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EXODUS

LESSON  FOUR

Redemption From Egypt      Exodus 13:17-14:31

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Ex 13:17-22
(17)   And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go,  that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near;  for God said,  Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war,  and they return to Egypt:
(18)   But God led the people about,  through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea:  and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
(19)   And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him:  for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel,  saying,  God will surely visit you;  and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
(20)   And they took their journey from Succoth,  and encamped in Etham,  in the edge of the wilderness.
(21)   And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud,  to lead them the way;  and by night in a pillar of fire,  to give them light;  to go by day and night:
(22)   He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day,  nor the pillar of fire by night,  from before the people.
KJV

13:17 

God led them
God did not lead His people toward Canaan by the shorter way through the land of the Philistines,  the direct caravan route to Canaan along the coast to Gaza,  but by the opposite route towards the Red Sea.

The shortest and most direct route from Egypt to Palestine was the usual caravan road that leads by Belbeis,  El-Arish,  to Ascalon and Gaza. 
The Philistines,  who then possessed the area, would have been sure to dispute their passage,  because between them and the Israelites there was a hereditary feud  (1 Chron 7:21-22):  and so early a commencement of hostilities would have discouraged or dismayed the unwarlike band which Moses led. 
Their faith was to be exercised and strengthened;  and from the commencement of their travels we observe the same careful proportion of burdens and trials to their character and state as the gracious Lord shows to his people still in that spiritual journey of which the former was typical.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Philistines
A strongly entrenched and warlike people,  who gave their name Philistie or Palestine,  to all the land of Canaan.  They are probably identified with the Purasati or Pulsata,  one of a group of piratical tribes from the coast of Asia Minor or the Aegean Islands,  who are known to have raided Egypt in the times of Rameses III,  after the Exodus.

13:18 

By the way of the wilderness
In the direction of the Egyptian wilderness,  west of the northern end of the Gulf of Suez.

Red Sea
From the Hebrew  Yam suph  meaning weedy,  or reedy
English  “Red”  comes from the Greek's reading  Edom  (whose land it washed)  as an appellative instead of a proper name. 
So this would be literally called  ‘the sea of reeds’. 
Reeds have been found on spots North of Suez,  and they abound in Lake Timsah,  exactly at the entrance of Goshen.  In those days there was a shallow extension of the Gulf of Suez,  reaching to Lake Timsah.

13:19 

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him
See Genesis 50:25.  Joseph’s faith exhibited 150 years before.

13:20 

Etham, in the edge of the wilderness
Where their route crossed the Egyptian frontier,  which is in the neighborhood of the modern Ismailia (Naville). 
At the frontier,  the green land of Egypt would be cut off as with a knife from the hard desert tract on which they entered.

13:21 

The LORD went before them ... A pillar of cloud...and fire
The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night were symbols of,  and witnesses to,  God’s watching providence (Abarbanel). 

By a visible token of his presence

The Shechinah in a majestic cloud  (Ps 78:14;  Neh 9:12;  1 Cor 10:1)
Called the angel of God  (Ex 14:19;  23:20-23;  Ps 99:6-7;  Isa 63:8-9)

14:1-31        PURSUIT AND DESTRUCTION OF ENEMY

14:1-4 Prediction
14:5-9 Fulfillment
14:10-12 Israel - troubled
14:13,14 Salvation - promised
14:15-18 Prediction
14:19-23 Fulfillment
14:24,25 Egyptians - troubled
14:26-31 Salvation - realized
Exodus 14:1-4
(1)   And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
(2)   Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth,  between Migdol and the sea,  over against Baal-zephon:  before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
(3)   For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel,  They are entangled in the land,  the wilderness hath shut them in.
(4)   And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honored upon Pharaoh,  and upon all his host;  that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.  And they did so.
KJV

14:2 

That they turn back
The march was no sooner begun than it was checked.  The people were ordered to return.  They were now in great danger,  in case the king of Egypt wished to pursue them.  His chariots would soon have over-taken this multitude,  and his host would have made a slaughter of the fugitives.  This seemed to be the reason why they received a command which they must have considered as very extraordinary,  and of a nature to shake their confidence in their leader  (Naville).

Instead of continuing to march to the north of the northern end of the Gulf of Suez,  they were bidden to turn south or south-west,  keeping the Sea (the Gulf of Suez),  on their left.  It is probable that the Gulf of Suez then extended much further north than it does now,  and that the modern Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lakes were connected with each other and the Gulf of Suez by necks of shallow water.

The landmarks mentioned in this verse have long ago disappeared,  and cannot be identified with certainty.  The precision,  however,  with which they are designated,  guarantees that the spots were once well known.

Pi-hahiroth
Has been identified by Naville with  Pi-kerehet,  which he argues was on the SW edge of Lake Timsah. 
It was a sanctuary of  Osiris  (Numbers 33:7. Baal-Zephon). 
The place of worship of a Semitic deity,  on the opposite,  Asiatic side of the Sea which was in front of them.

Migdol
The great fortress on the  “Shur”  or wall,  built to protect Egypt from Asia. 
The present geography of the Eastern Delta is not the same today.  But its geography in the nineteenth dynasty is well known from papyri,  and is in perfect accord with it,  as given in the book of Exodus.

14:3 

The wilderness
The Egyptian wilderness,  a tract of desert land between the Nile and the Red Sea.  The southern boundary of that wilderness was a high mountain range.  With mountains to the south and the Sea to the west,  they are ‘shut in’.

The original intention of Moses was to go toward Palestine by the wilderness: when that purpose was changed by God's direction and they moved southwards,  Pharaoh,  on receiving information,  was of course aware that they were completely shut in,  since the waters of the Red Sea then extended to the Bitter Lakes.  It is known that the Red Sea at some remote period extended considerably further toward the north than it does at present.  In the time of Moses the water north of Kolsum joined the Bitter Lakes,  though at present the constant accumulation of sand has covered the intervening space to the extent of 8000 to 10,000 yards.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

God himself brought them into straits from which no human power or art could extricate them. 
Consider their situation when once brought out of the open country,  where alone they had room either to fight or fly. Now they had the Red Sea before them,  Pharaoh and his host behind them,  and on their right and left hand fortresses of the Egyptians to prevent their escape;  nor had they one boat or transport prepared for their passage!  If they be now saved,  the arm of the Lord must be seen. 
By bringing them into such a situation he took from them all hope of human help.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

14:4 

I will harden Pharaoh's heart
After an interval of several days,  during which the king gradually recovered from his panic,  and reflected on his loss through the dismissal of so many scores of thousands of laborers,  his innate obstinacy returned.  His blindness to the right of the Israelites to their freedom became a malady of the mind with him,  that was to drive him to destruction.  His stubborn impiety was encouraged by the report that the Hebrew army was now between Migdol and the Sea, patently ignorant of the trap in which they now found themselves.

I will get me honor  upon Pharaoh
Or, through Pharaoh.  By shielding the righteous and overthrowing the wicked,  God manifest His justice and might.  Thus,  the Egyptians and all humanity come to know that there is a  God of Righteousness in the world.

14:5-8

Exodus 14:5-8
(5)   And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
(6)   And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
(7)   And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
(8)   And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
KJV

The epic story of Israel’s Redemption is now swiftly approaching its climax.  The last chapters described Israel’s final night in Egypt,  with its panic for the Egyptians and rejoicing for the Israelites,  when monarch and people alike hurried the children of Israel out of the land of bondage.  But no sooner had Israel gone,  than Pharaoh and his court regretted the act of emancipation.  ‘What have we done!’  they exclaimed.  There followed a swift marshaling of the cavalry and chariots of Egypt;  and only a few days after being thrust out into freedom,  the children of Israel beheld the hosts of Egypt in hot pursuit after them.

Let Israel go from serving us
Here was the grand incentive to pursuit; their service was profitable to the state, and they were determined not to give it up.

Six hundred chosen chariots
According to the most authentic accounts we have of war-chariots,  they were frequently drawn by two or by four horses,  and carried three persons: 

one was charioteer,  whose business it was to guide the horses, but he seldom fought; 
the second chiefly defended the charioteer; 
and the third alone was properly the combatant. 

It appears that in this case Pharaoh had collected all the cavalry of Egypt; (see Ex 14:17).
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Exodus 14:10-12
(10)  And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
(11)  And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
(12)  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
KJV

14:10 

They were sore afraid
‘It is very surprising that such a large host should be so terrified by an approaching enemy.  But our astonishment ceases if we consider that the Egyptians had been the lords of the Hebrews,  and that that generation had learned from their youth patiently to endure all insults which the Egyptians inflicted upon them.  Thus had their minds become depressed and servile’  (Ibn Ezra).

14:12 

Let us alone
The Midrash indicates that not only were the people distracted by fear,  but they were further demoralized by divided counsels.

One group,  frantic with despair,  cried  Let us cast ourselves into the sea.
Another group said,  Let us go back to Egypt and submit to slavery
Other groups were for giving battle to the enemy.

They gave up themselves for lost

As if God's arm were shortened all of a sudden
And as if he were not as able to work miracles to-day as he was yesterday

They despair of deliverance, and can count upon nothing but dying in the wilderness. 

Did they not see themselves under the guidance and protection of a pillar from heaven?
And can almighty power fail them, or infinite goodness be false to them?

Yet this was not the worst; 

They quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt,
And, in quarrelling with him, fly in the face of God himself.

So gross are the absurdities of unbelief,

They quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt,
So the Israelites were angry with God for the greatest kindness that was ever done them.
Exodus 14:13-18
(13)  And Moses said unto the people,  Fear ye not,  stand still,  and see the salvation of the LORD,  which he will shew to you to day:  for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day,  ye shall see them again no more for ever.
(14)  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
(15)  And the LORD said unto Moses,  Wherefore criest thou unto me?  speak unto the children of Israel,  that they go forward:
(16)  But lift thou up thy rod,  and stretch out thine hand over the sea,  and divide it:  and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
(17)  And I,  behold,  I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians,  and they shall follow them:  and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh,  and upon all his host,  upon his chariots,  and upon his horsemen.
(18)  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,  when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh,  upon his chariots,  and upon his horsemen.
KJV

14:13-15

Stand still, and see
Or: Stand firm  ( 1 Cor 15:58 - "Be ye steadfast" ).

