« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of language which is used, when the threatening of this plague is pronounced, and still more the words in which the execution of it is narrated, we may rest assured that it was not only dreadful in itself, but connected with most important doctrine to us.
We ought not however to omit mentioning, both with respect to this and the preceding plague, that they have a direct reference to judgment a.
gainst the gods of Egypt.' Their gods were supposed to have power over the elements; and in this we know they had many
followers among other idolatrous nations.' Moses tells Pharaoh, verse 14. that these plagues were sent, « that thou mayest know that . there is none like me in all the earth. When Moses stretched forth his rod towards heaven, the Lord sent thunder and hail, • and the fire ran along the ground. So there was hail and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt, since it became a nation. The reader will be led to compare this plague with the sounding of the first angel, Rev. viii. 7. when there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth; and the third part
of trees was burnt up, and all green grass.' Or perhaps the reference is more direct to the last plague on Antichrist, when there * fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the • weight of a talent, and men blasphemed God because of the hail,
for the plague thereof was very great,' Rev. xvi. 21. Hail, is employed in scripture for one of the most awful figures of God's vengeance. There is one particular circumstance recorded concerning this plague, peculiar to it from all the rest, viz. Formerly we have seen God putting a difference between the Israelites and Egyptians ; -but here it is placed between one Egyptian and another. Whosoever, even of the Egyptians, believed the word of the Lord, in his -awful threatenings, brought home his cattle, and thus preserved them. Thus was it, in all ages, and in all situations, entirely of (FAITH. The belief of God's word, whether threatening or promising, has been the only source of safety to the children of men. It is somewhat remarkable, that Moses uniformly asks Pharaoh for a three days' journey to sacrifice. We know not, if in this and in simiJar other expressions there was any reference to the three days' travail of the Son of God?
2. CHAP. X.-In this chapter we have recorded these two remark
able plagues, the locusts, and darkness, the spiritual design of which is soʻvemarkably set before us in the book of revelation. The read. Jer who wishes to examine the subject of the locusts minutely, will atud ample information in Hanmer's Observations. It is pretty well
known, that eastern countries were much infested with swarms of locusts, which came in vast numbers upon their corn when ripe ; and what they did not consume, they corrupted and infected with a moisture which proceeded from their bodies. When any symptoms of their approach were observed in Egypt, the temples of their deities were all thrown open; and sacrifices, libations, and festivals innumerable, were the corsequence. Locusts were one of the plagues threatened against Israel for their sins, Deut. xxvii. 42. Hence it is mentioned as one of those calamities under which they were to look again to God's holy temple, - 1 Kings. viii. 37. The spiritual application of this destructive animal to false teachers requires no illustra, tration.
The last plague but one which the outstretched hand of God brought upon Egypt, the plague of darkness, was indeed an awful figure, not only of his power over the gods of Egypt, but an illustration of that gross darkness wliich blinded the minds of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. They had their gods of light and darkness ; but what God, save JEHOŤAH, whom Moses preached, could bring darkness for three days over all the land of Egypt, even thick • darkness which could be felt !'.- They saw not one another, nei. • țher rose any from his place for three days; but all the children of • Israel had light in their dwellings.' It must here be observed, that the darkness which it is said could be felt, was of that nature, as to be impervious not only to the rays of light from the sun, but that its place could be supplied in no other manner, such as from fire, &c. Egypt was: enveloped in darkness: the gloom could in no degree be cheered by any means. We have already said, that this darkness was an expressive picture of the gross darkness which filled their own minds, and it is recorded as an expressive figure of that still more gross darkness, which shall fill the seat of the antichristian bedst before he goes down to perdition. See Rev. xvi. 10. ribu't
Let us now take a retrospective glance at these Egyptian plagues, for the purpose of fixing the reader's attention on the great spiritual design of them. In their first and natural sense, they behoved to be distressing in an extreme degree to the Egyptians ; but if we think of them in conformity with these words, Against all the gods of • Egypt will I execute judgment, I am JE HOVAH,' they must appear to us in a yery awful point of view. Whether we think of the objects which they deified, or the powers which they were supposed to possess, the divine supremacy of the God of Heaven was proclaimed. The finger of God was not only visible in his wonderful works in the land of Ham, but in attacking the gods of Egypt in those very points where their strength and power was supposed to lie. The benign approach of the frog led them to worship him as the god of plenty : that approach they now felt to be a loathsome curse. Those monsters, supposed to concentrate the united virtues of different animals, they now found to be so truly a curse, that Pharaoh had to intercede, with Moses for their removal. Their oxen and cattle, from whose godlike powers they expected protection and deliverance, were demonstrated to be so truly feeble, that in an instant they died under the all-powerful hand of Jehovah. The boils and hlains which infected them, from the very ashes of that furnace by which they expected to deprecate the anger of the gods, became itself the means of vindictive wrath ; so unlike was it to the ashes of the red heifer, from which the justifying water of separation flowed to the Israelite ! Nay, even the power of their gods over their fields, and the elements, was demonstrably controverted, and the glory of the God of Israel very
displayed, who alone can say, I form the light and create dark. 6 ness!!
