|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:17-29 Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing times with the church. God is preparing for his people's deliverance, when their day is darkest, and their distress deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, fair toward God; it is the beauty of holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take special care of those of whom he designs to make special use. And did he thus protect the child Moses? Much more will he secure the interests of his holy child Jesus, from the enemies who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen for disputing in defence of Christ and his gospel: in opposition to these they set up Moses and his law. They may understand, if they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the light, that God will, by this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs of mercy.
Verse 20. - At which season for in which time, A.V.; he was nourished three months in his father's house for nourished up in his father's house three months, A.V. Exceeding fair (ἀστεῖος τῷ Θεῷ). In Exodus 2:2 it is simply ἀστεῖος, "a goodly child," A.V., and so in Hebrews 11:23, rendered "a goodly child," "a proper child," A.V. Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 2. 9:5, 7) describes Pharaoh's daughter as captivated by the size and beauty of the child, and as speaking of him to Pharaoh as of Divine beauty. And Justin (quoted by Whitby) says that the beauty of his person was greatly in his favor.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In which time Moses was born,.... The word Moses, is differently written in the New Testament; sometimes Moses, as here, sometimes Mo-yses, as in Acts 7:35 sometimes Mo-yseus, as in Acts 15:1 and sometimes Moseus, as in Romans 5:14. He had his name from the Hebrew word, which signifies "to draw", Psalm 18:16 according to the reason of it given by Pharaoh's daughter,
she called his name Moses; and she said, because I drew him out of the water, Exodus 2:10 Though Josephus (i), Philo (k), and others (l), make it to be an Egyptian name; the former of which serves, that the Egyptians call water "Mo", and "yses", such who are saved from water; wherefore compounding the name of both, they gave it to him: though according to Aben Ezra (m), his name in the Egyptian language was Monios; his words are these,
"the name of Moses is interpreted out of the Egyptian language into the Hebrew language, for his name in the Egyptian language was Monios; and so it is written in a book of agriculture, translated out of the Egyptian language into the Arabic, and also in the books of some Greek writers.''
Moses had many names, as a Jewish chronologer observes (n);
"Pharaoh's daughter called his name Moses; his father called him Chabar, or Heber; his mother called him Jekuthiel; and his sister called him Jether (perhaps Jared, since this was one of his names); and his brethren called him Abizanoah; and Kohath called him Abi Socos; and the Israelites called him Shemaiah ben Nathaneel, and sometimes Tobiah, sometimes Shemaiah, and sometimes Sopher; but the Egyptians called him Monios.''
For "Mo", in the Egyptian language, signifies "water", and "Ni" is "out"; and so both together signify, "out of the water", which agrees with the Hebrew etymology of his name. Now he was born at the time that orders were given by Pharaoh to cast all the male children of the Israelites into the rivers, to drown them; Moses was born, whose parents were Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi; he was born, according to the Jews (o), on the seventh day of Adar, or February:
and was exceeding fair; or "fair to God"; divinely fair and beautiful; and so Pharaoh's daughter, acccording to Josephus, said to her father, that she had brought up a child that was (p) "in form divine": and so the Jews say (q), that his form was as an angel of God; or he was fair in the sight of God, as the Ethiopic version; the Syriac version renders it, "he was dear to God"; and the Vulgate Latin version, grateful to God; was well-pleasing to him, in whom he delighted, having designed to do great things by him: or "fair by God": he had a peculiar beauty put upon him by God; partly to engage his parents the more to seek the preservation of him; and partly to engage the affection of Pharaoh's daughter to him, when she should see him. Justin the historian (r) makes mention of his extraordinary beauty, for which he was praised; but very wrongly makes him to be the son of Joseph; and the account Josephus gives of it, is very remarkable (s);
"as to beauty, says he, no man could be so out of love with it, as to see the goodly form of Moses, and not be amazed; it happened to many who met him, as he was carried along the way, that they would turn back at the sight of the child, and neglect their business, to indulge themselves with the sight of him; for such was the loveliness of the child, that it detained those that saw him.''
The Arabic version renders it, he "was consecrated by a vow to God"; but of this we have no account: the Jews say (t), that
"the Spirit of God came upon Miriam, and she prophesied; saying, behold a son shall be born to my father and to my mother at this time, who shall save Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians--and it is further said, that at the time of his birth, the whole house was filled with a great light, as the light of the sun and moon;''
upon which they had raised expectations of him: though this phrase, "fair to God", may be only an Hebraism, just as Niniveh is said to be a city "great to God", i.e. exceeding great, Jonah 3:3 it being usual with the Jews to join the word God to an adjective, to express the superlative degree; and so it is rightly rendered here, "exceeding fair: and nourished up in his father's house three months"; so long he was hid by his mother there, which was a great instance of her faith; see Exodus 2:2. The reason why he was kept no longer there was, because as the Jews say (u), the three months after Jochebed was delivered of a son, the thing was known in the house of Pharaoh, wherefore she could hide him no longer.
(i) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 9, sect. 6. (k) De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 605. (l) Clement. Alexandrin. Stromat, l. 1. p. 343. (m) Comment. in Exod. ii. 10. (n) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 5. 2. Vid. Targum in 1 Chron. 18 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 146. 3.((o) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 38. 1. Shemot Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 91. 2. Targum Jon in Deuteronomy 33.5. (p) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 9. sect. 7. (q) Pirke Eliezer, c. 48. (r) L. 36. c. 2.((s) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 9. sect. 6. Vid. Shemot Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 91. 3.((t) Heb. Chronicon Mosis, fol. 3. 1. Jarchi in Exod. ii. 2. Shemot Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 91. 1.((u) Ib. Colossians 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20-22. In which time—of deepest depression.
Moses was born—the destined deliverer.
exceeding fair—literally, "fair to God" (Margin), or, perhaps, divinely "fair" (see on Heb 11:23).
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