Exodus 4:14
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he comes forth to meet you: and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) The Levite.—Aben-Ezra and Rosenmüller think that this was the usual designation of the brother of Moses among the Israelites, who thus distinguished him from other Aarons. But as a distinguishing mark, the term would be superfluous here, since “thy brother” prevented the possibility of any other Aaron being thought of. Probably, the term is a title of honour, the priestly character already attaching to the tribe in God’s counsels.

I know that he can speak well.—Heb., I know that speaking he can speak. Facility of utterance, rather than excellence of speech, is intended.

And also, i.e., not only does his ready speech make him a suitable person to appoint, but he is coming to join thee, so that he and thou may arrange your respective parts at once.

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.Anger - The words of Moses Exodus 4:13 indicated more than a consciousness of infirmity; somewhat of vehemence and stubbornness.

Aaron - This is the first mention of Aaron. The words "he can speak well," probably imply that Aaron had both the power and will to speak. Aaron is here called "the Levite," with reference, it may be, to the future consecration of this tribe.

He cometh forth - i. e. is on the eve of setting forth. Not that Aaron was already on the way, but that he had the intention of going to his brother, probably because the enemies of Moses were now dead. See Exodus 4:19.

14. the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses—The Divine Being is not subject to ebullitions of passion; but His displeasure was manifested by transferring the honor of the priesthood, which would otherwise have been bestowed on Moses, to Aaron, who was from this time destined to be the head of the house of Levi (1Ch 23:13). Marvellous had been His condescension and patience in dealing with Moses; and now every remaining scruple was removed by the unexpected and welcome intelligence that his brother Aaron was to be his colleague. God knew from the beginning what Moses would do, but He reserves this motive to the last as the strongest to rouse his languid heart, and Moses now fully and cordially complied with the call. If we are surprised at his backwardness amidst all the signs and promises that were given him, we must admire his candor and honesty in recording it. He cometh forth to meet thee, by my instigation and direction; which, because I see thou art still diffident, I give thee for a new sign to strengthen thy belief that I will carry thee through this hard work. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses,.... For the objections, excuses, and delays he made with respect to his mission. In what way this anger was expressed is not easy to say, whether by not removing the impediment of his speech, or not giving him the priesthood, which Jarchi thinks he otherwise would have had, and Aaron been only a Levite, as he is called in the next clause; or whether it was by joining Aaron to him, and so lessening his honour in this embassy, though that seems to be done to encourage him; or by not suffering him to lead the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, which yet is ascribed to another cause. However, though the Lord was angry with Moses, yet without any change of affection to him, he still retained and expressed a great regard to him; did not reject him from his service as he might have done, but employed him, and preferred him to his elder brother. Moses shows himself to be a faithful historian in recording his own weaknesses, and the displeasure of God at them:

and he said, is not Aaron the Levite thy brother; he was, and his elder brother, he was born three years before him, Exodus 7:7 though Justin (w), an Heathen writer, says he was his son, and calls his name Aruas, and speaks of him as an Egyptian priest, and that he was made king after Moses's death; hence, he says, was the custom with the Jews for the same persons to be kings and priests; in all which he is mistaken. But Artapanus (x), another Heathen writer, calls him the brother of Moses, and by his right name, Aaron; and says it was by his advice Moses fled into Arabia, and speaks of his meeting him afterwards, when he was sent to the king of Egypt. Aaron is called the Levite, because he was a descendant of Levi, and yet so was Moses; perhaps this is added here, to distinguish him from others of the same name in other families, as Aben Ezra thinks; for as for what Jarchi suggests, as before, is without any foundation; and it is much more likely that Moses added this title to him, in his account of this affair, because he was the first of the tribe of Levi that was employed in the priestly office:

I know that he can speak well; or "in speaking speak" (y), speak very freely, fluently, in an eloquent manner; in which he was an eminent type of Christ, who is our advocate with the father, and has the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season; and does speak and plead for the conversion of his people, for the comfort of them, for the discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy to them; and for the carrying on the work of grace in them, and their perseverance to the end, and for their eternal glorification. The prayer in John 17:1 is a specimen of this:

and also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee; having had an intimation from God of Moses's call to come into Egypt, and deliver his people from their bondage, he immediately set out to meet him, whereby he showed more faith, zeal, and courage, than Moses did; and this is said to animate him, and was a new sign, and would be a fresh confirmation of his faith, when he should see it accomplished, as he did:

and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart: sincerely glad, and not only secretly so, but would express his cordial joy with his lips; not only because of his having a sight of his brother once more, whom he had not seen for forty years past, but because of his coming on such an errand from God, to deliver the people of Israel; and therefore, as he would express such gladness on this occasion, it became Moses to engage in this work with the utmost pleasure and cheerfulness.

(w) E Trogo, l. 36. c. 2.((x) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 433, 434. (y) "loquendo loquetur", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius.

And the {e} anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

(e) Though we provoke God justly to anger, yet he will never reject his own.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. the Levite] As Moses, equally with Aaron, belonged to the tribe of Levi (Exodus 2:1), the term, as applied distinctively to the latter, must denote, not ancestry, but profession. There must have been a period in the history of the ‘Levites,’ when the term was (McNeile) the official title of one who had received the training of a priest, regardless of the tribe of which he was a member by birth’ (cf. Jdg 17:7, where a member of the tribe of Judah is a ‘Levite’). See Moore, Judges, 383; McNeile, lxvi–lxviii. It was the duty of the priest to give tôrâh, or oral ‘direction,’ to the people (p. 79); hence some power of language might be presupposed in him. If the term has here, not a tribal sense, but the official sense just explained, there seed be no anachronism in its use.

that he] unlike Moses. The pron. is emphatic.

when he seeth thee, &c.] he will be glad, not only to meet thee, but also, it is implied, to cooperate with thee.Verse 14. - The anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. The expression used is a strong one, but does not perhaps here mean more than that God was displeased. At least, he did not punish the offender in any severer way than by the withholding of a gift that he was ready to bestow, and the partition between two of a position and a dignity which Moses might have had all to himself. Perhaps diffidence and self-distrust, even when out of place, are not altogether abhorrent to One whose creatures are continually offending him by presumption and arrogance. Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know, etc. This translation is wrong. The two clauses form one sentence, and should be rendered, "Do I not know that Aaron the Levite, thy brother, speaks well?" Aaron's designation as "the Levite" is remarkable, and seems to glance at the future consecration of his tribe to God's especial service. Behold, he cometh forth to meet thee. It has been conjectured that Aaron designed to visit Moses in Midian, in order to convey to him the intelligence that the king who had sought his life (Exodus 2:15) was dead. He did not, however, start on the journey till God gave him a special direction (ver. 27). 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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