Note importance of this command, Compare  stand still,  and hear  of Num. 9:8, I Sam 9:27; 12:7, 2 Chron. 20:17, Job 37:14.

This was Israel’s faith.  It was  “ by faith”  in what they heard (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:29).

Here we see the divine instruction in the progression of faith:

When all seems lost Fear Not
When panic hits Stand Firm
When uncertainty abounds Hold your Peace

Which results in the divine deliverance:

Victory appears See the Salvation OF THE LORD
The fight is His The LORD shall fight for you
The walk of faith Go Forward

14:16 

And divide it
‘We know that the rod did not divide the sea, but as soon as Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, God caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind’’ (Ibn Ezra).

Exodus 14:14-16
   "And Mosheh said to the people,  Fear not,  stand still  (or, be ready)  and see the Lord's deliverance which He will work for you this day;  for as you have seen the Mizraee (Egyptians) this day,  you will see them no more forever:  the Lord will fight for you the fight,  and you shall be quiet.
   And the Lord said to Mosheh,  I have heard thy prayer.   Speak to the children of Israel  that they go onward:  and thou,   take thy rod and stretch forth thy hand over the sea, and divide it and the children of Israel shall go in the midst of the sea on dry ground
."     ( Targum of Onkelos )

14:18 

Egyptians shall know
The Egyptians who remain in Egypt will acknowledge Me as God,  for I do not delight in the death of the sinner,  but he turn from his evil ways and live (Sforno).

Exodus 14:19-23
(19)  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
(20)  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
(21)  And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
(22)  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
(23)  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
KJV

14:19 

Before the camp of Israel
That is,  the angel of God and the pillar of cloud,  instead of being in front of the Israelites,  as hitherto, now stand behind them.  The pillar is the instrument of the angel.  The second half of the verse,  ‘the pillar of cloud removed from before them and stood behind them,’  is synonymous with the first half of the verse.

14:21 

Caused the sea to go back
A strong east wind,  blowing all night and acting with the ebbing tide,  may have laid bare the neck of water joining the Bitter Lakes to the Red Sea,  allowing the Israelites to cross in safety.

14:22  

A wall unto them
A protection and a defense. 
Pharaoh could not attack them on either flank,  on account of the two bodies of water between which their march lay  (now who is a better general than God?).  He could only come at them by following after them.

Exodus 14:24-25
(24)  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
(25)  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
KJV

14:24 

In the morning watch
From two to six in the morning. 

A watch was the fourth part of the time from sun-setting to sun-rising; so called from soldiers keeping guard by night, who being changed four times during the night, the periods came to be called "watches."-Dodd.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

The LORD looked forth
Metaphorical for lightning.  One glance of God’s eye sufficed to throw into hopeless confusion the enemies of His redeemed firstborn.  An anthropomorphic expression,  but most forcible.  For a similar metaphor, see Amos 9:4.

Discomfited
Threw into confusion. 
The text does not allude to the means whereby the panic of the Egyptians was produced.  The Psalmist supplies this omission,  ‘The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightning’s lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron’ (Psalms 77:17-20). 
In other words there was a hurricane raging with tornado force,  causing the sea to go back,  amidst a darkness lit up only the glare of lightning,  as  ‘the Lord looked out’  from the black skies.

14:25 

And he took off
The Egyptians were hindered in their pursuit,  because the lightning struck the chariot-wheels,  and slew the Egyptian warriors who commanded the chariots  (Rashi).

Exodus 14:26-31
(26)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
(27)  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
(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.
(29)  But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
(30)  Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
(31)  And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
KJV

14:26 

May come back
‘A sudden cessation of the wind, possible coinciding with a spring tide  (it was a full moon),  would immediately convert the low flat sandbanks first into a quicksand, and then into a mass of waters,  in a time far less than would suffice for the escape of a single chariot’  (F. C. Cook).

14:28 

Not so much as one of them
Now I place before you two thoughts:

1. According to some Rabbis, Pharaoh alone escaped.
2. This implies that Pharaoh himself did not escape. 
And the waters covered their enemies: There was not one of them left.” (Psalms 106:11) 
But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea:” (Psalms 136:15). 
Pharaoh’s body may have been washed up on the shore,  see verse 30  also the word  also  in 15:4.

14:30  

The LORD saved Israel
It was not a victory in which a feeling of pride or self-exaltation could enter.  Unlike any other nation that has thrown off the yoke of slavery,  neither Israel nor its leader claimed any merit of glory for the victory. 
In the Haggadah shel Pesach, (The story of the Passover)  the story of the Redemption is told without any reference to the Leader.  Once only,  indirectly in a quotation,  does the name Moses occur at all in the whole Seder Service!

14:31 

Believed in the LORD, and in his servant Moses
‘An experience such as the Exodus,  and the passage through the Red Sea,  must have been reckoned by all who participated in them as a direct act of God.  Moses was thereby authenticated in the eyes of his people’  (Kittel).

Their new-born faith in God,  and their witnessing of His marvelous help, l ed to the wonderful outburst of song in the next chapter.  Whenever Israel has faith in God and in the Divine Mission of Moses,  Israel sings.

The Bondage Ended      Exodus 15:1-21

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15:1a Singers Moses and the men Moses’ Song
15:1b The Theme
15:2,3 Praise
15:4-12 Overthrow of Pharaoh The Song itself
15:13 Israel’s guidance
15:14-16 Overthrow of Egyptians
15:17 Israel’s settlement
15:18,19 Praise
15:20 Singers: Miriam and the women Miriam’s Song
15:21 The Theme

The song proper occupies vv. 4-17.  It is preceded and followed by praise with introduction and conclusion.

15:1 

This Song
Note the ten Songs of Praise:

1. Ex. 15:1-19 Moses 6. 2 Sam. 22:1-51 David
2. Num. 21:17,18 Israel 7. Luke 1:46-55 Mary
3. Deut. 32:1-43 Moses 8. Luke 1:68-79 Zacharias
4. Judg. 5:1-31 Deborah & Barak 9. Luke 2:29-32 Simeon
5. I Sam. 2:1-10 Hannah 10. Rev. 14:3 The 144,000

The song begins with Redemption, and ends with glory.  No “praise” short of this.

Moses and the children of Israel
Moses composed the Song, and the Israelites joined their Leader in praising God. 
From verse 20 and 21,  it appears that there was musical accompaniment,  with male and female choruses.  It is probably the oldest song of national triumph extant (existing).

The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea

In four Hebrew words is the complete ruin of the military power of Egypt described. 
‘Its chariots and horses,  the mainstay of its strength,  are,  by Divine might,  cast irretrievably into the sea’ (Driver).

15:2  

The LORD
The Hebrew word here is Yah, the shortened form of the Tetragrammation,  as in Hallelujah  (‘praise ye Yah’),

Strongs has:
Yahh (yaw); contraction for Yehovah (yeh-ho-vaw'), and meaning the same; Jah, the sacred name:
KJV - Jah, the Lord, most vehement. Compare names in "-iah," "-jah."
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

15:20  

Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron
The word Miriam is the Hebrew form of the word Mary.  This is the first occurrence of the word Prophetess in Scripture.

The son notes the journeying,  at the extremes;  with the six ascents and descents of Moses,  separated by the two principal subjects of the book:  the  giving of the Law  and  the making of the Tabernacle.

A 15:22-19:2 Journeying to Sinai
B 19:3-6 Ascent 1:  Proclamation of Covenant
C 19:7,8a Descent
B 19:8b-13 Ascent 2: Preparation of People
C 19:14-19 Descent
B 19:20-24 Ascent 3:  Setting of bounds
A 20:1-24:8 Giving of the Law
B 24:9-32:14 Ascent 4: First 40 days (Deut. 9:9)  1st Tables
C 32:15-30 Descent Breaking of Tables
B 32:31-33 Ascent 5: Manifestation of glory
C 32:34-34:3 Descent
B 34:4-28 Ascent 6 Second 40 days (Deut.10:10) 2nd Tables
C 34:29-35:3 Descent
A 35:4-40:35 Making of Tabernacle

THE JOURNEY TO SINAI

Water From The Rock and The Manna      Exodus 15:22-16:36

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15:22-27      ISRAEL AT MARAH AND ELIM

Exodus 15:22-27
(22)  So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
(23)  And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
(24)  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
(25)  And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
(26)  And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
(27) And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
KJV

15:22 

The Wilderness of Shur
The district of the North East frontier of Egypt;  See Gen. 16:7  and  25:18
Along the coast of the gulf of Suez is a strip of level country:

The northern part the wilderness of Shur
The southern part the wilderness of Sin

The station where Moses and the Israelites halted after their passage of the Red Sea. 
It is regarded by the Arabs to be Ayun Musa,  '’the springs of Moses,’  9 miles below Suez on the east side of the Gulf,  and 1 ½ miles from the coast.

Three days
About 45 miles would thus be covered by a caravan,  traveling with baggage.

15:23 

Marah
Has been identified by some:

with  Bir Huwara about 47 miles South East of Ayun Musa,  and 7 miles from the coast,  on the usual route to Mt. Sinai. 
with  ‘Ain Naba’  (also called el-Churkudeh) a fountain with a considerable supply of brackish water, about 10 miles South East of Suez, and 50 miles from Lake Timsah.

15:25 

The LORD showed him a tree
There are certain shrubs that sweeten bitter water. 

The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem say that, when Moses prayed, "the WORD of the Lord showed him the tree ardiphney, on which he wrote the great and precious name of (YAHWEH) and then threw it into the waters, and the waters thereby became sweet." But what the tree ardiphney was we are not informed.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

A stature and an ordinance
The moral and social basis of the Hebrew Law is here taught the people in connection with the sweetening of the bitter waters.  God set before them the fundamental principle of 
implicit faith in His providence, to be shown by willing obedience to His will.

