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CRITICAL AND PRACTICAL,
ON THE BOOK OF
DESIGNED AS A GENERAL HELP TO
BIBLICAL READING AND INSTRUCTION
By GEORGE BUSH,
IN TWO VOLUMES.
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The designation given in our version to the second book of the Pentateuch, viz. 'Exodus,' is derived directly from the Greek žodos, exodos, varying only by the Latinised termination us for os. The import of the term is that of going forth, emigration, departure, and is significant of the principal event recorded in it, to wit, the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt. According to Hebrew usage, though no where in the text itself, it is called 670 75x7 veëlleh shemoth, and these ure the names, from the initial words of the book. This phrase, however, is sometimes abbreviated by the Jewish writers to the simple term 7 shemoth, the names.
That the authorship of this book is rightly ascribed to Moses, is proved by the arguments which go to ascertain the entire Pentateuch as the production of his hand. These are so fully detailed in our Introduction to Genesis, that it will be unnecessary to repeat them here. But we have in addition still more explicit evidence on this point. Moses testifies of himself, Ex. 24. 4, that he 'wrote all the words of the Lord,' commanded hiin on a certain occasion, which words are contained in this book. Our Savior, also, when citing, Mark 12. 26, a certain passage from this book, calls it 'the book of Moses.' And again, Luke 20. 37, he says, 'Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush. It is moreover to be observed that the books of the Old Testament are spoken of in the New, Luke 15. 31, as divided into two grand classes, ‘Moses and the prophets,' and in v. 16, 'the law and the prophets ;' so that all the Scriptures, besides 'the prophets,' were written by Moses ; in other words, the four books of the ‘law' were written by him. There remains, therefore, no room for doubt that Moses wrote the book of Exodus, and is any thing more were necessary to establish its canonical character, it would be found in the fact mentioned by Rivet, that twenty-five passages are quoted from it by Christ and his Apostles in express terms, and nineteen as to the sense.
As to the general scope of the book, it is plainly to preserve the memorial of the great facts of the national history of Israel in its earlier periods, to wit, their deliverance from Egypt, the kindness and faithfulness of God in their subsequent preservation in the wilderness, the delivery of the Law, and the establishment of a new and peculiar system of worship. All the particulars connected with these several events are given in the fullest and most interesting detail, and in such a manner as to compel in the reader the recognition of an overruling Providence at every step of the narration. There is perhaps no buok in the Bible that records
such an illustrious series of miracles, or that keeps the divine agency so constantly before the mind's eye. Nor are the moral lessons which it teaches less prominent and striking. We find the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 10. 11, after having adverted to the course of Israel's experience as a nation, immediately adding, Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. No sooner had he adverted to their privileges than he describes their chastisements, as inflicted to the intent that we should not so imitate their sin, as to provoke a visitation of the same vengeance. Indeed their whole history forms one grand prediction and outline of human redemption, and of the lot of the church. In the servitude of Israel we behold a lively image of the bondage to sin and Satan in which the unregenerate are held captive. In the deliverance from Egypt is foreshown their redemption from this horrid thraldom; and the journey through the wilderness is a graphic program of a Christian's journey through life to his final inheritance in the heavenly Canaan. So also, without minute specification, the manna of which the Israelites ate, and the rock of which they drank, as well as the brazen serpent by which they were healed, were severally typical of corresponding particulars under the Christian economy. Add to this, that under ine sacrifices, and ceremonial service of the Mosaic institute, were described the distinguishing features of the more spiritual worship of the Gospel.
It is necessary to bear in mind, is we would adequately understand the drist of the peculiar institutions which we find prescribed in the pages of this book, that the grand design of Heaven was to form the Israelites into a distinct and independent people, and to unite them in one great political and ecclesiastical body of whom Jehovah himself was to be the ackowledged head, constituting what is familiarly known as the Jewish Theocracy. But upon this unique kind of polity, which never had a parallel in the case of any other nation on earth, we have reserved a more extended train of remark in the Introduction to the Second Volume of this work, where the reader will find the whole subject amply dis. cussed.
§ 2. Time occupied by the History, Divisions, &c. The period embraced by the history will be seen from the following com. putation :
81 From departure from Egypt to Tabernacle erected,
Some make the period from the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses to be 63 years, which will increase the sum total to 145 years, but the difference is too slight to make it necessary to state the grounds of either calculation. It is to be observed, however, that nearly the whole book is occupied in the detail of the events which occurred in the last year of the period above mentioned.
According to the Jewish arrangement this book is divided into eleven 5720 parashoth, or larger divisions, and twenty 07770 siderim, or smaller divisions
In our Bibles it is divided into forty chapters, which, according to the different subjects treated, may be classified as follows:
I. The oppressiou of the Israelites in Egypt, ch. 1.
ch. 4. 29–10. 21.
Sinai, ch. 12. 37–40 to cli. 19. 1, 2.
for the renewing of the Covenant, ch. 19.
newal of the Covenant, ch. 32–34.
Presence, ch. 40.
§ 3. Commentators.
Throughout the great mass of biblical criticism and exposition embodied in our own and foreign languages, there are comparatively few works devoted to the book of Exodus alone; nor is it always from these that the student or commentator can expect to derive the most valuable aid. For the most part, the commentaries which embrace either the whole Scriptures, or xtei portions of them, are the store-houses from whence the materials of exegetical illustration are to be sought. Of these the Critici Sacri, the Synopsis of Pool, the Scholia of Rosenmuller, the Annotations of Leclerc, Ainsworth, and Patrick, will always hold the chief rank in the estimation of the scholar, next to the Ancient Versions and Targums contained in Walton's Polyglot. These accordingly have been al. ways at hand, as a constant tribunal of reference, through every stage of the progress of the present work. But it is obvious at a glance, that so vast is the variety of subjects necessarily brought under review in the course of this book, that no one class of authorities will by any means suffice for its adequate elucida. tion. Philology, Geography, Antiquities, History, Architecture, the arts of Sculp
graving, Dyeing, Weaving, Embroidering, to say ing of the peculiar system of Law, Jurisprudence, and Worship, enjoined upon the Israelites, all prefer their claims for more or less of illustration at the hands of him who assumes the task of expounding in order the chapters of Exodus. It would scarcely be possible, therefore, to enumerate all the works which have gone to constitute the apparatus for the present undertaking, without citing the entire list of biblical helps appended to the Introduction to the Notes on Genesis, besides a great multitude of others which are there omitted. In fact, we know of no book in the Bible