly, this period of 430 years would terminate with Moses' and Israel's Exodus from Egypt - the Law being given roughly three months after that. Hence this period of time of 430 years included the time of 215 years that Abraham and his descendants spent in Canaan, leaving 215 years to be spent in Egypt. This amount of time in Egypt is more feasible than 430 years; and a careful examination of Scripture indicates that the period of 400 years to which Gen 15:13 and Acts 7:6 refers overlaps the 430 period, beginning in the 30th year of the latter period:

****** EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 15 ******

(Gen 15:13) THE LORD TOLD ABRAM THAT HIS DESCENDANTS WILL BE STRANGERS IN A LAND THAT IS NOT THEIRS, AND WILL SERVE AND BE AFFLICTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS

(Gen 12:1 NKJV) "Now the LORD had said [imperfect - "had been saying] to Abram: 'Get out of [lit. go from] your country, from your family [lit. relatives] And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. (Gen 12:2 NAS) [The LORD said to Abram] And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing. (Gen 12:3 NAS) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.' (Gen 12:4 NAS) So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Gen 12:5 NKJV) Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. (v. 12:6 NKJV) Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth [lit. large] tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. (v. 12:7 NKJV) Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your seed I will give this land.' And there he built an altar to the LORD, Who had appeared to him... (Gen 15:5 NKJV) "Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants [lit. seed] be.' ... (Gen 15:9 NAS) So He said to him, 'Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon (Gen 15:15:10 NKJV) Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. (Gen 15:15:11 ASV) And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. (Gen 15:12 NKJV) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. (Gen 15:13 NKJV) Then He [the LORD] said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years." .... (Ex 12:40 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years. (Ex 12:41 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the LORD came forth out of the land of Egypt by night." =

The Time From Abraham's Call By The LORD To Leave His Country For The Promised Land Until Abraham's Descendants' Sojourn into Egypt From Canaan Was 215 Years. This Period Was Part Of The 430 Years Of Abram's Descendants' Sojourn In Canaan And Egypt Referred To In Exodus 12:40-41 - Most Accurately Accounted For In The Septuagint & Samaritan Pentateuch Versions. Furthermore, 400 of the 430 Years Were The Years Of Affliction Of Abraham's Descendants Beginning In Canaan At Ishmael's Scoffing At Isaac And Ishmael's Consequent Banishment From Abram's Family. The Period Of 400 Years Ended With Moses And The Exodus Of Israel From Egypt Followed Closely By God's Giving Of The Law To Moses And Israel

(Gen 12:1 NKJV) "Now the LORD had said [imperfect - "had been saying] to Abram: 'Get out of [lit. go from] your country, from your family [lit. relatives] And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. (Gen 12:2 NAS) [The LORD said to Abram] And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing. (Gen 12:3 NAS) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.' (Gen 12:4 NAS) So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Gen 12:5 NKJV) Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. (v. 12:6 NKJV) Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth [lit. large] tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. (v. 12:7 NKJV) Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your seed I will give this land.' And there he built an altar to the LORD, Who had appeared to him... (Gen 15:5 NKJV) "Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants [lit. seed] be.' ... (Gen 15:9 NAS) So He said to him, 'Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon (Gen 15:15:10 NKJV) Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. (Gen 15:15:11 ASV) And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. (Gen 15:12 NKJV) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. (Gen 15:13 NKJV) Then He [the LORD] said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years." .... (Ex 12:40 Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch) "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years." =

While Abram was in a deep sleep, (Gen 15:12), the LORD said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years." The LORD had already indicated to Abram that he would have innumerable descendants, (Gen 15:5). Now He was saying to Abram that for 400 years his descendants would be strangers in a land that would not be theirs; and they would be servants to the owners of the land, and under their affliction. Scripture indicates that they did wander and did not settle in the Promised Land, (Canaan) - and were afflicted by the various peoples who were settled in the land of Canaan, especially the Amorites, (Gen 15:16). Thereafter, they lived in Egypt, under Egyptian rule - still as servants continuing to experience affliction).

[Compare Gen 15:13]:

(Gen 15:13 NKJV) "Then He said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years." =

Notice that this prophecy has in view Abram's descendants, and not Abram himself. For he had no descendants at this time. Hence the starting point of the 400 years of sojourning, servitude and affliction was yet future. Before this, when Abraham was 75, God first appeared to him when Abram was in his country, Ur. And for the first time the LORD declared His covenant with Abram, telling him to leave his country and go to a land that He would show him, with the following promises:

[Compare Gen 12:1-4]:

(v. 12:1 NKJV) "Now the LORD had said [imperfect - "had been saying] to Abram: 'Get out of [lit. go from] your country, from your family [lit. relatives], and from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.

(v. 12:2 NAS) [The LORD said to Abram] And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing.

(v. 12:3 NAS) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.'

(v. 12:4 NAS) So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran."

Abram left his country, Ur of the Chaldees, in response to God's telling him to leave for a land He would show Abram - the Promised Land, (cf. Gen 15:7); whereupon Abram left; but first he diverted his journey to Haran, his father's home, and stayed with his father until he died. Then he moved, evidently in the same year of his life, on to Canaan, the Promised Land. This was in his 75th year, (Gen 12:4).

[Compare Gen 21:1-7]:

(Gen 21:1 NKJV) "And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken.

(Gen 21:2 NKJV) For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him,

(Gen 21:3 NKJV) And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him - whom Sarah bore to him - Isaac.

(Gen 21:4 NKJV) Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

(Gen 21:5 NKJV) Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him."

Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born, (Gen 21:5). But the beginning of the 400 years of sojourning, servitude and affliction; which is referred to in Gen 15:13, was evidently not yet in view. For although Abraham's descendant Isaac was now born, and although Abraham's family had wandered in a land that was not theirs since he left Ur and Haran when he was 75 years old, sojourning for 25 years; there was as yet no evidence of affliction upon Abraham's family. On the other hand, about five years later, Isaac was weaned and Abraham made a great feast to celebrate. Note that this was customary with the people of that time. And on the same day of that feast, there began the affliction upon Isaac, Abraham's descendant by his first son, Ishmael, who was conceived in Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar:

[Compare Gen 21:4-14]:

(Gen 21:4 NKJV) "Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

(Gen 21:5 NKJV) Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son was born to him.

(Gen 21:6 NKJV) And Sarah said, 'God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.'

(Gen 21:7 NKJV) She also said, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.'

(Gen 21:8 NKJV) So the child grew and was weaned.

(Gen 21:9 NKJV) And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing.

(Gen 21:10 NKJV) Therefore she said to Abraham, 'Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.'

(Gen 21:11 NKJV) And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham's sight because of his son.

(Gen 21:12 NKJV) But God said to Abraham, 'Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.

(Gen 21:13 NKJV) Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.

(Gen 21:14 NKJV) So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba."

And so began the afflication of the descendants of Abraham, (cf. Gen 21:15-21).

[Compare Gal 4:29]:

(Gal 4:29 NKJV) "But, as he [Ishmael] who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him [Isaac] who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.

(Gal 4:30 NKJV) Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.' " [cf. Gen 21:10-12].

TIMEFRAME YRS
The LORD's promise to Abram until Isaac's birth 25
Isaac reached 60 years old at Jacob's birth 60
Jacob went to Egypt at 130 130
. .
TOTAL TIME IN CANAAN BEFORE GOING TO EGYPT 215

The Time From Abraham's Descendants' Entrance Into Egypt To Their Exodus Is 215 Years, Not 430 Years, As Some Contend

[Compare Ex 12:40-41 translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text]:

(Ex 12:40 NKJV) "Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

(Ex 12:41 NKJV) And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years - on that very same day - it came to pass that all the armies [divisions of the people] of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt."

[Compare Ex 12:40-41 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts]:

(Ex 12:40 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years.

(Ex 12:41 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the LORD came forth out of the land of Egypt by night."

The key difference between the Masoretic Hebrew text (completed in the fourth century A.D.), and the Septuagint, (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures completed centuries earlier during the reign of King Ptolemy Philadelphia of Egypt, (285-246 B.C.), and the Samaritan Pentateuch which is also considerably more ancient and allowed by many scholars to be the most correct copy of the five books of Moses is the phrase "and the land of Chanaan" [Canaan - the Promised Land]. This phrase is omitted in the Masoretic text - evidently due to scribal error or deliberate omission; but it is included in the other much earlier versions. The period of 430 years for the entire time from the LORD's promise to Abram to the Exodus is corroborated by the Apostle Paul:

[Compare Gal 3:16-17]:

(Gal 3:16NKJV) "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' Who is Christ.

(Gal 3:17 NKJV) And this I say, that the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect."

So according to the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Apostle Paul, the period of 430 years commenced at the time when the LORD first said to Abram to get out of his country and go to a land He would show him; whereupon the LORD made His promise of His covenant with Abraham, (Gen 12:1-4). And accordingly, this period of 430 years would terminate with Moses' and Israel's Exodus from Egypt - the Law being given roughly three months after that. Hence this period of time of 430 years included the time of 215 years that Abraham and his descendants spent in Canaan, leaving 215 years to be spent in Egypt. This amount of time in Egypt is more feasible than 430 years; and a careful examination of Scripture indicates that the period of 400 years to which Gen 15:13 and Acts 7:6 refers overlaps the 430 period, beginning in the 30th year of the latter period:

[Compare Gen 15:13-16]:

(Gen 15:13 NKJV) "Then He [the LORD] said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.

(Gen 15:14 NKJV) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

(Gen 15:15 NAS) As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.

(Gen 15:16 NKJV) But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."

Notice that the LORD prophesied to Abram that his descendants would return to Canaan in [i.e., during the lifetime of] the "fourth generation," (Gen 15:16). This implied a timeframe of the Israelites' stay in Egypt that was limited to being within the span of four generations of Jacob's descendants; but not necessarily inclusive of the entire lifespans of all four generations as some contend. According to Ex 6:16-20, Numbers 3:17-19, 1 Chr 6:1-3 and 236, 12-13, those generations were Levi - Kohath - Amram - Moses. At the time that Jacob was 130 years, he traveled from Canaan to Egypt, (Gen 47:9), with all of his family, which included Levi, (Ex 6:16); and his son, Kohath, (Gen 46:8-11). Levi lived 137 years, (Ex 6:16); and his son, Kohath lived to 133 years, (Ex 6:18); and Kohath's son Amram lived to 137 years, (Ex 6:20); and Moses spent 80 in Egypt before the Exodus, (Ex 7:7) and lived 120 years, (Dt 34:7). The total years of the lives of Kohath, Amram plus Moses' 80 years until the Exodus is 350 years plus 2 years for the childbearing of Amram and Moses which equals 352 years maximum time for the descendants of Abraham to stay in Egypt. Note that since Levi's life overlapped that of his son Kohath whom the latter was born in Canaan and traveled with his father to Egypt, the calculation of the time spent in Egypt would begin with Kohath's lifespan, (less the time he spent in Canaan which is not specified). But then again, allowing for more of the overlapping years of fathers, sons and grandsons at that time, 215 years total in Egypt is more reasonable than 430 years, which the latter exceeds the maximum of 352. Furthermore, Moses' mother Jochebed was born in Egypt, (Nu 26:59). Hence if Abraham's descendants had lived in Egypt for 430 years, as some contend, then Jochebed would have to have given birth to Moses when she was about 300 years old in order for Moses to leave Egypt when he was 80, (Ex 7:7):

[430-80=350 minus the time for her to be born in Egypt, to reach the age when she married Kohath, and then to become pregnant and give birth to Moses of about 50 years or less = 300+ years old].

But this is well beyond the age that women gave birth at this time in history. A more reasonable age to give birth to Moses of about 85 would be arrived at with the 215 years of Israel dwelling in Egypt which Scripture seems to corroborate best:

[215-80=135 minus the time for Jochebed to be born in Egypt and then reach the age when she married Kohath, and then to become pregnant and give birth to Moses of about 50 years or less = 85. This is 5 years less than when Sarah bore Isaac].

In an article written more than thirty years ago ("The Duration of the Egyptian Bondage"), chronologist Harold W. Hoehner observed: "When one looks at the various passages of Scripture concerning the length of Israel's bondage in Egypt, one immediately discovers that there are apparent disagreements in the biblical record" (1969, 126:306). And thus he wrote, "To fit four generations into a 215-year period is much more reasonable than a 430-year span" (1969, 126:309).

[Compare extra-biblical sources]:

David Rohl, respected Egyptologist, in his book, "Pharaoh's and Kings" declared that new archeological discoveries indicated that Israel went down into Egypt c. 1662 B.C. and was delivered by God through Moses c. 1447 B.C. - a span of 215 years (1995, pp. 329-332).

Josephus wrote in "Antiquities of the Jews, that the Israelites "left Egypt in the month of Xanthicus, on the fifteenth day of the lunar month; four hundred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham came into Canaan, but two hundred and fifteen years only after Jacob removed into Egypt" (II. 15.2).

Hence, in his book, "Pharaoh's and Kings," Rohl further remarked, "Now, according to the statements of Josephus himself, he had access to very old documents formerly housed in the Temple of Jerusalem from which to draw his account of early Israelite history. Josephus lived in the first century A.D. and so his writings are dated hundreds of years before the Masoretic text of the Tanakh (Hebrew Old Testament) was completed in the fourth century A.D. If his source documents were genuine, then the information he gives for the duration of the Sojourn derives from a much earlier period than that employed by the Masoretes when they made their version of the history of Israel and a further several centuries before the earliest extant copy of the Masoretic text." (1995, p. 331).

So at the time of Abraham's descendants moving from Canaan to live in Egypt, in the land of Goshen, the party consisted of Jacob, who was 130 years old, and all of his descendants and their wives. This group included Levi and his son Kohath, the ancestors of Moses, as well as Joseph and his descendants and their wives who had arrived in Egypt 39 as a slave 9 years earlier as a result of the treachery his brothers (cf. Gen 37:12-36):

[Compare Gen 46:1-34]:

(Gen 46:1 NKJV) '''So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

(Gen 46:2 NKJV) Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am."

(Gen 46:3 NKJV) So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.

(Gen 46:4 NKJV) I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."

(Gen 46:5 NKJV) Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the 2carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.

(Gen 46:6 NKJV) So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him.

(Gen 46:7 NKJV) His sons and his sons' sons, his daughters and his sons' daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.

(Gen 46:8 NKJV) Now these were the names of the children of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob's firstborn.

(Gen 46:9 NKJV) The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.

(Gen 46:10 NKJV) The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

(Gen 46:11 NKJV) The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

(Gen 46:12 NKJV) The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.

(Gen 46:13 NKJV) The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puvah, Job, and Shimron.

(Gen 46:14 NKJV) The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.

(Gen 46:15 NKJV) These were the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Padan Aram, with his daughter Dinah. All the persons, his sons and his daughters, were thirty-three.

(Gen 46:16 NKJV) The sons of Gad were Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.

(Gen 46:17 NKJV) The sons of Asher were Jimnah, Ishuah, Isui, Beriah, and Serah, their sister. And the sons of Beriah were Heber and Malchiel.

(Gen 46:18 NKJV) These were the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob: sixteen persons.

(Gen 46:19 NKJV) The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife, were Joseph and Benjamin.

(Gen 46:20 NKJV) And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him.

(Gen 46:21 NKJV) The sons of Benjamin were Belah, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.

(Gen 46:22 NKJV) These were the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob: fourteen persons in all.

(Gen 46:23 NKJV) The son of Dan was Hushim.

(Gen 46:24 NKJV) The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.

(Gen 46:25 NKJV) These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and she bore these to Jacob: seven persons in all.

(Gen 46:26 NKJV) All the persons who went with Jacob to Egypt, who came from his body, besides Jacob's sons' wives, were sixty-six persons in all.

(Gen 46:27 NKJV) And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt were two persons. All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy.

(Gen 46:28 NKJV) Then he sent Judah before him to Joseph, to point out before him the way to Goshen. And they came to the land of Goshen.

(Gen 46:29 NKJV) So Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while.

(Gen 46:30 NKJV) And Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive."

(Gen 46:31 NKJV) Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, 'My brothers and those of my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.

(Gen 46:32 NKJV) And the men are shepherds, for their occupation has been to feed livestock; and they have brought their flocks, their herds, and all that they have.'

(Gen 46:33 NKJV) So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation?'

(Gen 46:34 NKJV) that you shall say, 'Your servants' occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.' " '''

Note above that the persecution of the descendants of Abraham in Canaan, continued in Egypt, as it is evident from the fact that Egyptians felt it was a great abomination to associate with Hebrews - even Joseph, (Gen 46:32).

[Compare Gen 43:32]:

(Gen 43:32 NKJV) "So they set him [Joseph - when he was in Egypt] a place by himself, and them [Joseph's brothers] by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians."

This persecution increased after Joseph died and there arose a new king over Egypt. It culminated in the attempted destruction by Pharoah of the Hebrew male babies during Moses' infancy, (cf. Ex 1:15-20). Thus the 'sojourning' and 'ill treatment' occurred from the time that Isaac was weaned in Cannan and Ishmael began scoffing at him, through the Israelites' sojourning in Egypt, where they were thought of and treated as an "abomination."

(Gen 15:13-16) THE LORD TOLD ABRAM THAT HIS DESCENDANTS WILL BE STRANGERS IN A LAND THAT IS NOT THEIRS, AND WILL SERVE AND BE AFFLICTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. BUT THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND WILL BE JUDGED AND ABRAM'S DESCENDANTS WILL COME OUT WITH GREAT POSSESSIONS. ABRAM WILL LIVE TO A GOOD OLD AGE. BUT IN THE FOURTH GENERATION ABRAM'S DESCENDANTS WILL RETURN TO THE PROMISED LAND. FOR THE LORD INDICATED THAT THE INIQUITY OF THE AMORITES, A KEY TRIBE IN THE LAND WHOSE EVIL WAS AN ABOMINATION TO THE LORD, HAD NOT COME TO THE POINT OF RECEIVING THE WRATH OF GOD WHICH WOULD EVIDENTLY COME THROUGH ABRAM'S DESCENDANTS

(Gen 15:5 NKJV) "Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants [lit. seed] be.' (Gen 15:9 NAS) So He said to him, 'Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon (Gen 15:15:10 NKJV) Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. (Gen 15:15:11 ASV) And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. (Gen 15:12 NKJV) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. (Gen 15:13 NKJV) Then He said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. (Gen 15:14 NKJV) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. (Gen 15:15 NAS) As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. (Gen 15:16 NKJV) But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. =

After prophesying 400 years of wandering, bondage and affliction for Abram's descendants, the LORD followed with good news that after the four hundred years, Abram's descendants would come out of that estrangement, enslavement and affliction with freedom and great possessions and return to the promised land. Recall that Abram was in a similar situation in Egypt and came out with great possessions, (Gen 12:10ff). This parallel might have been noted by Abram. The LORD then told Abram he would live to "a good old age," which in those days was well over a hundred years. Whereupon, the LORD stipulated that "in the fourth generation," referring to the fourth generation of Abram's descendants who wandered in a foreign land outside of the Promised Land, "They shall return here," (to Canaan, the Promised Land). The LORD then indicated that this would coincide with the iniquity of the Amorite people coming to such a point God would judge them - evidently timed to the return of Abram's descendants, implying their being God's agent of punishment; and drive them out of the land. This implies that the Amorite people were so ungodly over the 400 years evidently including against the descendants of Abram and without any sign of repentance; hence God decided that He would destroy them.

[Complete Biblical Library CD Commentary on Gen 15:16]:

"The Amorites (the most important people of the central hill country of Canaan where Abram lived at this time) was not yet complete. God was allowing them a full measure before He would let the Israelites drive them out of the Land. Discoveries at the ancient [city of] Ugarit, north of Tyre and Sidon, have revealed Canaanite religion promoted child sacrifice, idolatry, prostitution in the name of religion, and all kinds of occultic and immoral practices... God is patient and longsuffering. But He is also just, and the judgment will eventually come."

[Compare Judges 11:19-22]:

(Jud 11:19 NKJV) "Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, 'Please let us pass through your land into our place.'

(Jud 11:20 NKJV) But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together, encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.

(Jud 11:21 NKJV) And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. Thus Israel gained possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country.

(Jud 11:22 NKJV) They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan."

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 15 ******

D) (Acts 7:8a) AFTER CONFIRMING HIS EVERLASTING COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM, STEPHEN THEN TESTIFIED THAT THE LORD GAVE ABRAHAM THE COVENANT OF CIRCUMCISION AS A SIGN OF HIS ETERNAL COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM AND HIS DESCENDANTS:

(Acts 7:1 NKJV) "Then the high priest said, 'Are these things so?' (Acts 7:2 NKJV) And he said, '[Men, brethren, and fathers] listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, (Acts 7:3 NKJV) and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' (Acts 7:4 YLT) Then having come forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran, and from thence, after the death of his father, He did remove him to this land wherein [you] now dwell, (Acts 7:5 YLT) and He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a footstep, and did promise to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him -- he having no child. (Acts 7:6 NKJV) But God spoke in this way: that his [Abram's] descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. (Acts 7:7 NKJV) 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.' (Acts 7:8a NKJV).Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision;" (cont.) =

Stephen then spoke of the covenant between God and Abraham of circumcision - a sign of God's covenant with Abraham which promised to give Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, which through faith alone in the LORD's provision of a Descendant of Abram would come everlasting life in that land, (Gen 12:2-3 ). Note that Stephen did not confront the rulers about their insistence that circumcision was required for one to be declared righteous unto eternal life. And it was the person of Abraham about whom Stephen testified to as the one with whom the LORD chose to establish a people for Himself through the seed of Abraham - a people who were to serve the LORD and for whom the LORD would provide eternal life through faith in Abraham's Seed and an eternal inheritance - a promised land of eternal blessing. So far Stephen's testimony refuted the false accusations against him, and confirmed instead what Scripture taught and what the rulers should have believed about Abraham. So far no objections were raised, (Acts 7:8a).

****** EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 17 ******

(GEN 17:9-11) ABRAHAM AND HIS HOUSEHOLD AND HIS DESCENDANTS MUST KEEP A COVENANT OF CIRCUMCISION WITH THE LORD. THIS CIRCUMCISION WAS NOT IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LORD'S EVERLASTING COVENANT OF ETERNAL LIFE IN THE PROMISED LAND; BUT AS A SIGN OF ONE BEING UNDER THAT EVERLASTING COVENANT

(Gen 13:14 NKJV) "And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: 'Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are - northward, southward, eastward, and westward: (Gen 13:15 NKJV) for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendant [lit., seed] forever. (Gen 13:16 NKJV) And I will make your descendants [lit., seed] as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered... (Gen 15:4 NKJV) And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 'This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.' (Gen 15:5 NKJV) Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants [lit., seed] be.' (Gen 15:6 NKJV) And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness... (Gen 16:16 NKJV) Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram... (Gen 17:1 NKJV) When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I [am] Almighty God; walk before Me and [so shall you] be [declared] blameless. (Gen 17:2 NAS) And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and I will multiply you exceedingly. (Gen 17:3 NKJV) Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying: (Gen 17:4 NKJV) ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. (Gen 17:5 NKJV) No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. (Gen 17:6 NKJV) I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. (Gen 17:7 NKJV) And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. (Gen 17:8 NKJV) Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ (Gen 17:9 NKJV)..And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. (Gen 17:10 NKJV) This [is] My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants [lit., seed] after you: Every male [child] among you shall be circumcised. (Gen 17:11 NKJV) And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. =

Having formally and unilaterally ratified His covenant with Abram more than 13 years ago, (cf. Gen 15:1-21; 16:16-17:1), the LORD appeared once again to Abram when he was 99 years old, (Gen 17:1). He declared Himself to be "El Shadday," (God Almighty), and commanded Abram, "walk before Me and [so shall you] be [declared] blameless," in the sense of receiving temporal forgiveness for daily sins: So long as Abram, who already had believed in the LORD's promise and was declared righteous unto eternal life in the Promised Land, walked before the LORD by acknowledging Who the LORD was, i.e., believing in His Diety and Almighty Sovereignty and His promise of eternal life, Abram would be declared by the LORD to be blameless. This is not saying that he would be actually acting blamelessly, i.e., without sin. It is saying that the moments in Abram's walk when he was trusting in the LORD as his God, being sovereign over him, would result in the LORD declaring him to be blameless, i.e., not holding his temporal sins against him.

[Compare Ps 32:1-5]:

(Ps 32:1 NAS) "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,

(Ps 32:2 NAS) How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

(Ps 32:3 NAS) When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

(Ps 32:4 NAS) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat [lit. droughts] of summer;

(Ps 32:5 NAS) I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;' And You forgave the guilt of my sin."

Notice that temporal forgiveness of sins is declared by the LORD of the one who has received eternal forgiveness of sins, who acknowledges wrong doing before a sovereign God in his daily life. Since Abram was already accounted as righteous before God unto forgiveness of sins unto everlasting life in the Promised Land more than 13 years earlier via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (Gen 15:6); then eternal forgiveness of sins unto eternal life is not in view in Gen 17:1; but temporal forgiveness is, (Gen 17:1).

Commencing with the second verse in Genesis chapter 17, the LORD declared that He would begin to establish His everlasting covenant with Abram, (cf. Gen 13:14-16; 15:1-6), in the sense that He would now begin to multiply Abram exceedingly - Abram would have innumerable descendants, beginning with his first child by Sarah, Isaac - born one year later, (Gen 21:5). Whereupon, "Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying: 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.' " What the LORD said to Abraham here in Gen 17:2-8 was a reaffirmation of His everlasting covenant with him and his descendants, (cf. Gen 13:14-16; 15:1-6). And the LORD gave Abram the new name of "Abraham," [= 'a father of many nations'], (Gen 17:2-8).

With the LORD's formal and unilateral ratification of His everlasting covenant with Abram more than 13 years ago; and His reaffirmation of that covenant in Gen 17:2-8 in mind; God then commanded Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This [is] My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants [lit., seed] after you: Every male [child] among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you," (Gen 17:9-11). This was evidently not referring to keeping the everlasting covenant for which nothing was stipulated for Abraham to do in order to keep it in order to have everlasting life in the Promised Land except believe in God's promise of eternal life, (Gen 15:1-6); and which covenant had already been unilaterally ratified by the LORD after Abraham did believe, (Gen 15:7-21). For Abraham simply needed to express a moment of faith alone in the LORD's promise of eternal life in the Promsed Land through the auspices of the Seed of Abraham; whereupon the LORD accounted it to Abram, for righteousness unto eternal life in the Promised Land, (Gen 15:4-21 ; cf. Gen 12:1-4). Hence the covenant referred to in Gen 17:9-11 was a covenant subsequent to the everlasting covenant as a sign of the latter - one in which Abraham and his descendants were commanded to be circumcised, (Gen 1:9-11).

(GEN 17:11-14) THE CIRCUMCISION COVENANT WAS TO BE A SIGN OF THE EVERLASTING ABRAHAMIC COVENANT BETWEEN THE LORD AND ABRAM AND EVERY MALE IN HIS HOUSEHOLD. THEY WERE TO BE CIRCUMCISED FROM 8 DAYS OLD OR BE CUT OFF FROM ABRAM’S PEOPLE IN THE SENSE OF THE LOSS OF TEMPORAL PROTECTION AND BLESSINGS

(Gen 17:1 NKJV) "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I [am] Almighty God; walk before Me and [so shall you] be [declared] blameless. (Gen 17:2 NAS) And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and I will multiply you exceedingly. (Gen 17:3 NKJV) Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying: (Gen 17:3 NKJV) Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying: (Gen 17:4 NKJV) ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. (Gen 17:5 NKJV) No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. (Gen 17:6 NKJV) I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. (Gen 17:7 NKJV) And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. (Gen 17:8 NKJV) Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ (Gen 17:9 NKJV) And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. (Gen 17:10 NKJV) This [is] My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants [lit., seed] after you: Every male [child] among you shall be circumcised. (Gen 17:11 NKJV) And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. (Gen 17:12 NKJV) He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male [child] in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. (Gen 17:13 NKJV) He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. (Gen 17:14 NKJV) and the uncircumcised male [child], who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." =

The LORD specifically included Abraham and all the males in his household in His circumcision covenant, (Gen 17:9-10). And then He declared His purpose for that circumcision: "It shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you," [singular = Abraham], i.e., the Everlasting Covenant, (Gen 17:11b). Hence this circumcision was to be a symbolic sign of the LORD's Everlasting Covenant with Abraham, and not a participatory requirement to fulfill it, as some contend.

The phrases in 17:13b rendered in the NKJV, "And My covenant" refers to the covenant previously ratified by the LORD unilaterally with Abram; and "And My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant," means that the Everlasting Abrahamic Covenant shall be represented by circumcision in the flesh of Abraham and of every male in his household as a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, not part of ones fulfillment of it.

Specific instructions on circumcision in verses 17:2-14 included: From 8 days old every male [child] who is Abram’s descendant born in his household, i.e., family or bought as a slave is to be circumcised as a sign of the everlasting Abrahamic Covenant. And if one is not circumcised, one has broken the LORD’s second covenant which is one of circumcision which is a sign of the first covenant and one is then to be cut off from his people, Abram’s family-nation, until such time as he is circumcized, (Gen 17:10-14).

(GEN 17:14) INDIVIDUALS IN ABRAHAM’S HOUSEHOLD WHO ARE NOT CIRCUMCIZED AS A SIGN OF THEIR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE EVERLASTING ABRAHAMIC COVENANT ARE CUT OFF FROM ABRAHAM’S HOUSEHOLD, I.E., OSTRACIZED FROM TEMPORAL BLESSINGS OF THE LORD THROUGH ABRAHAM UNTIL THEY ARE CIRCUMCIZED. BUT THEY DO NOT LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT WHICH IS BY A MOMENT OF FAITH ALONE IN A COMING MESSIAH SAVIOR THROUGH THE SEED OF ABRAHAM

(Gen 17:1 NKJV) "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I [am] Almighty God; walk before Me and [so shall you] be [declared] blameless. (Gen 17:2 NAS) And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and I will multiply you exceedingly. (Gen 17:3 NKJV) Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying: (Gen 17:3 NKJV) Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying: (Gen 17:4 NKJV) ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. (Gen 17:5 NKJV) No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. (Gen 17:6 NKJV) I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. (Gen 17:7 NKJV) And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. (Gen 17:8 NKJV) Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ (Gen 17:9 NKJV) And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. (Gen 17:10 NKJV) This [is] My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants [lit., seed] after you: Every male [child] among you shall be circumcised. (Gen 17:11 NKJV) And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. (Gen 17:12 NKJV) He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male [child] in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. (Gen 17:13 NKJV) He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. (Gen 17:14 NKJV) and the uncircumcised male [child], who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." =

The LORD God Almighty declared that the male [child] who was not physically circumcised "shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant,' cut off in the sense of living in the proximity of his people in order to receive protection and opportunity for food, shelter and clothing from and through them as well as temporal and spiritual fellowship.

The phrase "cut off" does not signify a permanent obliteration of all opportunities of temporal protection and blessing. They would become available as soon as the one who was "cut off" was circumcized. Furthermore, eternal life through the Abrahamic covenant is not cancelled if one is not circumcized since it was to be received in the same way as Abram received it: via a moment of faith alone in a promised Descendant / Messiah-Savior. The phrase "cut off" does refer to being ostracized from the household of Abram, i.e., his people – to be cut off from receiving the temporal protection and blessings that the LORD provides for the people of Abraham’s household. Since the ritual of circumcision is commanded to take place when a male is 8 days old, when one cannot make such a decision to be circumcised at such a young age, one must consider that the family who is responsible for that infant will be cut off until the child is circumcized.

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM GENESIS CHAPTER 17 ******

E) (Acts 7:8b-10) STEPHEN SUCCINCTLY SUMMARIZED THE HISTORY OF ABRAHAM'S FAMILY: "AND SO ABRAHAM BEGOT ISAAC AND CIRCUMCISED HIM ON THE EIGHTH DAY; AND ISAAC BEGOT JACOB, AND JACOB BEGOT THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS;" WHEREUPON HE FOCUSED UPON JOSEPH, SON OF JACOB AND ONE OF THE PATRIARCHS: "AND THE PATRIARCHS, [HAVING BECOME] ENVIOUS, SOLD JOSEPH INTO EGYPT. BUT GOD WAS WITH HIM AND DELIVERED HIM OUT OF ALL HIS TROUBLES, AND GAVE HIM FAVOR AND WISDOM IN THE PRESENCE OF PHARAOH, KING OF EGYPT; AND HE MADE HIM GOVERNOR OVER EGYPT AND ALL HIS HOUSE."

(Acts 7:8b NKJV) "and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs. (Acts 7:9 NKJV) And the patriarchs, [having become] envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him (Acts 7:10 NKJV) and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house." =

Stephen succinctly summarized the history of Abraham's family: "and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day," (Gen 21:1-5); "and Isaac begot Jacob," (Gen 25:21-26); "and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs;" (Gen 29:28-30:24; 35:16-18, 22-26); whereupon he focused upon Joseph, son of Jacob and one of the patriarchs: "And the patriarchs, [having become] envious," (Gen 37:2-11, 28; Ps 105:17), "sold Joseph into Egypt," (Gen 37:28). "But God was with him," (Gen 39:2, 21, 23); "and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house." Stephen indicated how the patriarchs sold Joseph into slavery - one of the numerous times, as Stephen pointed out, that Israel failed the LORD and opposed His purposes - yet God's purposes, nevertheless, were fulfilled, (Gen 41:38-44).

F) (Acts 7:8b-10 cont.) ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF JOSEPH IN EGYPT

Above the River Nile's First Cataract, the formidable rapids of Aswan, a granite boulder with hieroglypic writings was discovered. A sculptor evidently who lived over 1,000 years later than the events he described, chiseled out the account of an individual called "Imhotep" who saved his country from seven years of famine.

Other inscriptions were found on a monument to Horemheb, a pharaoh who came to rule several years after the Exodus, providing evidence of the story of the pharoah in Joseph's day extending an invitation to Jacob's family to come live in Egypt. The inscriptions tell of a community of shepherds from the north asking Egypt to allow them to pasture their cattle, "as was the custom of the father of their fathers from the beginning."

A picture was found on a wall in the tomb of Tehuti-hetep in Bersheh of a herd of Syrian cattle entering Egypt with the inscription: "Once you trod the Syrian sands. Now, here in Egypt, you shall feed in green pastures."

At another excavation at the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, fragments of a statue of Pharaoh Djoser were found. The base was inscribed with the names of Djoser and of "Imhotep, Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Chief under the King, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary Lord, High Priest of Heliopolis, Imhotep the Builder, the Sculptor, the Maker of Stone Vases."

Inscription showing the name and titulary of Imhotep {short description of image}..in the 3rd row to the left, and the Horus-name of Djoser. This inscription was found on the base of a sculpture of Djoser, thus indicating Imhotep was a real man, as opposed to a god.

Archeological evidence shows that it was during the time of Djoser that Egypt became a great nation. During his reign a large complex was built at Saqqara Egypt which contained the future burial site of the pharaoh.

Surrounding the Step Pyramid, the first ever built, is a very beautiful and elaborate wall containing 13 false entrances and one real - on the east wall at the southern

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This entrance led into a system of huge grain storage bins. When one enters one encounters a long hall of 40 columns - 20 on each side. Each column is connected to the main wall by a perpendicular wall, forming small rooms between each column.

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At the entrance to this complex there were forty small cubicles between columns each just the right size to hold a single person who could administer the receipt of payment from people coming to purchase grain. It is evident that these cubicles did not contain statues, as some contend, because there were found no remains of statues or the pedastals upon which they would be placed.

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As you exit this colonnade and walk straight ahead, you come to a series of very large pits which extend deep into the earth. These are extremely large in size - much larger than any burial chamber; they are all centrally accessible by a connecting tunnel. They extend to well above ground level, and one has a staircase extending down to the bottom (see below). It is evident that they were not built as burial tombs because they were not constructed underground, and were so incredibly large.

Above is the staircase that leads to a central exit point for all the grain storage bins. These massive structures extend to well above ground level, which indicates that they were not hidden, as were tombs - in order to prevent tomb robbers from taking the belongings that the pharoah would be buried with. Note that there were found bins which matched the above ground bins which were set aside for the king and his family's after life. And in these bins were found grain and other food stuffs.

There are eleven pits, with only one containing a very elaborate stairway all the way to the bottom. All the pits are connected to each other by a subterranean tunnel. The pits were evidently capable of being filled and the tops sealed with wooden timbers and stone. Hence all of the grain could be accessed from one entrance - the one entrance into the pits from outside the wall enclosure of the complex. Last of all, grain was found in the floor of these pits. So in the absence of any evidence of anyone being buried in these pits, the grain found at the bottom of them, their massive size, and their being above the ground; the best conclusion is that they were used as storage bins for grain to feed the people.

G) (Acts 7:11-14) STEPHEN CONTINUED HIS TESTIMONY TO THE SANHEDRIN RULERS, RECALLING THE FAMINE IN EGYPT AND CANAAN - WHEN THE FATHERS OF ISRAEL - THE SONS OF JACOB - FOUND NO SUSTENANCE, AND JACOB SENT HIS SONS TO EGYPT WHERE HE HAD HEARD THERE WAS GRAIN TO PURCHASE. STEPHEN THEN NOTED THAT THE BROTHERS WOULD THEN BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH THEIR BROTHER JOSEPH A SECOND TIME, AND JOSEPH'S FAMILY WOULD BECOME KNOWN TO THE PHARAOH. WHEREUPON JOSEPH CALLED FOR HIS FATHER, JACOB, TO COME WITH HIS KINDRED TO EGYPT, STIPULATING 75 SOULS. STEPHEN DID NOT ERR WHEN HE TESTIFIED TO THIS NUMBER, AS SOME CONTEND

(Acts 7:11 NKJV) "Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. (Acts 7:12 NKJV) But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. (Acts 7:13 NKJV) And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to the Pharaoh. (Acts 7:14 YLT) and Joseph having sent, did call for his father Jacob, and all his kindred - with seventy and five souls" =

Stephen continued his historical narrative / summary of Joseph and the rest of the "fathers," i.e., the patriarchs of Israel - the twelve sons of Jacob:

"Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers [in the sense of the sons of Jacob from whom the 12 tribes of Israel were descendants] found no sustenance, (Gen 41:53-57; 42:5). But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first - referring to his sons who were the "fathers" of the tribes of Israel in the sense of being their firstborns, (Gen 42:1-2). And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to the Pharaoh, (Gen 5:3-4; 16). And Joseph having sent, did call for his father Jacob, and all his kindred, (Gen 45:9; 27-28) - with seventy and five souls." Note that Stephen did not err with the count of 75 souls, as some contend. Stephen's count which was from the Septuagint, reflected a different means of counting:

1) [Compare Ex 1:1-5 Masoretic Hebrew Text]:

(Ex 1:1 NKJV) "Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt: each man and his household came with Jacob:

(Ex 1:2 NKJV) Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah:

(Ex 1:3 NKJV) Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin;

[Notice that Joseph's name is missing for he was already in Egypt]

(Ex 1:4 NKJV) Dan, Naphtali, Gac, and Asher.

(Ex 1:5 NKJV) All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (for Joseph was in Egypt already).

[Notice that the phrases "Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt: each man and his household came with Jacob" in verse 1 and "For Joseph was in Egypt already" in verse 5b in the Masoretic Hebrew Text include counting Jacob and Joseph respectively in the total of seventy male descendants of Jacob who came to Egypt, stipulated at the end of verse 5]

2) [Compare Ex 1:1-5 Septuagint Greek Text]:

(Ex 1:1 Septuagint) "These are the names of the sons of Israel that came into Egypt together with Jacob their father; they came in each with their whole family.

(Ex 1:2 Septuagint) Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judas,

(Ex 1:3 Septuagint) Issachar, Zabulon, Benjamin,

(Ex 1:4 Septuagint) Dan and Nephthalim, Gad and Aser.

(Ex 1:5 Septuagint) But Joseph was in Egypt. And all the souls born of Jacob were seventy-five."

Notice that by virtue of the statements, "But Joseph was in Egypt" and "All the souls born of Jacob," in Ex 1:5 in the Septuagint Greek text, Jacob was excluded from the count but Joseph and his descendants were included in the total of 75. Joseph's descendants evidently did include Joseph's two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and their five sons who were named in Gen 46:20 Septuagint and two unnamed descendants implied by the number 9 in Gen 46:27 Septuagint; most likely sons of Joseph as well. All of these additional descendants of Jacob were already in Egypt, which would add nine to comprise the total of seventy-five persons who "came with Jacob into Egypt [including those already in Egypt being implied]."

Although the wording of the Masoretic text in Gen 46 included Jacob and Huppim, one of Benjamin's sons, (Gen 21) - adding 2 to the total; the Masoretic text did not stipulate 7 of the descendants of Joseph's who were with him in Egypt; hence resulting in a net difference of 5 less = 70.

Although the totals between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint text are different, the key is that they both were accurate within the context of what each stipulated and both refer to the souls [males only] who were born of Jacob who came to live in Egypt.

3) [Compare Gen 46:1-27 Masoretic Hebrew Text]:

(Gen 46:1 NKJV) '''So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

(Gen 46:2 NKJV) Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am."

(Gen 46:3 NKJV) So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.

(Gen 46:4 NKJV) I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."

(Gen 46:5 NKJV) Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the 2carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.

(Gen 46:6 NKJV) So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him.

(Gen 46:7 NKJV) His sons and his sons' sons, his daughters and his sons' daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.

(Gen 46:8 NKJV) Now these were the names of the children of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob's firstborn.

(Gen 46:9 NKJV) The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.

(Gen 46:10 NKJV) The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

(Gen 46:11 NKJV) The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

(Gen 46:12 NKJV) The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.

(Gen 46:13 NKJV) The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puvah, Job, and Shimron.

(Gen 46:14 NKJV) The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.

(Gen 46:15 NKJV) These were the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Padan Aram, with his daughter Dinah. All the persons, his sons and his daughters, were thirty-three.

(Gen 46:16 NKJV) The sons of Gad were Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.

(Gen 46:17 NKJV) The sons of Asher were Jimnah, Ishuah, Isui, Beriah, and Serah, their sister. And the sons of Beriah were Heber and Malchiel.

(Gen 46:18 NKJV) These were the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob: sixteen persons.

(Gen 46:19 NKJV) The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife, were Joseph and Benjamin.

(Gen 46:20 NKJV) And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him.

(Gen 46:21 NKJV) The sons of Benjamin were Belah, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.

(Gen 46:22 NKJV) These were the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob: fourteen persons in all.

(Gen 46:23 NKJV) The son of Dan was Hushim.

(Gen 46:24 NKJV) The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.

(Gen 46:25 NKJV) These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and she bore these to Jacob: seven persons in all.

(Gen 46:26 NKJV) All the persons who went with Jacob to Egypt, who came from his body, besides Jacob's sons' wives, were sixty-six persons in all.

[So all the male persons who came from Jacob's body which were stipulated in this passage, (Jacob thus not being counted) are as follows:

33 descendants from Leah less the one sister, Dinah =

...32

+ 16 male descendants from Leah's maid Zilpah

+ 11 male descendants from Rachel

+ .7 male descendants from Bilhah

--------------------------------------

= 66]

(Gen 46:27 NKJV) And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt were two persons. All the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were seventy."

[Verse 27 implies a grand total of male descendants from the House of Jacob. Hence the total comprises all the male persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt with Jacob were 66 + 1 (Jacob himself who is himself of the house of Jacob) + Joseph and his two sons stipulated in verse 27, Manasseh and Ephraim who were born in Egypt = 70 total]

4) [Compare Gen 46:8-27 Septuagint Greek Text]:

(Gen 46:1 Septuagint Greek Text) "And Israel departed, he and all that he had, and came to the well of the oath; and he offered sacrifice to the God of his father Isaac.

(Gen 46:2 Septuagint Greek Text) And God spoke to Israel in a night vision, saying, Jacob, Jacob; and he said, What is it?

(Gen 46:3 Septuagint Greek Text) And he says to him, I am the God of thy fathers; fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will make thee there a great nation.

(Gen 46:4 Septuagint Greek Text) And I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will bring thee up at the end; and Joseph shall put his hands on thine eyes.

(Gen 46:5 Septuagint Greek Text) And Jacob rose up from the well of the oath; and the sons of Israel took up their father, and the baggage, and their wives on the waggons, which Joseph sent to take them.

(Gen 46:6 Septuagint Greek Text) And they took up their goods, and all their property, which they had gotten in the land of Chanaan; they came into the land of Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him.

(Gen 46:7 Septuagint Greek Text) The sons, and the sons of his sons with him; his daughters, and the daughters of his daughters; and he brought all his seed into Egypt.

(Gen 46:8 Septuagint Greek Text) And these are the names of the sons of Israel that went into Egypt with their father Jacob - Jacob and his sons. The first-born of Jacob, Ruben.

(Gen 46:9 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Ruben; Enoch, and Phallus, Asron, and Charmi.

(Gen 46:10 Septuagint Greek Text) and the sons of Symeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Aod, and Achin, and Saar, and Saul, the son of a Chananitish woman.

(Gen 46:11 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Levi; Gerson, Cath, and Merari.

(Gen 46:12 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Judas; Er, and Aunan, and Selom, and Phares, and Zara: and Er and Aunan died in the land of Chanaan.

(Gen 46:13 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Phares were Esron, and Jemuel. And the sons of Issachar; Thola, and Phua, and Asum, and Sambran.

(Gen 46:14 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Zabulun, Sered, and Allon, and Achoel.

(Gen 46:15 Septuagint Greek Text) These are the sons of Lea, which she bore to Jacob in Mesopotamia of Syria, and Dina his daughter; all the souls, sons and daughters, thirty-three.

(Gen 46:16 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Gad; Saphon, and Angis, and Sannis, and Thasoban, and Aedis, and Aroedis, and Areelis.

(Gen 46:17 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Aser; Jemna, Jessua, and Jeul, and Baria, and Sara their sister. And the sons of Baria; Chobor, and Melchiil.

(Gen 46:18 Septuagint Greek Text) These are the sons of Zelpha, which Laban gave to his daughter Lea, who bore these to Jacob, sixteen souls.

(Gen 46:19 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Rachel, the wife of Jacob; Joseph, and Benjamin.

(Gen 46:20 Septuagint Greek Text) And there were sons born to Joseph in the land of Egypt, whom Aseneth, the daughter of Petephres, priest of Heliopolis, bore to him, even Manasses and Ephraim. And there were sons born to Manasses, which the Syrian concubine bore to him, even Machir. And Machir begot Galaad. And the sons of Ephraim, the brother of Manasses; Sutalaam, and Taam. And the sons of Sutalaam; Edom.

(Gen 46:21 Septuagint Greek Text) and the sons of Benjamin; Bala, and Bochor, and Asbel. And the sons of Bala were Gera, and Noeman, and Anchis, and Ros, and Mamphim. And Gera begot Arad.

[Notice that Huppim, which is stipulated in the Masoretic text, (NKJV), as the latest born of Benjamin's sons is not included in the Septuagint text.]

(Gen 46:22 Septuagint Greek Text) These are the sons of Rachel, which she bore to Jacob; all the souls eighteen.

(Gen 46:23 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Dan; Asom.

(Gen 46:24 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Nephthalim; Asiel, and Goni, and Issaar, and Sollem.

(Gen 46:25 Septuagint Greek Text) These are the sons of Balla, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel, who bore these to Jacob; all the souls, seven.

(Gen 46:26 Septuagint Greek Text) And all the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, who came out of his loins, besides the wives of the sons of Jacob, even all the souls were sixty-six.

(Gen 46:27 Septuagint Greek Text) And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in the land of Egypt, were nine souls;

[Joseph's two sons Ephraim and Manasseh and the five descendants which were stipulated in verse 20 totaling seven, (cf. 1 Chr 7:14-15; 20-25), when compared to the "nine souls" stipulated in verse 27 imply that another two unnamed descendants of Joseph were included in the final accounting at the end of verse 27 of 75. These additional two descendants may have been sons or grandsons, (cf. Gen 48:1-22)]:

all the souls of the house of Jacob who came with [Greek "IakOb," lit., "Jacob"] into Egypt ... seventy-five souls

[This total was evidently intended to be the grand total of Jacob's descendants including Joseph and his nine descendants who were at the time of Jacob's journey to Egypt with Joseph in Egypt. So the intent of verse 27 was that Joseph and his nine descendants were to be added to the 66 in verse 26. The phrase rendered "all the souls of the house of Jacob who came with Jacob" implies that this total excluded Jacob but included Joseph and his nine descendants.

So from Gen 46:8-26 we begin with all the male descendants who came from Jacob's body - excluding Jacob himself, and including those in Egypt:

...32 of the thirty-three descendants from Leah, (less the one sister, Dinah) [Jacob not included]

+ 16 descendants from Leah's maid Zilpah

+ 10 descendants from Rachel [Benjamin's son, Huppim not included]

+ 7 descendants from Bilhah = 66; then add to this the descendants of Jacob in Egypt: Joseph and his nine descendants

+ 1 Joseph

+ 9 descendants from Joseph in Egypt

-------------------------------------------------

= 75]

PASSAGE(S) Gen 46:8-26 Gen 46:8-27; Ex 1:1-5 Gen 46:8-26 Gen 4:8-27;
Ex 1:1-5
TEXT:



POPULATION:
HEBREW MASORETIC TEXT

MALES OF THE HOUSE OF JACOB WHO CAME WITH JACOB INTO EGYPT
HEBREW MASORETIC TEXT

MALES OF THE HOUSE OF JACOB INCLUDING JACOB AND JOSEPH AND HIS TWO SONS WHO WENT INTO EGYPT
GREEK SEPTUAGINT TEXT

MALES OF THE HOUSE OF JACOB WHO CAME WITH JACOB INTO EGYPT INCLUDING JACOB AND EXCLUDING JOSEPH AND HIS DESCENDANTS
GREEK SEPTUAGINT TEXT

MALES OF THE HOUSE OF JACOB WHO CAME WITH JACOB AND INCLUDING THOSE IN EGYPT
Jacob NOT COUNTED 1 1 NOT COUNTED

(Gen 46:27 context implied to add Joseph and 9 descendants in Egypt for a grand total of 75 coming from Jacob hence excluding Jacob)
All of the male descendants of the House of Jacob by Leah (excluding Er and Onan who died, Jacob & grand daughter Dinah) 32 32 32 32
All of the male descendants of the House of Jacob by Zilpah, Leah's handmaiden, (excluding grand daughter Sarah) 16 16 16 16
Those male descendants of the House of Jacob by Rachel excluding Joseph's descendants 11

(Gen 46:21 includes Huppim - the latest born of the group of Benjamin's descendants, is not listed in the Septuagint. It is plausible that he was born after Benjamin's arrival in Egypt)
11

(Gen 46:21 includes Huppim - the latest born of the group of Benjamin's descendants, is not listed in the Septuagint. It is plausible that he was born after Benjamin's arrival in Egypt)
10

(Gen 46:21 - included Benjamin & 9 of his sons. Huppim was not stipulated - perhaps born later in Egypt)
10

(Gen 46:21 - included Benjamin & 9 of his sons. Huppim was not stipulated - perhaps born later in Egypt)
Joseph NOT COUNTED 1 NOT COUNTED 1
Joseph's descendants NOT COUNTED 2

(Gen 46:20 Manasseh and Ephraim born in Egypt. Other descendants of Joseph not stipulated)
NOT COUNTED 9

(7 of Joseph's descendants were listed, but verse 27 stipulated a total of 9, implying 2 unnamed descendants)
Those male descendants of the House of Jacob by Bilhah, Rachel's handmaiden 7 7 7 7
TOTAL 66 70 66 75

Note that the Hebrew words in the original text which are rendered "sons" and "daughters" may refer to a singular or plural number of descendants which may be son(s)/daughter(s), or grandson(s)/grandaughter(s), etc. depending upon context.

The Masoretic text and the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament indicate that Benjamin had multiple descendants while he lived in Canaan. He was not too young to have children as some contend. For Jacob was an old man when Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, (cf. Gen 44:20, 22); and Benjamin was not kept back from going to Egypt because he was too young to travel nor too young to have children while he was in Canaan, as some contend, (cf. Gen 42:1-4). He was held back to stay with Jacob in Canaan because he was the birth child of his favorite wife, Rachel. He was Jacob's favorite son, now that Joseph was gone.

Benjamin was born approximately 5-8 years after Joseph. The context through verse 26, includes Benjamin's descendants, implying that those descendants were born while Jacob's family resided in Canaan. The next verse, (Gen 27), includes those descendants in the group of individuals that journeyed to Egypt from Canaan. Hence Benjamin's birth was soon after Joseph's in order to have time to bear these children.

The amount of time between Joseph's and Benjamin's births can be surmised by beginning with the account of Joseph's birth in Genesis chapter 30. This account is followed in the next three chapters by a quick succession of events beginning with Jacob's herd breeding project, his fleeing from Laban and then shortly thereafter from his brother Esau, followed by his wrestling with God on the matter, and then reconciling with Esau. Then, evidently a few years later, the account in Genesis turned to the time when Jacob returned to his father, Isaac, in Canaan, then there occurred the tragedy of Dinah's violation by Shechem, and Jacob's sons revenge, causing Jacob to flee - this time to Bethel under the protection of God. Rachel was at this time, carrying Benjamin. She died giving birth to him on the way to Bethel. Since the journeys of Jacob and his family were short ones, it is estimated that only about 5-8 years may have passed from the Joseph's birth, (cf Genesis chapter 30), to the time of Benjamin's birth in chapter 35. Hence when Joseph was 30 when he stood before Pharaoh for the first time, (Gen 41:46) Benjamin was in his early 20's - old enough to begin having children like his older brothers did. So after the seven years of plenty and the beginning years of famine, there was enough time for Benjamin to give birth to multiple children. So having 9 children before Jacob and his family left for Egypt is plausible.

The Greek text in verse 27, "meta IakOb" literally "with Jacob" is rendered "with Joseph" in the C.L. BRENTON translation of 1851 and other translations, but it should have been rendered "with Jacob," especially since no one actually accompanied Joseph when he was sold to slavery and taken to Egypt years before Jacob came to Egypt.

Note that verse 27 evidently stipulated the number of Jacob's descendants who would begin their lives in Egypt. The list of descendants of Jacob evidently did not include those born after Jacob and his family began their lives in Egypt. For other children were born to the family after that, (cp 1 Chr 2-8). Although that number, which does not include Jacob, has significance because Abraham notably was 75 years old when he left his country for the Promised Land, the study of the significance of numbers which is beyond the average reader cannot be a deciding factor as some contend. Otherwise, the understanding of God's Word would be limited to only a few elitists who focus more on such abstracts and gloss over the plain context of the verse at hand which would be within the reach of the average reader given sufficient time and diligence in studying God's Word.

Note that Dt 10:22 in the Masoretic and Septuagint versions both stipulate, "Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude." Note that the number seventy does not include the 11 fathers whom the seventy went with, (Joseph already being there). Hence this total is evidently not to be compared with the seventy or the seventy-five of the aforementioned passages, which wording has in view a group of individuals which is slightly different.

H) (Acts 7:15-16) SO JACOB WENT DOWN TO EGYPT; AND HE DIED, HE AND THE FATHERS - THE PATRIARCHS OF ISRAEL. AND THE FATHERS WHO ALSO DIED IN EGYPT, WERE CARRIED BACK TO SHECHEM AND LAID IN THE TOMB THAT ABRAHAM BOUGHT FOR A SUM OF MONEY FROM THE SONS OF HAMOR, THE FATHER OF SHECHEM; AND 180 YEARS LATER JACOB REPURCHASED THAT BURIAL SITE FROM

(Acts 7:15 NKJV) "So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. (Acts 7:16 NKJV) And they [the fathers] were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem." =

So Jacob went from Canaan down to Egypt with all of his descendants, (Acts 7:15a). And the time passed to when he died and "our fathers" too - referring to Jacob's twelve sons - the patriarchs / the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Note that the word "they" in the phrase beginning at Acts 7:16, "And they were carried back to Shechem" refers immediately back to the preceding phrase "and our fathers" at the end of Acts 7:15, and does not include Jacob as some contend in order to proclaim an error made by Stephen. The phrase "our fathers" refers to the sons of Jacob who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. This included Joseph who was first buried in Egypt, but then his bones were reburied at Shechem, (cf. Gen 50:24-26; Ex 13:19; Josh 24:32). The sons of Jacob were all buried in Shechem - laid in a tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money - 100 pieces of silver - from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, later repurchased by Jacob, 185 years later.

Some contend that Stephen made an error when he stated that the burial site was purchased by Abraham. Since Shechem was the place where God first appeared to Abraham in the land of Canaan, when Abraham built an altar to worship Him, (Gen 12:6-7), Abraham evidently purchased the field in Shechom in which the altar was located in order to secure it for worship. One hundred eighty-five years later, Jacob repurchased the land from the Shechemites, who had evidently reoccupied the land. He consecrated a portion of the field as a burial-place, (cf. Josh 24:32). The phrase rendered, "bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem" would therefore apply in both cases to those who sold the property, the first time to Abraham and then 185 years later to Jacob. For the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem refers to the rulers of the people of Hamor in Abraham's time as well as the sons of Hamor who were alive and rulers in Jacob's time. Note that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, Jacob were buried at another site - in the cave that is in the field of Ephron which is in the field of Machpelah.

PERSON(S) LOCATION NAME PURCHASED BY, FROM, FOR PASSAGE(S)
Abraham, Sarah The field of Ephron the Hittite, the son of Zohar the Hittite who dwelt amongst the people called the sons of Heth including the cave that was at the end of that field all of which was part of the field of Machpelah. By Abraham, from Ephron the Hittite, the son of Zohar for four hundred shekels of silver. Note that authorization / hence purchase of the site was given by the people called the sons of Heth, amonst whom Ephron the Hittite dwelt. (Gen 23:1 NKJV) "Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.
(Gen 23:2 NKJV) So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
(Gen 23:3 NKJV) Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying,
(Gen 23:4 NKJV) 'I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.'
(Gen 23:5 NKJV) And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him,
(Gen 23:6 NKJV) 'Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.'
(Gen 23:7 NKJV) Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth.
(Gen 23:8 NKJV) And he spoke with them, saying, 'If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and meet with Ephron the son of Zohar for me,
(Gen 23:9 NKJV) that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you.' "
(Gen 23:10 NKJV) Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying,
(Gen 23:11 NKJV) 'No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!'
(Gen 23:12 NKJV) Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land;
(Gen 23:13 NKJV) and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, 'If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.'
(Gen 23:14 NKJV) And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him,
(Gen 23:15 NKJV) 'My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So bury your dead.'
(Gen 23:16 NKJV) And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.
(Gen 23:17 NKJV) So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the sourrounding borders, were deeded
(Gen 23:18 NKJV) to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. (Gen 23:19 NKJV) And after this, Abraham buried Sarahhis wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.
(Gen 23:20 NKJV) So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Gen 25:7 NKJV) "This is the sum of the years of Abraham's life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years.
(Gen 25:8 NKJV) Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
(Gen 25:9 NKJV) And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite,
(Gen 25:10 NKJV) the field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth. There Abraham was buried, and Sarah his wife."
Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, Jacob In the cave that is in the field of Ephron which is in the field of Machpelah. By Abraham from the sons of Heth. (Gen 49:29 NKJV) Then he [Jacob, (v. 28)] charged them [Jacob's sons] and said to them 'I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
(Gen 49:30 NKJV) in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place.
(Gen 49:31 NKJV) There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah.
(Gen 49:32 NKJV) The field and the cave that is there were purchased from the sons of Heth.'
Not stated Parcel of land in Shechem By Jacob, from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for 100 pieces of money (Gen 33:19 NKJV) "And he [Jacob, (v. 18)] bought a parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money."
Joseph Plot of ground in Shechem By Jacob from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver (Joshua 24:32 NKJV) "The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground, which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph."
Since Shechem was the place where God first appeared to Abraham in the land of Canaan, when Abraham built an altar to worship Him, (Gen 12:6-7); it is evident that Abraham evidently purchased the field in which the altar was located in order to secure it for worship. One hundred eighty-five years later, the Shechemites evidently reoccupied the land; whereupon Jacob purchased it from them and consecrated a portion of the field as a burial-place, (cf. Josh 24:32). The phrase rendered, "bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem" would apply as the one selling the property - at both times - to Abraham and then 185 years later to Jacob. For the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem refers to the rulers of the people of Hamor in Abraham's time as well as the sons of Hamor who were alive in Jacob's time.
The fathers - the sons of Jacob, the patriarchs of Israel Tomb in Shechem By Abraham from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a sum of money (Acts 7:16 NKJV) And they [the fathers] were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem."

