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the Almighty, the ravenous beasts were midst of a bush. This appeared to restrained from acting according to their Moses a natural fire burning with great instincts. The principle on which this vehemence in the midst of the bush, yet interpretation rests is well expressed we may suppose it to have been the by Reland (Dissert. de Samarit. 7.8 7.), supernatural fiery splendor which conThat with whatever instrument God stituted the Shekinah, the symbol of unites his own virtue, so as to animate the divine presence. The Hebrew word it, and to work in, with, and by it, that for bush,' (properly bramble bush) is instrument is called an angel.' Accord. 120 seneh, and from the bush' here ingly, even a dream, a vision, a voice mentioned, in connexion with the divine from heaven, may be so denominated. appearance, the Jewish writers, not im. But the appellation seems to be in a probably, suppose that this mountain particular manner bestowed upon the and desert were' afterwards called by theophanies, or special divine manifesta- the Israelites · Mount Sinai," and the tions of which we so frequently read in wilderness of Sinai.' Thus in Pirke the Old Testament as made to the patri- Eliezer, ch. 41, ' From the beginning of archs and prophets. The Shekinah, or the world this Mount was called Horeb, visible material symbol of glory, is un- and when God appeared unto Moses out doubtedly, in repeated instances, called of the midst of the bramble-bush, from the angel of the Lord, inasmuch as it the name of the bramble (Seneh) it was was the medium or vehicle through called Sinai.”—The incident which so which the Divinity was pleased to re- much excited the wonder of Moses is veal himself to the outward senses. generally supposed to have been de. Thus the Shekinah in the pillar of cloud signed as a representation of the con. and fire which guided the march of the dition of the Israelites in Egypt. "The Israelites is called, Ex. 14. 19, the angel burning hush,' says Philo,' was a sym. of the Lord. At the same time, in all bol of the oppressed, and the flaming such cases an intelligent agent, a spirit- fire of the oppressors; that what was ual being, or, in other words, Jehovah burning but not consumed, did portend himself, is doubtless to be considered that these who were afflicted by the as really but invisibly present in and violence of their enemies should not associated with the visible emblem. perish; and that the attempts of their Thus, in the present instance, the ap- enemies should be frustrated ; and that pearance, the preternatural light or fire the present troubles of the amicted in the burning bush, we suppose to be should have a good issue.' There they what is truly and primarily meant by were oppressed and cruelly treated, the angel of the Lord; but it is clear bound down with bondage, and suffer. from the sequel that in and under this ing every grievance that malice could outward symbol there was present the devise and power effect to wear out divine personage who styles himself, their strength and diminish their num
6, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, bers. They were in a furnace of fire, anl of Jacob,' and who is also, v. 7, ex. and in themselves but as briars and pressly called Jehovah' (Lord). This thorns compared with those that kind. is still farther manifest from Deut. 33. led it. But they were nevertheless not 16, where Moses, in blessing the tribes destroyed; nay, they were still flourish. in the narne of the Lord, invokes upon ing; the nation continued to shoot forth Joseph the good will of him that duelt vigorous branches, and a numerous offin the bush.' Still farther confirmation spring surrounded them in spite of their of this view will be given as we pro- enemies. And whence this wonder, this ceed. In a flame of fire out of the apparent contradiction to the common
3 And Moses said, I will now turn he turned aside to see, God called aside, and see this d great sight, e unto him out of the midst of the why the bush is not burnt. bush, and said, Moses, Moses! And 4 And when the LORD saw that he said, Here am I. d Ps. 111. 2. Ach, 7. 31.
