|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:3-15 God's people, when in distress, and ready to despair, seek help by considering the days of old, and the years of ancient times, and by pleading them with God in prayer. The resemblance between the Babylonish and Egyptian captivities, naturally presents itself to the mind, as well as the possibility of a like deliverance through the power of Jehovah. God appeared in his glory. All the powers of nature are shaken, and the course of nature changed, but all is for the salvation of God's own people. Even what seems least likely, shall be made to work for their salvation. Hereby is given a type and figure of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. It is for salvation with thine anointed. Joshua who led the armies of Israel, was a figure of Him whose name he bare, even Jesus, our Joshua. In all the salvations wrought for them, God looked upon Christ the Anointed, and brought deliverances to pass by him. All the wonders done for Israel of old, were nothing to that which was done when the Son of God suffered on the cross for the sins of his people. How glorious his resurrection and ascension! And how much more glorious will be his second coming, to put an end to all that opposes him, and all that causes suffering to his people!
Verse 4. - His brightness was as the light; brightness appeareth like light, The sunlight is meant, as Job 31:26; Job 37:21; Isaiah 18:4. He had horns coming out of his hand; i.e. rays of light on either side. The comparison of the first rays of light to the horns of the gazelle, according to Keil, is common in Arabic poetry (comp. Exodus 34:29, 30). In the original passage, Deuteronomy 33:2, we read, "At his right hand was a fiery Law unto them" - a reference to the two tables of stone, perhaps resplendent with light. The "hand" in our text is a general expression, and is not to be taken with any special reference to lightning launched by the hand (which is not a scriptural expression), nor to works effected by God's agency, but simply as signifying that the light of his presence streamed forth from both sides, i.e. everywhere. There was the hiding of his power. There, in that ineffable light, was the hiding place of his majesty. He clothes himself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2), and the splendour is the mantle of that presence which eye of man cannot behold (Exodus 24:17; 1 Timothy 6:16). Farrar quotes Psalm 18:11, "He made darkness his secret place;" and Milton -
"Dark with excess of light his skirts appear." Septuagint, Αθετο ἀγάπησιν κραταιὰν ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, which rendering has arisen from taking the adverb sham as a verb (sam), and mistaking the meaning of the following word.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And his brightness was as the light,.... Of fire, of devouring fire on the top of the mount, to which the sight of his glory was like, Exodus 24:16 to which Kimchi refers it. Aben Ezra thinks the pillar of fire is intended, in which the Lord went before his people in the wilderness, Exodus 13:21 or as the light and splendour of Bereshith, as the Targum, of that primogenital light which was produced on the first day of the creation; or as the light of the seven days of the creation, as Jarchi; see Isaiah 30:26 or rather as the light of the sun shining in its full strength, Christ being the light of the world, and the sun of righteousness; and so may describe him as the brightness of his Father's glory; or his glory, as the only begotten of the Father, seen by his own disciples in the days of his flesh, shining through his works and miracles; or as exhibited in the light of his glorious Gospel, which is the great light that shined on men; and in and by which they that sat in darkness saw light, and who were darkness itself were made light in the Lord: what a glory, lustre, brightness, and light, did the Gospel spread in the world at the first publication of it!
he had horns coming out of his hand; which the Jewish interpreters understand of Moses having horns or beams of light and glory from the hand and power of God, when he conversed with him on the mount, and the skin of his face shone, where the same word is used as here, Exodus 34:29 though some of them interpret it of the two tables of the law, which came from the hand of the Lord, edged with glory and brightness, and looked like fire; hence called a "fiery law", Deuteronomy 33:2. The words may be rendered, as in the margin, "he had beams" coming "out of his side" (g); and be understood of Christ, who has beams and rays of glory on all sides of him, all around him; he is all glory (h); he is crowned with glory and honour, and highly exalted at his Father's right hand, above all principalities and powers: and "horns" being an emblem of power and might, authority and dominion, the phrase may denote that power and authority in heaven and in earth are given to him as Mediator, and exercised by him. Van Till observes, that the word "horn" is a military term, and is used for the wings of armies, the right and left; and as Christ is here described as a General of an army, marching forth in a warlike manner; these may denote the armies or companies under him, at his hand, and under his command, accoutred, and ready to obey his orders; and particularly may have respect to the division made among the apostles, whom he sent forth to subdue men to him; committing the Gospel of the circumcision to Peter, and of the uncircumcision to Paul, Galatians 2:7 whose ministrations were made successful to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin and Satan, and reducing many to the obedience of Christ:
and there was the hiding of his power; that is, in his hand; there his power, which before was hidden, was made manifest; and yet so little displayed, in comparison of what it is in itself, that it may be rather said to be hid than revealed; or there, in his hand, lies his power, with which he hides and covers his people in the day of battle; especially his ministering servants, whom he holds in his right hand, and preserves them amidst a thousand dangers and difficulties, and keeps them for further usefulness; see Acts 18:10. The Targum is,
"sparks went out from the chariot of his glory; there he revealed his majesty, which was hid from the children of men, with sublime power.''
Aben Ezra thinks the ark is meant by "the hiding of his power", called "the ark of his strength", Psalm 132:8.
(g) "e lateribus utrinque emicabant cornua", i. e. "radii", Drusius. (h) So R. Joseph Albo interprets them of sparks of spiritual light, which come from God himself, and not another. Vid. Sepher Ikkarim, l. 2. c. 29.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. as the light—namely, of the sun (Job 37:21; Pr 4:18).
horns—the emblem of power wielded by "His hand" [Ludovicus De Dieu]. "Rays" emanating from "His hand," compared by the Arabs to the horns of the gazelle (compare "hind of the morning," Ps 22:1, title, Margin). The Hebrew verb for to "emit rays," is from the root meaning "horns" (Ex 34:29, 30, 35) [Grotius]. The rays are His lightnings (Ps 18:8), [Maurer].
there—in that "brightness." In it, notwithstanding its brilliancy, there was but the veil "(the hiding) of His power." Even "light," God's "garment," covers, instead of revealing fully, His surpassing glory (Ps 104:2) [Henderson]. Or, on Mount Sinai [Drusius]. (Compare Ex 24:17). The Septuagint and Syriac versions read for "there," He made a hiding, &c.; He hid Himself with clouds. English Version is better, which Calvin explains, there is said to be "a hiding of God's power," because God did not reveal it indiscriminately to all, but specially to His people (Ps 31:20). The contrast seems to me to be between the "horns" or emanations out of His power ("hand"), and that "power" itself. The latter was hidden, whereas the "horns" or emanations alone were manifested. If the mere scintillations were so awfully overwhelming, how much more so the hidden power itself! This was especially true of His manifestation at Sinai (Ps 18:11; compare Isa 45:15, 17).
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