Note that the word "they" in the phrase beginning at Acts 7:16, "And they were carried back to Shechem" refers to the phrase "Our fathers" at the end of Acts 7:15, [thus excluding Jacob] i.e., the sons of Jacob who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel - including Joseph who was first buried in Egypt, but then his bones were reburied at Shechem, (cf. Gen 50:24-26; Ex 13:19; Josh 24:32).

II) [Acts 7:17-60]:

(Acts 7:17 YLT) "And according as the time of the promise was drawing nigh, which God did swear to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt,

(Acts 7:18 YLT) till another king rose, who had not known Joseph;

(Acts 7:19 NKJV) This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them [cast out] their babies, so that they might not live.

(Acts 7:20 NKJV) At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months.

(Acts 7:21 YLT) and he having been exposed, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up, and did rear him to herself for a son;

(Acts 7:22 NKJV) And Moses was [instructed] in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

(Acts 7:23 YLT) And when forty years were [being] fulfilled to him, it came upon his heart to look after his brethren, the sons of Israel;

(Acts 7:24 NKJV) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, [having] struck down the Egyptian.

(Acts 7:24 YLT) And having seen a certain one suffering injustice, he defended and [wrought vengeance for] the oppressed [one], having smitten the Egyptian;

(Acts 7:25 YLT) and he was supposing his brethren to understand that God through his hand [is giving] them [temporal] salvation [in the sense of deliverance from their enslavement]; and they did not understand.

(Acts 7:26 NKJV) And the next day he appeared to [two of] them ... fighting, and [urged] them [to peace], [having said], 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?'

(Acts 7:27 YLT) and he who is doing injustice to the [neighbor], did [push him away], [having said], Who [appointed you] ruler and ... judge over us?

(Acts 7:28 NASB) 'You do not [wish] to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?'

(Acts 7:29 NKJV) Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller [lit., stranger] in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.

(Acts 7:30 YLT) And forty years having been fulfilled, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai [an Angel] of the LORD, in a flame of fire of a bush,

(Acts 7:31 YLT) And Moses having seen did wonder at the sight; and he drawing near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord unto him,

(Acts 7:32 YLT) I [am] the God of [your] fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses having become terrified, [did not dare to behold],

(Acts 7:33 YLT) and the Lord said to him, 'Loose the sandal of [your] feet, for the place in which [you have stood] is holy ground;

(Acts 7:34 YLT) I have [surely] seen the affliction of My people ... in Egypt, and their groaning I did hear, and came down to deliver them; and now come, I will send [you] to Egypt.

(Acts 7:35 HOLMAN) This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, 'Who appointed you ... ruler and ... judge?' - this one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the Angel Who appeared to him in the bush.

(Acts 7:36 YLT) This one [Moses] [led them out], having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years;

(Acts 7:37 NKJV) This is that Moses [the one having said] to the children of Israel, The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.

(Acts 7:38 YLT) 'This [Moses] is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger [the Angel of the LORD = God ] Who is speaking to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us;

(Acts 7:39 NKJV) whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,

(Acts 7:40 NKJV) [having said] to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'

(Acts 7:41 YLT) And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands,

(Acts 7:42 NASB) But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? [Amos 5:25]

(Acts 7:43 NKJV) You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon. [Amos 5:26-27]

(Acts 7:44 NKJV) Our fathers had the Tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,

(Acts 7:45 NKJV) which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David,

(Acts 7:46 NKJV) who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.

(Acts 7:47 NKJV) But Solomon built Him a house.

(Acts 7:48 NKJV) However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

(Acts 7:49 NKJV) Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, Or what is the place of My rest? [Isa 66:1]

(Acts 7:50 NKJV) Has My hand not made all these things? [Isa 66:2]

(Acts 7:51 NKJV) You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

(Acts 7:52 NKJV) Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of Whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

(Acts 7:53 NASB) you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.

(Acts 7:54 YLT) And hearing these things, they were [being] cut to [their] hearts, and [were gnashing] the teeth at him;

(Acts 7:55 YLT) and being full of the Holy Spirit, having looked stedfastly to the heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

(Acts 7:56 YLT) and he said, 'Lo [Look], I see the heavens having been opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.'

(Acts 7:57 YLT) And they, having cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and did rush with one accord upon him,

(Acts 7:58 YLT) and having cast him forth outside of the city, they were stoning [him] - and the witnesses did put down their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul -

(Acts 7:59 HOLMAN) [And] they were stoning Stephen as he [was calling out]: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

(Acts 7:60 NKJV) Then [having knelt down] he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.' And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

A) (Acts 7:17-19) AS THE TIME OF GOD'S PROMISE OF ISRAEL'S 400 YEARS OF AFFLICTION IN A FOREIGN LAND WAS DRAWING NEAR TO ITS END, THE POPULATION OF ISRAEL HAD MULTIPLIED TO A GREAT NUMBER. THIS WAS IN THE TIME OF ANOTHER KING OF EGYPT WHO HAD NOT KNOWN JOSEPH. THIS KING DEALT TREACHEROUSLY WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WITH EVER INCREASING OPPRESSION AND INFANTICIDE

(Acts 7:17 YLT) "And according as the time of the promise was drawing nigh, which God did swear to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, (Acts 7:18 YLT) till another king rose, who had not known Joseph; (Acts 7:19 NKJV) This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them [cast out] their babies, so that they might not live." =

The phrase in verse 17, "And according as the time of the promise was drawing nigh, which God did swear to Abraham," refers to God's promise to Abram, (Genesis 15:13-14), to which Stephen referred to earlier:

1) [Compare Acts 7:6-7]:

(Acts 7:6 NKJV) "But God spoke in this way: that his [Abram's] descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.

(Acts 7:7 NKJV) 'And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.' "

2) [Compare Gen 15:13-14]:

(Gen 15:13 NKJV) "Then He said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.

(Gen 15:14 NKJV) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions."

A cont.) (Acts 7:17-19) AS THE TIME OF GOD'S PROMISE OF ISRAEL'S 400 YEARS OF AFFLICTION IN A FOREIGN LAND WAS DRAWING NEAR TO ITS END, THE POPULATION OF ISRAEL HAD MULTIPLIED TO A GREAT NUMBER. THIS WAS IN THE TIME OF ANOTHER KING OF EGYPT WHO HAD NOT KNOWN JOSEPH. THIS KING DEALT TREACHEROUSLY WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WITH EVER INCREASING OPPRESSION AND INFANTICIDE, (cont.)

(Acts 7:17 YLT) "And according as the time of the promise was drawing nigh, which God did swear to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, (Acts 7:18 YLT) till another king rose, who had not known Joseph; (Acts 7:19 NKJV) This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them [cast out] their babies, so that they might not live." = (cont.)

Stephen then recounted to the Sanhedrin court that when the LORD's promise of 400 years of affliction and servitude of Israel as strangers in a foreign land was coming to an end, the people had "increased and multiplied," implying that their population had reached a great number evidently comparative to the population of those ruling Egypt - the Hyskos semitic people from the north who had conquered Egypt.

3) [Compare Ex 1:7-12]:

(Ex 1:7 NKJV) "But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land [which they occupied in Egypt, (vv. 1-6)] was filled with them.

(Ex 1:8 NKJV) Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

(Ex 1:9 NKJV) And he said to his people, 'Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;

(Ex 1:10 NKJV) come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.'

(Ex 1:11 NKJV) Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.

(Ex 1:12 NKJV) But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel."

4) [Compare Dt 1:10]:

(Dt 1:10 NKJV) [Moses spoke to the children of Israel when they were on the side of the Jordan River in the land of Moab - and before them was the promised land, (vv. 1-9)]: "The Lord your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude."

5) [Compare Gen 15:13-16]:

(Gen 15:13 NKJV) "Then He [the LORD] said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.

(Gen 15:14 NKJV) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

(Gen 15:15 NAS) As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.

(Gen 15:16 NKJV) But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."

Notice that the LORD prophesied to Abram that his descendants would return to Canaan in [i.e., during the lifetime of] the "fourth generation," (Gen 15:16). This implied a timeframe of the Israelites' stay in Egypt that was limited to being within the span of four generations of Jacob's descendants; but not necessarily inclusive of the entire lifespans of all four generations as some contend. According to Ex 6:16-20, Numbers 3:17-19, 1 Chr 6:1-3 and 23:6, 12-13, those generations were Levi - Kohath - Amram - Moses. At the time that Jacob was 130 years, he traveled from Canaan to Egypt, (Gen 47:9), with all of his family, which included Levi and his son, Kohath, (Gen 46:8-11). Levi lived to 137 years, (Ex 6:16); and his son, Kohath lived to 133 years, (Ex 6:18); and Kohath's son Amram who lived to 137 years, (Ex 6:20); and Moses spent 80 in Egypt before the Exodus, (Ex 7:7). He died at 120 years, (Dt 34:7). The total time that the people of Israel spent in Egypt was 215 years . In that period of time, the population of Israel grew from the 75 men plus women and children who came into Egypt from Canaan with Jacob .to approximately 600,000 adult males not counting women and children implying a total population exceeding 2 million.

6) [Compare Ex 12:37-39]:

(Ex 12:37 NKJV) "Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.

(Ex 12:38 NKJV) A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds - a great deal of livestock.

(Ex 12:39 NKJV) And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves."

7) [Compare Num 1:45-46]:

(Num 1:45 NKJV) "So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel -

(Num 1:46 NKJV) all who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty."

Note that the Hebrew word transliterated "elep" translated "thousand" in the above passages, (Ex 12:37; Num 1:46) does not refer to clans, which is another meaning of the word, as some contend, because the context of a census being taken best supports the word "thousand," which provides very large numbers of people as foretold by the LORD in Gen 12:1-2; 17:1-2; 28:13-15; Ex 1:7-10, Dt 1:10; etc. The total numbers referred to if "clans" were used would neither be large enough to fit the context of Israel's population being mightier than the Pharaoh's ruling forces, nor large enough to suffer the judgments of God for Israel's sinfulness and rebellion, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, (refs., Ex 32:28 (3,000); 32:35 (23,000); Num 16:49 (14,700); 25:9 (24,000); etc.

8) Critics Of Scripture's Stipulation Of The Population Of Israel At The Time Of The Exodus Maintain That The Number Is Unrealistically High. But The Report Of The Longevity Of People In Ancient Times - Implying Much More Time For Child Bearing, And The Repeated Prediction Of Israel Becoming A Great Nation (Implying Great Population) Corroborates What The Book Of Exodus Stipulated

Large families were often a necessity for survival in ancient times for people - even today in certain parts of the world. Rapid population growth has often proved essential for protection from invading enemies, and in agrarian societies for agricultural production and for the care of and increase of domestic animal herds - used to provide food and trade. Although the Israelites ended up being beseiged into slavery, through the enablement of God, they nevertheless received adequate food, shelter and clothing and procreated abundantly while in Egypt, (Ex 1:7-19: Gen 46:3; 47:27; 48:4; Num 22:1-5; Dt 1:9-10; 26:1-5).

Bearing in mind that there was a greatly extended period of longevity, hence a substantially greater time for childbearing in those times compared to the present:

a) [Compare Gen 6:1-3]:

(Gen 6:1 NKJV) "Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them,

(Gen 6:2 NKJV) that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose,

(Gen 6:3 NKJV) And the LORD said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh [in the sense of being utterly sinful]; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years,' [in the sense that before this time, mankind lived much longer than 120 years; but at this time God limited man's years from then on beginning with 120 years]"

In the genealogy of Genesis 5, the Patriarchs of Israel (from the beginning of Creation) who lived before the Flood had an average life span of about 900 years. This contrasts with the genealogy of Genesis 11:10-26 where the ages of the post-Flood patriarachs dropped to 120 years and then gradually declined over the years. So at the time of the nation Israel, when the people of God moved to Egypt, Jacob was 130 years and died at 147. And when Jacob traveled from Canaan to Egypt, (Gen 47:9), with all of his family, it included Levi, who lived to 137 years, (Ex 6:16); and his son, Kohath, (Gen 46:8-11), who lived to 133 years, (Ex 6:18); and Kohath's son Amram who lived to 137; and Joseph who lived to 110 years; Moses 120; Aaron 123; and Jochebed was about 80 or 85 when she gave birth to Moses, who the latter lived to 120 years, (Dt 34:7). Furthermore, the practice of polygamy initiated by Abraham and perfected by Jacob who bore eleven sons in seven years; and the availability of Egyptian women, (Joseph married an Egyptian); all contributed to the phenomenal but not necessarily supernatural fertility of the Israelite women in those ancient times, (cf. Ex 1:7-12,19; Dt 26.5).

Before the Flood, God had provided a protective water canopy above the earth which enabled people to live for hundreds of years - evidently averaging around 900 years . The population then was evidently phenomenally large after 1,000 years of an average lifespan of 900 years. If each family had dozens of children, which was certainly plausible given their longevity, then that would have populated the earth with hundreds of millions or even billions of people. But as a result of mankind deteriorating into sinfulness and rebellion all the time, God caused the worldwide Flood, destroying all but eight people, (Gen 6:1-(7:13)-8:19). So with the protective canopy gone, peoples' lifespans dropped to 120 years, (Gen 6:1-7). Nevertheless, an average of 14 people per family was plausible for the people of Israel during their time in ancient Egypt when the lifespan of the people of Israel was evidently about 120 years, giving them at least 28 birth years per female - sufficient to provide more that 2 million people in 215 years. In consideration of the sovereignty of God Who promised to make Israel a great nation, (Gen 12:1-2; 17:1-2; 28:13-15; it is evident that God's protective hand was upon His people in order to insure the outcome of what He had prophesied - as testified to in Scripture.

b) [Compare Gen 12:1-2]:

(Gen 12:1 NKJV) "Now the LORD had said to Abram; 'Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.

(Gen 12:2 NKJV) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing."

c) [Compare Gen 17:1-2]:

(Gen 17:1 NKJV) "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

(Gen 17:2 NKJV) And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.' "

d) [Compare Gen 28:13-15]:

(Gen 28:13 NKJV) And behold, the LORD stood above it [the top of ladder from earth to heaven in Jacob's dream, (vv. 10-12)] and said: 'I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.

(Gen 28:14 NKJV) Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

(Gen 28:15 NKJV) Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.' "

For not only did the LORD oversee the growth of Israel into a great nation of over 2 million while in Egypt; but during their exodus from Egypt the LORD provided the pillar of fire by night which resulted in direction and light; and the cloud by day which provided shelter from the sun and water, (Ex 13:21-22; 14:19-20; Isa 4:4-6). And the LORD sent quail and manna to feed His people for a month; (Ex 16:11-31; Nu 11:21); and He preserved the wear and tear on their clothes and sandals, (Dt 8:4). Furthermore, He gave them supernatural strength and miraculously parted the waters of the Red Sea so that they could cross dry shod, which waters then engulfed the pharoah and every man in the Egyptian chariot army who pursued them, (Ex 14:15-31).

So during Israel's time in Egypt such things as infertility, hostile environment, miscarriages, infanticides, etc., were occurring but they did not dramatically effect Israel's rampant population growth. Single deaths of infants which were offset by further births, or deaths which came after an individual had borne children would have only a single subtractive effect on the overall population compared to generations producing more generations of descendants at an average of 14 children per family multiplied by at least 12 of the original group of 75 men + women to arrive at over 2 million at the time of the Exodus, (see chart below ). Israel's population increase was not beyond the natural capacity of people of that time. Considerably more than 2 million could have resulted if there were more than 12 of the original 75 men + women producing children upon entrance into Egypt - as much as 6 million with 30 original individuals of child bearing age, for example. Other groups of people at other times, demonstrated notable fertility despite obstacles; for example, many Third World nations have nevertheless grown rapidly in population; and farming communities of 19th century America; Amish communities; and during the Industrial Revolution, advancements in sanitation, technology, and the means of food distribution made possible a drop in the death rate so significant that between 1650 and 1900 the population of Europe almost quadrupled (from about 100 million to about 400 million) despite considerable emigration.

Further objections raised by skeptics to Israel's population in Egypt reaching to over two million people included:

e) SKEPTICS INSIST TOO MANY FOR GOSHEN

Objectors insist that more than 2 million Israelites could not have been contained in Goshen, but would have had to have spread out into other parts of Egypt.

f) ANSWER: ISRAEL DID EXPAND BEYOND GOSHEN

Archeological evidence indicates that Israel did expand beyond Goshen. Many Israelite workers, for example, built Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses, (ref. Ex 1:11); and tens of thousands of Syro-Palestinians (which includes the Hebrew people) settled in the port city of Tell el-Dah'a in the Eastern Nile Delta; and the discovery of the Merneptah Stele specifically named the nation of "Israel" in Canaan at around 1200 B.C. which implies an Exodus from Egypt in order to be there.

There are 18th dynasty wall-painting inscriptions in Egyptian tombs, such as the tomb of Rekhmire, the vizier of Pharaoh Thutmose III, circa mid-1400's B.C. These inscriptions show Semitic slaves from Canaan (the homeland of the Hebrews) making brick out of mud and straw, with stick-wielding taskmasters forcing them to work. This corroborates the bible in time and descriptive details. The Leiden Papyrus #348 which was from the time of Ramesses II is an order to give food to 'The Apiru' who are dragging stones to the 'great pylon' as part of some unspecified construction. The term rendered 'Apiru' was used to refer literally to 'state-less' individuals, i.e., slaves. Linguistically, it is evident that it is a prior form of the Semitic term "Hebrew." Pharaoh Thutmose III is reported to have brought back about 90,000 prisoners from a single campaign in Canaan who are referred to as "Apiru." The archeological evidence is consistent with the account throughout Scripture, and it is corroborated by the millions of Israelites throughout the centuries who have celebrated the Passover as an historical event commemorating the establishment of their nation of God's chosen people. No nation would be likely to invent for itself and faithfully and consistently transmit for centuries, a fictional story in all of its details of such an inglorious, ignoble beginning of slavery unto a nation led by God into the Promised Land unless it was arguably valid.

****

g) SKEPTICS INSIST TOO MANY TO CROSS THE RED SEA

Objectors insist that a large group of people could not have successfully crossed the Red Sea, especially with the Egyptians in pursuit.

h) ANSWER: ISRAELITES CROSSED OVER THE RED SEA AT THE GULF OF AQABA

The proper name translated "Red Sea" in Exodus in most Bible translations / versions is transliterated "yam-sp" in the Hebrew Bible. "Yam" means "sea;" and "sp" is a noun which is a general term for marine plants. It can designate freshwater bulrushes, (Ex 2:3, 5; Isa 19:6); seaweed (Jonah 2:5); marsh reeds, (Exodus 2:3, 5); saltwater ocean plants, (Jonah 2:5); etc. So the proper name "yam-sp" can refer to a sea which washes up or has on its shores a great abundance of marsh plants, or rushes, or seaweed, or reeds, etc., depending upon context. In the context of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt and in these passages, Ex 10:19; Ex 13:18; Ex 15:4, 22; Ex 23:31; Num 14:25, etc., the Hebrew name "yam-sp" is always translated "Red Sea," which was the name given to it by the Greeks in the LXX. The origin of this name (Red Sea) is uncertain. It may be derived from the red color of the mountains on the western shore; others from the red coral found in the sea, or the red appearance sometimes given to the water by certain zoophytes floating in it. This sea was also called by the Hebrews Yam-mitstraim, i.e., "the Egyptian sea" (Isa 11:15), and simply Ha-yam, "the sea" (Ex 14:2, 9, 16, 21, 28; Jos 24:6, 7; Isa 10:26).

The events following Moses flight from Egypt into Midian, a land east of the Gulf of Aqaba, provide a clue as to the location of Mt. Sinai, to where the children of Israel traveled after leaving Egypt, (ref. Ex 19:1ff). During the forty years Moses was in Midian (Ex 2:15), he tended the sheep of his father in law, Jethro (Ex 3:1). While Moses was tending Jethro's sheep, he had the experience with the bush that would not burn out. When Moses turned aside for a closer look at this strange event, God spoke to him out of the bush and made him a promise. God said in Ex 3:12: '''So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." ''' The mountain where Moses saw the burning bush presumably was in the region where Jethro lived, since Moses was pasturing Jethro's flocks there. The traditional Mt Sinai is over 300 miles by land from Jethro's home in a region where there is very little water or pasture. Also, to make an Arabic location of Sinai more certain, the Bible specifically says that Horeb (Mt Sinai-Dt 4:10), where Moses had the experience of the burning bush, is in Midian (Ex 3:1). Of course, if Sinai is in Arabia, that location offers many more choices for crossing the Red Sea than a location for Mt. Sinai (Mt. Musa) at St. Catherine's, for the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aqaba) is the border between Egypt and Arabia for hundreds of miles. Besides specifying that Sinai is in Midian, which is in what was Arabia during the time of Paul (Gal 4:25), the Bible gives many indications that Israel crossed the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba, not Lake Sirbonis or Bitter Lakes or North Suez. These latter sites are too far north, do not provide any reason why Israel should have been trapped there, and do not take into account the elapsed time of about 25 days from leaving Egypt to the Red Sea crossing at Pi Hahiroth.

So the children of Israel left Egypt on the 15th of the first month, (Abib / Nissan which has 30 days), (Nu 33:3; Ex 12:1ff); and when they crossed the Red Sea, they went 3 days into the wilderness of Shur / Etham, (Ex 15:22; Nu 33:8); then to Marah for about a day, (Ex 15:23-26); then to Elim for about a day, (Ex 15:27-16:1); and then they came to the wilderness of Sin on the 15th of the 2nd month, (Iyar), after their departure from the land of Egypt, (Ex 16:1). The accounting of the days is as follows: 15 days' time elapsed in the month of Nissan + 15 days' time elapsed in the second month, (Iyar), less 3 days' time in the wilderness of Shur [Etham], and less 1 day each in Marah and Elim = a net total of 25 days from the time the children of Israel left Egypt to the time they camped before the Red Sea before crossing at Pi Hahiroth.

Also, the New Testament makes explicit what the Old Testament implies. Paul says that Mt. Sinai is in Arabia (Gal 4:5), and Israel had to cross the Red Sea somewhere at the Gulf of Aqaba in order to stay out of the Promised Land and to get to Arabia (Ex 14:22, 19:1).

One feasible location for the 2 million+ Israelites' successful crossing of the Red Sea is along the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Nuweiba Peninsula in Egypt. It is a sandy beach in Egypt, 4.25 miles long by 2 miles wide, which could accommodate several million people and their flocks and herds. It can be located on a map by starting at the northern-most tip of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Egyptian side and then going 50 miles south. It is the site that best matches the Bible account. Note that the Gulf of Aqaba was called the Red Sea in ancient times, (1 Kgs 9:26). Video

Having departed Rameses, the children of Israel arrived at their first encampment at Succoth, at the northern end of what is today called the Gulf of Suez, (Ex 12:31-37; Nu 33:1). Whereupon they traveled through the Wilderness to the Red Sea, through what is today called the Sinai Peninsula. The final part of the journey was evidently through a mountainous region along the Wadi Watir canyon trail where it terminated at the Gulf of Aqaba at Nuweiba Beach. The Israelites would have been traveling from Succoth to Pi Hahiroth at the Red Sea along this natural road - a portion of which was frequently used as a trade route before the caravans turned northward toward Canaan, whereupon the Israelites went southward through a wide mountain gorge to the Sea. Once on this last leg of their sojourn to the Red Sea, retreat was impossible, so they had to press on with their great numbers of people, flocks and herds right to the edge of the Sea.

The Israelites' journey through mountainous terrain as described in Scripture, (ref. Ex 14:1-4), does not coincide with what some contend was a journey down the eastern shore of the western branch of the Red Sea to the Straits of Tiran, today called the Gulf of Suez - across a continuous coastal plain, 200 to 500 feet above sea level, with sandy beaches. But the location on the opposite shore of the Red Sea to which the children of Israel crossed is stipulated in Scripture as Baal-Zephon, which is the name of the supreme god of the Canaanites, a location likely to be closer to the land of Canaan than so far south near the headwaters of the Gulf of Suez at the Straits of Tiran. Canaan is located far to the northeast in the Promised Land - Israel's final destination.

Josephus wrote in Antiquities of the Jews, 2.315-2.333 confirming that the route was mountainous: "Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews, they prepared to fight them, and by their multitude they drove them into a narrow place; for the number that pursued after them was six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and two hundred thousand footmen, all armed. They also seized on the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was on each side mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they pressed upon the Hebrews with their army, where the ridges of the mountains were closed with the sea; which army they placed at the gaps of the mountains, that so they might deprive them of any passage into the plain."

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The map above indicates that Midian and Mt. Sinai are in Saudi Arabia, (cf. Gal 4:25), not the Sinai Peninsula. Ancient Egypt proper is shown in dark green. Light green areas were subject to Egyptian rule.

View of the Wadi Watir canyon trail above.

This is a view of the Nuweiba Beach at the end of the Wadi Watir trail at the Gulf of Aqaba.

Note the buildings on the right side of the beach, thought to be Migdol, an ancient Egyptian fortress which blocked the northern escape route along the beach. It is today being restored and a coat of stucco added.

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The Israelites evidently took the route of the winding Wadi Watir canyon trail to where it terminated at Nuweiba Beach at the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba. Old maps of this area designate it as "Nuwayba' al Muzayyinah," literally "Waters of Moses' opening." Scripture's account of the Exodus indicated that the Israelites were closed in by the wilderness, i.e., entrapped by extremely large geographical structures of the wilderness, (Ex 14:1-3). So there were evidently geographical barriers such as mountains on two sides with the Egyptians pursuing behind them, and the Red Sea in front of them. The most feasible location for this would be through a wide gorge between steep mountains in the Sinai Wilderness which leads out into the Nuweiba Beach peninisula of the eastern branch of the Red Sea, today called the Gulf of Aqaba, (1 Kgs 9:26).

So the children of Israel were disconsolate: (Ex 14:11 NKJV) "Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?" - confirming their being hemmed in on all sides. But the LORD had a different plan which included the destruction of Pharaoh and Egypt's armies, (Ex 14:1ff); and which began with the first passover.

Note that the evening of the 14th of the first month - the evening of the first Passover, (Ex 12:6-27) - was the evening when the children of Israel would "rise and go out from among my [Pharoah's] people," (ref. Ex 12:29-31). They would then journey from Ramses to Succoth in that first month, (Nissan), on the 15th day - the day after the Passover, (ref. Nu 33:3; Ex 12:1ff); and from there by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea, (ref. Ex 13:18), they would journey from Succoth and camp in Etham which is on the edge of the wilderness, (ref. Ex 13:20; Nu 33:6); whereupon they would journey into the wilderness of Etham [Shur], camp there, and then turn back toward Pi-Hahiroth, which faces Baal-Zephon across the Red Sea. They would camp there before Migdol. From there they would pass through the midst of the Red Sea, (Ex 14:2, 21-22; Nu 33:7-8). After a number of encampments including Shur [Etham], Marah and Elim, they would come to the wilderness of Sin on the 15th day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt, (ref. Ex 16:1; Nu 33:8-11). The accounting of the days is as follows: 15 days' time elapsed in the month of Nissan + 15 days' time elapsed in the second month, (Iyar), less 3 days time in Shur, and less 1 day each in Marah and Elim = a net total of 25 days from the time the children of Israel left Egypt to the time they camped before the Red Sea before crossing at Pi Hahiroth.

Then, in the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, "on that very day" - the 15th day of that month - they would come into the wilderness of Sinai and camp in front of the mountain, (Mt Sinai). On that day they would receive the Ten Commandments and the rest of the provisions of the Law, (ref. Ex 19:1-2; chapters 20-23) - only 2 months after they had departed from Egypt!

i) [Compare Ex 13:1-22]:

(Ex 13:1 NKJV) ''''Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

(Ex 13:2 NKJV) '''Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.'''

(Ex 13:3 NKJV) And Moses said to the people: '''Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.

(Ex 13:4 NKJV) On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.

(Ex 13:5 NKJV) And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month.

(Ex 13:6 NKJV) Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.

(Ex 13:7 NKJV) Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.

(Ex 13:8 NKJV) And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, "This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt."

(Ex 13:9 NKJV) It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.

(Ex 13:10 NKJV) You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

(Ex 13:11 NKJV) And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you,

(Ex 13:12 NKJV) that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD's.

(Ex 13:13 NKJV) But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.

(Ex 13:14 NKJV) So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, "What is this?" that you shall say to him, "By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

(Ex 13:15 NKJV) And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firsborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem."

(Ex 13:16 NKJV) It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.'''

(Ex 13:17 NKJV) Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, '''Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.'''

[Concerning the route by which the LORD had Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, Josephus wrote in Antiquities of the Jews, 2.315-2.333, "That land was difficult to be traveled over, not only by armies, but by single persons. Now Moses led the Hebrews this way, that in case the Egyptians should repent and be desirous to pursue after them, they might undergo the punishment of their wickedness, and of the breach of those promises they had made to them.

As also he led them this way on account of the Philistines, who had quarreled with them, and hated them of old, that by all means they might not know of their departure, for their country is near to that of Egypt; and thence it was that Moses led them not along the road that tended to the land of the Philistines, but he was desirous that they should go through the desert, that so after a long journey, and after many afflictions, they might enter upon the land of Canaan. Another reason of this was, that God commanded him to bring the people to Mount Sinai, that there they might offer him sacrifices," (cf. Ex 3:12)]

(Ex 13:18 NKJV) So God led the people around by way of the wilderness [to] the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.

(Ex 13:19 NKJV) And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, '''God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.

(Ex 13:20 NKJV) So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.

[The children of Israel gathered at Succoth - a large staging area used by the Egyptian military in Egypt on the eastern border of Egypt proper, north of the branch of the Red Sea - called today, the Gulf of Suez. Succoth was not located in the Wilderness to the Red Sea - the Sinai Penninsula - as some contend, but inside of Egypt. For Ex 13:18, 20 and Nu 33:6-8 stipulate that the children of Israel traveled "from Succoth" "by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea" "out of the land of Egypt" "and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness."

The word rendered "wilderness" in Ex 3:20 evidently refers to the wilderness of "Shur" meaning "wall" (Ex 15:22; cf. Gen 16:7, 20:1, 25:1). It is also referred to in Nu 33:8 as the wilderness of "Etham," meaning "forts" referring to an Egyptian line or wall of forts that were built to defend Egyptian interests in the wilderness.

So the Wilderness of Shur, also called the Wilderness of Etham, is a region in an area which today is called the Sinai Peninsula. This wilderness ranges from Etham in Egypt's northeastern frontier, extends eastward into the northwestern quarter of the Sinai Desert and southward through the mountains through which the children of Israel traveled on a caravan trail, turning southward off that trail and through a wide gorge between mountains which led to where they crossed the Red Sea. The Wilderness of Shur [Etham] extends around both sides of the northern end of the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba). For Scripture indicates that once the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea at Pi-Hahiroth to Baal-Zephon, (Ex 14:2-3), traveling on the eastern side of the Red Sea in Arabia toward Mt Sinai, (Gal 4:25); they then "went out into the Wilderness of Shur," (Ex 15:22), i.e., they "went three days' journey in the Wilderness of Etham," (Nu 33:8). From there they arrived at Marah, (Ex 15:23; Nu 33:8).

So Succoth, from which God led the people "by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea... in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt," (Ex 13:8), was evidently large enough for a great number of people to assemble. Since Egypt is west of the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea - the Wilderness through what is now called the Sinai Peninsula, then anything in an eastward direction out of Succoth would best lead them out of Egypt proper - not north or south, as many bible maps and people contend.

Although archeological evidence indicates that the Egyptians did have copper and turquoise mining operations, such as at Serabit el-Khadim on the western side, and Timna on the eastern side, temples and fortresses in the Wilderness to the Red Sea - the Sinai Peninsula - at the time of Moses; the Sinai wilderness was not part of Egypt proper. So "the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea," led directly eastward from Succoth - "out of the land of Egypt," (Ex 13:18, 20), to Etham and the Wilderness of Etham [Shur] and then southeast to cross the eastern branch of the Red Sea - today called the Gulf of Aqaba, (1 Kgs 9:26), into Arabia and to Mt Sinai, (Gal 4:25).

This contradicts those who contend that the children of Israel went north to the Nile Delta region near the border of Egypt which encompassed a number of lakes and marshland across one of which many bible maps and many people maintain was where the Israelites crossed the "Red Sea," or as they maintain the "Sea of Reeds." But this pathway would have kept the children of Israel either in Egypt or too close to Egypt - hence too susceptible to being quickly overtaken - to be considered the best escape route "out of the land of Egypt," should the Egyptians decide to pursue them. Furthermore, such a journey was certainly not through an arid wilderness / desert called the Wilderness of Shur [Etham], and certainly not in accordance with Scripture, (Ex 13:18-20; Nu 33:6-8).

And the direction of the children of Israel did not lead south along the western branch of the Red Sea - the Gulf of Suez. This pathway would be a relatively flat one with beach terrain all the way to where the children of Israel would cross over the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran into Arabia to come to Mt. Sinai, (Gal 4:25). But the children of Israel camped at the "Red Sea" at "Pi-Hahiroth." This location is a proper noun beginning with the word transliterated "Pi," which means mouth or opening. In the context of Israel's Exodus, "Pi-Hahiroth" refers to a mouth or opening through an insurmountable geographical barrier adjacent to the Red Sea - a geographical entity which blocked the escape of the children of Israel from the pursuing Egytians behind them and the Red Sea in front of them:

[Compare Ex 14:2-3]:

(Ex 14:2 NKJV) "Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi-Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal-Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea.

(Ex 14:3 NKJV) For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, 'They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.' "

Notice that the words "They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in," has in view not flat beach terrain, some lake or marshland, as some contend - because none of these would block Israel's escape. For the children of Israel could travel through or around these obstacles. What closed the people in was evidently steep, mountainous terrain all around them. This would "bewilder" and block the escape of millions of people. So the route to "Pi-Hahiroth" was a route which crossed through mountainous / wilderness terrain, the Wilderness of Etham [Shur], which was along the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea, (Ex 13:18-14:9), to an opening in a wide gorge through steep mountains to the Red Sea at Migdol, (Ex 14:2). To contend that "Pi-Hahiroth" was the mouth of a body of water such as a river branch of the Nile, a marsh or a lake, would be redundant as the biblical account already had the children of Israel arrive at a body of water: the Red Sea; and their predicament could not be described as "bewildered by the land," or closed in by the wilderness, (Ex 14:2-3).

Nevertheless, many have contended that the Israelites crossed over the Red Sea through marshlands above the Red Sea near Succoth, calling it the Sea of Reeds, in the vicinity of what is now the Suez Canal. But there is no plausible explanation offered as to how the children of Israel navigated the marshlands on "dry ground," (Ex 14:16), and then how the Pharaoh's chariots and armies were all drowned in shallow marshland waters which is described in Scripture as follows: "the depths have covered them," "they sank to the bottom like a stone," (Ex 15:4-5, cf. v. 19; Isa 43:16-17; 51:10; 63:11-13). There was not enough water to cause such an event. But the scriptural account implies sufficient water was already there and gathered up by the wind, (Ex 14:21-22). Furthermore, although most Bible maps and many people contend that the children of Israel arrived at Mt Sinai somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula; Mt Sinai is declared by the Apostle Paul, in Scripture to be in Arabia, (Gal 4:25); requiring a journey eastward across the Sinai Peninsula and across the Red Sea there - across the Gulf of Aqaba.

So the Israelites journeyed over the caravan trade route across mountainous land which followed the "Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea." And when the trade route turned northward toward the land of the Philistines, the children of Israel continued to go eastward on the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea, and camped in the Desert of Etham - an expansive desert area which began at Etham and continued eastward, extending through mountainous terrain and then southward all around the north end of the western branch of the Red Sea - today called the Gulf of Aqaba, (Ex 13:18-20; Nu 33:6-8; 1 Kgs 9:26). There in the Wilderness of Etham, they set up camp - evidently having crossed by the path that would lead them to the Red Sea in order to find adequate camping space, intending to double back to get to the Red Sea, (ref. Ex 13:20, cf. Ex 12:37; Nu 33:1-8). So the next day at their encampment in the Wilderness of Etham, they turned back westward, retracing their steps, (ref. Nu 33:7), and went southeast through the steep mountain gorge that led to Pi-hahiroth on the western coast of the Gulf of Aqaba - the ancient Red Sea that borders Arabia. And they arrived at the Nuweiba Peninsula to camp there near Migdol on a beach approximately 4.25 miles long by 2 miles wide. This would easily have accommodated the millions of Israelites, and their flocks and herds, . This was evidently where they crossed the Red Sea to arrive on the eastern shore at the town of Baal-Zephon in Arabia, (ref. Ex 14:2, 9; Nu 33:7). Note that the children of Israel could have traveled 50 miles north through the Wilderness of Etham [Shur] and circled around the northern end of the Red Sea on dry land into Arabia and then turned southward toward Mt Sinai. But the LORD had a plan to entrap Pharaoh and his armies, and corrobrate His promise to see to it that His children of Israel would make it safely to the end of their journey, (Ex 14:1ff).

Since "Baal-Zephon," lit., "Lord of the North," refers to a north-west Semitic "sea" or "storm god," the title of the supreme god of the Canaanites; it is unlikely that this town would be inland in Egypt, or somewhere in the Nile Delta, or in the Sinai Wilderness, or off the Straits of Tiran, as some contend; but east in Arabia - nearer to Canaan. From there they journeyed along their route toward Mt Sinai, which according to the Apostle Paul, (Gal 4:25), was in Arabia]

i cont.) [Compare Ex 13:1-22 (cont.)]:

(Ex 13:21 NKJV) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.

(Ex 13:22 NKJV) He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people, (cf. Ex 14:19-20).''''

ii) [Ex 14:1-31]:

(Ex 14:1 NKJV) ''''Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

(Ex 14:2 NKJV) 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi-Hahiroth, between Midgol and the sea, opposite Baal-Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea.'

["Pi-Hahiroth" is a proper noun beginning with the word transliterated "Pi," which means mouth or opening. In the context of Israel's Exodus, "Pi-Hahiroth" refers to a mouth or opening through an insurmountable geographical barrier adjacent to the Red Sea - a geographical entity all around them which blocked the escape of the children of Israel from the pursuing Egytians behind them and the Red Sea in front of them: a fitting description for the Nuweiba Peninsula, since it lies along steep mountains which have between them a wide gorge that opens out into the Nuweiba Peninsula beach in front of the Red Sea / Gulf of Aqaba. This is the only location on a shore of the Red Sea which lies along mountainous terrain which has a wide a gorge which opens up into a substantial peninsula / beach before that Sea which could accommodate several million people, their flocks and their herds - one which best fits the scriptural account.

Migdol was once a three story Egyptian fortress. Note the wall on the right being restored. It blocked the northern escape route along Nuweiba Beach, (see previous image ]

(Ex 14:3 NKJV) For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, 'They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.'

(Ex 14:4 NKJV) Then I will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord." And they did so.

(Ex 14:5 NKJV) Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, "Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?"

(Ex 14:6 NKJV) So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him.

(Ex 14:7 NKJV) Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them.

(Ex 14:8 NKJV) And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness.

(Ex 14:9 NKJV) So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi-Hahiroth, before Baal-Zephon.

Notice that Nuweiba Beach is located near the Egyptian military fortress at Migdol and Pi-Hahiroth, (Ex 14:2); across the sea from Baal-Zephon in Saudi Arabia.

(Ex 14:10 NKJV) And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

(Ex 14:11 NKJV) Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?

(Ex 14:12 NKJV) Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."

[Given the close proximity of the Nile's eastern delta, it is unlikely that the children of Israel traveled in such a short time northwestward to cross a marshland or a lake in that region, as many bible maps and many people contend. Furthermore, there was not enough water in the marshland to drown the Egyptian armies; nor would a lake such as El Ballah Lake, or the Bitter Lakes or Lake Timsah suffice, for there was nothing in the surrounding terrain such as mountains which would have blocked the Israelites' retreat. Furthermore, the Egyptians could have pursued the Israelites on land by going around the lake to the other side and catch up with the Israelites without suffering a drowning in the water. And since these proposed routes are all such a short distance from Succoth; they are not far enough away to justify the Israelites' bitter complaints about being in the wilderness, (Ex 14:11-12); and they are too close to suit the biblical account of about a month's travel time.

Furthermore, Scripture declares that the children of Israel would be out of the land of Egypt on the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea on their first day of travel and not in the Nile's eastern delta to the north a few miles from Succoth:

[Compare Ex 12:17; 13:18]:

(Ex 12:17 NKJV) So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance."

(Ex 13:18 NKJV) "So God led the people around by way of the wilderness [to] the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt."

Finally, in any of these scenarios, the location of Mt Sinai would not have been in Arabia where Mt Sinai is located according to the Apostle Paul, (Gal 4:25).

If the "way of the wilderness [to] the Red Sea" was the flat, sandy terrain along what is now called the Gulf of Suez which many Bible maps and many people contend, leading to the Straits of Tiran to the Red Sea; they would have traveled much faster and much further than needed to get to the proposed destination. And there would be nothing at the end of their journey to block their retreat but more flat beach terrain northward around the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula along the Gulf of Aqaba. But scripture indicates that the children of Israel took about a month to travel through mountainous terrain of the Wilderness to the Red Sea - not flat beach terrain. This kind of terrain slowed them down in a manner consistent with the account in scripture. And at the end of their journey to the Red Sea, (the Gulf of Aqaba), the Israelites would be in a gorge between steep mountains with the pursuing Egyptians blocking their retreat. The name "Pi-Hahiroth," in Ex 14:2, 9 is a proper noun which means "mouth;" in this context there is implied an opening - a type of location which is geographic and which blocks movement, i.e., a mouth or a gorge between steep mountains - signifying a route which crosses through mountainous terrain, not flat beach terrain. There were no such mountains or other geographic barriers to block retreat at the Straits of Tiran, nor to block retreat in the northeastern Nile Delta near the Egyptian border, (ref. Ex 14:9)]

(Ex 14:13 NKJV) And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

(Ex 14:14 NKJV) The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

(Ex 14:15 NKJV) And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.

(Ex 14:16 NKJV) But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

(Ex 14:17 NKJV) And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen.

(Ex 14:18 NKJV) Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."

(Ex 14:19 NKJV) And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

(Ex 14:20 NKJV) So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

(Ex 14:21 NKJV) Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.

(Ex 14:22 NKJV) So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

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The crossing of the Red Sea was commemorated by two pillars which King Solomon had erected 400 years later - one on Nuweiba Peninsula Beach and the other on the Arabian side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The pillar on Nuweiba beach was found lying down on the beach and it was re-erected as shown above about 500 feet inland. The inscriptions on the other pillar on the Arabian side were deliberately defaced, evidently to erase the record of the Jews having been present in the land. Nevertheless, the Hebrew words rendered Mizram (Egypt), death, water, pharaoh, Edom, Yahweh, and Solomon were on the Arabian pillar. Such a pillar was testified to in Scripture:

[Compare Isa 19:19]:

(Isa 19:19 NKJV) "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border.

(Isa 19:20 NKJV) And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them."

Scripture stipulates that "Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left," (Ex 14:21-22; cf. Isa 43:16-17; Ps 77:19-20; Isa 63:12). So the people of Israel were able to walk across the Red Sea safely to Arabia. Note the shallow underwater ridge in the above image in the middle which would have afforded a wide landbridge for the Israelites to cross over the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia and Mt. Sinai when the LORD parted the waters of the sea - given the LORD's supernatural intervention. The ridge today is a massive underwater sandbar almost a mile wide at its summit and about eleven miles long, formed by accumulating sediments washed from the mountains on either side when the wadis are in flood. There is today - approximately 3,500 years later - a gentle slope downward of about six degrees beginning on either side in shallow waters which drops down to about 900 feet below the sea; and on either side of this ridge, the Eilat Deep and the Aragonese Deep, drop down to 3,000 and 5,000 feet respectively. Some contend that this ridge as it appears today was not suitable for the crossing of so many people and animals; but crossing occurred approximately 3,500 years ago when the condition of this same ridge might have been even more accommodating. For the LORD supernaturally, superintended over all of this - especially to provide a dry sea bottom, and to take off the wheels of the Egytians' pursuing chariots, (Ex 14:21-31). So it is evident that if the slope, depth and surface wasn't already suitable, the LORD would have also changed it to enable the millions of His children and their flocks and herds and possessions to pass across the Red Sea successfully, without harm.

ii cont.) [Compare Ex 14:1-31 cont.]:

(Ex 14:23 NKJV) And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

(Ex 14:24 NKJV) Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians.

(Ex 14:25 NKJV) And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians."

(Ex 14:26 NKJV) Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen."

(Ex 14:27 NKJV) And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

(Ex 14:28 NKJV) Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained.

(Ex 14:29 NKJV) But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

(Ex 14:30 NKJV) So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

(Ex 14:31 NKJV) Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses."

[According to Ex 14:11, Israel was headed "out of Egypt," toward Mt. Sinai which is in Arabia. Right after the crossing, Moses and the people of Israel were directed immediately to Mt. Sinai, (Ex 19:1-2). Mt. Sinai was near to Midian, which is also on the Arabian side of the Red Sea where Moses took refuge, and upon which mountain Moses encountered the LORD from the burning bush, (ref. Ex 2:11-3:10). This is corroborated by Gal 4:25 which states that Mt. Sinai is "in Arabia."

Josephus stated in Antiquities of the Jews, 2.315-2.333, that Mt. Sinai was near the city of "Madian," whose ruins are near the town of El-Bad, near the Saudi Arabian west coast. Hence the crossing point of Israel over the Red Sea was not from any of the beaches near the Gulf of Suez, but over the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba - evidently today's Nuweiba Peninsula where underwater searches discovered the remains of chariot parts - wheels, axles, carriages, horses' bones and hooves and human bones on the Egyptian and Arabian sides of the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba), evidently from the pursuing Egyptian forces who were destroyed by the waters:

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Six of the seven images are of wheel-shaped objects lying on the Red Sea floor off Nuweiba Peninsula. The size and construction is comparative to 13th century B.C. Egyptian chariot wheels, (ref. "Evolving Chariot Wheel in the 18th Dynasty," James K. Hoffmeier. JARCE, #13, 1976). The wheel on the upper left had a sheet-metal covering, resembling "electrum" - a mixture of gold and silver which was used to cover a wooden wheel on an Egyptian officer's chariot. Notice that the wheel has a rim, four spokes, a hub and a hole in the hub through which the axle extended. There is less coral on it due to the metallic covering. The rest of the wheels on the top row have more coral on them due to greater exposure directly to the wood. Nevertheless the coral has retained its circular shape, (the third picture is duplicated with the lines of a wheel superimposed upon it). Metal detectors were used to scan the wheels and the scans were positive to metal in the circular shape of a wheel, most likely the inner bronze parts. Two of the images in the second row show chariot assemblies standing on end. The last picture on the second row is a drawing of a four spoke chariot found in an Egyptian tomb from the same time period showing the same design as the ones under water. Numerous four, six and eight spoke wheels are found here in the gulf. They were only used at the same time during the 18th dynasty or 1446 BC when the Exodus took place. The Bible said all the chariots of Egypt and 600 choice chariots, or gold veneered models, were in the army pursuing God's people. It is speculated there were 20,000 chariots destroyed that day. Note that human and horse bones - even hooves were also discovered at the crossing site.

This Google image shows the crossing site at the large beach on the upper left and the real Mt. Sinai in the lower right in Saudi Arabia - in Midian, which is today named Jebel el Lawz. This mountain is at 8,000 feet, the tallest mountain in the region and forms a natural amphitheater enclosing an area of 5,000 acres extending into the foothills - sufficient to accommodate more than 2 million people with flocks and herds. The entire summit of the mountain is blackened as if burned by intense heat

[Compare Ex 19:18]:

(Ex 19:18 NKJV) "Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly."

At the eastern foot of the mountain there is an altar of unhewn stones. And within them is a semi-circle of twelve large white granite pillars.

[Compare Ex 24:4]:

(Ex 24:4 NKJV) "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel."

i) SKEPTICS INSIST TOO MANY TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE WILDERNESS OR OCCUPY CANAAN

Skeptics insist that with such a great population, the people of Israel would have caused great conflict with other peoples on their sojourn because they would have had to overrun the territories of other peoples.

j) ANSWER: THE KINGS' HIGHWAY IS ON A BROAD PLAIN AND CANAAN IS LARGE ENOUGH - BOTH COULD ACCOMMODATE THE MILLIONS OF ISRAELITES

Moses promised to the king of Edom that his people would not cut through the territory of the Edomites, (Num 20:17), but stay on the King's Highway. This highway was an immensely wide path of a broad plain - miles wide - which easily could accommodate Israel's millions so that they could bypass Edomite territory. So there was no need to form a narrow column of people stretching for hundreds of miles nor for any Israelite to go near Edomite territory. They could spread out for miles going thousands abreast straight on down the broad plain of the King's Highway.

The eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez and the Wilderness of Shur in North Arabia were wide open plains as well. In only one section did Scripture indicate that the people of Israel had to conduct their passage in stages - because of the narrow terrain between the Wilderness of Sin and the Wilderness of Sinai. The rest of the sojourn was wide open terrain.

i) [Compare Ex 17:1]:

"Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey [Heb. "lemas'hem" lit., 'their departures' plural] from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but.there was no water for the people to drink."

Note the plural "their departures," indicating more than one departure, i.e., going in stages through the narrow passage of the Wilderness of sin.

At Tel Amarna, Egypt, cuneiform tablets were discovered from about the 14th c. B.C. - about the time of the Biblical Exodus of millions of Israelites. They contained urgent pleas from people dwelling in Canaan to the Egyptian Pharaoh Akenaten to aid them regarding the "Apiru" [Hebrews] who had invaded their territory in large numbers, taking over parts of Canaan.

The move of a significant number of Hebrews to Canaan is corroborated by the Victory Stele of Pharaoh Merneptah which was found in his funerary temple in Thebes commemorating his conquests in Canaan about 1210 B.C. from which was translated as follows:

"Desolate is Tehenu; Hatti is pacified;

Plundered is Canaan with every evil;

Carried off is Ashkelon, seized upon is Gezer

Yanoam is made as that which does not exist;

Israel is laid waste, his seed is not."

Although the tone of this inscription is evidently Pharaoh's self-serving hyperbole, his inscription nevertheless confirms the existence of the nation Israel - implying a nation of significantly large population to have an inscription made about their departure / removal from Egypt.

At the same time as the influx of the "Apiru" [Hebrews] in Canaan, there was discovered archeological evidence of an explosion of the population in the hills on the West Bank of the Jordan River between Hebron and Shechem - an area of about 2,600 square miles. In that area alone, the number of villages increased from 23 to 114, with the population jumping from approximately 14,000 to 38,000 in a century's time implying much more than a high birth rate, but pointing to the Hebrews moving into the land. And in the villages there were discovered trappings typical of Hebrew life-styles.

Consider that today 1.5 million "Palestinians" occupy a tiny corner of the land that God promised to give Abraham and his descendants, corroborating the conclusion that the population of more than 2 million emerging Israelites was not out of the question relative to being to large to fit into the Promised Land, as some contend.

k) SKEPTICS INSIST TOO MANY TO MANAGE BY ISRAEL'S PLAN OF GOVERNING

Objectors insist that the organizational structure stipulated in Scripture for Israel was too limited to manage millions of people.

l) ANSWER: ISRAEL WELL ORGANIZED

i) [Compare Ex 18:21]:

(Ex 18:21 NKJV) "Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place .such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens."

If Ex 18:21 is taken at face value, it is workable for 2+ million people: Moses as leader, to make a simple announcement to be followed up with Joshua's presenting it in writing, (ref. Jos 8:35), to the newly appointed upper echelon of leaders - 12 tribal leaders, 70 elders who would appoint 3,000 who would be over the groups of 1,000 who would in turn appoint 60,000 to be over the 50's which group would appoint the 300,000 who would be over the 10's. Note that the leaders of 10's would closely equate to the married men with wives and children, those over the 50's with the patriarchs over a single clan.

8 cont.) Critics Of Scripture's Stipulation Of The Population Of Israel At The Time Of The Exodus Maintain That The Number Is Unrealistically High. But The Report Of The Longevity Of People In Ancient Times - Implying Much More Time For Child Bearing, And The Repeated Prediction Of Israel Becoming A Great Nation (Implying Great Population) Corroborates What The Book Of Exodus Stipulated, (cont.)

ESTIMATED POP. GROWTH OF ANCIENT ISRAEL IN EGYPT:
EACH COUPLE ESTIMATED TO HAVE AN AVG. OF ONE CHILD EV. 2 YRS OVER A PERIOD OF 28 CHILD BEARING YEARS (AGES 16-44) = 14 TOT. CHILDREN PER COUPLE.
THIS TRANSLATES TO AN AVG. OF 1 CHILD PER INDIVIDUAL EV 4 YRS WITH AN AVG. LIFESPAN OF 100 YRS PER INDIVIDUAL
# yrs orig. indiv.
(age 16)
2nd gen. individual(s)
born
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ACCUM. TOT.
4 1 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
8 . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
12 . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
16 . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
20 . 1 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
24 . 1 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
28 . 1 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
32 . . 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
36 . . 5 1 . . . . . . . . . . . 24
40 . . 6 3 . . . . . . . . . . . 33
44 . . 7 6 . . . . . . . . . . . 46
48 . . 6 10 . . . . . . . . . . . 62
52 . . 5 15 1 . . . . . . . . . . 83
56 . . 4 21 4 . . . . . . . . . . 112
60 . . 3 28 10 . . . . . . . . . . 153
64 . . 2 27 20 . . . . . . . . . . 202
68 . . 1 25 35 1 . . . . . . . . . 264
72 . . . 22 56 5 . . . . . . . . . 347
76 . . . 18 84 15 . . . . . . . . . 464
80 . . . 13 83 35 . . . . . . . . . 595
84 -1 . . 7 80 70 1 . . . . . . . . 752
88 . . . . 74 126 6 . . . . . . . . 958
92 . . . . 64 210 21 . . . . . . . . 1,253
96 . . . . 49 209 56 . . . . . . . . 1,567
100 . -1 . . 28 205 126 1 . . . . . . . 1,926
# yrs orig. indiv.
(age 16)
2nd gen.
individual(s)
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ACCUM.

TOT.
104 . -1 . . . 195 252 7 . . . . . . . 2,379
108 . -1 . . . 175 462 28 . . . . . . . 3,043
112 . -1 . . . 140 461 84 . . . . . . . 3,727
116 . -1 . . . 84 456 210 1 . . . . . . 4,477
120 . -1 -1 . . . 441 462 8 . . . . . . 5,386
124 . -1 -2 . . . 406 924 36 . . . . . . 6,749
128 . . -3 . . . 336 923 120 . . . . . . 8,125
132 . . -4 . . . 210 917 330 1 . . . . . 9,579
136 . . -5 -1 . . . 896 792 9 . . . . . 11,270
140 . . -6 -3 . . . 840 1,716 45 . . . . . 13,862
144 . . -7 -6 . . . 714 1,715 165 . . . . . 16,443
148 . . -6 -10 . . . 462 1,708 495 1 . . . . 19,093
152 . . -5 -15 -1 . . . 1,680 1,287 10 . . . . 22,049
156 . . -4 -21 -4 . . . 1,596 3,003 55 . . . . 26,674
160 . . -3 -28 -10 . . . 1,386 3,002 220 . . . . 31,241
164 . . -2 -27 -20 . . . 924 2,994 715 1 . . . 35,826
168 . . -1 -25 -35 -1 . . . 2,958 2,002 11 . . . 40,735
172 . . . -22 -56 -5 . . . 2,838 5,005 66 . . . 48,561
176 . . . -18 -84 -15 . . . 2,508 5,004 286 . . . 56,242
180 . . . -13 -83 -35 . . . 1,716 4,995 1,001 1 . . 63,824
184 . . . -7 -80 -70 -1 . . . 4,950 3,003 12 . . 71,631
188 . . . . -74 -126 -6 . . . 4,785 8,008 78 . . 84,296
192 . . . . -64 -210 -21 . . . 4,290 8,007 364 . . 96,662
196 . . . . -49 -209 -56 . . . 3,003 7,997 1,365 1 . 108,714
200 . . . . -28 -205 -126 -1 . . . 7,942 4,368 13 . 120,677
204 . . . . . -195 -252 -7 . . . 7,772 12,376 91 . 140,412
208 . . . . . -175 -462 -28 . . . 7,007 12,375 455 . 159,584
212 . . . . . -140 -461 -84 . . . 5,005 12,364 1,820 1 178,089
216 . . . . . -84 -456 -210 . . . . 12,298 6,188 14 195,838
AVG # DESCENDANTS PER INDIVIDUAL IN 216 YEARS = 195,838
PLAUSIBLE # ISRAELITES @ EXODUS (YR 215) =

195,838 X 12 (MINIMUM # ISRAELITE MALE DESCENDANTS OF JACOB OF CHILD BEARING AGE WHO ARRIVED IN EGYPT ) =
2,350,056

A cont.) (Acts 7:17-19) AS THE TIME OF GOD'S PROMISE OF ISRAEL'S 400 YEARS OF AFFLICTION IN A FOREIGN LAND WAS DRAWING NEAR TO ITS END, THE POPULATION OF ISRAEL HAD MULTIPLIED TO A GREAT NUMBER. THIS WAS IN THE TIME OF ANOTHER KING OF EGYPT WHO HAD NOT KNOWN JOSEPH. THIS KING DEALT TREACHEROUSLY WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WITH EVER INCREASING OPPRESSION AND INFANTICIDE, (cont.)

