|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:11-15 Moses boldly owned the cause of God's people. It is plain from Heb 11. that this was done in faith, with the full purpose of leaving the honours, wealth, and pleasures of his rank among the Egyptians. By the grace of God he was a partaker of faith in Christ, which overcomes the world. He was willing, not only to risk all, but to suffer for his sake; being assured that Israel were the people of God. By special warrant from Heaven, which makes no rule for other cases, Moses slew an Egyptian, and rescued an oppressed Israelites. Also, he tried to end a dispute between two Hebrews. The reproof Moses gave, may still be of use. May we not apply it to disputants, who, by their fierce debates, divide and weaken the Christian church? They forget that they are brethren. He that did wrong quarreled with Moses. It is a sign of guilt to be angry at reproof. Men know not what they do, nor what enemies they are to themselves, when they resist and despise faithful reproofs and reprovers. Moses might have said, if this be the spirit of the Hebrews, I will go to court again, and be the son of Pharaoh's daughter. But we must take heed of being set against the ways and people of God, by the follies and peevishness of some persons that profess religion. Moses was obliged to flee into the land of Midian. God ordered this for wise and holy ends.
Verse 12. - He looked this way and that way. Passion did not so move him as to make him reckless. He looked round to see that he was not observed,, and then, when he saw there was no man, slew the Egyptian. A wrongful act, the outcome of an ardent but undisciplined spirit; not to be placed among the deeds "which history records as noble and magnanimous (Kalisch), but among those which are hasty and regrettable. A warm sympathetic nature, an indignant hatred of wrong-doing, may have lain at the root of the crime, but do not justify it, though they may qualify our condemnation of it. (See the remarks of St. Augustine quoted by Keil and Delitzsch, 'Commentary on the Pentateuch,' vol. 1. p. 451: "I affirm that the man, though criminal and really the offender, ought not to have been put to death by one who had no legal authority to do so. But minds that are capable of virtue often produce vices also, and show thereby for what virtue they would have been best adapted, if they had but been properely trained," etc.) And hid him in the sand. There is abundant "sand" in the "field of Zoan," and in all the more eastern portion of the land of Goshen. (See the 'Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund' for July, 1880, p. 140.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he looked this way, and that way,.... All around, to observe if there were any within sight who could see what he did; which did not arise from any consciousness of any evil he was about to commit, but for his own preservation, lest if seen he should be accused to Pharaoh, and suffer for it:
and when he saw that there was no man; near at hand, that could see what he did, and be a witness against him:
he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand; in a sandy desert place hard by, where having slain him with his sword, he dug a hole, and put him into it; See Gill on Acts 7:24. Of the slaughter of the Egyptian, and the following controversy about it, Demetrius (g), an Heathen writer, treats of in perfect agreement with the sacred Scriptures.
(g) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 19. p. 439.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand—This act of Moses may seem and indeed by some has been condemned as rash and unjustifiable—in plain terms, a deed of assassination. But we must not judge of his action in such a country and age by the standard of law and the notions of right which prevail in our Christian land; and, besides, not only is it not spoken of as a crime in Scripture or as distressing the perpetrator with remorse, but according to existing customs among nomadic tribes, he was bound to avenge the blood of a brother. The person he slew, however, being a government officer, he had rendered himself amenable to the laws of Egypt, and therefore he endeavored to screen himself from the consequences by concealment of the corpse.
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