The healing of the bitter waters was a symbol of the Divine deliverance from all evils.

There He proved them
MAN IS TRIED BY THE GIFTS OF GOD    -     AND ALSO BY THE LACK OF THEM.

15:26 

That healeth thee
God is saying  ‘thy physician’.   ‘A master demands obedience in order to assert his own authority.  A physician likewise demands obedience,  but only for the purpose of securing the patient’s welfare.  Such are the statutes of the Lord,  our Physician’ (Malbim).

15:27 

Elim
The meaning is  ‘terebinths’.  Often identified with Wady Gherandel which is situated two and a half miles north of Tor,  in a very beautiful valley,  with excellent fountains and many palm trees.

16:1-36      
THE MANNA

Exodus 16:1-36
(1)    And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
(2)    And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
(3)    And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
(4)    Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
(5)    And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
(6)    And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:
(7)    And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?
(8)    And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
(9 )   And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.
(10)  And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
KJV

Events in the Wilderness

16:2,3 Murmuring of people
16:4,5 Promise of Jehovah made
16:6-8 Promise repeated by Moses
16:9,10 Promise fulfilled through Moses
16:11-31 Promise of Jehovah fulfilled
16:32-36 Memorial of Jehovah

16:1 

Fifteenth day of the second month
One month after the departure from the Land of Egypt.
The Egyptian kings of twelfth dynasty worked copper and turquoise mines in peninsula of Sinai. After, the mines were disused until eighteenth dynasty.

16:2

Murmured
The moment that the want of food was felt
The fact that these constant murmuring of the people are recorded is evidence for  ‘the historic truthfulness of the narratives of the wanderings.  A purely ideal picture of the Chosen People would have omitted them.  They also serve to display the wonderful personality of Moses,  who could control,  pacify,  and lead such a collection of rude nomad tribes’   (McNeile).

A generation of slaves,  they had become a servile race,  strangers to high and generous sentiments,  anxious only about the supply of their bodily needs,  and through the engrossing influence of these displaying utter indifference or contempt for the grace which had distinguished them above all other peoples.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

16:3 

Sat  by the flesh-pots

They remembered the bread and the flesh-pots
but not the slavery

Some commentators infer from this that the Israelites in Egypt must have had a good and full diet.  Such inference is quite unwarranted.  The pangs of hunger cause them to look back upon their slave-fare,  served to them from pots large enough to supply a whole gang,  as the height of luxury.

Do not even we find it difficult to walk by faith through the wilderness of this world,  though in the light of a clearer revelation,  and under a nobler leader than Moses'  (Fisk). (See 1 Cor 10:11-12.)
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

16:4 

Prove them

The food that God will send will save them from hunger,
but the manner in which it will be given will test their faith and obedience.

The grand object of their being led into the wilderness was, that they might receive a religious training directly under the eye of God: and the first lesson taught them was a constant dependence on God for their daily nourishment.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

16:5 

The sixth day
Sixth day of the week.

They shall prepare
As no cooking was to take place on the Sabbath. 

Twice as much
As the supply will be more abundant on the sixth day,  so every one will gather more,  and when they come to prepare it,  they will find that it is just twice as much as they gather usually.

The meaning is,  that what they gathered and brought into their tents on the sixth day of the week,  and made ready for eating,  would be twice as much as what they gathered on every other day;
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Exodus 16:11-15
(11)  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
(12)  I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.
(13)  And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
(14)  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
(15)  And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
KJV

16:13 

The quails came up
Septuagint, ortugomeetra - i.e.,  mother-quails, 
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Quails are migratory birds,  coming in the spring in immense numbers from Arabia and other southern countries.
They are nowhere more common than in the neighborhood of the Red Sea.  They always fly with the wind;  and when exhausted after a long flight,  they are easily captured even with the hand.  ‘The gift of quails, unlike the gift of manna, was limited to the one occasion here mentioned’’ (Abarbanel).

16:14 

A small round thing
It appears that this small round thing fell with the dew,  or rather the dew fell first, and this substance fell on it.  The dew might have been intended to cool the ground,  that the manna on its fall might not be dissolved;  for we find from Ex 16:21,  that the heat of the sun melted it.  The ground therefore being sufficiently cooled by the dew,  the manna lay unmelted long enough for the Israelites to collect a sufficient quantity for their daily use.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

16:15 

What  is it?
manna’.  The Hebrew word man may really be Egyptian  (Rashbam, Ebers);  the translation would then be,  ‘They said one to another,  It is man,  for they knew not what it was’  
Some say they called it by the name of the substance that resembled it most in appearance,  and was well known to them in Egypt. The Arabs give the name man to a sweet,  sticky,  honey-like juice,  exuding in heavy drops,  in May or June,  from a shrub found in the Sinai peninsula.  This, however,  is found in only small quantities and does not correspond to the description given in our text,  where the manna is clearly a miraculous substance.  
God in His ever-sustaining providence fed Israel’s hosts during the weary years of wandering in His own unsearchable way.

When the Israelites saw it,  they said to each other,  "What is it?"  For they did not know what it was.
(from New International Version)

Exodus 16:16-36
(16)  This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
(17)  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
(18)  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
(19)  And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
(20)  Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
(21)  And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
(22)  And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
(23)  And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
(24)  And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
(25)  And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
(26)  Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
(27)  And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
(28)  And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
(29)  See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
(30)  So the people rested on the seventh day.
(31)  And the house of Israel called the name thereof  Manna:  and it was like coriander seed, white;  and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
(32)  And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.
(33)  And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.
(34)  As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
(35)  And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.
KJV

16:18 

An omer for every  man
Approximately 3 quarts

Measures of capacity among the Hebrews

OMER
From the root `aamar,  "to press,  squeeze,  collect,  and bind together"; hence,  "a sheaf of corn (grain) "-a multitude of stalks pressed together. 
It is supposed that the omer,  which contained about three English quarts,  had its name from this circumstance,  that it was the most contracted or the smallest measure of things dry known to the ancient Hebrews;  for the qab, which was less,  was not known till the reign of Jehoram,  king of Israel,  2 Kings 6:25.  -Parkhurst.
EEPAAH
Or 'eeypaah, from 'aaphah,  "to bake,"  because this was probably the quantity which was baked at one time. 
According to Bishop Cumberland the ephah contained seven gallons,  two quarts,  and about half a pint,  wine measure;  and as the omer was the tenth part of the ephah,  Ex 16:36,  it must have contained about six English pints.
QAB
Is said to have contained about the sixth part of a seah, or three pints and one-third, English.
HOMER
Chomer,  ( Lev 27:16),  was quite a different measure from that above,  and is a different word in the Hebrew.  The chomer was the largest measure of capacity among the Hebrews,  being equal to ten baths or ephahs,  amounting to about seventy-five gallons,  three pints, English. 
See Ezek 45:11,13-14.  Goodwin supposes that this measure derived its name from chamowr, an ass, being the ordinary load of that animal.
BATH
Was the largest measure of capacity next to the homer,  of which it was the tenth part.  It was the same as the ephah,  and consequently contained about seven gallons,  two quarts,  and half a pint,  and is always used in Scripture as a measure of  liquids.
CE'AH
A measure of capacity for things dry, equal to about two gallons and a half, English. 
See 2 Kings 7:1,16,18.
HIYN
According to Bishop Cumberland,  was the one-sixth part of an ephah and contained a little more than one gallon and two pints.   See Ex 29:40.
LOG 
Was the smallest measure of capacity for liquids among the Hebrews: it contained about three quarters of a pint. See Lev 14:10,12.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

16:23 

Holy sabbath unto  the LORD
The seventh day must have been known to the people as a special day,  distinct from the other days of the week. The children of the Patriarchs have brought with them to Egypt the tradition that God had completed His work of creation in six days,  and that He had sanctified the seventh day.  At Mt. Sinai,  therefore,  the children of Israel are bidden  ‘Remember the Sabbath day.’

16:29 

Go out of his place
To gather manna on the Sabbath.  
Rabbinical tradition has deduced from this context the prohibition,  that no Israelite shall go more than 2,000 yards from the place of his abode.  This is called  ‘the Sabbath journey’. 
Traveling interrupts the rest both of man and his beast,  and was therefore to be avoided on the Sabbath day.

16:31 

Like coriander seed, white
The coriander plant grows wild in Palestine and Egypt,. Producing small grayish-white seeds, with a pleasant spicy flavor. 

Wafers made with honey
Compare Numbers 11:8,  ‘the taste of it was as the taste of cake baked with oil.’ 
Jewish tradition says that the manna contained the ingredients of every delicious food,  and suited the taste of all who partook thereof.

16:33

Take a jar
Of earthenware (Rashi). 

Lay it up before the LORD
Or in other words before the Ark of the Testimony,  in the Tabernacle.  
Ibn Ezra says that this section should come after the story of the erection of the Tabernacle.
Luzzatto suggest that Moses wrote v. 33-35  in the fortieth year of the wandering in the wilderness. 
It is well to keep in mind the Rabbinical saying,  that the events in Scripture are not always arranged in strict chronological order.  Sometimes an inner connection causes events wide apart in time to be mentioned together in one chapter.

16:35 

Unto the borders of the land of Canaan
This was the limit of the wanderings under the leadership of Moses.  
Moses gives the complete history of the manna up to the end of his own life.  He does not state that the manna ceased;  because the manna was not withheld until after the death of Moses,  when the Israelites had passed the Jordan under Joshua (Josh. 5:12).  
The manna lasted from the 16th of Ziph, BC 1491,  and ceased on 16th Ziph, BC 1451 or a total of  39 years 11 months.