(Acts 7:17 YLT) "And according as the time of the promise was drawing nigh, which God did swear to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, (Acts 7:18 YLT) till another king rose, who had not known Joseph; (Acts 7:19 NKJV) This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them [cast out] their babies, so that they might not live." = (cont.)

Note the LORD's promise to Abram that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land and be in bondage for four hundred years, but after that they would come out of that land and serve the LORD in the promised land, to which Stephen referred in Acts 7:6-7. This included Israel coming out "with great possessions," (cf. Gen 15:14 quoted above), (Acts 7:17).

Whereupon Stephen testified to the Sanhedrin court that the prosperity of Israel in Egypt continued: (Acts 7:18 YLT) " 'till another king arose who did not know Joseph. (Acts 7:19 NKJV) This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them [cast out] their babies, so that they may not live." Hence many were killed by being cast into in the Nile river.

9) [Compare Ex 1:8-22]:

(Ex 1:8 NKJV) "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

[This statement implies that the new king was not closely connected with the previous Pharaoh, for Joseph's accomplishments in Egypt were legendary. This evidently implies that the rulers of Egypt were most likely not Egyptian. Hence the new king was most likely one of the Hyksos kings who descended from Semitic foreign invaders. They did not use Egyptian hieroglyphic writing on their scarabs. They, like the Israelites, were Semites. They ruled over Egypt for a time, c. 1730-1570 B.C., and would not know of Joseph being a Jew had died earlier. The Hyksos kings controlled Egypt by a military force which was much smaller in numbers than the native population - including the Hebrews, causing Pharaoh's hostility toward the growing population of the Hebrews stipulated in the next two verses - a perceived threat to his rulership.

a) [Compare Ps 78:12-13]:

(Ps 78:12 NKJV) "Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt,in the field of Zoan."

Note that Zoan is the famous Egyptian city of Tanis, built by the Hyksos about 1700 B.C. which indicates that a Hyksos king was ruler of Egypt at the time of Moses and the Exodus]

(Ex 1:9 NKJV) And he said to his people, 'Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;

(Ex 1:10 NKJV) come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.'

(Ex 1:11 NKJV) Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.

[Pharaoh was motivated in preserving his own power as well as in Israel's brick production and building program. He was most likely one of the Hyksos kings who ruled over Egypt via a military occupation force that was not as large as the native Egyptian or Israelite population. Hence he was paranoid about the rapidly growing Hebrew population joining forces in an uprising or invasion force. The word "afflict" in verse 11 implies forced labor for the Israelites in the Nile River delta where Pithom and Raamses were located. This cruel and deadly oppression of a people was and is common all over the ancient and present day world in order to reduce them as a threat to the ruling powers - especially a large group of people. On the other hand, the people were a valuable resource as forced labor to build fortifications and supply cities such as Pithom and Ramses, (ref. Ex 1:11)]

(Ex 1:12 NKJV) But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.

(Ex 1:13 NKJV) So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor [in the sense of being harsh toward them].

(Ex 1:14 NKJV) And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage - in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.

[But the greater the affliction, the more the Israelite population increased; which in turn caused the rulers of Egypt to dread the Israelites' turning against them in battle, causing an even greater and more oppressive workload on the people of Israel]

(Ex 1:15 NKJV) Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah;

[This king was probably not one of the Hysksos kings who descended from foreign invaders and ruled over Egypt for a time, (c. 1730-1570 B.C.); but Thutmose (c. 1539-1514 B.C.), who continued the abusive enslavement of the Israelites of his predecessors. This new pharaoh, although native Egyptian, was just as disturbed by the rapid population growth of the Hebrew colony as the Hyksos rulers were. Hence they persecuted them even more - especially in light of having been oppressed themselves by the Hyksos foreigners, and finally were able to oust them. Furthermore, Egyptians had been increasingly hostile toward the Hebrews since they arrived in Egypt in Joseph's time, centuries earlier largely due to religious and cultural differences, (cf. Gen 43:32; 46:34 ). The Hebrews so far as they were concerned were despicable blasphemers of their gods]

(Ex 1:16 NKJV) and he said, 'When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.'

[The Egyptian king resorted to infanticide by attempting to get the Israelite midwives to murder newborn males. The two women named Shiphrah and Puah - Semitic, and not Egyptian names - were evidently the administrators of all of the midwives of Israel. The context implies that the midwives were largely if not all Jewish, for they are described as fearing the God of Israel, (cf. Ex 1:17, 21). For when they all refused to kill the newborn male babies, Pharaoh intimated in verse 22 that he would use his own people, Egyptians, to carry out the infanticide of Israelite newborn male babies]

(Ex 1:17 NKJV) But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.

(Ex 1:18 NKJV) So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, 'Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?'

(Ex 1:19 NKJV) And the midwives said to Pharaoh, 'Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.'

(Ex 1:20 NKJV) Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.

(Ex 1:21 NKJV) And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.

[But the midwives did not obey the king's instructions. Verse 17 declared that they feared God, implying that they were most likely Israelite, and acted accordingly: they did not murder any newborn males. And when the king questioned them, they made the excuse that the Israelite women were so "lively" that they gave birth before the midwives could get to them. This implies that everyone of the newborn male children was hidden from the midwives before they could get there, hence none of them could be killed. Their answer to the king, however, was suspicious because it was wholly inadequate in explaining their massive failure to not kill even one male newborn - maintaining that they were late at every single birth, missing every birth to the extent that every newborn male child was successfully hidden from them before they got there. Yet no punishment was forthcoming from the king. God evidently protected and "dealt well" with the midwives, providing households for them - an extra ordinary thing for women in those times - implying that they were blessed with children as well, (Ex 1:17-20)]

(Ex 1:22 NKJV) So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, 'Every son who is born[a] you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.' "

So the king of Egypt ordered all of his people - all those living in Egypt - to cast newborn Jewish males into the River Nile. So even the parents of newborn sons were ordered to be put to death or they would be themselves put to death, (Acts 7:18-19).

B) (Acts 7:20-29) AT THE TIME OF ISRAEL'S GREAT PERSECUTION IN EGYPT BY A KING WHO HAD NOT KNOWN JOSEPH, MOSES WAS BORN. HE WAS BROUGHT UP IN HIS FATHER'S HOUSE FOR THREE MONTHS; AND THEN, FINDING HIM EXPOSED OUT ON THE NILE BY MOSES' MOTHER'S DESIGN AND THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD; THE DAUGHTER OF PHAROAH FOUND HIM, TOOK HIM UP AND REARED HIM AS HER SON. AND MOSES WAS INSTRUCTED IN ALL THE WISDOM OF THE EGYPTIANS AND WAS MIGHTY IN WORDS AND DEEDS. WHEN HE WAS FORTY, IT CAME UPON HIS HEART TO LOOK AFTER HIS BRETHREN, THE SONS OF ISRAEL. OUT OF VENGEANCE, HE KILLED AN EGYPTIAN WHO WAS PERSECUTING AN ISRAELITE. MOSES THOUGHT THAT HIS BRETHREN UNDERSTOOD HIS MOTIVE OF GIVING THEM DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT'S OPPRESSION, BUT THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT. AND SO THE NEXT DAY, WHEN MOSES INTERVENED BETWEEN TWO FIGHTING ISRAELITES THEY DENIED THAT HE WAS APPOINTED RULER OVER THEM, AND CONFRONTED HIM WITH HIS KILLING OF THE EGYPTIAN AS IF MOSES WOULD KILL THEM TOO. KNOWING THAT HIS MURDEROUS ACTION WAS SO WELL KNOWN, MOSES FLED EGYPT AND BECAME A DWELLER IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, WHERE HE HAD TWO SONS

(Acts 7:20 NKJV) "At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months. (Acts 7:21 YLT) and he having been exposed, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up, and did rear him to herself for a son; (Acts 7:22 NKJV) And Moses was [instructed] in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Acts 7:23 YLT) And when forty years were [being] fulfilled to him, it came upon his heart to look after his brethren, the sons of Israel; (Acts 7:24 NKJV) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, [having] struck down the Egyptian. (Acts 7:24 YLT) And having seen a certain one suffering injustice, he defended and [wrought vengeance for] the oppressed [one], having smitten the Egyptian; (Acts 7:25 YLT) and he was supposing his brethren to understand that God through his hand [is giving] them [temporal] salvation [in the sense of deliverance from their enslavement]; and they did not understand. (Acts 7:26 NKJV) And the next day he appeared to [two of] them ... fighting, and [urged] them [to peace], [having said], 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' (Acts 7:27 YLT) and he who is doing injustice to the [neighbor], did [push him away], [having said], Who [appointed you] ruler and ... judge over us? (Acts 7:28 NASB) 'You do not [wish] to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?' (Acts 7:29 NKJV) Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller [lit., stranger] in the land of Midian, where he had two sons." =

Stephen then declared, (Acts 7:20 NKJV) "At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months."

[Stephen testified that Moses' birth was "well pleasing to God," in the sense that God having decreed Moses' birth as part of His sovereign plan to deliver Israel from Egypt unto the Promised Land, was pleased in the fulfillment of this part of His plan. This is not to say that Moses was imbued with intrinsic characteristics that merited the pleasure of God]

(Acts 7:21 YLT) "And he having been exposed, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up, and did rear him to herself for a son; (Acts 7:22 NKJV) And Moses was [instructed] in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds."

Note what verse 22 stipulates about Moses being mighty in words and deeds is not directly corrobortated in Old Testament Scripture; but it is logical to conclude that Moses as a member of the royal family of Egypt - Pharaoh's grandson - would receive the best education and would be given opportunities to speak mighty words and perform mighty deeds. And this was corroborated by Moses' interaction with an Egyptian slave driver and two Israelites who were fighting, fighting off a group of shepherds in Midian, and especially with a future Pharaoh when he and his brother repeatedly argued effectively with that Pharaoh to let his people go.

1) [Complete Biblical Library Commentary]:

"Josephus states (Antiquities of the Jews ii, 10) that Moses served as a very successful commander of the Egyptian army, repelling the invading Ethiopians, and finally, with the connivance of an Ethiopian princess named Tharbis (who had fallen in love with this dashing warrior, Moses), succeeded in storming the capital city of the Ethiopians called Saba. Josephus adds that he in fact married Tharbis and took her back north with him after the campaign was over. (This is probably the “Cushite woman” referred to in Num. 12:1 as a matter of complaint on the part of Miriam and Aaron. It is certain that Moses did not take her with him when he had to flee from Egypt, as related in Exodus chapter 2)."

2) [Compare Ex 2:1-12]:

(Ex 2:1 NKJV) "And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi.

(Ex 2:2 NKJV) So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.

[Note that Moses was born of the house of Levi - who would become the priests of Israel. He was evidently a beautiful child, well pleasing in appearance which would have been favorable in the eyes of Pharaoh's daughter, (v. 6). This pleasing appearance motivated Moses' mother to hide her baby son for three months to avoid having him put to death and risking herself and her husband being put to death. Note that Moses was not firsborn - Miriam, Moses' sister was born before him, and Aaron was 3 years older, (cf. Ex 6:20, 7:7, 15:20]

(Ex 2:3 NKJV) But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank.

[Moses' mother Jochebed, (cf. 6:20), could no longer hide Moses; for he would eventually be discovered by someone and be thrown into the Nile River to drown - putting her and her husband's lives in jeopardy. So she waterproofed an ark - a chest made of bulrushes and laid her son in it and placed it on the water in the reeds by the river bank where it might be discovered and perhaps cared for by someone - perhaps, and most likely an Egyptian woman. This was a desperate move in the hopes that it would result in her son's survival]

(Ex 2:4 NKJV) And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

[Jochebed sent Moses' older sister, Miriam, (Ex 15:20), to watch over Moses, evidently with the intent of somehow finding a way to preserve his life]

(Ex 2:5 NKJV) Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it.

(Ex 2:6 NKJV) And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, 'This is one of the Hebrews' children.'

[When Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river to bathe, and as she walked among the reeds along the bank with her maidens, she saw the ark among the reeds, and sent a maid to retrieve it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, whereupon he wept. She had compassion for him and noted aloud that it was a Hebrew child - evidently recognizing that he was circumcized]

(Ex 2:7 NKJV) Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, 'Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?'

[At the moment that Pharaoh's daughter discovered baby Moses on the Nile, Miriam came up to Pharaoh's daughter and offered to provide someone (Moses' mother), to take the child in and nurse him until he was ready for Pharaoh's daughter to take him into her family. Hence through the efforts of herself and her daughter Miriam, Moses' mother, Jochebed, was reunited with her child, by the grace and purpose of God. Note that Pharaoh's daughter was probably the daughter of Thutmose I, Hatshepsut. She was a princess in her twenties. Whoever this woman was, she took a great risk in deciding to raise the Hebrew baby Moses which was against her father's decree and law to have all Jewish male babies killed, or suffer the penalty of death oneself]

(Ex 2:8 NKJV) And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Go.' So the maiden went and called the child's mother.

(Ex 2:9 NKJV) Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.' So the woman took the child and nursed him.

(Ex 2:10 NKJV) And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, 'Because I drew him out of the water.' "

So Moses' mother raised him in his earliest years, then he was returned to Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him as a member of the royal family and raised him as her son. She named him "Moses," (Egyptian spelling = "Musa", lit., "son of water"). In view of the fact that Pharaoh's daughter was Egyptian and she had broken the law by adopting a Hebrew new born boy, the name was most likely of Egyptian origin so that it would not advertise the boy's origin and put him in harm's way. Verse 10 stipulated that the princess named the boy "Moses" because "I drew him out of the water."]

(Acts 7:20-22).

B cont.) (Acts 7:20-29 cont.) AT THE TIME OF ISRAEL'S GREAT PERSECUTION IN EGYPT BY A KING WHO HAD NOT KNOWN JOSEPH, MOSES WAS BORN. HE WAS BROUGHT UP IN HIS FATHER'S HOUSE FOR THREE MONTHS; AND THEN, FINDING HIM EXPOSED OUT ON THE NILE BY MOSES' MOTHER'S DESIGN AND THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD; THE DAUGHTER OF PHAROAH FOUND HIM, TOOK HIM UP AND REARED HIM AS HER SON. AND MOSES WAS INSTRUCTED IN ALL THE WISDOM OF THE EGYPTIANS AND WAS MIGHTY IN WORDS AND DEEDS. WHEN HE WAS FORTY, IT CAME UPON HIS HEART TO LOOK AFTER HIS BRETHREN, THE SONS OF ISRAEL. OUT OF VENGEANCE, HE KILLED AN EGYPTIAN WHO WAS PERSECUTING AN ISRAELITE. MOSES THOUGHT THAT HIS BRETHREN UNDERSTOOD HIS MOTIVE OF GIVING THEM DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT'S OPPRESSION, BUT THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT. AND SO THE NEXT DAY, WHEN MOSES INTERVENED BETWEEN TWO FIGHTING ISRAELITES THEY DENIED THAT HE WAS APPOINTED RULER OVER THEM, AND CONFRONTED HIM WITH HIS KILLING OF THE EGYPTIAN AS IF MOSES WOULD KILL THEM TOO. KNOWING THAT HIS MURDEROUS ACTION WAS SO WELL KNOWN, MOSES FLED EGYPT AND BECAME A DWELLER IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, WHERE HE HAD TWO SONS, (cont.)

(Acts 7:20 NKJV) "At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months. (Acts 7:21 YLT) and he having been exposed, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up, and did rear him to herself for a son; (Acts 7:22 NKJV) And Moses was [instructed] in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Acts 7:23 YLT) And when forty years were [being] fulfilled to him, it came upon his heart to look after his brethren, the sons of Israel; (Acts 7:24 NKJV) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, [having] struck down the Egyptian. (Acts 7:24 YLT) And having seen a certain one suffering injustice, he defended and [wrought vengeance for] the oppressed [one], having smitten the Egyptian; (Acts 7:25 YLT) and he was supposing his brethren to understand that God through his hand [is giving] them [temporal] salvation [in the sense of deliverance from their enslavement]; and they did not understand. (Acts 7:26 NKJV) And the next day he appeared to [two of] them ... fighting, and [urged] them [to peace], [having said], 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' (Acts 7:27 YLT) and he who is doing injustice to the [neighbor], did [push him away], [having said], Who [appointed you] ruler and ... judge over us? (Acts 7:28 NASB) 'You do not [wish] to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?' (Acts 7:29 NKJV) Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller [lit., stranger] in the land of Midian, where he had two sons," (cont.) =

Stephen's testimony then moved to when Moses was 40. Stephen said, (Acts 7:23 YLT) "And when forty years were [being] fulfilled to him, it came upon his heart to look after his brethren, the sons of Israel;

[Stephen implied that Moses' mindset supposed that fellow Israelites would understand that God was working through him to provide their deliverance from Egyptian oppression. Moses' actions corroborate Stephen's supposition about him. Scripture also confirms this, (cf. Ex 3:1-10)]:

(Acts 7:24 NKJV) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, [having] struck down the Egyptian. (Acts 7:24 YLT) And having seen a certain one suffering injustice, he defended and [wrought vengeance for] the oppressed [one], having smitten the Egyptian; (Acts 7:25 YLT) and he was supposing his brethren to understand that God through his hand [is giving] them [temporal] salvation [in the sense of deliverance from their enslavement]; and they did not understand. (Acts 7:26 NKJV) And the next day he appeared to [two of] them ... fighting, and [urged] them [to peace], [having said], 'Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?' (Acts 7:27 YLT) and he who is doing injustice to the [neighbor], did [push him away], [having said], Who [appointed you] ruler and ... judge over us? (Acts 7:28 NASB) 'You do not [wish] to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?'

[Moses attempted to protect a fellow Israelite from an Egyptian's persecution and ended up killing the Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand, hoping his deed would go unnoticed by the Egyptians. He thought that his motivation to help the beleagured Israelite would prompt a positive note with all Israelites that he was on their side. But when he intervened between two Israelites who were fighting each other, the Israelites were not ready to let Moses lead them out of capitivity; rather they accused him of murdering the Egyptian, and of being potentially violent toward them. So Moses feared that the word of his murdering the Egyptian was widespread and fled for his life into the desert into the land of Midian where he lived for 40 years and had two sons, (Ex 2:11-14)]:

(Acts 7:29 NKJV) Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller [lit., stranger] in the land of Midian, where he had two sons."

3) [Compare Ex 2:11-25]:

(Ex 2:11 NKJV) 'Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

[By this time, Moses, being grown, (about 40 years old, ((cf. Acts 7:22)), was highly educated, evidently able to speak fluent Egyptian and Hebrew as succeeding verses corroborate, (cf. 2:13-14). The use of the phrase "one of his brethren" implies that Moses knew of his Jewish origins and was motivated to see about the injustices toward his people, even help them in some way]

(Ex 2:12 NKJV) So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand,

[It is evident that Moses was aware of violating Egyptian law, if not his conscience for premeditated murder. For "he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand." His action reflected his impetuosity - for he deliberately killed the Egyptian without attempting something less than murder to resolve the situation.]

(Ex 2:13 NKJV) And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, 'Why are you striking your companion?'

(Ex 2:14 NKJV) Then he said, 'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' So Moses feared and said, 'Surely this thing is known!'

[Moses attempted to protect a fellow Israelite from an Egyptian's persecution; but he deliberately killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand, hoping his deed would go unnoticed by the Egyptians. He thought that his motivation to help the beleagured Israelite would prompt a positive note with his fellow Israelites that he was on their side. But when he intervened between two Israelites who were fighting each other, the Israelites were not ready to let Moses lead them out of capitivity. Rather they accused him of murdering the Egyptian, and of being potentially violent toward them. Moses' meddling in their business, confronting them in such a bold way backfired. Furthermore, it was evident that Moses' killing of the Egyptian was widely known that Moses rightly feared for his life, (cf. Ex 2:15); and so he had to flee for his life. He went into the desert into the land of Midian, where he lived for 40 years, was married and had two sons]:

(Ex 2:15 NKJV) When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

[When Pharaoh heard of what Moses did, he sought to kill him. But Moses fled from Egypt eastward, and came to dwell in the land of Midian, in the southeastern Sinai desert on the coast of the Gulf of Aqabah, which differed greatly from the land of Egypt and Goshen. Moses could no longer cherish the notion of personal greatness because of his upbringing by Pharaoh's daughter in the royal family; nor could he be able to utilize his superior, royal education; nor could he capitalize on his military competence - having led an Egyptian army to victory over Ethiopian forces, (). Moses was in exile, a fugitive who was being pursued by Egypt for murdering an Egyptian. He faced having to remain as a nobody for the rest of his life, with no prospects of a better future.

(Ex 2:16 NKJV) Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father's flock.

(Ex 2:17 NKJV) Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

[It is interesting to note that Moses still was quick to take action in the light of injustice before him]

(Ex 2:18 NKJV) When they came to Reuel their father, he said, 'How is it that you have come so soon today?'

(Ex 2:19 NKJV) And they said, 'An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.'

[Note that Moses' attire was Egyptian]

(Ex 2:20 NKJV) So he said to his daughters, 'And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.

(Ex 2:21 NKJV) Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses.

(Ex 2:22 NKJV) And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, 'I have been a stranger in a foreign land.'

[Note that Moses' son's name "Gershom," which means "lonely stranger," reflected Moses being alienated in a land that was foreign to him]

(Ex 2:23 NKJV) Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.

[Note that when the king of Egypt died, the charges against Moses would have been dropped, according to Egyptian custom, (cf. Ex 4:19)]

(Ex 2:24 NKJV) So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

(Ex 2:25 NKJV) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them,"

[During Moses' 40 years spent in Midian, the Israelites continued to suffer persecution at the hands of the Egyptians. But "God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham," [Gen 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:3-8)] with Isaac, [Gen 17:21] and with Jacob, (Gen 35:10-12). "And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them," in the sense of intending to intervene on their behalf and fulfill His covenental promises to them. He would preserve and deliver them unto the Promised Land, (cf. Ex 3:7-9) (Ex 2:23-25)] ................................................................................. (Acts 7:23-29).

C) (Acts 7:30-36) STEPHEN RECALLED THAT AFTER MOSES HAD SPENT 40 YEARS IN MIDIAN - IN THE WILDERNESS OF MT. SINAI, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD - GOD - APPEARED TO HIM IN A BURNING BUSH ON THE MOUNTAIN THAT WAS NOT CONSUMED BY THE FIRE. AS MOSES DREW NEAR TO THE BUSH, THE VOICE OF THE LORD CAME TO HIM SAYING, "I AM THE GOD OF THY FATHERS; THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB." THIS TERRIFIED MOSES AND CAUSED HIM TO LOOK AWAY. WHEREUPON STEPHEN RECALLED THAT THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, "LOOSE THE SANDAL OF THY FEET, FOR THE PLACE IN WHICH YOU HAVE STOOD IS HOLY GROUND. I HAVE SURELY SEEN THE AFFLICTION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT, AND THEIR GROANING I DID HEAR, AND CAME DOWN TO DELIVER THEM; AND NOW I COME AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT." STEPHEN COMMENTED, "THIS MOSES, WHOM THEY [THE ISRAELITES] REJECTED WHEN THEY SAID, 'WHO APPOINTED YOU RULER AND JUDGE' THIS ONE GOD SENT AS A RULER AND A REDEEMER BY MEANS OF THE ANGEL WHO APPEARED TO HIM IN THE BUSH. THIS ONE LED THEM OUT, HAVING DONE WONDERS AND SIGNS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND IN THE RED SEA AND IN THE WILDERNESS FORTY YEARS" =

(Acts 7:30 YLT) "And forty years having been fulfilled, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai [an Angel] of the LORD, in a flame of fire of a bush, (Acts 7:31 YLT) and Moses having seen did wonder at the sight; and he drawing near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord unto him, (Acts 7:32 YLT) I [am] the God of [your] fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses having become terrified, [did not dare to behold], (Acts 7:33 YLT) and the Lord said to him, 'Loose the sandal of [your] feet, for the place in which [you have stood] is holy ground; (Acts 7:34 YLT) I have [surely] seen the affliction of My people ... in Egypt, and their groaning I did hear, and came down to deliver them; and now come, I will send [you] to Egypt. (Acts 7:35 HOLMAN) This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, 'Who appointed you ... ruler and ... judge?' - this one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the Angel Who appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:36 YLT) This one [Moses] [led them out], having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years." =

The Jews of Stephen's time venerated Moses the Redeemer, the Law and ancient Israel in her wilderness days. This veneration had in view an unrealistically idealized viewpoint of all three that was not scriptural. Hence they had a problem with Stephen's preaching which was inspired by God the Holy Spirit and therefore biblical, (ref Acts 6:10), whereby they accused Stephen of speaking blasphemous words "against Moses," (Acts 6:11); and "against the Law," (Acts 6:13).

1) [Compare Acts 6:8-14]:

(Acts 6:8 NKJV) "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

(Acts 6:9 NKJV) Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.

(Acts 6:10 NKJV) And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

(Acts 6:11 NKJV) Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God."

(Acts 6:12 NKJV) And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.

(Acts 6:13 NKJV) They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law;

(Acts 6:14 NKJV) for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us."

So in his trial before the Sanhedrin, (Acts 6:12), Stephen would argue three key points:

(1) Moses himself spoke of God's later raising up "a prophet like me," from among His people and for His people, which means therefore that Israel could not limit the revelation and redemption of God to Moses' precepts (vv. 37-38);

(2) Moses had been rejected by his own people - even threatened with being stoned to death - even though he was God's appointed redeemer. Stephen would allude to this same kind of treatment of Jesus of Nazareth, wherein the majority of the nation had refused Him, even though He was God's promised Messiah and Redeemer, (vv. 39-40) as Moses had referred to in Dt 18:15-16; and

(3) Despite the fact that Moses was with the ancient Israelites and despite the fact that the LORD had Moses present to them the word of the Law and the sacrificial system, the people fell into gross idolatry and rebelled against the LORD, (vv. 41-43).

Stephen stated in his summary account in Acts 7:30, "And forty years having been fulfilled there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai [an Angel] of the LORD, in a flame of fire of a bush."

Note that the phrase "Angel of the LORD" in Acts 7:30 is defined in the account of Moses in Scripture within the context of Acts 7:30 as the LORD Himself- a Person Who was at once identified as God yet also sent by God and therefore distinct from the Father - the preincarnate Jesus Christ , (cf. Ex 3:4; 16:9).

So forty years had passed from the time Moses, when he was 40, left Egypt and dwelt in Midian and encountered the LORD at Mt. Sinai. This would make him 80 years old. This is corroborated by Ex 7:7 which stipulates that Moses was 80 years old when he spoke to Pharaoh for the LORD for the first time. So Stephen indicated that an angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in the desert of Mount Sinai in the flame of fire in a thorn bush. Thereafter in Acts 7:31-35, the LORD would recruit Moses to represent the LORD, be sent to Egypt and deliver the children of Israel from their enslavement there unto the Promised Land, (Acts 7:30)]:

2) [Compare Ex 3:1-22 with Stephen's account in Acts chapter 7:30-35]:

(Ex 3:1 NKJV) ''''Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the Mountain of God.

[Note that the Mountain of God - Mt. Horeb (which means "desert"), is another name for Mt. Sinai, which is located in Arabia near Midian where Moses exiled himself, (cf. Gal 4:25) - the Mountain of God, i.e., the mountain in which God manifested His presence to Moses and Israel. Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, which means abundance or superiority, was previously named Reuel. Note that dual names were fairly common in the Semitic nomenclature - often one being a clan name; note Gideon/Jerubbaal, Solomon/Jedidiah, Jehoiachin/Jeconiah, and several others. Furthermore, there is implied that the name Jethro is a reflection of the prestige of now having a former member of Egyptian royalty, Moses, in his family]

(Ex 3:2 NKJV) And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.

[Note that the phrase "Angel of the LORD" in Ex 3:2 is defined as the LORD Himself, (cf. Ex 3:4; 16:9) - a Person Who was at once identified as God yet also sent by God and therefore distinct from the Father - the preincarnate Jesus Christ .

The phrases rendered "appeared to him," in Ex 3:2; Acts 7:30, and "he looked" in Ex 3:2, and "at the sight," in Acts 7:31 refer to an actual sighting with ones eyes, and an actual voice that Moses heard as Ex 3:1-2, and Acts 7:30-31 indicate, (Acts 7:30).

In Acts 7:32-33, Stephen continued to summarize the history of Moses' delivering of Israel from Egypt with the appearance of the burning bush on Mt. Horeb and the conversation that Moses had with Jehovah. Stephen's account is not intended to be in strict chronological sequence, for the Greek conjunction "de" rendered "and" does not demand that there be a chronological accounting. Hence there is no contradiction between the account in Exodus chapter 3 and Stephen's account relative to chronology as some contend. So Stephen said in Acts 7:32, "And Moses having seen did wonder at the sight; and he drawing near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord unto him, 'I [am] the God of [your] fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses having become terrified, [did not dare to behold], and the Lord said to him, 'Loose the sandal of [your] feet, for the place in which [you have stood] is holy ground.' "

This indicates that Moses knew the kind of God which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob served. Scripture does not stipulate how he knew, but a number of feasible options such as being educated by his mother whom Pharaoh's daughter put in charge of taking care of Moses.

So Moses drew near to the burning bush - not portrayed as a vision, but as an objective sight - a real appearance; and he heard the voice of the Angel of the LORD - of the LORD Himself - spoken to him, (Acts 7:31)

In the next verse, (Acts 7:32), the LORD announced Who He was too Moses: "I [am] the God of [your] fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." This announcement was conveyed in Scripture as an actual voice, not a figment of Moses' imagination. Stephen recounted that Moses had become terrified and dared not look upon what was before him from which came the voice of God, (Acts 7:32).

Furthermore, Stephen recounted that the LORD said to Moses, "Loose the [sandals] [singular in the collective sense, i.e., sandals] of [your] feet, for the place in which [you have stood] is holy ground" - for anywhere that the presence of God is manifested is holy ground, (Acts 7:33).

And then Stephen recounted that the LORD told Moses that He had surely seen [the phrase "I have seen" is literally repeated for emphasis hence the translation: "I have surely seen the affliction of His people in Egypt, and heard their groaning and came down to deliver them." So the LORD manifested His presence to deliver His people from Egyptian oppression, beginning with sending Moses to Egypt, evidently to manifest His presence upon all Egypt. So the LORD said to Moses, "And now come, I will send you to Egypt," [indicative mood with a sense of persuasion].

Note that other manuscripts have the verb "Let me send you into Egypt," [subjunctive mood], which amounts to the same thing, for Moses was given a choice as the Hebrew text will indicate, (Acts 7:34).

Compare the Exodus account to what Stephen said in Acts 7:32-34:

(Ex 3:3 NKJV) Then Moses said, '''I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.'''

(Ex 3:4 NKJV) So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, '''Moses, Moses!''' And he said, '''Here I am.'''

[So God made His presence known on earth to a single, relatively unimportant individual, Moses, via a sign of a burning bush. It was a form from nature that would be recognizable to Moses; yet supernatural because the bush was on fire but was not being consumed by the fire, as verses 2 & 3 stipulate.

Almighty God, Creator of the universe took note of a single, relatively unimportant individual on the face of the earth, Moses; and chose to use a relatively insignificant bush, and caused it to burn without being consumed in order to get his attention and proceed to persuade Moses to join with Him in His plan to deliver Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land: Moses was to lead 2 1/2 million oppressed slaves out of the hand of the most powerful nation on earth.

When Moses saw the bush by the light of its fire, he was drawn to its light especially because it was not being consumed by the fire. This supernatural sign pointed to the God, the Creator of all creation, Who was evidencing control over His creation. This miraculous event authenticated to Moses that Almighty God was speaking - the purpose of miracles throughout history and as reported in Scripture. This was not a natural phenomena, as some contend.

So the great Almighty God, Creator of the universe, presented Himself to him, in a manner which would best peak Moses' attention and curiosity

It is interesting to note that God did not appear to Moses as one of the gods that man's imagination has conjured up over the ages - characterized by arrogance, deceitfulness, grandiose power, and unrighteous demands for sacrifice. For the LORD God chose an insignificant lowly mountain slope in the Arabian wilderness near Midian to appear before a single, lowly man, now 80 years old, who had been in exile for 40 years without any hope of a life of significance]

(Ex 3:5 NKJV) Then He [the LORD] said [to Moses], '''Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.'''

[Before God declared to Moses Who He was, He said to him, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." He said this evidently to set a tone of deep respect and worship within Moses - to establish that God was separate and distinct from creation and mortal men. Note that it was not the ground itself that was holy by its nature, but because of the presence of God Himself. Consequently that particular ground was holy, i.e., "set apart," for the manifestation of a Holy God to Moses, (Ex 3:4-5)]

(Ex 3:6 NKJV) Moreover He said, '''I am the God of your father - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.''' And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

[The LORD then declared to Moses "I am the God of your father [singular - in the sense of referring to Abraham, the one man of promise through whom the many were to receive the eternal blessing of God ] - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."

God made it clear here that He is - not He was - the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; implying that they all have a continued existence after death. For God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Whereupon Moses hid his face; for the verse stipulated that he was afraid to look upon God. This implied that Moses did believe in the God of Israel to the extent of fearful reverance and worship. Despite his being raised as an Egyptian, Moses evidently learned about the God Whom Israel worshipped, evidently from his mother who was assigned to take care of him, (cf. Ex 2:1-10; 3:15-16; 4:5; 33:11, 20).

So Stephen indicated that the LORD said to Moses that He had seen the affliction - the oppression - of His people and had heard their groaning and came down to deliver them from that oppression. Although the LORD is omnipresent, this implies a recognized presence by the peoples of the earth. And the LORD told Moses that He would send him to Egypt to deliver Israel as His representative]:

(Ex 3:7 NKJV) And the LORD said: '''I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.

[God then declared to Moses, "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows," (cf. Ex 2:24). Note that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, formerly a family, have become so numerous that they are now referred to as the people of the LORD. The Israelites' cries were evidently made out to the LORD. Note that the descriptions of God seeing, hearing and knowing are not limitations of His capacity which is infinite; they serve to indicate that God cares and does choose to closely observe and follow the stream of human events, and will intervene according to His will]

(Ex 3:8 NKJV So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

[The LORD announced to Moses that He has "come down to deliver them," [lit., to save him - 3rd person masculine singular], referring to the people of Israel. The phrase rendered "come down" does not demand a multi-decked universe, as some contend. Since God is omnipresent, it simply conveys the idea of God manifesting His presence upon the earth in a manner which would bring about Israel's deliverance [conveyed in the collective singular masculine] from "the hand of the Egyptians" by divine intervention - by the hand of the LORD - unto the Promised Land - "a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites."

Note that the destination of the Israelites was described as a "Large land," "flowing with milk and honey" in the sense of being ideal pastureland for herding animals such as goats, cows, sheep, etc.; and bees making honey. The people dwelling in the land were named as Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites; which provides a specific geographical location of that land by virtue of historical and archeological evidence. For these peoples occupied the Promised Land in Moses' time, as well as other peoples, (cf. Gen 10:15-18; 15:18-21; Dt 7:1; Josh 3:10; 11:3; 24:11).

Note that six of the seven powerful nations in Canaan were named, bringing to mind the implication that these nations will not just move over or leave the land to make room for Israel. They neither moved aside nor move out the first time Abraham and his descendants were in the land of Canaan. But Almighty God's plan implied that He would utilize His supernatural capacity so that Israel would take over by force and occupy the land as God promised. This is not to say that God is unrighteous in forcing the peoples of Canaan out of their land, as some contend. Scripture reveals that their fate would not be undeserving, (Gen 15:16; Lev 18ff; Dt 9:4-5; Josh 9:1-2; 11:1-5]

(Ex 3:9 NKJV) Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

[Once more, for emphasis, "Yahweh," the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob repeated to Moses, "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them." Notice that Almighty God is endeavoring to persuade Moses of His concern and intent to deliver His children from Egypt's oppression.

For the people of Egypt, their time had come for God's judgment. Their power and riches were unsurpassed in the world; but their greatness had been achieved through brutality and ruthlessness in multiple military campaigns and in massive, deadly, vicious enslavement of whole groups of people - among them the people of God, Israel.

Compare what the Hebrew text has in Exodus chapter 3:

(Ex 3:10 NKJV) Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.'''

[God said to Moses in a gentle, coaxing but persuasive manner, "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel out of Egypt. Notice that God was not commanding but requesting that Moses decide to go to Egypt and bring Israel out - a formidable task that required absolute trust in the Absolute Power of the LORD God - Jehovah Elohim.

So God was kind to and patient with Moses, whom He had chosen before the world began to encourage him to decide to work with Him. God began by telling Moses Who He is: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and of His chosen people, Israel - the God of the living. His mode was carefully and patiently instructive - acknowledging and explaining with great empathy, the plight of His chosen people; and His intention of delivering them from Egypt unto the Promised Land. He encouraged Moses to participate in His plan of divine intervention to rescue Israel. He spoke to Moses in a gracious manner, encouraging Moses to trust in Him and thereby obey His commands. Moses was an 80 year old murder fugitive from Egypt who had no prospects of being up to the task of compelling the powerful, arrogant brutal ruler of the world's most powerful nation to allow him to lead the entire 2 million+ Israelite race out of Egypt and into the Promised Land; where there would be no shortage of conflict with numerable powerful peoples who would not welcome them. Yet that is who God chose for the task from the beginning of the world.

Note that Moses fell short of bringing Israel into the Promised Land. God used others to complete that part of His mission, (cf. Dt 32:48-52), (Ex 3:10)]

(Ex 3:11 NKJV) But Moses said to God, '''Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'''

[Despite the magnificent and awesome Personality of God and the gracious manner in which He approached and conducted Himself with Moses, declaring that He would send Moses to Pharaoh and enable him to bring God's people, Israel, out of Egypt; nevertheless Moses responded abruptly to God with an astonishing, perhaps sarcastic rebuttal - his first complaint about God's plan to deliver Israel: "Who.am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring children of Israel out of Egypt?" The idiomatic expression of the Near East, "Who am I," stressed the magnitude of the inequity between the agent and the mission. Moses was fearful of the consequences of failure in attempting to accomplish what the LORD proposed - lacking faith in God's capacity to fulfill His mission through him. Moses opted out from serving God not wanting to participate in bringing the children of Israel - his own people, out of Egypt, despite his strong feelings of empathy for the plight of his people. Moses' confidence in himself when he killed the Egyptian and confronted to the two Israelites who were fighting each other was gone. His statement to God was a declaration that he was not the man to do the job - implying a lack of ability and authority. Furthermore, he evidently did not trust in the capacity of Almighty God to complete His mission through him. It is interesting to note that Moses did not think to ask the LORD how He intended to manage the movement of millions of people out of Egypt with Moses in charge]

(Ex 3:12 NKJV) So He [the LORD] said, '''I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.'''

[On the other hand, Almighty God's answer was incredibly kind, gentle, assuring and encouraging - full of grace: "I will certainly be with you [masc., singular]. And this shall be a sign to you [singular] that I have sent you [singular = Moses]: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you [plural = Moses and all the people of Israel] shall serve God on this mountain," [referring to Mt Horeb / Sinai. So to insure success, God promised to be with Moses the whole way. And God prophesied that when he has brought the people out of Egypt, Moses and all Israel would serve Him, including their worship of Him on Mt. Horeb (Sinai) - that would be a sign - a confirmatory sign, appealing to faith in the LORD, to Moses and the world of Almighty God's successful intervention for His people. Note that the phrase rendered, "And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you," does not refer to the sign of the burning bush, as some contend; for the "burning bush" does not logically connect as a sign of the delivering of the people of Israel to the whole world, which was yet future. God's declaration that Israel would serve the LORD on Mt. Horeb was the sign which verse 3:12 directly stipulated would be a sign of the completion of God's plan to deliver Israel from Egypt. So implied in Israel's deliverance by the LORD is God's key purpose that Moses and all Israel would worship Him on Mt. Horeb (Sinai).

After all of this, Moses was still not convinced that he should obey God and participate in God's plan]:

(Ex 3:13 NKJV) Then Moses said to God, '''Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?'''

[Moses' response - his second complaint about God's plan to deliver Israel gave little indication that he truly intended to be faithful and obedient. Despite the fact that Almighty God had been extraordinarily gracious and informative, Moses responded with a sense of doubt and wanting to delay his involvement if not disqualify himself: "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?'''

When Moses said to the LORD that the Israelites would ask him "What is His name?" it was not in the sense of asking "Who is this God Who has sent you to deliver us?" as if the Israelites did not know His name. For the book of Genesis repeatedly confirmed that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Him as God ("El" or "ElOhim"); and they knew Him as "Elyon" ("the Most High"); and they knew Him as "El Shaddai," (God Almighty) - all titles of God. As early as the time of Adam and Eve and their descendants, men called upon Him as Yahweh, God's Personal Name, (ref. Gen 2:4; 4:26). But Moses' question which he stipulated would be posed to him by the Israelites, "What is His name?" was to be a test of Moses' authenticity as God's appointed deliverer - to see if Moses actually knew Who God was relative to His character and the specific circumstances in which the people of Israel now found themselves: affliction and slavery under harsh Egyptian rule.

Note that their affliction was an indication that they were out of fellowship, i.e., out of touch with God relative to Who He was and His promise of deliverance from Egypt into the Promised Land, beginning when He made it with Abraham, (Gen 15:13); thereafter with Joseph when he was dying, (Gen 50:24-26]

(Ex 3:14 NKJV) And God said to Moses, '''I AM WHO I AM.''' And He said, '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you." '''

[The Hebrew phrases transliterated " 'ehyeh 'asEr 'ehyeh" and " 'ehyeh selAn 'alekEm" rendered "I Am Who I Am" and "I Am has sent me [Moses] to you [Israel]" respectively, is closely related to the word, "Yahweh," the most sacred name of God. This was that very special name of God which was used by the Hebrews alone. The name was used especially when it described God's relationship with His people, Israel; for example when He promised to redeem them and deliver them from Egyptian rule, (Gen 50:24; Ex 3:7-10, 17-22; 6:6), was faithful to them (Ex 34:5-7); and made a covenant with them, (Gen 15:18). In contrast to all the imaginary gods of the Gentiles, the LORD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, "Yahweh" which literally signifies "He is" or "He exists," is closely related to the form of the verb "hAyAh" ('to be'). This name conveys the sense of the eternal, self-existent One - the One and only One Who is eternal and uncreated. So the first part of God's answer to Moses' question in verse 13, ''I AM WHO I AM.''' And '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you." ''' was a play on the word "Yahweh," which conveys first and foremost the self existent One - His eternality. Implied in that meaning, is an affirmation that Yahweh is the Eternal One Who created all things - the One and only God.

Note that two of God's answers to Moses' questions in verse 13 were stipulated in verse 14, namely '''I AM WHO I AM,''' and '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you." ''' These answers were not evidence of the LORD's reluctance to disclose His name; nor were they some other kind of evasion, as some contend. God actually took the initiative to supply His name to Moses which had been revealed multiple times to humanity, as corroborated in Scripture hundreds of times beginning in Genesis chapter 2:

a) [Gen 2:1-4]:

(Gen 2:1 NKJV) "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

(Gen 2:2 NKJV) And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

(Gen 2:3 NKJV) The God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

(Gen 2:4 NKJV) This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God [Yahweh ElOhm] made the earth and the heavens."

The Hebrew syntatical construction of verse 14, is defined as "idem per idem," i.e., the same root with the same sense of meaning is repeated in the principal and the dependent relative clauses. The western mind might conclude that God is avoiding the issue which Moses brought up, i.e., "What is His name? What shall I say to them?" by responding with "I AM WHO I AM," and "I AM has sent Me to you." But this is not the case.

For the LORD is directly answering Moses' question with great emphasis through repetition. Therefore, Ex 3:14a is God's self-introduction to Moses along with Ex 3:14b's explanation; i.e., 'I am truly He Who exists [in an eternal self-existent sense]; and My presence will be dynamically manifested in the situation into which I am sending you.']

(Ex 3:15 NKJV) Moreover God said to Moses, '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. 'This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' "

[Verse 15 which begins with the word rendered "Moreover," is the second part of God's twofold reply to Moses' question in verse 13, '''Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?''' It explains more fully the first part of God's answer to Moses' question; hence the word rendered "Moreover." The second part of God's response emphasized Who He is, especially relative to His nature and character - lessons which Moses evidently needed: God's being ever present with His people as evidenced by the many times He protected the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (cf. 3:6; 3:16; 4:5), and by His patient, long suffering tenderness toward them when they were not faithful - such as their 400 years of affliction in Canaan and Egypt, (ref. Gen 15:13; Acts 7:6). Hence the LORD told Moses, '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you," and "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. 'This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' " '''

Note that this was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Who was sending Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt. His name was Yahweh. But for the first time God used the standard third-person form of 'ehyeh as previously in vv. 12-14. This was to be His 'name' forever. God's 'name' is His Person, His character, His authority, His power, and His reputation. For the Person of Yahweh and His name are often used interchangeably in Scripture, (ref. Dt 28:58; Pa 18:49). And God stipulated that His name was to be a "memorial" throughout all generations. So the people of Israel - the people of God - were to be given the message that the Person of Yahweh = I am He Who is, was, and will be ever present with His people, Israel - to deliver them from their affliction in Egypt. So beginning in Ex 3:14, God began to emphasize His relationship - His covenant with His people, Israel - descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as "Yahweh" - the One Who was personally related to His people, always with them, Who would deliver them from the hand of Egypt unto the Promised Land.]

(Ex 3:16 NKJV) Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, 'I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt;

(Ex 3:17 NKJV) and I have said I will bring you out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.' "

[God then commanded Moses to go back to Egypt and gather the elders of Israel together to give them the message. The phrase rendered "the elders of Israel" referred to the heads and rulers of the tribes / families of Israel. God instructed Moses to gather the rulers, deliver His message to them - to tell them that the LORD has visited them in the sense of been present with them, watching them going through their affliction. And the LORD repeated His promise to Abraham and Joseph to bring them out of that affliction to the land of Canaan, (cf. Gen 15:13; 50:24, resp.). Thereby He planned to get them to agree with Moses' leadership and accompany him when he went to speak with Pharaoh. Moses was to say to them "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, [implying that Moses would describe the LORD's appearance to him in the burning bush] saying, 'I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.' "

Note that this message had been given before to Israel by Joseph:

b) [Compare Gen 50:24]:

(Gen 50:24 NKJV) "And Joseph said to his brethren, 'I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.' "

and to Abram (Abraham):

c) [Compare Gen 15:13]:

(Gen 15:13 NKJV) "Then He said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years."

(Ex 3:18 NKJV) Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, "The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God."

So God foretold to Moses that the elders of Israel would heed Moses' voice and they would come with him to go before the king of Egypt to present the following request: "The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God."

Note that Moses and the elders were instructed first to make only a moderate and limited request of Pharaoh for a temporary leave of three days' absence in order to offer sacrifices to Yahweh their God in the wilderness, (v. 18b). This was not an example of a part truth or a ruse or an attempt to deceive Pharaoh, and then dash into the wilderness to freedom from Egyptian slavery, as some contend. For God had already predestined Pharoah's response to not let Israel go until after a tenth plague destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, (Ex 3:19-20). So should Israel have dashed into the wilderness to freedom, somehow overriding the sovereignty of God, Egypt would have been sure to pursue them and destroy all but a remnant and bring them back for a worse slavery then ever - her rebellion amounting to naught. And this would have impugned the honor of God, Who promised through His spokesman, Moses, that His people Israel would return to Egypt after three days, should Pharaoh decide to let them go, (which God foreordained he would not).

In the final analysis, God deliberately graded His requests of Pharaoh from easier, i.e., a three day journey with an understood obligation to return, to more difficult, i.e., the total release of the enslaved people Israel, in order to give Pharaoh every possible aid in making a most difficult political, economic and spiritual decision. So one could not find a single fault with the gracious way the LORD God worked with Pharaoh and Egypt through Moses.]

(Ex 3:19 NKJV) But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand.

[God then foretold to Moses a message he was to give to the elders of Israel: "But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, No, not even by a mighty hand," in the sense that the king would not be persuaded after Moses' first request, even after the first demonstration of the power and might of Almighty God - the God of the Israelites, until the LORD stretched out his hand and struck Egypt with all the wonders that He had in store for Egypt]:

(Ex 3:20 NKJV) So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in the midst; and after that he will let you go.

[So God promised to strike Egypt with a number of wonders in the sense of supernatural, disasterous events after which the king would let Israel go as the LORD had promised, (cf. Gen chapters 12 & 15).

But Moses would have to learn a lesson to listen to all of what God was telling him. For Moses became angry, despite what God had told him would be Pharaoh's reaction]:

d) [Compare Ex 5:22-23]:

(Ex 5:22 NKJV) '''So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "LORD, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?

(Ex 5:23 NKJV) For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all." ''']

2 cont.) [Compare Ex 3:1-22 with Stephen's account in Acts chapter 7:30-35 cont.]:

(Ex 3:21 NKJV) And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.

(Ex 3:22 NKJV) But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians,''' ''''

[Due to the nature of the supernatural disastrous wonders that God would impose upon Egypt, the people of Egypt would be disposed to provide a wealth of items for the people of Israel - for the asking, including articles of silver, gold and clothing - evidently as an encouragement for the Israelites to depart from their country and so rid themselves of the reason for the plagues, (cf. Gen 15:14; Ex 11:2; 12:35-36). This is not a commentary on Israel's greed for taking the wealth from the Egyptians, as some contend. For Israel was placed into abject slavery, and the wealth that they were showered with was compensation brought about by a Just God.

Notice that throughout Exodus and all Scripture, there is a restating, reaffirming of God's promises being fulfilled point for point in order to answer the objections of those who contend with the accuracy and reliablility of Scripture.

2 cont.) [Compare Ex 3:1-22 with Stephen's account in Acts chapter 7:30-35 cont.]:

Then in Acts 7:35, Stephen concluded, "This Moses, whom they, [the Jews], rejected when they said, 'Who appointed you ... ruler and ... judge?' This one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the Angel Who appeared to him in the bush."

e) [Compare Ex 2:11-14]:

(Ex 2:11 NKJV) "Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

(Ex 2:11 NKJV) So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

(Ex 2:11 NKJV) And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, 'Why are you striking your companion?'

(Ex 2:11 NKJV) Then he said, 'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' So Moses feared and said, 'Surely this thing is known!' "

By stating to the Jewish rulers of his day that despite the ancient Israelites' initial rejection of Moses, it was Jehovah - the Angel Who appeared to Moses in the bush Who confirmed Moses as Israel's redeemer; Stephen was arriving at a key point which was historically accurate and highly esteemed of Moses; and yet his words offended the Jewish rulers of Stephen's time all the more. The key point was his emphasis albeit true, that the Jews of Moses' time had rejected Moses - even threatened him with death, multiple times, despite the fact that he was indeed appointed to be ruler and redeemer by Jehovah Himself. And as Stephen pointed out to the Jewish rulers of his day, that this was confirmed in the very beginning of Moses' being confirmed as Israel's redeemer by Jehovah Elohim Himself - the Angel of the LORD - Who had appeared to him in the burning bush.

The implication of this key point was clear: just as the Jews of Moses' time had repeatedly rejected, opposed and threatened to kill God's appointed ruler and redeemer, Moses - even after repeatedly demonstrating his appointment through supernatural wonders and signs from the LORD affirming Moses as the LORD's representative; so the Jews of Stephen's time had repeatedly rejected, opposed, threatened to kill and even crucified the LORD's appointed Messiah and Redeemer, Jesus Christ; after His repeated demonstrations of supernatural wonders and signs from the LORD affirming Jesus as His Son, (Acts 7:35).

C cont.) (Acts 7:30-36) STEPHEN RECALLED THAT AFTER MOSES HAD SPENT 40 YEARS IN MIDIAN - IN THE WILDERNESS OF MT. SINAI, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD - GOD - APPEARED TO HIM IN A BURNING BUSH ON THE MOUNTAIN THAT WAS NOT CONSUMED BY THE FIRE. AS MOSES DREW NEAR TO THE BUSH, THE VOICE OF THE LORD CAME TO HIM SAYING, "I AM THE GOD OF THY FATHERS; THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB." THIS TERRIFIED MOSES AND CAUSED HIM TO LOOK AWAY. WHEREUPON STEPHEN RECALLED THAT THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, "LOOSE THE SANDAL OF THY FEET, FOR THE PLACE IN WHICH YOU HAVE STOOD IS HOLY GROUND. I HAVE SURELY SEEN THE AFFLICTION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT, AND THEIR GROANING I DID HEAR, AND CAME DOWN TO DELIVER THEM; AND NOW I COME AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT." STEPHEN COMMENTED, "THIS MOSES, WHOM THEY [THE ISRAELITES] REJECTED WHEN THEY SAID, 'WHO APPOINTED YOU RULER AND JUDGE' THIS ONE GOD SENT AS A RULER AND A REDEEMER BY MEANS OF THE ANGEL WHO APPEARED TO HIM IN THE BUSH. THIS ONE LED THEM OUT, HAVING DONE WONDERS AND SIGNS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND IN THE RED SEA AND IN THE WILDERNESS FORTY YEARS" (cont.) =

(Acts 7:30 YLT) "And forty years having been fulfilled, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai [an Angel] of the LORD, in a flame of fire of a bush, (Acts 7:31 YLT) and Moses having seen did wonder at the sight; and he drawing near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord unto him, (Acts 7:32 YLT) I [am] the God of [your] fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses having become terrified, [did not dare to behold], (Acts 7:33 YLT) and the Lord said to him, 'Loose the sandal of [your] feet, for the place in which [you have stood] is holy ground; (Acts 7:34 YLT) I have [surely] seen the affliction of My people ... in Egypt, and their groaning I did hear, and came down to deliver them; and now come, I will send [you] to Egypt. (Acts 7:35 HOLMAN) This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, 'Who appointed you ... ruler and ... judge?' - this one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the Angel Who appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:36 YLT) This one [Moses] [led them out], having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years." (cont.) =

In Acts 7:36, Stephen continued to speak of the LORD's deliverance of Israel through Moses: (Acts 7:36 YLT) "This one [Moses][led them out], having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years."

So despite his rejection by the people of Israel, (ref. Acts 7:35), Moses nevertheless became their deliverer such that the LORD used him to do mighty wonders and supernatural events in Egypt, thus delivering them out of Egypt, crossing the Red Sea and enabling them to survive in the wilderness for 40 years, (Acts 7:36).

Up to this point in Stephen's account before the Jewish rulers, Stephen held Moses in the highest esteem possible - his account precisely corroborated by Scripture. On the one hand, the accusations of blasphemy were unfounded; but on the other hand, Stephen had indicated that the Jews of Moses' time had repeatedly rejected Moses and violated the Law building a case against the Jews of Stephen's time for doing that against Jesus. This would serve to enrage them against him despite his eloquence as directed by God the Holy Spirit and his innocence as corroborated by Scripture.

3) [Compare Ex 4:1-31]:

(Ex 4:1 NKJV) '''Then Moses answered and said, 'But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, "The LORD has not appeared to you."

[Moses - with his third complaint about God's plan to deliver Israel - was evidently not yet on board with God. His complaint demonstrated a lack of faith in the LORD's capacity to make His plan happen. He did not expect Israel to believe in anything he said - especially that God had appeared to him on the mountain; nor respect him enough to even listen to his voice. But God's response continued His gracious and gentle persuasion of the doubtful Moses. In order to better persuade Moses, God would enable Moses to perform a number of supernatural tasks in order to testify that the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to [him]," (Ex 4:5) - that his testimony was from God Himself. Note that the sole purpose of signs and wonders was to validate the messenger and the message both truly being from God.

a) [1 Kgs 17:17-24]:

(1 Kgs 17:17 NKJV) "Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him.

(1 Kgs 17:18 NKJV) So she said to Elijah, 'What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?'

(1 Kgs 17:19 NKJV) And he said to her, 'Give me your son.' So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed.

(1 Kgs 17:20 NKJV) Then he cried out to the LORD and said, 'O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?'

(1 Kgs 17:21 NKJV) And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, 'O LORD my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him.'

(1 Kgs 17:22 NKJV) Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.

(1 Kgs 17:23 NKJV) And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, 'See, your sons lives!'

(1 Kgs 17:24 NKJV) Then the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth [is] the truth.' "

3 cont.) [Compare Ex 4:1-31 (cont.)]:

(Ex 4:2 NKJV) So the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod."

(Ex 4:3 NKJV) And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.

(Ex 4:4 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),

(Ex 4:5 NKJV) that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."

[The first sign that God gave to Moses to present first to the rulers of Israel was turning his shepherd's staff into a snake - presumably a poisonous one - and then back into a staff. This time, Moses followed the LORD's instructions. And he even grabbed the snake by its tail as the LORD instructed him to do, trusting in the LORD to protect him, resulting in it being turned back into a shepherd's staff. For grabbing a snake by the tail was far more dangerous than grabbing it by its head - underscoring the supernatural nature of what Moses had done. Moses' demonstration of the power of God was designed to convince the elders and Israel to believe that the God of the patriarchs had spoken to Moses. Furthermore, since snakes symbolized power and life to the Egyptians, Moses' demonstration of control over the snake demonstrated the almighty power of the LORD as Creator to the king of Egypt, so that the king might know and fear the power of the God of Moses and Israel and consider letting the people of Israel go]

(Ex 4:6 NKJV) Furthermore the LORD said to him, "Now put your hand in your bosom." And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow.

(Ex 4:7 NKJV) And He said, "Put your hand in your bosom again." So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh.

(Ex 4:8 NKJV) "Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign.

[Then the LORD told Moses, "Put your hand in your bosom" - inside his clothing, by his chest. Moses' complied. When Moses took his hand out, it was leprous, as white as snow.

The phrase rendered "leprous, like snow" referred to a disease in ancient times characterized by a disfiguring whiteness, often accompanied by a red scab and a scaly process that spread. It was a horrifying, contagious disease which often resulted in death, (Ref. Lev. chapters 13-14). Then the LORD told Moses to put his hand back "in his bosom." It was instantly and fully restored, like the rest of his body - a supernatural event. God then said to Moses, "Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign."

Moses' supernatural abilities including this one over a horrendous deadly disease demonstrated that Moses was indeed an agent of God in the matter of freeing God's children of Israel. Moses was now in a position of strength and credibility to represent God before Israel and Egypt. This second supernatural ability indicated that the God of Moses had control over illnesses - causing them and curing them; even a control over life and death itself - a message implying great superiority over the false gods of Egypt. So the miraculous signs had their own message - that God was behind the performance of these signs authenticating the person of Moses (and Aaron); and the words that Moses spoke to the people as coming from God]

(Ex 4:9 NKJV) And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.