e Deut. 33. 16. course of nature ? It was because God did “the kings of the earth set them. was in the midst of them. He, the im- selves, and the rulers take counsel to. perishable and eternal God, who now gether.' And ever since have the world appeared to Moses in the bush, burning and the devil been striving to crush his but unburnt, and who afterwards walked people, and to root out the memoria. with his three faithful servants in the of them from the earth. Often have his burning fiery furnace of Nebuchadnez. witnesses prophesied in sackcloth, and zar, was continually with his oppressed often have his people suffered bonds people, and therefore they were not and imprisonment and death for their consumed. But farther, it will be no religion. Yet it remains, and is still a stretch of fancy if we consider the ap- light shining in a dark place. This is pearance of the bush as an emblem of because that God is with his church the present condition of the children of God is in the midst of her, and there. Israel. They are at this day strangers fore she is not moved. When thou in foreign lands. They have been in passest through the waters, I will be circumstances which, according to the with thee; and through the rivers, they common operation of merely human shall not overflow thee; when thou and political causes, would have long walkest through the fire thou shalt not ago amalgamated them entirely with be burned ; neither shall the flame kin. other nations, and made them vanish, dle upon thee.' She is built upon a as a people, from the earth. But they rock and the gates of hell shall not pre. are at this day a distinct and separate vail against her. Her great head has people; they have survived the lapse declared, 'Lo I am with you always of ages, which have swept away others even unto the end of the world. And far more numerous and powerful; they herein consists the stability, perpetuity, are scattered over the face of the whole and increase of the church. earth, and yet their national character 3. Why the bush is not consumed, and name are preserved, and even their Heb. 27*3 lo yibar, is not eaten up; visages declare their origin. And why is i. e. burnt up, entirely consumed, for this burning bush of the house of Israel that it was apparently burning we are yet unconsumed ? It is because God is expressly informed in v. 2. A fire in with them. He remembers his cove- the Scriptures is frequently said to nant with their fathers. He has further 'eat' as Lev. 6. 10, “And take up the mercy in store for them. There shall ashes which the fire hath consumed ;' yet come out of Zion the Deliverer, and Heb. ‘hath eaten,' Ps. 50. 3, 'Our God shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. shall come and shall not keep silence:
They shall again be grafted into their a fire shall devour before him, and it own olive-tree, for God is able to graft shall be very tempestuous round about them in again, and his gists and call him. It was matter of astonishment ings are without repentance. But again, to Moses that this was not the effect this appearance may be considered as in the present instance. an apt emblem of the condition of even 4. When the Lord saw that he turned the spiritual church of Christ. Against aside to see, he called unto him, &c. himself and the cause of his gospel. As if to reward the reigious awe and
5 And he said, Draw not nigh thy feet; for the place whereon hither : fput off thy shoes from off thou standest is holy ground.
dread, and the sanctified curiosity, with cious gospel. Whatever they heard, which his spirit was touched. The they heard not the things which have phraseology shows that the term 'Lord' come to our ears. Whatever were the here is used interchangeably with •An- promises given to them, we are in posgel, carrying with it the idea of some session of better. Whatever the cove. thing visible, or in other words of the nant made with the fathers, a better Shekinah. God might have called to one has been established with us their him without any such tokens of rever. spiritual descendants. Whatever the enence on the part of Moses, but he does couragement granted to them, we have not see fit to make his communications still greater afforded to us in every part to heedless minds. “The desire of of the work which we have to do, in Muses to be taught,' says Calvin, 'as every trial and danger to which we may indicated by his drawing near, is espe. be exposed. Let us then hear the voice cially worthy of note. It often happens of God speaking to us in the gospel, that God ineets us in vain because we where no phenomenon of fire intimiperverse y spurn so great a grace. Let vates our spirits. Let us hearken in us learn from the example of Moses, as faith to all its declarations, and yield often as God, by any sign, invites us to implicit obedience to all its commands. himself, sedulously to attend, nor stifle - Here am I. A common expres. the offered light by our sluggishness.' sion indicative of readiness to hearken The vouchsafement of visions of this or obey. See Note on Gen. 22. 