Exodus 3:22
But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojournes in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and you shall put them on your sons, and on your daughters; and you shall spoil the Egyptians.
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(22) Every woman shall borrow.—Rather, shall ask (αἰτήσει, LXX.; postulabit, Vulg.). That there was really no pretence of “borrowing,” appears from Exodus 12:33-36, where we find that the “jewels” were not asked for until the very moment of departure, when the Israelites were being “thrust forth,” and the people were urgent on them to be gone, certainly neither expecting nor wishing to see them again. Asking for presents is a common practice in the East, and persons who were quitting their homes to set out on a long journey through a strange country would have abundant excuse, if any had been needed, for soliciting aid from their rich neighbours.

Of her neighbour.—Egyptians were mingled with the Israelites in Goshen, as we see by Exodus 2:3.

Of her that sojourneth in her house.—Rosenmüller supposes that Egyptians who rented houses which belonged to the Hebrews are intended; but the expression used is more suitable to lodgers or visitors, (Comp. Job 19:15.)

Upon your sons.—The Egyptian men of the Rameside period wore gold and silver ornaments almost as freely as the women. Their ornaments included armlets, bracelets, anklets, and collars.

Ye shall spoil, i.e., It shall be as if ye had conquered the Egyptians, and spoiled them. Compare the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 15, 14); and for the fulfilment, see below (Exodus 12:35-36).

Exodus 3:22. Every woman shall ask, שׁאלה, shaalah, (not borrow,) jewels. And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians — God sometimes makes the enemies of his people not only to be at peace with them, but to be kind to them. And he has many ways of balancing accounts between the injured and the injurious, of righting the oppressed, and compelling those that have done wrong to make restitution.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.Shall borrow - shall ask. The Egyptians had made the people serve "with rigor," and the Israelites when about to leave the country for ever were to ask or claim the jewels as a just, though very inadequate, remuneration for services which had made "their lives bitter." The Egyptians would doubtless have refused had not their feelings toward Moses (see Exodus 11:3) and the people been changed, under God's influence, by calamities in which they recognized a divine interposition, which also they rightly attributed to the obstinacy of their own king (see Exodus 10:7). The Hebrew women were to make the demand, and were to make it of women, who would of course be especially moved to compliance by the loss of their children, the fear of a recurrence of calamity, perhaps also by a sense of the fitness of the request in connection with a religious festival.

Jewels - Chiefly, trinkets. These ornaments were actually applied to the purpose for which they were probably demanded, being employed in making the vessels of the sanctuary (compare Exodus 35:22).

Sojourneth in her house - This indicates a degree of friendly and neighborly contact, in accordance with several indirect notices, and was a natural result of long and peaceable sojourn in the district. The Egyptians did not all necessarily share the feelings of their new king.

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. Whether this was just or no, see Poole "Exodus 12:36". But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house,.... Or "shall ask" (f), desire them to give or lend, what follows; and by this it appears, that the Israelites by reason of their great increase were spread about, and mixed with the Egyptians; and hence it was that there was such a mixed multitude that went up with them out of Egypt, who either were in connection with them in civil things, or were proselyted by them:

jewels of silver, and jewels of gold; that is, jewels set in silver and in gold; or "vessels of silver, and vessels of gold" (g), plate of both sorts, cups, dishes, &c:

and raiment; rich and goodly apparel, which they might borrow to appear in at their feast and sacrifices in the wilderness, whither they asked leave to go to:

and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and so deck and ornament them with them at the time of their departure:

and ye shall spoil the Egyptians; and very justly, for the hard service they put them to; for which all this was but their wages due unto them, and which they would stand in need of in their travels to Canaan's land, and for the erection of the tabernacle, and providing things appertaining to it in the wilderness.

(f) Sept. "postulabit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Drusius; "petet", Junius & Tremellius. (g) "vasa", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Tigurine version, Drusius.

{p} But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

(p) This example may not be followed generally: though at God's commandment they did it justly, receiving some recompence for their labours.

22. sojourneth] probably, as a slave or hired servant: cf. Job 19:15 (RVm.), and on ch. Exodus 12:48.

put them upon] as ornaments; cf. Genesis 24:47; Genesis 41:42.

This remarkable incident is referred to twice again: in Exodus 11:2 f., where the people are directly commanded to make the request, and Exodus 12:35 f., where the occurrence itself is narrated. ‘According to the tradition (‘Sage’) as handed down by E, the Israelites at their departure received from their Egyptian acquaintances, who were favourably disposed towards them, and held Moses in honour (see Exodus 11:3), all kinds of valuables. For what purpose is not, in the present text, stated: probably as ornaments and festal attire for the feast, such as it was usual to wear on such occasions (Hosea 2:13). It is at the same time possible that according to the original intention of the legend, the valuables, which the Israelites used for their sanctuary (Exodus 33:6; Exodus 35:22 f.), were to be regarded as spoil won from the Egyptians. But as it now stands, the chief stress appears to rest on the consideration that through God’s providence the Israelites were enriched at the expense of their oppressors, and gained as it were a sort of prize of victory as a compensation for their long oppression’ (Dillm.: similarly Ewald, Hist. ii. 65 f.). See further on Exodus 12:36.

