Exodus 32:12
Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.
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Exodus 32:12-13. Turn from thy fierce wrath — Not as if he thought God were not justly angry, but he begs that he would not be so greatly angry as to consume them. Let mercy rejoice against judgment; repent of this evil — Change the sentence of destruction into that of correction; against thy people — Which thou broughtest up out of Egypt, for whom thou hast done so great things. Wherefore should the Egyptians say, For mischief did he bring them out — Israel is dear to Moses, as his kindred, as his charge; but it is the glory of God that he is most concerned for. If Israel could perish without any reproach to God’s name, Moses could persuade himself to sit down contented; but he cannot bear to hear God reflected on; and therefore this he insists upon, Lord, what will the Egyptians say? They will say, God was either weak, and could not, or fickle, and would not complete the salvation he begun. Remember Abraham — Lord, if Israel be cut off, what will become of the promise?32:7-14 God says to Moses, that the Israelites had corrupted themselves. Sin is the corruption of the sinner, and it is a self-corruption; every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lust. They had turned aside out of the way. Sin is a departing from the way of duty into a by-path. They soon forgot God's works. He sees what they cannot discover, nor is any wickedness of the world hid from him. We could not bear to see the thousandth part of that evil which God sees every day. God expresses the greatness of his just displeasure, after the manner of men who would have prayer of Moses could save them from ruin; thus he was a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone, God would reconcile the world to himself. Moses pleads God's glory. The glorifying God's name, as it ought to be our first petition, and it is so in the Lord's prayer, so it ought to be our great plea. And God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what he has promised he is able to perform. See the power of prayer. In answer to the prayers of Moses, God showed his purpose of sparing the people, as he had before seemed determined on their destruction; which change of the outward discovery of his purpose, is called repenting of the evil.Let me alone - But Moses did not let the Lord alone; he wrestled, as Jacob had done, until, like Jacob, he obtained the blessing Genesis 32:24-29.10. make of thee a great nation—Care must be taken not to suppose this language as betokening any change or vacillation in the divine purpose. The covenant made with the patriarchs had been ratified in the most solemn manner; it could not and never was intended that it should be broken. But the manner in which God spoke to Moses served two important purposes—it tended to develop the faith and intercessory patriotism of the Hebrew leader, and to excite the serious alarm of the people, that God would reject them and deprive them of the privileges they had fondly fancied were so secure. In the mountains, i.e. in or at Mount Sinai, the plural number for the singular; or, in this mountainous desert. Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say,.... Those that remained, as the Targum of Jonathan, who were not drowned in the Red sea: a good man will be concerned for the honour and glory of God among the enemies of his people, that their mouths may not be opened to blaspheme the Lord and speak ill of his ways, see Joshua 7:9 and this is sometimes an argument with God himself, not to do that to his people they deserve, lest it should give occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully, insult, and triumph, Deuteronomy 32:26.

for mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth; that he brought them out of Egypt, not with a good but ill design; not to bring them into the land of Canaan, as they promised themselves, but to destroy them in the mountains; not to erect them into a great kingdom and nation, which should make a considerable figure in the world, but to cut them off from being a people at all: the mountains where they now were, were Sinai and Horeb, and there might be others thereabout, among which they were encamped: the Targum of Jonathan is,"among the mountains of Tabor, and Hermon, and Sirion, and Sinai:"

turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people; not that there is any turning or shadow of turning with God, or any change of his mind, or any such passions and affections in him as here expressed; but this is said after the manner of men concerning him, when he alters the course of his dealings with men according to his unalterable will, and does not do the evil threatened by him, and which the sins of men deserve.

Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
12. For evil] i.e. with an evil purpose. Cf. Deuteronomy 9:28 b.

the mountains] viz. of the Sinaitic Peninsula.When Aaron saw it, he built an altar in front of the image, and called aloud to the people, "To-morrow is a feast of Jehovah;" and the people celebrated this feast with burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, with eating and drinking, i.e., with sacrificial meals and sports (צחק), or with loud rejoicing, shouting, antiphonal songs, and dances (cf. Exodus 32:17-19), in the same manner in which the Egyptians celebrated their feast of Apis (Herod. 2, 60, and 3, 27). But this intimation of an Egyptian custom is no proof that the feast was not intended for Jehovah; for joyous sacrificial meals, and even sports and dances, are met with in connection with the legitimate worship of Jehovah (cf. Exodus 15:20-21). Nevertheless the making of the calf, and the sacrificial meals and other ceremonies performed before it, were a shameful apostasy from Jehovah, a practical denial of the inimitable glory of the true God, and a culpable breach of the second commandment of the covenant words (Exodus 20:4), whereby Israel had broken the covenant with the Lord, and fallen back to the heathen customs of Egypt. Aaron also shared the guilt of this transgression, although it was merely out of sinful weakness that he had assented to the proposals of the people and gratified their wishes (cf. Deuteronomy 9:20). He also fell with the people, and denied the God who had chosen him, though he himself was unconscious of it, to be His priest, to bear the sins of the people, and to expiate them before Jehovah. The apostasy of the nation became a temptation to him, in which the unfitness of his nature for the office was to be made manifest, in order that he might ever remember this, and not excuse himself from the office, to which the Lord had not called him because of his own worthiness, but purely as an act of unmerited grace.
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