Events at Rephidim        Exodus 17:1-18:27

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A 17:1-3 Coming of Israel  and chiding of People
B 17:4 Moses and Jehovah
C 17:5,6 Giving of water by Jehovah
D 17:7 Memorial of Massah and Meribah
A 17:8 Coming of Amalek  and fighting with Israel
B 17:9 Moses and Joshua
C 17:10-13 Giving of victory by Jehovah
D 17:14-16 Memorial of victory
A 18:1-5 Coming of Jethro  and message to Moses
B 18:6-12  Moses and Jethro
C 18:13-16 Giving of judgment by Moses
D 18:17-27 Memorial of Jethro’s visit

17 1-7        WATER FROM THE ROCK IN HOREB

Exodus 17:1-7
(1)  And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
(2)  Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
(3)  And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
(4)  And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
(5)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
(6)  Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
(7)  And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?
KJV

17:1 

Rephidim
The meaning is reclining places.  
Note two of the stations are omitted here. See Dophkah and Alush in Numbers 33:12,13. 
The route was as follows: the wilderness of Sin, Dophkah, Alush, Rephidim. 
The various stages are omitted,  as it is not the intention of Scripture here to enumerate the different places where the Israelites halted.  Its purpose is to narrate the occasions when the people murmured.

This is either the upper part of the broad and long oasis of Feiran, the most fertile part of the Peninsula of Sinai, or the narrow defile el-Watiyeh, which is 27 miles beyond Feiran.

17:2 

Tempt the LORD
The Hebrew word here is  nissah  and it means to test or prove a person,  to see whether he will act in a particular way,  or whether the character he bears is well established.

17:3 
To kill us...with thirst

The meaning is  ‘to kill me and my sons and my cattle with thirst’’,  as if each one had cried out separately. 
The reaction from the mood of exultation at the Red Sea is complete.  ‘It is the nature of man,’ says Macaulay, ‘to overrate present evil. A hundred generations have passed away since the first great national emancipation of which an account has come down to us. We read in the most ancient of books that from taskmasters to a cry of misery to freedom and a song of gratitude and triumph to murmurings at the Waters of Strife.’

They began to question whether God were with them or not:
They tempted the Lord, saying,

Is the Lord among us or not?
Is Jehovah among us by that name by which he made himself known to us in Egypt?

They question His Essential Presence

whether there was a God or not

They question His Common Providence

whether that God governed the world

They question His Special Promise

whether he would be as good as his word to them

This is called their tempting God,  which signifies,  not only a distrust of God in general,  but a distrust of him after they had received such proofs of his power and goodness,  for the confirmation of his promise. 
They do,  in effect,  suppose that Moses was an impostor,  Aaron a deceiver, the pillar of cloud and fire a mere sham and illusion.
  It is a great provocation to God for us to question his presence,  providence,  or promise,  especially for his Israel to do it, who are so peculiarly bound to trust him.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Exod 17:6

“Behold,  I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb;  and thou shalt smite the rock,  and there shall come water out of it,  that the people may drink.’  And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”  Ex 17:4-6

The rock:  a type of Christ
Frequently referred to (DT. 32:4,15,18,31,37; I Sam. 2:2; Ps. 18:2).

(Deut. 32:18) Rock of life
(2 Sam. 22:47) Salvation
(Ps. 27:5; 62:6,7) Refuge
(Isa. 32:2) Rest and refreshment

Horeb
"Horeb,"  dry place - the name given to the central cluster of the mountain range of which Sinai is a particular summit.  It was perhaps the greatest miracle performed by Moses,  and in many respects bore a resemblance to the greatest of Christ's,  being done without ostentation and in the presence of a few chosen witnesses.
The Septuagint has:  hode egoo hesteeka ekei pro tou se - Behold,  I stand there before thou come to Horeb.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

17:8-16       THE BATTLE WITH THE AMALEKITES

Exodus 17:8-16
(8)    Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
(9)    And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
(10)  So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
(11)  And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
(12)  But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
(13)  And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
(14)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
(15)  And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:
(16)  For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
KJV

17:8

Amalek
The Amalekites were a predatory tribe, who are spoken of as having their home in the desert of Palestine. At the same time, a nomad tribe is quite capable of raids at a distance from its usual home. Or, the Amalekites may in the summer months have led their flocks up into the cooler and fresher pastures in the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula.

Amalek was a tribe, or group of fierce, rapacious nomads, much like the Bedouins of today. Though descended from Esau (Gen 36:12), they were not a part of the nation of Edom. According to Deut 25:18, they had attacked Israel from the rear, making a cowardly assault upon the "faint and weary" stragglers. This explains the severe judgment of Ex 17:14. 
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

The Amalekites were the posterity of Esau,  who hated Jacob because of the birthright and blessing,  and this was an effort of the hereditary enmity,  a malice that ran in the blood,  and perhaps was now exasperated by the working of the promise towards an accomplishment. 
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

17:9 

Joshua
His name was originally  Hoshea (Num. 13:8). 
This is the first mention of the great captain and successor of Moses.  By anticipation,  he is here called by his latter name.

He was captain-general of the Hebrews under Moses;  and upon this great man's death he became his successor in the government.  Joshua was at first called  Hoshea,  Num 13:16,  and afterward called Joshua by Moses. 
Both in the Septuagint and Greek Testament he in called  "Jesus."  The name signifies  "Savior," and he is allowed to have been a very expressive type of our blessed Lord.

He fought with and conquered the enemies of his people
He brought them into the promised land
He divided it to them by lot

The parallel between him and the Savior of the world is too evident to require pointing out.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

17:14 

Write
First occurrence.  The tablets found at  Lachish  and  Tel-el-Amarna  show that writing of a high order was fully developed before the time of Moses. 

In a book
Hebrew  “in the book” .  This writing afterward ordered for  “the Book of the Law”  (24:4,7).

17:16 

War with Amalek
See I Sam. 15:2;  ‘As Amalek was the first to attack Israel with the sword, Israel was commanded to blot out his name by means of the sword’  (Maimonides).

We have here the story of the war with Amalek,  which, we may suppose,  was the first that was recorded in the book of the wars of the Lord,  Num 21:14.  Amalek was the first of the nations that Israel fought with, Num 24:20. Observe:
I.   Amalek's attempt:    They came out, and fought with Israel, v. 8. 
Consider this,

1 As Israel's affliction
They had been quarrelling with Moses (v. 2), and now God sends Amalekites to quarrel with them; wars abroad are the just punishment of strifes and discontents at home.
2 As Amalek's sin
So it is reckoned,  Deut 25:17-18.  They did not boldly front them as a generous enemy,  but without any provocation given by Israel,  or challenge given to them,  basely fell upon their rear,  and smote those that were faint and feeble and could neither make resistance nor escape.  Herein they bade defiance to that power which had so lately ruined the Egyptians;  but in vain did they attack a camp guarded and victualled by miracles.

II.   Israel's engagement with Amalek,  in their own necessary defense against the aggressors. 
Observe,

1 The post assigned to Joshua
of whom this is the first mention:  he is nominated commander-in-chief  in this expedition,  that he might be trained up to the services he was designed for after the death of Moses,  and be a man of war from his youth.  He is ordered to draw out a detachment of choice men from the thousands of Israel and to drive back the Amalekites, v. 9.  
When the Egyptians pursued them Israel must stand still and see what God would do;  
but now it was required that they should bestir themselves. 
2 The post assumed by Moses
I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand, v. 9.
See how God qualifies his people for,  and calls them to,  various services for the good of his church: Joshua fights,  Moses prays,  and both minister to Israel. 
Moses went up to the top of the hill,  and placed himself,  probably,  so as to be seen by Israel;  there he held up the rod of God in his hand,  that wonder-working rod which had summoned the plagues of Egypt,  and under which Israel had passed out of the house of bondage.  This rod Moses held up to Israel,  to animate them;  the rod was held up as the banner to encourage the soldiers,  who might look up,  and say,  "Yonder is the rod,  and yonder the hand that used it,  when such glorious things were wrought for us."
It tends much to the encouragement of faith to reflect upon the great things God has done for us, and review the monuments of his favors. 

Moses also held up this rod to God,  by way of appeal to him:  "Is not the battle the Lord's? Is not he able to help,  and engaged to help?  Witness this rod,  the voice of which,  thus held up, is (Isa 51:9-10), Put on strength, O arm of the Lord; art not thou it that hath cut Rahab?"  
Moses was not only a standard-bearer,  but an intercessor,  pleading with God for success and victory. Note, 

When the host goes forth against the enemy earnest prayers should be made to the God of hosts for his presence with them. 
It is here the praying legion that proves the thundering legion.

III.   There,  in Salem,  in Sion where prayers were made,  there the victory was won,  there broke the arrows of the bow, Ps 76:2-3. 
Observe,

1 How Moses was tried (v. 12): 
His hands were heavy.  The strongest arm will fail with being long extended;  it is God only whose hand is stretched out still.  We do not find that Joshua's hands were heavy in fighting,  but Moses's hands were heavy in praying.
Our great Intercessor in heaven faints not, nor is he weary, though he attends continually to this very thing.
2 What influence the rod of Moses had upon the battle (v. 11): 
When Moses held up his hand in prayer  (so the Chaldee explains it)  Israel prevailed,  but,  when he let down his hand from prayer,  Amalek prevailed. 
To convince Israel that the hand of Moses (with whom they had just now been chiding) contributed more to their safety than their own hands,  his rod than their sword,  the success rises and falls as Moses lifts up or lets down his hands. 
The church's cause is, commonly, more or less successful according as the church's friends are more or less strong in faith and fervent in prayer.
3 The care that was taken for the support of Moses
When he could not stand any longer he sat down,  not in a chair of state,  but upon a stone (v. 12).
When he could not hold up his hands,  he would have them held up. 
Moses, the man of God, is glad of the assistance of Aaron his brother, and Hur, who, some think, was his brother-in-law,  the husband of Miriam. 
We should not be shy either of asking help from others or giving help to others,  for we are members one of another.  
Moses's hands,  thus stayed,  were steady till the going down of the sun.
Christ is both to us - our Joshua, the captain of our salvation who fights our battles, and our Moses, who, in the upper world, ever lives making intercession, that our faith fail not.

