|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:16-22 Moses' success with the elders of Israel would be good. God, who, by his grace, inclines the heart, and opens the ear, could say beforehand, They shall hearken to thy voice; for he would make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh, Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humble complaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty hand stretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly be broken by the power of God's hand, who will not bow to the power of his word. Pharaoh's people should furnish Israel with riches at their departure. In Pharaoh's tyranny and Israel's oppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners. However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sends redemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends the teaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and to strive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, they come forth with all they have and are, and apply all to the glory of God and the service of his church.
Verses 21, 22. - The "spoiling of the Egyptians" has called forth much bitter comment. (See Kalisch, note on Exodus 3:22.) It has been termed a combination of "fraud, deception and theft" - "base deceit and nefarious fraud" - "glaring villainy," and the like. The unfortunate translation of a verb meaning "ask" by "borrow" in ver. 22, has greatly helped the objectors. In reality, what God here commanded and declared was this: - The Israelite women were told on the eve of their departure from Egypt to ask presents (bakh-sheesh) from their rich Egyptian neighbours, as a contribution to the necessary expenses of the long journey on which they were entering; and God promised that he would so favourably incline the hearts of these neighbours towards them, that, in reply to their request, articles of silver and of gold, together with raiment, would be freely and bounteously bestowed on them - so freely and so bounteously, that they might clothe and adorn, not only themselves, but their sons and daughters, with the presents; and the entire result would be that, instead of quitting Egypt like a nation of slaves, in rags and penniless, they would go forth in the guise of an army of conquerors, laden with the good things of the country, having (with their own good-will) "spoiled the Egyptians." No fraud, no deceit, was to be practised - the Egyptians perfectly well understood that, if the Israelites once went, they would never voluntarily return - they were asked to give and they gave - with the result that Egypt was "spoiled." Divine justice sees in this a rightful nemesis. Oppressed, wronged, down-trodden, miserably paid for their hard labour during centuries, the Israelites were to obtain at the last something like a compensation for their ill-usage; the riches of Africa were to be showered on them. Egypt, "glad at their departing," was to build them a bridge of gold to expedite their flight, and to despoil herself in order to enrich her quondam slaves, of whom she was, under the circumstances, delighted to be rid.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians,.... That is, give the Israelites favour in their sight, a little before their departure, who should be ready to do anything for them, or bestow anything upon them; or however lend them what they would desire, being glad to be at peace with them, or get rid of them, for whose sakes they would perceive all those sore calamities came upon them, they were distressed with:
and it shall come to pass, that when ye go, ye shall not go empty; destitute of what was necessary for them, but even with great substance, as was foretold by Abraham they should, and which prophecy was now about to be fulfilled, Genesis 15:14.
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