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Lorn) had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, [and] all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and [how] the Lord delivered them. Jethro had heard something of this before, v. I. but Moses gave him a more 9 particular account.* And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered
10 out of the hand of the Egyptians. And Jethro expressed his joy in a very fdous manner, and said, Blessed [be] the Lord, who hath delivered you Moses and Aaron, who were in such imminent danger, out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who hath delivered the people
11 from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know more clearly than ever that the Lord [is] greater than all the heathen gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, carried themselves with such scorn and insolence, as if they thought it impossible that God should deliver them out of their hands,
12 [he was] above them. And Jethro, Moses' father in law, expressed his gratitude as the ancient patriarchs used to do, and took a burnt offering and sacrifices, peace offerings for thanksgiving, for to offer to God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread, to feast on the sacrifices, with Moses' father in law before God, before the cloud, and the altar on which the sacrifices were offered.
13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people, to hear and determine causes: and the people
14 stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What [is] this thing that thou doest to the people? Why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by
15 thee from morning unto even ? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God, to inquire what the will of God is in any doubtful case: and
16 also When the v have a matter between themselves, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do
17 make [them] know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses' father in law remonstrated against this, and said unto him, The thing that thou doest [is] not good, is not conven.
18 ient, neither for thyself, nor the people. Thou wilt surely wear away, destroy thy health, both thou, and this people that [is] with thee, they will be weary of waiting till their turn comes: for this thing [is] too heavy for thee ; thou art not able to
19 perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel,t and God shall be with thee, to assist and bless thee, and show that my counsel is good, by the success that
• This shows that the fame of those miracles was spread through the ,neighbouring nations: and how inexcusable they were in opposing Israel, and affronting Jehovah.
t Some think this was after the delivery of the law. because In Dtul. i. it Is mentioned after that important event. But the advice might be given now, though not put in practice till after the giving of the law.
Vol. I. No
attend» it: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that then» mayest bring the causes unto God, that is, extraordinary or difficult cases, and tell l/te /leoflie the divine determination; re
20 serve this ftrivilege and honour to thyself: And thou shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, awl the work that they must do, Лота to bchtrvc to God and to one another.
21 Moreover, thou shalt provide out of aü the people able men, •who can dear fatigue, men of good sense and sagacity, of activity and good sftirit, of courage and resolution, and such asfear God, who art ujion religious firmci/iles, and stand in awe of God, tlte universal governor; men of truth, ufirighl, honest men, who will judge without partiality; hating covetousness, •who will not take a bribe to fiervcrt justice, but will act a generous, disinterested ftart ; and place [such] over them, [tobe] rulers of thousands, [and] rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens; thus forming greater and lesser courts of
22 justice: And let them judge the people at all seasons, some or other of them sit continually: and it shall be, [that] every great matter they shall bring unto thue, but every »mall matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they
33 shall bear [the burden] with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee [so,] if he shall afifrrove of this course which I suggest, then thou shall be able to endure, and all this, people also shall go to their place in peace; they shall have their controversies ended, and their minds yuieled.
2* So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and
25 did all that he had said. And Moses, ujion the fieofile's recommendation, chose able men out of all Israel, and made them beads over the people, nilers of thousands, rulers ef hundreds,
26 rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons : the hard causes they brought unta Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
27 And Moses let his father in law depart, dismissed him honourably: (see Mim. x. 29.) and he went his way into his. own land, much affected with what he had seen, and informed Ms neighbours of God's wonderful works.*
_ • It is thought the Kenitrt came front this country, to whom God showed kindness, fer their kindness to Israel; and the RIu cubitts also came Ircm hence» whose virtue JercmiaJ»
V \ ET us learn to take part in the joys and sorrows of t. л God's people. Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness •which the Lord hath done to Israel, and blessed God on their account. All who love God, should rejoice to see his interest flourishing, his arm made bare for the prosperity of his servants. They should talk of and celebrate his wondrous works; and •give Aim the clary due to his name. Unthankful Israel overlooked them, while Jethro rejoiced in them. This makes his conduct •more remarkable, and worthy to be imitated by us.
2. Let us observe God's providential dealings with others, to Increase our acquaintance with him ; so Jethro did. Лот / Jtnoni that the Lord is greater than au gods ;for, in the thing чоЛетет they dealt jiroudly, Ac iras above them. Let us observe what he is «loing for his churdi, and for particular souls, that we may understand more of his nature, and the design of his proceedings, and learn those lessons he would have us to learn. Let us especially observe his providence in abasing those who deal in pride, that we may learn humility, and fear the Lord continually.
Whoso is vine, and will observe these things, the dispensations of Providence, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. Psalm cvii. 43.