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

THE VISIT OF JETHRO

18:1-27

Exodus 181-27
(1)    When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;
(2)    Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,
(3)    And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:
(4)    And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
(5)    And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
(6)    And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
(7)    And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
(8)    And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
(9)    And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
(10)  And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
(11)  Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
(12)  And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God.
(13)  And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
(14)  And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
(15)  And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God:
(16)  When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
(17)  And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
(18)  Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
(19)  Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
(20)  And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
(21)  Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
(22)  And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
(23)  If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
(24)  So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
(25)  And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
(26)  And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
(27)  And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.
KJV

18:1 

Jethro, the priest of Midian
Introduced here because Jethro,  though he lived among the Amalekites,  yet was not under their curse (17:14-16). The event occurred between vv. 10 and 11 of Numbers 10.
 Jethro’s counsel was given,  and taken,  when Israel was ready to depart from Sinai  (Deut. 1:7-14).

18:5 

At the mount of God
Sinai, or Horeb.  Moses had there struck the rock in order to procure water for the people, 18:6. 
Rephidim lies in the vicinity of Horeb.

18:7 

Went out to meet
And to pay respect to his father-in-law,  his guest.  This was the usual etiquette; See Gen. 23:7-12.

18:16 

Statues of God
In the study of Genesis we spoke of the  Code of Amraphel (Khammurabi)  and compared this man made law to the Law of God.  
Now we will list thirty-five laws seen in force in the Book of Genesis,  given by Jehovah,  and subsequently confirmed in the Mosaic code:
The Law of:
1. The Sabbath (Gen. 2:3).   Ex. 16:23;20:10; 31:13-17; Deut. 5:14
2. The place to worship (Gen. 3:24; 4:3,4,16; 9:26,27).   Ex. 25:8; Deut. 12:5-7
3. Acceptance of sacrifice by fire from heaven (Gen. 4:4,5)   Compare strange fire, Ex. 30:9; Lev. 6:9; 10:1.
4. Sacrifices (Gen. 4:4; 15:9; 22:2,3,13)   Ex. 29:36; Lev. 1:2-5
5. Clean and unclean (Gen. 7:2; 8:20).   Lev. 11; Deut. 14:3-20
6. The altar (Gen. 8:20; 12:7,8; 13:4,18; 22:9; 26:25).   Ex. 20:24
7. Eating flesh (Gen. 9:3).   Deut. 12:20
8. Eating blood (Gen. 9:4).   Lev. 7:26; 17:10-14
9. Murder (Gen. 9:5,6).   Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17)
10. Parental authority  (Gen. 9:25; 18:19; 22; 37:13)   Ex. 20:12; Lev. 19:3
11. Monogamy (Gen. 12:18; 16:1).   Deut. 24:1,2
12. Adultery (Gen. 12:18; 20:3,9; 26:10,11)   Lev. 20:10
13. The priesthood (Gen. 14:18).   Ex. 28:1
14. The priestly garments (Gen. 27:15; 37:3)   Ex. 28:4
15. Tithes (Gen. 14:20; 28:22).   Lev. 27:30-32
16. Covenant-making (Gen. 15:10,18; 21:27,32)   Ex. 34:27; 19:5
17. Intercession (Gen. 17; 18; 20:17; 24)
18. Righteousness  (Gen. 17:1).   Deut. 18:13
19. Circumcision (Gen. 17:9,10).   Lev. 12:3
20. Hospitality (Gen. 18).   Lev. 19:33,34; Deut. 10:18,19
21. Licentiousness (Gen. 18:20).   Lev. 18
22. Fornication (Gen. 34:7)
23. Oaths (Gen. 21:23; 24:41; 26:28).   Ex. 22:11; Num. 5:19
24. Binding sacrifices (Gen. 22:9).   Ps. 118:27
25. Birthright (Gen. 25:33).   Deut. 21:16,17
26. Anointing with oil (Gen. 28:18; 31:13).   Ex. 40:15
27. Obligation of vows (Gen. 28:20-22; 31:13).   Deut. 23:21; Num. 30:2
28. Idolatry  (Gen. 1:26; 31:32,35  implied in  “dominion”).   Ex. 20:3-6; Deut. 5:7-10
29. Uncleanness (Gen. 31:35).   Lev. 15
30. Marriage between circumcised and uncircumcised (Gen. 34:14)   Deut. 7:3
31. Ceremonial cleansing for worship (Gen. 35:2).   Ex. 19:10
32. Drink offerings (Gen. 35:14).   Ex. 29:40; Lev. 23:18
33. Marrying the brother’s widow (Gen. 38:8).   Deut. 25:5-10
34. Preaching (2 Pet. 2:5).   Lev. 10:11; Deut. 33:10
35. Dowry (Gen. 34:12).   Ex. 22:16

18:21 

Provide
The Hebrew word here is an unusual word for  ‘look out’,  select, appoint. 
It is used of prophetic vision;  ‘select by the prophetic insight which God has given thee’ (Rashi).

18:23 

Go to their place in peace
After having their cases settled quickly, the parties will return to their tents satisfied. 
No longer will the people have to stand all day waiting for their turn before Moses (see v. 14). 
Moreover,  by the new institution the people would be able to obtain justice in their own part of the camp.

In Deut 1:15-18  Moses explains how the judges were chosen from leaders, wise and well known, of the various tribes.

(15)  So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you -- as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials.  (16)  And I charged your judges at that time:  Hear the disputes between your brothers and judge fairly,  whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them and an alien.  (17)  Do not show partiality in judging;  hear both small and great alike.  Do not be afraid of any man,  for judgment belongs to God.  Bring me any case too hard for you,  and I will hear it.  (18)  And at that time I told you everything you were to do. 
(NIV)
Wilderness Of Sinai        Exodus 19:1-25

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The arrival at the foot of Mt. Sinai marks the beginning of Israel’s spiritual history.  
We reach what was the kernel and core of the nation’s life, The Covenant:

By which all the tribes were united in allegiance to One God
By which a priest-people was created
By which a Kingdom of God on earth inaugurated among the children of men
Exodus 19
(1)    In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
(2)    For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
(3)    And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
(4)    Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
(5)    Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
(6)    And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
(7)    And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
(8)    And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
(9)    And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
(10)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
(11)  And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
(12)  And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
(13)  There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
(14)  And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
(15)  And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.
(16)  And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
(17)  And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
(18)  And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
(19)  And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
(20)  And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
(21)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
(22)  And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
(23)  And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
(24)  And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.
(25)  So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.
KJV

19:1 

In the third month
The month of Sivan.

The same day
‘in that day’ the first of the month.

Into the wilderness of Sinai
As foretold when God first revealed Himself to Moses at the burning Bush (Ex. 4:29). 
Moses is bringing his People to acknowledge and worship the God of their fathers at that Mount.

The wilderness is the wide plain in front of Mt. Sinai. This mountain is generally identified with Jebel Musa; and accordingly, the wilderness is in all probability the plain of er-Rahah, situated 5,000 feet above the sea. The plain is one-and-half miles long and one mile broad; while the adjacent valleys afford ample space for tents, animals and baggage.

19:2 

Departed from Rephidim
Or,  ‘For they had journeyed from Rephidim’ (Mendelssohn, Benisch). See 17:8. 
This supplied the link in the narrative, interrupted by the story of Jethro’s visit in the preceding chapter.

19:3 

Moses went up unto God
He ascended the mountain.  On the day when the Israelites came to Mt. Sinai,  the cloud of God’s glory covered the mountain.  See Ex. 24:16.  This is Moses’ first ascent.  See the following summary:

ASCENTS DESCENTS
19:3-6 First 19:7,8a If ye will obey my voice
19:8b-13 Second 19:14-19 Sanctify the people
19:20-24 Third 19:25 Giving of the Law
24:9-32:14 Fourth 32:15-30 40 days & nights, first Tables of Stone
32:31-33 Fifth 32:34-34:3 The angel will lead them, no longer God leading them in the pillar of smoke and fire
34:4-28 Sixth 34:29-35 2nd Tables  of Stone and instructions
Moses' face shines

Note that the two sets of three each are marked off by the two great events: the giving of the Law, and the setting up of the Tabernacle; while the fourth and sixth ascents are marked by the giving of the first and second tables.

Also six denotes the human number.

Man was created on the sixth day. 
He works six days. 
The hours of his day are a multiple of six. 
The great men who have stood out in defiance of God 
              (Goliath and Nebuchadnezzar and Antichrist [Rev. 13] )

All are emphatically marked by this number.

House of Jacob ... Children of Israel
House of Jacob  occurs only here in the Pentateuch,  and is a poetical synonym of  ‘house of Israel’ of  'children of Israel'

19:5  

Mine own treasure
A peculiar treasure’ (RV). 
The Hebrew word here is  segullah,  a term used to denote a precious object or treasure that is one’s special possession.  See I Chron. 29:3; Ecc. 2:8; I Pet. 2:9. 
The Latin word  sigillo,  to seal up,  is from this Hebrew word. Compare Matthew 13:44.

God’s People are:

1. A separated People Ex. 33:16
2. A People of inheritance Deut. 4:20
3. A special People Deut. 7:6
4. A purchased People Ex. 15:16;  Ps. 74:2
5. A holy People Deut. 7:6; 14:1
6. A redeemed People Ex. 15:13
7. A sanctified People Isa. 63:18

All the earth is mine

“The earth is the Lord’s,  and the fullness thereof;” Psalms 24:1
“For the world is Mine,  and the fullness thereof.” Psalms 50:12
“Thou hast created all things,” Revelation 4:11

19:6 

A kingdom of priests
Or,  ‘a priestly kingdom

A kingdom whose citizens are all priests
Living wholly in God’s service
And ever enjoying the right of access to Him.

As it is the duty of the priest to bring man nearer to God,  so Israel has been called to play the part of a priest  TO OTHER NATIONS;  in other words to bring the nations of the world to a closer relationship of righteousness before God.  
Now it is abeyance,  because Israel did not fulfill the condition in v. 5. 
But in the future it will be realized  (Isa. 61:6; 66:21; Rev. 7:3-8).

