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Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year, 15 in spring, summer, and autumn: Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread :* (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the 16 month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty, but shall bring oblations and provisions for the priest :) And the feast of harvest, (which was the second and greatest feast, seven weeks after the former) in the beginning of wheat harvest, thou shalt bring the first fruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in thy field: and the feast of ingathering [which is] in the end of the year, which was their third great feast, at the end of harvest, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field, then thou shalt bring the first fruits of thy wine 17 and oil. Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the LORD God, that is, those who were of competent years, and at their own disposal.‡
Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, as the heathens do in the worship of their idols ; neither 19 shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.]
Behold, I send an Angel, my messenger, that is, Christ, before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the 21 place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his
voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions, but will punish you for them; for my name [is] in him, he acts by my authority, and we are intimately united, (John 22 x. 30.) But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that
I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries, or, I will afflict them that af23 flict thee. For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee
in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut 24 them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, pay them neither outward nor inward worship, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images, and all monuments of idol25 atry. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall
This was joined to the passover, ch. xii. 18.
+ Some render it, nome shall appear before me in vain ; intimating that God would accept and reward their services.
At those times, all their frontiers were unguarded, and it would have been the ruin of their country, if God had not promised by a special providence to preserve it then.
Dr. Cudworth tells us, that it was the custom of idolaters at the end of harvest, to take the broth of a kid, boiled in the milk of its dam, and sprinkle the fields, as a libation or thank offering to the deity which they supposed presided over them. God says, thou shalt Tot do thus. And, by the way, this shows us how wise and rational many of the laws of the Jews were, though, for want of being better acquainted with the ancient heathen cussoms, we cannot at present understand, or see the reasonableness of them.
bless thy bread, and thy water, all thy provisions, and give them power to nourish thee; and I will take sickness away from 26 the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil, 27 thou shalt to a good old age. I will send my fear before thee, strike terror into the hearts of thine enemies, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will 28 make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, a large kind of wasps, terrible creatures, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before thee. Those nations are put for the 29 rest, because they were the most powerful. I will not drive them
out from before thee in one year; lest the land become deso30 late, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea, even unto the sea of the Philistines, the Mediterranean sea, and from the desert of Arabia, or Paran, unto the river Euphrates: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. This wus accomplished in the times of David and Solomon, and not before, because of 32 their disobedience. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, 33 nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest
they make thee sin against me for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee, an occasion of further sin and utter ruin.
E hence see the wisdom of being religious, whatever it may cost us. God is ever ready to protect his servants in the way of duty; he preserved the Israelites in going to Jerusalem, without danger of invasion, or loss of their substance; he promised he would bless them, drive out their enemies, and give them all desirable prosperity. See hence how acceptable obedience is to God, and how able and ready he is to promote the real interests of those who sincerely serve him; he will be an enemy to their enemies, and espouse their cause. If we adhere to him, he will bless our comforts, and give them a relish, and deliver us from those things which are burdensome in his service. We have neither such feasts to attend, nor such long journeys to go to his house, nor the great expense of lodgings, provision, &c. to bear. The law of God is now known more entirely, and his commandments are not grievous. If his will seems in any instance inconvenient, a resolute compliance with it will be our highest wisdom; for godliness is profitable unto all things,
having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to
2. See how much religion consists in justice and humanity, and how tender God is of the property and reputation of his creatures, yea, of the welfare of the brute creation. Let us keep ourselves far from a false matter; not be free in censuring others, or raising a false report; nor assert a thing is so and so, when we only suspect, or fear it. We should not readily receive an evil report; it is inconsistent with that charity which hopeth all things. Let us discourage talebearers, drive them away by an angry countenance; and be careful in this and every other instance, not to follow a multitude to do evil. Let us not be ashamed to be singularly religious. Being on the side on which numbers are, will not vindicate our conduct. Their sins will not excuse ours; nor will their torments lessen our own. Let us therefore set our faces like a flint in God's way; and though we should be scorned and reproached for our singularity, let none of these things move us, neither should we count our lives dear unto us, so that we may finish our course with joy.
