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THE TWO PASSOVERS.
servants fighting his battle, and maintaining the high glory of His name.
It was soon seen, that while the hand of Moses was uplifted, Israel prevailed over Amalek; but when the prophet's hand was no longer raised, Amalek was stronger than Israel. Perceiving that Moses could not longer maintain a standing posture, his friends took a stone and put it under him for a seat; and that his hands might no longer fail, they placed themselves one on each side of him, and sustained his hands until the victory of Israel was achieved. In performing this office, we are not to suppose that both his hands were held up on either side at the same time; for in that case the hands of Aaron and Hur would soon have become as weary as those of Moses had been. The main object of sustaining his arms was, that the rod might be held up. This he doubtless shifted at times from one hand to the other; and then Aaron and Hur upholding each the hand which was next to him, successively relieved both him and each other.
The view of the prayerful tenor of this action is not new; it is more or less hinted at by every commentator on Scripture, though it has been less made the subject of pulpit illustration than might have been expected. It is the one taken by the Jews themselves, in whose Targums we read, that "when Moses held up his hands in prayer, the house of Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hands from prayer, the house of Amalek prevailed.”—Kitto's Daily Bible Illustrations."
THE TWO PASSOVERS.
DR. EDERSHEIM mentions as among the more important differences between the "Egyptian" and the "Permanent" Feast the following particulars :-While the Egyptian Passover was eaten in haste the first night, afterwards the time extended over seven days, through which the exclusive use of unfermented bread was ordered. The journey actually began on the 15th of Nisan, which subsequently was observed as a sabbath. In Egypt, if a man's household was too small for a lamb he was told to unite with his neighbour, afterwards people associated in this way as they chose; also in Egypt no man was to leave his house till morning, which was only a temporary regulation, and each one slew his offering in his own house; while subsequently the people assembled in one spot. Nor could the Israelites at the first Passover sprinkle the blood on the altar and burn the fat, as sacrificial rites had not been inaugurated.
THE SONG OF MOSES.
EXODUS XV. 1.-"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the
Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea."
WITH the deliverance of Israel is associated the development of the national poetry which finds its first and perfect expression in this magnificent hymn. It is said to have been sung by Moses and the people, an expression which evidently points to him as the author. That it was written at the time is an assertion expressly made in the text, and it is supported by the strongest internal evidence. The style is admitted, even by critics who question its genuineness, to be archaic, both in the language, which is equally remarkable for grandeur and severe simplicity, and in the general structure, which though rhythmical and systematic, differs materially from later compositions, in which the divisions are more numerous and the arrangement more elaborate. The subject-matter and the leading thoughts are such as belong to the time and the occasion. Unlike the imitations in the later psalms, the song abounds in allusions to incidents passing under the eye of the composer; it has every mark of freshness and originality. The only objections are founded on the prophetic portion (15-17); but if ever there was a crisis calculated to elicit the spirit of prophecy, it was that of the exodus; if ever a man fitted to express that spirit, it was Moses. Even objectors admit that the invasion of Palestine was contemplated by Moses; if so what more natural than that after the catastrophe, which they accept as an historical fact, he should anticipate the terror of the nations through whose territories the Israelites would pass, and whose destruction was an inevitable condition of their success ? In every age this song gave the tone to the poetry of Israel, especially at great critical epochs of deliverance. In the book of Revelation (xv. 3) it is associated with the final triumph of the church, when the saints "having the harps of God" will sing "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." The division of the song into three parts is distinctly marked, 1-5, 6-10, 11-18; each begins with an ascription of praise to God; each increases in length and varied imagery unto the triumphant close.-Speaker's Commentary.
MAN'S LIFE BUT A GRADUAL DEATH.
ROMANS viii. 10.-" The body is dead because of sin."
REPEATEDLY in Scripture is the body of man spoken of as already dead; because in each instance the inevitable sentence is pronounced, though not put into execution. "The moment we are born we begin to die," says one. Or we may take the figure used by Foster, who represented life under the similitude of a cistern, containing indeed a quantity unknown to us, but incessantly undergoing the process of reduction, until the last drop is drained off. Nay, under the present system of things the very processes of life end in the decay of the structures they sustain.
"Nature's threads sustain
The force that agitates not unimpaired,
But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause
SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF FAITH IN A FUTURE LIFE.
1 CORINTHIANS xv. 19.-"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
To understand this, we must suppose that Paul is answering an imaginary objector who believed that the apostles preached this truth for the sake of some present advantage. The circumstances are quite different, so far from that, they would be wretched beyond the average were there no resurrection. Not that it is thereby implied that the ordinary life of the Christian is shadowed by gloom, but quite the contrary. Still, in proclaiming this, and other gospel facts, the disciples exposed themselves to many present evils; and if they were deceivers or deceived, they. would have the added responsibility of having done much harm to others by holding out delusive hopes.