19:9 

That the people may hear
Directly and not through a messenger or an intermediary; See Ex. 20:16. 
The actual witnessing by the entire nation of the redemption from Egypt,  and their direct perception of the Divine Manifestation at Sinai,  these religious experiences,  form  ( according to Yehudah Hallevi)  the Foundations of Belief in Israel.

Also believe Thee
The pronoun thee is emphatic. 
Having heard the Voice from the cloud and fire,  the people would nevermore doubt the Divine mission of Moses. ‘Henceforth the people knew that Moses held direct communication with God,  that his words were not creations of his own mind’  (Hallevi).

The Ten Commandments         Exodus 20:1-26

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The  ‘Ten Words’  or  Commandments,  the Decalogue  (from deka, ten  and logos, word),  are supremes among the precepts of the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible), both on account of

Their fundamental and far-reaching importance
And on account of the awe-inspiring manner in which they were revealed to the whole nation

Amid thunder and lightning and the sounding of the shofar, amid flames of fire that enveloped the smoking mountain, a Majestic Voice pronounced the Words which from that day to this have been the guide of conduct to mankind.

The Decalogue is

A sublime summary of human duties binding upon all mankind
A summary unequaled for simplicity, comprehensiveness and solemnity
A summary which bears divinity on its face, and cannot be antiquated as long as the world endures

The most natural division of the Ten Commandments is into

Man’s duties towards God The opening five Commandments engraved on the First Table
1st Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2nd Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
3rd Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4th Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
5th Honor thy father and thy mother
Man’s duties to his fellow-man The opening five Commandments engraved on the Second Table
6th Thou shalt not kill
7th Thou shalt not commit adultery
8th Thou shalt not steal
9th Thou shalt not bear false witness
10th Thou shalt not covet

20:1-24:8        THE GIVING OF THE LAW

20:1-17 The Covenant stated “The ten words”
20:18-21 People “afar off” Moses draws near
20:22-23:33 General Laws
24:1,2 People “afar off” Moses draw near
24:3-8 The Covenant made

20:1-17     THE COVENANT STATED   “THE TEN WORDS”

20:2,3 Commands 1 & 2 Thought "THE LORD THY GOD"
20:4-6 Command 3 Word
20:7-12 Commands 4 & 5 Deed
20:13-15 Commands 6, 7 & 8 Deed "THOU"
20:16 Command 9 Word
20:17 Command 10 Thought

Here, the three subjects Thought, Word, and Deed, are repeated in the second table in inverse order.

The Ten Commandments were divided by Jesus Christ into two categories: 
          Duty to God and Neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). 
“the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.

THE FIRST TABLE
DUTIES TOWARDS GOD

Exodus 20:1-7
(1)    And God spake all these words, saying,
(2)    I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
(3)    Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
(4)    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
(5)    Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
(6)    And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
(7)    Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
KJV

FIRST COMMANDMENT Recognition of the Sovereignty of God

Beg of 10 Com
2nd Com

20:1 

You shall have no other gods before me

Commandment quotes are from the NIV.

I am the LORD thy God  (Jehovah-Elohim)

LORD Yehovah  (yeh-ho-vaw')
(the) self-Existent or Eternal;  Jehovah,  Jewish national name of God
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
thy God The Hebrew for God here is  Elohim:  hence of universal application. 
Not  Jehovah only,  for this title would have limited the law only to Israel. 
The emphasis is on thy.  He is the God not merely of the past generations, but of every individual soul in each generation.

"I"  is the Hebrew word anochi,  the God of Israel is the Source not only of power and life, but of consciousness, personality, moral purpose and ethical action.

Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt
The God who saved Israel from slavery had a moral claim,  as their Benefactor and Redeemer,  on their gratitude and obedience. 

The first Commandment is thus an exhortation to acknowledge the sovereignty of God

Or in other words  ‘the taking upon ourselves the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven’.

The primal word of Israel’s Divine Message is the proclamation of the One God as the God of Freedom.

"Let there not be to thee (thou shalt have no) other gods - paanay"

Beyond Me as in Gen 48:22; Ps 16:2
In addition to Me as in Gen 31:50; Deut 19:9
Above, exceed, more excellent Septuagint (LXX)
Before Me Vulgate
By the side of Me Luther

(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This is more than just a proclamation of monotheism. 
It prohibits worshiping or honoring anything before God,

In Thought
In Word or 
In Deed

"that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Col 1:18).
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

SECOND COMMANDMENT Unity and Spirituality of God

Beg of 10 Com
1st Com
3rd Com

20:4 

You shall not make for yourself an idol

Jewish Tradition (based on Talmud, Midrash and Targum) makes v. 3 the beginning of the Second Commandment. 

A graven image
This verse forbids the worship of the One God in the wrong way. 
Judaism alone,  from the very beginning,  taught that God was Spirit;  and made it an unpardonable sin to worship God under any external form that human hands can fashion.

Nor any manner of likeness

1. IN HEAVEN ABOVE In the heavenly bodies; 
such as the ancestors of the Hebrews in Babylonia adored.
2. IN THE EARTH BENEATH In animals, 
such as the Israelites saw the Egyptians worshipping.
3. IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH The monsters of the deep.

As the first commandment forbids the worship of any false god,  seen or unseen,  it is here forbidden to worship an image of any sort, 

whether the figure of a false deity (Josh 23:7) 
or one in any way symbolic of Yahweh (see Ex 32:4).

The spiritual acts of worship were symbolized in the furniture and ritual of the tabernacle and the altar,  and for this end the forms of living things might be employed as in the case of the Cherubim (see Ex 25:18 note):  but the presence of the invisible God was to be marked by no symbol of Himself,  but by His words written on stones, preserved in the ark in the holy of holies and covered by the mercy-seat.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

20:5 

A jealous God
The Hebrew root word for ‘Jealous’, is  kanna.
It designates the just indignation of one injured.
It is used here of the all-requiting righteousness of God.  God desires to be  all in all  to His children,  and claims an exclusive right to their love and obedience.  It is evident that this jealousy of God is of the very essence of His holiness.

Visiting the iniquity of the fathers  upon the children
The Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) does not teach here or elsewhere that the sins of the guilty fathers shall be visited upon their innocent children.  The  soul that sinneth it shall die  proclaims the Prophet Ezekiel.  
The Torah distinctly lays down:

'The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers;  every man shall be put to death for his own sin'
Deuteronomy 24:16

However, human experience all too plainly teaches the moral interdependence of parents and children. The bad example set by a father frequently corrupts those that come after him. 

Another translation of Exodus 20:5 is,  ‘remembering the sins of the fathers unto the children’. 
God remembers the sins of the fathers when about to punish the children.  He takes into account the evil environment and influence.  He,  therefore,  tempers justice and mercy;  and He does so to the third and fourth generation.

Of them that hate me
The Rabbis refer these words to the children. 
The sins of the fathers will be visited upon them,  only if they too transgress God’s commandments.

20:6  

Unto the thousandth generation
Contrast the narrow limits,  three or four generations,  within which the sin is visited,  with the thousand generations that His mercy is shown to those who love God and keep His commandments.

That love me
Note the verb  ‘love’,  used to designate the right attitude to God. 
‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul, and with all thy might’ (Deut. 6:5). 
And from love of God springs obedience to His will.

THIRD COMMANDMENT Against Perjury and Profane Swearing

Beg of 10 Com
2nd Com
4th Com

20:7 

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God

The Second Commandment lays down the duty of worshipping God alone, and worshipping Him in spirit and not through images.  The Third Commandment forbids us to dishonor God by invoking His name to attest what is untrue,  or by joining His name to anything frivolous or insincere.  This is much more important than the mere mispronunciation of the Name.

Take the name of the LORD

There are two schools of thought on using the name of the LORD in swearing an oath:

When you swear an oath using the name of God, you must keep the oath
Do not swear by the name of God under any circumstances

God is holy and His Name is holy
His Name,  therefore,  must not be used profanely to testify to anything that is untrue,  insincere or empty.  We are to swear by God’s Name,  only when we are fully convinced of the truth of our declaration,  and then only when we are required to do so in a Court of law.  (Rabbi Hertz)

Our translators make the Third commandment bear upon  any  profane and idle utterance of the name of God.
Others give it the sense, "Thou shalt not swear falsely by the name of Jehovah thy God."
The Hebrew word which answers to  "in vain"  may be rendered either way.  The two abuses of the sacred name seem to be distinguished in Lev 19:12 (see Matt 5:33).  Our King James Version is probably right in giving the rendering which is more inclusive.  The caution that a breach of this commandment incurs guilt in the eyes of Yahweh is especially appropriate,  in consequence of the ease with which the temptation to take God's name "in vain"  besets people in their common conversation with each other
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Lev 19:12
And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the L
ORD.   (KJV)

Matt 5:33-37
(3)   "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago,  'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'  (34)  But I tell you,  Do not swear at all:  either by heaven,  for it is God's throne;  (35)  or by the earth,  for it is his footstool;  or by Jerusalem,  for it is the city of the Great King.  (36)  And do not swear by your head,  for you cannot make even one hair white or black.  (37)  Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,'  and your 'No,' 'No';  anything beyond this comes from the evil one.   (NIV)

Will not hold him guiltless
In other words  will not leave him unpunished.  Perjury is an unpardonable offense,  which,  unless repressed by severest penalties, would destroy human society.  The Essenes,  a Jewish Sect in the days of the Second Temple (70 AD),  held that  ‘he who cannot be believed without swearing is already condemned;. ‘Let thy yea be yea, and thy nay, nay,’ says the Talmud.  (Rabbi Hertz)

Whatever the person himself may think or hope,  however he may plead in his own behalf,  and say he intends no evil, etc.,  if he in any of the above ways,  or in any other way,  takes the name of God in vain,  God will not hold him guiltless - he will account him guilty and punish him for it.  Is it necessary to say to any truly spiritual mind,  that all such interjections as  O God!  My God!  Good God!  Good Heavens!  etc., etc.,  are formal positive breaches of this law?  How many who pass for Christians are highly criminal here!
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

What Jesus said about the oath
Matt 5:33-37

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' 
But I tell you,  Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."   (
NIV)
FOURTH COMMANDMENT The Sabbath

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Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy

Exodus 20:8-11
(8)    Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
(9)    Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
(10)  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
(11)  For in six days the L
ORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
KJV
A. 20:8 To be remembered and kept by man
B. 20:9 The six days for man’s work Man (command)
C. 20:10 Seventh for man’s rest
B. 20:11a The six days for Jehovah’s work
C. 20:11a-b Seventh for Jehovah’s rest God (reason)
A. 20:11b Sabbath blessed and hallowed by Jehovah

20:8 

Remember
The Institution was well known to the Israelites,  long before their manna experiences.  The Rabbis explain ‘Remember the Sabbath day’  to mean,  Bear it in mind and prepare for its advent; think of it day by day, and speak of its holiness and sanctifying influence.  They instated the Kiddush prayer,  praising God for the gift of the Sabbath,  to celebrate its coming in;  and the Havdalah blessing,  praising God for the distinction between the Sabbath and the six weekdays,  to mark its going out.

