Exodus 3:16
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)
(16) 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.)

3:16-22 Moses' success with the elders of Israel would be good. God, who, by his grace, inclines the heart, and opens the ear, could say beforehand, They shall hearken to thy voice; for he would make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh, Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humble complaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty hand stretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly be broken by the power of God's hand, who will not bow to the power of his word. Pharaoh's people should furnish Israel with riches at their departure. In Pharaoh's tyranny and Israel's oppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners. However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sends redemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends the teaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and to strive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, they come forth with all they have and are, and apply all to the glory of God and the service of his church.The Lord God ... - Better, Jehovah יהוה yehovâh, God of your fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. It corresponds exactly to the preceding verse, the words "I am" and "Jehovah" (Yahweh) being equivalent. This name met all the requirements of Moses, involving a two-fold pledge of accomplishment; the pledges of ancient benefits and of a new manifestation.

Name ... memorial - The name signifies that by which God makes Himself known, the memorial that by which His people worship Him.

10-22. Come now therefore, and I will send thee—Considering the patriotic views that had formerly animated the breast of Moses, we might have anticipated that no mission could have been more welcome to his heart than to be employed in the national emancipation of Israel. But he evinced great reluctance to it and stated a variety of objections [Ex 3:11, 13; 4:1, 10] all of which were successfully met and removed—and the happy issue of his labors was minutely described. 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. Go and gather the elders of Israel together,.... Not all the ancient men among them, nor the "judges" of the people of Israel; for it does not appear there were such among them in Egypt, until they came into the land of Canaan, but the heads of tribes or families:

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." Jehovah had seen the affliction of His people, had heard their cry under their taskmasters, and had come down (ירד, vid., 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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