Why I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.…
The circumstances employed by the Most High to make Israel a nation were of the most marvellous and romantic kinds. Psalmists and prophets, nay, even Christian apostles and deacons, looking back upon the events of early Israelitish history, felt the fascination of the ancient story, of the emancipation from Egypt, and of the lengthened discipline of the wilderness, by which the tribes were welded into a nation and fitted for the possession of the land of promise.
I. THE GIFT OF THE LAW. Men, especially in their corporate capacity, need something more than exhortation, dissuasion, sentiment. They need law. And this necessity was met, when Israel was led into the wilderness, by the giving of the Law at Sinai. in this gift must be included the ten commandments, the precepts for family and personal life, the institution of the ceremonial, sacerdotal, and sacrificial dispensation, the confirmation and sanctification of the sabbath, by their observance of which the Jews were so well known by their neighbours. This last-named institution was, however, regarded by the God of Israel in a higher light - as "a sign between himself and them." The people were by these means placed under authority. Sanctions were attached to the Law, and life was assured to the obedient.
II. THE REBELLION OF THE SUBJECTS.
1. The season and scene of this rebellion should be noticed; it took place, as the prophet reminds the elders, and as the record itself informs us, in the wilderness, i.e. immediately after the great deliverance and the promulgation of the Law, and whilst the people were still dependent in an especial manner upon the bounty and the protection of the Most High.
2. The offensive form of this rebellion is noted: "They walked not according to my statutes, and despised my judgments" - a course which showed their failure to appreciate the privileges bestowed upon them, and the dishonour which they dared to offer to their Deliverer and King.
3. Their inexcusable neglect of the provision made in the weekly sabbath for their true well being.
4. Their treachery. "Their heart went after idols."
III. THE JUDGMENT AND THE MERCY OF THE KING AND LAWGIVER.
1. The immediate punishment inflicted upon the rebellious generation was the refusal to permit them to enter upon the land of promise.
2. The forbearance and mercy of God were displayed in that he did not make an end in the wilderness of those who had rebelled against him and defied him. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.