[The miraculous signs, the first two of which were already provided to Moses by God, were to be used to convince Israel and then Egypt to believe in Moses' having been sent by the God of Israel - that he was able at will to demonstrate the power of God. First and foremost, the rulers of Israel were to be convinced of their own volition that God had indeed appeared before Moses and consigned him to represent the LORD God, "Yahweh," the God of Israel, in order to lead Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Moses was to convey to the Israelites that the LORD God "Yaweh" has seen their affliction and would be with them every step of the way to their freedom.

God also provided a third sign through Moses and Aaron to convince Israel as well as the Egyptians, should they not believe Moses with the first two signs: Moses was to "take water from the river and pour it on the dry land." The water which Moses took from the river would then become blood on the dry land." This last sign was later performed before Egypt to such an extent that all the waters flowing into the Nile were turned to blood - actual blood, and not something that appeared to be blood as some contend. For the event was described as supernatural - occurring in a supernatural manner at the will of Aaron / Moses under the auspices of Almighty God, hence actual blood would be a feasible characteristic of such an event, (cf. Ex 7:17-21). It was the first of the ten plagues that would fall upon the people and land of Egypt at the will of Aaron / Moses under the auspices of Almighty God. Since the Egyptians regarded the Nile River as the source of life and productivity, this third sign attacked the heart of Egyptian beliefs and power - so that they would know of the power of the God of Moses and Israel was superior and Almighty. Moses performed these miracles before the Israelites beforehand; and as God predicted, the people believed in Moses, (cf. Ex 4:29-31). Recall that the Nile was used by Egyptians to drown newborn male babies. So the blood of the murdered babies would be symbolized by the waters of the Nile turning into blood - a symbol that Egyptians and Hebrews would not miss. But now the God of Israel is showing His dominance over the waters of the river who was perceived by Egyptians as their mighty god.]

(Ex 4:10 NKJV) Then Moses said to the LORD, "O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

[Moses - in his fourth complaint about God's plan to deliver Israel - declared that he [Moses] was never eloquent of speech - "neither before nor since You [the LORD] have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." It is evident -

(1) from Moses' delay in telling God of his difficulty in speaking - having already complained three times about being unable to participate in God's plan for other reasons, and

(2) from Stephen's statement about Moses - a highly educated member of the Egyptian royal family - being "mighty in words and deeds, (Acts 7:22), and

(3) from the fact that Moses' showed no inability to speak to others when he confronted the Egyptian who was beating an Israelite and murdered him, (Ex 2:11-12); nor when he confronted two Israelites who were fighting, (Ex 2:13-14); nor when he stood up against the shepherds that opposed the Midianite women at the well;

- that he deliberately lied to the Almighty Omniscient God about his ongoing inability to adequately speak to others.

b) [Complete Biblical Library Commentary]:

"Josephus states (Antiquities of the Jews ii, 10) that Moses served as a very successful commander of the Egyptian army, repelling the invading Ethiopians, and finally, with the connivance of an Ethiopian princess named Tharbis (who had fallen in love with this dashing warrior, Moses), succeeded in storming the capital city of the Ethiopians called Saba. Josephus adds that he in fact married Tharbis and took her back north with him after the campaign was over. (This is probably the “Cushite woman” referred to in Num. 12:1 as a matter of complaint on the part of Miriam and Aaron. It is certain that Moses did not take her with him when he had to flee from Egypt, as related in Exodus chapter 2)."

With this fourth complaint, Moses implied that God was ignorant of his inability to follow God's instructions. Hence God had made an incomprehensible miscalculation! It is evident that Moses knew very little about the LORD. Moses was neither convinced that he could be successful as God's agent, nor was he willing to work with Almighty God in His mission to free Israel, despite his empathy toward his own people. Moses seemed completely oblivious to God's Ominscience and Almighty power; and His faithfulness to His promises which He had made to His people Israel.

On the other hand, Moses had been away from Egypt for forty years, a new and hostile Pharaoh from outside of the former dynasty was ruling Egypt. And it had been a long while since he had spoken Hebrew and Egyptian - especially to a ruler of Egypt. And he had become accustomed to the dialect of the Midianites. Furthermore, it is evident that he did not know Yahweh," the LORD - the God of Israel in the sense of knowing and believing in His Almighty power, His faithfulness to His promises which He made to Israel, His people. So Moses focused upon his own deficiences, thinking that the LORD couldn't or wouldn't overcome them. Hence the next verse (v. 11), stipulated that the LORD's response to Moses' fourth complaint. He reminded Moses of His Almighty power and His determinate will as Creator of all things to accomplish His purposes despite an individual's lack of ability:

(Ex 4:11 NKJV) So the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?

[So in response to Moses' fourth complaint against God's plan to deliver Israel, the LORD reminded Moses through a series of questions that it is He Who determined man's abilities and disabilities, implying that He could accomplish His purposes despite the limitations of man, whom He created. As a matter of fact the LORD had already demonstrated specific supernatural events that He would do through Moses, (cf. Ex 4:2-9); certainly, He could enable Moses to properly speak the correct words]

(Ex 4:12 NKJV) Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."

[Furthermore, the LORD commanded Moses to proceed with God's plan to deliver Israel through him; for the LORD declared that He would be with Moses to teach him what he should say]

(Ex 4:13 NKJV) But he said, "O my LORD, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send."

[Despite having answered every one of Moses' objections and His gracious promise to be with and enable Moses throughout the fulfillment of His plan to deliver Israel, Moses registered his fifth complaint against God's plan to deliver Israel: He told the LORD to get someone else! Moses was motivated out of unwillingness, unfaithfulness and fear. And God's anger was kindled against Moses; yet He was graciously conciliatory - willing to work with Moses' shortcomings]:

(Ex 4:14 NKJV) So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

[And with grace, the LORD continued to work patiently and instructively with Moses. And by His providence and omniscience, God told Moses that his brother, Aaron, who spoke Egyptian well, was coming out of Egypt to meet with Moses and would participate with Moses in God's plan to deliver Israel; and that when Aaron saw Moses, he would be glad in his heart]

(Ex 4:15 NKJV) Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.

[God's anger was "kindled," evidently due to Moses' obstinate unwillingness to work with the LORD to free Israel despite receiving convincing proof of the Majesty and Power of Almighty God, detailed instructions and three supernatural gifts. Perhaps going before a hostile pharaoh 40 years after he had become a fugitive fleeing for his life to Midian was insurmountable in his finite mind, not having considered the Majesty and Almighty power of God working through him. Nevertheless, God proposed to let Aaron, Moses' brother, assist him in the mission to convince the king of Egypt to let Israel go free. And by the providential and omniscient power of God, Aaron would arrive to be with Moses at Mt Horeb / Mt. Sinai, (Ex 4:27 / Gal 4:25 ). Whereupon God told Moses to relay to his brother Aaron the words He would give Moses to speak to the king of Egypt. And through that, God would teach Moses and Aaron what they should do. Despite Moses' shortcomings, God chose to work through Moses' finite, flawed humanity to accomplish His purposes - with supernatural assistance.

On the other hand, because of Moses' obstinancy and reluctance to serve the LORD; his brother Aaron would receive the honor of leading the priesthood, (cf. 1 Chr 23:13). So there are consequences for resisting or declining the call of God to His service, such as a forfeiture of divine blessing and eternal rewards in the eternal kingdom of God.

c) [Ref 1 Chr 23:12-13]:

(1 Chr 23:12 NKJV) "The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel - four in all.

(1 Chr 23:13 NKJV) The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever, that he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense

(Ex 4:16 NKJV) So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God."

[So Moses' brother Aaron would be Moses' spokesman to the people of Israel and the rulers of Egypt. God would provide the words and direction to Moses, who would relay them to Aaron. Hence Moses would reflect the authority of God Almighty: "he shall be to him as God" - in the sense of receiving instructions directly from God and then relaying them to Aaron to convey to the people of Israel, (and to the rulers of Egypt)]

(Ex 4:17 NKJV) And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs."

[The LORD continued His instructions to Moses, "And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs," implying that Moses was still required to perform the supernatural signs using the shepherd's rod]

(Ex 4:18 NKJV) So Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."

[Note that all of Moses' conversation with the LORD took place on Mt. Horeb (Mt Sinai); whereupon Moses then returned to Jethro his father-in-law to request permission to go back to Egypt, which reason Moses stated was to "see whether [his brethren who are in Egypt] are still alive." Whereupon Jethro granted him leave with his blessing. Note that there was nothing stipulated in the text of the reason why Moses did not share with Jethro the key reason he was going back to Egypt. So Moses finally started to make preparations for going to Egypt, trusting in the LORD's plan to deliver Israel through him and his brother Aaron]

(Ex 4:19 NKJV) Now the LORD [had] said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead."

[Since the imperfect tense can convey the sense of the pluperfect tense in the English depending upon the context; then the Hebrew verb which is in the imperfect tense and rendered "said" in the NKJV in the phrase, '''Now the LORD [had] said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead." ''' conveys the sense of the pluperfect tense, "had said" in that the context makes best sense if the LORD had previously told Moses that "all the men who sought your life are dead," before Moses returned to Jethro to tell him that he was going to return to Egypt - knowing that it was now much safer for him to return to Egypt. Hence Moses' decision to take his wife and children along with him, (v. 20) - because it was now safer to go. Moses gave the reason for his return to Jethro as wanting to see his brethren in Egypt to see if they are still alive; he made no mention that it was God's purpose for him to go in order to bring Israel out of captivity there.

In any case, the LORD's conversations with Moses were ongoing. The LORD was with Moses every step of the way - reminding him of the details of His plan for Moses and Aaron to follow]

(Ex 4:20 NKJV) Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

[Moses took his Midianite wife and his sons - note the plural "sons," implying that Moses had a second son - evidently recently born, for he had not been mentioned earlier; and Moses set them on a donkey and returned with them to Egypt - with the rod of God in his hand - the one with which Aaron and Moses would perform supernatural events]

(Ex 4:21 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

["Yahweh" continued to speak to Moses as he journeyed with his wife and two sons to Egypt. He reminded Moses that after he had performed the wonders that the LORD "put in [his] hand," God would harden Pharaoh's heart "so that he [would] not let the people go." God would harden Pharaoh's heart in the sense that He would prompt Pharaoh with the truth about Himself vs. Pharaoh's belief in false gods and his sins against the true God which would cause him of his own volition to choose to harden his own heart all the more and continue to go against God's will, despite Moses' demonstrations of the power of Almighty God - the God of Moses and Israel. There was too much at stake with his position as Pharaoh, ruler and self-proclaimed god of a society that was so fully entrenched in its own religious beliefs corroborated in their minds by Egypt's temporal position as the most powerful, wealthy nation on earth, (until the next empire rose up), to come to grips with the truth about the Almighty God of Israel, Creator of the universe.

The following are references for Pharaoh hardening of his own heart - doing this alone for the first five plagues, and after each subsequent plague:

Ex 7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34, 35; 13:15

The following are references for God's further hardening of Pharaoh's heart which began at the sixth plague:

Ex 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17.

Pharaoh and all of Egypt needed to be repeatedly shown that despite their belief in false gods who they maintain have enabled them to be the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world; nevertheless, there is only one Almighty, Creator God of the universe - the God of Israel, Who has always been and is in absolute control of all things. Pharaoh and all of Egypt would have to suffer devastating lessons so that there would be no doubt about the power of Almighty God - the God of Israel.

And contrary to the truth of the matter, Egyptians believed that when a person died his heart was to be weighed in the hall of judgment, such that if one's heart was 'heavy' with sin in the sense of having acknowledged ones sins to the gods through confession, that that person would be judged in the sense of condemned accordingly for that confession. Hence a stone beetle scarab was placed on the heart of a deceased person to suppress his natural tendency to confess sin which would subject himself to judgment. This 'hardening of the heart' by the scarab beetle so that one would refuse to admit ones sins - this deception to the gods - it was believed, would ironically result in salvation for the deceased, (which it actually did not). But the hardening of Pharaoh's heart actually resulted in further judgment for his sins - even greater judgment because of his rebelliousness toward the true God and his refusal to acknowledge his sinfulness before Him. Note that Pharaoh did eventually confess his sins, but he quickly recanted his confessions and his promises to let Israel go, leading to further judgment, (cf. Ex 9:27, 34; 10:16-17]

(Ex 4:22 NKJV) Then you shall say to Pharaoh, "Thus says the LORD: 'Israel is My son, My firstborn.

[Moses was instructed to tell the Pharoah, "Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn," in the sense that Israel was God's chosen people - His family, His firstborn son. So the people of Israel ranked first in priority with Almighty God over all mankind . This statement contradicted Pharoah's belief that he ranked first with his gods above all mankind - that he was the son of the gods]

(Ex 4:23 NKJV) So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.' "

[And the LORD commanded to Moses to demand to Pharaoh in the name of the LORD to let His son - the people of Israel - go free so that they may serve Him. Note that Scripture often refers to Israel in the third person masculine singular as "son" or "he" - a collective pronoun representing all Israelites, (cf. Ex 3:89). And the LORD warned in the first person singlular, "So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn." In view throughout this ongoing confrontation and conflict between Moses / Aaron / Israel vs. Pharaoh/Egypt was an ongoing demonstration of the infinite superiority of the power and authority over the whole world of the LORD God of Israel, "Yahweh" - His infinite capacity to protect His son Israel over the gods of Pharaoh and Egypt - their limited, finite temporal capacity to protect Pharaoh / Egypt and their firstborn sons - especially in the light of Pharaoh's order to execute every new born male Israelite.

Throughout the ten plagues, Moses would have to persevere through multiple demands to Pharaoh to let God's people go and be subject to Pharaoh's arrogant, obstinant refusals. This would culminate in the death of all of Egypt's firstborn sons and male animals. Even then, Pharaoh would renege on his assent to let Israel go, sending his most powerful chariot army to its own destruction. Thereafter Egypt would become a second rate military power - their religious beliefs not supporting their precipitious drop in worldwide status, to be subject to the campaigns of now more powerful nations]

(Ex 4:24 NKJV) And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him [Moses] and sought to kill him.

(Ex 4:25 NKJV) Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses' feet, and said, "Surely you are a husband of blood to me!"

(Ex 4:26 NKJV) So He let him go. Then she said, "You are a husband of blood!" - because of the circumcision.

[It is evident that Moses had not had one of his sons circumcized - probably his second son who was recently born. Moses was supposed to circumcize his children according to God's command - the sign of God's everlasting covenant with His people - the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob .

Since Moses had his first son, Gershom before the LORD appeared in the burning bush and began to recruit and instruct Moses in the mission to bring Israel out of Egypt, (ref. Ex 2:22, 3:1-22);

and since the conversations between the LORD and Moses contained no reference to God having a problem with Moses' first son not being circumcized;

and since Moses had another son, (note the plural "sons," in Ex 4:20 which timeframe is before he departed for Egypt:

d) [Ref Ex 4:20]:

(Ex 4:20 NKJV) "Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand;"

and note Ex 18:1-6 which named the other son "Eliezer:"

****

e) [Ref. Ex 18:1-6]:

(Ex 18:1 NKJV) "And Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people - that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.

(Ex 18:2 NKJV) Then Jethro, Moses father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,

(Ex 18:3 NKJV) with her two sons, of whom the name of one was Gershom (for he said, 'I have been a stranger in a foreign land')

(Ex 18:4 NKJV) and the name of the other was Eliezer (for he said, 'The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh')

(Ex 18:5 NKJV) and Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness, where he was encamped at the Mountain of God.

(Ex 18:6 NKJV) Now he had said to Moses, 'I, our father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her.' "

and since only one son is in view as needing to be circumcized in Ex 4:25;

then it is likely that the younger son, Eliezer, who was recently born, was the one who hadn't yet been circumcized.

There was no reason specified for Moses' youngest son not having been circumcized. Perhaps it was due to his negligence, or perhaps Zipporah, his Midianite wife, was reluctant to perform circumcision on a new born baby until the boy was twelve - a customary sign of puberty, (as opposed to a sign of God's everlasting covenant with His people). But in the final analysis it was Moses who was the father of the boy and the one whom God had chosen to represent Him and His people, Israel, who was negligent. Hence the LORD "sought to kill him," in the sense of causing him to have a terminal illness as a message to Moses of his breaking His commandment to circumcize every male in his family as an Israelite. It is evident that God wanted Moses to take his heritage as an Israelite and his obedience to God seriously as he traveled to Egypt to represent God's people. Moses' Midianite wife, Zipporah, being aware of God's commandment which Moses had neglected, "took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses' feet" in anger. She repeatedly said, "Surely you are a husband of blood to me!" evidently because of the circumcision which she had to perform in Moses' place - to her a most disagreeable / repugnant task - showing no respect for God's covenant of circumcision for His people, . In view of Zipporah's angry words to her husband, which indicated a break of marital fellowship in their relationship, it is evident that Moses had sent Zipporah and their sons away - back to Jethro, her father in Midian. For there was no further mention of her or her sons being with Moses as he went about God's plan to deliver Israel until Ex 18:1-6, which passage in verse 2 stipulated that Moses sent his wife back to her father in Midian, .

The message of Ex 4:24-26 implied that Moses survived his illness; for in the next verse, the LORD told Aaron to go into the wilderness to meet Moses]:

(Ex 4:27 NKJV) And the LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." So he went and met him on the Mountain of God, [Mt. Horeb / Sinai in Arabia ] and kissed him.

(Ex 4:28 NKJV) So Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD Who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him.

[As the LORD had foretold, (Ex 4:14), Aaron, now about 83 years old - at the LORD's command - was set to meet Moses "on the Mountain of God." Moses was about 80 years old, in the wilderness on Mt Horeb (Sinai) - with a kiss and with gladness in his heart - after 40 years of separation. Whereupon Moses told Aaron "all the words of the LORD Who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him [to do]," - to repeat in front of Israel and before the Pharaoh of Egypt]

(Ex 4:29 NKJV) Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.

(Ex 4:30 NKJV) And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people.

(Ex 4:31 NKJV) So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

[Then Moses and Aaron gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel as instructed by the LORD, presumably in the land of Goshen in Egypt: "And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people," (Ex 4:31). Evidently it was God's plan to authenticate Moses and Aaron before the rulers and the people of Israel, (Ex 4:30b), as appointed by the LORD to get their consent to represent them before Pharaoh in order to secure the freedom of Israel and secure their journey to the Promised Land.

So Aaron, as chief spokesman, spoke before the elders of Israel the words which God gave to Moses; whereupon he did the signs in view of the people of Israel. And the people believed that Moses and Aaron were messengers from God commissioned by Him to follow His plan to set Israel free from Egyptian bondage. Furthermore, when the Israelites heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He "had looked on their affliction [in the sense of showing great concern for their welfare with the message that He would resolve their problem], they bowed their heads and worshiped [the LORD]."

4) [Compare Ex 5:1-23]:

(Ex 5:1 NKJV) ''''Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.' "

(Ex 5:2 NKJV) And Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go."

[After presenting their case of representing God before the rulers and people of Israel - receiving their approval to go before Pharaoh on the LORD's and Israel's behalf as part of the plan of God to set Israel free, Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh and boldly demanded in the name of the LORD, "Thus says the LORD God ["Yahweh"] of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness,' " in the sense of a pilgrimmage festival lasting a number of days, (Ex 5:1b). At first the LORD demanded of Pharaoh through Moses and Aaron a pilgrimmage festival, implying their return to Egypt and their ongoing slavery. There was no deception intended - that Israel was going to keep on going and not return, as some contend. It was a truthful request which included Israel's return to Egypt. On the other hand, it was a test of Pharaoah. And as the LORD predicted, Pharaoh's answer was 'No!' (Ex 4:21). Pharaoh, who viewed himself as a god, considered in his own mind that it was the height of arrogance for two lowly slaves to come and challenge his sole right to command these slaves. For their God to have chosen to identify Himself with this hapless and hopeless lot of slaves who were powerless to effect their own deliverance, was not a God to fear or obey in his estimation. The king had hardened his heart toward the God of Israel and declared ignorance of and belittled the name, power and authority of the LORD: "Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go," (Ex 5:2). Pharoah was considered a god by his people; and he regarded the God of Israel as weak, for Israel was unable to overcome the might of Egyptian power for over two centuries. They were not even able to prevent Egypt's enslavement of them! Ancient peoples believed that all of the opposing forces of nature could best be explained on the basis of polytheism. So from the earliest of times, the mighty Egyptians built temples to a great pantheon of gods. Some of the gods were shaped like humans such as Osiris, the awesome judge of the dead; some represented by birds, such as Horus the Hawk, the son of Osiris and the founder of the Egyptian realm; Djehuty, the god of mathematics, magic and the art of writing, who had the head of an ibis; others like Sebek, the crocodile god, and the cobra goddess, Wadjet or Buto, whose likeness adorned the crown of every Egyptian king, and also the vulture goddess Nekhebet or Mut, who was a deity featured in Upper Egypt (corresponding to Buto, patroness of Lower Egypt). There were indeed an amazing number of these idolatrous beings, and the Egyptian policy was to build temples and perform sacrifices to them all. They supposed that the more of these beings they could appease, the greater would be the safety of their land from all the potential disasters of warfare, disease and famine; and the greater power and wealth they could accumulate. They thought it blasphemous and scoffed at the very idea of a single Deity who was responsible for the creation of all the material universe and the various forces of nature.

So in the final analysis, the LORD, in accordance with His sovereign plan - His decrees - had repeatedly indicated to Moses that until a number of encounters before Pharaoh were made, the LORD would harden Pharaoh's already hardened heart [in the sense that He would prompt Pharaoh with the truth about Himself vs. Pharaoh's belief in false gods and his sins against the true God which would cause him of his own volition to choose to harden his own heart all the more and continue to go against God's will] and the king would repeatedly refuse to let Israel go. And following these escalating supernatural disasters upon the people of Egypt, Pharaoh would capitulate to the LORD's demand through Moses/Aaron and let His people go.

After his first encounter with Pharaoh, Moses did not evidence that he understood what God had taught him - that His plan involved a number of encounters with a stubborn, hardened Pharaoh, multiple supernatural signs and exasperating, stubborn refusals to cooperate, (cf. Ex 3:19-20; 4:8-9; 21-23; 5:2). So Moses needed to grow in spiritual maturity.

It was evident that neither Moses nor Aaron had performed any signs or wonders before Pharaoh as yet. That would begin shortly as stipulated in chapter 7]

(Ex 5:3 NKJV) So they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."

[In response to Pharaoh's truculence and arrogance, Moses and Aaron changed their tone from a bold demand to a more humble request to please let Israel go out of Egypt to sacrifice to the LORD for three days - citing potential consequences of pestilence or foreign invaders upon Israel who was vulnerable from the north - from the LORD should she fail to serve Him. But Pharaoh was more stubborn and arrogant than ever]:

(Ex 5:4 NKJV) Then the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor."

[The king charged Moses and Aaron with taking the people from doing their work; and ordered them to get back to their labor as slaves. Pharaoh had already taken notice of the large number of the Israelites, especially in comparison to their own numbers, i.e., that they were outnumbered. So for the entire Israelite labor force, numbering in the millions to take time off would result in even greater increases in their population - and an even greater threat to the rulers' position of power, (ref. Ex 1:8-10). Furthermore, their labor force was so large and useful, it did not benefit Pharoah to give them time off from the many building projects he used them for]

(Ex 5:5 NKJV) And Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!"

(Ex 5:6 NKJV) So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying,

(Ex 5:7 NKJV) "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.

(Ex 5:8 NKJV) And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'

(Ex 5:9 NKJV) Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words."

[After Moses and Aaron made the request of Pharaoh to let their people go on a three day journey in the wilderness and hold a feast to their God, so much the more did the king express his arrogance toward God and the Israelites. Pharaoh evidently reasoned that the Israelites were not working hard enough because they were thinking of taking some time off for three days journey in the wilderness to worship their God. In his mind, they had too much idle time! In order to teach them not to request time off or any other favors, the Pharaoh imposed the work of foraging for straw stubble in harvested fields instead of having a supply of harvested straw regularly delivered to them by the Egyptians. This would be a daunting, rather impossible task for them to do and still meet their quota of bricks. This meant that they would have to work much harder. It was likely that they would be severely beaten by their taskmasters at the end of each work day because of their inability to meet their quota, (cf. Ex 5:10-12).

Note that making bricks required a mixture of straw and clay in order for the bricks to hold firm for a longer time than simple clay alone. There evidently had been a regular crew of haymakers who supplied the straw, perhaps cutting it up into serviceable lengths. Archeologists have recovered many such straw fibered bricks dating from the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries B.C. which bear the stamp of the cartouche, (an ancient Egyptian monument), containing the name and titles of the reigning Pharaoh. These may be observed in museums, such as the Oriental Institute of Chicago University).

The phrase rendered, "And let them not regard false words," was spoken by Pharaoh to admonish the Israelites not to listen to the words of Moses and Aaron - which he claimed were false. Pharaoh's words were intended to discredit the God of Israel as well as Moses and Aaron in their attempt to assume leadership of the slave population of Goshen and their message of their impending freedom from Egyptian enslavement through Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God. But Pharaoh would pay for his arrogant, disdainful words and actions.

It is interesting to note that after Moses' and Aaron's first visit with Pharaoh when Aaron said, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness,' " " (Ex 5:1), Pharaoh neither threatened, nor detained these two old men, Moses (80) and Aaron (83); nor did the king harm them in any way - something which Moses took little notice of, nor gave the LORD any credit for protecting him. The king might have ended their lives right there in front of him because of their effrontery before him in demanding that the king give 2 million working slaves some time off for practicing their ignominious religion, the blasphemous worship of a single God Whom the lowly Israelite slaves claimed to be Almighty God superior to all gods and Creator of the whole universe. This implied that God had protected them as well as the possibility that the king was apprised of Moses' and Aaron's performance of supernatural feats before the rulers and people of Israel and held back his wrath upon them until he was sure he wasn't going up against a supernatural force that he could not defeat.]

(Ex 5:10 NKJV) And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus says Pharaoh: 'I will not give you straw.

(Ex 5:11 NKJV) Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.'"

(Ex 5:12 NKJV) So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw.

(Ex 5:13 NKJV) And the taskmasters forced them to hurry, saying, "Fulfill your work, your daily quota, as when there was straw."

(Ex 5:14 NKJV) Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, "Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as before?"

(Ex 5:15 NKJV) Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, "Why are you dealing thus with your servants?

(Ex 5:16 NKJV) There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, 'Make brick!' And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people."

[The taskmasters, i.e., the Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh to serve him with enforcing his workrules, and their officers went out and spoke to the people [of Israel] and told them that the Pharaoh has ordered that no more straw would be delivered to them to make bricks. They would have to get their own straw by foraging throughout the land of Egypt for straw stubble in harvested fields instead of having a supply of harvested straw regularly delivered to them by the Egyptians. And inspite of this, Pharaoh told them that their work quota would not be reduced. So the taskmasters forced their own people to hurry so that they could still meet their quotas - implying punishment otherwise, which inevitably occurred, (Ex 5:10-14).

Pharaoh's arrogant words became the Israelites' brutal reality. Enforcement of Pharaoh's new rules led to the Israelites not reaching their daily quota and the consequent beating of the Israelite taskmasters, i.e., the Israelite foremen. Then these "officers of the children of Israel," came to meet with Pharaoh and cried out to him, saying, "Why are you dealing thus with your servants? There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, 'Make brick!' And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people" - fault in the sense that the Israelite foremen claimed that the Egyptians failed to provide the Israelites with straw as they had done before. The context indirectly assigns fault with Pharaoh who is after all is said and done, responsible for what his people do - for they had carried his orders about cutting off Israel's straw supply. Recall that in their own words which quoted Pharoah's instructions they stipulated that He had ordered that the Israelites were not to be provided with straw - that they had to forage for leftovers all over Egypt in the already harvested fields, (Ex 5:10-12). Nevertheless, three times the foremen stressed their loyalty to the Pharaoh, ("your servants"), but it went to deaf ears. The foremen predominately served Pharaoh and not Israel by keeping their own people in line to meet their quota of work or suffer the consequences - floggings which often led to death, (ref. Ex 5:15-16)]

(Ex 5:17 NKJV) But he said, "You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.'

(Ex 5:18 NKJV) Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks."

(Ex 5:19 NKJV) And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, "You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota."

[The Israelite foremen argued to Pharaoh that the Israelites' failure to meet their brick quotas was the fault of the Egyptians who failed to deliver straw to them. Hence the Israelites had to collect their own straw from stubbles in the open fields, causing them to fail to meet their quotas. But presenting such an argument for their failure, when Pharaoh had given the orders that led to their failure, was not successful. The taskmasters' obsequious pleas failed to change Pharaoh's mind. And when Pharaoh responded with "Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks. You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota;" the officers of the children of Israel now saw that they were [personally] in trouble. Pharaoh's answer to them was all the more arrogant, indifferent and cruel: He accused the Israelites of being lazy because they requested time off to go sacrifice to the LORD. Notice that Pharaoh pronounced the name of the God of Israel as opposed to referring to Him indirectly as he had before. On the other hand, he had refused to give the Israelites straw, and insisted that they still meet their quota. He was motivated more in keeping Israel from being a threat to his rule, (Ex 1:9-11), than his building program. His brutal, impoverishing, genocidal tactics were nothing new. Such tractics have worked throughout history in keeping people enslaved under tyrannical rule - until God intervenes:

a) [Compare Ex 1:9-11]:

(Ex 1:9 NKJV) "And he said to his people, 'Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;

(Ex 1:10 NKJV) come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.'

(Ex 1:11 NKJV) Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses."

[Pharaoh was motivated in preserving his own power as well as in Israel's brick production and building program. He was most likely one of the Hyksos kings who ruled over Egypt via a military occupation force that was not as large as the native Egyptian or Israelite population. Hence he was paranoid about the rapidly growing Hebrew population joining forces in an uprising or invasion force. The word "afflict" in verse 11 implies forced labor for the Israelites in the Nile River delta where Pithom and Raamses were located. This cruel and deadly oppression of a people was and is common all over the ancient and present day world in order to reduce them as a threat to the ruling powers - especially a large group of people. On the other hand, the people were a valuable resource as forced labor to build fortifications and supply cities such as Pithom and Ramses, (ref. Ex 1:11)]

4 cont.) [Compare Ex 5:1-23 cont.]:

(Ex 5:20 NKJV) '''Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them.

(Ex 5:21 NKJV) And they said to them, "Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us."

(Ex 5:22 NKJV) So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "LORD, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?

(Ex 5:23 NKJV) For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all."

[When the taskmasters, i.e., the task officers of Israel - the Israelite foremen - came out of their meeting with Pharaoh, they met with Moses and Aaron as they stood there to meet them first. Note that the Hebrew word rendered "they met Moses and Aaron" in Ex 5:20 may better be translated "they [verbally] attacked Moses and Aaron," which better fits their angry reaction toward the two men. For the taskmasters' behavior reflected the attitude that it would have been better for Moses to have remained in exile. They said to Moses and Aaron, "Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us," in the sense that Pharaoh was motivated to punish the Israelites and their taskmasters with deadly force should they continue to pursue their freedom. The obsequious Israelite taskmasters, (Ex 5:15-16), were so angry with Moses and Aaron that they declared that God's judgment would be upon the two men for turning Pharaoh against them and Israel. Since the taskmasters had failed in their duty and mission for Pharaoh to keep Israel in line and meet the work quotas, there would be floggings - a number of them deadly, including the taskmasters themselves.

So as decreed and predicted by God, Moses' and Aaron's first meeting with the Pharaoh was unsuccessful, (Ex 3:19-20). As a matter of fact it caused the king to escalate the Israelites' affliction, bringing accusations of worsening the situation by the Israelite foremen upon Moses and Aaron.

It is interesting to note that after Moses' and Aaron's first visit with Pharaoh when Aaron said, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness,' " " (Ex 5:1), Pharaoh neither threatened, nor detained these two old men, Moses (80) and Aaron (83); nor did the king harm them in any way - something which Moses took little notice of, nor gave the LORD any credit for protecting him. The king might have ended their lives right there in front of him because of their effrontery before him in demanding that the king give 2 million working slaves some time off for practicing their ignominious religion, the blasphemous worship of a single God Whom the lowly Israelite slaves claimed to be Almighty God superior to all gods and Creator of the whole universe. This implied that God had protected them as well as the possibility that the king was apprised of Moses' and Aaron's performance of supernatural feats before the rulers and people of Israel and held back his wrath upon them until he was sure he wasn't going up against a supernatural force that he could not defeat.

Since God is Almighty, hence sovereign ;. and since God foretold to Abraham that his descendants would suffer 400 years of affliction, (ref. Gen 15:13); then it is evident that God Almighty permitted Israel's affliction, even the additional suffering in view as a result of Moses' meeting with Pharaoh - due to their unfaithfulness and their ever increasing affiliation and dependence upon peoples who did not worhip the LORD, but false gods instead. The people of the LORD became more and more enslaved as they became more estranged from their God. It is evident therefore, that the people of Israel would not be ready for their exodus from Egypt until the LORD motivated them through His Almighty power of multiple signs and wonders and persistent reminders to His people that He was "Yahweh," the LORD, the God of Israel; and the children of Israel were His people.

When Moses returned to the LORD, he asked Him in an abrupt manner, "Why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all." Moses did not evidence having in view that the LORD had repeatedly told him that Pharaoh would refuse to let Israel go this first time, (Ex 4:21-3), and thereafter until a number of supernatural disasters have taken place including the killing of Pharaoh's firstborn son, (ref. Ex 4:23). And then Pharaoh would capitulate to the LORD's demand through Moses/Aaron to let His people go, (cf. Ex 3:19-20; 4:8-9; 21-23; 5:2). So it was evidently part of God's plan to have Moses grow in spiritual maturity before the LORD would complete His plan to free His people Israel through Moses and Aaron]

5) [Compare Ex 6:1-30]:

(Ex 6:1 NKJV) '''Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land."

[The LORD's response to Moses' complaint about how badly the LORD was handling things was twofold: First the LORD declared "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh" in the sense that now was the time of the commencement of the multiple supernatural disasters that He had promised to bring upon Egypt to be implemented by Moses and Aaron through the power of God. This was not the first time God spoke to Moses of His forthcoming judgments upon Pharaoh and Egypt from the beginning He had given Moses this information - having to repeat it more than six times in order to finally get Moses on track to perform his part in these judgments without hesitation or doubt, (ref. Ex 3:19-20; 4:1-9, 21-23; 6:1, 6; 7:1-5)! God's message implied that Moses needed to grow in spiritual maturity - be more patient and obedient. The LORD stipulated, "For with a [the LORD's] strong hand he [Pharaoh] will let them [Israel] go, and with a strong hand [the LORD's] he [Pharaoh] will drive them out of his land." This indicated that Israel would literally be driven out of the land by Egypt via Pharaoh's command in response to the strong hand of the LORD's dealing with Egypt, (cf. Ex 3:21-22). But as the LORD had conveyed to Moses before, it would take repeated and escalating supernatural lessons of judgment / punishment upon Pharaoh and Egypt, (cf. Ex 3:19-20; 4:1-9, 21-23]

(Ex 6:2 NKJV) And God spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the LORD [Yahweh].

(Ex 6:3 NKJV) I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, ["El Shaddai"] but by My name LORD [Yahweh] I was not known to them.

(Ex 6:4 NKJV) I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.

(Ex 6:5 NKJV) And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.

[And, the LORD, right after reaffirming to Moses that He would continue to pressure Pharaoh with a "strong hand" until the king would let the people of Israel go; the LORD then spoke in verses 2-5 to Moses; once again relative to His name, i.e., Who He is. He told Moses, "I am the LORD" ("ani Yahweh"). The LORD would repeat this phrase for emphasis three more times in vv. 6-8]

a) [Compare God's previous discussion with Moses on "Yahweh" His Personal Name: Ex 3:13-15]:

(Ex 3:13 NKJV) '''Then Moses said to God, '''Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?'''

[Moses' response - his second complaint about God's plan to deliver Israel gave little indication that he truly intended to be faithful and obedient. Despite the fact that Almighty God had been extraordinarily gracious and informative, Moses responded with a sense of doubt and wanting to delay his involvement if not disqualify himself: "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?'''

When Moses said to the LORD that the Israelites would ask him "What is His name?" it was not in the sense of asking "Who is this God Who has sent you to deliver us?" as if the Israelites did not know His name. For the book of Genesis repeatedly confirmed that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Him as God ("El" or "ElOhim"); and they knew Him as "Elyon" ("the Most High"); and they knew Him as "El Shaddai," (God Almighty) - all titles of God. As early as the time of Adam and Eve and their descendants, men called upon Him as Yahweh, God's Personal Name, (ref. Gen 2:4; 4:26). But Moses' question which he stipulated would be posed to him by the Israelites, "What is His name?" was to be a test of Moses' authenticity as God's appointed deliverer - to see if Moses actually knew Who God was relative to His character and the specific circumstances in which the people of Israel now found themselves: affliction and slavery under harsh Egyptian rule.

Note that their affliction was an indication that they were out of fellowship, i.e., out of touch with God relative to Who He was and His promise of deliverance from Egypt unto the Promised Land, beginning when He made it with Abraham, (Gen 15:13); thereafter with Joseph when he was dying, (Gen 50:24-26]

(Ex 3:14 NKJV) And God said to Moses, '''I AM WHO I AM.''' And He said, '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you." '''

[The Hebrew phrases transliterated " 'ehyeh 'asEr 'ehyeh" and " 'ehyeh selAn 'alekEm" rendered "I Am Who I Am" and "I Am has sent me [Moses] to you [Israel]" respectively, is closely related to the word, "Yahweh," the most sacred name of God. This was that very special name of God which was used by the Hebrews alone. The name was used especially when it described God's relationship with His people, Israel; for example when He promised to redeem them and deliver them from Egyptian rule, (Gen 50:24; Ex 3:7-10, 17-22; 6:6), was faithful to them (Ex 34:5-7); and made a covenant with them, (Gen 15:18). In contrast to all the imaginary gods of the Gentiles, the LORD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, "Yahweh" which literally signifies "He is" or "He exists," is closely related to the form of the verb "hAyAh" ('to be'). This name conveys the sense of the eternal, self-existent One - the One and only One Who is eternal and uncreated. So the first part of God's answer to Moses' question in verse 13, ''I AM WHO I AM.''' And '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you." ''' was a play on the word "Yahweh," which conveys first and foremost the self existent One - His eternality. Implied in that meaning, is an affirmation that Yahweh is the Eternal One Who created all things - the One and only God.

Note that two of God's answers to Moses' questions in verse 13 were stipulated in verse 14, namely '''I AM WHO I AM,''' and '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you." ''' These answers were not evidence of the LORD's reluctance to disclose His name; nor were they some other kind of evasion, as some contend. God actually took the initiative to supply His name to Moses which had been revealed multiple times to humanity, as corroborated in Scripture hundreds of times beginning in Genesis chapter 2:

i) [Gen 2:1-4]:

(Gen 2:1 NKJV) "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

(Gen 2:2 NKJV) And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

(Gen 2:3 NKJV) The God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

(Gen 2:4 NKJV) This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God [Yahweh ElOhm] made the earth and the heavens."

The Hebrew syntatical construction of verse 14, is defined as "idem per idem," i.e., the same root with the same sense of meaning is repeated in the principal and the dependent relative clauses. The western mind might conclude that God is avoiding the issue which Moses brought up, i.e., "What is His name? What shall I say to them?" by responding with "I AM WHO I AM," and "I AM has sent Me to you." But this is not the case.

For the LORD is directly answering Moses' question with great emphasis through repetition. Therefore, Ex 3:14a is God's self-introduction to Moses along with Ex 3:14b's explanation; i.e., 'I am truly He Who exists [in an eternal self-existent sense]; and My presence will be dynamically manifested in the situation into which I am sending you.']

(Ex 3:15 NKJV) Moreover God said to Moses, '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. 'This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' "

[Verse 15 which begins with the word rendered "Moreover," is the second part of God's twofold reply to Moses' question in verse 13, '''Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is His name?" What shall I say to them?''' It explains more fully the first part of God's answer to Moses' question; hence the word rendered "Moreover." The second part of God's response emphasized Who He is, especially relative to His nature and character - lessons which Moses evidently needed: God's being ever present with His people as evidenced by the many times He protected the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (cf. 3:6; 3:16; 4:5), and by His patient, long suffering tenderness toward them when they were not faithful - such as their 400 years of affliction in Canaan and Egypt, (ref. Gen 15:13; Acts 7:6). Hence the LORD told Moses, '''Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent Me to you," and "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. 'This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' " '''

Note that this was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Who was sending Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt. His name was Yahweh. But for the first time God used the standard third-person form of 'ehyeh as previously in vv. 12-14. This was to be His 'name' forever. God's 'name' is His Person, His character, His authority, His power, and His reputation. For the Person of Yahweh and His name are often used interchangeably in Scripture, (ref. Dt 28:58; Pa 18:49). And God stipulated that His name was to be a "memorial" throughout all generations. So the people of Israel - the people of God - were to be given the message that the Person of Yahweh = I am He Who is, was, and will be ever present with His people, Israel - to deliver them from their affliction in Egypt.

So beginning in Ex 3:14, God began to emphasize His relationship - His covenant with His people, Israel - descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as "Yahweh" - the One Who was personally related to His people, always with them, Who would deliver them from the hand of Egypt unto the Promised Land]

5 cont.) [Compare Ex 6:1-30 cont.]:

(Ex 6:1 NKJV) '''Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.

(Ex 6:2 NKJV) And God spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the LORD [Yahweh].

(Ex 6:3 NKJV) I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, [El Shaddai] but by My name LORD [Yahweh] I was not known to them.

(Ex 6:4 NKJV) I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.

(Ex 6:5 NKJV) '''And I [God] have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.

[And, the LORD, right after reaffirming to Moses that He would continue to pressure Pharaoh with a "strong hand" until the king would let the people of Israel go; the LORD then spoke in verses 2-5 to Moses once again relative to His name, i.e., Who He is. He told Moses, "I am the LORD" ("ani Yahweh"). The LORD would repeat this phrase for emphasis three more times in vv. 6-8.

As previously discussed with Moses, God indicated and reiterated at the time of Exodus chapter 6 that the name "Yahweh" conveyed His character, especially the fact that He is always there with His people, Israel, and always faithful and true to them - true to and capable of fulfilling His promises. Implied in all of this is the fact that Israel wasn't ready to be delivered. The people needed to grow in spiritual maturity to the point where they would fully trust in the LORD for their deliverance; so that when it came time to depart, they would neither hesitate nor look back, nor long for their past times in Egypt with her pagan gods and ungodly culture, (Ex 6:2).

It was also essential that Moses as well as the people of Israel grow in their understanding of Who "Yahweh" - "the LORD" - is. God continued to instruct Moses in Ex 6:3 on this matter beginning with "I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, [El Shaddai]" - emphasizing that He is the Almighty Creator and Sovereign God of the universe, bringing all things to pass by the word of His power. The second word, "Shaddai" in the phrase / title, "El Shaddai" appears frequently in Scripture to convey God’s unique supernatural capacity. The word is related to the root word "shAdhadh," (#7703) - a verb which means to exert overwhelming power. It was this overwhelming force which the Lord had shown consistently on behalf of the three patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants.

On the other hand, in Ex 6:3, God explained to Moses that by His name LORD ["Yahweh"] He was not known to them [His people Israel]. Although God had revealed His Personal Name, "Yahweh" to Adam and Eve who walked before Him as "Yahweh ElOhim," [- "The LORD God", (Genesis chapter 2)]; which Name was passed on to Abel and Seth and their descendants, including Noah and his sons, (who spent 120 years in constructing the Ark and warning mankind of Yahweh's judgment of the worldwide flood, ref. Genesis chapters 3-8); and the patriarchs and their descendants, (cf. Gen 13:4). Although the LORD is frequently named "Yahweh" throughout the Hebrew Scriptures describing His appearances and interventions during the lives of Adam and Eve through the time of the Patriarchs; for the most part, He functioned and appeared to them as "El Shaddai," Almighty God the Provider and Sustainer of all things, (cf. Ex 49:25). The full implications of the Name "Yahweh" would not be fully spelled out until the Israelites became a nation of 2.5 million in the land of Egypt with a need to be delivered from their brutal enslavement, (Ex 6:3).

In Ex 6:4, the LORD repeated to Moses that he had established His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimmage in which they were to wander as strangers and suffer 400 years of affliction, (Gen 15:13; 23:4) - the land which neither Abraham nor his descendants took possession of - not being ready through faith to let the LORD enable them to choose to take possession. Hence they ended up in Egypt until their time had come for them to move toward the LORD in faith and possess the Promised Land, (Ex 6:4).

The LORD repeated that He had "Heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant." In view of this, He had been providing for their well being, and protecting them from their enemies even during times of their unfaithfulness - such as during their exile in Egypt when they drifted further and further away from the LORD, aligning themselves more and more with their eventual polytheistic captors, the Egyptians. Since He had promised to bring about their deliverance from Egyptian oppression, in doing so He would shepherd them through the wilderness of Sinai over a period of forty years; and He would accompany them in His Person, miraculously providing for their food and drink each step of their journey; and He would be with them through the conquest of Canaan under Moses’ successor, Joshua. This meant that they were going to know God as their personal Lord and Father Who promised to redeem them. They were His chosen people who would experience the glory and privilege of journeying with God and dealing with Him daily in worship from morning till night. In that sense, then, they were going to learn in a profound and personal way what the Name Yahweh implied. He demonstrated His patience with Moses, reiterating that which He had already instructed Moses a number of times. It remained for Moses, Aaron, Israel, Pharaoh and all Egypt to acknowledge the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob for Who He is - "Yahweh ElOhim," [the LORD God]. The lessons would be severe for those whose arrogance and stubbornness would harden their hearts toward the LORD God and His appointed representatives, Moses and Aaron. Moses, Aaron, and all the people of Israel would be tested because of their lack of faithfulness multiple times before deliverance would finally come. The LORD repeatedly forewarned that this would happen. So the Personal Name of God, "Yahweh" refers to God as the covenant-keeping / redemptive Name of God - Who offered eternal redemption through faith in the Seed of the woman Eve, (Gen 3:14-15 ) - through faith in the Seed of Abraham to all mankind - a Messiah / Savior to come, (Gen 15:4-9 ); and Who has promised to redeem in a temporal sense His people Israel from being enslaved in Egypt unto the Promised Land through the work of Moses and Aaron, (Ex 6:5).

(Ex 6:6 NKJV) [The LORD continued to speak and give to Moses]: Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

[Once again, God provided the script of words and actions to Moses. This time Moses was to speak directly to His people. Recall that Moses had opted out of speaking to Israel and Pharaoh, so God appointed his brother Aaron to do this task, (Ex 4:14-16). But this time, Moses would step up and speak God's words addressed to His people Israel which the LORD instructed him to say, "'I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.''

The three verbs in Ex 6:6 in the phrases rendered "I will bring you out," "I will rescue you from your bondage," and "I will redeem you," and the four that follow in the next two verses, "I will take you as My people," I will be your God," "I will bring you into the land," and "I will give it to you," (NKJV) are all in the Hebrew perfect tense. When this tense is used in prophecies, such as in Exodus 6:6-8, it commonly means that the action of the verb is certain and imminent - especially if the action is to be performed by the LORD God. Since this use is common in the prophetic writings, it is usually called the prophetic perfect. It is usually translated into English as either a present or future tense verb, as it is here. And as if to remind Israel once again, God concluded His message in verses 6-8 with '''I am the LORD "Yahweh" '''

Notice that as the LORD had declared before, there remained for the LORD to bring a series of spectacular, supernatural judgments upon Egypt with an "outstretched arm," (ref. Ex 3:19-20; 4:21-23). This creschendo of catastrophic events would mark the end of 400 years of affliction referred to earlier in Scripture, (cf. Gen 15:13; cf. Stephen's testimony in Acts 7:6 )]

(Ex 6:7 NKJV) I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God Who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

[And once again the LORD repeated to Moses so that he could tell the children of Israel the reason which motivated Him to deliver them from Egyptian affliction: "I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD ["Yahweh"] your God Who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."]

(Ex 6:8 NKJV) And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.'''

[Once again Moses was commanded by the LORD to say to Israel - quoting the words of the LORD, "I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: 'I am the LORD.' " Moses was to end his speech to Israel with the LORD declaring to the children of Israel, "Ani Yahweh" rendered "I AM the LORD," in the sense that Moses was to remind the people that the LORD was always with His people and that He had a covenental relationship with them especially to bring them into the Promised Land so that they would be His people and He would be their God - forever]

(Ex 6:9 NKJV) So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.

[When Moses spoke to the children of Israel the words that the LORD gave him; they did not heed those words, "because of anguish of spirit," i.e., because they were overwhelmed with anger toward Moses and the LORD for making their condition worse; and because of their cruel bondage. They had not yet realized that their bondage was imposed upon them by Almighty LORD through Egypt as a result of their own deliberate estrangement from the LORD. They had lost sight of the fact that He is the LORD, Who is sovereign over all things, their God and they were His people. They had quickly forgotten their brief moment of faith in Moses and the LORD at the time that these words of the LORD were first spoken to them by Aaron, (ref. Ex 4:31). Although Moses showed confidence when he obeyed the LORD's directions and repeated His words to the people of Israel, his confidence was quickly shattered by their rejection of him, (ref. 5:22-23)]

(Ex 6:10 NKJV) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

(Ex 6:11 NKJV) "Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go out of his land."

[Although Israel's rejection evidently overwhelmed Moses and broke his confidence, God did not address that issue. He indicated that Moses was to move on and speak to Pharaoh. For the LORD had repeatedly declared to Moses, that Pharaoh would be obstinate, and harden his heart multiple times; so that repeated supernatural disasters would be perpetrated upon Egypt, before Pharaoh would acknowledge and fear the Almighty Power of Yahweh and let His people go. This was all to be a part of God's sovereign plan which He had foreordained and forewarned about to Moses, (Ex 3:20-21; 4:8-9; 21-23; 5:2). So right after Moses' rejection by Israel, the LORD commanded Moses to go back to Pharaoh and tell him "To let the children of Israel go out of his land." The LORD's message to Pharaoh was short and to the point. Moses was to demand complete freedom this time. It was not just a request for a three days' journey into the desert to sacrifice to the LORD as was done previously, (ref. Ex 5:1-3)]

(Ex 6:12 NKJV) And Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, "The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?"

[In the light of Pharaoh's rejection of Moses' proposal to let Israel go into the wilderness to sacrifice to the LORD and the king's consequent cruel punitive actions against Israel, (Ex 5:2-19), and then Israel's rejection of Moses, (Ex 5:20-21), Moses had lost his confidence to go before Pharaoh once again. Hence Moses had asked the LORD, "LORD, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all," (Ex 5:22-23). And then later, after the LORD had given Moses further instructions to go back to Pharaoh, (Ex 6:1-11); Moses asked the LORD, "The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?" in the sense of being unclean / sinful and inadequate, (Ex 6:12). Moses implied that he was not able to represent the LORD or Israel before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, (cf. Ex 4:10). Moses had lost sight of the sovereignty of the LORD in the matter; despite the fact that the LORD had repeatedly given him step by step instructions which He had stipulated would have to be taken in order to persuade Pharaoh to choose of his own accord to acknowledge Who Yahweh truly was, to fear Him and to choose to let His people go - and most of those steps had not yet been taken, (ref. Ex 3:14-22)!

Note that throughout the fulfillment of God's plan, Moses and Aaron eventually developed the temporal skills necessary as they submitted to God's training. Although their participation was volitional, Moses at times did refuse to cooperate. But in the end, Moses and Aaron, of their own free wills were fully persuaded to comply with God's script and faithfully used their learned temporal skills and the supernatural tools that the LORD gifted them with - God being ever present with them, instructing them with each step of His script. And their efforts would affect Israel's, Pharaoh's and Egypt's positive volition toward acknowledging and revering the Almighty power of Yahweh, the LORD God of Israel, resulting in God's people going free, heading toward the Promised Land with great riches given to them by the Egyptian people as they left the land of Egypt, (ref. Ex 3:20-22) - but shortly thereafter Pharaoh would renege once again, this time to his own destruction, (Ex 14:24-31)]

(Ex 6:13 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

[The LORD bypassed Moses' statement of failure and gave Moses and Aaron a further command to relay a message to Israel and Pharaoh. Notice that not only was Pharaoh to be commanded to let Israel go, but the children of Israel were commanded to bring themselves out of Egypt - both commands in the sense of acknowledging Who the LORD is and fulfilling each one's particular role in God's sovereign plan for the deliverance of His people to the Promised Land.

The author of Exodus then provided a genealogical report of the descendancy of Aaron and Moses from verses 14-27 summarized by the chart below:

This genealogical report focused upon the descendancy of Aaron and Moses through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the last of whom God renamed Israel - who would be the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel, the people of God. This was done not only in answer to Moses' rhetorical question of his unworthiness to serve the LORD in His plan to deliver Israel, but in order to authenticate Aaron and Moses as true descendants hence legitimate representatives of the LORD God and His people Israel before the rulers and people of Israel and before the heads of state of Egypt representing Israel, in order to fulfill God's plan of delivering Israel unto the Promised Land. It was a message from the LORD to the world then and now that these two men, Moses and Aaron were chosen by Him to be born of the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through no merit of their own; prepared by the LORD in history to be available to represent Him, (recall Moses' supernatural preservation in his infancy, and his being brought up and educated in Pharaoh's household) - and in other ways prepared by the LORD in their temporal lives to participate in His predetermined plan to accomplish His purposes. Moses' preparation included 40 years of being brought up as Egyptian royalty, 40 years in the Midianite wilderness tending flocks, and the LORD's persuasion of Moses' will to choose of his own volition to submit to His training and to faithfully perform those tasks that the LORD had decreed for him to perform - to choose to make the LORD's plan his plan. So the LORD gave Moses and Aaron supernatural gifts and an ongoing script of every word and action that they were to say and perform respectively before Israel and Egypt by the LORD. He was with them every moment - even as Moses traveled to each of his appointed tasks.

Hence in the genealogical record to authenticate Aaron and Moses, not all of the twelve sons of Jacob / Israel were germane and had to be listed. Thus only the first three sons of Jacob were listed in the order of their birth until the descendant to Aaron and Moses was arrived at. These three sons Jacob had by Leah, his first wife. They were Reuben, Simeon and Levi. And listed with each of these first three sons of Israel were their sons - the next generation:

(Ex 6:14 NKJV) These are the heads of their fathers' houses: The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. These are the families of Reuben.

[Note that the list for Reuben's sons is identical to Gen 46:9 and 1 Chr 5:3]

(Ex 6:15 NKJV) And the sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These are the families of Simeon.

[Note that the list for the sons of Simeon is the same as Gen 46:10, but it differs from Num 26:12 and 1 Chr 4:24. In the latter two lists Jemuel is Nemuel, Zohar is Zerah - evidently spelling differences; and Ohad is missing, perhaps because he subsequently died or for some other reason. In 1 Chr 4:24 Jakin appears as Jarib]

(Ex 6:16 NKJV) These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. And the years of the life of Levi were one hundred and thirty-seven.

[Hereafter in this part of Aaron and Moses' genealogical record, special attention is paid to Levi's descendants. Note that the years of the lifespan are given of the key descendants through whom Aaron and Moses were born. So the first generation of Levi consisted of his sons, Gershon, Kohath and Merari. The author stipulated, "And the years of the life of Levi were one hundred and thirty-seven." Levi was the first established leader of the tribe of Levi, named after him, and from whom descended Aaron and Moses]

(Ex 6:17 NKJV) The sons of Gershon were Libni and Shimi according to their families.

(Ex 6:18 NKJV) And the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, (cf. Num 3:19). And the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred and thirty-three.

[Although Kohath was not firstborn to Levi, (for Gershon was firstborn); Kohath's sons would serve in the priesthood as leaders of the congregation of Israel. Aaron and Moses would descend from Kohath, who lived to one hundred thirty-three - a key descendant in Aaron's and Moses' genealogy. A number of the individuals from whom Moses and Aaron descended fell far short of the moral standards of the LORD, some lost the privileges of their birthright, some received a curse, and some caused their own temporal destruction, (refs. Gen 34:25-31; 35:22; 49:3-7). There was remarkably no natural advantage or ability of anyone in the genealogy including Moses and Aaron to represent the LORD and His chosen people Israel before the heads of state of Egypt. It was only by the grace of God that Moses and Aaron were chosen to be strategically born, and to volitionally represent Him and His chosen people - His children of Israel - His family of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob]

(Ex 6:19 NKJV) The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of Levi according to their generations.

(Ex 6:20 NKJV) Now Amram took for himself Jochebed, his father's sister, as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty-seven.

[Verse 19 lists the two sons of Merari and then gives special importance to Amram, the father of Aaron and Moses. Amram "took for himself Jochebed, his father's sister, as wife." At this time this relationship - the marriage of one to his father's sister - would not be forbidden until Lev 18:12. Note that Abraham married his half-sister, (Gen 20:12). Since the human race was evidently living much longer, and was less subject to genetic defects, such relationships were not forbidden]

(Ex 6:21 NKJV) The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri.

(Ex 6:22 NKJV) And the sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Zithri.

(Ex 6:23 NKJV) Aaron took to himself Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon, as wife; and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

(Ex 6:24 NKJV) And the sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These are the families of the Korahites.

(Ex 6:25 NKJV) Eleazar, Aaron's son, took for himself one of the daughters of Putiel as wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites according to their families.

[Verse 25 specifies the sons of Aaron, who were destined to figure prominently throughout the wilderness journeys and the initial invasion of Canaan under Joshua. Special mention is made of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, for it was he who halted the devastating plague resulting from the apostasy of Baal-Peor as described in Num. 25:7-11. He did it by slaying the ringleader of the idolatrous defectors in the act of leading his Midianite sex partner into his tent. From then on, he seems to have assumed a chief role along with Joshua himself during the wars of conquest against the seven heathen nations that occupied Canaan. After the death of his father Eleazar, he assumed the status of chief priest (cf. 1 Chr. 9:20 and Judg. 20:28). The last two verses of this section furnish a sort of finale to this listing of the Kohathite leaders under the leadership of Moses and Aaron]

(Ex 6:26 NKJV) These are the same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, "Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies."

(Ex 6:27 NKJV) These are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are the same Moses and Aaron.

(Ex 6:28 NKJV) And it came to pass, on the day the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,

(Ex 6:29 NKJV) that the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "I am the LORD. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you."

(Ex 6:30 NKJV) But Moses said before the LORD, "Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me?"

[Now that the author of Exodus (Moses) had firmly established that Aaron and Moses were fully qualified to represent Israel before Pharaoh, he continued his narrative of the LORD fulfilling His predetermined plan to deliver His people Israel through Moses and Aaron:

So the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt once again. His first words to him were "Ani Yahweh," rendered "I am the LORD." Whereupon He commanded Moses to "Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you," as He had previously commanded Moses and Aaron after Pharoah's devastating and punitive refusal and Israel's bitter response to Moses and Aaron. And Moses' response in turn was the same reluctant one he had previously given to the LORD: "But Moses said before the LORD, "Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me?, (Ex 6:30)"

b) [Review Ex 6:10-13]:

(Ex 6:10 NKJV) '''And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

(Ex 6:11 NKJV) "Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go out of his land."