This chapter is preparatory to the giving of the ceremonial laws; Moses is called up into the mountain; the people promise obedience; and the glory of God appeareth.
ND he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, and his two eldest sons, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; probably such as were chosen out by Jethro's advice; and worship ye afar off. The people were to worship at a distance, the elders and priests to 2 approach nearer. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
And Moses, after these directions, came down and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments, that is, the ten commandments, and all that was delivered in the last three chapters and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said, will we 4 do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD in a book, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar, which represented God, the first and chief party in the covenant, under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of 5 Israel, to represent the people. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, persons fit for service, probably the firstborn, who were priests, till the Levites were taken in their
stead, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace of 6 ferings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put [it] in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. The blood was divided between the altar and the people, to denote the mutual stipulation between God and 7 them. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people, or perhaps the heads of the people and they said, All that the LORD hath said, will we do, and be obe8 dient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled [it] on such of the people as were near him, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words: you are obliged by this blood to observe the covenant; or, this blood is a sign and seal of the covenant. There is a plain reference in this to the Messiah, and the blessings of his covenant; see Heb. ix. 18-20.*
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 10 seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel, some glimpse of his glory, some illustrious representation of him and [there was] under his feet, below him, as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, a mixture of blue and gold, and as it were the body of heaven in [his] clearness, like a 11 clear sky spangled with stars. And upon the nobles, those elders of the children of Israel, he laid not his hand;† also they saw God, and did eat and drink of their sacrifices, v. 5. rejoicing in the goodness of God to them, and the honour he had done them. 12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. This should have engaged their perpetual 13 reverence for a man who was so highly honoured. And Moses rose up and his minister Joshua, who was to be his successor; and Moses went up into the mount of God.
And before he went up he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur [are] with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered 16 the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; during which time, Moses, and probably Joshua with him, waited before the cloud, to exercise their humility and devotion, and prepare them for the manifestation: and the seventh day, on the sabbath, he 17 called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the
It was a common form of making a covenant among the heathens, to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on each party; and it contained, as is generally thought, a secret wish that their blood might be poured out if they were unfaithful.
That is, they did not die; alluding to a common opinion, the one, he would soon die.
if God appeared to an
sight of the glory of the LORD [was] like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel, like
light and flame breaking out of the dark cloud.
And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount, while Joshua stood near the bottom of the mount, between Moses and the people: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights, without eating or drinking, supported by the miraculous power and presence of God. This circumstance gave an air of majesty to the giving of the law, and intimated, that the design of it was something very great and mysterious.
ET us receive with thankful submission, all intimations of the divine will: All that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient, v. 7. This is our duty, for God commands nothing but what is reasonable, important, and advantageous.> Obedience is highly becoming us. This should be our language, when the book of God is read, or his word preached, All that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient. We should not only form this resolution, but keep it; and be doers of his word, not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.
2. Let us be willing to be as express as possible in renewing our covenant with God; consider the requirements of it; all the words concerning which it was made; study the extent of it; endeavour to understand every particular; that we may know what to do, and what to expect. This will make our vows rational, and more likely to be lasting.
3. Let us remember in how awful a manner our covenant with God is ratified; with blood, even the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus; to which there is an allusion in what Moses did. His blood is the seal of the covenant; confirms it on God's part, and assures us that he will be faithful to the contents of it. Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, as Moses was of this. His blood is called the blood of the everlasting covenant. Let us remember it so as to promote our humility and confirm our faith; especially at the Lord's Supper, in the original celebration of which, Christ is thought to allude to this passage, when he says, This cup is the New Testament, or covenant, in my blood; it represents my blood, with which the covenant is sealed. When we remember the death of Christ, let us remember the covenant sealed by it; take encouragement from thence, and be animated by it to obedience.
4. Let us admire the condescension of God, in manifesting himself in so gracious a manner to sinful creatures; exhibiting his majesty and glory with so much splendour, and yet with so much mildness, that we may not be hurt or terrified, that his VOL. I.