Exodus 3:7
And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
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(7) The Lord said.—Heb., Jehovah said. The “God” of Exodus 3:6 is “Jehovah” here, and again “God” in Exodus 3:11. (See the Note on Exodus 3:4.)

I have surely seen.—Heb., seeing I have seen. It is not so much certainty as continued looking that is implied. (Comp. Exodus 2:25.)

Taskmasters.—A different word from that similarly translated in Exodus 1:11, and one that implies cruel usage. It is sometimes rendered “oppressors” (Zechariah 9:8).

3:7-10 God notices the afflictions of Israel. Their sorrows; even the secret sorrows of God's people are known to him. Their cry; God hears the cries of his afflicted people. The oppression they endured; the highest and greatest of their oppressors are not above him. God promises speedy deliverance by methods out of the common ways of providence. Those whom God, by his grace, delivers out of a spiritual Egypt, he will bring to a heavenly Canaan.Taskmasters - Oppressors. A different word from that in Exodus 1:11.

I know - The expression implies personal feeling, tenderness, and compassion (compare Exodus 2:25 margin).

6-8. I am the God … come down to deliver—The reverential awe of Moses must have been relieved by the divine Speaker (see Mt 22:32), announcing Himself in His covenant character, and by the welcome intelligence communicated. Moreover, the time, as well as all the circumstances of this miraculous appearance, were such as to give him an illustrious display of God's faithfulness to His promises. The period of Israel's journey and affliction in Egypt had been predicted (Ge 15:13), and it was during the last year of the term which had still to run that the Lord appeared in the burning bush. I have surely seen; Heb. In seeing, I have seen, i.e. I have seen and observed it diligently, accurately, and certainly; for so much the doubling of the verb signifies. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt,.... Or, "in seeing I have seen", which not only denotes the certainty of it, as we express it; but the clear, distinct, and full sight he had of it, with sympathy towards them, an affectionate concern for them, and a fixed, settled, determination in his mind to deliver them; he had long took notice of, and had thoroughly observed their affliction, and was afflicted with them in it, and was bent upon their deliverance out of it:

and have heard their cry, by reason of their taskmasters; who were set over them to see that they did their work, and to lay heavy burdens on them, and afflict them by all manner of ways and methods they could devise; and who abused and beat them for not doing what was not to be done, which made them cry out because of their barbarous usage of them, and cry unto God for help and deliverance:

for I know their sorrows; the pains of body they were put unto, and the inward grief and trouble of their minds on account of them.

And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their {h} taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

(h) Whose cruelty was intolerable.

7. seen the affliction] Exodus 4:31; Genesis 31:42; Deuteronomy 26:7 al.

] The Egyptian superintendents of the labour-gangs, or corvée (see on Exodus 1:11). Properly hard-pressers, rendered driver in Job 39:7; oppressor in Isaiah 3:12; Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 14:2; and exactor in Daniel 11:20 (cf. exact for the cognate verb, Deuteronomy 15:2-3): LXX. here ἐργοδιωκταί. So ch. Exodus 5:6; Exodus 5:10; Exodus 5:13-14. Not the expression used in Exodus 1:11.Verse 7. - I have surely seen. Literally "Seeing I have seen" - an expression implying continuance. On the force of the anthropomorphic terms "seeing, hearing, knowing," as used of God, see the comment on Exodus 2:24-25. Taskmasters. Not the general superintendents of Exodus 1:11, but subordinate officials, who stood over the labourers and applied the rod to their backs. (See above, Exodus 2:11.) When Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, he drove them on one occasion behind the desert, and came to the mountains of Horeb. רעה היה, lit. "he was feeding:" the participle expresses the continuance of the occupation. המּדבּר אחר does not mean ad interiora deserti (Jerome); but Moses drove the sheep from Jethro's home as far as Horeb, so that he passed through a desert with the flock before he reached the pasture land of Horeb. For "in this, the most elevated ground of the peninsula, you find the most fertile valleys, in which even fruit-trees grow. Water abounds in this district; consequently it is the resort of all the Bedouins when the lower countries are dried up" (Rosenmller). Jethro's home was separated from Horeb, therefore, by a desert, and is to be sought to the south-east, and not to the north-east. For it is only a south-easterly situation that will explain these two facts: First, that when Moses returned from Midian to Egypt, he touched again at Horeb, where Aaron, who had come from Egypt, met him (Exodus 4:27); and, secondly, that the Israelites never came upon any Midianites on their journey through the desert, whilst the road of Hobab the Midianite separated from theirs as soon as they departed from Sinai (Numbers 10:30).

(Note: The hypothesis, that, after the calling of Moses, this branch of the Midianites left the district they had hitherto occupied, and sought out fresh pasture ground, probably on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf, is as needless as it is without support.)

Horeb is called the Mount of God by anticipation, with reference to the consecration which it subsequently received through the revelation of God upon its summit. The supposition that it had been a holy locality even before the calling of Moses, cannot be sustained. Moreover, the name is not restricted to one single mountain, but applies to the central group of mountains in the southern part of the peninsula (vid., Exodus 19:1). Hence the spot where God appeared to Moses cannot be precisely determined, although tradition has very suitably given the name Wady Shoeib, i.e., Jethro's Valley, to the valley which bounds the Jebel Musa towards the east, and separates it from the Jebel ed Deir, because it is there that Moses is supposed to have fed the flock of Jethro. The monastery of Sinai, which is in this valley, is said to have been built upon the spot where the thorn-bush stood, according to the tradition in Antonini Placent. Itinerar. c. 37, and the annals of Eutychius (vid., Robinson, Palestine).

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