New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

5:1- see on Ex. 3:18.

5:20 Thus we can as it were do the work of the Saviour Himself, if we truly live as in Him. In this spirit, Moses’ faith in keeping the Passover led to Israel’s salvation, they left Egypt by him (Heb. 3:16; 11:28); and when Aaron deserved death, he was redeemed by Moses’ prayer on his behalf (Dt. 9:20). Moses’ prayer, with uplifted hands, resulted in Israel’s victory over Amalek; without his prayer, and the intensity of it, there would have been no victory for them. However, he had to learn this lesson; for God first of all taught him that if he explained the power of God’s Name to Israel’s elders, then they would hearken unto him (Ex. 3:18). But they didn’t hearken unto Moses (5:20), because he didn’t bother expounding the Name to them. Therefore he did explain it to them (6:1-9 = 3:14-17); but then again they refused to hearken to him (6:9 cp. 3:18). He learnt that what was proclaimed by God as possible all the same depends on human effort. And this lead him on even further, to realise that through his spirituality, he could bring salvation for others.

5:22- see on 4:4.

"Moses returned to the Lord (the Angel of the bush? It sounds as if he went to a specific place to meet the Lord-i. e. the Angel), and said, Lord, wherefore hast Thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that Thou hast sent me? (the Angel at the bush sent him). . . neither hast Thou delivered Thy people" (Ex. 5:22,23). Moses complained about the Angel, and so God reminded him that 'Yahweh personally will be your Elohim Angels', and that because of his questioning of the Angels he was in fact doubting God Himself personally.

5:22,23 Moses is easily discouraged by the fact that Israel reject him: " Moses returned unto Yahweh, and said, Lord...why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh...thou hast not delivered thy people at all" . The Yahweh / Lord difference may suggest that he got over familiar with the Angel, forgetting the degree to which that Angel carried God's Name.
So great was Moses' concept of the Angel's limitation and characteristic of changing His mind, that he "returned unto the Lord (the Angel), and said, Lord. . . why is it that Thou hast sent me? (The Angel in the bush sent him). For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at all" (Ex. 5:22,23). Moses here gives a great warning to us: because God's purpose and the Angels who implement it can change, we must not let  this  militate against humble faith and works. "My Lord delayeth His coming", the unworthy complain. They are quite right- He does delay, because a few verses later we are told that "the bridegroom tarried" (same word as 'delayeth')- God's purpose, even regarding the time of the second coming, may be subject to change, but this should serve to humble us and increase our faith rather than make us bitter and doubtful of God. Thus God through the Angel responds: "with a strong hand (i. e. by an Angel) SHALL he let (Israel) go" (Ex. 6:1). God goes on to stress that He is ultimately connected with the Angels, therefore implying that to wrongly question them is to question God Himself: "I appeared (through an Angel) unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by God Almighty (i.e. an Angel), and by My Name JEHOVAH was I not known to them?" (Ex. 6:3,7)- this is the correct translation, seeing that God had revealed Himself as Jehovah to the patriarchs, e. g. at Jehovah-Jireh. Moses and Israel would be brought to accept God's vindication of the Angel, so they would know that "I am Jehovah (in) your Elohim (Angels)".