(Ex 6:12 NKJV) And Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, "The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?"

(Ex 6:13 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt."

So Moses, twice responding with a lack of faith in the LORD, repeated the phrase "I am of uncircumcised lips," in the sense of being so unclean / inadequate that he was not able to represent the LORD before Israel and Pharaoh, king of Egypt; (cf. Ex 6:12)]

6) [Ex 7:1-25]:

(Ex 7:1 NKJV) ''''So the LORD said to Moses: '''See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

(Ex 7:2 NKJV) You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.

[At the end of chapter 6, in verse 30, Moses complained to the LORD once more about his inability to perform what the LORD had commanded of him to do in order to accomplish the delivery of Israel from Egypt, not taking into account all of the details revealed to him by the LORD relative to Pharaoh's repeated hardened heart, the granting of the gifts of multiple supernatural wonders to Moses and Aaron yet to be performed and the forecasting of the king's repeated stubborn refusals to let Israel go - despite each disastrous plague. So there came another round of Moses' loss of confidence in himself and his waivering faith in the LORD to fulfill His predetermined plan to deliver Israel out of Egypt unto the Promised Land. But instead of addressing Moses' complaint, the LORD declared, in chapter 7, that He had made Moses as "God," to Pharaoh in the sense of Moses acting with the authority and power of God - in accordance with the sovereign plan of the LORD for delivering Israel; and Aaron would be as Moses' prophet - his messenger, who would speak for Moses and tell Pharaoh "to send the children of Israel out of his land." Despite Moses' waivering faith, the LORD Himself did not waver in His command to Moses to represent Him, nor in His message to Pharaoh to let His people go, (ref 7:2; 5:1; cf. 3:10, 18; 6:11)]

(Ex 7:3 NKJV) And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

(Ex 7:4 NKJV) But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.

(Ex 7:5 NKJV) And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.'''

[But again the LORD informed His team of Moses and Aaron that He would harden Pharaoh's heart - in the sense that He would present evidence through them to Pharaoh of His Almighty Power, His Sovereignty and His Absolute Righteousness over all creation, which opposed all that Pharaoh and the people of Egypt believed in and stood for. This would be done largely through supernatural events which directly opposed Egyptian gods in the seat of their power - Egypt. So the LORD would prompt Pharaoh with the truth about Himself - His Almighty power vs. Pharaoh's belief in false gods and his sins against the true God which would cause him of his own volition to choose to harden his own heart all the more and continue to go against God's will. So God cannot be claimed to be guilty of unrighteous behavior by provoking or manipulating Pharaoh to react in an evil direction, as some contend. For the king was already taking that evil direction. On the other hand, Pharaoh would finally acknowledge Who the God of Israel is, (cf. Ex 10:1-2; 12:31; 14:4); but he would not choose to repent and believe in Him for his temporal and eternal life, resulting in his temporal and eternal destruction, (Ex 14:4, 17-18). The LORD declared that He would multiply His signs and wonders and bring His armies and His people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.'" The word rendered "armies" evidently refers to those of His people Israel who would serve as His army - especially in the occupation of the Promised Land, implying a military conquest and occupation of that land. Note that at the Exodus there were about 600,000 adult males who could have served as His army, had they turned toward Yahweh ElOhim in faithfulness. Sad to say, their generation that entered the wilderness would not make it to the Promised Land.

God's key motivation in all of this was once again explained to Moses: "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them." First and foremost in the mind of God toward all men was that they would know that "ani Yahweh" = "I am the LORD." The LORD God would repeatedly press Israel, Egypt - all the peoples of the earth - to come to know Him and believe in Him as their LORD God unto eternal life.

a) [Compare Ex 12:37-38]:

(Ex 12:37 NKJV) "Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.

(Ex 12:38 NKJV) A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds - a great deal of livestock."

Note that the phrase rendered "mixed multitude," in verse 38 above: "A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds-a great deal of livestock," refers to the fact that a number of Egyptians went with the Israelites in the Exodus, implying that they too believed in the God of Israel]

(Ex 7:6 NKJV) Then Moses and Aaron did so; just as the LORD commanded them, so they did.

(Ex 7:7 NKJV) And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.

[Verse 6 made it emphatically clear that Moses and Aaron were to do and did just as the LORD had commanded them. Verse 7 then gave the ages of Moses and Aaron implying an historical benchmark - the beginning of the LORD's performance of great signs and wonders in order to free His people - the children of Israel - from Egyptian affliction so that all men would know that He was "Yahweh" - the LORD God, the One and only God]

(Ex 7:8 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

(Ex 7:9 NKJV) '''When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, "Show a miracle for yourselves,''' then you shall say to Aaron, Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.'"

(Ex 7:10 NKJV) So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.

(Ex 7:11 NKJV) But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

(Ex 7:12 NKJV) For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.

(Ex 7:13 NKJV) And Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

[So when the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, 'Show a miracle for yourselves,' the king said it in a tone of arrogance and skepticism that if not answered properly, it might end the lives of these two old men. So the LORD told Moses, "Then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.' " And that was what Moses and Aaron did - before Pharaoh and his servants. And the rod became a serpent, Hebrew, "tann," = a great serpent. The rod was the same as Moses' rod or "the rod of God," which Aaron used, (cf. 4:17, 20; 7:15, 17, 19-20). This implied that the LORD knew that Pharaoh would challenge them to authenticate themselves as commissioned by and coming from their God, "Yahweh," by performing miracles, (cf. 5:1-2). From Pharaoh's point of view, these two men were opportunists and insurrectionists who had no authorization or power behind their message. But when they did perform supernatural feats, Pharaoh was still not impressed; rather his heart was further hardened - even moreso after Aaron's rod swallowed up all the other rods; proving Yahweh's power was greater than Pharaoh's and Egypt's power. It is evident that the more that the LORD God proved Himself Almighty and powerful over all other gods, the more Pharaoh's heart hardened]

(Ex 7:11 NKJV) ''''But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. (Ex 7:12 NKJV) For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods [implying Yahweh's superiority to Egyptian gods]. (Ex 7:13 NKJV) And Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.''''

So Pharaoh called in the wise men and the sorcerers - the magicians of Egypt; and they were able to do like Moses and Aaron did with their enchantments. Each one threw down his own rod and all of the rods became serpents. On the other hand, Aaron's rod swallowed them all up - showing that the Yahweh ElOhim, the God of Moses and Aaron was dominant.

Note that it is evident that either the LORD permitted the wise men and the sorcerers - the magicians of Egypt - to perform supernatural signs evidently through the demonic world, and only up to a point; or they might have performed a trick of deception. Nevertheless, each confrontation between Moses and Aaron - emissaries of God, with the magicians of Egypt - emissaries of their gods, (behind which are Satan and his demons), resulted in judgments that smashed some aspect of Egypt's religious life (i.e., Satan's domain), to culminate in the death of Pharaoh's heir-god - his firstborn son and finally the release of the children of Israel. As decreed, the LORD would completely triumph over the powers of darkness in this matter with Egypt, (cf. 4:21-22; 7:3; 8:15-19).

Nevertheless the more that the truth about God being the One true Almighty and only God was presented to Pharaoh, the more his heart became hardened, i.e., the more he hardened his own heart.

Note that Moses and Aaron were not apprehended by the Egyptian police this time either, (cf. Ex 5:1-9 ). No reason is stipulated except that the two had performed signs that showed superior power to the Egyptian magicians whom Pharaoh evidently respected and largely depended upon to communicate with the spiritual world that they believed in - causing his hestitancy in killing the two Israelites until he was sure he wasn't going up against a supernatural force that he could not defeat]

(Ex 7:14 NKJV) So the LORD said to Moses: '''Pharaoh's heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.

(Ex 7:15 NKJV) Go to Pharaoh in the morning, when he goes out to the water, and you shall stand by the river's bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand.

(Ex 7:16 NKJV) And you shall say to him, "The LORD God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness; but indeed, until now you would not hear!'

(Ex 7:17 NKJV) Thus says the LORD: 'By this you shall know that I am the LORD.' [God then instructed Moses to say] Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood.

(Ex 7:18 NKJV) And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river." '''

(Ex 7:19 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, '''Say to Aaron, "Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [vessels of] wood and [vessels of] stone.'''

[Once more Pharaoh had hardened his heart toward Moses, Aaron and Israel; hence toward the LORD God of Israel, "Yahweh ElOhim." He did not heed God's words spoken to him by Moses and Aaron as the LORD had repeatedly foretold, despite repeated supernatural corroboration which defeated the Egyptian gods, showing them up to be impotent. So the LORD spoke to Moses and told him, ''Pharaoh's heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go,''' (Ex 7:14). Then the LORD God gave Moses new directions, "Go to Pharaoh in the morning, when he goes out to the water [evidently of the Nile River], and you shall stand by the river's bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand," (Ex 7:15).

Moses was commanded to stand at the river bank to meet Pharaoh and say to him, (Ex 7:16 NKJV) '''And you [Moses] shall say to him [Pharaoh], "The LORD God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness; but indeed, until now you would not hear!' (Ex 7:17 NKJV) Thus says the LORD: 'By this you shall know that I am the LORD.' [God then instructed Moses to say] Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. (Ex 7:18 NKJV) And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river." ''' Notice that it was Moses who was to speak the words to Pharaoh this time. Although it would be Aaron who would actually strike the waters of the Nile with Moses' Rod, the Rod of God, it was nevertheless at the orders of Moses, (cf. Ex 7:19-20).

Whereupon the LORD God gave Moses the words to be spoken to Aaron in Pharaoh's hearing: (Ex 7:19) ''''Then the LORD spoke to Moses, '''Say to Aaron, "Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [vessels of] wood and [vessels of] stone.''' ''''

Notice the extent to which the first plague will go - to every stream, river, pool of water throughout all of Egypt - even to [vessels of] wood and [vessels of] stone.

The LORD God commanded Moses to inform Pharaoh of the first plague that was about to be imposed upon him and the Egyptian people including the reasons for such a temporal judgment: Pharaoh - his heart having been hardened - had obstinately and deliberately refused to recognize, acknowledge and obey the One True God, "Yahweh ElOhim," the LORD God of Israel, (Ex 7:16-18).

The first judgment would effect the Nile River - its streams, tributaries, and ponds - throughout Egypt even down to the smallest common receptacles such as wooden and stone settlement tanks which contained water from the Nile. Note that the Hebrew text for the phrase rendered in Ex 7:19b NKJV, "And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [buckets of] wood and [pitchers of] stone," does not include the words in brackets which were supplied by the tranlators. Since wooden buckets and stone jars were not that common, but large wooded and stone settlement tanks were used so that the sediment would sink before the water was used, then a better rendering would be, "And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [vessels of] wood and [vessels of] stone.'''

Since none of the accounts of the plagues indicated that the plagues were to be directed at the Israelites in Goshen, but exclusively at Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt - the effects upon Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt being described in detail with no stipulation naming the Israelites or the area of Goshen being effected; and since in the case of this first plague the land of Goshen, which was outside of the Nile Delta to the southeast, utilized wells - an underground water source for their water, so that they had a water source outside of the Nile River; and since all of the plagues were caused supernaturally with absolute precision as to the predicted timing, location and effect; wherein it was stipulated that the Israelites were excluded explicitly in five of them, setting the pattern for all of them, (Ex 8:22-23 - flies; Ex 9:4 - pestilence; Ex 9:26 - hail; Ex 10:23 - darkness; Ex 11:7 - death of firstborn); then it can be concluded that none of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one.

The Nile, considered the source of Egypt's livelihood - her lifeblood - was regarded itself as a god. Hapi (also called Apis), was revered as the bull god, god of the Nile; Isis, the goddess of the Nile; and Osiris, was a god of the earth and vegetation - whose yearly miraculous rebirth was symbolized by the annual flooding of the river; and Khnum, the ram god, was revered as the guardian of the Nile - and there were others. Perhaps when this first plague occurred, it was time of the annual celebration of the Nile as Egypt's source of livelihood - her lifeblood. This first plague could not be explained as anything but supernatural and actual blood. It could not be explained as a natural phenomenon, as some contend. For such natural things as water turning a reddish color due to some natural organism like fungi, vegetable matter, tiny insects, etc. does not explain the instantaneous effect upon all of the waters coming from the Nile throughout Egypt - including the sudden death of all the fish, yet miraculously excluding the water supply of the Israelites. This was not a gradual event, it was instantly all pervasive.

So the LORD God forewarned Pharaoh through Moses and Aaron of the consequences of his refusal to set Israel free, and ultimately of rejecting "Yahweh," the LORD God of Israel and of all mankind as the Almighty God that He is, and that there is no other god. This was the beginning of the ten plagues that the LORD God would strike Pharaoh and the people of Egypt with over a period of approximately nine months of judgment upon Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, and ultimately upon the gods of Egypt - the demonic forces behind these false gods ]. These plagues were designed to manifest the impotency of the Pharaoh as well. For the Egyptian people considered him the god Horus, son of Hathor whose father was the god Amon-Re. In the final analysis, the plagues made the point to Pharaoh, Egypt, Moses and Aaron and all the people of Israel over and over again that Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God, is the One True God, and there is no other god, (Ex 7:5, 17; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16; cf. Isa 45:5; Ex 10:2), (Ex 7:19).

CHART OF THE PLAGUES AGAINST EGYPT
[Information From The Bible Knowledge Commentary, OT, 1987, Walvoord & Zuck, Eds, Victor Books, USA, pp. 119-120]
PLAGUES WARNINGS USES OF STAFFS PHARAOH'S RESPONSES AFTER THE PLAGUE STRUCK -
ISRAELITES NOT EFFECTED
POSSIBLE EGYPTIAN GODS AND GODDESSES ATTACKED BY THE PLAGUES***
Nile waters turned to blood (Ex 7:14-25) Warning - to Pharaoh at the Nile in the morning. No time / opportunity given to repent. (7:15-18) Aaron's staff (7:19) Did not listen to the request that the Israelites be released (7:22-23) - his heart grew hard.
Since none of the accounts of the plagues indicated that the plagues were to be directed at the Israelites in Goshen, but exclusively at Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt - the effects upon Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt being described in detail with no stipulation naming the Israelites or the area of Goshen being effected; and since in the case of this first plague the land of Goshen, which was outside of the Nile Delta to the southeast, utilized wells - an underground water source for their water, so that they had a water source outside of the Nile River; and since all of the plagues were caused supernaturally with absolute precision as to the predicted timing, location and effect; wherein it was stipulated that the Israelites were excluded explicitly in five of them, setting the pattern for all of them, (Ex 8:22-23 - flies; Ex 9:4 - pestilence; Ex 9:26 - hail; Ex 10:23 - darkness; Ex 11:7 - death of firstborn); then it can be concluded that none of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one.
The Nile, considered the source of Egypt's livelihood - her lifeblood - was regarded itself as a god. Hapi (also called Apis), the bull god, god of the Nile; Isis, goddess of the Nile. And Osiris, a god of the earth and vegetation - whose yearly miraculous rebirth was symbolized by the annual flooding of the river; Khnum, ram god, guardian of the Nile and others.
Frogs (Ex 8:1-15) Warning - to Pharaoh probably in his palace. Opportunity given to repent, (8:2-4) Aaron's staff 8:5-6) Agreed to let the people go if the frogs were taken away (8:8). The magicians' enchantments also produced frogs, (8:7). Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let Israel go, (8:15).

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
In the Egyptian pantheon, the goddess Heqet - the goddess of birth - had the form of a woman with a frog's head. It was believed that from her nostrils came the breath of life that animated the bodies of those created by her husband, the great god Khnum, from the dust of the earth.
Gnats (Lice: NKJV) (Ex 8:16-19) No warning Aaron's staff (8:16-17) Refused to listen to his magicians' suggestion "This is the finger of God," (8:19). Pharaoh's heart grew hard and he refused to let Israel go, (8:19).

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Set, god of the desert.
This third plague ended with the defeat of the magicians, who could not produce the gnats, and declared to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God, (8:18-19).
Flies (Ex 8:20-32) Warning - to Pharaoh at the Nile in the morning. Opportunity given to repent, (8:20-23). No staff used Pharaoh suggested that the Israelites sacrifice in Egypt, Moses refused. Then Pharaoh agreed to let Israel go out of Egypt into the wilderness. But then Pharoah hardened his heart and refused to let Israel go, (8:25-32)

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Re, a sun god; or the god Uatchit, possibly represented by the fly
Death caused by pestilence of livestock in the field - horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats, (Ex 9:1-7) Warning - to Pharaoh probably in his palace. Opportunity given to repent, (9:1-5) No staff used Pharaoh's heart became hardened and he did not let Israel go, (9:7)

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Hathor, goddess with a cow head; Apis, the bull god, symbol of fertility. Not all livestock of the Egyptians died, as some contend the passage declared. Later other lifestock which were in the fields were killed by hail
Boils (Ex 9:8-12) No warning No staff used The LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and Pharaoh did not let Israel go, (9:12)

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Sekhmet, goddess with power over disease; Sunu, the pestilence god; Isis, goddess of healing. The boils were so bad that the magicians could neither evoke effective incantations nor even stand up, (9:11)
Hail and further destruction of livestock and Egyptians in the fields, (Ex 9:13-35) Warning - to Pharaoh in his palace in the morning. Opportunity given to repent, (9:13-19) Moses' staff (9:22-23) Promised to let the Israelites go completely out of Egypt if the storm of rain and hail were stopped, but again he backed down, (9:28, 35). And again he sinned, hardened his heart, and did not let Israel go, (9:34-35). Israel in Goshen was uneffected by the plague, (Ex 9:26). And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, (10:1).

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Nut, the sky goddess; Osiris, god of crops and fertility; Set, god of storms.
Not all livestock of the Egyptians died in the 5th plague, as some contend the passage declared. And later other lifestock which were in the fields were killed by the 7th plague of hail
Locusts (Ex 10:1-20) Warning - to Pharaoh probably in his palace. Opportunity given to repent, (10:3-6) Moses' staff (10:12-13) Offered to let only the men go (10:11), admitted his sin against Israel and the God of Israel, (10:16), but the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, hence he would not let Israel go, (10:20)

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Re, the sun god; Horus, a sun god; Nut, a sky goddess, Hathor, a sky goddess, Osiris, god of crops and fertility.
Darkness (Ex 10:21-29) No warning (Moses' hand; perhaps the staff was used; 10:21-22) Agreed that the people could go but not their animals (10:24). Moses insisted on including the animals. The LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, Pharaoh refused, (10:25-31)

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
Re, the sun god; Horus, a sun god; Nut, a sky goddess; Hathor, a sky goddess - all were unable to help. Pharoah himself was regarded to be a son of Re.
Death of firstborn including animals (Ex 11:1-12:30) Warning given to Pharaoh probably in his palace; but with no opportunity given for Pharaoh to repent beforehand, (11:4-8) no staff used After the 9th plague, and after Moses had warned Pharaoh of the LORD causing the deaths of Egypts firstborn including animals, the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, (Ex 14:4), and did not let Israel go.
But after the 10th plague struck, Pharaoh urged that the people of Israel go! And the Egyptian people gladly gave them great riches to leave in a hurry, (12:31-36).
But then the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart once again, so Pharaoh pursued Israel with his 600 chariot army - all to be drowned in the Sea of Reads at the Nuweiba Peninsula in the Gulf of Aqaba, (Ex chapter 14).
Min, god of reproduction; Heqet, goddess who attended women at childbirth; Isis, goddess who protected children; Pharaoh's firstborn son, a god

None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. .
*** Some gods and goddesses had more than one function or area of responsibility. Also in ancient Egyptian religion many of the gods and goddesses who were worshiped in one city or location and/or at one period of time were believed to have assimilated the gods and goddesses of other areas and time periods. Their religion was thus often complex and at times even contradictory.
Sources: Encylopedia Brittanica, under the word "Egypt;" Lionel Casson, Ancient Egypt (New York: Time-Life Books, 1965); Pierre Montet, Egypt and the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968).

b) [Summary Statement Of The Plagues]

[Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1990, Frank E Gaebelein, Gen. Editor, Vol. 2, p. 348]:

'''The first nine plagues are arranged in three groups of three plagues each. [Refer to chart above ]. The first plague in each group (viz., nos. 1, 4, 7) was introduced by a warning delivered to Pharaoh early in the morning when he went out to the Nile (7:15; 8:20; 9:13...). The second plague in each group (nos. 2, 5, 8) was also introduced by a warning, but it was delivered to Pharaoh at his palace (8:1; 9:1; 10:1). The last plague in each group (nos. 3, 6, 9) commenced without any warning (8:16; 9:8; 10:21)... The [plagues] may likewise be viewed in another arrangement of three sets of triplets in an ascending order of severity; the first three (nos. 1, 2, 3) introduced irritations, the second set (nos. 4, 5, 6) destructions, and the final set (nos. 7, 8, 9) death... The initial plague in each triplet (nos. 1, 4, 7) has a purpose clause in which God sets forth for Moses His rationale [for bringing these supernatural plagues upon Egypt - that He is Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God, Creator and Sovereign over the whole world]:

The first set (7:17a): "Thus says the LORD: 'By this you shall know that I am the LORD.' "

The second set (8:22b): "In order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land."

The third set (9:14b): "That you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth." '''

6 cont.) [Ex 7:1-25 cont.]:

(Ex 7:19 NKJV) ''''Then the LORD spoke to Moses, '''Say to Aaron, "Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [vessels of] wood and [vessels of] stone.

(Ex 7:20 NKJV) And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck 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.

(Ex 7:21 NKJV) The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

[And when Moses and Aaron did as the LORD instructed them to, the first plague was fulfilled in every detail throughout Egypt as Yahweh ElOhim - the LORD God - had foretold. This first plague could not be explained as anything but supernatural and actual blood. It could not be explained as a natural phenomenon, as some contend. For such natural things as water turning a reddish color due to some natural organism like fungi, vegetable matter, tiny insects, etc. does not explain the instantaneous effect upon all of the waters coming from the Nile throughout Egypt from the River itself, all its tributaries, ponds, even the wood and stone settlement tanks throughout all of Egypt and including the sudden death of all the fish. This was not a gradual event, it was instantly all pervasive throughout the land of Egypt. The plague was announced by Moses in advance and it commenced precisely at the moment that Aaron stretched out Moses' rod over the waters of the Nile. So this plague was God's supernatural superintending over His creation to demonstrate Who He is, Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God, Sovereign Creator of the World]

(Ex 7:22 NKJV) Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

(Ex 7:23 NKJV) And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.

(Ex 7:24 NKJV) So all the Egyptians dug all around the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the river.

(Ex 7:25 NKJV) And seven days passed after the LORD had struck the river.''''

[The magicians of Egypt demonstrated that they too could duplicate the turning of the Nile waters to blood, perhaps through trickery or through demonic powers. But their efforts were very limited compared to what the LORD did through Moses and Aaron: All the Nile waters in the River, its tributaries, ponds, and even the wood and stone settlement tanks were instantly turned into blood. It was an extensive, pervasive manifestation of God's supernatural power throughout all of Egypt which would run its course unhindered for seven days - yet never effecting the people of Israel, (Ex 7:25). The magicians evidently drew water from sources outside of the Nile River, such as a well, natural spring or waters filtered through the soil and performed their demonstration before Pharaoh, (ref. Ex 7:24). If it was supernatural, it was permitted by God to be exercised through the demonic world. Elsewhere Scripture attributes this kind of power to the demonic world ..But the magicians could not reverse the effects of what God had done through Moses and Aaron on any scale. So the Egyptian people had to abandon getting water from any Nile source throughout Egypt.

Since none of the accounts of the plagues indicated that the plagues were to be directed at the Israelites in Goshen, but exclusively at Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt - the effects upon Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt being described in detail with no stipulation naming the Israelites or the area of Goshen being effected;

and since all of the plagues were caused supernaturally with absolute precision as to the predicted timing, location and effect; wherein it was stipulated that the Israelites were excluded explicitly in five of them, setting the pattern for all of them, (Ex 8:22-23 - flies; Ex 9:4 - pestilence; Ex 9:26 - hail; Ex 10:23 - darkness; Ex 11:7 - death of firstborn);

and since the land of Goshen, which was outside of the Nile Delta to the southeast, utilized wells - an underground water source for their water, so that they had a water source outside of the Nile River;

then it can be concluded that the Israelites were not effected by this first plague of the Nile waters turning to blood, nor any of the other plagues. See chart .

Pharaoh, his servants, all Egypt and all their gods were impotent against what the LORD had done. Yet the demonstration of the Sovereignty of God only enabled Pharaoh to harden his heart against Yehweh ElOhim. Despite the damage caused to his people by the emissaries of Yahweh which could not be answered by the powers of Egyptian deities, the demonic powers of darkness, Pharaoh was not moved to let Israel go, nor even offer a compromise.

7) [Ex 8:1-32]:

(Ex 8:1 NKJV) ''''And the LORD spoke to Moses, '''Go to Pharaoh and say to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

(Ex 8:2 NKJV) But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs.

(Ex 8:3 NKJV) So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls.

(Ex 8:4 NKJV) And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants.' " '''

[Once more the LORD spoke to Moses relative to his portion of the script which God predetermined for him to play in the deliverance of His people Israel. Moses was to go to Pharaoh and say the following to him, (notice that Moses was speaking to Pharaoh as opposed to letting Aaron speak for him): "Thus says the LORD: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls. And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants.' " Under normal circumstances, frogs would stay near the waters of the Nile, but this plague would invade houses, courtyards, bedrooms, beds, houses of servants, ovens, kneading bowls - everywhere imaginable. The frogs would crawl all over the people themselves. The Egyptians regarded frogs as having some kind of divine power. In the Egyptian pantheon, the goddess Heqet - the goddess of birth - had the form of a woman with a frog's head. It was believed that from her nostrils came the breath of life that animated the bodies of those created by her husband, the great god Khnum, from the dust of the earth. Hence Egyptians were not permitted to kill frogs. The irony of frogs invading the bedrooms of Egypt - often the birthplace of newborns - would not have gone unnoticed]

(Ex 8:5 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, '''Say to Aaron, "Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.'"

(Ex 8:6 NKJV) So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

(Ex 8:7 NKJV) And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.

[It is interesting to note that after Aaron enacted the plague of frogs with his staff, the magicians were also able to enact this same feat - evidently once again in a very limited manner - when they attempted their enchantments, (cf. 7:22); but ironically, they were only able to add to the distress, not alleviate it. None of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. . (Ex 8:7)]

(Ex 8:8 NKJV) Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, '''Entreat the LORD that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.'''

[This was the first time the king made an entreaty to Moses and Aaron - to take away the frogs, (cf. Ex 5:2). And in that entreaty, for the first time, he acknowledged the existence and the power of the LORD and promised to let the people of Israel go into the wilderness to sacrifice to the LORD - a promise he would quickly renege]

(Ex 8:9 NKJV) And Moses said to Pharaoh, '''Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only.'''

(Ex 8:10 NKJV) So he [Pharaoh] said, '''Tomorrow.''' And he [Moses] said, "Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.

[Moses graciously and wisely allowed the king to set the timetable for when relief from the plague of frogs would begin so that when it occurred precisely as the king requested, it would all the more testify to the Sovereignty of the LORD God Creator of the world. And the king requested: "Tomorrow," i.e., the sooner the better. And Moses gave the king once more the reason for the plagues and the supernatural relief of this one: "That you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God." Yahweh ElOhim through Moses gave Pharaoh the honor of choosing the time when He would stop the frog plague. But there would still remain the clean up and stench of millions of dead frogs to remind Pharaoh of his position before the LORD God and his statement that he would let Israel go to worship Him in the wilderness]

(Ex 8:11 NKJV) And the frogs shall depart from you, from your houses, from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only.'''

(Ex 8:12 NKJV) Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh. And Moses cried out to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh.

(Ex 8:13 NKJV) So the LORD did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields.

(Ex 8:14 NKJV) They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank.

[Moses then told Pharaoh that the frogs would stop climbing all over him, the houses, the servants and the Egyptian people. They would all die, except for those in the Nile River. Whereupon, Moses cried out to the LORD in prayer and the LORD answered: the frogs died in the houses, courtyards and fields - where ever they had been - except in the Nile. And there was a great stench in the land. This could not be explained as a natural phenomenon, as some contend, such as the frogs leaving the waters of the Nile because it had turned to blood which infected them with a deadly disease that killed them shortly thereafter as they wandered all over. For in too short of a time for natural causation there was an innumerable number of them everywhere. And then when Moses cried out to the LORD to end the plague of frogs, all of them outside of the Nile River died at the precise time which Pharaoh had requested - the next day; except those in the Nile River, (Ex 8:9). All of this corroborates that there was a supernatural intervention by the LORD God of Israel]

(Ex 8:15 NKJV) But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

(Ex 8:16 NKJV) So the LORD said to Moses, '''Say to Aaron, "Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become [gnats] throughout all the land of Egypt." '''

(Ex 8:17 NKJV) And they did so. For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth, and it became [gnats] on man and beast. All the dust of the land became [gnats] throughout all the land of Egypt.

[This plague demonstrated the superior power of Yaweh over the Set, the Egyptian god of the desert; and the Egyptian priesthood. For the priests prided themselves on their purity with frequent washings, shavings and wearing clean linen robes; and now they were polluted with filthy, bothersome insects that contaminated everything, everywhere. And just as the LORD foretold, as soon as Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed Moses and Aaron. He did not let Israel go into the wilderness to sacrifice to the LORD as he had promised. So the LORD gave Moses the words to speak to Aaron in order to start the third plague. This plague would come suddenly and without warning for Pharaoh's promise of release was again a false one, (vv. 8, 15): Moses was to '''Say to Aaron, "Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become [gnats] throughout all the land of Egypt." '''

And when Aaron struck the dust of the earth with his rod - the rod was the same as Moses' rod or "the rod of God," which Aaron used, (cf. 4:17, 20; 7:15, 17, 19-20) - was evidently done while Moses and Aaron were still in view of Pharaoh, so that the king would make the connection between the action of Moses and Aaron and the arrival of the plague of gnats.

The Hebrew word transliterated "kinnim," rendered "gnats" could be mosquitos or a similar insect as well. Although the KJV, Peshitta, Josephus, the Targum of Onkelos favored "lice," but the LXX, Philo, Origen, Gesenius, Keil and most others favor "gnats" or "mosquitos." The expression "strike the dust of the land, so that it may become gnats" is a way of saying that the gnats would be exponentially more numerous than usual - like dust falling upon everyone, everywhere. So gnats came upon man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt like "the dust of the earth." Since the plagues were designed by God to prove out His Sovereignty over Pharaoh and Egypt and their gods; and since the Israelites were specifically declared in Scripture as not effected by the 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th plagues; it is most likely that they were not effected by the plague of gnats or any of the other plagues]

(Ex 8:18 NKJV) Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth [gnats], but they could not. So there were [gnats] on man and beast.

(Ex 8:19 NKJV) Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, '''This is the finger of God.''' But Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.

[This time the enchantments of the magicians failed to duplicate the plague and bring forth gnats, neither could they bring relief. Note that in the first three plagues the text translated identically in the first part, "And the magicians did so by their secret arts to... [duplicate the particular plague]." Given that they had advance notice of the nature of these plagues, they might have used some slight of hand or deception utilizing what had already been produced to prove their competence; or perhaps it was just demonic, supernatural empowerment to mimic God's power to a lesser extent. But in the case of the gnats, they said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." The magicians came to the realization that they were outdone; neither they nor their gods could could have caused this plague. They deferred to the God of the Hebrews. From this point on, Pharaoh did not ask for the magicians' assitance. But it was of no import to the king, for his heart grew hard. The more that the LORD demonstrated Who He was, especially via supernatural manifestations of His Almighty power, the more that Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not heed what Moses and Aaron told him he must do. Pharaoh as usual waited for the plague to play itself out, holding on to his stubborn attitude toward Moses, Aaron and the God of Israel - not heeding the warning to him to let Israel go. Hence consequent plagues would come faster and be more severe]

(Ex 8:20 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, '''Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water. Then say to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

(Ex 8:21 NKJV) Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand.

(Ex 8:22 NKJV) And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land.

(Ex 8:23 NKJV) I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be. " '''

[Once again the LORD instructed Moses to confront Pharaoh down by the Nile River with a demand to let Israel go, (cf. Ex 7:15). This time there would also be a consequence if he didn't let Israel go: swarms of flies on the people, in the houses, on the ground - everywhere but limited to Egyptians. The flies would have been attracted to the decaying frogs of the previous plague. If they were the dog flies, their bites would have been painful. If so, they represented 'Re,' a prominent Egyptian god who would be shown as impotent. If the frogs were Ichneuman flies, then the god Uatchit would be shown as impotent. The phrase in verse 22, "And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land," that there would be no swarms of flies in Goshen - on the eastern delta region about fifty miles northeast of modern Cairo in a valley five or six miles wide and thirty miles long, ending in Lake Timsah. This was where the people of Israel predominanently lived, (v. 22). The power of God demonstrated in the protection of Israel provided a resounding statement to Pharaoh and all Egypt of the Absolute Superiority of the God of Israel over all other gods. For God's power was being wielded overwhelmingly in 'foreign territory,' i.e., in Egypt - the home of all the Egyptian gods. For gods were often thought of by people of those ancient times to possess little or no power outside of their home ground. Yet the God of Israel was demonstrating His Supreme power over all other gods within Egyptian territory! The plague was promised to occur the next day, evidently anticipating Pharaoh's refusal once more to let Israel go, yet giving him and all Egypt time to repent. This advance notice of when a plague was due to strike occurred in the fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth plagues. This plague of flies, like the first three, demonstrated the sovereignty of God especially with His supernatural capacity to instantly cause each plague without fail - unlike Egypt's magicians, who would not attempt to duplicate or undo this third plague or any further plagues. And the LORD God would protect the children of Israel from the effects of all the plagues - a factor which indicated that none of these plagues could be solely attributed to natural causes. The supernatural works of God were in part designed to invoke faith in Him by all men as their God, as well as the release of Israel. Pharaoh and his court were especially singled out because they bore the greatest responsibility for Israel's enslavement and the intransigence of Egypt toward the God of Israel]

(Ex 8:24 NKJV) And the LORD did so. Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh, into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies.

(Ex 8:25 NKJV) Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, '''Go, sacrifice to your God in the land.'''

(Ex 8:26 NKJV) And Moses said, '''It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God. If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?

(Ex 8:27 NKJV) We will go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He will command us.'''

(Ex 8:28 NKJV) So Pharaoh said, '''I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.'''

(Ex 8:29 NKJV) Then Moses said, '''Indeed I am going out from you, and I will entreat the LORD, that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. But let Pharaoh not deal deceitfully anymore in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.'''

(Ex 8:30 NKJV) So Moses went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD.

(Ex 8:31 NKJV) And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained.

(Ex 8:32 NKJV) But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.

[So without further notice, the next day the plague of swarms of flies began to corrupt Egypt everywhere, impugning the power of the Egyptian gods. Thick swarms came into Pharaoh's house, and his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt. Once again Pharaoh's personal life was fully effected by a plague brought upon him by the God of Israel for not acknowledging Him and letting His people go. And so Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said '''Go, sacrifice to your God in the land.''' Notice that Pharaoh paid homage to the God of Israel by offering a compromise to Moses so that the pressure of this fourth plague could be lifted. Pharaoh was feeling the cumulative weight of the four plagues that the God of Israel had caused in order to demonstrate His Almighty and Absolute power at the expense of the gods of Egypt - proving out their impotency before Him. But Pharaoh's offer limited the people of Israel to staying within Egyptian territory to perform their sacrifices. He was not willing to release Israel from captivity. So Israel's worship and sacrifices to God would be in full view of the Egyptian people who would find the worship of any god outside of their own gods abominable - especially since bulls and cows which were to be sacrificed by Israelite priests - both animals of which represented to the Egyptians, the god Apis or Re, and the goddess Hathor respectively. This would most likely have resulted in rioting and violence. So Moses countered with the fact that Israelite religious practices, especially the Israelites' sacrificing animals to the LORD God of Israel in the presence of the Egyptian people would be an abomination - an insufferable blasphemy to Egyptians who were supremely arrogant about the superiority of their gods and their own religious practices. For this to them was proved out by their position of power and authority in the world at that time - especially over Israel who was enslaved by them. Hence Moses asked Pharaoh, "If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?" Note that this was not a clever ruse by Moses that was unlikely to happen, as some contend; for there was an incident of an Egyptian reaction to Jewish sacrifices in the fifth-century B.C. colony at Elephantine, (A.E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C.[Oxford: Clarendon], 1923, pp. 108-22). .(Ex 8:24-26).

So Moses counter proposed to Pharaoh to let Israel '''Go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He will command us.''' Whereupon Pharaoh promised, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.''' Pharaoh again paid homage to the God of Israel - but he was still pontificating - full of his sense of self-importance; and it was a lie. But Moses once again took Pharaoh at his word. He told Pharaoh that he would intercede for him before the LORD, entreating to the LORD as follows: "That the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people." And then Moses added in Pharaoh's hearing a rebuke for past deceits, "But let Pharaoh not deal deceitfully anymore in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD." This was a bold statement for Moses to make, for Pharaoh was supposed to be the model of justice and truth to his people; and Moses correctly implied that Pharaoh had previously acted toward Moses and Israel with deceipt. Nevertheless, Moses did intercede for Pharaoh to the LORD with the result that the LORD removed the swarms of flies from everywhere in Egypt: "Not one remained" - such a perfect result testifying to the supernatural intervention of the LORD, (Ex 8:31c). Nevertheless, once the relief came, Pharaoh hardened his heart once again, "and neither would he let the people go," (Ex 8:32b). It was not in Pharaoh's nature to capitulate to the God of Israel and let Israel go - in front of all Egypt, in the face of all Egypt's gods and goddesses which he worshipped. For Pharaoh himself claimed to be deity.

8) [Ex 9:1-35]:

(Ex 9:1 NKJV) ''''Then the LORD said to Moses, '''Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, 'Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

(Ex 9:2 NKJV) For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them,

(Ex 9:3 NKJV) behold, the hand of the LORD will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep - a very severe pestilence.

(Ex 9:4 NKJV) And the LORD will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.' " '''

(Ex 9:5 NKJV) Then the LORD appointed a set time, saying, '''Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.'''

(Ex 9:6 NKJV) So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.

[In view of Pharaoh's continued intransigence toward the LORD God of Israel and toward letting Israel go free; the LORD instructed Moses, '''' '''Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me, (cf. 3:18; 5:3; 7:16; 9:13; 10:3). For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, behold, the hand of the LORD will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep - a very severe pestilence.' And the LORD will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel." '''Then the LORD appointed a set time, saying, '''Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.''' '''' So the LORD gave time for those that took the words of the LORD through Moses seriously, believing in Him to do this, to be saved from destruction by removing themselves from the field - their livestock and themselves. Note that the cause of the pestilence might well have been due to the rotting frogs and swarms of gnats and flies causing the tranmission of a deadly infectious disease like anthrax, as some contend; but its sudden appearance which was limited to Egypt alone - with Israel completely uneffected, would necessitate concluding that the plague was supernaturally originated from the LORD God alone. For Ex 9:3; 5-6 stipulate that it would be and was caused by the hand of the LORD that the plague was caused. This plague most likely occurred after the annual Nile inundation subsided. For cattle were stabled from May to December during the flood and drying off periods when the pastures were waterlogged. Hence they were led out to pasture in the month of January. The deadly plague of pestilence would cause great economic hardship upon Egypt. For in the days of ancient Egypt, livestock was a critical measure of wealth and economic stability. Its decimation would leave the whole population of Egypt in desperate straits for food and milk. As a consequence of Pharaoh’s refusal to release the Israelites, the Egyptians sustained far more economic loss than what they could have received from the building activities of the Hebrew slaves. Furthermore, there were destroyed many sacred animals in Egypt - the bull which represented the god Apis or sacred bull Ptah; the calf god, Re; the cow which represented Hathor, the jackal-headed god, Anubis; and the bull Bakis of the god Mentu. Furthermore, the goddess of love, beauty, and joy who was depicted as a woman with the head (or horns) of a cow; and Khnum the ram-god - once again proving out the impotence of all the gods of Egypt, when the God of Israel manifested His presence and almighty power in Egypt once again - leaving the animals of Israel uneffected by the plague, (Ex 9:4; cf. 8:22-23; 11:7). The time specifically stipulated for this plague set by Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, was precise; the distinction made between the livestock of Egypt and that of Israel was without fault, (cf. Ex 9:7); and the total results were absolute: the total destruction of all Egyptian livestock in the fields; and the total deliverance / salvation of all the livestock of Israel. This further testified to the supernatural origins of the plague and to the omnipotence of the God of Israel over all other gods, mankind - the whole world.

Notice that Pharaoh's refusal to let Israel go was already predicted and implied in the statement Moses made to Pharaoh: ''''Then the LORD appointed a set time, saying, '''Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land,''' '''' (Ex 9:15). Hence the fifth plague began the next day. All the cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen and sheep in the field died of a very severe pestilence," excluding the livestock that was in shelters, and all of the animals of Israel.

Question: The two passages, Ex 9:1-6 and 18-25, together do not stipulate that all of the livestock, i.e., domestic animals of Egypt were destroyed twice over, as some contend. Objectors state that if all of the livestock died in the plague of disease as reported in Ex 9:1-6, then the question arises of how can one explain the presence of animals later in verse 10 and of livestock in verses 20-21?

Answer: Ex 9:1-6 and 18-25 - two separate incidents of plagues upon Egypt, declared that all of the Egyptian livestock that was in the field at each of the two times was destroyed; the first time by plague; then the next time, another group of animals that were again in the field was destroyed - this time by hail - two different groups of animals. Those that survived each of the two times had been kept in pens, stalls and shelters. And those that died were those that at one of those two times that were out in the open - in the field and not in pens, stalls or shelters. Hence this is not a contradiction]

8 cont.) [Ex 9:1-35]:

(Ex 9:7 NKJV) ''''Then Pharaoh sent, [in the sense of sent envoys to investigate] and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.

[Notice that Pharaoh sent an envoy to investigate whether or not the livestock of the Israelites was effected by the plague; and they discovered that not even one Israelite animal had died. But this astounding discovery and testimony to the omnipotence of the LORD God of Israel did not bring about a change of heart in Pharaoh. His heart once again became hard and he did not let the people of Israel go. Once again Pharaoh impugned his reputation as a just and truthful Pharaoh and the god that he claimed to be]

(Ex 9:8 NKJV) So the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, '''Take for yourselves handfuls of [soot] from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh.

(Ex 9:9 NKJV) And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.'''

(Ex 9:10 NKJV) Then they took [soot] from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast.

(Ex 9:11 NKJV) And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.

(Ex 9:12 NKJV) But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

[Like the third and ninth plagues, the sixth plague was not announced to Pharaoh. This plague, the first to endanger human life, resulted in open sores ("boils that break out in sores," vv. 9-10), on the bodies of men and animals. Moses and Aaron each took handfuls of soot from a brick furnace and stood before Pharaoh. The Hebrew word "pah" rendered "ashes" in the NKJV is literally and more accurately translated "soot" - the soot from a furnace used to make bricks - symbolic of Israel's bondage, (v. 8, cf. 1:14; 5:7-19). Whereupon, Moses tossed the handfuls of [soot] toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. It is evident that this tossing of soot from the brick making furnaces into the air was to be made in the sight of the Pharaoh so that the significance of it would not be missed when Pharaoh, his servants and all the Egyptians were struck with boils all over their bodies causing a tormenting bondage of disease upon all those that held the people of Israel under the bondage of the brutal slavery of making bricks without straw - punishing them often with the lash and killing their newborn babies to keep their population down. The Egyptians who were fearfully aware of epidemics, worshipped Sekhemet, a lion-headed goddess with alleged power over disease; Sunu, the pertilence god; and Isia, the goddess of healing. Yet these deities could not deliver the people and animals from their torments. The magicians of Egypt were again helpless (cf. 8:18) because they were similarly afflicted (Ex 9:11) and found their own deities powerless. Yet Pharaoh persisted in willful obstinance (Ex 9:12).]

(Ex 9:13 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, '''Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me,

(Ex 9:14 NKJV) for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.

(Ex 9:15 NKJV) Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth.

(Ex 9:16 NKJV) But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My Name may be declared in all the earth.

(Ex 9:17 NKJV) As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go.

(Ex 9:18 NKJV) Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.

(Ex 9:19 NKJV) Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.' " '''

(Ex 9:20 NKJV) He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses.

(Ex 9:21 NKJV) But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.

[After the sixth plague of boils was completed, the LORD told Moses to rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and declare the words that the LORD gave him to say to the king, (9:13) - as He had done before the first (7:15) and the fourth plagues (8:20). Before this seventh plague, Moses was to convey the LORD's words which defined an escalation of the plagues. These remaining plagues would be aimed at the very heart of Pharaoh, his servants, the people of Egypt and the gods that they worshipped. The Hebrew word "libbekA" rendered "heart" in Ex 9:14 refers in this context to the inner being, the nature - the seared consciences caused by the pride and arrogance of Pharaoh, his servants and all the people of Egypt toward Yahweh Elohim, the LORD God and His people Israel. The purpose of these future plagues, like the previous ones - only moreso - was so that all may know that there is none like the LORD in all the earth, (v. 14, cf. 7:5; 8:10; 9:14, 16, 29-30; 14:4, 18). It is implied that heretofore, Pharaoh and the people of Egypt had failed to acknowledge Who the LORD was and let His people go, (cf. 3:18; 5:3; 7:16; 9:1; 10:3). Moses participated all the more in the administration of the LORD's instructions in the third cycle of plagues, (Ex 9:10; 9:23, 29-33; 10:3-6, 9, 13, 18, 22, 25-26, 29), (Ex 9:13-14).

The LORD explained further that He could have struck down Pharaoh and his people with the pestilence, [instead of only the livestock in the field]; and then they would have been cut off from the earth in the sense of all of them killed. But the LORD explained that this was not His intention. His purpose was for them to remain alive to experience His wrath through these plagues which were aimed directly at the arrogance and ungodliness of Pharaoh, the people of Egypt and their gods. This was so that He could show His sovereign power over all creation, that they might acknowledge Who He was. And through the losses they would suffer by His supernatural hand, His name might be declared by them and all the earth that He alone was the Sovereign LORD Almighty God of the universe, (Ex 9:13-16).

But so far, through six punishing plagues, the Pharaoh and the people of Egypt still exalted themselves against the people of the LORD and would not let them go. So the LORD announced through Moses, "Tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now." And the LORD, demonstrating His grace, gave Pharaoh and Egypt fair warning: He instructed them through Moses to gather their livestock and their servants from the fields and put them in shelter. Livestock in ancient Egypt were usually left outdoors from January to April, before the summer heat set in. So it was within this timeframe that the plague occurred. And any, animal, human or plant, remaining in the field would be destroyed - the hail stones would be innumerable, large and deadly. The LORD provided this warning so that those who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh would see to it that their people and livestock would flee to the houses to gain shelter and avoid the hail storm out in the open field. Notice that this implied that Pharaoh would remain hard hearted and would neither listen to the words of the LORD, nor let Israel go. Pharaoh had the opportunity to acknowledge the LORD and let Israel go into the wilderness to worship the LORD, but he did not. The destruction of people, livestock, plantlife in the field resulted from those who hardened their hearts and did not heed the LORD's forewarning of the hailstorm.

Since rainfall in upper Egypt was rare, a severe thunder, rain and hailstorm unthinkable - upper Egypt received an inch or less rainfall per year, sometimes none; the delta received about ten inches of rainfall per year; and since this unprecedented hailstorm occurred precisely when predicted - its severity, deadliness, restricted exclusively to the fields of the Egyptians excluding those of the Israelites; then it can be concluded that this event was via supernatural intervention of the LORD God, corroborating His Absolute Sovereignty over all of His creation. and Scripture clearly indicated that this hail storm was originated as a supernatural intervention by God, (cf. Ex 9:18; 22-26), as were all the plagues. See above chart .

There evidently were some Egyptians who heeded God's words of warning and brought themselves and their livestock to safety inside shelters, (Ex 9:17-21).

a) All The Livestock Of Egypt Were Not Destroyed Twice Over As Some Contend - Only The Livestock Left In The Open Field. Those In Shelter Survived

Question: The two passages, Ex 9:1-6 and 18-25, together do not stipulate that all of the livestock, i.e., domestic animals of Egypt were destroyed twice over, as some contend. Objectors state that if all of the livestock died in the plague of disease as reported in Ex 9:1-6, then the question arises of how can one explain the presence of animals later in verse 10 and of livestock in verses 20-21?

Answer: Ex 9:1-6 .and 18-25 - two separate incidents of plagues upon Egypt, declared that all of the Egyptian livestock that was found in the field at each of the two times was destroyed; the first time by plague; then the next time, another group of animals that were again in the field was destroyed - this time by hail - two different groups of animals. Those that survived each of the two times had been kept in pens, stalls and shelters. And those that died were those that at one of those two times that were out in the open - in the field and not in pens, stalls or shelters. Hence this is not a contradiction]

8 cont.) [Ex 9:1-35 cont.]:

(Ex 9:22 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, '''Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt - on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.'''

(Ex 9:23 NKJV) And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.

(Ex 9:24 NKJV) So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

(Ex 9:25 NKJV) And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.

(Ex 9:26 NKJV) Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.

[At the same time in the following morning after Moses' announcement to Pharaoh of an escalation of plagues to begin with Egypt's greatest and most deadly hailstorm, (Ex 9:13-21); the LORD said to Moses, '''Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt - on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.''' The damage would be pervasive throughout the fields of Egypt except for Goshen. Hence the huge hail stones would be deadly for anything in the open field - man, beast and plants alike, (Ex 9:22).

When Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground [evidently lightening], and hail rained upon Egypt such as had never occurred since Egypt had become a nation. Every man and beast, herb and tree in the fields of Egypt was struck - except in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel resided.

Note that rainfall in upper Egypt was rare, a severe thunder, rain and hailstorm unthinkable. Upper Egypt would receive an inch or less rainfall per year, sometimes none. And the delta would receive about ten inches of rainfall per year. That this hailstorm occurred precisely when predicted including its severity and deadliness - exclusively upon the fields of the Egyptians excluding those of the Israelites - pointed to the supernatural intervention of the LORD God and His Absolute Sovereignty over all of His creation. Scripture clearly indicated that the hail storm was originated as a supernatural intervention by God, as were all the plagues (cf. Ex 9:22-26), (Ex 9:23-26)]

(Ex 9:27 NKJV) And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, '''I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.

(Ex 9:28 NKJV) Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.'''

(Ex 9:29 NKJV) So Moses said to him, '''As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD's.

(Ex 9:30 NKJV) But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God.'''

(Ex 9:31 NKJV) Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.

(Ex 9:32 NKJV) But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are late crops.

(Ex 9:33 NKJV) So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and spread out his hands to the LORD; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth.

(Ex 9:34 NKJV) And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants.

(Ex 9:35 NKJV) So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.''''

[For the first time, Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. He said to them, '''I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.'''

Previously, Moses and Aaron had repeatedly requested of Pharaoh three days' journey for Israel into the wilderness to sacrifice to Yahweh and then to return to Egypt - the understanding of Moses' and Israel's intent with Pharaoh throughout the plagues until the last one; but there would be no success, despite the king's promises, (Ex 3:18; 4:23; 5:1; 7:16; 8:8, 20, 25-32; 9:1, 13, 20-21, 25-32; 10:24-26; tenth plague: 11:8; 12:31-36). On the other hand, Israel had been advised that the ultimate goal of the LORD through Moses and Aaron was complete freedom from Egyptian control unto deliverance into the Promised land, (Ex 3:17; 6:1, 6-8; 7:3-5; 9:28;11:1). As God had designed it, Pharaoh himself would declare that Israel completely leave Egypt beginning at Ex 9:28, then 11:8 and finally, when God's work was done: when Pharaoh, his servants, the people of Egypt, and their gods were completely defeated, and Israel fully prepared for their Exodus: 12:31-36; then the people of God would embark upon their journey back to the Promised Land.

At the time of Ex 9:28, a permanent departure from Egypt was put on the table by Pharaoh himself in a fit of exasperation and desperation due to the deadly hail storm. For the moment, Pharaoh wanted nothing more to do with Israel. This plague had put him in his worst position so far due to its severity and deadliness. He was relegated to bargain in desperation with Yahweh ElOhim through Moses and Aaron. Notice how the LORD was bringing Pharaoh around to fulfilling His plan of the Exodus of His chosen people - at the same time that He was working with Moses, Aaron and Israel to that end. The words of Pharaoh reflected a greater respect for Who Yahweh ElOhim was; but that would be short lived. The king did not refer to Yahweh just as the God of Israel. His acknowledgment implied that Yahweh was LORD over the king himself as well, albeit self-serving given the king's position of having been repeatedly defeated. But for the first time in his dealings with Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh admitted wrong doing relative to not letting Israel go when he had promised to. His specific words, "I have sinned this time," were followed by the statement, "The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked." Notice the phrase rendered "this time" which implies that Pharaoh had done no wrong previous to this - disregarding his deadly abusive enslavement of Israel and his refusals to let Israel go! So the king's appeal is quite disingenuous. The phrase, "The LORD is Righteous, and my people and I are wicked" - which included not only himself but the Egyptian people - was nevertheless an astonishing statement for such an arrogant and powerful man to make. But notice that the king omitted the name ElOhim, referring the Almighty God Creator of the world, as if to imply that the king was defeated for the moment, but there was still a battle going on. The king was never really being totally committed or honest toward the LORD God as to acknowledging Who He was. Pharaoh's failure to admit being wrong before this, and his having to bargain with Moses and Aaron twice before this in order to stop the previous plagues defrauded his confession of wrong doing. The king neither defended nor spoke well of the Egyptian gods, and declared Yahweh to be righteous. His characterization of Yahweh as righteous - implied a unique characterization in the sense that it was not descriptive of any of the Egyptian gods whom Pharaoh worshipped. But since the Egptian gods had been defeated multiple times by the LORD God's reign of judgments upon Pharaoh and Egypt, Pharaoh's pronounciation was most likely self-serving, given his position of defeat.

The plague of hail was a devastating and very deadly one - beyond anything that the LORD had done so far against Egypt. It put Pharaoh in a corner. He had no other response but what he made to the LORD through Moses and Aaron in order to get relief. And as Moses indicated in Ex 9:30, the king would later renege on his promise to let Israel go, leaving his declaration of respect and acknowledgment of Yahweh ElOhim - the LORD God in question relative to its honesty, (Ex 9:27-28).

Moses responded to Pharaoh's request with a sense of wisdom about Pharaoh's stubborn heart. He said to Pharaoh, '''As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD's,''' implying that Moses would cause the hailstorm to cease. But then Moses added a comment that he knew that Pharaoh and his servants did not truly fear the LORD God and would renege on the kings promise once more: '''But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God.''' Note that some contend that Moses would have been killed by the hail when he went out of the city while the hail storm continued. But Moses was able to avoid the deadly hail because it was localized supernaturally exclusively to the fields of Egypt which he evidently avoided when walking out of the city. The context of Scripture clearly indicates that the origin of this hailstorm was supernatural, (cf. Ex 9:22-26), (Ex 9:29-30).

The text of Scripture then advised the reader of the crop damage: "Now the flax [used for making linen cloth] and the barley [which blossomed in January and were harvested in March-April] were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the spelt [a species of inferior grain called emmer] [which crops ripened about a month later in April and were harvested in June-July] were not struck, for they are late crops," [placing the plague occurring sometime in February]. Since it was not the LORD's intention to wipe out Pharaoh and all the Egyptians, there would still be food available to eat, but much less, (cf. Ex 9:15-16). But after Pharaoh's intransigence, there was nothing left in the fields after the locust plague of chapter 10, (Ex 9:31-32).

Whereupon Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, spread out his hands to the LORD; and then the thunder, hail and rain ceased. Although the plague was stopped and Pharaoh and his servants witnessed yet another sign of the Almighty Power and Righteousness of the God of the universe: Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God of Israel and the world - the instantaneous ceasing of the huge hail storm at the point when Moses spread out his hands; nevertheless Pharaoh and his servants hardened their hearts and would not let Israel go. This was predicted by Moses. Hence Pharaoh's acknowledgment of the LORD in verses 27-28 was a manipulative lie. It was evident that the king, being under the duress of such a deadly plague, realized that he, his servants - magicians and their gods included - were powerless to stand up against "Yahweh ElOhim," the LORD God, once more; hence Pharaoh's manipulative lie to gain relief. Whereupon Pharaoh evidently reasoned that he could resume his position of power, albeit, the worse for wear - with hardened heart and a deluded mind that somehow he could overcome the problem of the God of Israel without letting Israel go. By this time, the pattern was well established: progressively worse short term plagues which would destroy more and more of the Egyptian economy and population, carried out by the LORD in order for Pharaoh and all Egypt to acknowledge the LORD as the Almighty God of the universe, supreme over all, (Ex 9:33-35)]

9) [Ex 10:1-29]:

(Ex 10:1 NKJV) ''''Now the LORD said to Moses, '''Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,

(Ex 10:2 NKJV) and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.'''

[The LORD once again told Moses to go in to Pharaoh shortly after a sign / a plague which the LORD brought about against Pharaoh, his servants and all Egypt - (the supernaturally originated monstrous and deadly hail storm). It was a sign of Who He is, "Yahweh ElOhim," the LORD and Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of the world. And the LORD said to Moses, '''For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants...

[hardened in the sense that the LORD prompted Pharaoh and his servants with the truth about Himself and brought condemnatory judgments in the form of supernatural plagues upon them, including all Egypt - especially relative to their beliefs in the many gods whom the LORD demonstrated were impotent to help them against His power; and to their treatment of His people Israel. The LORD condemned their belief in false gods and their sins against the true God which would cause them of their own volition to choose to harden their own hearts all the more and continue to go against God's will because mankind is naturally at enmity with the one true God and what He stands for.

a) [Compare Gen 6:5]:

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

... And the LORD said to Moses, '''For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you [Israel] may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.''' Notice that the supernatural signs which the LORD performed in Egypt were done for a number of reasons, not the least of which was so that the people of Israel might tell their descendants of the mighty things the LORD had done in Egypt for the greatest purpose: that they may know that He is "Yahweh ElOhim," the Almighty and Righteous God of Israel and the universe, (Ex 10:1-2)]

(Ex 10:3 NKJV) So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, '''Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

(Ex 10:4 NKJV) Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.

(Ex 10:5 NKJV) And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field.

(Ex 10:6 NKJV) They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians - which neither your fathers nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.'" And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

[Once again Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh to speak to the king the words that the LORD gave to Moses. This was to be an announcement of the second plague in a cycle of three plagues, as had been done in the previous two cycles, giving Pharaoh time to repent, acknowledge the LORD God and let Israel go. Moses and Aaron would give their message, and turn their backs on Pharaoh and walk out.