THE DESTRUCTION OF PHARAOH AND HIS HOST. EXODUS XIV. 28.-"And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them."
THE statement is explicit, all the chariots and horsemen, and that portion of the infantry which followed them into the sea. In fact, as has been shown, escape would be impossible. A doubt has been raised whether Pharaoh himself perished; but independently of the distinct statement of the psalmist (Psa. cxxxvi. 15), his destruction is manifestly assumed, and was in fact inevitable. The station of the king was in the vanguard : on every monument the Pharaoh is represented as the leader of the army, and allowing for Egyptian flattery on other occasions, that was his natural place in the pursuit of fugitives whom he
hated so intensely. The death of Pharaoh, and the entire loss of the chariotry and cavalry, accounts for the undisturbed retreat of the Israelites through a district then subject to Egypt, and easily accessible to their forces. The blow to Egypt was not fatal, for the loss of men might not amount to many thousands; but falling upon their king, their leaders, and the portion of the army indispensable for the prosecution of foreign wars, it crippled them effectually. If, as appears probable, Tothmosis II. was the Pharaoh, the first recorded expedition into the peninsula took place seventeen years after his death; and twenty-two years elapsed before any measures were taken to recover the lost ascendency of Egypt in Syria. So complete, so marvellous was the deliverance; thus the Israelites were baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea. When they left Baal-zephon they were separated finally from the idolatry of Egypt, when they passed the Red Sea their independence of its power was sealed; their life as a nation then began, a life inseparable henceforth from belief in Jehovah and His servant Moses, only to be merged in the higher life revealed by His Son. -Speaker's Commentary.
GOD THE HABITATION OF THE REDEEMED IN HEAVEN. REVELATION Vii. 15.-" He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."
DR. TREGELLES compares this passage with Exod. xl. 35, and suggests as a true rendering, “He . shall be a covert over them. In Alford's revision we read, "shall spread His habitation over them." The allusion, then, to the manner in which the Israelites were, all through their wilderness journey, overshadowed by the cloud which represented God's presence, so that He was not only with them; but they did as it were live in the divine tabernacle, as they moved hither and thither. Comp. John i. 14; Rev. xxi. 3.
MAN'S NATURAL HATRED TOWARDS GOD.
ROMANS viii. 7.-" Because the carnal mind is enmity against God."
"THIS enmity is so strong in us naturally, that we cannot bear others should think more highly of God than we do, or be more attached to Him than we are. Can we show a stronger mark of dislike to a person than by hating all who profess a regard to him, and when that is the only cause of our resentment ? Such is the prevailing enmity against God. For how often do we see that when His grace enables a sinner to forsake the spirit and practice of the world, his former friends are immediately offended; and perhaps those of his own family become his inveterate enemies."-JOHN NEWTON.
CORINTHIANS xv. 24.-" Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father."
Roman Governors.-An allusion to the case of Roman viceroys, or governors of provinces, who, when their administration was ended, delivered up their government into the hands of the Emperor.
ROMANS viii. 15.-"Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Adoption. There was no custom more prevalent at Rome than adoption. It was regarded as a cement of indissoluble friendship and union among families. The adopted person was to hold the place of a son, and to enjoy all the privileges belonging to one. When a man had a mind to adopt another into his family, it formed a public process in law. There was also a private ceremony, which consisted in buying the person to be adopted.KENNETT.
REVELATION Vii. 16.-" They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."
Heat in Eastern Climes.-In these northern climates the latter part of the text, especially, is but feebly understood. Mr. Leslie, a missionary in the East Indies, writes thus in one of his journals: The hot season was very trying, but it is now past, and the rains have commenced, which have cooled us a little. For a succession of days and nights I got nothing like continual sleep, but lay almost continually on the hard floor of my room, that being the coolest place, and several times I had to go out in the night, and obtain relief by lying in the open air. Truly I never understood till then the comfort of the prospect held out to us of a land where the sun doth not light on them, nor any heat."
1 CORINTHIANS XV. 23.-"But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming."
Firstfruits.-Here is an allusion to the Jewish offerings. When the harvest was ready for the sickle, a first sheaf was reaped and carried into the temple, where the priest waved it before the Lord to be accepted of Him, and till this was done the rest of the harvest was not sanctified to the use of the people, nor had they any right to partake of it.-W. JONES.