Sabbath Day
Hebrew  shabbath,  from a root meaning  desisting from work.
In addition to being a day of rest,  the Sabbath is to be  ‘a holy day,  set apart for the building up of the spiritual element in man’ (Philo).

From the history of the creation that had been handed down,  Israel must have known,  that after God had created the world in six days He rested the seventh day,  and by His resting sanctified the day  (Gen 2:3).  But hitherto there had been no commandment given to man to sanctify the day.  This was given for the first time to Israel at Sinai,  after preparation had been made for it by the fact that the manna did not fall on the seventh day of the week  (Ex 16:22).  Here therefore the mode of sanctifying it was established for the first time.  The seventh day was to be shabaat  (a festival-keeper, see Ex 16:23),  i.e.,  a day of rest belonging to the Lord,  and to be consecrated to Him by the fact that no work was performed upon it.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

20:9 

Shalt thou labor
The Hebrew accent  zarka  marks this word for emphasis:  implying that the fourth Commandment is twofold,  and no seventh-day rest can be really enjoyed without,  or apart from,  the six days of labor.  The Rabbis state that as idleness invariably leads to evil thought and evil deeds so that no man or woman,  howsoever rich,  is freed from the obligation of doing some work.

The proportion of one day’s rest in seven has been justified by the experience of the last 3,000 years. 
Physical health suffers without such relief.
The first French Republic rejected the one day in seven,  and ordained a rest of one day in ten.  The experiment was a complete failure.

20:10 

Thou shalt not do any manner of work
Scripture does not give a list of labors forbidden on Sabbath;  but it incidentally mentions

field-labor
buying and selling
traveling
cooking
cleaning
etc., as forbidden work.  The Mishna enumerates under thirty-nine different heads all such acts as are in Jewish Law defined as  ‘work’,  and,  therefore,  not to be performed on the Sabbath day;  such as ploughing,  reaping,  carrying loads,  kindling a fire,  writing,  sewing, etc.

All these Sabbath laws, however, are suspended as soon as there is the least danger to human life.  The Commandments of God are to promote life and well-being,  a principle based on Lev. 18:5  ‘and these are the precepts of the Lord by which ye shall live’.

The observance of the Sabbath,  by being adopted into the decalogue,  was made the foundation of all the festal times and observances of the Israelites,  as they all culminated in the Sabbath rest.  At the same time,  as an  entolee' tou' no'mou,  an ingredient in the Sinaitic law,  it belonged to the  "shadow of (good) things to come" (Col 2:17, cf. Heb 10:1),  which was to be done away when the  "body"  in Christ had come.  Christ is Lord of  the Sabbath (Matt 12:8),  and after the completion of His work,  He also rested on the Sabbath.  But He rose again on the Sunday;  and through His resurrection,  which is the pledge to the world of the fruits of His redeeming work, He has made this day the kuriakee' heeme'ra (Lord's day)  for His Church,  to be observed by it till the Captain of its salvation shall return,  and having finished the judgment upon all His foes to the very last shall lead it to the rest of that eternal Sabbath,  which God prepared for the whole creation through His own resting after the completion of the heaven and the earth
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

What Jesus said about the Sabbath:
Matt 12:2-8

The Pharisees said: 
"Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath." 
He answered, 
"Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He entered the house of God,  and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread - which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.  Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?   I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.  If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.  For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." 
(NIV)

Matt 12:2-8

The Pharisees said: 
"Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" 
He said to them,
"If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath,  will you not take hold of it and lift it out?  How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!  Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." 
(NIV)

Mark 2:24-28

The Pharisees said: 
"Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" 
Then he said to them,
"Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?   In the days of Abiathar the high priest,  he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread,  which is lawful only for priests to eat.  And he also gave some to his companions.  The Sabbath was made for man,  not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." 
(NIV)

Luke 13:14-16

The synagogue ruler said to the people,
"There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days,  not on the Sabbath." 
The Lord answered him, 
"You hypocrites!  Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham,  whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years,  be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" 
(NIV)
FIFTH COMMANDMENT Honor of Parents

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Honor your father and your mother

Exodus 20:12
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
KJV

This Commandment follows the Sabbath command,  because:

The Sabbath is the source and the guarantor of the family life; 
And it is among the Commandments engraved on the First Tablet,  the laws of piety towards God,  because parents stand in the place of God,  so far as their children are concerned.

See Lev. 19:3

20:12 

This completes the first five, and ends with  “promise” (Eph. 6:2). 
These five, that relate to piety, are thus separated from the five that relate to probity.  The first and fifth begin and end the five with honor to God,  and to our parents whom He honors.  They have nothing to do with our “neighbors”.

Respect to parents is among the primary human duties; and no excellence can atone for the lack of such respect.

Fellow-men or neighbors (reea`) are to be loved (Lev 19:18):  parents, on the other hand,  are to be honored and feared;  reverence is to be shown to them with heart,  mouth,  and hand - in thought, word, and deed.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The fifth commandment concerns the duties we owe to our relations;  those of children to their parents are alone specified:  Honor thy father and thy mother, which includes:

1. A decent respect to their persons.
An inward esteem of them outwardly expressed upon all occasions in our conduct towards them.  Fear them (Lev 19:3), give them reverence, Heb 12:9.  The contrary to this is mocking at them and despising them, Prov 30:17.
2. Obedience to their lawful commands.
So it is expounded (Eph 6:1-3):  "Children, obey your parents, come when they call you, go where they send you, do what they bid you, refrain from what they forbid you; and this, as children, cheerfully, and from a principle of love."  Though you have said,  "We will not,"  yet afterwards repent and obey,  Matt 21:29.
3. Submission to their rebukes, instructions, and corrections.
Not only to the good and gentle,  but also to the froward,  out of conscience towards God.
4. Disposing of themselves with the advice, direction, and consent, of parents.
Not alienating their property,  but with their approbation.
5. Endeavoring,  in every thing,  to be the comfort of their parents.
And to make their old age easy to them,  maintaining them if they stand in need of support,  which our Savior makes to be particularly intended in this commandment,  Matt 15:4-6.

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

That thy days may be long
Eph 6:2
Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  (KJV)

And the promise,  "that thy days may be long (thou mayest live long) in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee," also points to this.
There is a double promise here.

So long as the nation rejoiced in the possession of obedient children,  it was assured of a long life or existence in the land of Canaan.
The promise of a long life, i.e.,  a great age,  to individuals (cf. Deut 6:2; 22:7),  just as we find in 1 Kings 3:14  a good old age referred to as a special blessing from God.  In Deut 5:16,  the promise of long life is followed by the words, "and that it may be well with thee."

(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

THE SECOND TABLE
DUTIES TOWARDS FELLOW-MEN

The first five Commandments have each an explanatory addition;  the last five are brief and emphatic. Our relation to our neighbors requires no education;  since we feel the wrongs which others do to us,  we have a clear guide how we ought to act towards others.  These duties have their root in the principle  ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’’,  applied to life,  house,  property  and  honor.

The 6th, 7th, and 8th commandments forbid us to injure our neighbor in Deed
The 9th commandment forbid us to injure our neighbor in Word
The 10th commandment forbid us to injure our neighbor in Thought
Exodus 20:13-17
(13)  Thou shalt not kill.
(14)  Thou shalt not commit adultery.
(15)  Thou shalt not steal.
(16)  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
(17)  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
KJV
SIXTH COMMANDMENT Sanctity of Human Life

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20:13 

You shall not murder

The infinite worth of human life is based on the fact that man is created  ‘in the image of God’.
God alone gives life,  and He alone may take it away.  The intentional killing of any human being,  apart from capital punishment legally imposed by a judicial tribunal,  or in a war for the defense of national and human rights,  is absolutely forbidden.  Child life is as sacred as that of an adult.
‘It is a crime among the Jews to kill any child,’ sneered the Roman historian Tacitus.  (Rabbi Hertz)

Hebrew law carefully distinguishes homicide from willful murder.
It saves the involuntary slayer of his fellow-man from vendetta  (See cities of refuge);  and does not permit composition,  or money-fine,  for the life of the murderer.

The reference here is to the unlawful taking of life by suicide or homicide, but not to capital punishment for capital crimes (see Gen. 9:6), nor the taking of life in self-defense or lawful war.

It forbids all violence,  
passion,  
lust, 
intemperance in eating or drinking,  
and any other habit which tends to shorten life.

So far as the more spiritual import is concerned

It interdicts envy,  
revenge,  
hatred,  
malice 
or sinful anger, 
all that provokes to wrath or murder.

See Matthew 5:21-26, 38-48; 1 John 3:15-17. 
(Gray, James M. (James Martin), 1851-1935. Home Bible Study Commentary. Copyright (c)1985 by Kregel Publications, a division of Kregel, Inc. All rights reserved. Ellis Maxima Bible Library)

What Jesus said about murder
Matt 5:21-22

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago,  'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."  (NIV)
SEVENTH COMMANDMENT Sanctity of Marriage

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20:14

You shall not commit adultery

Adultery ‘Is an execrable and God-detested wrong-doing’ (Philo). 
This Commandment against infidelity warns husband and wife alike against profaning the sacred Covenant of Marriage.  