But this view of the subject discovers, at same time, a wonderful view of the deceit of the human heart, which, though bleeding un. der every renewed display of the all-powerful God of Moses,' and e.
fresh demonstration that they were worshipping those who were no gods, they continued to cleave to, and to choose their brun delusions. If carefully examined, the reader cannot fail to observe the coincidence of the Egyptian plagues with those of Antichrist, foretold in the book of the Revelation. These seven last plagues are bursting on the gods of Antichrist : all that varied incongruous mass of idola try, which for several centuries darkened and enslaved the minds of her votaries, has been, or now is judging by the King of Saints. The Abanus, Isis, or Hammon of Egypt, were not more stupidly absurd than the saints of the Romish calendar ; and, at this hour, the cup of antichristian plagues is far exhausted.
• Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and so of her plagues.'
CHAP. XI. We are now to enter on the consideration of the last and most signal plagủe which God was to execute on Egypt ; previous to which, he again issues his divine commandment, 'Let every
man and woman borrow of her neighbour jewels of gold and silver.' Numberless are the methods resorted to by the friends of revelation, to justify the divine procedure in this matter, and to protect from the farigs of infidels, who loudly boast, that if we were to believe the bio ble, God is the friend of fraud, deceit, and injustice. But such blasphemous charges spring from ignorance of the scriptures; for this cir. cumstance is not obscurely hinted at in only one passage, in which an error of expression might have crept in ; but the fact is recorded in a manner which plainly shows, that the scriptures, or the spirit which indited them, do not blush at what they parrate.' 'l. It was foretold to Abraham, Gen. xv. 14. 2. Before Moses appeared to Pharaoh, it forms part of the divine promise to him, Exod. iii. 21, 22. 3. It is mentioned in the chapter we are now considering, by a particular divine ediet. 4. The execution of it is recorded, Exod. xii. 35. as done by the direction of Moses : And 5. It is afterwards spoken of in dif. ferent places, as a demonstration of the power of God; see Psalm cv. 37. We are therefore confident to assert, that it is not only a transaction worthy of God, but one in which his glory is manifested. Dr Hawker, whose'Poor Man's Commentary' we highly respect, thus expresses what we believe to be the generally received view of the subject : " By borrowing, we may understand, without straining : the expression, accepting those presents to which their long servitude • had justly entitled them. This is well meant, but by no means saq tisfactory.
It will readily be observed, that the articles which they are said to have borrowed are jewels of gold and silver ;' and in one place it is added, “raiment :' now we know, that jewels are neither gold, silver, vor raiment, but that the expression jewels of goldt,* &c. implies, not only that which is most frecious, but sacred; hence God's elect,
the purchase of the blood of Christ, are called his jewels : And they • shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my * JEWELS,' Mal. iii. 17. As in those days, gold and silver were no medium of commerce, they were chiefly employed in decorating their teraphim, household gods, idols, and their vessels employed in domestic as well as public worship. What belonged to public worship appeared in their temples ; but a man's private wealth appeared in his household gods, and their investiture, which was chiefly under the charge of their women. The history of Micah, recorded Judges xvii. will tend to illustrate this : • Micah said to his mother, the 1100
silvers that were taken from thee, about which thou 'anathemátized, • behold, the silver is with me. And his mother said, Blessed be thou • of the Lord, my son. And when he had restored the 1100 silvers • to his mother, she said, I had wholly dedicated the silver to the * Lord, from my hand, for my son, for a graven image, &c.' Now, jewels of silver were dedicated pieces of silver, whether in vessels and cups for sacred use, or in images. If traces of this idolatry ap. peared occasionally in the church of God in the patriarchal age, Gen. xxxv. 4. and still more in the after periods of her history, we may safely say, it was but trifling, compared with what was the case in Egypt and other idolatrous