1. nature was never intended to inspire a 5. Draw not nigh hither. That is, fruitless wonder or alarm in the minds approach not any nearer than thou art. of holy men. They were always sub- The scrutiny of mere curiosity was reservient to some great moral end, and pelled ; an undue familiarity was not for the most part were attended with perunitted ; a deep and awful reverence some express instructions in which the was enjoined. He was forbidden to apbeholder was deeply concerned. It had proach too nigh unto God. The deepest now been a long time since any such awe which can possibly fill the soul is personal intercourse with the Deity had called for when a worm of the dust is been enjoyed By any of the chosen peo- admitted to stand within the precinets ple. No instance of the kind is recorded of the divine presence. We are indeed as having taken place since God was favored to live under a milder dispen. pleased to speak to Jacob to encourage sation than was Moses, one under which him to go down into Egypt; but now we are not only bidden' to draw nigh after a lapse of two hundred years God unto God, but assured that he will again condescends to appear and to draw nigh unto us. We do not now converse with Moses, in order to en. draw nigh unto a burning bush or a courage him to go back to the same flaming mount, but to a inercy sear country to bring his people out of it. to which we are commanded to come We are ready to say that those favored with filial boldness to obtain all needed men of old were. happy in being per- grace. Yet even here there is nothing mitted to enjoy such immediate inter- to warrant an unhallowed familiarity, course with God; but happier are we nothing to abate the most profound rev. who enjoy the full revelation of the pre- i erence and godly fear when we entei
into the audience-chamber of the King Christ was transfigured, 2 Pet. 1, 18. is of kings.
::-- Put off thy shoes from called the holy mount.' A holiness' off thy feet. By shoe here is meant the of this kind, founded solely upon divine leathern or wooden sole attached to the appointmen, and not upon the intrinsic bottom of the foot by shoe-latchets' nature of the subject, is termed “relapassing round the instep and ancle. tive' in contradistinction from `posi. See Note on Gen. 18. 4. Jerus. Targ. tive,' or 'absolute,' and ceases when 73720 sandelok, thy sandal. “The the occasion creating it ceases. The reverence indicated by putting off the same direction was asterwards given to covering of the feet is still prevalent in Joshua, the successor of Moses, on a the East. The Orientals throw off their somewhat similar occasion, Josh. 6. 15, slippers on all those occasions when we "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for should take off our hats. They never the place whereon thou standest is holy.' uncover their heads, any more than That is, it was made temporarily holy we our feet. It would every where, by the divine manisestation there witwhether among Christians, Moslems, nessed. We are not indeed in the or Pagans, be considered in the higliest Scriptures taught the intrinsic holiness degree irreverent for a person to enter a of places, but there is no doubt that the church, a temple, or a mosque, with his spirit of this command enjoins upon us feet covered ; and we shall observe that a peculiar awe and reverence of feeling the priests under the law officiated with whenever we enter a house of worship bare feet. And not only is this form or any other place, where God is conof showing respect exhibited in reli- sidered to be especially present. The gious observances, but in the common impression that God is here' ought intercourse of life. Few things inspire ever to have a solemnizing effect upon an Oriental with deeper disgust, than our minds, and repress every thing like for a person to enter his room with carelessness, listlessness, or levity. shoes or boots on, regarding such con- Had we a proper sense of the divine duct both as an insult to himself and majesty resting upon our spirits, would a pollution to his apartment. These it be possible that we could give way to usages influence the costume of The that profane heedlessness of mind which head and feet. The former, being never often steals upon us? Would one short uncovered, is in general shaven, and the hour's attendance betray us into slum. head-dress generally is such that it could ber? Would a crowd of worldly or sennot be replaced without some degree of sual thoughts intrude into our minds ? trouble; while for the feet they have Could the eye find leisure to roam over loose and easy slippers, which may be the assembly and upon the dress or dethrown off and resumed with the least portment of others ? Could a scornful possible degree of inconvenience.' Pict. or simpering countenance by significant Bib. The place whereon thou smiles communicate its contemptuous standest is holy ground. Heb. han or frivolous emotions to another? As. W7D admath kodesh, ground of holi- suredly not. God is as truly, though ness ; i. e. sanctified by the presence not as visibly, in the midst of his and manifestation of the Deity, who worshipping assemblies, as he was in makes the heavens, the earth, the sanc- the burning bush at Horeb, and our tuary, or whatever place it be in which most appropriate sentiments on such his glory is revealed, to be accounted occasions are those which would utier
holy, and therefore to be occupied themselves in the reverential language with devout reverence by his worship- of Jacob at Bethel, “How dreadful is pers. Accordingly the mount on which I this place !!
