Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The elders of Israel.—Not so much the old men generally, as the rulers—those who bore authority over the rest—men of considerable age, no doubt, for the most part. Rosenmüller reasonably concludes from this direction that the Hebrews, even during the oppression, enjoyed some kind of internal organisation and native government (Schol, in Exod. p. 58).
I have surely visited.—Heb., Visiting, I have visited. (Comp. Genesis 1:24.)The elders; either by age, or rather by office and authority. For though they were all slaves to the Egyptians, yet among themselves they retained some order and government, and had doubtless some whom they owned as their teachers and rulers, as. heads of tribes and families, &c.
and say unto them, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me; in a flame of fire in the midst of a bush at Horeb:
saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt; inspected into their state and circumstances, took notice of their afflictions and oppressions, and determined to deliver them out of them, as follows.Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. the elders] the older and leading men of the different families. Often mentioned as the representatives of the people: v. 18, Exodus 4:29, Exodus 17:5-6, Exodus 18:12 al.
visited] i.e. shewn practical interest in, noticed in some practical way (Genesis 21:1; Luke 1:68; Luke 7:16): so Exodus 4:31; Exodus 18:19 (Genesis 50:24).
16–18. Moses is to gather together the elders of Israel, and communicate to them God’s purpose to lead His people into Canaan: they will listen to him; and the Pharaoh is then to be asked to allow a pilgrimage to worship Jehovah in the wilderness.Verse 16. - Gather the elders. It is generally thought that we are to understand by "the elders" not so much the more aged men, as these who bore a certain official rank and position among their brethren, the heads of the various houses (Exodus 6:14, 25; 11:21), who exercised a certain authority even during the worst times of the oppression. Moses was first to prevail, on them to acknowledge his mission, and was then to go with them to Pharaoh and make his representation (ver. 18). I have surely visited you. The words are a repetition of those used by Joseph on his deathbed (Genesis 50:24), and may be taken to mean, "I have done as Joseph prophesied - I have made his words good thus far. Expect, therefore, the completion of what he promised." Genesis 11:5) to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up to a good and broad land, to the place of the Canaanites; and He was about to send Moses to Pharaoh to bring them forth. The land to which the Israelites were to be taken up is called a "good" land, on account of its great fertility (Deuteronomy 8:7.), and a "broad" land, in contrast with the confinement and oppression of the Israelites in Egypt. The epithet "good" is then explained by the expression, "a land flowing with milk and honey" (זבת, a participle of זוּב in the construct state; vid., Ges. 135); a proverbial description of the extraordinary fertility and loveliness of the land of Canaan (cf. Exodus 3:17; Exodus 13:5; Exodus 16:14, etc.). Milk and honey are the simplest and choicest productions of a land abounding in grass and flowers, and were found in Palestine in great abundance even when it was in a desolate condition (Isaiah 7:15, Isaiah 7:22; see my Comm. on Joshua 5:6). The epithet broad is explained by an enumeration of the six tribes inhabiting the country at that time (cf. Genesis 10:15. and Genesis 15:20, Genesis 15:21).
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