ments to endeavour all lawful ways for its preservation. And,
VER. 23.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 473
Obs. IV. It is well when any thing of eminence in our children cloth
so engage our affections unto them, as to make them useful and sub-
servient unto diligence in disposing of them unto the glory of God.
Otherwise a fondness in parents, arising from the natural endowments
of children, is usually hurtful, and oftentimes ruinous unto the one and
Fourthly. The principle of their actings for his preservation, in hiding
of him, as also in the means afterwards used, was their ' faith,' ttiotu.
But how, and on what grounds, they acted faith herein, must be in-
quired into. And,
1. I take it for granted, that they had no special particular revela-
tion concerning the life and work of this child. There is no mention
of any such thing, nor was it needful for the acting of faith in this mat-
ter ; and the manner of their deportment in the whole, manifests that
they had no such revelation.
2. They had a firm faith of the deliverance of the people out of
bondage in the appointed season. This they had an express promise
for, and were newly engaged in the belief of it by the witness given
unto it by Joseph, and his charge on them to carry his bones with
them. And with respect hereunto it is, that they are said ' not to fear
the king's command,' ovk Â£0oâ‚¬r)3 - tjcrav to Siaray/Jia tov fiaaiXeojg, which
is the effect of their faith, in the close of the verse, which may now be
It was a Siarayjua, 'an ordinance, a statute, an edict,' which had
the force of a standing law ; and that established by the king, with the
counsel of the kingdom, as is declared, Exod. i. 9â€”11. And this law
lay directly against the accomplishment of the promise. For it aimed
at the extirpation of the whole race, so as that there should have
remained none to be delivered. As the historian says of that company
of men who founded Rome, ' Res unius aetatis respublica virorum,'
1 A commonwealth of men only, without women, would have been but
the matter of one age,' it must have expired for want of posterity. So
if all the male children of the Hebrews had perished according to this
law, in one age more the nation would have been extinct. This the
parents of Moses feared not : they knew the promise of God for their
preservation, multiplication, and deliverance should take place, notwith-
standing all the laws of men, and the highest rage in their execution.
And so they s1k.11 be at this day, let men make what laws they please,
and execute them with all the subtlety and rage they think meet. As
this counsel of Pharaoh and his people is reported for a wise and subtle
contrivance, with respect unto the end aimed at, Exod. i. 9, 10; Acts
vii. 17 â€” 19. However, they put in one word into their law, that made
it, ipso facto, null and ineffectual. This was, that they should not
multiply in Egypt ; for God having promised unto Abraham that he
would multiply his seed, and expressly unto Jacob, that he would do it
in Egypt, Gen. xlvi. 3, it utterly made void this law from its first
enacting, whereby it became successless. And so is it with all laws,
and so shall it finally be with them that are made against any of the
promises of God unto the church.
Yea, it is probable that about this time, or not lonÂ«- after, when God
had fulfilled his design in this law, which was in part the disposal of
474 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
Moses unto such an education as might prepare him and make him, as
unto natural qualifications, meet for the work he would call him unto,
that there was some remission of bloody cruelty in the execution of it.
For it was eighty years after the birth of Moses, before the deliverance
of the people, in which time they multiplied exceedingly, so as that this
law could not have been executed. The force of it probably was broken
in this preservation of Moses, God having, in his miraculous deliverance,
given a pledge of what he would do in the whole people.
3. They had also a persuasion that God would provide a person who
should be the means of their deliverance, and who should conduct them
from their bondage. This Moses himself apprehended when he slew
the Egyptian, and began to judge that he himself might be the person,
Acts vii. 24, 25. And although afterwards he judged himself unmeet
for to be employed in that work, yet still he retained his persuasion,
that God had designed some certain person unto that employment, and
that he would send him in his appointed time. Hence was that prayes
of his when God began to call him unto his work : ' O my Lord, senc
I pray thee by the hand of him whom thou wilt send,' Exod. iv. 13
One he was sure he would send, but prayed that he might not be the
man. Now the parents of Moses having this persuasion deeply fixec
in them, and being raised by their distresses unto desires and expecta-
tions of his coming, beholding the unusual divine beauty of their child,
might well be raised unto some just hopes, that God had designed him
unto that great work. They had no special revelation of it, but they
had such an intimation of some great end God had designed him unto,
as that they could not but say, Who knows but that God may have pre-
pared this child for that end ? And sometimes, as unto the event of
things, faith riseth no higher but unto such an interrogation, as Joel ii.
Fifthly. Their faith was eminent in this, that in the discharge of
their duty they feared not the king's edict. There is no mention of any
thing in the order, but that every male child should be cast into the
river, Exod. i. 22. But it is generally and rationally apprehended, that
they were forbid to conceal their children on the pain of death. This
they were not so afraid of as to neglect their duty. And the fear which
they had was not from their own danger, which faith carried them above,
but only as to the life of the child. This made them change their me-
thod, and when they could no longer conceal him in the house, to com-
mit him unto the providence of God in an ark, and to wait what would
be the event thereof. And the issue did quickly manifest, that they
were led therein by a secret instinct and conduct of divine providence.