Mark 12. 26.
6 Moreover he said, sI am the his face; for h he was afraid to look God of thy father, the God of upon God. Abraham, the God of Isaac, and ñ | And the LORD said, I have the God of Jacob. And Moses hid surely seen the ailliction of my peog Gen. 28. 13. ver. 15. ch. 4. 5. Mall. 22. 32. h So 1 Kings 19. 13. Isai. 6. 1, 5. Neh. 9. 9. Luke 20. 37. Acts 7. 32.
Ps. 106. 44. Acts 7. 31. 6. Moreover, he said, I am the God of corenant faithfulness, to show to him thy father. That is, of each one of thy the same loving kindness that he show. fathers, even Abraham, and Isaac, &c. ed to them ! Moses hid his face, The term here is usually understood of for he was afraid to look upon God. Or Moses' immediate father, Amram, but rather perhaps, parenthetically, accordit is with more probability to be con- ing to the Heb. accents, ' And Moses sidered as a collective singular, equiva- hid his face (because he was afraid) lent to "fathers. Accordingly it is from looking upon God. A more literal rendered in Stephen's version of this rendering of the last words (07307730 event, Acts 7, 32, “ I ain the God of thy cl haclohim) is to or towards God, or fathers.' A like sense, we presume, is towards the Elohim, as the article is to be given to the expression, Ex. 15. 2, prefixed, which is not the common "He is my God, and I will prepare him usage. It would seem that the term an habitation ; my father's God, and I Elohim? here is intended to signify will exalt him ;' i. e. the God of my an- simply that which was visible, the out. cestors in general. We suppose the ward symbol representing the essential true import of the passage before us Godhead,' which no man hath seen nor would be better expressed by the render- can see. The Ch.al. has correctly, 'He ing; 'I am the God of thy fathers, seared to look towards the Glory of (even) the God of Abraham, &c.' This God;' i. e. towards the overpowering is obviously confirmed by v. 15 of this brightness of the Shekinah, in which chapter. While the Most High re- God manifested his presence. The pressed presumption in Moses, and en- effect described is what might have joined reverence, he encouraged him by been anticipated. A consciously sinful reassuring him of that relation into creature may well fear and tremble which he had entered with the nation when God comes to visit him, even of Israel in the persons of their fathers. though on a purpose of mercy. It is This declaration was made in order to ignorance of God, not intimate comassure Moses.that even in the present munion with him, that begets an unhaloppressed state of his nation in Egypt, lowed familiarity. The angels, who he had not forgotten them, or his re- know him best and adore him most prolation to them as a God in covenant. foundly, are most sensible of the infinite This would be an unspeakable conso- distance between him and them, and are lation to Moses, to find himself ad- therefore represented as covering their dressed by that God of whose appear- faces with their wings' when standing ances and promises to his fathers he in his awful presence. had often heard, and to know that his 7. I have surely seen the affliction, heart was as kindly affected to niin as &c. Heb. 17798712 raoh raithi, seeit ever had been to his venerated an. | ing I have seen, i. e. have intently con. cestors. How comforting beyond meas- sidered. Arab. ' Have regarded. Thus ure to the Christian, in his more favored Ps. 106. 44, 'Nevertheless he regarded moments, to be assured that the God their alliction when he heard their cry.' of all the good who have ever lived is Heb. ' He saw (1977) their affliction.' kis God, and equally pledged by his - By reason of their task-masters