|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-9 We are most likely to prosper in attempts to glorify God, and to be useful to men, when we learn by experience that we can do nothing of ourselves; when our whole dependence is placed on him, and our only expectation is from him. Moses had been expecting what God would do; but now he shall see what he will do. God would now be known by his name Jehovah, that is, a God performing what he had promised, and finishing his own work. God intended their happiness: I will take you to me for a people, a peculiar people, and I will be to you a God. More than this we need not ask, we cannot have, to make us happy. He intended his own glory: Ye shall know that I am the Lord. These good words, and comfortable words, should have revived the drooping Israelites, and have made them forget their misery; but they were so taken up with their troubles, that they did not heed God's promises. By indulging discontent and fretfulness, we deprive ourselves of the comfort we might have, both from God's word and from his providence, and go comfortless.
Verse 9. - Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. The Israelites, who had expected a speedy deliverance, and found themselves only the more down-trodden for Moses' interference, were too much dispirited to be cheered even by the gracious promises and assurances which Moses was commissioned to give. They had no longer any trust in one who they thought had deceived them. He was a dreamer, a visionary, if no worse. They did not intend hearkening to him any more. "Anguish of spirit" possessed their souls, and "cruel bondage" claimed their bodies, day after day. They had not even the time, had they had the will, to hearken. Verse 9. - Anguish of spirit. Literally, "shortness." Compare Job 21:4. Their spirit was shortened - they had lost all heart, as we say, so cruel had been their disappointment. The contrast between their feelings now, and when Moses first addressed them (Exodus 4:31), is strong, but "fully accounted for by the change of circumstances". (Cook). Cruel bondage. Bondage, i.e., far more oppressive and continuous than. it had been (Exodus 5:9-14). The Samaritan version adds: "And they said to him, Let us alone, and let us serve the Egyptians; for it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than die in a wilderness," an addition which receives some support from Exodus 14:12.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel,.... After this manner, and in the above words, declaring all that the Lord made known to him, and promised to do for them; which one would have thought would have revived their spirits, and refreshed and comforted their hearts under their troubles, and encouraged a lively exercise of faith and hope of deliverance:
but they hearkened not unto Moses; being disappointed of deliverance by him, and their afflictions being increased, and lying heavy upon them, they were heartless and hopeless:
for anguish of spirit; trouble of mind and grief of heart, with which they were swallowed up; or "for shortness of breath" (b), being so pressed that they could hardly breathe, and so were incapable of attending to what was spoken to them:
and for cruel bondage; under which they laboured, and from which they had scarce any respite, and saw no way of deliverance from it.
(b) "ob brevem anhelitum", Munster.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9-11. Moses spake so unto the children of Israel—The increased severities inflicted on the Israelites seem to have so entirely crushed their spirits, as well as irritated them, that they refused to listen to any more communications (Ex 14:12). Even the faith of Moses himself was faltering; and he would have abandoned the enterprise in despair had he not received a positive command from God to revisit the people without delay, and at the same time renew their demand on the king in a more decisive and peremptory tone.
Exodus 6:9 Parallel Commentaries
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