Exodus 4:13
And he said, O my LORD, send, I pray you, by the hand of him whom you will send.
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(13) Send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.—Rather, pray send by whom thou wilt. A curt, impatient, and scarcely reverent speech. Moses means that he will undertake the task if God insists; but that God would do far better to send another. Hence the “anger of the Lord” against him (Exodus 4:14), which led to Aaron’s association with him as joint leader of the people.

Exodus 4:13-14. Send by whom thou wilt send — By any but me. The anger of the Lord was kindled — Even self-diffidence, when it grows into an extreme, when it either hinders us from duty, or clogs us in duty, is very displeasing to him. I know that he can speak well — Moses excelled in wisdom and conduct, Aaron in eloquence. Such is the wise order of Providence. As in the human body each member has its different use and function, and all ministering to the good of the whole; so in the mystical body of Christ, God has dispensed different gifts to different members, and very seldom, if ever, gives all accomplishments to one; but to preserve a mutual dependance and relation, he distributes some to one and some to others, Romans 12:4.4:10-17 Moses continued backward to the work God designed him for; there was much of cowardice, slothfulness, and unbelief in him. We must not judge of men by the readiness of their discourse. A great deal of wisdom and true worth may be with a slow tongue. God sometimes makes choice of those as his messengers, who have the least of the advantages of art or nature, that his grace in them may appear the more glorious. Christ's disciples were no orators, till the Holy Spirit made them such. God condescends to answer the excuse of Moses. Even self-diffidence, when it hinders us from duty, or clogs us in duty, is very displeasing to the Lord. But while we blame Moses for shrinking from this dangerous service, let us ask our own hearts if we are not neglecting duties more easy, and less perilous. The tongue of Aaron, with the head and heart of Moses, would make one completely fit for this errand. God promises, I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth. Even Aaron, who could speak well, yet could not speak to purpose, unless God gave constant teaching and help; for without the constant aid of Divine grace, the best gifts will fail.And he said - The reluctance of Moses is in accordance with the inner law of man's spiritual development, and specially with his own character; but, under the circumstances, it indicated a weakness of faith. 10-13. I am not eloquent—It is supposed that Moses labored under a natural defect of utterance or had a difficulty in the free and fluent expression of his ideas in the Egyptian language, which he had long disused. This new objection was also overruled, but still Moses, who foresaw the manifold difficulties of the undertaking, was anxious to be freed from the responsibility. By one who is fitter for the work than I am. Heb. Send by the hand of him whom

thou wilt send, i.e. should send; for the future tense oft signifies what one should do. See Genesis 20:9 34:7 Malachi 1:6 2:7. Thou usest according to thy wisdom to choose fit instruments, and to use none but whom thou dost either find or make fit for their employment, which I am not. Others, Send by the hand of Messias, whom thou wilt certainly send, and canst not send at a fitter time, nor for better work. Moses and the prophets knew that Christ would come, but the particular time of his coming was unknown to them. See 1 Peter 1:11. And he said, O my Lord,.... Acknowledging his dominion, his sovereignty, his power to do the above things: or "on me, O Lord" (u), be the blame for making such objections; or on me let this work be devolved, since it is thy pleasure:

send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. Many of the ancient Christian fathers understand it of the Messiah that was to be sent, and as if Moses thought this was a fit time for the sending of him: and so Cocceius is of opinion, that nothing better can be understood, than that Moses desired that God would rather send him, whom Israel expected to be sent, even the Angel that should go before them; of whose mission see Exodus 23:20, but no particular person is intended, unless himself; and the common interpretation is, that God would send a more fit and proper person than he was; and that he would rather send anyone but him, and entreats to be excused; but I see not why this may not be understood of Moses assenting to his mission, and acquiescing in the will of God; as if he should say, since it must be so, the will of the Lord be done, let him send by whom he will, and since it is his pleasure to send by me, I submit; what may seem to contradict this is, the Lord's anger and resentment expressed in the following words; but that might be notwithstanding, since Moses had been so backward and reluctant, and made so many objections before he consented.

(u) "in me", Oleaster.

And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou {d} wilt send.

(d) That is, the Messiah: or some other, that is more suitable than I.

13. Send, I pray thee, him whom thou wilt send, whoever it may be (for the idiom, see on Exodus 33:19). Moses assents, but unwillingly and ambiguously (cf. W. R. Smith [p. 40 n.], p. 163).The Second Sign. - Moses' hand became leprous, and was afterwards cleansed again. The expression כּשּׁלג מצרעת, covered with leprosy like snow, refers to the white leprosy (vid., Leviticus 13:3). - "Was turned again as his flesh;" i.e., was restored, became healthy, or clean like the rest of his body. So far as the meaning of this sign is concerned, Moses' hand has been explained in a perfectly arbitrary manner as representing the Israelitish nation, and his bosom as representing first Egypt, and then Canaan, as the hiding-place of Israel. If the shepherd's staff represented Moses' calling, the hand was that which directed or ruled the calling. It is in the bosom that the nurse carried the sucking child (Numbers 11:12), the shepherd the lambs (Isaiah 40:11), and the sacred singer the many nations, from whom he has suffered reproach and injury (Psalm 89:50). So Moses also carried his people in his bosom, i.e., in his heart: of that his first appearance in Egypt was a proof (Exodus 2:11-12). But now he was to set his hand to deliver them from the reproach and bondage of Egypt. He put (הביא) his hand into his bosom, and his hand was covered with leprosy. The nation was like a leper, who defiled every one that touched him. The leprosy represented not only "the servitude and contemptuous treatment of the Israelites in Egypt" (Kurtz), but the ἀσέβεια of the Egyptians also, as Theodoret expresses it, or rather the impurity of Egypt in which Israel was sunken. This Moses soon discovered (cf. Exodus 5:17.), and on more than one occasion afterwards (cf. Numbers 11); so that he had to complain to Jehovah, "Wherefore hast Thou afflicted Thy servant, that Thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?...Have I conceived all this people, that Thou shouldest say to me, Carry them in thy bosom?" (Numbers 11:11-12). But God had the power to purify the nation from this leprosy, and would endow His servant Moses with that power. At the command of God, Moses put his hand, now covered with leprosy, once more into his bosom, and drew it out quite cleansed. This was what Moses was to learn by the sign; whilst Israel also learned that God both could and would deliver it, through the cleansed hand of Moses, from all its bodily and spiritual misery. The object of the first miracle was to exhibit Moses as the man whom Jehovah had called to be the leader of His people; that of the second, to show that, as the messenger of Jehovah, he was furnished with the necessary power for the execution of this calling. In this sense God says, in Exodus 4:8, "If they will not hearken to the voice of the first sign, they will believe the voice of the latter sign." A voice is ascribed to the sign, as being a clear witness to the divine mission of the person performing it. (Psalm 105:27).
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