Verse 22. - Borrow. The Hebrew word means simply "ask" (αἰτήσει, LXX.; postula-bit, Vulg.). Of her neighbours. The intermixture to some extent of the Egyptians with the Hebrews in Goshen is here again implied, as in chs. 1. and 2. And of her that sojourneth in her house. Some of the Israelites, it would seem, took in Egyptian lodgers superior to them in wealth and rank. This implies more friendly feeling between the two nations than we should have expected; but it is quite natural that, after their long stay in Egypt, the Hebrews should have made a certain number of the Egyptians their friends.

With the command, "Go and gather the elders of Israel together," God then gave Moses further instructions with reference to the execution of his mission. On his arrival in Egypt he was first of all to inform the elders, as the representatives of the nation (i.e., the heads of the families, households, and tribes), of the appearance of God to him, and the revelation of His design, to deliver His people out of Egypt and bring them to the land of the Canaanites. He was then to go with them to Pharaoh, and make known to him their resolution, in consequence of this appearance of God, to go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to their God. The words, "I have surely visited," point to the fulfilment of the last words of the dying Joseph (Genesis 50:24). עלינוּ נקרה (Exodus 3:18) does not mean "He is named upon us" (lxx, Onk., Jon.), nor "He has called us" (Vulg., Luth.). The latter is grammatically wrong, for the verb is Niphal, or passive; and though the former has some support in the parallel passage in Exodus 5:3, inasmuch as נקרא is the verb used there, it is only in appearance, for if the meaning really were "His name is named upon (over) us," the word שׁמו (שׁם) would not be omitted (vid., Deuteronomy 28:10; 2 Chronicles 7:14). The real meaning is, "He has met with us," from נקרה, obruam fieri, ordinarily construed with אל, but here with על, because God comes down from above to meet with man. The plural us is used, although it was only to Moses that God appeared, because His appearing had reference to the whole nation, which was represented before Pharaoh by Moses and the elders. In the words נלכה־נא, "we will go, then," equivalent to "let us go," the request for Pharaoh's permission to go out is couched in such a form as to answer to the relation of Israel to Pharaoh. He had no right to detain them, but he had a right to consent to their departure, as his predecessor had formerly done to their settlement. Still less had he any good reason for refusing their request to go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to their God, since their return at the close of the festival was then taken for granted. But the purpose of God was, that Israel should not return. Was it the case, then, that the delegates were "to deceive the king," as Knobel affirms! By no means. God knew the hard heart of Pharaoh, and therefore directed that no more should be asked at first than he must either grant, or display the hardness of his heart. Had he consented, God would then have made known to him His whole design, and demanded that His people should be allowed to depart altogether. But when Pharaoh scornfully refused the first and smaller request (Exodus 5), Moses was instructed to demand the entire departure of Israel from the land (Exodus 6:10), and to show the omnipotence of the God of the Hebrews before and upon Pharaoh by miracles and heavy judgments (Hebrews 7:8.). Accordingly, Moses persisted in demanding permission for the people to go and serve their God (Exodus 7:16; Exodus 8:1; Exodus 9:1, Exodus 9:13; Exodus 10:3); and it was not till Pharaoh offered to allow them to sacrifice in the land that Moses replied, "We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Jehovah our God" (Exodus 8:27); but, observe, with this proviso, "as He shall command us," which left, under the circumstances, no hope that they would return. It was an act of mercy to Pharaoh, therefore, on the one hand, that the entire departure of the Israelites was not demanded at the very first audience of Moses and the representatives of the nation; for, had this been demanded, it would have been far more difficult for him to bend his heart in obedience to the divine will, than when the request presented was as trifling as it was reasonable. And if he had rendered obedience to the will of God in the smaller, God would have given him strength to be faithful in the greater. On the other hand, as God foresaw his resistance (Exodus 3:19), this condescension, which demanded no more than the natural man could have performed, was also to answer the purpose of clearly displaying the justice of God. It was to prove alike to Egyptians and Israelites that Pharaoh was "without excuse," and that his eventual destruction was the well-merited punishment of his obduracy.

(Note: "This moderate request was made only at the period of the earlier plagues. It served to put Pharaoh to the proof. God did not come forth with His whole plan and desire at first, that his obduracy might appear so much the more glaring, and find no excuse in the greatness of the requirement. Had Pharaoh granted this request, Israel would not have gone beyond it; but had not God foreseen, what He repeatedly says (compare, for instance, Exodus 3:18), that he would not comply with it, He would not thus have presented it; He would from the beginning have revealed His whole design. Thus Augustine remarks (Quaest. 13 in Ex.)." Hengstenberg, Diss. on the Pentateuch. vol. ii. p. 427, Ryland's translation. Clark, 1847.)

חזקה ביד ולא, "not even by means of a strong hand;" "except through great power" is not the true rendering, ולא does not mean ἐὰν μὴ, nisi. What follows, - viz., the statement that God would so smite the Egyptians with miracles that Pharaoh would, after all, let Israel go (Exodus 3:20), - is not really at variance with this, the only admissible rendering of the words. For the meaning is, that Pharaoh would not be willing to let Israel depart even when he should be smitten by the strong hand of God; but that he would be compelled to do so against his will, would be forced to do so by the plagues that were about to fall upon Egypt. Thus even after the ninth plague it is still stated (Exodus 10:27), that "Pharaoh would (אבה) not let them go;" and when he had given permission, in consequence of the last plague, and in fact had driven them out (Exodus 12:31), he speedily repented, and pursued them with his army to bring them back again (Exodus 14:5.); from which it is clearly to be seen that the strong hand of God had not broken his will, and yet Israel was brought out by the same strong hand of Jehovah.

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