Exodus 4:16
And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
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(16) He shall be thy spokesman.—Heb.,He shall speak for thee.

He shall be, even he shall be.—Rather, it shall come to pass that he shall be, &c.

Instead of God.—God did not speak to Aaron directly, but only through Moses. Aaron was to recognise in Moses God’s mouthpiece, and to consider what Moses told him as coming from God. Moses had still, therefore, the higher position.

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.Instead of a mouth - We may bear in mind Aaron's unbroken habitude of speaking Hebrew and his probable familiarity with Egyptian.

Instead of God - The word "God" is used of persons who represent the Deity, as kings or judges, and it is understood in this sense here: "Thou shalt be to him a master."

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. To teach and command him. See Exodus 7:1.

And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people,.... And open to them Moses's commission from God, and the end of his mission into Egypt, and to them, and declare what signs had been, and would be done, in confirmation of it:

and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth; or an interpreter, as all the Targums explain it, and so Jarchi; as he was an orator and master of language, he should speak to the people for Moses, and explain his sense and meaning, and put it into plain, proper, easy language, to be understood by the people; and this may be done where a different language is not spoken, but the same in plainer words, in more pertinent expressions, and better pronounced, and this is repeated for the certainty of it:

and thou shall be to him instead of God; Aaron was to stand between Moses and the people, and speak for him; and Moses was to stand between God and Aaron, and in God's stead, and tell him what orders he had received from him, and which he should communicate; and so some Jewish writers (a) interpret it of his being to him instead of a master or teacher, one that received doctrine from the Lord, and instructed him in it, and taught him the mind and will of God: or, as Onkelos paraphrases it; "for a prince", and so Jarchi, a civil magistrate, one that had the power of life and death; the administration of civil affairs belonged to Moses, and Aaron, though the elder brother, was subject to him; and in this sense Moses was a god to him; and so in after times, the judges of Israel, they that sat in Moses's chair, were called gods, Psalm 82:1.

(a) Targum Jon. Jerus. & Abendana in loc.

And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of {g} God.

(g) Meaning, as a wise counsellor and full of God's spirit.

16. And he (emph.) shall be thy spokesman] Heb. shall speak for thee.

as God] or as a god,—inspiring him, as God (or a god) inspired (or was supposed to inspire) a prophet.

Verse 16. - He shall be thy spokesman. Literally, "He shall speak for thee." He shall be, even he. It is the verb that is repeated, not the pronoun. Probably the meaning is, "he shall surely be." There is no comparison between Aaron and anyone else. Thou shalt be to him instead of God. Divine inspiration, that is, shall rest on thee; and it shall be his duty to accept thy words as Divine words, and to do all that thou biddest him. Exodus 4:16And Aaron is quite ready to do so. He is already coming to meet thee, and is glad to see thee. The statement in Exodus 4:27, where Jehovah directs Aaron to go and meet Moses, is not at variance with this. They can both be reconciled in the following simple manner: "As soon as Aaron heard that his brother had left Midian, he went to meet him of his own accord, and then God showed him by what road he must go to find him, viz., towards the desert" (R. Mose ben Nachman). - "Put the words" (sc., which I have told thee) "into his mouth;" and I will support both thee and him in speaking. "He will be mouth to thee, and thou shalt be God to him." Cf. Exodus 7:1, "Thy brother Aaron shall be thy prophet." Aaron would stand in the same relation to Moses, as a prophet to God: the prophet only spoke what God inspired him with, and Moses should be the inspiring God to him. The Targum softens down the word "God" into "master, teacher." Moses was called God, as being the possessor and medium of the divine word. As Luther explains it, "Whoever possesses and believes the word of God, possesses the Spirit and power of God, and also the divine wisdom, truth, heart, mind, and everything that belongs to God." In Exodus 4:17, the plural "signs" points to the penal wonders that followed; for only one of the three signs given to Moses was performed with the rod.
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