Moses began to speak in the name of the LORD with '''Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me." This opening statement by the LORD delivered through Moses and Aaron reaffirmed the LORD's key purpose in all that He has done: He is asking Pharaoh for the acknowledgement, respect and obedience that the Almighty Creator God of the universe is due. Notice that God was asking Pharaoh to let His people go, that they may serve Him - the message from the beginning - permission to go into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD for three days, and then return. The LORD's words then turned to the consequence for Pharaoh's failure to humble himself before the LORD and let His people go: the next day locusts would cover the face of the earth in Egypt, so that its surface could not be seen. The locust plague would consume everything - the residue of crops and trees left from the hail storm. Every Egyptian house would be filled with them. The severity of the locust plague would be unsurpassed in Egypt; and it would never be exceeded in the future. Whereupon, Moses abruptly turned and went out from Pharaoh, implying Pharaoh's refusal was forthcoming and that the locusts would surely come the next day, (Ex 10:1-6)]

(Ex 10:7 NKJV) '''Then Pharaoh's servants said to him, '''How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?'''

(Ex 10:8 NKJV) So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, '''Go, serve the LORD your God. Who are the ones that are going?'''

(Ex 10:9 NKJV) And Moses said, '''We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.'''

(Ex 10:10 NKJV) Then he [Pharaoh] said to them, '''The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you.

(Ex 10:11 NKJV) Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired.''' And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.

[Pharaoh's servants responded to what the LORD had said to Pharaoh through Moses and Aaron relative to the LORD threatening to bring a locust plague down upon all of Egypt to destroy what was left of vegetation unless the Pharaoh let Israel go into the wilderness to serve the LORD (and return), (Ex 10:3-6). Pharaoh's servants said to the king, '''How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?''' Pharaoh's servants cried out to Pharaoh that the current destruction from the hail storm and the impending locust plague would destroy Egypt. They implied that they were defenseless and had to let Israel go. Their argument was really about Pharaoh being stubborn and that it was costing more than the Israelites were worth. They implied that it would be better to just let Israel leave and not come back than to let Egypt be completely destroyed. It is evident that Pharoah feared that if all of Israel were permitted to go into the wilderness to worship their God - women, children and all their herds and flocks, then they would attempt to escape completely, intending not to return. It would be a great blow to Pharaoh's ego, should Israel be permitted to go even for just a few days. That was evidently what was foremost on his arrogant mind. (Note that the LORD gave Moses and Aaron no instructions to go into the wilderness and not return to Egypt).

Nevertheless, in view of Egypt being on the verge of being totally destroyed, Pharaoh was moved by the outbursts of his servants. So he brought Moses and Aaron back into his presence in order to find a way to avoid the imminent locust plague. This was the first time that he did this. When Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, the king told them, '''Go, serve the LORD your God.''' But then the king asked them, '''Who are the ones that are going?''' Pharaoh's heart was so hardened that despite the prospect of imminent destruction if he did not let Israel go, He was hesitant to do it without holding the children and the women some back - letting only the men go to insure their return. Whereupon, Moses answered firmly that everyone of Israel was going: young and old, men and women, flocks and herds. Notice that Israel's intention was to hold a feast and sacrifice to the LORD, with the implication that they would return, as the LORD had instructed, (cf. Ex 51); (Ex 10:7-9).

But Pharaoh could not hold back his hardened heart toward Moses, Aaron, Israel and especially the LORD God. The king retorted, '''The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you. Not so!''' implying the king's arrogant and sarcastic refusal to let the children of Israel go with the people into the wilderness. The king viewed Israel as deciding to escape and leaving his enslavement as "evil." So the king warned Moses and Aaron, "Not so!" in the sense of telling Moses and Aaron that the children would not be permitted to go - nor the women who would have to stay to watch over them. The king then said to them, '''Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired.''' Only the men would be permitted to go and the women and children would be held hostage to insure their return. Pharoah then drove Moses and Aaron out from his presence in an expression of his rage because he could not manipulate a self-serving, face saving arrangement with Moses, Aaron and Israel and avert the coming destruction. So Pharaoh and all Egypt would have to face the devastating consequences of an unparalleled locust plague. Once more the king would put himself and his people at great and deadly risk of destruction rather than to concede to the Almighty power of Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God and be saved from that destruction, (Ex 10:10-11)]

(Ex 10:12 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, '''Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land - all that the hail has left.'''

(Ex 10:13 NKJV) So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

(Ex 10:14 NKJV) And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them.

(Ex 10:15 NKJV) For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.

[As a result of Pharaoh's insanity - his irrational stubbornness, attributable to the uncontrollable hardness of his heart toward the LORD magnified by the evidence presented to him of Who the LORD is through all of the plagues and His demand that the king let Israel go; the LORD told Moses, '''Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt" - in the sense of making a sweeping move with his hand that represented the compass points of the land of Egypt - for the authorization of the commencement of the plague of locusts, "that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land - all that the hail has left,''' (Ex 10:12).

And it was as the LORD had said: when Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt - notice that Moses included in his "hand" his rod - the LORD brought an east wind on the land of Egypt all the day and all the night after the hail storm. And when morning came, the east wind brought the locusts up over all the land of Egypt - evidently from Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula from which they originated according to history - into all the territory of Egypt. It was the most severe locust plague ever in the land of Egypt and there would never be another one like it. The locusts covered the face of the whole earth in Egypt. They were so numerous that they blocked out the sun so that the land was darkened and the surface of the earth could not be seen. Every herb and fruit that survived the hail storm upon the fields of Egypt was devoured.

Since none of the accounts of the plagues indicated that the plagues were to be directed at the Israelites in Goshen, but exclusively at Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt - the effects upon Pharaoh, his servants and Egypt being described in detail with no stipulation naming the Israelites or the area of Goshen being effected;

and since all of the plagues were caused supernaturally with absolute precision as to the predicted timing, location and effect; wherein it was stipulated that the Israelites were excluded explicitly in five of them, setting the pattern for all of them, (Ex 8:22-23 - flies; Ex 9:4 - pestilence; Ex 9:26 - hail; Ex 10:23 - darkness; Ex 11:7 - death of firstborn);

then it can be concluded that none of the plagues were intended to effect nor effected God's chosen people, Israel; including this one. See chart

So there was nothing green left on the trees or plants. Nut and Hathor, the Egyptian sky goddesses, could not control the locusts, Re and his son, Pharaoh and Horus the sun gods and Osiris, the god of crop fertility were impotent to prevent the destruction, (Ex 10:13-15)]

(Ex 10:16 NKJV) Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, '''I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you.

(Ex 10:17 NKJV) Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.'''

(Ex 10:18 NKJV) So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD.

(Ex 10:19 NKJV) And the LORD turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt.

(Ex 10:20 NKJV) But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.

[The severity of the 8th plague - the unsurpassed swarm of locusts throughout Egypt, which came one day after the devastating 7th plague - Egypt's unsurpassed hail storm, prompted Pharaoh to call for Moses and Aaron in haste or face complete destruction of the Egyptian landscape if the locusts were not stopped from consuming the countryside. He said to them in an obsequious manner, '''I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.''' Notice that Pharaoh did not stipulate anything relative to letting Israel go into the wilderness to serve the LORD - a remarkable omission considering that God had caused 8 plagues because Pharaoh had not let God's people go. This implies that Pharaoh's mindset was still set upon not letting Israel go; as Moses had previously predicted, (Ex 9:30); and as the LORD had indicated would not occur until all of God's supernatural plagues were imposed upon Egypt including Pharaoh's firstborn being killed, (Ex 3:19-20; 4:21-23). After Pharaoh's entreaty, Moses immediately went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD to cease the locust plague. Whereupon, the LORD "turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt." The timing, speed and perfect completion of this elimination of so many locusts of the greatest locust plague Egypt will ever experience, testified to the supernatural character of this event; confirming that it originated with Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God. This was yet another of the many messages sent to Pharaoh and Egypt of Who Yahweh ElOhim is. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and so the king did not let the children of Israel go. .(Ex 10:16-17).

(Ex 10:21 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, '''Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.'''

(Ex 10:22 NKJV) So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.

(Ex 10:23 NKJV) They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

(Ex 10:24 NKJV) Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, '''Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.'''

(Ex 10:25 NKJV) But Moses said, '''You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

(Ex 10:26 NKJV) Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.'''

(Ex 10:27 NKJV) But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.

(Ex 10:28 NKJV) Then Pharaoh said to him, '''Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!'''

(Ex 10:29 NKJV) So Moses said, '''You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.''' ''''

[The LORD immediately responded to Pharaoh's refusal to let Israel go for a 3 day journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the LORD with His message to Moses - there was no formal warning about this forthcoming 9th judgment / plague: ''''Then the LORD said to Moses, '''Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.''' '''' When Moses did as the LORD commanded him, there occurred a thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for 3 days - except for Goshen, (v. 23). Re, the sun god; Horus, a sun god; Nut, a sky goddess; Hathor, a sky goddess - all were unable to help. Pharoah himself was regarded to be a son of Re and he too was completely impotent. The darkness was all pervasive - night and day. There was absolutely no source of light at any time. This was not a natural occurrence, such as a Khamsi - an annually occurring high wind that blows off the Saharah Desert bringing with it a darkening cloud of sand and dust, as some contend. For the context portrays it as a unique, sudden, unexpected, supernatural darkness that occurred at the wave of Moses' hand. It was so thick that it could be felt, and yet Israel was not effected. There was no light from any man-made source such as fire, candlelight, etc.; nor from the stars, moon, or sun exclusively throughout Egypt that could penetrate this all pervasive, thick supernatural darkness. No one in Egypt could see one another, or anything for 3 days - even within their own dwellings; within which they were compelled to remain. On the other hand, all the children of Israel had light within their dwellings, (Ex 10:21-23).

After this, Pharaoh called to Moses who was evidently within range for Moses to hear him. And the king said to Moses, '''Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.''' Notice that Pharaoh could not bring himself to let all of Israel go into the wilderness for three days to serve the LORD - at least not without some strings attached so that they would be compelled to return. So the king indicated that he would not let the flocks and herds go with them. This was Pharaoh's fourth attempted compromise, (cf. 8:25, 28, 10:11). Perhaps the king had his eye on Israel's livestock to replenish what Egypt had lost. But Moses argued to an uncompromising degree, '''You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.''' Moses' argument was uncompromising and compelling. It infuriated the Pharaoh into becoming belligerant. Furthermore, the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart. So now the king would not let Israel go at all: The king said to Moses, '''Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!''' Implied in this statement is that Moses was face to face with Pharaoh and could see the king's face, and he, Moses' face, further implying that the 3 days of darkness had passed by the time of their meeting. Pharaoh's hardened heart had taken complete hold of him. For the information which the LORD conveyed to the king through Moses, Aaron, the supernatural plagues implying the impotency of the Egyptian gods and everything Pharaoh believed in and lived for, was so overwhelming that the king was compelled to harden his heart toward the LORD despite facing imminent and total destruction of himself and all Egypt. And all that the LORD had done to present His case before Pharaoh and Egypt of Who He was served to harden Pharaoh's heart all the more, (Ex 10:24-27).

Pharaoh's attitude went from fearful and submissive in Ex 10:24 in just a few moments to angry, aggressive and deadly, threatening Moses' life in Ex 10:28 when the king told Moses, '''Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!''' Moses' response, '''You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.''' Note that in a later encounter with Pharaoh, when Moses told Pharoah of the 10th judgment / plague of the LORD upon the king, there evidently need not have been a face to face meeting to convey that message, (cf. Ex 11:4-8). Thereafter, Pharaoh perished in the waters of the Red Sea, (Ex 14:21-28).

10) [Ex 11:1-10]:

(Ex 11:1 NKJV) ''''And the LORD said to Moses, '''I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether.

(Ex 11:2 NKJV) Speak now in the hearing of the people [of Israel], and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.'''

(Ex 11:3 NKJV) And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people.

[Now that the land of Egypt lay in ruins from the nine plagues, her gods proving to be totally impotent to help, her people in total fear of the God of Israel and Moses His servant, and the people eager for the Israelites to depart from their land, Pharoah's heart still remained hardened. He had not been humbled before the LORD. There remained one final plague - the deaths of the firstborn of the livestock and people of Egypt. So when Moses had departed from the presence of Pharaoh after the plague of thick darkness, the LORD said to Moses, '''I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.''' So there would be one more plague and then Israel would go from Egypt. They would actually be driven from the land by Pharaoh, but not in the sense of doing the Israelites any harm; for there remained the fear of God's reprisal through Moses after all the plagues. But there evidently would be a military presence nevertheless. Moses would tell the people of Israel to request articles of silver and gold from their Egyptian neighbors who it is implied would give to them what they asked]

a) [Compare Ex 3:21-22]:

(Ex 3:21 NKJV) '''' '''And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed.

(Ex 3:22 NKJV) But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians,''' ''''

The LORD enabled the people of Israel to gain favor in the sight of the Egyptians, as well as Moses who was viewed by Egyptians and the servants of Pharoah as a very great man - having wielded the supernatural power of God throughout these nine plagues. Due to the nature of the supernatural disastrous wonders that God would impose upon Egypt, the people of Egypt would be disposed to provide a wealth of items for the people of Israel - for the asking, including articles of silver, gold and clothing - evidently as an encouragement for the Israelites to depart from their country and so rid themselves of the reason for the plagues, (cf. Gen 15:14; Ex 11:2; 12:35-36).

Note that this is not a commentary on Israel's greed for taking the wealth from the Egyptians, as some contend. For Israel was placed into abject slavery, and the wealth that they were showered with was compensation brought about by a Just God. (Ex 11:1-3)]

10 cont.) [Ex 11:1-10 cont.]:

(Ex 11:4 NKJV) Then Moses said [to Pharaoh], '''Thus says the LORD: "About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt;

(Ex 11:5 NKJV) and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.

(Ex 11:6 NKJV) Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.

(Ex 11:7 NKJV) But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."

(Ex 11:8 NKJV) "And [Moses declared to Pharaoh] all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, 'Get out, and all the people who follow you!' After that I will go out." ''' Then he [Moses] went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

[Moses received the words to speak from the LORD, and on His behalf to Pharaoh. Once more he spoke to Pharoah and then Moses left in great anger. Most likely it was not a face to face meeting, but within Pharoah's hearing while Pharaoh was in his palace; for the previous chapter indicated that Pharaoh and Moses had visibly seen the last of one another:

b) [Cf. Ex 10:28-29]:

(Ex 10:28 NKJV) ''''Then Pharaoh said to him, '''Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!'''

(Ex 10:29 NKJV) So Moses said, '''You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.''' ''''

10 cont.) [Ex 11:1-10 cont.]:

(Ex 11:4 NKJV cont.) Then Moses said [to Pharaoh], '''Thus says the LORD: "About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt;

(Ex 11:5 NKJV cont.) and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.

(Ex 11:6 NKJVcont.) Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.

(Ex 11:7 NKJV cont.) But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."

(Ex 11:8 NKJV cont.) "And [Moses declared to Pharaoh] all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, 'Get out, and all the people who follow you!' After that I will go out." ''' Then he [Moses] went out from Pharaoh in great anger.''''

[The words that Moses spoke to Pharaoh were the words given to him by the LORD: ''''Then Moses said [to Pharaoh], '''Thus says the LORD: "About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn [Hebrew text: masculine gender] in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. The LORD said to Moses with emphasis upon His participation in this 10th and last plague upon Egypt: "an ysE," lit. "I, I will go out." So it will be the LORD Himself this time Who will go into the midst of Egypt. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." An unprecedented cry of agony over the loss of all of Egypt's firstborn would occur. And all of Egypt would know that the LORD favored His people Israel because no harm of any kind would come to them during this last plague upon Pharaoh and Egypt - not even a dog would move its tongue amongst the Israelites during this horrific night for Egypt. And this was to be the work of God alone. Moses and Aaron would not participate, except for Moses' warning of Pharaoh of the iminent deaths of all firstborn of Egypt men and animals. The "wailing" of the people of Egypt over all their lost sons would be unprecedented. Pharoah's own son, heir to the throne, was considered a god would be dead by the Egyptians.

This was not portraying the actions of an evil, vengeful god, as some contend. For the Creator God of the universe, Who is sovereign over all, has the right to do with His creation as He sees fit. Nevertheless He had been longsuffering, His forthcoming actions which included warnings of the consequences of not letting His people go did not bring about any sign of repentance from Pharaoh nor from most of the Egyptian people toward faith in Him - not even willing to let Israel go into the wilderness and return! They continued to worship their own gods, despite God's repeated proof of their impotency in the light of His supernatural demonstrations of power against them!

Pharaoh's incorrigible promise breaking, and unwillingness to truly acknowledge the LORD God as his God, served the function of establishing Israel's complete break with Egypt, cutting off all possibility of any compromise which would leave the Israelites partially involved in a continuing relationship to Egypt. The stage was set for Israel to go back to the Promised Land. The descendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob could look forward to occupying the land of Canaan originally promised to Abraham. In verse 8, Moses declared to Pharaoh, "All these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, 'Get out, and all the people who follow you!' After that I will go out." Then Moses went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

Note that in this later encounter with Pharaoh, after Moses told Pharoah of the forthcoming 10th judgment / plague of the LORD upon the king, there evidently need not have been a face to face meeting to convey that message while they exchanged words. Thereafter, Pharaoh perished in the waters of the Red Sea, (Ex 14:21-28). (Ex 11:4-8)]

(Ex 11:9 NKJV) But the LORD said to Moses, '''Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.'''

(Ex 11:10 NKJV) So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.''''

[The LORD then repeated to Moses what He had been saying to him from the beginning: that Pharaoh would not heed Moses' request to let Israel go to worship the LORD, that this would give the LORD the opportunity to demonstrate His power, and Who He was to Pharaoh, the people of Egypt and Israel. And so Moses and Aaron did all the wonders via the LORD's enablement; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart. Thus the king did not let the children of Israel go out of his land - giving the LORD the opportunities to demonstrate His power as He did. For He is Yahweh ElOhim, the LORD God of the universe!

c) [Compare Ex 10:1-2]:

(Ex 10:1 NKJV) ''''Now the LORD said to Moses, '''Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,

(Ex 10:2 NKJV) and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.'''

[When the LORD told Moses to go in to Pharaoh shortly after the hailstorm plague began. He said to Moses, '''For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him...

[hardened in the sense that the LORD prompted Pharaoh and his servants with the truth about Himself and brought condemnatory judgments in the form of supernatural plagues upon them, including all Egypt - especially relative to their beliefs in the many gods whom the LORD demonstrated were impotent to help them against His power; and to their treatment of His people Israel. The LORD condemned their belief in false gods and their sins against the true God which would cause them of their own volition to choose to harden their own hearts all the more and continue to go against God's will because mankind is naturally at enmity with the one true God and what He stands for.

i) [Compare Gen 6:5]:

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

... And the LORD said to Moses, '''For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you [Israel] may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.''' Notice that the supernatural signs which the LORD performed in Egypt were done for a number of reasons, not the least of which was so that the people of Israel might tell their descendants of the mighty things the LORD had done in Egypt for the greatest purpose: that they may know that He is "Yahweh ElOhim," the Almighty and Righteous God of Israel and the universe]

11) [Ex 12:1-51]:

(Ex 12:1 NKJV) ''''Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

(Ex 12:2 NKJV) '''This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

[After the LORD had administered nine plagues through Moses and Aaron against Pharaoh, his servants, the people and the gods of Egypt; it was time for the LORD to provide the details to Moses and Aaron for the Exodus of His people Israel from Egyptian bondage via the LORD's Sacrificial Passover, meaning that the Passover lambs - lambs without blemish, representing being without sin, were to be sacrificed for the LORD. The lambs without blemish represented the LORD in His sinless Perfect Humanity as the promised Descendant of Abraham, Who would be the future sacrifice for the sins of the whole world to make provision for Israel's temporal deliverance from Egypt and for eternal life for all those Israelites and anyone who would trust in Him alone for eternal life as Abraham did .

Beginning in Ex 12:1-2, instructions were given to Moses and Aaron to relay to the congregation of Israel: ''''Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, '''This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.'''

Before this, the first day of the year had been the first of the Hebrew month Tishri, which usually falls sometime in October. Although the events of chapter 12 occurred in the seventh month according to the civil year (which began in September-October), this seventh month, Abib, (lit., "fresh young ears" of, e.g., barley) would become the first month in Israel's religious calendar forever. The month of Abib occurred when barley was to be harvested, (March-April). Since the LORD's Passover sacrifice and Israel's consequent Exodus from Egypt, (Ex 12:11), occurred in the month of Abib, then the first day of Abib was declared to be the first day of the Jewish new year as a memorial of this momentous event. The significance to the people of Israel of the LORD's Passover sacrifice and their consequent Exodus from Egypt was so great that the LORD made the month of Abib the first month of their calendar year from then on.

Note that after Israel was taken by Babylon into captivity, the names of 4 of the 12 months were given Babylonian names, and April was then called Nisan, which means "early" or "start," (Ex 12:1-2).

In Ex 12:3-6 which follow, Moses and Aaron were to speak to "the congregation of Israel," (the first time that this phrase appears in Scripture, suggesting a new beginning), saying verbatim the words given to them by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming directly from Him, as follows]:

(Ex 12:3 NKJV) Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: "On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

(Ex 12:4 NKJV) And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb.

(Ex 12:5 NKJV) Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

(Ex 12:6 NKJV) Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

[So on the tenth of the month of Abib - the new first month of the Jewish religious calendar year declared by the LORD God for Israel - every household was to take one lamb (Heb. "seh," lit., "one of the flock," = a young sheep or goat), of the first year, (if they had no lamb, then a goat of the first year), without blemish, representing sinless perfection. Small households were to share one lamb. Each lamb was to be kept under close observation until the 14th day of Abib to insure that it would be without blemish. It is evident that the LORD was absolutely adament that every one of His instructions was to be strictly adhered to; especially the one insuring that the lamb to be killed, i.e., sacrificed, (cf. Ex 12:27), was to be without blemish, representing sinless perfection. The slaying of the animals (instead of the Israelites' firstborn sons, (Ex 12:13), and the sprinkling of blood, (ref. Ex 12:7), were symbolic of the substitutionary death / sacrifice of a Descendant of Abraham's to come in the future to make provision for sins so that all who trust in Him would have eternal life . On the 14th of Abib, the entire assembly of the congregation of Israel was to kill all the lambs at twilight (the time between sunset and full night: the evening being the first part of the day, then the morning - according Scripture, (Gen chapter 1), and the viewpoint of Israel. Later in this passage, (Ex 12:11, 14 and 24-27), the LORD commanded the people of Israel to keep an everlasting commemoration of "the LORD's Passover" sacrifice in the sense that the Israelites were to commemorate this event and in so doing continue to symbolize the future event of a Descendant of Abraham Who was to be without sin, Who would be sacrificed for the sins of the whole world throughout history to make provision for the temporal and eternal salvation of the people of Israel and all the nations of the earth by the grace of God through a moment of faith alone in the Descendant alone as Abraham did .

Although the sacrifice of a lamb 'without blemish,' (by human selection and observation - an imperfect means), did not accomplish sinless perfection within any Israelite household - even for a moment; it was by the grace of God that forgiveness of sins and purification from all unrighteousness was given to everyone of those households which sacrificed a lamb 'without blemish,' and put some of its blood on the door posts and lintel of the front door. This so that the LORD would be justified in passing over those households without wielding judgment upon them, and killing the firstborn within. This unmerited temporal forgiveness was granted in view of the LORD's promise of a future payment for all of sins of all mankind by He Whom those lambs 'without blemish' which were sacrificed represented: the once for all sacrifice of the promised Descendant of Abraham .

a) [Compare Ex 12:11; 14; 24-27]

(Ex 12:11 NKJV) "And thus you shall eat it [the lamb without blemish]:with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It [is] the LORD's Passover."

(Ex 12:14 NKJV) "So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance."

(Ex 12:24 NKJV) "And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.

(Ex 12:25 NKJV) It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service.

(Ex 12:26 NKJV) And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What did you mean by this service?'

(Ex 12:27 NKJV) that you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.' "

Note that the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish, representing sinless perfection to the LORD as a burnt offering being symbolic of the sacrifice of a future One without blemish - without sin - as the provision for eternal salvation and blessing upon the world, goes back to the Garden of Eden where the Seed of the woman was first mentioned .. and to Abraham:

b) [Compare Gen 22:6-18]:

(Gen 22:6 NKJV) So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

(Gen 22:7 NKJV) But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father!'

And he [Abraham] said, 'Here I am, my son.'

Then he [Isaac] said, 'Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?'

(Gen 22:8 NKJV) And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.' So the two of them went together.

(Gen 22:9 NKJV) Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

(Gen 22:10 NKJV) And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

(Gen 22:11 NKJV) But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!'

[Note that the phrase "Angel of the LORD" in Ex 3:2 is defined as the LORD Himself, (cf. Ex 3:4; 16:9) - a Person Who was at once identified as God yet also sent by God and therefore distinct from the Father - the preincarnate Jesus Christ ]

So he [Abraham] said, 'Here I am.'

(Gen 22:12 NKJV) And He [the Angel of the LORD] said, 'Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.

(Gen 22:13 NKJV) "Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

(Gen 22:14 NKJV) And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide;' as it is said to this day, 'In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.'

(Gen 22:15 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,

(Gen 22:16 NKJV) and said: 'By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son -

(Gen 22:17 NKJV) blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

[Note that the prospect of having innumerable descendants implies that one has everlasting life in order for that prospect to be a reality]

(Gen 22:18 NKJV) In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice,' "

[Note that the nations of the earth were to be blessed because Abraham listened to the voice of the LORD, and trusted in Him to provide through his son Isaac; One Who would come through Abraham and Isaac's seed - One Who, through His sacrifice for sins would make provision for eternal life and blessing upon all the peoples of the world. Even if Abraham were to have sacrificed his son, Isaac, Abraham trusted in the LORD to raise him from the dead to fulfill His promise, (cf. Heb 11:17-19). But as the LORD predestined it, He provided a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac. [Note that Abraham was not saved unto eternal life out of his record of obedience to God, as some contend, , (Ex 12:3-6)]

11 cont.) [Ex 12:1-51 cont.]:

[In Ex 12:7-11 which follows, Moses continued to speak to the congregation of Israel relative to giving them instructions on how to fulfill their role in and later to memorialize the Passover forever. Moses repeated verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming directly from Him, as follows, (cf. Ex 12:3)]:

(Ex 12:7 NKJV) '''And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

(Ex 12:8 NKJV) Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

(Ex 12:9 NKJV) Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire - its head with its legs and its entrails.

(Ex 12:10 NKJV) You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.

(Ex 12:11 NKJV) And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover.' " '''

[Some of the blood of the sacrificed lambs was to be taken and put on the two doorposts and on the lintel of all the houses within which the Israelites were to be when they ate their sacrificed lambs. The LORD commanded them to eat the lambs that night. The lambs were to be roasted in fire, with unleavened bread (without yeast) and bitter herbs. The unleavened bread was expedient, (and a reminder when observed commemoratively), because on that fateful night there was no time for the bread to rise in response to leaven. But most importantly, leaven, being an agent of fermentation was symbolic of sin, which has no place in the LORD's Passover Sacrifice for Israel's salvation from Egyptian bondage nor for the LORD's provision of eternal life in the Promised Land / Eternal Kingdom of God. The bitter herbs evidently were symbolic of the bitter treatment that Israel received in Egypt. The LORD was emphatic: the lamb was not to be eaten raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire with head, legs and entrails. None of it was to remain until the next morning, but be burned up with fire. Finally, it shall be eaten with a belt on the waist, sandals on the feet, a staff in the hand, and eaten with haste. For the Israelites were to be dressed in their traveling clothes, ready to begin their journey to freedom at sunrise on the 15th of Abib. This was an expression of being saved by grace through faith in the LORD's deliverance of them from Egyptian bondage. The proof of the LORD's capacity and faithfulness to His promises came via the ten plagues which overwhelmed the Egyptians and their gods; and provided good reason for all Israelites to trust in the LORD's deliverance of them from Egyptian bondage and entrance into the Promised Land.

At the end of Ex 12:11, the LORD declared with a sense of urgency emphasizing the imminency of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, exclusively by the LORD: "It is the LORD's Passover." The 14th of Abib was to be commemorated first and foremost as the Passover of the LORD. For it was decreed and accomplished exclusively by the LORD God, Yahweh Elohim - the beginning of His fulfillment of His promise to take His people Israel into the Promised Land and to make it an everlasting possession. It was He Who would pass over the land of Egypt wielding judgment upon all but those who put the blood of the lamb without blemish upon their doorposts and lintels, (Ex 12:7-11)]

[In Ex 12:12-13 which follows, Moses continued to speak to the congregation of Israel, saying verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming directly from Him, as follows, (cf. Ex 12:3)]:

(Ex 12:12 NKJV) ''' " 'For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

(Ex 12:13 NKJV) Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.' " '''

[So the LORD would pass through the land of Egypt on that night, after the Israelites had eaten the Passover lambs with herbs and unleavened bread - at midnight (ref. 11:4; 12:29) - on the 14th of Abib; and He would strike the firstborn of man and beast in each household from Pharaoh to the lowliest Egyptian with plague, killing them; and against all the gods of Egypt the LORD would execute His judgment - including Pharaoh and his son who were considered to be deities, (cf 11:5; 12:29-30); "For He is the LORD" - a statement implying that He is the Sovereign Creator God Whose dominion is over all of creation. There are no other gods with whom He shares His sovereignty or power. Min, the Egyptian god of reproduction, and Isis, the Egyptian goddess of love who attended women at childbirth, were especially judged as impotent by this climactic plague and catastrophe brought about by the God of Israel. All ten judgments would prove God's sovereignty to the Egyptians, especially relative to their gods and their abusive reign over the Israelites. The LORD declared that the blood on the doorposts and lintels was a sign which indicated that an Israelite had obeyed His directions to smear the doorposts and lintels with the lamb's blood, so that when the LORD "saw" the blood, He would pass over those in that house, and not kill the firstborn there. Implicit in this was the mandate that all Israelites were to stay within their homes until morning as the LORD passed through Egypt on His mission to kill all the firstborn animals and men who had not complied with His directions relative to His Passover. Although God is omniscient and Almighty, hence He did not need to "see" in the human sense the blood on the doors, His command to everyone of Israel to put blood on the doorposts and lintels of one's household who kills a lamb without blemish and consumes it with a mindset to be ready to travel that day out of Egypt is nevertheless significant in that it required an act of faith by the occupants of that household - faith that God would deliver them from the physical death of their first born and insure their safe departure from Egypt. Those that were without that faith and consequently refused to put blood on his door posts and lintel, would find that the firstborn of their households would perish - man and animal, (Ex 12:12-13)]

11 cont.) [Ex 12:1-51 cont.]:

[In Ex 12:14-17 which follows, Moses continued to instruct Israel relative to keeping the days of the LORD's Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a memorial to celebrate throughout the generations of Israel as an everlasting ordinance, saying verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming directly from Him, as follows, (cf. Ex 12:3)]:

(Ex 12:14 NKJV) ''' " 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

(Ex 12:15 NKJV) Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day [of the feast = the 15th of Abib] you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day [of the feast = the 21st day of Abib], that person shall be cut off from Israel.

(Ex 12:16 NKJV) On the first day [of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the day after the LORD's Passover, the 15th day of Abib] there shall be a holy convocation [a sabbath day no matter what day of the week], and on the seventh day [of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 21st day of Abib], there shall be a holy convocation for you [a second sabbath day no matter what day of the week]. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat - that only may be prepared by you.

(Ex 12:17 NKJV) '''' '''So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.''' ''''

[Previously, Ex 12:1-13 conveyed that on the 10th of the month of Abib, each Israelite household was to select a lamb without blemish - symbolic of a sinless sacrifice for the purpose of the spiritual purification of that household through the grace of God. And after having observed the lambs that every Israelite household had selected for four days to insure that they were without defect, on the evening of the 14th day of the month of Abib, the new first month of the Jewish year as decreed by the LORD to commemorate the LORD's Passover, the lambs were to be killed, (sacrificed, cf. Ex 12:27); and some of the blood was to be placed upon the door posts and lintels of the door of the household; then the Israelites were to dress ready to go on their journey, roast the lambs, and hastily consume them, burning all of the lamb that remained before morning. For it is the LORD's Passover sacrifice, (refs. Ex 12:11, 27): for the LORD is the One Who will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike all the firstborn, both man and beast, and pronounce judgment against all the gods of Egypt - including Pharoah and his son. It is the LORD Who will execute judgment: For it is He Who declared to Egypt, Israel and to all mankind: "I Am the LORD." And the LORD will pass over the households which have placed the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels - those households having been spiritually purified by the grace of God through what is represented by the blood of the lambs without blemish - the sacrifice of the Descendant of Abraham for sins. So the plague shall not be inflicted upon them, (ref. Ex 12:1-13).

With Ex 12:1-13 in mind, the LORD instructed His people, Israel, through Moses that the celebration of this day - the LORD's Passover - the 14th of Abib, was to be memorialized as an everlasting ordinance, (Ex 12:14).

And for seven days, beginning on the evening of the 15th of Abib and lasting until the evening of the evening of the 21st, they were to hold a feast to the LORD, called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, to memorialize the LORD's bringing the "armies [of Israel] out of the land of Egypt," (Ex 12:17), throughout their generations and forever.

Note that the Passover and the Unleavened Bread feasts were so closely connected that the two were often considered as one feast (cf. Lk 2:41; 22:1; Acts 21:3-4).

So for seven days the Israelites were to eat unleavened bread - from the evening of the 15th day of the month of Abib to the evening of the 21st. At the beginning of this time, all leaven was to be removed from the households. Since leaven was symbolic of sin, the homes were symbolically being cleansed of sin in the sense that by the grace of God, He would not hold their sins against them, and they may celebrate the Feast without loss of fellowship with their people. But whoever ate leavened bread from the evening of the 14th day of Abib - the Passover through the evening of the 21st day - the Feast of Unleavened bread was to be cut off from Israel in the sense of being banished from being with his people - excluded from the camp, separated from covenant rights and privileges, possibly resulting in physical death. And the LORD decreed that on the 15th day of Abib - the 1st day and on the 21st day of Abib - the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, there was to be a holy convocation - a sabbath gathering of Israelites that was set apart for the LORD, a Sabbath day regardless of the day of the regular week. No Israelite was to do any work in accordance with the principle of the Sabbath day rest - except to prepare his own meals. This holy convocation was to be called the Feast of Unleavened Bread which would last for 7 days.

And Israel would celebrate the day in which the LORD brought the armies of Israel out of the land of Egypt. The people of Israel were to observe this Feast throughout their generations as an everlasting ordinance, (Ex 12:15-17).

[In Ex 12:18-20 which follows, Moses continued to instruct Israel relative to keeping the days of the LORD's Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a memorial to celebrate throughout the generations of Israel as an everlasting ordinance, saying verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming directly from Him, as follows, (cf. Ex 12:3)]:

(Ex 12:18 NKJV) In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

[Note that the evening of the 14th of the first month - the evening of the first Passover, (Ex 12:6-27) - was the evening when the children of Israel would "rise and go out from among my [Pharoah's] people," (ref. Ex 12:29-31). They would then journey from Ramses to Succoth in that first month, (Nissan), on the 15th day - the day after the Passover, (ref. Nu 33:3; Ex 12:1ff); and from there by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea, (ref. Ex 13:18), they would journey from Succoth and camp in Etham which is on the edge of the wilderness, (ref. Ex 13:20; Nu 33:6); whereupon they would journey into the wilderness of Etham [Shur], camp there, and then turn back toward Pi-Hahiroth, which faces Baal-Zephon across the Red Sea. They would camp there before Migdol. From there they would pass through the midst of the Red Sea, (Ex 14:2, 21-22; Nu 33:7-8). After a number of encampments including Shur [Etham], Marah and Elim, they would come to the wilderness of Sin on the 15th day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt, (ref. Ex 16:1; Nu 33:8-11). The accounting of the days is as follows: 15 days' time elapsed in the month of Nissan + 15 days' time elapsed in the second month, (Iyar), less 3 days time in Shur, and less 1 day each in Marah and Elim = a net total of 25 days from the time the children of Israel left Egypt to the time they camped before the Red Sea before crossing at Pi Hahiroth]

(Ex 12:19 NKJV) For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.

(Ex 12:20 NKJV) You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.' " '''

[In order to make it absolutely emphatic, the LORD repeated His ordinance that from the Passover on the 14th of Abib through the seven days from the 15th to the 21st of Abib - the Feast of Unleavened bread, no leaven was to be found in their houses, nor consumed. Whoever ate what is leavened shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. And once again - for great emphasis, the LORD's words commanded, "You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread," (Ex 12:18-20).

[In Ex 12:21-28 which follows, Moses continued to instruct Israel, saying verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming directly from Him, as follows, (cf. Ex 12:3)]:

(Ex 12:21 NKJV) ''''Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, '''Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.

(Ex 12:22 NKJV) And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.

(Ex 12:23 NKJV) For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.

(Ex 12:24 NKJV) And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.

(Ex 12:25 NKJV) It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service.

(Ex 12:26 NKJV) And it shall be, when your children say to you, "What do you mean by this service?"

(Ex 12:27 NKJV) that you shall say, "It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households."So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.

(Ex 12:28 NKJV) Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.''' ''''

[After relaying the LORD's instructions to all the people of Israel relative to fulfilling their role in the LORD's Passover,

c) [Ref. Ex 12:1a, 3a]:

(Ex 12:1 NKJV) ''''Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt...

(Ex 12:3 NKJV) '''Speak to all the congregation of Israel...''' ''''

Ex 12:21 Moses called for all the elders of Israel, evidently to gather them right up front before him. He spoke to them directly, instructing them in the sense that they were now to follow through on the instructions that the LORD given them through himself and his brother Aaron relative to all Israel completing their role in the LORD's Passover. Since they were the leaders of the Israelites, they were to be the examples by which all Israel was to immediately follow their lead. He told the elders to pick out and take lambs for themselves according to their families as he had previously instructed all Israel. They were to kill the "Passover lamb," and then they were to take a bunch of hyssop - a common bushy plant that grows on rocky surfaces, widely used in Israel's rites of purification, (cf. Lev 14:4, 6, 49, 51-52; Num 19:6, 18) - and dip it in the blood that is in the basin they used to kill the lamb, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood. Furthermore, Moses warned the elders that none of them - and no Israelite - was to go out of the door of his house until morning; implying that those that did would perish - an implication in Moses' earlier instructions which he gave to all Israel:

d) [Ref. Ex 12:12-13]:

(Ex 12:12 NKJV) ''' " 'For I [the LORD] will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

(Ex 12:13 NKJV) Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt,' " ''' (Ex 12:21-22).

In Ex 12:23, Moses explained once again, that the LORD will pass through the land of Egypt during the night of the 14th day of Abib, killing the firstborn of each household - both animal and man - which did not follow the LORD's instructions relative to His Passover. But when the LORD sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, He will pass over that household and not allow the destroyer - evidently the angel of death - to come into the house and strike the firstborn of the household with a killing plague. This made it very clear that the sign of the blood of the Passover lamb without blemish being smeared on the lintel and doorposts of a household was the sign to the LORD that would preserve the life of the firstborn for those who dwelt inside - a matter of faith alone in and by the grace of God alone. It is evident that the symbolism of the lamb chosen without blemish which was sacrificed, and whose blood was smeared on the doorposts and lintels of the household door was to be a sign of the LORD's temporal forgiveness of sins of those in the household, so that He would pass over that household, not judging them - not holding their sins against them - by virtue of the future payment for sins by the One Whom the lamb without blemish represented - the promised Descendant of Abraham Who would be the future sacrifice for the sins of the whole world to make provision for Israel's temporal deliverance from Egypt and for eternal life for all those Israelites and anyone who would trust in Him alone for eternal life as Abraham did , (Ex 12:23).

[In Ex 12:24-28, Moses continued to instruct the elders of Israel, saying verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel and the elders to hear as coming directly from Him]:

Moses further commanded the elders of Israel to observe the LORD's Passover as a memorial in the sense that all Israelites were to repeat the steps that they would take to fulfill their role in the LORD's Passover on that first 14th day of Abib to commemorate the Passover. It was an ordinance for them and their sons to keep forever, (Ex 12:24). Moses repeated this command, to make it most emphatic: The people of Israel were reminded that when they reached the Promised Land, which the LORD had promised to give to them, they, and all the generations of Israel who came thereafter, were to keep this "service" - this ordinance - forever. Moses explained that their children would then ask, "What do you mean by this service?" And they should say, "It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households," (ref. Ex 12:27). Since the word rendered "sacrifice," in this context means a giving of oneself for the benefit of others; and since Ex 12:27 indicates that this sacrifice was represented by the killing of the lambs without blemish - representing sinless perfection; and since these representative sacrifices were defined in Ex 12:27 as "the Passover sacrifice of the LORD," implying the sacrifice of Himself for the benefit of His people Israel - for their temporal salvation from Egyptian oppression, deliverance unto the Promised Land as promised to Abraham and his descendants 430 years earlier; and since the practice of the ordinance of celebrating the Passover sacrifice of the LORD was commanded to be done by the people of the LORD forever - with a view to eternity in the Eternal Kingdom of God; then the sacrifice of the LORD in His Perfect Humanity - God and Man without blemish for the sins of the whole world to make provision for the salvation of Israel and all of humanity throughout history who would partake of this grace gift of God as Abraham did, 430 years prior to the Exodus, via a moment of faith in the promise of that provision .

Note that God's gracious deliverance of Israel from Egyptian oppression was effected upon Israel's expression of faith in the LORD's promise of that deliverance via each Israelite's household's application of the blood of the sacrificial lambs upon the household's door posts and lintels. So having heard the instructions from the LORD through Moses and Aaron relative to their role in fulfilling the Passover Sacrifice of the LORD, all the people of Israel bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD. Then the children of Israel departed from their gathering before Moses and did as the LORD had instructed them through Moses and Aaron - faithfully playing out their role in the fulfillment of the "Passover Sacrifice of the LORD." Note that Ex 12:28 stipulated that Moses and Aaron commanded the children of Israel, which implies that Aaron also fulfilled his part with Moses in relaying the words of the LORD to instruct the people of Israel - a grand task considering that their population was numbered around 2 million, (Ex 12:27), (Ex 12:24-28).

[In Ex 12:29-39 which follows, Moses gave his account of the historical fulfillment of the LORD's Passover]:

(Ex 12:29 NKJV) And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.

(Ex 12:30 NKJV) So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

(Ex 12:31 NKJV) Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, '''Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said.

(Ex 12:32 NKJV) Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.'''

(Ex 12:33 NKJV) And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, '''We shall all be dead.'''

(Ex 12:34 NKJV) So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.

(Ex 12:35 NKJV) Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.

(Ex 12:36 NKJV) And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

(Ex 12:37 NKJV) Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.

(Ex 12:38 NKJV) A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds-a great deal of livestock.

(Ex 12:39 NKJV) And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.

[In Ex 12:29, Moses began to provide an account of the historical fulfillment of LORD's Passover commencing with, ''''And it came to pass at midnight [on the 14th of Abib] that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock," - the firstborn of all those in the land of Egypt who did not place the lamb's blood on their door posts and lintel of their household were killed - livestock included. They had no power to escape or even temporize God's judgment upon them. Note that an artifact called the "Dream Stele of Thutmose IV," described a dream that the god Harmakhis promised Thutmose IV that he would become king of Egypt which involved the untimely death of his older brother. The timing of this coincides with the plague narrative in Ex 12 and the untimely death of Pharaoh's oldest, firstborn son, (Ref. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 3rd. ed., p. 449). (Ex 12:29).

So they were in a panic and ready to rid themselves of their Israelite slaves and most importantly, their omnipotent God:

'''So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Then he [Pharaoh] called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, '''Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.''' Notice that Pharaoh said "and be gone," in the sense of "And don't come back," as he had hastily implied after the seventh plague - deadly hail storm: (Ex 9:27-28). (Ex 12:31-32). And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, '''We shall all be dead,''' (Ex 12:33).

The people of Israel who were passed over by the LORD, took their dough before it was leavened, not having enough time to prepare leavened bread which takes 2 days to rise. Their kneading bowls were already bound up in their clothes on their shoulders - ready for their journey out of Egypt, '''' (Ex 12:34). The Israelites were already dressed for their journey out of Egypt the evening of the 14th of Abib as they consumed the lamb they had selected for the LORD's Passover sacrifice, (Ex 12:11). Verse 35 then stipulated that the children of Israel had followed Moses' instructions and had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, gold and clothing, (Ex 12:34-35, cf. Ex 3:21-22).

The next verse, (Ex 12:36), stipulated that the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that the Egyptians granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. Although these donations were voluntary in the moment, in the mind of every Egyptian, the multiple plagues which destroyed so much in Egypt via the demonstration of the absolute superiority of the God of Israel over all their gods and all things in creation provided the Egyptians with their 'voluntary' incentive in order to rid Egypt of the Israelites and their God. Ironically, the God of Israel is the omnipresent God of all of creation, Whose presence and authority has never left Egypt, (Ex 12:36).

On the day portion of the 14th of Abib, after midnight of the 14th had passed with the LORD fulfilling His Passover of Egypt with many firstborn men and animals dead, whereupon Pharaoh and many Egyptians urged all Israelites to leave the country; the children of Israel, at long last, departed with six hundred thousand men on foot besides children, (cf. Num 1:46 = 603,550 not including the tribe of Levi), implying a total population exceeding 2 million. And there was a mixed multitude of non-Israelites who went with them - a number of Egyptians who also believed in their deliverance by the God of Israel. They all journeyed together with a great deal of livestock. They traveled from Rameses in Egypt near Goshen, and went around the top of the Gulf of Suez to Succoth - present-day Tell el-Maskhutah near Lake Timsah, in the northwestern corner of the wilderness - the Sinai Peninsula. En route, the Israelites baked unleavened cakes of dough from what they had prepared beforehand and brought with them out of Egypt. They had prepared no other provisions. But Scripture later indicates that Yahweh Elohim would provide for their sustenance supernaturally, as He had provided the ten plagues, (Ex 12:37-39).

11 cont.) [Ex 12:1-51 cont.]:

[In Ex 12:40-42 which follows, Moses continued to instruct Israel relative to observing the ordinance of the Passover of the LORD and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, saying verbatim the words given to him by the LORD; which words the LORD designated for Israel to hear as coming from Him. Moses began with an historical statement that the children of Israel sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan for 430 years, and at the end of that period of time they departed from Egypt. This was the span of years from the time Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees for the Promised Land to the time Moses at 80 years old was to lead his people out of the land of Egypt]:

(Ex 12:40 NKJV) ''''Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

(Ex 12:40 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years.

(Ex 12:41 NKJV) And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years-on that very same day - it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

(Ex 12:41 translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch texts) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the LORD came forth out of the land of Egypt by night."

Ex 12:40-41, when translated from the Septuagint Greek and the Samaritan Pentateuch reads "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the LORD came forth out of the land of Egypt by night."

The key difference between the Masoretic Hebrew text (completed in the fourth century A.D.), and the Septuagint, (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures completed centuries earlier during the reign of King Ptolemy Philadelphia of Egypt, (285-246 B.C.), and the Samaritan Pentateuch which is also considerably more ancient and allowed by many scholars to be the most correct copy of the five books of Moses is the phrase "and the land of Chanaan" [Canaan - the Promised Land]. This phrase is omitted in the Masoretic text - evidently due to scribal error or deliberate omission; but it is included in the other much earlier versions. The period of 430 years for the entire time from the LORD's promise to Abram to the Exodus is corroborated by the Apostle Paul:

e) [Compare Gal 3:16-17]:

(Gal 3:16NKJV) "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' Who is Christ.

(Gal 3:17 NKJV) And this I say, that the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect."

So according to the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Apostle Paul, the period of 430 years commenced at the time when the LORD first said to Abram to get out of his country and go to a land He would show him; whereupon the LORD made His promise of His covenant with Abraham, (Gen 12:1-4). And accordingly, this period of 430 years would terminate with Moses' and Israel's Exodus from Egypt - the Law being given roughly three months after that. Hence this period of time of 430 years included the time of 215 years that Abraham and his descendants spent in Canaan, leaving 215 years to be spent in Egypt. This amount of time in Egypt is more feasible than 430 years; and a careful examination of Scripture indicates that the period of 400 years to which Gen 15:13 and Acts 7:6 refers overlaps the 430 period, beginning in the 30th year of the latter period .

11 cont.) [Ex 12:1-51 cont.]:

[In Ex 12:42-51 which follows, Moses continued to instruct Israel relative to observing the ordinance of the Passover of the LORD faithfully repeating the words given to him by the LORD to relay to the children of Israel before they departed from Egypt that first Passover night]:

(Ex 12:42 NKJV) ''''It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

(Ex 12:43 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, '''This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it.

(Ex 12:44 NKJV) But every man's servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it.

(Ex 12:45 NKJV) A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it.

(Ex 12:46 NKJV) In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.

(Ex 12:47 NKJV) All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

Ex 12:48 NKJV) And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.

(Ex 12:49 NKJV) One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.'''

(Ex 12:50 NKJV) Thus all the children of Israel did; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

(Ex 12:51 NKJV) And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.''''

[In Ex 12:42, Moses declared to Israel that the observance of the Passover of the LORD was a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt - a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

Ex 12:43-49 reflect the words of the LORD given to Moses and Aaron to relay to Israel relative to the observance of the Passover which would necessarily include the seven day Feast of Unleavend Bread because both observances / ordinances are historically concurrent and so connected with the LORD's setting Israel free from Egyptian bondage the night of the Passover on the 14th of Abib which included Israel's preparation for their journey; whereupon their departure began at daybreak on the 14th. This departure is also celebrated on the 15th through the 21st of Abib as the Feast of Unleavened Bread - the latter the continuation of the former: ''''And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, '''This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. But every man's servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you,''' '''' Note that all who chose to be part of the congregation of Israel identifying with the covenant promises of the LORD to Israel now as their own, had to be circumcized in order to join that congregation and participate and share in the Passover meal and sacrificial worship, (Ex 12:43-49)

Finally, in Ex 12:50-51, Moses reported that all the children of Israel did all that the LORD commanded of them through Moses and Aaron. And it came to pass, on that very same day, the 14th of Abib, the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies, [in the sense of grouped together in an organized manner - as an army of 600,000 people - men on foot plus women and children and herds of animals]

C cont.) (Acts 7:30-36) STEPHEN RECALLED THAT AFTER MOSES HAD SPENT 40 YEARS IN MIDIAN - IN THE WILDERNESS OF MT. SINAI, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD - GOD - APPEARED TO HIM IN A BURNING BUSH ON THE MOUNTAIN THAT WAS NOT CONSUMED BY THE FIRE. AS MOSES DREW NEAR TO THE BUSH, THE VOICE OF THE LORD CAME TO HIM SAYING, "I AM THE GOD OF THY FATHERS; THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB." THIS TERRIFIED MOSES AND CAUSED HIM TO LOOK AWAY. WHEREUPON STEPHEN RECALLED THAT THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, "LOOSE THE SANDAL OF THY FEET, FOR THE PLACE IN WHICH YOU HAVE STOOD IS HOLY GROUND. I HAVE SURELY SEEN THE AFFLICTION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT, AND THEIR GROANING I DID HEAR, AND CAME DOWN TO DELIVER THEM; AND NOW I COME AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT." STEPHEN COMMENTED, "THIS MOSES, WHOM THEY [THE ISRAELITES] REJECTED WHEN THEY SAID, 'WHO APPOINTED YOU RULER AND JUDGE' THIS ONE GOD SENT AS A RULER AND A REDEEMER BY MEANS OF THE ANGEL WHO APPEARED TO HIM IN THE BUSH. THIS ONE LED THEM OUT, HAVING DONE WONDERS AND SIGNS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND IN THE RED SEA AND IN THE WILDERNESS FORTY YEARS" (cont.) =

(Acts 7:30 YLT) "And forty years having been fulfilled, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai [an Angel] of the LORD, in a flame of fire of a bush, (Acts 7:31 YLT) and Moses having seen did wonder at the sight; and he drawing near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord unto him, (Acts 7:32 YLT) I [am] the God of [your] fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses having become terrified, [did not dare to behold], (Acts 7:33 YLT) and the Lord said to him, 'Loose the sandal of [your] feet, for the place in which [you have stood] is holy ground; (Acts 7:34 YLT) I have [surely] seen the affliction of My people ... in Egypt, and their groaning I did hear, and came down to deliver them; and now come, I will send [you] to Egypt. (Acts 7:35 HOLMAN) This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, 'Who appointed you ... ruler and ... judge?' - this one God sent as a ruler and a redeemer by means of the Angel Who appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:36 YLT)This one [Moses] [led them out], having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years," (cont.) =

In Acts 7:36, Stephen continued to speak of the LORD's deliverance of Israel through Moses: (Acts 7:36 YLT) This one [Moses] [led them out], having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years."

12) [Compare Ex 13:1-22; 14:1-31]:

a) Moses Through The Work Of The LORD Did Wonders And Signs As The Israelites Moved Across The Red Sea

The LORD, through Moses, miraculously moved the Israelites across the Red Sea .

13) [Compare Ex 13:17-22; 15:22-27; 16:1-36; 17:1-16; Ex 19:1-40:38; Nu 10:11-25:18

a) Moses Through The Work Of God Did Wonders And Signs As The Israelites Moved Through The Wilderness For Forty Years

i) [Ex 13:17-22]:

(Ex 13:17 NKJV) "Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them, (cf. Ex 15:22), by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, 'Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.'

(Ex 13:18 NKJV) So God led the people around by way of the wilderness [to] the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks [i.e., battle formation] out of the land of Egypt.

[The people of Israel were led by God through Moses, (cf. Ex 15:17), around by the way of the Sinai wilderness [to] the Red Sea - a southeasterly, much longer, circuitous and more arduous route than the shorter routes of the one in the direction of Beersheba and the Negeb through Philistine territory, (v. 17a), or along the Mediterranean Sea - the military route of the Egyptians. But the Israelites were not prepared for combat with the Egyptians, Philistines or any peoples - neither mentally, (cf. Nu 14:4), nor with adequate military equipment, (Ex 13:17b).

Contrary to what some contend, there was Philistine presence as early as the patriarchal era in the area of one of the shorter routes, if but for no other reason to raise crops to be transported to their homeland on Caphtor / Crete, (ref. Ed Hindson, The Philistines and the Old Testament, Grand Rapids Michigan, Baker, 1970, pp. 39, 59]

(Ex 13:19 NKJV) And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you," (Ref Gen 50:24)

(Ex 13:20 NKJV) So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.

[The Israelites traveled out of Egypt from Ramses to Succoth, (Ex 12:37); and from there they camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness - before they crossed the Red Sea at Nuweiba Beach ]

(Ex 13:21 NKJV) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.

(Ex 13:22 NKJV) He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people."

[How God led the Israelites for forty years through the wilderness, all the way into the promised land, (cf. Ex 23:20), is stipulated in vv. 21-22: "The LORD [as the Angel of the LORD, (cf. Ps 105:39, Ex 23:20-21), went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night." The cloud by day which evidently transformed into a cloud with a fiery reddish glow at night, evidently covered them completely from front to rear, affording them direction and protection, (cf. Ex 14:19-20)]

ii) [Ex 15:22-27]:

(Ex 15:22 NKJV) "So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.

[Compare Nu 33:8 Septuagint]:

"And they departed from before Iroth, and crossed the middle of the sea into the wilderness; and they went a journey of three days through the wilderness, and encamped in Picriae."

[Compare Nu 33:8 Masoretic]:

(Nu 33:8 NKJV) "They departed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days' journey in the Wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah."

(Ex 15:23 NKJV) Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.

(Ex 15:24 NKJV) And the people complained against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?'

[Since a key destination for the children of Israel was Mt Sinai, (Ex 16:1-2; 19:1-2); and since Mt Sinai is in Arabia according to the Apostle Paul, (Gal 4:25); then those interim destinations of Shur, (Desert of Etham, Nu 33:8), Marah, Elim, Wilderness of Sin, etc. leading up to Mt Sinai are all in Arabia. For there is no indication that the Israelites had ever crossed back over the Red Sea into Egypt to what is today called the Sinai Penninsula.

This is corroborated by the fact that Ishmael settled in the Wilderness of Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria, (ref. Gen 25:17-18; 1 Sam 15:7); where history indicates that the Ishmaelites and the Midianites - often viewed as the same people, (ref. Ju 8:22-24; Gen 37:25-28:36; 39:1), and other peoples had settled in - hence in Midian - in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, (ref. Ps 83:6). Hence the land of Midian is near to Mt Sinai where Abraham had dwelt for a time between Kadesh and Shur, (ref. Gen 20:1)]

(Ex 15:25 NKJV) So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them,

(Ex 15:26 NKJV) and said, 'If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.'

(Ex 15:27 NKJV; cf Nu 33:9) Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters."

[Having led Israel across the Red Sea at Nuweiba Beach, (ref. Ex 14:1-31 ; cf. Nu 33:1-8). Moses then led them southward into the Wilderness of Shur - a desert region also called the Desert or Wilderness of Etham, (cf. Nu 33:8):

[Compare Nu 33:8]:

(Nu 33:8 NKJV "They departed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days' journey in the Wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah."

Note that the word "Etham" in the Masoretic text does not appear in the LXX. It appears to be equivalent to Shur. For three days they found no water until they came to Marah. But there the water they did find they could not drink because it was bitter - probably too salty. After repeated demonstrations of supernatural deliverances and constant assurance of further deliverance and future blessings by the LORD, the Israelites were too quick to complain, too slow in looking to the LORD to resolve the problem - as would be their constant reaction when tested, (cf Ex 14:10-12; 16:2; 17:3; Nu 14:2; 16:11, 41).

Nevertheless, Moses cried out to the LORD, whereupon the LORD showed him a tree, in the sense of instructing him. And when Moses cast it into the waters, they were made sweet / drinkable. It is evident that the tree did not have an actual chemical effect upon the water. It was simply an act of faith by Moses in anticipation of the LORD providing a supernatural solution - much like Moses lifting his staff over the waters of the Red Sea, (ref. Ex 14:16); and like Elisha's healing of the Jericho spring, (2 Kgs 2:19-22).

Once more the LORD kept His people safe through supernatural means, proving out His supernatural capacity above all creatures and His desire to be their God. At this point, the LORD made a statute and an ordinance for them, thereby testing them - the test being their being without water for three days to humble them to seek the LORD. He said to them, "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you." The diseases evidently included the boils that He inflicted upon the Egyptians as one of the ten plagues, (cf. Dt 28:27). And once more the LORD indicated His desire that His people trust in His care and protection of them. Whereupon, as He led them in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, they came upon Elim where there were 12 wells of water and 75 palm trees where they camped.

bookmark=sabbath

iii) [Ex 16:1-36]:

(Ex 16:1 NASB; cf. Nu 33:9) '''Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt.

