Exodus 17:9
And Moses said to Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.
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(9) Moses said unto Joshua.—This is the first mention of Joshua. He was an Ephraimite, the son of a man called Nun, and the tenth in descent from Joseph (see Note on Exodus 6:16), in the prime of life—about 45 years old—and probably known as possessing military capacity. His actual name at the timo was Hoshea, which might have been viewed as a good omen, since the word meant “Saviour.” Moses afterwards changed his name to Jehoshua (Numbers 13:16), which became by contraction Joshua. We find him, later in Exodus, acting as Moses’ personal attendant, or “minister” (Numbers 24:13; Numbers 32:17; Numbers 33:11), accompanying him to the top of Sinai, and placed by him in charge of the first “Tabernacle.” Afterwards he, with Caleb, was the only one of the spies who brought back a true report of Canaan. (Numbers 14:6-9.) His choice as leader to succeed Moses resulted naturally from his antecedents, and is related in Numbers 27:18-23.

Choose us out men.—The weakness of Israel was in its unwieldy numbers. Moses saw this, and, after deciding that he was himself unfit for battle, and passing the command on to Joshua, made the one suggestion that a select body of troops should be employed against the assailants. The advice was good, and “Joshua did as Moses had said to him” (Exodus 17:10).

I will stand on the top of the hill.—A particular “hill” was no doubt meant—a “hill,” and not a mountain. But the exact scene of the battle is too uncertain to make it possible to fix on any one particular eminence.

Exodus 17:9. I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand — See how God qualifies his people for, and calls them to various services for the good of his church; Joshua fights, Moses prays, and both minister to Israel. This rod Moses held up, not so much to Israel, to animate them, as to God, by way of appeal to him. Is not the battle the Lord’s? Is not he able to help, and engaged to help? Witness this rod! Moses was not only a standard-bearer, but an intercessor, pleading with God for success and 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.Joshua - This is the first mention of the great follower and successor of Moses. He died at the age of 110, some 65 years after this transaction. His original name was Hosea, but Moses calls him by the full name, which was first given about forty years afterward, as that by which he was to be known to succeeding generations. From this it may perhaps be inferred that this portion of Exodus was written, or revised, toward the end of the sojourn in the wilderness.

The rod of God - See Exodus 4:20. The hill is supposed to be the height now called Feria an the north side of the plain Er Rahah; (or, Jebel Tahuneh over Feiran. Palmer).

9. Moses said unto Joshua—or, "Jesus" (Ac 7:45; Heb 4:8). This is the earliest notice of a young warrior destined to act a prominent part in the history of Israel. He went with a number of picked men. There is not here a wide open plain on which the battle took place, as according to the rules of modern warfare. The Amalekites were a nomadic tribe, making an irregular attack on a multitude probably not better trained than themselves, and for such a conflict the low hills and open country around this wady would afford ample space [Robinson]. Go out; out of the camp to meet the enemy.

I will stand on the top of the hill, both to observe thy carriage, and success or defeat, that I may govern myself accordingly, and that I may in that retirement pour out my soul unto the Lord of hosts, that he may give thee victory.

With the rod of God; by which having done so great exploits formerly, doubt not of the same Divine assistance to accompany it, and make thee victorious. And Moses said unto Joshua,.... The son of Nun, who was his minister, and was a man of war from his youth, trained up in the art of war, and afterwards succeeded Moses, and was captain of the armies of Israel, and fought at the head of them, and subdued the Canaanites. Moses knew he was a fit person for the present purpose, and therefore gave him the following orders:

choose us out men; the stoutest and most courageous, best able to bear arms, and engage in war; for the multitude in common was not qualified for such service, nor was there any necessity of engaging them all in it:

and go out; out of the camp, and meet them at some distance, that the women and children might not be terrified with the enemy:

fight with Amalek; for their cause was just, Amalek was the aggressor, Israel was on the defensive part; and should it be asked where they had arms to fight with, it may be remembered that the Egyptian army that was drowned in the Red sea, and whose bodies were cast upon the shore, might furnish them with a large quantity of armour, which they stripped them of, and arrayed themselves with:

tomorrow I will stand upon the top of the hill, with the rod of God in my hand: on the top of Mount Horeb or Sinai, where he might be seen by the army of Israel with that rod in his hand, lifted up as a banner, by which God had done so many wonderful things; and by which they might be encouraged to hope that victory would go on their side, and this he promised to do "tomorrow", the day following; for sooner a select body of men could not be taken out from the people, and accoutred for war, and go forth to meet the enemy.

And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the {f} hill with the rod of God in mine hand.

(f) That is, Horeb, which is also called Sinai.

9. Joshua] mentioned here for the first time. Afterwards he appears frequently in the Pent. as Moses’ attendant, Exodus 24:13, Exodus 32:17, Exodus 33:11, Numbers 11:28, and elsewhere. According to P, he only received the name of Joshua at Kadesh, Numbers 13:8; Numbers 13:16, having been till then called Hoshea.

the rod of God] as Exodus 4:20.Verse 9. - And Moses said to Joshua. On hearing what had happened, Moses summoned to his presence an Ephraimite in the prime of life - about 45 years old - and devolved on him the military command. The man's name at the time was Hoshea or Oshea (Numbers 13:8). He was the son of a certain Nun (ibid.) or Non (1 Chronicles 7:27), and the tenth in descent from Ephraim, the son of Joseph (ib, 23-27). Some forty years later Moses changed his name from Hoshea to Jehoshua. which became contracted into Joshua. The occurrence of this form in the present passage may be accounted for.

1. By Moses having written (or reviewed) Exodus late in his life; or

2. By a later authorised reviser (Ezra?) having altered the text. Choose out for us men - i.e. "Select from the congregation such a number of fit men as appear to thee sufficient, and with them fight Amalek." To-morrow. It was probably evening, when Moses heard of the attack on his rear, and there was consequently no possibility of retrieving the disaster till the next day. lie could but make his arrangements for retrieving it. I will stand on the top of the hill. It is implied that there was a conspicuous hill (gibeah), not a rock (tsur) in the near vicinity of Rephidim, whence Moses could see the fight, and be seen by those engaged in it. Dean Stanley finds all the conditions answered by an eminence on the south side of the Wady Feiran (Sinai and Palestine, p. 41). Others suggest the Jebel Tahuneh north of the same wady. With the rod of God in my hand. Moses meant to indicate by this, that he looked for victory to God alone, and did not trust in an "arm of flesh," while, nevertheless, he sent his soldiers to the combat. 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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