3. Let us be careful that the presence of our friends does not break in on the proper duties of life. Moses* father in law was a great and good man ; brought him his wife and children, whom he had not seen for a long time: and for this reason Moses plight have made some excuse for putting off attendance on public business; but he would not neglect it. After a day spent in feasting and rejoicing1, he returned to his work. This gives us a good hint how to behave. Pleasure, or converse with friends, should not be our whole, nor even our main business; we should fill up our stations with proper services; live to important and useful purposes ; and neither neglect our shops, our fields, nor our studies, for the company of our friends. Above all, let us not neglect devotion; but keep as near as may be to the stated -times for it. A good man used to say to his friends, when time .for secret worship was come, 'Excuse me for a while, I hare a friend above, that is waiting for me.' Business, much less devotion, should never give way to the conversation of friends, especially not to visits of form and ceremony. 'It is,'as one observesf 'too great a compliment to o\ir friends, to neglect our duty.'
4. We should guard against extremes, even in a good work. Jethro's advice was good; and in consequence of it Moses lived forty years longer, and died at the age of one hundred and twenty in the vigour of nature. We should consider what our strength will bear; too great application in younger days may perhaps shorten a man's life ; and make him less serviceable to the world, than otherwise he might have been. In this, Wisdom i» profitable to direct. Friends are too ready to say to us, as Christ's disciples did, 'Master spare thyself." There is very little need to enforce this advice in the present day, since it is generally found that more men rust away than wear away ; but much need to quicken and stir them up to zeal and diligence.
5. Let us be willing to take advice of those, who in many respects are our inferiors, if they have truth and prudence on their side. Moses was nearly as old as Jethro; though as a friend of God, and a king of Israel, he was much his superior. But Moses was a meek man, glad of advice, and took it; he did not think himself above being advised. Those who do so are very proud, or very ignorant, or both. Others can often better judge what is fit for us than we can ourselves; they are not so much blinded by affection and interest. Let us be ever ready to learn from any one; and show that we are wise, by being willing to hear, and increase in learning and prudence.
6. Let us earnestly pray that our magistrates and governors may be such as Jethro directs Moses to choose ; men of clear heads, and honest, generous hearts; men of piety and sagacity; of unwearied zeal, and undaunted resolution. How happy for our Israel, if all its magistrates were such as do not undertake the work for its honour and profit, but out of regard to God's honour, and the benefit of the community. Let us therefore pray for kings, and all that are in authority, that they may be such ; then, as Jethro suggests, it will be likely that the people will lead quiet and peaceable lives.
We have here the fieople't approach to Sinai, and God'e covenant with them there; the directions given to Motet and the people about preparing themselvet; and the solemn appearance of God upon mount Sinai, when he delivered the law.
1 T N the third month,* when the children of Israel were JL gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came
2 they [into] the wilderness of Sinai.f For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come [to] the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
3 And Moses went up unto God, to the presence of God where the ctaud rested, (v. 9.) and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shaltthou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; ( God had a right to give them what law he pleased, but he treats them as rational
• Or the third new moon, called Shan, including thç latter end of May and the former part of Jcac.
t It a generally thought to be fifty days after they came out of Eftypt: ma ao inRly the fcast of VfttKKt, wliicb «ipiifiei fifty, is observed in remembrjnoe oí
4 creatures, and tells them what he had done :) Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles* wings,* carried you above all difficulties and dangers, and brought you unto myself, to serve me on this mount,
5 Cch. iii. 12.) and to be my peculiar people. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for, or though, all the earth [is] mine, and lam not confined to this
6 or the other nation: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, a people near to the Lord, separated from the rest of the world, and to be an holy nation. These [are] the words
7 which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him, that they might tell them to the people.
8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord, uttered them be/ore the Lord, to confirm the obligation on the people's part, and to re
9 ceive his answer. And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee, as the mediator between me and them, and the interpreter of my mind to them, in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever, no longer doubt thy mission. And Moses told the words of the
10 people unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, abstain from all pollution, and abound in prayer and sacrifices, and holy meditations, and let them wash their clothes, in token of
1 1 that inward purity which I require from them; And be ready against the third day ; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
! 2 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, [that ye] go [not] up into the mount,f or even so much as touch the border of it: whosoever
13 toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through ; whether [it be] beast or man, it shall not live when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount, to the boundary that is fired, that they may hear what
14 it spoken, but no further. And Moses went down from the
* Eagles carry their young ones on thtir backs, and spread out their feathers to keep them from falling.
1" Had any attempted to do so, they would certainly have been struck dead with the lightning.
} This was designed to restrain their curiosity, to give them an awe of God, and treus