[Having led Israel across the Red Sea at Nuweiba Beach, (ref. Ex 14:1-31 ; cf. Nu 33:1-8); The Israelites' journeyed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin which was between Elim and Mt. Sinai in Arabia, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from Egypt on the 15th day of the previous month. The phrase rendered "Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin," implies a process by which they left Elim in a number of detachments because of their great number, and finally assembled as a complete group of people when they reached the Wilderness of Sin, (Ref Ex 12:6, 31)]

(Ex 16:2 NKJV) Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

(Ex 16:3 NKJV) And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

[Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the Wilderness of sin: "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." In their complaint which was evidently about running out of food to eat, the children of Israel completely ignored the promises and the multiple, supernatural deliverances of them by the LORD; and instead made a condescending remark laden with twisted piety using the LORD's name with a sarcastic tone, that they would have preferred to be killed by the LORD in Egypt where they maintained that they always had plenty of meat to eat - which is questionable considering their harsh treatment there, than die of hunger in the wilderness. They could only think about the food they imagined they always had to eat in Egypt - so craving it, that they became delusional about wanting to go back there, (ref. Nu 11:4-6) - forgetting the severe, deadly hardships that they suffered there, from which the LORD God delivered them. And they complained to Moses and Aaron instead of taking it to the LORD. Note that although they had undoubtedly exhausted their supply of food that they brought with them from Egypt, they were not yet facing starvation. For they evidently still had livestock, (cf. Ex 17:3), which they still could have consumed before they were completely out of food. Furthermore, they could have but did not cry out to the LORD for help, (Ex 16:2-3)]

(Ex 16:4 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

(Ex 16:5 NKJV) And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily."

[Right after the children of Israel had so readily complained once again about their situation - this time about running out of food which they evidently had brought with them from Egypt, the LORD so graciously said to Moses in verse 4, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My Law or not."

Years before the formal institution of God's Law through Moses at Mt. Sinai in Arabia, the LORD made it clear that His purpose was to direct His people to walk in His commands - His laws as He introduced them to His people; and thereby they would be provided for, protected and blessed.

[Compare Ps 78:1-25]:

(Ps 78:1 NKJV) "A Contemplation of Asaph.

Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

(Ps 78:2 NKJV) I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

(Ps 78:3 NKJV) Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.

(Ps 78:4 NKJV) We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

(Ps 78:5 NKJV) For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;

(Ps 78:6 NKJV) That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children,

(Ps 78:7 NKJV) That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;

(Ps 78:8 NKJV) And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

(Ps 78:9 NKJV) The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, Turned back in the day of battle.

(Ps 78:10 NKJV) They did not keep the covenant of God; They refused to walk in His law,

(Ps 78:11 NKJV) And forgot His works And His wonders that He had shown them.

(Ps 78:12 NKJV) Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

(Ps 78:13 NKJV) He divided the sea and caused them to pass through; And He made the waters stand up like a heap.

(Ps 78:14 NKJV) In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, And all the night with a light of fire.

(Ps 78:15 NKJV) He split the rocks in the wilderness, And gave them drink in abundance like the depths.

(Ps 78:16 NKJV) He also brought streams out of the rock, And caused waters to run down like rivers.

(Ps 78:17 NKJV) But they sinned even more against Him By rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness.

(Ps 78:18 NKJV) And they tested God in their heart By asking for the food of their fancy.

(Ps 78:19 NKJV) Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

(Ps 78:20 NKJV) Behold, He struck the rock, So that the waters gushed out, And the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?"

(Ps 78:21 NKJV) Therefore the LORD heard this and was furious; So a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also came up against Israel,

(Ps 78:22 NKJV) Because they did not believe in God, And did not trust in His salvation.

(Ps 78:23 NKJV) Yet He had commanded the clouds above, And opened the doors of heaven,

(Ps 78:24 NKJV cf. Neh 9:15) Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven.

(Ps 78:25 NKJV) Men ate angels' food; He sent them food to the full."

iii cont) [Ex 16:1-36 cont.]:

(Ex 16:4 NKJV cont.) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

(Ex 16:5 NKJV cont.) And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." =

So the LORD continued to say to Moses: "And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what [manna] they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." So the LORD's test would revolve around that sixth day, whether or not they would choose to rest on the seventh day, and the gracious, long suffering patience of the LORD in bringing His people around to choosing to trust in and obey Him. .................................................................................................................. (Ex 16:4-5).

(Ex 16:6 NKJV) Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, "At evening you shall know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt.

(Ex 16:7 NKJV) And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD; for He hears your complaints against the LORD. But what are we, that you complain against us?"

(Ex 16:8 NKJV) Also Moses said, "This shall be seen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the LORD hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the LORD."

(Ex 16:9 NKJV) Then Moses spoke to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, 'Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your complaints.' "

(Ex 16:10 NKJV) Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

[Whereupon, Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, [evidently Moses had cried out once more to the LORD and received His response]: "At evening you shall know that the LORD had brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD; for He hears your [plural - referring to all Israel's] complaints against the LORD. But [Moses exclaimed] what are we, [referring to himself and his brother Aaron] that you complain against us?"

So the LORD was about to perform an act that was so supernatural and grand that the children of Israel would conclude that He was the LORD God Who had delivered them out of Egypt ..................................................................................................................... (Ex 16:6-7).

And Moses provided further answers to what the LORD would do that evening and all evenings thereafter:

"This shall be seen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening."

... and to what the LORD would do the next morning and all mornings thereafter throughout the years in the wilderness: "And in the morning, bread to the full; for the LORD hears your complaints against Him." Moses reaffirmed to the children of Israel that He is ever present, ever attentive, ready to care for them and provide for their needs, so long as they trust and obey Him. By morning it is stipulated that His people would know that this is the LORD providing for them Who brought them out of Egypt, (v. 7).

Despite their complaining to Moses and Aaron and their distancing themselves from the LORD by not crying out to Him and by indirectly accusing Him for putting them unnecessarily at peril and being ungrateful for being delivered from being severely treated by the Egyptian rulers, the LORD would provide for them each step through the wilderness.

Moses reminded them once more that he and Aaron were not the ones to bring their complaints to, implying that they should be bringing them directly to the LORD, seeking to trust and obey Him, (Ex 16:8).

Then Moses spoke to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, 'Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your complaints.' " in the sense that the Israelites were to seek the LORD when they had complaints, and not Moses and Aaron; and that they should trust that He would deliver them from harm. And as Aaron spoke to them, they looked toward the wilderness and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud that constantly remained over them to provide protection and direction, (ref. Ex 13:21-22 - "glory" in the sense of a manifestation of the power and majesty of the LORD - most likely through an overpowering - all pervasive display of light inside the ever present cloud, (ref. Ex 16:7; 13:21-22; 24:16-17; Dt 5:24; Isa 60:1; 2 Ch 7:1-3)............................................. (Ex 16:9-10)]

(Ex 16:11 NKJV) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

(Ex 16:12 NKJV) "I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I.am the LORD your God.' "

[Whereupon the LORD spoke to Moses once more and said, "I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.' " This supernatural event which provided for the children of Israel would remind them of the multitude of events caused by the LORD in delivering them from Egypt - that they may now know that He is the LORD, (Ex 16:9-12)]

(Ex 16:13 NKJV) So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.

(Ex 16:14 NKJV) And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.

(Ex 16:15 NKJV) So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it? [Hebrew: "mAn h'" which sounds like "manna"] For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.

(Ex 16:16 NKJV) This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: 'Let every man gather it according to each one's need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.' "

(Ex 16:17 NKJV) Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less.

(Ex 16:18 NKJV) So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one's need.

(Ex 16:19 NKJV) And Moses said, "Let no one leave any of it till morning."

(Ex 16:20 NKJV) Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.

(Ex 16:21 NKJV) So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.

[And so it was that quails came up to their camp at evening in such numbers that the millions of Israelites would have their fill of meat. This event each evening testified to His people Israel that He was their God, Who would care for them.

And every morning there was dew on the ground which lifted, and there on the surface of the wilderness lay all around the camp was a small, round substance - as fine as the frost on the ground.

When the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was." And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat [ref. Ex 16:8]. This is the thing which the LORD has commanded!" - evidently repeating what the LORD had given him to say - as follows: 'Let every man gather it according to each ones need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; [One omer was approximately two quarts and equaled one tenth of an ephah (Ex 16:36)] let every man take for those who are in his tent. Notice that the LORD provided clear and detailed instructions which included a test of obedience to the LORD - to see if each would only take according to his need. This meant that each one would have to trust the LORD to bring enough food each morning, (Ex 16:13-16).

"Then the children of Israel did as instructed and gathered some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one's need." Note that this statement testifies to the supernatural fulfillment by the LORD of the sustenance of His people. Furthermore, at this time the children of Israel were faithful to what was commanded of them.

Whereupon, Moses gave another advisory, "Let no one leave any of it till morning," which not all of the Israelites heeded. Some of them left part of it until morning and it bred worms and stank. They had failed this test, and Moses was angry with them. So since all did not obey, when they gathered it every morning, when the sun became hot, whatever they did not consume would be melted - leaving nothing to save for the next morning. This was evidently a supernatural food which could not be explained by natural circumstances, such as the honeydew excretion of two types of insects or aphids that live on the numerous tamarisk trees in the region. It is a sweet, sugary, transparent substance that turns white, brown, or yellow and that is rich in carbohydrates but poor in nitrogen (also see Marston Bates, "Insects in the Diet," American Scholar 29 [1959-60]: 46-48); or the lichen Leanora esculenta that grows on rocks about the size of a pea and is light enough to be blown about by the wind. Both of which do not account for the stinking decay or the melting or the precise amounts delivered each day and twice on the sixth day and none on the seventh day for forty years - in quantities far exceeding what either of these methods could possibly deliver. For the manna continued to provide food for the Israelites for almost forty years, not just for the three to six weeks in July and August as the first suggestion would necessitate. The Israelites were reminded by this that their sustenance came to them as a gift from the LORD - that they were dependant upon Him for everything and therefore they should trust and obey in Him, (Ex 16:17-21).

(Ex 16:22 NKJV) And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

(Ex 16:23 NKJV) Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.' "

(Ex 16:24 NKJV) So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.

(Ex 16:25 NKJV) Then Moses said, "Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field.

(Ex 16:26 NKJV) Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none."

(Ex 16:27 NKJV) Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.

(Ex 16:28 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?"

(Ex 16:29 NKJV) "See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."

(Ex 16:30 NKJV) So the people rested on the seventh day.

[So on the sixth day, the children of Israel evidently gathered twice as much bread - for there was evidently twice as much to gather: two omers for each individual. The LORD evidently provided just enough for each individual each day and twice that amount on the sixth day, and none on the seventh day. So all the rulers came and told Moses about this, (Ex 16:22).

Then Moses said to them, "This is what the LORD has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Note that this is the first mention in Scripture of the Sabbath with reference to individuals resting in order to honor the LORD God, (cf. Gen 2:2-3 ). So Moses commanded them to "Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning," (Ex 16:23).

"So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it." Evidently the boiling and baking served to preserve the bread for the Sabbath day, when none was to be gathered, as well as no preparation was to be made on the Sabbath. So the children of Israel were to rest to honor the LORD - yet He had provided for them even on that day, (Ex 16:24).

Then Moses said, "Eat that today," - referring to the left over bread - "for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none," (Ex 16:25-26).

[Despite instructions / commandments by the LORD which established the Sabbath rest by giving the Israelites a double portion of bread to gather on the 6th day, some of the people, nevertheless, went out on the seventh day to gather bread. But they found none.

And the LORD said to Moses - the one put in charge of the people, "How long do you [plural, i.e., the people] refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?" Note that this is a clear reference to the fact that God held men accountable to His law as He stipulated them, (Ex 16:27-28).

So Moses said to the people, "See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day!"

There was evidently no punishment forthcoming for this offense. So the people rested on the seventh day as commanded.

Note that this is not the same as the ordinance to the Babylonian shapattu as some contend. For there is not sufficient and detailed corroboration between the two that would verify that one is the same or a copy of the other, (Ex 16:29-30)]

(Ex 16:31 NKJV) And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

(Ex 16:32 NKJV) Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: 'Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.' "

(Ex 16:33 NKJV) And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations."

(Ex 16:34 NKJV) As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.

(Ex 16:35 NKJV) And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

(Ex 16:36 NKJV) Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.'''

[And the house of Israel called its name manna [Hebrew: "mAn weh' ", lit., "What is it?"] The manna was like coriander seed in appearance. It tasted like wafers made with honey.

Coriander seed is a small lobular grain that is white or yellowish gray and is used for seasoning (cf. our use today of caraway and sesame seeds). Numbers 11:7 adds that it "looked like resin." Its taste was like wafers made of honey or "something made with olive oil;" and it could be ground in a mill, crushed in a mortar, cooked in a pot, or made into cakes (Nu 11:8)...........................................................................................................(Ex 29:31)

Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: "Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt. Put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD - His witness, His testimony, to be kept for your generations."

And as the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony of - the witness of - the LORD to be kept.

The "Testimony" would later be used to refer to the two tablets of the Law which were in the ark of the covenant of the Testimony, (Ex 25:16, 21; 31:18; 32:15; 34:29) - in the most Holy Place.

The LORD continued to supply manna until the nation came to Gilgal - the time when they would enter into the Promised Land and where they began to eat the products of the land, (Josh 5:12). The manna in the ark was a perpetual reminder of God's loyalty to His people in providing for their needs.

Note that Hebrews 9:4 indicates that manna would be stored in a golden jar and deposited within the ark of the covenant which was fashioned by Bezalel before the completion of the Tabernacle, (cf. Ex 37:1-3). It was to remain there as a permanent memorial of the faithfulness of Yahweh in providing the needs of His people as they passed from Egyptian bondage through the wilderness to the Promised Land................................... (Ex 16:32-34).

iv) [Ex 17:1-16]:

(Ex 17:1 NKJV) '''Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey [Heb. "lemas'hem" lit., 'their departures' plural] from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but.there was no water for the people to drink."

[Note the plural "their departures," indicating more than one departure, i.e., going in stages through the narrow passage of the Wilderness of sin. The congregation of the children of Israel, having spent a number of days to acclimate themselves to the routine of their new diet of quail and supernatural manna from heaven, as well as their new obligation to keep the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, set out - in the sense of in stages considering their large population - on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin. And after camping at several points along the way, (Nu 33:12-14 - Dophkah, Alush), they came and camped in Rephidim where there was at first no water to drink for them, (Ex 17:1)]

(Ex 17:2 NKJV) Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, "Give us water, that we may drink." And Moses said to them, "Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?"

[And once again, the people immediately confronted directly with Moses as if they had learned nothing up to this time about the LORD through their journey through the wilderness from Egypt. Previously they had complained to Moses and Aaron, (Ex 15:24; 16:33), but now they quarreled with them and were on the verge of stoning him, (Ex 17:4). Their negativity was escalating. They demanded water immediately.

Moses' answer was again, "Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?" (Ex 17:2)]

(Ex 17:3 NKJV) [*Since] the people thirsted there for water, [*then] the people complained against Moses, and said, "Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?"

[*Since there is only this one incident of lack of water in view in this verse (Ex 17:3), hence the renderings of "since" and "then" in the above verse are warranted.

Despite all of what the LORD had done and what Moses said to the people, they still continued to complain - even quarrel - in a very immature, overdramatic, bitter manner against Moses; and indirectly against the LORD, saying, "Why is it you have brought us [2nd pers common singular] up out of Egypt, to kill us [2nd pers. common singular] and our children and our livestock with thirst?" The second person common singular made the experience all the more emphatic and dramatic, (Ex 17:3)]

(Ex 17:4 NKJV) So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!"

[And as before, Moses took it to the LORD and cried out saying, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me?" (Ex 17:4)]

(Ex 17:5 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, "Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go.

(Ex 17:6 NKJV) Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb [alt. name for Sinai]; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

[And the LORD said to Moses - giving him detailed instructions: "Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go.

Behold, I [the LORD] will stand before you there [in the pillar of cloud] on the rock in Horeb [alt. name for Sinai]; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink" - all 2 million + of them!

And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Moses provided no objections or complaints to the LORD. The instructions of the LORD were timely, clear and detailed; and Moses' response to the LORD was to trust and obey.

The amount of water gushing out of that rock must have been astounding. This rock is a prominent landmark that stands sixty feet above the western foothills of Mt Sinai . The Sinai encampment was on the east. The rock has a split wide enough for a man to pass through. Erosion shows abundant water once flowed forth by channels to the plain below. Nearby to the south west, is the oasis and town of El Bad, where Moses' father-in-Law, Jethro, is said to have lived, (Ex 17:5-6)]

(Ex 17:7 NKJV) So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"

[Moses called the camp at Rephidim "Massah" [lit., "tempted"] and "Meribah" [lit., "contention"] because of the arrogant, contentious, unfaithful attitude of the children of Israel. The people with bitter sarcasm said, "Is the LORD among us or not?" implying that the people expected that they should never experience any kind of hardship. Their point of view was that the LORD, Moses and Aaron were there to serve them and not the other way around.

On the other hand, at an event in the Wilderness of Zin, at a similar event at the end of Israel's forty years in the wilderness - after the Tabernacle was built, (Nu 20:6), Moses, held to a much higher standard by the LORD, did not comply with the LORD's instructions when he struck the rock twice in anger at the children of Israel's persistent rebellion, instead of simply speaking to it to provide water - as the LORD had commanded. This left the impression that the miraculous provision of water was largely due to Moses himself - done in a fit of anger instead of what the LORD had evidently intended: a quiet gracious supernatural provision of the LORD God Himself despite their rebellion. Thus Moses would not live to go into the Promised Land with His people:

[Compare Nu 20:1-12]:

(Nu 20:1 NKJV) "Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there.

(Nu 20:2 NKJV) Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron.

(Nu 20:3 NKJV) And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: "If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

(Nu 20:4 NKJV) Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here?

(Nu 20:5 NKJV) And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink."

(Nu 20:6 NKJV) So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them.

(Nu 20:7 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

(Nu 20:8 NKJV) "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals."

(Nu 20:9 NKJV) So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him.

(Nu 20:10 NKJV) And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?"

(Nu 20:11 NKJV) Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

(Nu 20:12 NKJV) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

(Nu 20:13 NKJV) This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the LORD, and He was hallowed among them."

[In less than six months the Israelites had witnessed and been delivered safely, supernaturally by the LORD through ten plagues, led by the pillar of cloud and fire, rescued through the crossing of the Red Sea, provided with the sweetening of water; and sent bread and meat from heaven - daily; and yet the most significant remark they had to make was an arrogant, sarcastic question, "Is the LORD among us or not?" ..... (Ex 17:7).

(Ex 17:8 NKJV) Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

(Ex 17:9 NKJV) And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand."

[The LORD would now bring about a military challenge to His people - a further test of His people to trust and obey in Him to deliver them - as He had delivered them from the Egyptian chariot army. This time, however, the children of Israel would have to participate in the battle with Joshua chosen by Moses, as commander of the Israelite army against the Amalekites. This is the first time that Joshua is mentioned in Scripture. The Amalekites were nomads in the desert south of Canaan, (cf. 1 Sam 15:7; 27:8). These people were descendants of Amalek, son of Elphaz who was a son of Esau, (Gen 36:12). Despite the great number of Israelites, the Amalekites were evidently going to try to oust the Israelites out of their perceived territory, especially since the Israelites were located at a great source of water which the LORD had miraculously provided for them.

Moses evidently received instructions from the LORD on this matter, commanding Joshua to choose some men and go out and fight Amalek in Rephidim. Moses said, "Tomorow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand."

The Israelites' armor and weapons were extremely limited, having brought little out of Egypt - having left on foot in haste, laden down with Egyptian plunder of silver, gold and clothing as well as unleavened bread dough and large droves of livestock, (Ex 3:21-22; 12:11, 31-39 ). Perhaps some weapons were retrieved from the Red Sea as they washed up on the beach where the Israelites crossed; and where the Egyptian chariot army was drowned.

This test was evidently so that the LORD could provide a favorable outcome for His people as they participated and so long as Moses raised his hand with his rod in it. The fact that the Amalekites would not prevail against the untrained, poorly armed Israelites would be attributable to the LORD's supernatural intervention, (Ex 17:8-9)]

(Ex 17:10 NKJV) So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

(Ex 17:11 NKJV) And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

[And so Joshua did as Moses said to him and with those men he chose he fought against Amalek. And Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. And as he held up his hand over his head, presumably with his rod in his hand, Israel prevailed. And as he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed, (Ex 17:10-11)]

(Ex 17:12 NKJV) But Moses' hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

(Ex 17:13 NKJV) So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

[When Moses' hand became heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people by the edge of the sword - as the LORD supernaturally superintended over that victory. The symbol of that victory was the raised hand of Moses with the rod in it looking to the LORD for the victory, (Ex 17:12-13).

(Ex 17:14 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven."

[The LORD said to Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book..." Notice the definite artice with "book" referring to a specific book." This evidently refers to the fact that the LORD had commanded Moses to write a book which is called the Pentateuch. And what Moses, in the case of Exodus chapter 17, was to write was to include an account in Moses' book to recount to Joshua that the LORD would utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven - in the sense of exterminating them. Note that verse 16 indicates that war would be waged against Amalek from generation to generation, evidently until there was no one left of the Amalek's to remember under heaven - they would be completely wiped out, , (Ref. Nu 14:45; Ju 6:33-8:12; 1 Sam 14:48; 15:7-8; 27:8-9; 30:1-17). David would lead a force which wiped out all but 400 of the Amalekites, (1 Sam 30:1-17); leaving King Hezekiah to finish them off through a force from the Simeonite tribe at Mt Seir, (1 Chr 4:41ff), (Ex 17:14)]

(Ex 17:15 NKJV) And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner;

(Ex 17:16 NKJV) for he said, "Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." '''

[And Moses built an altar to commemorate the victory and called its name, "The-LORD-Is-My-Banner," for he said "Because the LORD has sworn the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation," evidently until they are extinct.

[Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament]:

"When the Amalekites were defeated ...Moses built an altar to commemorate the victory. Realizing that the Lord was the Banner around which Israel had rallied, he called the altar "Jehovah nissi" (the Lord is my banner). The banner implies that the LORD had proved Himself to be faithful in preserving and protecting His people, (Ex 17:15).

v) [Ex 19:1-40:38]:

This passage geographically occurs beginning with Israel arriving at the Wilderness of Sinai at Mt. Sinai, (Mt Horeb). Chronologically, Ex 19:1 begins with Israel in the third month after having left Egypt.

[Compare Ex 19:1]:

(Ex 19:1 NKJV) "In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai."

And Israel would remain at Mt. Sinai throughout the time it took - approximately 2 years - for the LORD's revelation at His holy mountain, Mt. Sinai - 19:1-40:38; for various laws for the people of God to be pronounced - 20:22-23:33; for the establishment of the LORD's covenant with His people - 24:1-18; for the design for the Tabernacle of the LORD - 25:1-31:18; for Israel's sin of worshiping a golden calf 32:1-35; for the renewal of the covenant between the LORD and His people - 33:1-34:35; and for the construction of the Tabernacle and the indwelling of it of God's glory - 35:1-40:38.

Sometime after construction of the Tabernacle and the indwelling of it of God's glory, Israel would resume her journey in the wilderness.

[Compare Nu 10:11-13]:

(Nu 10:11 NKJV) "Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, [after Israel left Egypt with the LORD leading His people by cloud day and night] that the cloud was taken up from above the Tabernacle of the Testimony [signalling to Israel to set out on a journey, (cf. Nu 9:17].

(Nu 10:12 NKJV) And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran.

[This was a sign for Israel to set up an encampment there, (ref. Nu 9:17)

(Nu 10:13 NKJV) So they started out for the first time according to the command of the LORD by the hand of Moses."

vi) [Nu 10:11-25:18]:

The first generation of Israelites of the Exodus from Egypt - a census having been taken of males over 20, (ref. Nu 1:1-3) - were set apart to march in the lead of and with all of Israel to the Promised Land, (Nu 1:1-4:49). The Israelites - especially the first generation - were all prepared for that march, (Nu 5:1-10:10); they were then set-forth on that march, (Nu 10:11-36). But the first generation was a fearful and unfaithful one. They went through repeated cycles of rebellion, judgment, repentance, a climax of utter rebellion and finally the death of every first generation male including Aaron and Moses, (Nu 11:1-25:18).

Whereupon a second census, this one of second generation males over twenty was taken and preparations were made for their triumphal march into the Promised Land leading the Israelite people, (Nu 26:1-32:42).

The first generation's failed journey was reviewed with the second generation with words of warning and encouragement, (Nu 33:1-56).

And an anticipation of the Promised Land to be occupied was examined, (Nu 34:1-36:13).

D) (Acts 7:37-41) STEPHEN EMPHATICALLY DECLARED WHAT MOSES HAD SAID ABOUT A PROPHET TO COME: "THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN. HIM YOU SHALL HEAR." STEPHEN HAD AND SHORTLY WOULD AGAIN ATTEST THAT THIS PROPHET TO COME WAS JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THE JEWS OF STEPHEN'S TIME STEPHEN DECLARED BETRAYED AND MURDERED. WHEREUPON STEPHEN BEGAN TO EMPHASIZE THE JEWS' FATHERS' PERSISTENT REBELLION BEGINNING WITH THE FIRST GENERATION OF JEWS COMING OUT OF EGYPT: STEPHEN STATED THAT MOSES AND THE FATHERS RECEIVED THE LIVING ORACLE - THE LAW - AT MT SINAI FROM THE ANGEL OF THE LORD - THE LORD WHOM THE FATHERS WOULD NOT OBEY. THEY REJECTED BOTH MOSES AND THE LORD THROUGHOUT THEIR SOJOURN IN THE WILDERNESS. AT THE END OF THEIR JOURNEY, STEPHEN REMINDED HIS JEWISH ACCUSERS THAT THE FATHERS IN THEIR HEARTS TURNED BACK TO EGYPT WHEN THE TIME CAME FOR THEM TO GO INTO AND CONQUER THE PROMISED LAND. APPROXIMATELY 40 YEARS EARLIER, DURING MOSES' FIRST VISIT WITH THE LORD ON MT SINAI TO RECEIVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, STEPHEN TESTIFIED THAT THE FATHERS WOULDN'T WAIT FOR MOSES TO RETURN. INSTEAD THEY DEMANDED THAT AARON MAKE THEM GODS TO GO BEFORE THEM, INTENDING TO LEAVE MOSES AND THE LORD BEHIND. THOSE FATHERS MADE A GOLDEN CALF AND WANTONLY SACRIFICED TO IT

(Acts 7:37 NKJV) "This is that Moses [the one having said] to the children of Israel, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear,' (Acts 7:38 YLT) 'This [Moses] is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger [the Angel of the LORD = God ] Who is speaking to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us. (Acts 7:39 NKJV) whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, (Acts 7:40 NKJV) [having said] to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' [Ex 32:1, 23] (Acts 7:41 YLT) And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands." =

In Acts 7:37, the phrase rendered "This is that Moses [the one having said] to the children of Israel, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear,' " has an emphatic tone suggesting that Stephen is doing more than relaying an historical narrative as he had been doing up to this point to his accusers at his trial before the Jewish Ruling Council for blasphemy, (ref. Acts 6:12-13). For he now comes to the point of emphasizing the Israelites of Moses' time - their persistent rebellion, rejection of and mistreatment of Moses; and likewise emphasizing the Jews of Stephen's time - their mistreatment of the Prophet and Redeemer like Moses of Whom Moses spoke of in Dt 18:15, Who had been attested by Stephen as Jesus of Nazareth, (ref. Acts 6:14; 7:59).

1) [Compare Dt 1:1-3; 18:15-19]:

(Dt 1:1 NKJV) "These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.

(Dt 1:2 NKJV) It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.

(Dt 1:3 NKJV) Now it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him as commandments to them...

[The Book of Deuteronomy can be outlined as a series of addresses by Moses to the Israelites. Deuteronomy is the exposition of the Law by Moses. It is not simply a repetition of the Law, as is often inferred from the word “Deuteronomy” (meaning “second Law”). The name given to this Book centuries later is based on a mistranslation in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate of a phrase in Deut. 17:18, which in Hebrew means “copy of this Law.” Moses explained the Law in terms of its practical application to the life-style of the Israelites as God’s covenant people. After nearly 40 years of sojourning in the Arabian wilderness, Moses spoke to Israel as recorded in this book, in order to prepare them - the second generation of Israelites - for entrance into Canaan, the conquest of the land, and their settlement there as God's people, (ref. Dt 1:1-3)]

(Dt 18:15 NKJV) "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,

(Dt 18:16 NKJV) according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.'

(Dt 18:17 NKJV) And the LORD said to me: 'What they have spoken is good.

(Dt 18:18 NKJV) I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.

(Dt 18:19 NKJV) And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him."

In Dt 18:15, Moses spoke of a future prophet who would be like Moses - in the sense that just as Moses was chosen by the LORD to be prophet and redeemer of the people of Israel relative to their being freed from Egyptian slavery; and relative to their instruction in the commandments and law of God - the "living oracles" of God; so there would be a Prophet chosen by God Who would be like Moses, but all the more: the utmost of Prophets and Redeemers Who would fulfill the Law of God and thereby redeem all of mankind unto eternal life in the Kingdom of God. And He like Moses would be "from [their] midst, from [their] brethren," i.e., an Israelite. Moses declared "Him you shall hear," implying that the words of Moses who the Jews of Stephen's day viewed as the greatest prophet, were not so faithfully heeded by the children of Israel; but the words of the One to come would so much the more have the authority of God - as the utmost Prophet of God. Stephen was implying all of this in his recounting of Dt 18:15 and applying it to Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, in Dt 18:17-19, the LORD Himself reaffirmed Moses' declaration about this Prophet and Redeemer to come that would be like Moses: "And the LORD said to me: 'What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him." This declaration by the LORD God was evidently for all of humanity.

So Moses set the example for all of the prophets until the One Moses himself spoke about was to come. When this One comes, all the world should hear and obey Him for He would have the words of the LORD relative to temporal and eternal redemption."

Deuteronomy 34:9-12 corroborate the greatness of Moses' ministry for the LORD:

a) [Compare Dt 34:9-12]:

(Dt 34:9 NASB) "Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.

(Dt 34:10 NASB) Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

(Dt 34:11 NASB) for all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land,

(Dt 34:12 NASB) and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel."

Scripture corroborates that the One Whom Moses predicted would come would be the One Who would fulfill the New Covenant - the redemption for the sins of all mankind, (ref Jer 31-34, Isa 52:10, 13-15-53:12 ).

During the first century A.D. the official leaders of Judaism were still looking for the fulfillment of Moses' prediction Who would in some way be like Moses - limited to their largely unbiblical point of view. They even thought perhaps that John the Baptist might be the Prophet / Messiah to come:

b) [Compare Jn 1:21]:

(Jn 1:21 NKJV) '''And they [the Jews] asked him [John the Baptist], "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." '''

Furthermore, there were a number of claimants to messiahship who attempted to validate their claims by renacting the experiences of Moses. For example, Joahcim Jeremias, ('Mouses,' TDNT, 4:862). The Samaritans talked about a Moses 'restored,' or 'reborn;' and like the DS sectarians, they used Dt 18:15-18 to support their point of view. And a number of Talmudic passages explicitly paralleled Israel's first redeemer Moses with Israel's expected Messiah-Redeemer Who was to be like Moses such as expounded about in the theme of the Jerusalem Targum on Ex 12:42, (Dt R 2.9).

Peter said that the Jews' search should have stopped with the Lord Jesus, and that they should have listened to Him:

c) [Compare Acts 3:11-26]:

(Acts 3:11 NKJV) '''Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed.

(Acts 3:12 NKJV) So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

(Acts 3:13 NKJV) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

(Acts 3:14 NKJV) But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

(Acts 3:15 NKJV) and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

(Acts 3:16 NKJV) And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

(Acts 3:17 NKJV) Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

(Acts 3:18 NKJV) But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

(Acts 3:19 NKJV) Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

(Acts 3:20 NKJV) and that He may send Jesus Christ, Who was preached to you before,

(Acts 3:21 NKJV) Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

(Acts 3:22 NKJV) For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.

(Acts 3:23 NKJV) And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'

(Acts 3:24 NKJV) Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.

(Acts 3:25 NKJV) You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'

(Acts 3:26 NKJV) To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.' " '''

Notice above that Peter said that the Jews of his day were the sons of the prophets who should hear the new Moses, namely Jesus Christ.

And Jesus referred to Himself as the One Moses spoke about:

d) [Compare Jn 5:45-47]:

(Jn 5:45 NKJV) "Do not think that I shall accuse you [the Jewish rulers] to the Father; there is one who accuses you - Moses, in whom you trust.

(Jn 5:45 NKJV) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

(Jn 5:45 NKJV) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

What Jesus was saying here is that by not listening to the Prophet Whom Moses was speaking of, namely Himself, they were disobeying God's Prophet. Hence by not hearing Him, they would be disobeying God Himself.

e) [Compare Heb 1:1-6]:

(Heb 1:1 NKJV) "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,

(Heb 1:2 NKJV) who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.

(Heb 1:3 NKJV) For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house." .......................................... (Acts 7:37).

Stephen - moving to statements of Israel's rejection of Moses - says in Acts 7:38-39a, " 'This [Moses] is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger [the Angel of the LORD = God ] Who is speaking to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us, whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected."

At Mt Sinai, Moses was receiving "the living oracles," - the sayings of the LORD, i.e., the Ten Commandments, instruction relative to the Tabernacle, offerings, priesthood, the Sabbath Law, etc., from the Angel of the LORD, Jehovah Elohim - the LORD God. They are characterized as "living," because they have to do with how one is to conduct ones life before the living God. Since other gods do not exist, hence they are dead; then only God exists as God, there are no other Gods besides Him. He is the one and only living God, (ref. Isa 45:5-6).

So Stephen recounts to his Jewish accusers at his trial that it was Moses - the one the Jews revered as their redeemer and as the greatest of all the prophets, the one Stephen reminded them who foretold of a Prophet like him Who would be even greater than he (Moses) was, Who was to come to be the Prophet and the Redeemer of all mankind, (Acts 7:37). Stephen went on to recount that it was this Moses who was in the assembly, i.e., the congregation of the children of Israel in the wilderness; and it was Moses who was with the Angel of the LORD - Jehovah Elohim, the LORD God - Who was speaking to him in Mt Sinai and with "our fathers." Note that the phrase "our fathers," implies that Stephen was referring to himself and his accusers as descendants of the children of Israel of Moses' time. Stephen went on to say that the Angel of the LORD had given the "living oracles" to Moses and to the children of Israel, (ref. Exodus chapters 19-31). The "living oracles" were the alive, active and authoritative words of the LORD God to be given to "us" - Stephen referring to himself and his present day fellow Jews including his accusers. Stephen further reminded his accusers that from the beginning it was Moses "whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected" Moses, implying that it was the fathers of the Jewish people who continually rejected Moses and the "living oracles" given to them by the LORD God to obey.

2) [Compare Ps 95:8-11]:

(Ps 95:8 NKJV) "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness,

(Ps 95:9 NKJV) When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.

(Ps 95:10 NKJV) For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.'

(Ps 95:11 NKJV) So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.' "

............................................................................................................................... (Acts 7:38-39a).

D cont.) (Acts 7:37-41 cont.) STEPHEN EMPHATICALLY DECLARED WHAT MOSES HAD SAID ABOUT A PROPHET TO COME: "THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN. HIM YOU SHALL HEAR." STEPHEN HAD AND SHORTLY WOULD AGAIN ATTEST THAT THIS PROPHET TO COME WAS JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THE JEWS OF STEPHEN'S TIME STEPHEN DECLARED BETRAYED AND MURDERED. WHEREUPON STEPHEN BEGAN TO EMPHASIZE THE JEWS' FATHERS' PERSISTENT REBELLION BEGINNING WITH THE FIRST GENERATION OF JEWS COMING OUT OF EGYPT: STEPHEN STATED THAT MOSES AND THE FATHERS RECEIVED THE LIVING ORACLE - THE LAW - AT MT SINAI FROM THE ANGEL OF THE LORD - THE LORD WHOM THE FATHERS WOULD NOT OBEY. THEY REJECTED BOTH MOSES AND THE LORD THROUGHOUT THEIR SOJOURN IN THE WILDERNESS. AT THE END OF THEIR JOURNEY, STEPHEN REMINDED HIS JEWISH ACCUSERS THAT THE FATHERS IN THEIR HEARTS TURNED BACK TO EGYPT WHEN THE TIME CAME FOR THEM TO GO INTO AND CONQUER THE PROMISED LAND. APPROXIMATELY 40 YEARS EARLIER, DURING MOSES' FIRST VISIT WITH THE LORD ON MT SINAI TO RECEIVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, STEPHEN TESTIFIED THAT THE FATHERS WOULDN'T WAIT FOR MOSES TO RETURN. INSTEAD THEY DEMANDED THAT AARON MAKE THEM GODS TO GO BEFORE THEM, INTENDING TO LEAVE MOSES AND THE LORD BEHIND. THOSE FATHERS MADE A GOLDEN CALF AND WANTONLY SACRIFICED TO IT, (cont.)

(Acts 7:37 NKJV) "This is that Moses [the one having said] to the children of Israel, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear,' (Acts 7:38 YLT) 'This [Moses] is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger [the Angel of the LORD = God ] Who is speaking to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us. (Acts 7:39 NKJV) whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, (Acts 7:40 NKJV) [having said] to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' [Ex 32:1, 23] (Acts 7:41 YLT) And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands," (cont.) =

Acts 7:38-39a indicated that the "living oracles," were given by the LORD God to Moses to give to the children of Israel, the fathers of Stephen and the Jews of Stephen's time. Then in Acts 7:39b, Stephen quoted the condemning words of Nu 14:3 which characterized the children of Israel as unfaithful: "Their hearts turned back to Egypt," which has as its context the time when the children of Israel had left Mt. Sinai, and wandered in the wilderness for some time. With repeated episodes of rebellion and apostasy, they finally arrived at the Wilderness of Paran once again, (cf. First time: Nu 10:12). This time they were to follow the LORD's instructions and enter the Promised Land. There a scouting party of "spies" returned to report on conditions in the Promised Land of Canaan - ten of the party of twelve painted a disastrous picture. So instead of trusting in the LORD to deliver them to victory in the Promised Land, the first generation of the children of Israel rebelled and rejected Moses, and in their minds yearned to go back to Egypt, (ref. Ex 31:18-32:1). They evidently recalled the spicy food, the leeks, the garlic, and the fish. But they ignored their experiences under the whip of the slave drivers, the bondage, the misery, the oppression that caused their boy babies to be slaughtered by being thrown to the crocodiles in the Nile River.

*****

a) [Compare Nu 13:1-3, 30-14:45]:

(Nu 13:1 NKJV) '''And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

(Nu 13:2 NKJV) "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them."

(Nu 13:3 NKJV) So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.

(Nu 13:30 NKJV) Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it."

(Nu 13:31 NKJV) But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."

(Nu 13:32 NKJV) And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.

(Nu 13:33 NKJV) There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

(Nu 14:1 NKJV) So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.

(Nu 14:2 NKJV) And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!

(Nu 14:3 NKJV) Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?"

[After the complete apostasy of the children of Israel before Moses came down from Mt. Sinai the first time: the horrific episode with the golden calf, the broken tablets, Aaron's lame excuses, the peoples' unrestrained, wanton sacrifices to that calf idol, the LORD's intent to destroy the children of Israel relenting as a result of Moses' plea for mercy for them, the execution of 3,000 apostate men by the Levites at the LORD's command and a punitive plague that followed;

and after Moses' tabernacle meetings had begun outside the camp with the presence of the LORD displayed by the pillar of the cloud at the tabernacle door;

and after it was established that the pillar of the cloud within which was the LORD's manifest presence would lead the children of Israel in their sojourn - a testimony to the world that the children of Israel were the people of the LORD God. Thereby they would be under the grace - the blessings, rest and protection of the LORD, (Ex 32:1-33:23);

and after were given the new tablets; the covenant renewal by the people with the LORD with their acknowledgment to obey the accompanying commandments especially the Sabbath regulations;

and after the people gave generous Tabernacle offerings to finance it;

and after the LORD gifted artisans to built the Tabernacle;

and after the construction and implementing of the Tabernacle, the Ark of Testimony, the Table of Show Bread, the Gold Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, oil and incense, the Altar of the Burnt Offering, the Bronze Laver, the Court of the Tabernacle, the Garments of the Priesthood;

and after the children of Israel settled into a relatively faithful routine as the LORD had established relative to the Tabernacle and their daily lives as the people of the LORD, (Ex 33:1-40:38);

and after the children of Israel had begun their journey from Mt. Sinai through the wilderness to the Promised Land with the LORD's continuing His presence in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night - providing rest, protection, water, manna, and quail, etc., as the children of Israel continued to obey His commands, (Ex 33:1-40:38; Nu 1:1-25:18);

and after more wandering in the wilderness, the obstinate, unfaithful children of Israel - especially the first generation - came once more to the Wilderness of Paran, (cf. Nu 10:11-13 for the first time). They sent a scouting party into the land of Canaan, (Nu 13:1).

Caleb's report was favorable. He expressed complete confidence in the success of their mission to conquer the land. Moses had already testified in Dt 1:29 that the LORD was going to go in before the children of Israel to guarantee success. Both Joshua and Caleb pled to the people to trust in the LORD for their deliverance, (ref. Nu 14:8-9), (Nu 13:30).

Nevertheless, because the report of the rest of the scouting party was so fearful, their attitude so hysterically and morbidly defeatist, the children of Israel went into a complete panic. Absent was any consideration of the promise of the LORD to deliver them unto the Promised Land. They were deliberately unmindful of the LORD's systematic, supernatural destruction of the most powerful nation in the world - His deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian oppression, and their further deliverance in the wilderness by His supernatural power and might.

So the children of Israel wept all night. They expected to be slaughtered by giants in the Promised Land. For the ten "spies" had declared, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight," (ref. Nu 13:32b-33).

So the congregation of Israel "lifted up their voices and cried and the people wept that night," (Nu 14:1).

They declared the following day, complaining against Moses and Aaron - and even the LORD Himself, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness. Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" In their own minds they preferred to being back in Egypt under oppression there and die than to die in battle in the wilderness against an invincible foe. They slandered the reputation of the LORD in saying that He would bring them to a place where they would die along with their wives and children, (Nu 14:2-3)]

(Nu 14:4 NKJV) So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt."

(Nu 14:5 NKJV) Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

(Nu 14:6 NKJV) But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;

(Nu 14:7 NKJV) and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: "The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.

(Nu 14:8 NKJV) If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'

(Nu 14:9 NKJV) Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them."

(Nu 14:10 NKJV) And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.

(Nu 14:11 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses: "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?

(Nu 14:12 NKJV) I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."

[So the children of Israel "said to one another, 'Let us select a leader and return to Egypt,' " (Nu 14:4).

Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the children of Israel either in a plea for mercy, and / or in expectation of the wrath of the LORD to come upon them all. The children of Israel became more and more hysterical and determined to select a new leader and depart without Moses or the LORD - even to the point of executing Moses and Aaron if either would not cooperate with their plans, (ref. Nu 14:10)! (Nu 14:5).

Caleb and Joshua made a desperate plea to their people: The two men tore their clothes, mourning for the Israelites' lack of faith, yet hoping that they would repent and trust in the LORD to deliver the land to them. The first generation of the children of Israel were sealing their own demise in the wilderness.

Caleb and Joshua extolled the conditions of the land as exceedingly good. They stated, "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.' " But then they "Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them." Caleb and Joshua reasoned that the protection of the people of the Promised Land had departed, and the LORD was with the children of Israel. So there should be nothing for the children of Israel to fear, (Nu 14:6-9).

Nevertheless, the children of Israel determined to stone Moses and Aaron. Whereupon the glory of the LORD appeared in the Tabernacle of Meeting before all Israel. The cloud which was normally fire only at night, was this time, a flame by day - evidently to make a very dramatic point upon the children of Israel, stopping the entire nation in its self-destructive track to murder Moses and Aaron and instead consider the LORD up close and personal, (Nu 14:10).

Although this fiery cloud appeared to all, God spoke only to Moses. And the LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they." '''

Ironically, the people's hysterical rantings about wishing they had died in the desert would be precisely what would happen to the first generation of the children of Israel. They would indeed perish before the next generation of Israelites would take possession of the Promised Land, (ref. Nu 14:22-23). Notice that the LORD did not engage directly with the children of Israel. Instead, He spoke directly to His servant Moses, "His rhetorical question, "How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?" had a mood of incredulity attached to it. The Hebrew verb rendered, "will they reject," in the NKJV, is a strong term for utter disregard, an attitude of complete arrogance in the face of evidence which wholly contradicts the attitude, i.e., the children of Israel refused to believe in the power and sovereignty of the LORD, despite His repeated deliverance of them by that supernatural power; despite their making and renewing their covenant with the LORD and their promises to obey Him, and despite His severe discipline of them when they rebelled against Him, (Nu 14:11).

Whereupon in verse 12, the LORD declared to Moses that He would strike the children of Israel with a pestilence, reducing them evidently to a handful - the remnant of the faithful - and disinheriting them from His covenant and excluding them from the Promised Land. And the LORD stated that He would make Moses a nation greater and mightier than they. For the second time since the Exodus, the LORD spoke of destroying the people of Israel and starting over with Moses in creating a people faithful to Himself, (ref. Ex 32:10). In view of the fact that the LORD spoke directly to Moses in response to the apostasy of the children of Israel, specifically stipulating His intent to destroy the population of Israel with pestilence; and in view of the content of the next 23 verses; it is evident that Moses was being tested by the LORD. For the LORD had repeatedly made a unilateral promise to bring His chosen people into the Promised Land to possess it - which could not be broken, (ref. Ex 6:4-9; Gen 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:7). So Moses' response would have to be to consider above all, the integrity of the LORD and resolve the problem of the apostasy of the children of Israel without impugning the integrity of the LORD, yet still fufill His covenant with His chosen people before the peoples and rulers of the world, (Nu 14:12)]

(Nu 14:13 NKJV) And Moses said to the LORD: "Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them,

(Nu 14:14 NKJV) and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, LORD, are among these people; that You, LORD, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

(Nu 14:15 NKJV) Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying,

(Nu 14:16 NKJV) 'Because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.'

(Nu 14:17 NKJV) And now, I pray, let the power of my LORD be great, just as You have spoken, saying,

(Nu 14:18 NKJV) 'The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation,' [ref. Ex 34:6-7]

(Nu 14:19 NKJV) Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."

(Nu 14:20 NKJV) Then the LORD said: "I have pardoned, according to your word;

(Nu 14:21 NKJV) but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD -

(Nu 14:22 NKJV) because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice,

(Nu 14:23 NKJV) they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.

(Nu 14:24 NKJV) But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.

(Nu 14:25 NKJV) Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea."

(Nu 14:26 NKJV) And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

(Nu 14:27 NKJV) "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.

(Nu 14:28 NKJV) Say to them, 'As I live,' says the LORD, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:

(Nu 14:29 NKJV) The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.

(Nu 14:30 NKJV) Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.

(Nu 14:31 NKJV) But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised.

(Nu 14:32 NKJV) But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.

(Nu 14:33 NKJV) And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.

(Nu 14:34 NKJV) According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.

(Nu 14:35 NKJV) I the LORD have spoken this; I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die."

[Moses was impassioned with zeal for the LORD. His first consideration was to protect the LORD's sovereignty, power and integrity. Not once did Moses entertain the idea that God would make himself a nation greater than the children of Israel. Note that Pinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, demonstrated such a zeal for the LORD, (Nu 25:11). So when the LORD said in Nu 14:12, "I will strike them [Israel] with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make you [Moses] a nation greater than they," Moses responded with his concern that the Egyptians would hear of the LORD, Who by His might brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, but then had to destroy them because they would not obey Him. Moses reasoned with the LORD that if He destroyed the people of Israel, the Egyptians would view this as His inability to keep His promise to redeem them and give them the land of Canaan as a possession. And then Moses pointed out that this would impugn His reputation of being the God of His word, Who fulfills what He promises - especially His covenant with the people of Israel. Throughout the LORD's relationship with the children of Israel, the nations witnessed that there was no God like Yahweh. Never had a diety done for his people what Yahweh, the LORD, had done for His people. He did it by miraculous sign and wonder.

i) [Compare Dt 4:32-37]:

(Dt 4:32 NKJV) "For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard.

(Dt 4:33 NKJV) Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?

(Dt 4:34 NKJV) Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

(Dt 4:35 NKJV) To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.

(Dt 4:36 NKJV) Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire.

(Dt 4:37 NKJV) And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power," ......... (Nu 14:13).

Furthermore, Moses indicated that the Egyptians would repeat this to the Canaanites and other nations with the result that even the Canaanites would mock God's impotence. Moses indicated that even the inhabitants of the Promised Land knew that the LORD was among His people - face to face with them in the cloud that stood above them, the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. So, Moses went on that if the LORD were to kill off His people, they would say, "Because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness," (Nu 14:14-16).

Whereupon Moses prayed to the LORD, "Let the power of the LORD be great, just as You have spoken, saying 'The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.' " Note that the LORD had spoken these words to Moses on Mt Sinai, (ref Ex 34:6-7). Throughout all of this, the LORD was characterized by Moses as a God of longsuffering, great mercy and forgiveness - a God of grace, of loving kindness; not solely a God of all consuming fire and wrath, as some contend. Nevertheless, He is a God of righteous judgment, and One Who is faithful to His promises and covenants. And by this prayer, Moses was invoking the LORD's mercy upon the children of Israel, but not without maintaining His Justice and Integrity. Moses' statement in his prayer, "[This] by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation;" [ref. Ex 34:6-7] in effect declared that the children of Israel must nevertheless suffer punishment in some manner, (Nu 14:17-18).

Whereupon Moses presented to the LORD his petition to resolve the problem. In view of his declaration to the LORD about His character and integrity, Moses asked the LORD to "Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, [lit., steadfast love] just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now." Note that this last statement has in view the LORD's not destroying the people of Israel during their time in Egypt and the Exodus because of their rebellion climaxing at the beginning of their sojourn in the wilderness at Mt Sinai. At that time the LORD had also determined to consume the children of Israel due to their apostasy, especially concerning their wanton worship of golden calf idol. And at that time Moses had also pleaded for the LORD's mercy in an appeal which considered the importance of preserving the integrity of the LORD before the world, (cf. Ex 32:10-14 ), (Nu 14:19).

The LORD's response to Moses' petition began as follows: "I have pardoned, according to your word." The LORD's words indicate that the sins of the children of Israel would once more be pardoned (forgiven) in the sense that punishment for them would not be directly forthcoming. Hence the children of Israel would not be immediately subject to pestilence and death as the LORD had stipulated, (ref. Nu 14:12). Note that the LORD used the same verb "sAlach," which means to pardon, to forgive, that Moses used in his petition to the LORD for mercy and forgiveness in Nu 14:19, (Nu 14:20).

The LORD went on to say in answer to Moses' deep concern for His integrity being impugned, "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD." This implies that the integrity and character of the LORD will not be impugned at all - His glory will fill the earth. There will be a sentence to be paid by the children of Israel, so the justice of the LORD will be served and not bypassed, (Nu 14:21).

Whereupon, the LORD declared, "because all these men [referring to the children of Israel - His people] who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, [Hebrew idiomatic expression signifying a relatively and exceedingly great number of times] and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of these who rejected Me see it." This was their divine punishment. So the LORD's judgment was graciously mitigated. But for the first generation of the children of Israel, it was all for naught in their temporal lives. They would neither inherit nor even see the Promised Land. They would die in the wilderness. They had repeatedly rejected the LORD so many times, that the LORD would disinherit them from the Promised Land which they would never see in their temporal lives, (Nu 14:22-23).

But the LORD stated that His servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit in him in the sense of a fully committed obedient attitude toward the LORD; who the LORD said had followed Him "fully." Caleb would be brought into the Promised Land by the LORD; and Caleb's descendants would inherit the land. This would also apply to Joshua, (ref. Nu 14:30). Note that only these two of the first generation of Israelites would enter and inherit the Promised Land. Even Moses, for his disobedience regarding the rock and water, would not enter, (ref. Nu 20:12), (Nu 14:24).

Then the LORD gave Moses instructions to move the Israelites out of their camp and journey as follows: "Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea." This change in direction was from Israel going directly into the valleys of the Promised Land to contend with the Amalekites and the Canaanites, to a path following the long and circuitous route toward the Red Sea known today as the Gulf of Aqabah - the eastern arm of the Red Sea on the eastern side of the Sinai Penninsula - ending at the Plains of Moab. This was evidently due to the LORD's decision to continue the Israelite' wandering in the wilderness until the first generation had all died except Caleb and Joshua, (ref. Nu 14:30). Hence, at this time, they would not engage the Amalekites and Canaanites in the nearby valley and begin to take possession of the Promised Land, (Nu 14:25).

Nu 14:26-35 repeats some of the information in Nu 14:20-25. But this repetition also includes additional details, leaves some of what vv. 20-25 have included and includes Aaron as well as Moses being addressed by the LORD. Hence it does not signify a redundant error, nor a conflict, nor an editorial supplement from additional authors or multiple sources of which the book was supposedly composed as some contend - instead of simply being the work of Moses himself. For there occurs much repetition in Scripture such as the dissimilar, overlapping but complementary blocks of God's response to the faithfulness of Abraham on Mt Moriah which work together for a greater whole, (ref. Gen 22:11-14; 15-18). Furthermore, many writings also have dissimilar, overlapping but complementary blocks of material that provide a more emphatic message and a greater whole as well. The emphatic value of and the didactic need for reduncancy is self-evident as well as the provision, such as in Nu 14:20-35 of an accurate account when a second party, (Aaron), is involved in the second block. So the LORD continued speaking with Moses and included Aaron, repeating and providing more details relative to His mitigated judgment upon those of the children of Israel responsible for the apostasy and rebellion against Him, saying, "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, 'As I live,' says the LORD, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above," (ref Nu 1:45-46). This was a declaration of the LORD which provided His justification for His judgment upon the first generation of the children of Israel - of all of those who had complained against Him throughout the sojourn in the wilderness: they would have their wish and die in that wilderness, (ref. Nu 14:2) - those from 20 years old and above, (Nu 14:26-29).

On the other hand the children of the first generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt - those below the age of 20, as well as Caleb and Joshua of the first generation will live to enter the Promised Land. But first, all of Israel, must suffer with the first generation for the latter's sins by having to wander with their fathers as shepherds through the wilderness for 40 years until the older generation dies. The children will know the land which their fathers despised. For the fathers acted as if the Promised Land was the last place they wanted to enter into. They arrogantly complained, "Why has the LORD brought us into this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? (ref. Nu 14:3)" - a complaint which the LORD remembered and for which He sharply rebuked the people who complained, (Nu 14:30-31).

So the carcasses of the fathers would fall in the wilderness, and the sons would have to bear the brunt of the fathers' infidelity by being shepherds in the wilderness for forty years until their parents' carcasses were consumed in the wilderness, (cf. Ex 20:5; Dt 24:16). The forty years corresponds to one year for each of the number of days in which the contingent of Israelites spied out the land - one year of the LORD's rejection for each day, so that "this evil congregation who are gathered against Me," will grow old and die in the wilderness, instead of in the Promised Land. So the LORD mitigated His judgment upon the children of Israel, nevertheless the consequences of their sins endured and precluded the LORD's otherwise intended blessings upon the nation.

Note that this does not contradict Ez 18:1-3, 13-18 which has in view the individual responsibility and culpability for sins committed and the spiritual results; whereas Moses was speaking of the material and physical aftereffects of the sins of the fathers upon the children, (Nu 14:32-35).

(Nu 14:36 NKJV) Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land,

(Nu 14:37 NKJV) those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the LORD.

(Nu 14:38 NKJV) But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land.

[The men whom Moses sent out to spy out the land who by their unfaithful and hysterical report caused the congregation to complain against Moses suddenly died by a plague before the LORD's presence which the LORD caused for their unfaithfulness. But Joshua and Caleb, for their faithfulness, remained alive - Caleb lived to well over 85, (Josh 14:10) and Joshua died at 110 (Josh 24:29). (Nu 14:36-38).

(Nu 14:39 NKJV) Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly.

(Nu 14:40 NKJV) And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, "Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned!"

(Nu 14:41 NKJV) And Moses said, "Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed.

(Nu 14:42 NKJV) Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you.

(Nu 14:43 NKJV) For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you."

(Nu 14:44 NKJV) But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop; nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed from the camp.

(Nu 14:45 NKJV) Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah."

[Whereupon Moses told the words of the LORD to himself and Aaron relative to the children of Israel being pardoned - so they would not be killed because of their many complaints against the LORD; but the children of Israel would all have to go back into the wilderness for forty years because of the first generation of them being so unfaithful so many times to the LORD - until "the carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above except for Caleb... and Joshua [ref. Nu 1:45-46], (ref. Nu 14:29-30). They "certainly shall not see the land of which [the LORD] swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it... But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring [into the Promised Land], and they shall know the land which you have despised... [they] shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness," (ref. Nu 14:23, 31-33). After hearing this, the people mourned greatly, (Nu 14:39).

And they rose early in the morning and "presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Note that this does not have Mt Sinai in view, but the mountain in which the Canaanites resided, (cf. Nu 14:45), saying "Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised [referring to the Promised Land], for we have sinned!" They were evidently determined to make a showing of repentance by admitting their sin in order to mitigate the LORD's judgment upon them as Moses had spoken to them the night before. Forgetting their fears, they resolved to remedy the situation all by themselves and go up to the hill country - to the top of the mountain where the Amalekites and Canaanites resided in the Promised Land and fight them. All of this without having spent one moment of obedience to the judgment and command of the LORD which He pronounced upon and commanded them to do - that they were to immediately move out that morning "by the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea,"(Nu 14:25). There was no evidence that they had taken the LORD's merciful judgment upon them seriously. Their confession was hasty, for their subsequent actions were foolish and rash - not measured and deliberate and ordered by the LORD through Moses. Nor did they make a patient petition through Moses for the LORD to be with them in their going forth to do battle with the Amalekites and Canannites. They were too impatient to await a response from either Moses or the LORD! They had left the LORD and Moses out of their plan of action. They had completely ignored the LORD's commandment for them to move on that next morning and get away from the Promised Land and go back onto the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea back into the wilderness. Instead, they rose early and presumed to go to the top of the mountain where the Canaanites were, without consulting with the LORD or Moses, bent on manipulating Moses and the LORD to back them up as they went obstinately and intractably on the attack into the Promised Land. The people would not obey when the LORD commanded them to attack; and now they would not obey when the LORD commanded them not to fight, (Nu 14:40).

But Moses said to them, "Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you." They were warned, their impulsive actions evidencing their inability to listen to the LORD and humbly accept His pardon and discipline, and obey His command to return immediately to the Way of the Wilderness to the Red Sea, away from the Promised Land and the Amalekites and Canaanites, not toward them, (Nu 14:25, 41). With characteristic obstinance they rejected Moses' counsel and pressed the attack in the hill country. So many would die in battle, ironically as they had predicted so rashly to Moses, (ref. Nu 14:2). Note that the terms "Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the "Canaanites," (cf. Dt 1:41-46; Nu 14:41-43).

