|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:8-16 Israel engaged with Amalek in their own necessary defence. God makes his people able, and calls them to various services for the good of his church. Joshua fights, Moses prays, both minister to Israel. The rod was held up, as the banner to encourage the soldiers. Also to God, by way of appeal to him. Moses was tired. The strongest arm will fail with being long held out; it is God only whose hand is stretched out still. We do not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting, but Moses' hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual any service is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it. To convince Israel that the hand of Moses, whom they had been chiding, did more for their safety than their own hands, his rod than their sword, the success rises and falls as Moses lifts up or lets down his hands. The church's cause is more or less successful, as her friends are more or less strong in faith, and fervent in prayer. Moses, the man of God, is glad of help. We should not be shy, either of asking help from others, or of giving help to others. The hands of Moses being thus stayed, were steady till the going down of the sun. It was great encouragement to the people to see Joshua before them in the field of battle, and Moses above them on the hill. Christ is both to us; our Joshua, the Captain of our salvation, who fights our battles, and our Moses, who ever lives, making intercession above, that our faith fail not. Weapons formed against God's Israel cannot prosper long, and shall be broken at last. Moses must write what had been done, what Amalek had done against Israel; write their bitter hatred; write their cruel attempts; let them never be forgotten, nor what God had done for Israel in saving them from Amalek. Write what should be done; that in process of time Amalek should be totally ruined and rooted out. Amalek's destruction was typical of the destruction of all the enemies of Christ and his kingdom.
Verse 9. - And Moses said to Joshua. On hearing what had happened, Moses summoned to his presence an Ephraimite in the prime of life - about 45 years old - and devolved on him the military command. The man's name at the time was Hoshea or Oshea (Numbers 13:8). He was the son of a certain Nun (ibid.) or Non (1 Chronicles 7:27), and the tenth in descent from Ephraim, the son of Joseph (ib, 23-27). Some forty years later Moses changed his name from Hoshea to Jehoshua. which became contracted into Joshua. The occurrence of this form in the present passage may be accounted for.
1. By Moses having written (or reviewed) Exodus late in his life; or
2. By a later authorised reviser (Ezra?) having altered the text. Choose out for us men - i.e. "Select from the congregation such a number of fit men as appear to thee sufficient, and with them fight Amalek." To-morrow. It was probably evening, when Moses heard of the attack on his rear, and there was consequently no possibility of retrieving the disaster till the next day. lie could but make his arrangements for retrieving it. I will stand on the top of the hill. It is implied that there was a conspicuous hill (gibeah), not a rock (tsur) in the near vicinity of Rephidim, whence Moses could see the fight, and be seen by those engaged in it. Dean Stanley finds all the conditions answered by an eminence on the south side of the Wady Feiran (Sinai and Palestine, p. 41). Others suggest the Jebel Tahuneh north of the same wady. With the rod of God in my hand. Moses meant to indicate by this, that he looked for victory to God alone, and did not trust in an "arm of flesh," while, nevertheless, he sent his soldiers to the combat.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses said unto Joshua,.... The son of Nun, who was his minister, and was a man of war from his youth, trained up in the art of war, and afterwards succeeded Moses, and was captain of the armies of Israel, and fought at the head of them, and subdued the Canaanites. Moses knew he was a fit person for the present purpose, and therefore gave him the following orders:
choose us out men; the stoutest and most courageous, best able to bear arms, and engage in war; for the multitude in common was not qualified for such service, nor was there any necessity of engaging them all in it:
and go out; out of the camp, and meet them at some distance, that the women and children might not be terrified with the enemy:
fight with Amalek; for their cause was just, Amalek was the aggressor, Israel was on the defensive part; and should it be asked where they had arms to fight with, it may be remembered that the Egyptian army that was drowned in the Red sea, and whose bodies were cast upon the shore, might furnish them with a large quantity of armour, which they stripped them of, and arrayed themselves with:
tomorrow I will stand upon the top of the hill, with the rod of God in my hand: on the top of Mount Horeb or Sinai, where he might be seen by the army of Israel with that rod in his hand, lifted up as a banner, by which God had done so many wonderful things; and by which they might be encouraged to hope that victory would go on their side, and this he promised to do "tomorrow", the day following; for sooner a select body of men could not be taken out from the people, and accoutred for war, and go forth to meet the enemy.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Moses said unto Joshua—or, "Jesus" (Ac 7:45; Heb 4:8). This is the earliest notice of a young warrior destined to act a prominent part in the history of Israel. He went with a number of picked men. There is not here a wide open plain on which the battle took place, as according to the rules of modern warfare. The Amalekites were a nomadic tribe, making an irregular attack on a multitude probably not better trained than themselves, and for such a conflict the low hills and open country around this wady would afford ample space [Robinson].
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