Acts 7:17
But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
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(17) Which God had sworn to Abraham.—The better MSS. give, which God promised.

Acts 7:17-21. When the time of the promise drew nigh — That is, the time for the accomplishment of the promise; which God had sworn to Abraham — Concerning the multiplication of his seed; see note on Genesis 22:16-17; the people grew, &c. — Became very numerous in Egypt, notwithstanding that they were under great oppression there; till another king arose — Probably of another family; which knew not Joseph — And had no regard to his memory. The same dealt subtly with our kindred — Formed crafty and treacherous designs against them; and evil-entreated our fathers — Used them in a most injurious and barbarous way, lest in time they should become too powerful; so that — In obedience to a most inhuman order, which he published; they cast out their young children — Exposed them to perish by hunger or wild beasts; or cast them into the river Nile; to the end they might not live — That they might be cut off from being a people, and their very race become quite extinct. In which afflictive and persecuting, but seasonable time — When our fathers were reduced to this miserable state; Moses was born — The person intended by God to be the instrument of his people’s deliverance; and was exceeding fair — Greek, αστειος τω Θεω, fair to God, as the margin reads it. The words, being a Hebraism, are only an emphatical expression, to denote Moses’s extraordinary beauty, and might be not unfitly rendered divinely beautiful, the name of God being often introduced to express such things as were extraordinary in their kind. So in the Hebrew, what we translate great wrestlings, (Genesis 30:8,) is wrestlings of God; goodly cedars, (Psalm 80:10,) are cedars of God; great mountains, (Psalm 36:6,) are mountains of God. This then agrees with what is said of Moses, (Exodus 2:2,) that he was a goodly child; and with the account which Josephus gives of him, who says, “that when he was but three years old, his extraordinary beauty was such, that it struck every one that saw him; and as they carried him about, persons would leave their work to look at him.” See Grotius and Whitby. And when he was cast out — Was thus exposed to perish, the providence of God so ordered it, that Pharaoh’s daughter took him up — Being moved with pity at the sight of him; and nourished him — With a purpose of adopting him; for her own son — By which means, being designed for a kingdom, he had all those advantages of education, which he could not have had if he had not been exposed. “All these extraordinary circumstances, relating to the birth, preservation, education, genius, and character of Moses, serve to aggravate the crime of Israel in rejecting him, when he offered himself to them as a deliverer under so many advantages, and when Providence had so wonderfully interested itself in his favour.” — Doddridge.

7:17-29 Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing times with the church. God is preparing for his people's deliverance, when their day is darkest, and their distress deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, fair toward God; it is the beauty of holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take special care of those of whom he designs to make special use. And did he thus protect the child Moses? Much more will he secure the interests of his holy child Jesus, from the enemies who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen for disputing in defence of Christ and his gospel: in opposition to these they set up Moses and his law. They may understand, if they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the light, that God will, by this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs of mercy.The time of the promise - The time of the "fulfillment" of the promise.

The people grew ... - Exodus 1:7-9.

17. But when—rather, "as."

the time of the promise—that is, for its fulfilment.

the people grew and multiplied in Egypt—For more than two hundred years they amounted to no more than seventy-five souls; how prodigious, then, must have been their multiplication during the latter two centuries, when six hundred thousand men, fit for war, besides women and children, left Egypt!

Of the promise; of the fulfilling of the promise, either of the increase of his seed, or of their deliverance out of bondage, for both were promised, Genesis 22:17; though at that very time there were the greatest endeavours to hinder either when God accomplished both.

But when the time of the promise drew nigh,.... That is, the time of the four hundred years; when God promised to deliver the seed of Abraham out of their affliction and servitude, and bring them into the land of Canaan to inherit it:

which God had sworn to Abraham; in Genesis 15:13 for though there is no express mention made of an oath, yet there is a most solemn affirmation, which is equivalent to one; the Alexandrian copy and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version read,

which God promised unto Abraham; the people grew and multiplied in Egypt; see Exodus 1:7 insomuch, that though their number were but threescore and ten when they went down to Egypt, and though various methods were taken to destroy them, and lessen their numbers, yet in little more than two hundred years, their number was increased to six hundred thousand, and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men, besides old men, women, and children, and besides two and twenty thousand Levites, Numbers 1:46. And it seems, that they multiplied the more towards the time when the promise of deliverance drew nigh to be accomplished, and even when they were the most afflicted, Exodus 1:12.

But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
Acts 7:17-18. Καθώς] is not, as is commonly assumed, with an appeal to the critically corrupt passage 2Ma 1:31, to be taken as a particle of time cum, but (comp. also Grimm on 2Ma 1:31) as quemadmodum. In proportion as the time of the promise (the time destined for its realization) drew nigh, the people grew, etc.

ἧς ὡμολόγ. κ.τ.λ.] which God promised (Acts 7:7). ὁμολογ., often so used in Greek writers; comp. Matthew 14:7.

ἀνέστη βασιλεὺς ἕτερος] τῆς βασιλείας εἰς ἄλλον οἶκου μετεληλυθυΐας,[204] Joseph. Antt. ii. 9. 1.

ὃς οὐκ ᾔδει τὸν Ἰωσήφ] who knew not Joseph (his history and his services to the country). This might be said both in Exodus 1:8 and here with truth; because, in all the transactions of Pharaoh with Moses and the Israelites, there is nothing which would lead us to conclude that the king knew Joseph. Erroneously Erasmus and others, including Krause, hold that οἶδα and ידע here signify to love; and Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Hackett render: who did not regard the merits of Joseph. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, also, it means simply to know, to understand.

[204] The previous dynasty was that of the Hyksos; the new king was Ahmes, who expelled the Hyksos. See Knobel on Exodus 1:8.

Acts 7:17. καθὼς: not “when” as in A.V., but “as” R.V., prout, quemadmodum, cf. Mark 4:33 : “in the degree that”: Felten thinks that it is temporal, as in 2Ma 1:31.—τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, cf. Acts 2:33.—ἧς: Attic attraction.—ὤμοσεν: but if we read with R.V., etc., ὡμολόγησεν “vouchsafed,” so in classical Greek, cf. Jeremiah 51:25 (LXX), Matthew 14:7 (ὤμοσεν, a gloss from the LXX according to Wendt).—ηὔξησεν ὁ λ. καὶ ἐπληθύνθη, cf. Exodus 1:7, so in a strange land the blessing was continued (Weiss).

17. But when [as] the time of the promise drew nigh] i.e. for its fulfilment. The fathers “all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off” (Hebrews 11:13).

which God had sworn, &c.] The oldest authorities give had vouchsafed (ὡμολόγησεν), The same word is used (Matthew 14:7) of the promise made by Herod to the daughter of Herodias.

the people grew and multiplied in Egypt] God blessed them there. (See Exodus 1:7; Exodus 1:12.) The number of those who came out of Egypt (Exodus 12:37) was “six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.”

Acts 7:17. Καθὼς) This is more than ὡς. Even as God had promised it would come to pass at a particular time, so it came to pass when the four centuries had elapsed [Genesis 15:13].

Verse 17. - As for when, A.V.; vouchsafed unto for had sworn to, A.V. and T.R. Vouchsafed; ὁμολογεῖν, in the sense of" to promise," as in Matthew 14:7, and not unfrequently in Greek writers, for ὀμνύειν, to swear. Acts 7:17When (καθὼς)

Rev., more correctly, as; the word being not a particle of time, but meaning in proportion as.

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