Their arrogant presumption that the LORD would follow them into battle after Moses had given them the words of the LORD on the matter, as if they were in charge would only lead to disaster and early death on the battlefield. And when they went to do battle, neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed from the camp. The LORD was not with them, He was against them. The results were disastrous. The Amelekites and the Canaanites came down from their mountain, attacked them and drove them as far as Hormah. The name Hormah means utter destruction, (Nu 14:44-45).

D cont.) (Acts 7:37-41 cont.) STEPHEN EMPHATICALLY DECLARED WHAT MOSES HAD SAID ABOUT A PROPHET TO COME: "THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN. HIM YOU SHALL HEAR." STEPHEN HAD AND SHORTLY WOULD AGAIN ATTEST THAT THIS PROPHET TO COME WAS JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THE JEWS OF STEPHEN'S TIME STEPHEN DECLARED BETRAYED AND MURDERED. WHEREUPON STEPHEN BEGAN TO EMPHASIZE THE JEWS' FATHERS' PERSISTENT REBELLION BEGINNING WITH THE FIRST GENERATION OF JEWS COMING OUT OF EGYPT: STEPHEN STATED THAT MOSES AND THE FATHERS RECEIVED THE LIVING ORACLE - THE LAW - AT MT SINAI FROM THE ANGEL OF THE LORD - THE LORD WHOM THE FATHERS WOULD NOT OBEY. THEY REJECTED BOTH MOSES AND THE LORD THROUGHOUT THEIR SOJOURN IN THE WILDERNESS. AT THE END OF THEIR JOURNEY, STEPHEN REMINDED HIS JEWISH ACCUSERS THAT THE FATHERS IN THEIR HEARTS TURNED BACK TO EGYPT WHEN THE TIME CAME FOR THEM TO GO INTO AND CONQUER THE PROMISED LAND. APPROXIMATELY 40 YEARS EARLIER, DURING MOSES' FIRST VISIT WITH THE LORD ON MT SINAI TO RECEIVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, STEPHEN TESTIFIED THAT THE FATHERS WOULDN'T WAIT FOR MOSES TO RETURN. INSTEAD THEY DEMANDED THAT AARON MAKE THEM GODS TO GO BEFORE THEM, INTENDING TO LEAVE MOSES AND THE LORD BEHIND. THOSE FATHERS MADE A GOLDEN CALF AND WANTONLY SACRIFICED TO IT, (cont.) =

(Acts 7:37 NKJV) "This is that Moses [the one having said] to the children of Israel, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear,' (Acts 7:38 YLT) 'This [Moses] is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger [the Angel of the LORD = God ] Who is speaking to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us. (Acts 7:39 NKJV) whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, (Acts 7:40 NKJV) [having said] to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' [Ex 32:1, 23] (Acts 7:41 YLT) And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands," (cont.) =

Acts 7:40-41 is part of a sentence begun in Acts 7:38 as follows:

(Acts 7:38 YLT) 'This [Moses] is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger [the Angel of the LORD = God ] Who is speaking to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us;

(Acts 7:39 NKJV) whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,

(Acts 7:40 NKJV) [having said] to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'

(Acts 7:41 YLT) And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands,

In Acts 7:40-41, Stephen recounted the children of Israel's rejection of the LORD God and Moses, His representative - words reflecting what the children of Israel had spoken to Aaron in Ex 32:1, 23. But this was...

after only 59 days from their departure from Egypt to Mt Sinai, (ref. Nu 33:3; Ex 19:1-2);

after the people twice had solemnly sworn to obey the Law and their Covenant with the LORD;

and after it was confirmed by the blood of a burnt offering, (Ex 24:1-11);

and thereafter approximately 40 days of Moses' being on the mountain to get the stone tablets upon which the Law and the commandment were to be inscribed by the LORD and for Moses to receive further instructions re: offerings, the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of Showbread, the Golden Lampstand, Curtains of Linen, Curtains of Goats' Hair, Boards and Sockets, the Veil and Screen, the Bronze Altar, Court of the Tabernacle, Garments of the Priests, Consecration of the Priests, the Altar of Incense, the Anointing Oil, the Incense, the Skilled Craftsmen, and the Sign of the Sabbath, (Ex 24:12-18; Ex 25:1-31:18).

After all of this, Stephen recounted what the children of Israel said to Aaron to the Jewish rulers of his [Stephen's] time: "'Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' " Moses had not been gone that long, (ref. Ex 24:18). While he was away with the LORD on Mt Sinai, the children of Israel rejected Moses and the one true God Who freed them from the tyranny of Egyptian enslavement through supernatural works through the hand of their prophet and redeemer, Moses. They could have asked Aaron about him. But they were not interested in Moses' whereabouts or his words. Their attitude was one of arrogance, impatience and rebellion. The children of Israel preferred to have Aaron make idols of imaginary gods to "empower" them as they made their way through the wilderness - as if the One True God, Who had delivered them from Egypt and supernaturally provided a way for them to cross the Red Sea, could not take care of them in the wilderness of Sinai and provide a secure way for them to get to the Promised Land.

So by what Stephen said in Acts 7:40-41, Stephen reminded the Jews of his time of the children of Israel's chronic defiance of the LORD, Moses and the Law that had been given to them - the "living oracles," (Acts 7:38), for which the Jews of Stephen's day claimed to have had such a reverance. Stephen made it clear to them that the Jews of his day were no better than their fathers - the children of Israel - when they repeatedly rejected the LORD God, His prophet Moses, the Law and their Covenant with the LORD as His people.

b) [Compare Ex Chapters 20-23; 24:1-18; 32:1-35]:

In Exodus chapters 20-23, the covenant stipulations included the Decalogue - the Ten Commandments - and the ordinances whereby the people of Israel were to be regulated as the people of the true God were given. It now remained for the people to ratify the covenant which they solemnly swore to twice, (Ex 24:1-11) - details as follows:

The Ten Commandments, (Ex 20:1-17);

The People's Reaction, (Ex 20:18-21);

Additional Laws About Idols and Altars, (Ex 20:22-26).

Ordinances for the people:

For servants, (Ex 21:1-11).

For Personal Injuries:

Manslaughter, (Ex 21:12-21);

One hurt by chance, (Ex 21:22-36);

About Theft (Ex 22:1-4).

About Crop Protection, (Ex 22:5-6).

About Personal Property, (Ex 22:7-15).

About Seduction / Fornication, (Ex 22:16-17).

About Capital Offenses, (Ex 22:18-20).

About Protecting the Vulnerable, (Ex 22:21-24).

About Usury, (Ex 22:25-27).

About Respect for God, (Ex 22:28-31).

About Honesty and Justice / Slander and False Witness, (Ex 23:1-9).

About Sabbaths and Land / The Year of Rest, (Ex 23:10-13).

About Festivals:

Three National Feasts - Unleavened Bread, the Harvest of the First Fruits; the Feast of the Ingathering, (Ex 23:14-19).

About Promsies and Warnings - An Angel Is Promised, Conquest of the Land, (Ex 23:20-33).

Several times the people would hear in detail from the lips of Moses every word that God spoke to Moses relative to the Covenant between God and His people. And a total of two times they would immediately and solemnly swear to obey on the first two occasions when Moses presented God's words to them. Unlike all the other nations of their time, the people of Israel were not merely to look to the powers of heaven to protect and prosper them in pursuing their national destiny, but they were to understand themselves to belong to their God as a separated and dedicated people. Their reason for being was to serve God, worship Him with their whole heart, and to make Him known to the other nations of earth. They were to find their identity in Him and in Him alone. The Book of the Covenant would be their national constitution. It was bestowed upon them as a precious privilege from the Lord their Maker, the one and only Sovereign of the universe. He was to be acknowledged as the author of the Moral Law; they were to live by his guidelines, rather than devising their own to suit themselves. They were to understand that they had been set aside as a holy people by the LORD as His people. Hence it was their life’s purpose to glorify God and to make known his saving grace to a sin-cursed world. There was a lot of information to be learned and understood so that the people could ratify it and begin to obey it]

(Ex 24:1 NKJV) '''Now He [The LORD] said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.

(Ex 24:2 NKJV) And Moses alone shall come near the LORD, but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him."

[So the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD..." in the sense of traveling up the Mountain of God - Mt Sinai - where the LORD made manifest His presence. The LORD was speaking to Moses, instructing him in the third person, evidently to provide a formal message to Moses to relay verbatim to others, as follows: "Come up to the LORD, you [Moses] and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel and worship from afar."

The meaning for the Hebrew verb transliterated, "shachah" is "to worship" or "to bow down." Its form is almost always in the Hithpael, the causative reflexive form, indicating that the subject is willingly bowing to the ground in this context to show obeisance and honor toward the LORD - acknowledging His Holiness, Majesty, Sovereignty, etc.

So Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu - two eldest sons of Aaron, and seventy of the elders of Israel, (ref. Ex 18:24-27; 24:9; Nu 11:16, 24-25), were to worship the LORD from afar - on the Mount but not at the top of it where He had made His presence known - the distance to be a showing of their respect for the holiness and majesty of the LORD. The official "seventy elders' of Numbers 11:16 had not been formally appointed yet. They were evidently selected here to represent the Twelve Tribes. The LORD was now ready to confirm His covenant with His people. It would be solely through His mediator, Moses, (Ex 24:1).

Whereupon the LORD's instructions - still in the third person - were "And Moses alone shall come near the LORD," i.e., shall go to the top of the mountain, "but they [referring to Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders] shall not come near; nor shall the people [the rest of the population] go up with him [Moses]." Note that the rest of the people were at the foot of the mountain, (Ex 24:2)]

(Ex 24:3 NKJV) So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do."

[Ex 24:3 begins with the phrase "So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments." So Moses came from being in the presence of the LORD at the top of Mt Sinai (Mt Horeb) down to the people below at the encampment around the base of the mountain. And he told the people all the words that the LORD spoke to him on that visit on the mountain top - all the judgments: the statutes and conditions of the LORD's Covenant with His people; as it was written in Exodus chapters 20-23 ). And "the people answered with one voice" in the sense of a unanimous, sincere, solemn and enthusiastic affirmation: "All the words which the LORD has said we will do."

Note that the children of Israel had hardly had time to become acquainted with the details of the statutes and how they were going to apply them to their lives to exhibit such confidence that they would obey all the words which the LORD has said all their lives. And there was more to come. Their declaration of self-assurance was presumptuous. Although the Covenant made provision for transgressions to be dealt with by appropriate penalties, whether by fines or hard labor or capital punishment; and although the Covenant presumed that the people would often fall short and provided statutes and acts of worship that would remedy the situation, nevertheless the people many times would fall short - even in the areas which provided remedies for disobedience and offerings for forgiveness. And they would fall into apostasy in a matter of days]

(Ex 24:4a NKJV) And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD.

[The verb rendered "wrote down," in the phrase rendered "And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD," is in the imperfect tense in the Hebrew. It is a tense which portrays indefinite action. In the context of Ex 24:4a, the phrase implies that Moses wrote down the words of the LORD as the LORD spoke them. Hence when Moses came down from the mountain, he was fully prepared to have "told the people all the words of the LORD" - verbatim.

Scripture frequently attests and corroborates that Moses did write down everything that the LORD had spoken to him on the mountain top which is the content of God's Covenant with His people Israel and the Law of Moses as it is specifically stipulated in Scripture.

The words of the Covenant and the Law were not written centuries later, as some contend. Those who argue this point of view, falsely maintain, without substantive evidence that the entire account of Moses was an exaggerated and fabricated account which was contrived, adding supernatural events in the text in order to gain a religious following. Since the Scriptural accounts of Moses and Israel throughout the Old and New Testaments are consistent with one another without contradiction; and since extra biblical historical and archeological accounts corroborate Scripture in the accounts of Moses, the Exodus and the Law; then all such accounts in Scripture can be considered wholly reliable.

[Compare Expositor's Commentary, Editor Frank E Gaebelein, 1979, Zondervan, Vol. 2, Exodus]:

"There are several internal claims in Exodus that directly ascribe authorship to Moses. He is told to record on a scroll the episode of Israel's victory over Amalek (17:14). He is instructed to write down the Ten Commandments (34:4, 27-29; cf. Nu 33:2). He "wrote down everything the Lord had said" (24:4), which included at least the Book of the Covenant (20:22-23:33). These internal claims are supported by a strong association of Mosaic authorship with these same materials in other OT books such as Dt 31:9, 24; Joshua 1:7; 8:31-32; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 8:1; 13:1; Daniel 9:1-13; and Malachi 4:4. The NT writers likewise support Mosaic authorship of the Book of Exodus. Jesus accepted the Mosaic authorship of Exodus in Mk 7:10; 12:26. Luke 2:22-23 assigns Exodus 13:2 to both "the Law of Moses" and "the Law of the Lord." John 7:19 also joins in this chorus of witnesses who attribute the law to Moses. (For Mosaic authorship of other portions of the Pentateuch in the NT, see John 5:46-47; Acts 3:22; Rom 10:5)"

There are many scholars who contend that the Book of Exodus was derived from earlier editions of the story, which in turn used still earlier, mainly oral, material. Three major sources are hypothesized without credible substantiation: J (Yahwistic, c. 950-850 B.C.), E (Elohistic, c. 750-850 B.C.), and P (Priestly, c. 500-540 B.C.). But these alleged three sources do not contain anything that could even be considered similar or leading up to the Ten Commandments or the Book of the Covenant. Nevertheless, these "scholars" maintain that the Ten Commandments and the Book of the Covenant were known by the authors of these hypothetical sources with no evidence to support this claim. Furthermore, little or no agreement exists amongst these contentious "scholars" on the precise boundaries of these subjectively devised sources; nor can the criteria for their detection be demonstrated to be functionally operative and legitimate for documents from periods of similar antiquity. Moreover, and most serious of all, these unsubstantiated hypotheses directly oppose the clear internal claims of the Book of Exodus and the other books of Scripture as well as extra biblical documents. It is best first to take any document on its own terms and claims, judging it via the normative rules of language, context and logic on the basis on its own merits. Thereafter other sources must first be judged in the same objective manner in order to see if they stand under objective scrutiny before legitimately being compared with Scripture and extra biblical documents which corroborate Scripture]

(Ex 24:4b NKJV) And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

[Early the next morning, after the people had once again ratified the Covenant with God, (v. 3), Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars to represent each of the twelve tribes of Israel]

(Ex 24:5 NKJV) Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.

[Whereupon Moses appointed a number of young men of the children of Israel, and evidently gave them the duties of priests to make burnt offerings and peace offerings for the people.

A Burnt offering is an offering made of an animal - usually an oxen - that was to be executed and then entirely incinerated on the altar for the purpose of each individual Israelite making the offer for receiving temporal forgiveness of his sins. It was a symbolic action which when completed, the LORD Himself would grant such forgiveness by His grace - neither by the merits of performing the sacrifice, nor by any merited favor.

These offerings had in a view an ultimate sacrifice / atonement for sins by One Who would actually make such an atonement / payment for the provision for the redemption of all mankind in order to justify God's forgiveness of the individuals making those offerings:

i) [Compare Lev 1:1-4]:

(Lev 1:1 NKJV) '''Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying,

(Lev 1:2 NKJV) "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock - of the herd and of the flock.

(Lev 1:3 NKJV) If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD.

(Lev 1:4 NKJV) Then he [the one making the offering] shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.' " ''' ]

The noun shelem, which is often translated "peace offering," always refers to one of the most common sacrifices in Israel's worship of the Lord. This was usually a voluntary sacrifice. The peace offering was used to show the worshiper's devotion and commitment to the Lord in a vow, but more commonly to freely offer praise, thanks and deep appreciation to the Lord for Who He is, as well as the great things He had done for them. It expressed gratefulness for the well-being his blessings had provided. Thus, it rejoiced in peace that comes from God and celebrated the wonderful fellowship with God He had graciously provided people through His Covenant with them. An important part of this celebration was a fellowship meal where the offerer / worshiper ate with other family members, in the presence of God, the rest of the sacrificial animal, after offering certain parts to God. Thus, some call this a "fellowship offering." This was the only offering from which the offerer / worshiper could eat. Any animal without defect from the herd or flock was used for this offering, as well as a variety of breads. The blood was not used for atonement with this sacrifice.

So, relative to the twelve pillars, the whole nation of Israel is in view: all twelve tribes were required to worship the LORD - making offerings at the altar]

b cont.) [Compare Ex Chapters 20-23; 24:1-18; 32:1-35 cont.]:

(Ex 24:6 NKJV) And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

[Note that Moses would literally collect half of the blood of the oxen offering, put it in basins and then laboriously sprinkle - not pour - the blood everywhere on the altar. This was a graphic picture of a bloody sacrifice which had in view the LORD's provision of a future atoning sacrifice for mankind's sins in order to enable and justify the LORD's forgiveness of sins and fulfillment of His Covenant with His people, (ref. Lev 1:4 ).

(Ex 24:7 NKJV) Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient."

[The words rendered "The Book [lit., scroll] of the Covenant," in the NKJV, refer to the statutes and conditions of the Law and the Covenant between the LORD and the children of Israel which the LORD spoke to Moses and which were written down by Moses, (Ex chapters 20-23; 24:4a). These words Moses read in their entirety to the people and the people once more agreed to obey all of them, (ref. Ex 24:3; 7b). So for the second time it is implied in Scripture that the people made a solemn oath of obedience to the covenant with the LORD]

(Ex 24:8 NKJV) And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."

[Note that verse 8 stipulates that "Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words." This is the sole time in Scripture when people were portrayed as being sprinkled with blood. It is evidently symbolic in the sense that the blood was sprinkled upon the "twelve [stone] pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel," that Moses built representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel, (Ex 24:4), since there was not enough blood to sprinkle millions of Israelites. So the blood which Moses sprinkled upon the altar symbolized the LORD's acceptance of the offering and His forgiveness of the individual Jew who was presenting his offering to the LORD. And the blood which Moses sprinkled "on the people" symbolized the ratification of the LORD's covenant with His people, Israel, to be fulfilled by grace through an actual blood atonement for the sins of the whole world which would be provided by the LORD as the provision for forgiveness of sins that would enable and justify every word of the covenant to actually be fulfilled by God. For no sin can be forgiven, nor the Covenant fulfilled, nor the temporal blessings afforded via the Covenant provisions without an actual atonement / payment for sins.

So these were the steps taken in the ratification of God's Covenant with His people:

1) Moses heard every word that God had to speak to him. And every word was committed to writing - the text of Exodus chapters 20-23. And every word of it was relayed to the people. Whereupon the people responded: "And all the people answered with one voice and said, 'All the words which the LORD has said we will do,' " (Ex 24:3-4a).

2) Moses erected an altar of sacrifice and twelve stone pillars as tangible symbols of each of the twelve tribes, before the Lord on the morning of the day of consecration at the foot of Mt. Sinai, (Ex 24:4b).

3) Moses appointed young men* to bring up burnt offerings. These offerings symbolized atonement for sin and “peace offerings” (or “fellowship offerings”) - offerint which were to be sacrificed and eaten as a communion meal before the Lord. (*Note that the priestly order had not yet been constituted), (Ex 24:5).

4) Then verse 6 indicates that with either type of sacrifice, whether burnt offering or fellowship offering, the blood of the animal sacrificed was to be consecrated directly to God. Half of it was to be collected in basins and half of it sprinkled upon the altar itself, (Ex 24:6).

5) After this Moses took the Book of the Covenant and once more read it verbatim to all the people; and once again, they solemnly swore obedience to it, (Ex 24:7).

6) After the Israelites swore to the Covenant the second time, Moses took the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled the people with the blood in the sense of symbolically by sprinkling the twelve pillars; saying "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words," (Ex 24:8)]

(Ex 24:9 NKJV) Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel,

(Ex 24:10 NKJV) and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.

[Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel to somewhere on the mountain. They all saw the God of Israel, in the sense of experiencing a vivid partial image of Him, (cf. Nu 12:8). For no one can see God and live, (Ex 33:20). The text of Ex 24:10 stipulates: "And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity." So the splendor of God looked like sapphire, (cf. Ez 1:26). The language conveys an image as opposed to a direct view of the God of Israel. There is a deliberate obscurity in the form and details of the One Who produced such a splendid dazzling effect upon these observers of a vision of God's Presence. Under God's feet was a "paved work of sapphire stone," - a deep blue, or more accurately, lapis lazuli of Mesopotamia, an opaque blue precious stone speckled with a golden yellow-colored pyrite. True sapphire, the transparent crystalline of corundum, was unknown in Egypt around 1400 B.C. It symbolized the heavens, (cf. Ezek 1:22)]

(Ex 24:11 NKJV) But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.

[The phrase rendered "nobles of the children of Israel," refers to the leaders of Israel: Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of the elders who were chosen by Moses and Aaron, (ref Ex 24:1, 9). Although they had seen God in the sense of a vision of Him, they were not harmed because they did not see Him directly. The idea of the "nobles of the children of Israel," seeing God was repeated to emphasize God's presence in the formal ratification of His Covenant with His people. So the "nobles" ate and they drank before Him. This meal was evidently to further confirm the ratifying of the Covenant with the LORD as the chief representatives of the children of Israel. There is no mention of the LORD sharing the meal with them, (cf. Gen 26:30; 31:54)]

(Ex 24:12 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them."

(Ex 24:13 NKJV) So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the Mountain of God.

(Ex 24:14 NKJV) And he said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them."

(Ex 24:15 NKJV) Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain.

[The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there [in the sense of remain there]; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them." So tablets of stone were formed and inscribed by the LORD with "all the words which the LORD had spoken to you [plural = Israel, (ref Ex 24:1)] on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly" - referring to that first day of assembly at Mt. Sinai when the LORD gave Israel the words of the Ten Commandments, (Ref Ex chapters 19-20).

ii) [Compare Dt 9:10 NKJV]:

(Dt 9:10 NKJV) "Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you [Israel, (v. 1)] on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly," i.e., on that first day of assembly of the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai.

The tablets were evidently to be used as a teaching tool with Moses as instructor - the children of Israel, as students, (Ex 24:12).

Note that Joshua, now Moses' assistant, went with Moses up the Mountain of God at least part of the way. The use of the plural pronouns "us" and "we" in the phrase rendered "wait for us until we come back to you," corroborate this. Nevertheless, it is implied that Joshua would not go all the way up with Moses to come into the presence of the LORD. For in verse 18, only Moses is mentioned as being in the presence of the LORD.

In any case, Moses told the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you."

Because they would not wait for Moses to come down from the mountain, these words would ring in the minds of the children of Israel for the next 38 years, (ref. Ex 32:1ff).

[Moses continued]: "Indeed Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them."

Moses evidently appointed Aaron and Hur as his deputies to serve the people in his place while he was away receiving "the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction," (ref. Ex 24:12), (Ex 24:14).

Whereupon Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered it. The cloud dramatically signified the presence of Almighty God for all of Israel to see. It is implied that all that Moses could see as he climbed to the top of the mountain to be with God was the cloud all around him. And all that the people could see was the cloud covering the mountaintop as well, (Ex 24:15)]

(Ex 24:16 NKJV) Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

(Ex 24:17 NKJV) The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.

(Ex 24:18 NKJV) So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights."

[Notice that Moses - unlike the children of Israel - waited faithfully for the LORD. For six days he waited within the cloud covering until he was summoned by the LORD out of the midst of the cloud to come up to be in His presence. The message of waiting on the LORD, deferring to His wisdom and plan was constantly implied, (Ex 24:16).

The glory of the LORD is associated with the cloud which covered the mountain. It covered it for six days. And below, the children of Israel saw the glory of the LORD which was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain glowing through the cloud covering, (Ex 24:17).

Once Moses entered the "cloud," he would not be seen again for "forty days and forty nights." Week after week went by without a glimpse of Moses or Joshua from below. During this time Moses received and wrote down all of the instructions on the Tabernacle and its furnishings in chapters 25-31, including ordinances pertaining to the sanctuary and priestly ministry - ceremonial laws that undergirded the Covenant. And while there Moses ate and drank nothing, (cf. Dt 9:9). The time spent upon the mountain was evidently too long to suit the children of Israel.

For after 40 days and 40 nights, they did not expect Moses or Joshua to return alive]:

b cont.) [Cp Exodus Chapters 20-23; 24:1-18; 32:1-35 cont.]:

(Ex 32:1 NKJV) '''Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods [Heb. "elOhm, gods plural] that shall go [plural] before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

[By the time of Exodus chapter 32, Moses had twice recited the words of the LORD of His Covenant with His people; and twice the people solemnly swore to obey that Covenant; whereupon Moses built an altar to the LORD and presented burnt and peace offerings to the LORD to formally ratify and celebrate that Covenant and fellowship with the LORD by the people with the blood of the burnt offering sprinkled on the people, and the eating of the peace offering, respectively. Then Moses was once more called by the LORD to come up the mountain to Him, this time for more instructions and to receive the stone tablets upon which the LORD inscribed the Ten Commandments. As Moses departed, "The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel." This should have served to remind the children of Israel of the constant presence of the LORD their God and of Moses, His representative, who would be with the LORD, (Ex 24:17). It is important to note that Moses had told the people to wait for him. He had put his brother Aaron and Hur in charge until he came back. And on the mountain, the LORD God was giving Moses instructions relative to offerings for the Tabernacle Sanctuary, the construction and use of the Ark of the Testimony, the Table for the Showbread, the Gold Lampstand, the Tabernacle itself, the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Court of the Tabernacle, the Care of the Lampstand, Garments for the Priesthood, the Ephod, the Breastplate; other priestly garments; the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests, the daily offerings, the altar of incense, the ransom money, the bronze laver, the holy anointing oil, the incense, artisans for building the Tabernacle, and the Sabbath Law.

Forty days and forty nights had nearly passed, (ref. Ex 24:18). And by this time the people "saw [in their own impatient, unfaithful, rebellious minds] that Moses had delayed coming down from the mountain." They gathered together to confront Aaron, their temporary leader, and demanded, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us," so that they could immediately depart and leave Moses; and the Covenant - the "living oracles" with the LORD behind. Note that the word rendered "gods" is elOhm" plural in the Hebrew and so is the accompanying verb rendered "go before us." So with a self-serving, completely faithless attitude, the people rashly concluded to Aaron, "For this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, [note the omission of credit to the LORD] we do not know what has become of him." This statement is deliberately constructed in coarse language, thus revealing the coarse attitude of the people who had relegated God's miraculous works to a mere mortal - Moses, despite the testimony of Moses himself as to Who the LORD was and as to what He had done for His people, (ref. Ex 20ff).

Moses was evidently presumed to be dead! The Covenant was no longer a concern with the people - for they had asked Aaron for a substitute for the LORD and Moses to go before them to the Promised Land: they asked for gods to be fashioned from man-made materials. They were impatient to get to the Promised Land. They had little respect for God especially relative to all the rules in His Covenant with them which they evidently found intolerable, as well as all the time that the LORD had them wandering in the wilderness, staying at various camp sites, and especially the time spent at Mt Sinai - learning what the LORD expected of them under their Covenant with Him that they had solemnly sworn to. The god that they desired was not a God Whom they could not talk face to face with and bargain with. What they sought was a deity who like the gods of Egypt could be dealt with in a manner that was more amenable to their own tastes - a god made in their own image]

(Ex 32:2 NKJV) And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."

[Aaron's response to the Israelites' apostasy was to say to them, "Break off the golden earings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me," implying that he consented to their abandoning his brother Moses as lost and deceased; and abandoning their Covenant with the LORD as well. Notice that the Hebrew verb "poreq," lit., tear off, and rendered "break off," in the NKJV as opposed to using the word rendered "take off" suggests coarse, hasty action. Since slaves in Egypt did not wear gold earrings, those earrings might well have come from the Egyptians as booty / gifts given to the Israelites as they departed from Egypt, (ref. Ex 3:21-22; 11:2-3; 12:35-36). So out of the gold that the people would give him, Aaron intended to make an idol - god(s) for them to worship and follow into the Promised Land]

(Ex 32:3 NKJV) So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.

(Ex 32:4 YLT) "and he [receives] from their hand, and [does] fashion it with a graving tool, and [does] make it a molten calf, and they [referring evidently to Aaron and others, evidently his sons who aided him] say, "These [are your] gods, O Israel, who brought [you] up out of the land of Egypt!"

[In compliance with Aaron's instructions to them - the one whom the people viewed as their sole leader, all the Israelites broke off their golden earings and brought them to him. Aaron molded the gold and used an engraving tool to fashion it into the shape of a calf. And when Aaron presented the calf to the people, they said [plural implying Aaron and evidently his sons], "These [are your] gods, O Israel, who brought [you] up out of the land of Egypt!", (YLT). Note that there is no pagan god, neither Egyptian, nor Canaanite nor otherwise, which was represented by a calf idol. Nevertheless a male calf, i.e., a young bull, as well as an adult bull such as Hapi, also called Apis, the Egyptian bull god, god of the Nile, was associated with virility and power. The people evidenced belief that the calf represented their "gods" who would lead them out of the wilderness into the Promised Land - in the absence of Moses. In their minds they were without the LORD Whom Moses represented, and without Moses as well. Both were gone. So the true and only God of the universe Who had led them with His presence by cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, (ref. Ex 13:21-22; 14:19-20; Isa 4:4-6); Who had clearly evidenced His presence with His children, Who had promised to fulfill His Covenant with them as His people and bring them into the Promised Land, (Ex 20ff), was no longer acknowledged.

Absent in Aaron's actions was anything that clearly connected this golden calf idol with the LORD instead of leading the Israelites to believe in pagan god(s). Note that it was the LORD Who had just commanded Aaron and all the Israelites not to have any idols before them:

iii) [Ex 20:3-6]:

(Ex 20:3 NKJV) "You shall have no other gods before Me.

(Ex 20:4 NKJV) You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

(Ex 20:5 NKJV) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

(Ex 20:6 NKJV) but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."]

b cont.) [Compare Ex Chapters 20-23; 24:1-18; 32:1-35 cont.]:

(Ex 32:5 NKJV) So when Aaron saw it, [the golden calf he had formed, (Ex 32:4)] he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD."

[Aaron considered what he had said about the golden calf representing pagan god(s) who delivered Israel from Egypt, and he built an altar before it (them) in order for them to be worshipped. And then he made a proclamation: "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD" referring to those pagan god(s).

Aaron's proclamation cannot be taken as a compromise that successfully included the LORD for the Israelites as the true God of Israel, Creator of the Universe, as some contend. For Aaron had built a new altar right before the idol he created to perform acts of worship to the idol; and to the idol made an ambiguous proclamation: "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD." Aaron had made that idol, and that proclamation and that altar to worship it in direct violation of what the LORD God had commanded, (ref. Ex 20:3-6). Regardless of his intent which is not clearly stipulated, his actions could easily be interpreted as supportive of the worship of new god(s) by the people of the LORD. Aaron left his actions to be taken in whatever way the people decided, completely abdicating his authority before the LORD given to him by Moses, his own brother, whom Aaron had tacitly determined was lost or dead. Furthermore Aaron did not respond when the people declared Moses as gone, perhaps dead; and left the LORD out of the picture by dint of creating an idol to worship and an altar and a proclamation that directed that worship. All of this was done in the shadow of Mt. Sinai where the glory of the LORD was constantly made manifest to the Israelites below. So in effect, Aaron declared that the golden calf was the LORD in the sense of new and pagan god(s) whom the Israelites were now to obey and worship, and whose lead they were to follow into the Promised Land. Note that the LORD verified that the Israelites worshipped and sacrificed to the molded calf idol as god(s), (ref Ex 32:8).

Although some contend that Aaron was representing the LORD and not pagan gods, what matters is that that was not how the people responded. They had left the LORD and Moses behind, (Ex 32:5)]

(Ex 32:6 NKJV) Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

[Then the children of Israel rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings to the golden calf and then peace offerings. Whereupon they sat down to eat and drink, evidently following the custom of consuming the peace offerings now before their new god(s) - the golden calf. Then they rose up to play. The Hebrew word rendered "to play" implies indulging in revelry which would include debased sexual activity - in view of the context of the passage, (Ex 32:6; 1 Cor 10:7)]

(Ex 32:7 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.

(Ex 32:8 NKJV) They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!"

(Ex 32:9 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed [they are] a stiff-necked people!

[At this time, the LORD said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!"

Notice that the LORD in His anger in speaking to Moses referred to the Israelites as "your people." He no longer viewed Israel as His people. The LORD was so angry and so distant from Israel that He did not even take credit for bringing them out of Egypt, but declared that it was Moses who brought them out.

The Hebrew verb form "sihEt" in Ex 32:7 is in the perfect mood, piel stem signifying intensive completed action, and rendered "have corrupted themselves" in the NKJV. This indicates that the Israelites have of their own volition rejected trusting in the LORD and Moses as His representative. This includes acknowledging that Moses was not going to return to them - most likely that he was dead; and that there was no longer any covenant between them and the LORD. This left a void which they quickly filled by corrupting Aaron to be their sole leader if he went along with their point of view - to make a golden calf idol / god(s) to be placed before them to worship and lead them into the Promised Land. Absent was any further acknowledgment that it was the LORD through Moses Who supernaturally delivered them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, with Whom they twice solemnly ratified the Covenant. Now they would acknowlege that it was the calf idol which brought them out of Egypt who was their own personal set of pagan god(s) - a nonsensical statement since the idol did not exist until that day! There were no words which clearly stipulated that this calf represented the LORD - the God of Moses, as some contend - especially in light of the creation of the calf as an idol / god and the altar of worship in front of it which violated the LORD's first commandment.

The LORD in anger said, "I have seen this people, and indeed [they are] a stiff necked people]." Note that being "stiff-necked" equated with arrogance (Neh. 9:16), rebellion (v. 17) and refusing to listen to the Lord (v. 29).

The stiff-necked people would not bow down under God's authority which was righteous, but they readily bowed down to the calf idol and worshipped it, evidently because their viewpoint about the calf as demonstrated by their immoral play before it was aligned with their own minds relative to the lusts of the flesh.

****

(Ex 32:10 NKJV) "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation."

[At this time - after virtually disowning the people of Israel, (vv. 7-9), the LORD promised to destroy the people and make of Moses a great nation to be His people, when He said to Moses, "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation."]

(Ex 32:11 NKJV) Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: "LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

(Ex 32:12 NKJV) Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, 'He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?' Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.

(Ex 32:13 NKJV) Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.' "

[But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God. He asked the LORD God, "Why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?" (Ex 32:11).

Moses presented his case for the LORD to repent of His intention to destroy the children of Israel and start over with Moses. The Hebrew verb "wayyiAnnhem" in verse 14 is rendered "relented" in the NKJV, Holman and NIV; "repent" in the YLT, KJV, and ASV; and "change the mind" in the NASB. These renderings point to a basic definition of the Hebrew word rendered "repent" = to change the mind about taking a certain course of action or belief. In the context of Ex 32:14 the word does not signify that the LORD God was intending to do something wrong and relented from doing that evil. For He would have been fully justified in destroying the children of Israel and starting over with Moses. The descendants would still have been of the people whom He brought out of Egypt whom He would then bring into the Promised Land, and hence His Reputation - His Glory, would not have been impugned. Furthermore, the LORD did finally order the demise of the first generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt because they would refuse to enter the Promised Land. Hence they would be sentenced to wander throughout the wilderness until they all died of old age, (Nu 14:1-35). And there would be no blot on the Glory - the Honor and Justice of the LORD. Note that the second generation would be preserved to enter the Promised Land - and they did. So the key issue was that this was a test of Moses' faith in the LORD - in defending His Glory: His Honor and Justice, yet not compromising on the children of Israel being guilty of apostasy.

And Moses was primarily concerned with the reputation - the Glory: the Honor and Justice - of the LORD his God before the nations of the world, especially Egypt. So Moses pleaded with the LORD to show mercy to the Israelites on the basis of securing favorable world opinion. Nevertheless, Moses indicated that it was the LORD Who brought His people out of the land of Egypt "with great power and with a mighty hand," (not Moses). So in view of this, Moses asked, "Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, 'He [meaning the LORD God of the Israelites] brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth.' " Moses' appeal was a passionate one, albeit misdirected, which reflected upon his experience with Pharaoh and the cruel Egyptians who were especially arrogant about their religion - their gods whom the LORD had utterly defeated: [Moses said to the LORD] "Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people."

By not relenting, Moses feared that the Egyptians would mock the LORD as no better than they or their gods were. Moses went on to speak of Abraham, Isaac and Israel (Jacob, cf. Gen 32:2-28), in order to enhance his appeal to the LORD for mercy: "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.' "

Notice that Moses did not try to justify the Israelites' behavior, but to convince the LORD to relent so that His reputation - His justice and honor would not be impugned in the view of the nations of the world, especially Egypt. On the other hand, the LORD's plan to start over with Moses would not cause His Reputation to be legitimately impugned at all; for His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Israel would be fulfilled; for Moses himself was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Israel who would have descendants of his own who in generations to come who would enter the Promised Land, should the LORD consume all of the first generation of children of Israel in the wilderness responsible for the apostasy]

(Ex 32:14 NKJV) So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

[So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. But there would still be severe consequences beginning with the execuation of about 3,000 men, (Ex 32:28), and a plague to come upon the people, (Ex 32:35).

Thereafter the Israelites would wander in the wilderness until the first generation because of their continued rebellion would die before the children of Israel would enter the Promised Land, (ref. Nu 14:22-23]

(Ex 32:15 NKJV) And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.

(Ex 32:16 NKJV) Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.

[So Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two stone tablets of the "Testimony," in his hand. They comprised the Ten Commandments, inscribed on both sides - the engraved work of God, inscribed by the finger of God, (ref. Ex 24:12; 31:18; 34:1, 28-29 ["He" refers to the LORD Who wrote on the tablets]; Dt 4:13; 5:22; 9:10ff); (Ex 32:15-16).

(Ex 32:17 NKJV) And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp."

(Ex 32:18 NKJV) But he said: "It is not the noise of the shout of victory, Nor the noise of the cry of defeat, But the sound of singing I hear."

(Ex 32:19 NKJV) So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses' anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke [lit., shattered] them at the foot of the mountain.

(Ex 32:20 NKJV) Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.

[Joshua, evidently having remained somewhere on the mountain below the summit, (cf. Ex 24:13), met up with Moses as the latter was descending from the summit. Having heard the noise of the people below as they shouted, (while engaged in their sinful revelry, ref. Ex 32:6), Joshua said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp." Joshua evidently thought that the camp was under military attack; and the noise was the shouting of war cries.

Moses answered, "It is not the noise of the shout of victory, Nor the noise of the cry of defeat, But the sound of singing I hear." So the two of them discovered that it was singing. As soon as they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing - their lewd revelry.

At this point in response to the people having so egregiously broken their Covenant with the LORD, and having seen and heard their lewd revelry, Moses threw down and evidently broke [literally, shattered] the tablets at the foot of the mountain in a fit of hot anger - a gesture which reflected the apostasy of the people who evidently had no use for the Ten Commandments, a number of which they were breaking right in front of Moses as he came back to their camp, (Ex 32:19).

Whereupon Moses took the calf which they had made and burned it in the fire, ground it into powder and scattered it upon the drinking water [of a mountain stream, (Dt 9:21)] and made the children of Israel drink it, demonstrating the power and wrath of the LORD through Moses over these new gods. By having the people drink the solution of the remains of the calf idol, the message was given that the people would bear the consequences of their sins. Moses wasted no time in bringing these consequences to bear upon the people. It is evident that Moses still had awe and authority with the children of Israel. Despite their apostasy, they understood Moses' capacity to be the initiator of the supernatural works of the LORD their God and repented of their sins. Hence they did not intervene when Moses destroyed their god and made them drink it down. The reality of the power of the LORD God through Moses over their new god(s) and their rebellious behavior was immediately acknowledged and submitted to by the people the moment Moses reappeared to them, (Ex 32:20)]

(Ex 32:21 NKJV) And Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?"

(Ex 32:22 NKJV) So Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.

(Ex 32:23 NKJV) For they said to me, 'Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'

(Ex 32:24 NKJV) And I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.' So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out."

[Moses' first words to his brother, "What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?" implied that Aaron had perpetrated an egregious sin upon the people - acquiescing to their demands and then being instrumental in image making, idolatry, apostasy and lewd revelry. This in turn implied that it was largely Aaron's (and Hur's, (Ex 24:14)) responsibilty to turn the people back to waiting for Moses' return with more information re: their Covenant with the LORD their God. For the two of them were left in charge! (ref Ex 24:14). It is evident that Aaron and Hur did little if nothing to take charge of their responsibility, (ref. Ex 32:25), (Ex 32:21).

Aaron's answer to Moses' question was neither honest nor direct. He had abdicated his responsiblity in the matter, putting the blame upon the people he was supposed to be in charge of: "Do not let the anger of my lord [Moses] become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil."

The Hebrew word "adOn " rendered "lord," in the NKJV in Ex 32:22 evidently refers to Aaron's brother Moses in the sense of Moses being Aaron's master / superior. But this term of respect for Moses' authority becomes ironic with Aaron's next statement, "You know the people, that they were set on evil." This was an infuriating excuse for his own apostasy and his cowardly abdication of his responsibility of being put in charge of the people by Moses. For when Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge and went up the Mountain of God, the people were under control and willing to obey their Covenant with the LORD their God, even willing to wait for Moses to get back from his meeting on the Mountain of God with the LORD with Aaron and Hur put in charge, (ref. Ex 24:1-14).

Aaron's statement was arrogant and juvenile as well. For the details of the peoples' Covenant with the LORD their God presumed that the people were "set on evil." The Covenant provided remedies and disciplines for when evil was committed upon which Aaron, their leader, should have relied, (ref. Exodus chapters 20-23.).

Aaron continued to answer Moses' accusatory question of him of:

"What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?"

with:

"For they said to me, 'Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' "

In his answer, Aaron did not even indicate that he resisted the peoples' intention to start worshipping pagan idols / gods; nor did he go against their insinuation that Moses was not going to return, that he was even dead, which implied that the LORD God had for the first time failed the children of Israel to deliver what He had promised, and destroyed Moses. So a new god was in order in their minds - and Aaron did nothing to dissuade the Israelites from their apostasy.

After all that Aaron had done in the past re: his participation as one of the rulers of the Israelites with his brother Moses during the Exodus, which included facing Pharaoh, standing firm with Moses, throughout the ten plagues in Egypt, their journey across the Red Sea and into the wilderness to Mt. Sinai; and then to suddenly to fall into apostasy when he was confronted by the children of Israel, especially the group who wanted to dictate their own ungodly rule of life and the god(s) they wanted to live by was an incomprehensible disaster for him which he further compounded with lies, (Ex 32:23):

In verse 24, Aaron falsely proposed to Moses that he had thrown the gold he collected from the people into the fire, and as if by magic it came out in the form of a calf! But it is indicated in Ex 32:4, that he actually took great effort in forming it himself!

Note that in Dt 9:20 it is reported that God was so angry with Aaron that He was ready to kill him, but Moses prayed to the LORD to relent and He did.

What is also notable is what Aaron left out in his account to Moses:

He presented the calf to the people and said, "These [are your] gods, O Israel, who brought [you] up out of the land of Egypt!" Whereupon, Aaron built an altar before it as if it did indeed represent god(s). Whereupon Aaron proclaimed a feast to the LORD - giving the calf the holy name of the LORD God - in violation of the first commandment, (Ex 32:5).

Nor did Aaron relay to Moses the events of the next day when the people went further out of control. After offering burnt and peace offerings to this strange, new set of pagan god(s) they rose up to play in the sense of raucus lewdness, adding further offenses to their record of apostasy, (Ex 32:24)]

(Ex 32:25 NKJV) Now when Moses saw that the people [had been, (perfect tense0] unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies),

(Ex 32:26 NKJV) then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the LORD's side - come to me." And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

(Ex 32:27 NKJV) And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' "

(Ex 32:28 NKJV) So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

[Moses saw that the people [had been] unrestrained. The Hebrew verb "pAra" lit. to be loose, rendered in the perfect tense in Ex 32:25 NKJV, lit., "had been unrestrained" in this context refers to the children of Israel having been unrestrained in an immoral and ungodly manner, committing religious prostitution connected with their worship of the golden calf, (ref. Ex 32:6). They had deliberately violated a number of the Ten Commandments which they had just solemnly sworn to uphold, (Ex 24:1ff).

Note that the writer of Exodus indicated in Ex 32:25b that Aaron had not restrained the people to their shame among their enemies, i.e., they were no better than those who worshipped other gods, (Ex 32:25).

In view of this ungodly unrestraint amongst his people, Moses stood at the entrance of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the LORD's side - come to me." The Hebrew of this phrase is rendered literally, "Whoever [is] for the LORD - to me!" So all of those who were not then or never had worshipped the golden calf - who were for the LORD God of Israel - the true (and only) God, were asked to come forward to where Moses was standing - at the entrance of the camp.

Whereupon "all" of the tribe of Levi responded and came forward. Evidently no one from the other tribes stepped forward to come to Moses. Since there appeared to be no organized resistance against Moses despite the massive unrestrained behavior, Moses was readily able to organize his own group to purge the people of their idolatry, (Ex 32:26).

So the LORD God of Israel, through Moses, said to those that gathered to Moses - all those who chose to follow the LORD God, "Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor," in the sense of executing those who persisted in worshipping the golden calf or a number of other idols which they made themselves, (cf. Amos 5:24-27), (Ex 32:27).

So the sons of Levi and evidently no one else from the other tribes, did according to the word of Moses - the words of the LORD God of Israel, (Ex 32:27). This resulted in the execution of 3,000 men. Still others would die by plague, (ref. Ex 32:35), (Ex 32:28)]

(Ex 32:29 NKJV) Then Moses said, "Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother."

[Then Moses said to those who stepped forward to where Moses stood to serve the LORD God, "Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother." Serving the LORD meant to uphold the Holiness of God and maintain ones personal / godly righteousness before God via obeying His commandments. That in turn often meant being opposed to others - even to those of your own people, your own family. On the other hand, there would be temporal (and eternal) rewards / blessings for being set apart and standing firm on the side of the LORD God. Note that later these men were given the honor of carrying the Tabernacle, (Nu 1:50-53), (Ex 32:29).

(Ex 32:30 NKJV) Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin [lit., You you have sinned a great sin] So now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."

(Ex 32:31 NKJV) Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold!

(Ex 32:32 NKJV) Yet now, if You will forgive their [sins, plural] - but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written, (cf. Ex 30:12)"

(Ex 32:33 NKJV) And the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.

(Ex 32:34 NKJV) Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their [sins, plural]."

(Ex 32:35 NKJV) So the LORD plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.'''

[The next day, in Ex 32:30, Moses said to the people, "You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin." Evidently, the children of Israel could not move on until what they had done was dealt with by the LORD - the sin of the people must be atoned for, i.e., forgiven. So Moses returned to the LORD in the sense of climbing back up the Mountain of God to the summit. Although the LORD is omnipresent, He had chosen in the case of Moses and the children of Israel to manifest His presence - His Glory - via a cloud by day and with a firey light within that cloud by night during the period of time of delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt unto the Promised Land. So relative to this matter of Moses and the deliverance of the children of Israel, the LORD chose to communicate directly with Moses alone as His representative to the children of Israel at the summit of Mt. Sinai, (Ex 32:30).

And once there on the summit in the manifest presence of the Glory of the LORD, Moses said, "Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin - but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written."

So Moses once more was interceding for the children of Israel. He admitted to their egregious sins to the LORD in the sense of a confession of them for the people of Israel in order for the children of Israel to be forgiven. Note that the LORD already knew of their sins because He was omniscient and had already declared them to Moses, (ref. Ex 32:7-9). Although the people had repented as evidenced by their obedience to Moses' instructions to drink down the gold solution, etc., atonement for their sins was still required under the Law.

Note that Moses pleaded with the LORD that if He would not forgive the peoples' sins, that he requested for himself to be blotted out from "Your book which you have written," in the sense of Moses offering himself as an atonement unto premature physical death as a sacrifice for his peoples' sins. But this was never the basis for God's atonement / forgiveness of temporal or eternal sins - to have a fellow flawed human pay for the sins of others.

The book in view is not the Book of Life, (Ps 69:19-28 with Gen 15:1-6) add re: Abraham) as some contend. For earlier in the Book of Exodus, namely Ex 30:12, it stipulates that a census was taken - a book / a list of every one in the population of the children of Israel who was responsible to serve the LORD. And whenever a census was taken (e.g., Num. 1) each Israelite 20 years old or more was to pay a tax to help maintain the Tabernacle and services. This tax was considered a ransom (Ex. 30:12) because its payment guaranteed protection from plagues - or a plague if no payment is forthcoming. This helped to motivate each male to pay. It was also considered an atonement, a covering for sins. If Moses were to be blotted out of this book, it was to be tantamount of being excluded from the nation Israel, subject to plague, hence premature physical death:

iv) [Compare Ex 30:12]:

(Ex 30:12 NKJV) "When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them."

If Moses was blotted out from the Book of Life which some contend Ex 32:32-35 has in view, his proposal was that he would suffer a plague unto premature physical death as well as eternal condemnation /death as a sacrifice for all of the peoples' sins.

It therefore could not be the Book of Life in view in Ex 32:33, 35; for Moses would have to substitute himself unto eternal condemnation for the sake of all of the sins of his people. That would neither be possible, nor be a just sacrifice before the LORD. For Moses could not be held accountable for the sins of the people; nor was he capable of paying for his own sins, never mind someone elses' as well. Each individual must be held accountable for his own sins.

Furthermore, according to the LORD's plan of salvation, eternal condemnation is not due to all of those who sin, comprising all of humanity, but only to those who do not believe in their atonement that the LORD provided for them, through the promised Descendant of Abraham. Only those who have not believed will have their names blotted out of the Book of Life - those who have rejected the substitutionary atonement of the LORD through His Son - the promised Descendant of Abraham, which is not Moses . So those who do not believe in that promise must therefore pay for their own sins. They could not rely upon Moses to do that - who was not even capable for adequately paying for his own sins to gain entrance into the Eternal Kingdom of God.

Notice that in Ex 32:33, the LORD stipulated, "Whoever has sinned against Me I will blot out of My book," and in verse 35, "the LORD plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made." Although they sinned relative to the golden calf / idol, they were blotted out of the book of the census and would die, not the Book of Life. For a blotting out of the Book of Life is only due to those who did not accept the LORD's atonement for their sins by a moment of faith, not for any sinful acts, .

So some of the children of Israel did die by execution, (Ex 32:28); others died by the plague, (Ex 32:35). And the rest of the first generation of the children of Israel out of Egypt would die later in the desert due to their abiding apostasy, albeit largely not prematurely, (ref. Dt 1:35-36; 2:14).

Finally, God did say that Moses would lead His chosen people, the children of Israel, albeit the second generation, to the land He promised to give them - hardly a service to be performed for the LORD by one whom the LORD had blotted out from the Book of Life - indicating that Moses had not lost his salvation. Thus the book in Ex 32:31-32 cannot be the Book of Life, (Ex 32:32).

In verse 33, the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you."

So the LORD indicated that He would indeed blot those who have sinned against Him out of His book - in the sense of which verses 34 and 35 indicate: physical death.

In the meantime, the LORD told Moses to lead the people to the place of which He had spoken to him, i.e., the Promised Land. And now there will be an Angel Who shall go before you - the Angel of the LORD.

v) [Compare Ex 23:20-21]:

(Ex 23:20 NASB) "Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

(Ex 23:21 NASB) Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him."

Note that the phrase rendered, "Since My name is in Him," implies that this particular Angel has the name of the LORD - the Angel of the LORD Who thereby is Jehovah Elohim Himself, (Ex 32:22).

The LORD went on to say to Moses in the rest of verses 34 & 35, "Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin." So punishment would indeed be forthcoming to the people for their sins in the form of premature physical death, (Ex 32:34b); "So the LORD plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made," (Ex 32:34-35).

........................................................................................................................ (Acts 7:38-41).

E) (Acts 7:42-53) HAVING PRESENTED TO THE JEWISH RULERS OF HIS TIME THE SCRIPTURAL FACTS OF THE PERSISTENT APOSTASY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL THROUGHOUT THEIR HISTORY, STEPHEN DECLARED THAT AS A RESULT OF THEIR APOSTASY GOD HAD TURNED AWAY FROM HIS PEOPLE AND DELIVERED THEM UP TO THEIR WORSHIP OF FALSE GODS, AND THEN UNTO CAPTIVITY BEYOND BABYLON. DESPITE GOD'S PROVISION OF THE TABERNACLE AND THE ACCOMPANYING ORDINANCES FOR WORSHIP AND FOR LIVING DAY TO DAY ACCORDING TO THEIR COVENANT WITH THEIR GOD; DESPITE THE LORD'S MANIFESTING HIS PRESENCE IN THE TABERNACLE EXEMPLIFYING HIS HOLINESS TO THEM; DESPITE BRINGING HIS CHILDREN INTO POSSESSION OF THE PROMISED LAND VIA THE LEADERSHIP FROM JOSHUA THROUGH DAVID; AND DESPITE THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE THROUGH SOLOMON; THE PEOPLE - ESPECIALLY THE RULERS - CONTINUED THEIR APOSTASY. THEY INSISTED ON LIMITING GOD TO THE TEMPLE AND TO THEIR OWN SELF AGRANDIZING, UNGODLY VIEW OF THE LAW. THEY DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE MOST HIGH IS NOT LIMITED TO DWELLING IN A MAN MADE TEMPLE. STEPHEN DECLARED THAT THE JEWISH RULERS OF HIS DAY WERE STIFFNECKED, WITH UNCIRCUMCISED HEARTS AND EARS, (LIKE THE GENTILES), WHO RESISTED THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THEIR FATHERS DID. STEPHEN ADDED THAT IT WAS THE FATHERS WHO KILLED THE PROPHETS; WHICH PROPHETS FORETOLD OF THE COMING OF THE JUST ONE, JESUS CHRIST, WHOM THE RULERS OF STEPHEN'S DAY BETRAYED AND MURDERED. THOSE FATHERS WERE THE ONES WHO RECEIVED THE LAW AS ORDAINED BY ANGELS AND YET DID NOT KEEP IT, NOR DID THE JEWS OF STEPHEN'S DAY

(Acts 7:42 NASB) "But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? [Amos 5:25] (Acts 7:43 NKJV) You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon. [Amos 5:26-27] (Acts 7:44 NKJV) Our fathers had the Tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, (Acts 7:45 NKJV) which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, (Acts 7:46 NKJV) who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. (Acts 7:47 NKJV) But Solomon built Him a house. (Acts 7:48 NKJV) However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: (Acts 7:49 NKJV) Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, Or what is the place of My rest? [Isa 66:1] (Acts 7:50 NKJV) Has My hand not made all these things? [Isa 66:2] [(Acts 7:51 NKJV) You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. (Acts 7:52 NKJV) Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of Whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, (Acts 7:53 NASB) you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it." =

In Acts 7:42-43, Stephen continued to emphasize Israel's rebellious, unfaithful attitude during their 40 years of wandering from Egypt and throughout the wilderness of Arabia, and throughout their history to the times when they would be carried away beyond Damascus and Babylon - up to and through the time of Stephen. Stephen's defense was actually a witness for Jesus Christ and salvation through Him as the Promised Messiah / Redeemer Whom Moses testified was to come. Much of Stephen's witness in fact had to do with attempting to convict those whom he addressed of their sins so that they could then look to the "Just One" Whom they had crucified for salvation. Stephen's message was not so different from Peter's to the people in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 2 Acts chapter 3 and Acts chapter 4 .

Acts 7:42-43 is a continuation of Acts 7:41 which the latter states as follows:

(Acts 7:41 YLT) "And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands." ... followed by the next two verses which refer to what the Prophet Amos wrote:

(Acts 7:42 NASB) 'But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven in the sense of their worshipping the stars as their gods and suffering the consequences that that implies, (ref. Acts 7:43; cf Ex 32:32-35); as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? [Amos 5:25]

(Acts 7:43 NKJV) You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon [lit., Damascus].' " [Amos 5:26-27]

So after dealing with the apostasy of the children of Israel relative to the golden calf idol they had formed by Aaron and which they worshipped, Stephen declared relative to the children of Israel's wandering in the wilderness for the next forty years and the first generations' continued apostasy - but with a view to future generations of Israelites who had settled in the Promised Land and continued the apostasy: "But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven;" and then quoted from the Book of the Prophets - LXX version, (Amos 5:25-27), to corroborate his declaration:

"As it is written in the book of the prophets, 'It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon," [cf. Amos 5:26-27].

Stephen's quotation of Amos 5:25-27 was in a manner which called for a negative answer. It could be paraphrased, "You didn't offer sacrifices and offerings to Me 40 years in the desert, did you?" They had not offered sacrifices to God alone. They apparently did go through the forms, but the idolatry that began with the golden calf continued as well until they went into exile in Babylon.

So Stephen continued his denunciation of the religious hypocrisy of the Jewish rulers of his time with a view to their fathers' persistent apostasy such that the Israelites' sacrifices and rituals had been an affront to the LORD not only during their exodus, but even during their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness and thereafter. After seeing God's glory in the Mountain of God, the fathers nevertheless made a tabernacle to serve the god Moloch (a Venus god worshipped by the Ammonites and other Semitic peoples), in contrast to the Tabernacle of Witness of the LORD, (cf. Acts 7:44), set up by Moses and built and furnished by men who were filled with the Spirit of God, (Ex 25:1-31:18; 35:30-35). And this went on with the Israelites throughout their history. They rejected Moses and the Law, thereby rebelling against the God Who gave the Law. And so God turned away from His children in the sense of no longer blessing them, but instead giving them up to following their own ungodly pursuits such as worshipping idols and gods represented by a number of stars in the heavens. So as a consequence they put themselves under harsher and harsher disciplines that led to being carried off into captivity beyond Babylon. From the very beginning their worship had been falsely directed. It was often not to God, but to a golden calf, or secretly to a god represented by the sun, moon, or stars such as Venus / "Molech," (a god worshipped by the Ammonites and several other Semitic peoples), or "Remphan" - probably the Assyrian name for the planet Saturn, a god called Chiun in Amos 5:26. The people made small images or figurines of these gods and carried them with them to secretly worship them - thus breaking the First Commandment. So many of the children of Israel brought sacrifices and offerings to these gods during their 40 years in the wilderness and thereafter throughout their history - through the Babylonian Captivity, up to the time of Stephen. So the children of Israel would repeatedly be delivered up by the LORD to serve those false gods in the host of the heavens and suffer the punishments of premature physical death, (ref. Ex 32:34-35), and being carried away into captivity a number of times. Consequently, Stephen referred, (in the LXX), to God's promise in Amos 5:27 to carry the people of Israel away beyond Babylon - into exile, (cf. Amos 7:11, 17), as a result of her repeated unfaithfulness throughout her generations - even up to Stephen's time.

1) [Compare Amos 5:25-27]:

(Amos 5:25 NKJV) " 'Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

(Amos 5:26 NKJV) You also carried Sikkuth your king And Chiun, your idols, The star of your gods, Which you made for yourselves.

(Amos 5:27 NKJV) Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,' Says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts," (cf. Amos 7:11, 17).

2) [Compare Amos 5:25-27 L