Exodus 17:12
But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Moses’ hands were heavy.—Moses writes with a clear remembrance of his feelings at the time. His hands, long stretched to heaven, grew weary, “heavy,” feeble; he could no longer raise them up, much less stretch them out, by his own muscular energy. They sank down, and dropped by his sides. If the battle was not to be lost, it was necessary to find some remedy. Apparently, Aaron and Hur bethought themselves of an effective remedy, none being suggested by Moses.

They took a stone.—Partly to give him a certain amount of rest, but, perhaps, mainly to enable them the better to sustain his hands. The fact is one of those “little” ones, which none but one engaged in the transactions would have been likely to have been acquainted with. (See “Introduction,” § 5)

Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands.—Left to himself, Moses had become exhausted both mentally and bodily, and when his hands dropped, had ceased to pray. Sustained physically by his two companions, his mind recovered itself, and was able to renew its supplications and continue them. The result was the victory.

17:8-16 Israel engaged with Amalek in their own necessary defence. God makes his people able, and calls them to various services for the good of his church. Joshua fights, Moses prays, both minister to Israel. The rod was held up, as the banner to encourage the soldiers. Also to God, by way of appeal to him. Moses was tired. The strongest arm will fail with being long held out; it is God only whose hand is stretched out still. We do not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting, but Moses' hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual any service is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it. To convince Israel that the hand of Moses, whom they had been chiding, did more for their safety than their own hands, his rod than their sword, the success rises and falls as Moses lifts up or lets down his hands. The church's cause is more or less successful, as her friends are more or less strong in faith, and fervent in prayer. Moses, the man of God, is glad of help. We should not be shy, either of asking help from others, or of giving help to others. The hands of Moses being thus stayed, were steady till the going down of the sun. It was great encouragement to the people to see Joshua before them in the field of battle, and Moses above them on the hill. Christ is both to us; our Joshua, the Captain of our salvation, who fights our battles, and our Moses, who ever lives, making intercession above, that our faith fail not. Weapons formed against God's Israel cannot prosper long, and shall be broken at last. Moses must write what had been done, what Amalek had done against Israel; write their bitter hatred; write their cruel attempts; let them never be forgotten, nor what God had done for Israel in saving them from Amalek. Write what should be done; that in process of time Amalek should be totally ruined and rooted out. Amalek's destruction was typical of the destruction of all the enemies of Christ and his kingdom.Until the going down of the sun - The length of this first great battle indicates the strength and obstinacy of the assailants. It was no mere raid of Bedouins, but a deliberate attack of the Amalekites, who had been probably thoroughly trained in warfare by their struggles with Egypt. 10-12. Moses … went up … the hill … held up his hand—with the wonder-working rod; Moses acted as the standard bearer of Israel, and also their intercessor, praying for success and victory to crown their arms—the earnestness of his feelings being conspicuously evinced amid the feebleness of nature. Not that both hands were erected and joined together, which was not a fit posture for one holding a rod in his hand; but that Moses shifted the rod out of one hand into the other when the former was weary, and that

Aaron and Hur did each of them with both hands hold up that hand which was next to them, successively, that they also might relieve one the other. But Moses's hands were heavy,.... And hung down through weariness, holding up the rod first in one hand, and then in another, for so long a time; and thus sometimes, through infirmity, the best of men grow remiss in prayer, their hands are weak and hang flown through the corruptions of their hearts, the power of unbelief, the temptations of Satan, and want of immediate answers of prayer, or through long delays of it, and then the enemy gets an advantage over them:

and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; so that it seems not only that his hands were heavy, but he could not well stand on his feet any longer, being a corpulent man as well as in years, as Ben Gersom suggests; and therefore Aaron and Hur took a stone that lay on the mount for him to sit upon, where he might be raised as high, and be as well seen, as standing: this stone may be an emblem of Christ the stone of Israel, the foundation of his people, their prop and support, which sustains and upholds them, their Ebenezer, or stone of help in all their times of difficulty and distress:

and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; the one was on his right, and the other on his left; and when the rod was in his right hand, he that was on that side held up that; and when it was in his left hand, he that was on the left side supported that: these may be an emblem of Christ, and of the Spirit of Christ, from whom the saints have their supports and assistance in prayer: Aaron the priest may represent Christ, from whose blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, and from whose advocacy, mediation, and intercession, the people of God receive much encouragement and strength in their addresses at the throne of grace: and Hur, who has his name from a word which signifies freedom and liberty, may be an emblem of the Holy Spirit of God; who helps the saints in prayer under all their infirmities, and makes intercession for them, by filling their hearts and mouths with arguments, and is a free spirit to them; by whom they are upheld, and where he is there is liberty, and a soul can come forth in prayer to God, and in the exercise of grace with freedom:

and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun; when the victory was decided in favour of Israel; this may denote steadiness of faith in prayer, the constant performance of it, and continuance in it as long as a man lives.

But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. steady] Heb. steadiness (G.-K. § 141d); elsewhere always in a moral sense, steadfastness, faithfulness. See the writer’s note on Habakkuk 2:4 in the Century Bible.Verse 12. - But Moses' hands were heavy. Moses, no doubt, held the rod alternately with one hand and the other, until both were so tired that he could hold them up no longer. It is this natural weariness which is expressed by the words - "his hands were heavy." When Aaron and Hut perceived this, they brought a stone for him to sit on, and then, standing one on either side of him, alternately supported his hands until the sun set and the battle was over. To reward the faith and perseverance of the three, God gave Israel in the end a complete victory. As there was no water to drink in Rephidim, the people murmured against Moses, for having brought them out of Egypt to perish with thirst in the wilderness. This murmuring Moses called "tempting God," i.e., unbelieving doubt in the gracious presence of the Lord to help them (Exodus 17:7). In this the people manifested not only their ingratitude to Jehovah, who had hitherto interposed so gloriously and miraculously in every time of distress or need, but their distrust in the guidance of Jehovah and the divine mission of Moses, and such impatience of unbelief as threatened to break out into open rebellion against Moses. "Yet a little," he said to God (i.e., a very little more), "and they stone me;" and the divine long-suffering and grace interposed in this case also, and provided for the want without punishing their murmuring. Moses was to pass on before the people, and, taking some of the elders with him, and his staff with which he smote the Nile, to go to the rock at Horeb, and smite upon the rock with the staff, at the place where God should stand before him, and water would come out of the rock. The elders were to be eye-witnesses of the miracle, that they might bear their testimony to it before the unbelieving people, "ne dicere possint, jam ab antiquis temporibus fontes ibi fuisse" (Rashi). Jehovah's standing before Moses upon the rock, signified the gracious assistance of God. לפני עמד frequently denotes the attitude of a servant when standing before his master, to receive and execute his commands. Thus Jehovah condescended to come to the help of Moses, and assist His people with His almighty power. His gracious presence caused water to flow out of the hard dry rock, though not till Moses struck it with his staff, that the people might acknowledge him afresh as the possessor of supernatural and miraculous powers. The precise spot at which the water was smitten out of the rock cannot be determined; for there is no reason whatever for fixing upon the summit of the present Horeb, Ras el Sufsafeh, from which you can take in the whole of the plain of er Rahah (Robinson, i. p. 154).
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