nations. The vestige, at least, of this is to be observed in the antichristian kingdom: the ornamenting of her churches, the immense riches of her sacred vessels, her shrines, crucifixes, &c.; and we may add, the raiment of her priests, sprung from the same root ; nay, even the immense wealth devoted to religious private worship in the church of Rome, may furnish us with no bad idea of the • jewels of gold' which the Israelitish women borrowed of the Egyptian. It is related in the history of Portugal, that in the cabinet of an old lady who died in Lisbon in 1574, there was found an image of our Saviour on the cross, the diamonds in which were estimated at L. 173,000 Sterling. We cannot suppose it necessary to illustrate our subject, that we should travel through the scraps of Egyptian mythology, to prove, that this commandment of God to borrow the sacred substance of Egypt'was part of the divine plan of judgment against her gods; that the word spoil in the text is sacred spoil; and that the Egyptian gods were robbed, afterwards to decorate the sanctuary of the God of Israel ; and that all this was a sign and figure of the manner in which the glory and honour of the na* tions shall be brought into the new Jerusalem,' Rev. xxi. 24. It is worth the reader's notice, that he will in no instance find the words
jewels of gold or silver' used in any other sense than dedicated; thus, in Exod. xxxv. 22. ' And the Israelites, both men and women, as • many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and ear-rings, • and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold; and every man that offered gave an offering of gold to the Lord.' Again, in Numb. xxxi. 50.
We have therefore brought every man an oblation for the Lord, • jewels of gold, chains, bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to • make an atonement for their souls to the Lord. And Moses took • the gold of them, all laboured or formed JEWELS.' From these, and many similar passages, it is clear, that the word jewel, when applied
to gold or silver, is not used in the sense we apply it, viz. a precions stone;
but that these precious metals became jewels, when dedicated to the service of the Lord, or to be used in his worship. In this transaction, then, Israel was directed to ask (not borrow.; the translators in, troduce this word to soften what they did not understand) the vessels which were sacred in Egypt for their worship; and what a wonder. ful miracle was it! God gave them favour in the sight of the • Egyptians, and they gave them freely such things as they required.? We repeat; that this was a miracle more wonderful than
which preceded it! That God should dispose the hearts of the Egyptians to give to those very Israelites whom they had 30 oppressed, and who were now professedly going three days' journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord their God, the vessels sacred to the worship of their gods, was a more singular judgment against these gods than he had yet executed. . Nor do we at all find ourselves careful to answer profane scoffers, as to divine honesty, in spoiling the household gods of Egypt. As to the use to which these very idolatrous jewels were applied in the Israelitish worship, we shall be called to speak as we proceed ; as well as to the great thing signified or prefigured by this, which shall be fulfilled, just before the Lord's hosts shall be delivered from spiritual Egypt.
Although we have extended on this subject beyond what is custom, ary with us, yet as we believe the view now given of jewels of gold? has not been, hitherto attended to, we shall take notice, in this place, of a few other passages where the expression oçcurs. In 1 Sam. vi. a transaction is recorded, to which we request our readers to attend particularly... The ark of God had been seven months in the land of tlre „Philistines, which had in consequence been afficted with divine judgments. By advice of the priests and diviners, they were not to send back the ark empty, or spoiled, but to make ten golden images, viz, five golden mice, and five golden emerods, and return them in the ark; ‘peradventure,' said they, he will lighten his hand from off you, • and from off your gods,' &c. Now, in the 8th verse, these golden images of inice and enerods are expressly called jewels of gold. But perhaps the subject is nowhere placed in a more undeniable point of view than in such passages as the following, when the prophets are espressly speaking of the ornaments of the church of God: Thou • hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and silver, and madest to
thyself images of men, and committedst whoredom,' &c. Ezek. xvi. 17.
In the 39th verse of same chapter, it is said, ' And I will also give thee into their hand; and they shall throw down thine eminent places, and shall break down thy high places; they shall strip thee
also of thy raiment, clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave othea naked and bare.' We shall only detain our readers farther to observe, that there was sacred raiment in all idolatrous worship, as well as sacred jewels : these we shall consider more fully in the investiture of the priesthood, and structure of the tabernacle.
It way appear strange to our readers, that we should have considered it necessary to spend so much time on the circumstance of the jead, and now that we are to consider the destruction of the Egyp