It involves the prohibition of

immoral speech, 
immodest conduct, or 
association with persons who scoff at the sacredness of purity.

What Jesus said about adultery
Matthew 5:27,28

"You have heard that it was said,  'Do not commit adultery.'  
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. 

"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'  
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. 
(NIV)

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT Sanctity of Property

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20:15

You shall not steal

Adultery ‘Is an execrable and God-detested wrong-doing’ (Philo). 
This Commandment against infidelity warns husband and wife alike against profaning the sacred Covenant of Marriage.  

It involves the prohibition of

immoral speech, 
immodest conduct, or 
association with persons who scoff at the sacredness of purity.

What Jesus said about adultery
Matthew 5:27,28

"You have heard that it was said,  'Do not commit adultery.'  
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. 

"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'  
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. 
(NIV)

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT Sanctity of Property

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20:15

You shall not steal

Property represents the fruit of industry and intelligence.  Any aggression on the property of our neighbor is, therefore,  an assault on his human personality.  This Commandment also has a wider application than theft and robbery;  and it forbids every illegal acquisition of property by cheating,  by embezzlement or forgery.

All rapine and theft are forbidden by this precept;  national and commercial wrongs as well as petty larceny,  highway robberies,  and private stealing:  even the taking advantage of a seller's or buyer's ignorance,  to give one less and make the other pay more for a commodity than its worth,  is a breach of this sacred law.  
All withholding of rights and doing of wrongs are against the spirit of it.  
But the word is principally applicable to clandestine stealing,  though it may undoubtedly include all political injustice and private wrongs.  
And consequently all kidnapping,  crimping,  and slave-dealing are prohibited here,  whether practiced by individuals or by the state.  Crimes are not lessened in their demerit by the number,  or political importance of those who commit them.  A state that enacts bad laws is as criminal before God as the individual who breaks good ones.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

NINTH COMMANDMENT Against Bearing False Witness

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20:16

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor

The three preceding Commandments are concerned with wrong inflicted upon our neighbor by actual deed
this Commandment is concerned with wrong inflicted by word of mouth.

The prohibition embraces all forms of slander,  defamation and misrepresentation,  whether of an individual,  a group,  a people,  a race,  or a Faith.  In this Commandment,  as in all moral precepts in the Torah,  the Hebrew word neighbor is equivalent to fellowman.

Not only false oaths, to deprive a man of his life or of his right, are here prohibited, but

all whispering
tale-bearing
slander
a misrepresentation intended to blacken another's reputation
in a word, whatever is deposed as a truth,  which is false in fact,  and tends to injure another in his goods,  person, or character,  is against the spirit and letter of this law. 
Suppressing the truth when known,  by which a person may be defrauded of his property or his good name,  or lie under injuries or disabilities which a discovery of the truth would have prevented,  is also a crime against this law. He who bears a false testimony against or belies even the devil himself,  comes under the curse of this law,  because his testimony is false.  
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Neighbor
By the term "neighbor" any human being is intended, whether he rank among our enemies or friends.

What Jesus said about our neighbor
Matt 5:43-45

You have heard that it was said
'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
But I tell you: 
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you   (NIV)

Matt 22:35-40

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 
Jesus replied: 
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Luke 10:29-37

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus,
"And who is my neighbor?" 
In reply Jesus said: 
"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,  when he fell into the hands of robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 
So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 
But a Samaritan,  as he traveled,  came where the man was; and when he saw him,  he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  Then he put the man on his own donkey,  took him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper.  'Look after him,'  he said,  'and when I return,  I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' 
Jesus asked:
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 
The expert in the law replied,
"The one who had mercy on him." 
Jesus told him,
"Go and do likewise."
TENTH COMMANDMENT Against Covetous Desires

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20:17

You shall not covet

Thy neighbor’s house General
Wife, servant, maid Particular
Ox and ass Particular
Anything that is thy neighbor’s General

Don’t long for the possession of anything that we cannot get in an honest and legal manner. 
This Commandment goes to the root of all evil actions - the unholy instincts and impulses of predatory desire,  which are the spring of nearly every sin against a neighbor.

The man who does not covet his neighbor’s goods
Will not bear false witness against him.
Will not rob him.
Will not murder him.
Will not commit adultery against him.

It commands self-control;  for every man has it in his power to determine whether his desires are to master him,  or he is to master his desires.  Without such self-control there can be no worthy human life;  it alone is the measure of true manhood or womanhood.

20:18-19      The effect of the revelation

An example of the rhetorical figure called zeugma,  by which a verb is used with two or more objects,  some of which should strictly be governed by another verb.  As soon as the people heard the thunder and saw the lightning (19:16,19)  they trembled,  even before the Commandments were given.

From Deut 5:28  we learn that God promised to send   “Him that speaketh from heaven."

Deut 5:28
The LORD heard you when you spoke to me and the LORD said to me, "I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good.   (NIV)

20:21-23:33                      GENERAL LAWS

20:-21-26 God:  Worship (Canaanites and Commands)
21:1-22:17 Man (Persons and Property)
22:18-20 God: Worship (Witchcraft)
22:21-28 Man (Oppression and Property)
22:29-31 God: Worship (Offerings)
23:1-9 Man (Falsehood and Oppression)
23:10-19a God:  Worship (Sabbaths and Feasts)
23:-19b Man (Treatment of Animals)
23:20-33 God: Worship (Canaanites and Commands)

20:19 - 23:33          

The Book of the Covenant
This section is a body of miscellaneous laws-civil,  criminal,  moral and religious. 
Nothing could be more appropriate for the opening of such a collection of laws than regulations for public worship.

20:19-23
How God is to be worshipped

20:23 

Make with me - gods
The regulations concerning worship begin by repeating the prohibition of idol-worship,  even if the idol be of silver or gold.  The incident of the Golden Calf shows that such repetition was far from unnecessary.

20:24 

An altar of earth
Not even an altar of stone is essential for worshipping God. 

In every place
Refers to the different places at which the Tabernacle rested,  from the entry of the Israelites into Canaan to the erection of the Temple by Solomon. 

I  record my name 
(to be mentioned)
To mention or remember the name of God,  means to worship Him,  See Ps. 20:7,8 and Isa. 26:13.

Psalm 20:7 & 8
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.      (NIV)

Isa 26:13
O LORD, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone do we honor.       (NIV)
The Judgments     Exodus 21:1-23:33

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21:1-22:17        MAN:   Persons and Property

A 21:1-32 Persons
B 21:33-22:15 Property
A 22:16,17 Persons

21:1-32            LAWS:     Relating to Persons

A 21:1-11 Servitude
B 21:12-14 Violence
C 21:15 Parents (Smiting)
A 21:16 Servitude
C 21:17 Parents (Cursing)
B 21:18-32 Violence

21:18-32         VIOLENCE:  Relating to Persons

A 21:18,19 Man
B 21:20,21 Servants
C 21:22 Men and Women
A 21:23-25 Man
B 21:26, 27 Servants
C 21:28-32 Men and Women

21:24, 25        EYE FOR EYE

These laws made prisons unnecessary,  and prevented crime.

21:33-22:15    LAWS:   As to Property

A 21:33-36 Carelessness (Pit. Oxen)
B 22:1-5 Dishonesty (Theft)
A 22:6 Carelessness (Fire)
B 22:7-15 Dishonesty (Trusts)

22:18             WITCH or SPIRITUALIST

Medium to or from,  from root to mutter,  as to some demon. 
This enactment shows the reality of intercourse with evil spirits (angels) and demons. 
See Lev. 19:26,31; 20:27; Deut. 18:9-14.

23:1-9           LAWS:  As to Man

A 23:1,2 Falsehood
B 23:3 Cause of poor man
C 23:4,5 Enemy Assistance
B 23:6 Cause of poor man
A 23:7,8 Falsehood
C 23:9 Stranger Oppression

23:10-19-      GOD:   Laws of His Worship

A 23:10-12 Time Six and seven of years and days
B 23:13 False worship (Positive and Negative)
A 23:14-17 Time Three feasts in year
B 23:18,19 True worship (Negative and Positive)

23:13           

Be circumspect
Take heed.

23:20-33     GOD:    Worship    (Canaanites and Commands)

A 23:20 Promise I will
B 23:21,22 Command Thou shalt
A 23:23 Promise I will
B 23:24,25a Command Thou shalt not
A 23:25a-31 Promise I will
B 23:32,33 Command Thou shalt
Ratification Of The Covenant     Exodus 24:1-18

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24:1 

And unto Moses  He said
After the Decalogue had been proclaimed in the hearing of the entire people,  Moses again ascended the mountain (20:18),  and received the commandments which form the Book of the Covenant  (20:19-23:33). 
God commanded Moses to place these laws before the people,  and then come to the mountain with Aaron,  Nadab,  and Abihu,  and seventy elders (24:1),  though he alone was to ascend the mountain (v.2). 

24:2 

And Moses alone
The abrupt change from the second to the third person is common in Hebrew;  but its purpose here is to make it perfectly explicit that only Moses was to  ‘come near unto the Lord’,  to go within the cloud  (v. 15).

24:5 

The young men
Onkelos
renders,  ‘the first-born,’  in agreement with the Talmudical statement that before the institution of the priesthood,  the duty of offering sacrifice devolved upon the firstborn. 
‘Only the firstborn sons of the seventy elders can here be intended’  (Ibn Ezra).

24:6 

Half of the blood
Was to be sprinkled upon the people,  and the other half poured against the altar,  which symbolized God. 
The two contracting parties to the Covenant were by this ceremony united by a solemn bond.

24:7 

Book of the Covenant
According to Rabbi Rashi,  this means Genesis and the first half of Exodus. 
More probably it was the Decalogue and chapters 20:19-23:33 of Exodus. 
They are the Torah in epitome. 

The people
Thus pledging them to their part of the covenant,  which was thereby made conditional;  unlike that with Abraham in Gen. 15,  which was unconditional.

 

End of Lesson Four


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