There is no ground, therefore, to charge the parents of Moses herein
with either undue fear or failing in faith. For as unto what concerned
themselves or their own lives in the king's edict, they feared it not, as
the apostle affirms. And such a fear as a solicitous care about the
child's life must needs produce, is inseparable from our nature in such
cases, and not blameable. Neither was their change of method from
want of faith, but rather an effect and fruit of it. For when one lawful
way of preservation from persecution, oppression, and cruelty, will not
secure us any longer, it is our duty to betake ourselves unto some other
VER. 24 â€” J3G.J EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 175
which is more likely so to do. For faith worketh by trust in God,
while we are in the use of lawful means. And we have here an evident
Obs. V. The rage of men and the faith of the church shall work out
the accomplishment of God's counsels and promises, unto his glory,
from under all perplexities and difficulties that may arise in opposition
unto it. So they did in this instance in an eminent manner.
Ver. 24 â€” 26. â€” IltoTEt Mw(7i|C Lieyag ytvofxtvog rjpvijo-aro \tyecrZai
viog Svyarpog tpapaW p.aWov IXo^uvog crvyKciKOv\Â£t(T<$ai tw Aa<^Â»
tov Osou, rj Trpocricaipov Â£\eiv iiLiapTiag cnroXavcriv' pti^ova ttXovtov
-iiy^aatievog rtov sv AiyvTrroj ^rjcraupwv tov ovttotcr/uov tov Xptarou"
a7TÂ£â‚¬AÂ£7TÂ£ yap Â£tQ TX]V ilKT^aTToEodiav.
Mtyag yevofxtvog. Syr. K"Qa N"ffT *ra, ' When he was now a man.'
Other considerable variations in translations there are none.
Ver. 24 â€” 26. â€” By faith Moses when he was come- to years, (being
grown up) refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ;
choosing rather to suffer affliction ivith the people of God, than to
enjoy the pleasures of sm for a season, (the transitory pleasure of
sin,) esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the trea-
sures of Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompence of reward.
This example is great and signal. The apostle, as we showed be-
fore, takes his instances from the three states of the church under the
old testament. The first was that which was constituted in the giving of
the first promise, continuing to the call of Abraham. Herein his first
instance is that of Abel, in whose sacrifice the faith of that state of the
church was first publicly professed, and by whose martyrdom it was
con fumed. The next state had its beginning and confirmation in the
call of Abraham, with the covenant made with him and the token
thereof. He therefore is the second great instance on the roll of testi-
monies. The constitution and consecration of the third state of the
church was in giving of the law ; and herein an instance is given in the
lawgiver himself. All to manifest, that whatever outward variations the
church was liable to, and passed under, yet faith and the promises were
the same, of the same efficacy and power under them all.
The person then here instanced in as one that lived by faith, is Moses,
rhara Mwctjjc- And an eminent instance it is to his purpose, especially
in his dealing with the Hebrews, and that on sundry accounts.
1. Of his person. None was ever in the old world more signalized
by Providence in his birth, education, and actions, than he was. Hence
his renown was both then and in all ages after very great in the world.
The report and estimation of his acts and wisdom, were famous among
all the nations of the earth. Vet this person lived and acted, and did
all his works by faith.
\l. Of his great work, which was the typical redemption of the church.
A work it was, great in itself; so God expresseth it to be, and such as
was never wrought in the earth before, Dcut. iv. 32 â€” 34. Vet greater
476 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
in the typical respect which it had to the eternal redemption of the
church by Jesus Christ.
3. On the account of his office. He was the lawgiver, whence it is
manifest, that the law is not opposite to faith, seeing the lawgiver him-
self lived thereby.
Obs. I. Whatever be the privileges of any, whatever be their work
or office, it is by faith alone that they must live to God, and obtain ac-
ceptance with him. The lawgiver himself was justified by faith.
There are three things in general in the words, setting forth the faith
1. What he did in matter of fact, whereby his faith was evidenced,
2. The interpretation of what he so did, by the nature and conse-
quents of it, ver. 25.
3. The ground and reason whereon he so acted and exercised his
faith, ver. 26.
1. In the first of these the first thing expressed is the time or season,
or the condition wherein he thus acted his faith. Say we, ' When he
was come to years,' not accurately. Mtyag yevo/xevog, Cum esset gran-
dis, cum grandis factus esset, ' when he became great.' Syr. ' When
he was a man.' But the word may respect either state and condition,
or time of life and stature. To become great, is, in the Scripture and
common speech, to become so in wealth, riches, or power, Gen xxiv.
35, xxvi. 13. And so was it now with Moses. He was come to
wealth, power, and honour in the court of Pharaoh ; and a respect
hereunto seems to set forth the greatness of his self-denial, which is the
eminent fruit of his faith that is here commended. He did this when
he was great in the court of the king.
But although this be true materially, and hath an especial influence
into the commendation of the faith of Moses, yet is it not intended in
this expression. For, having declai'ed the faith of his parents, and the
providence of God towards him in his infancy, in the foregoing verses ;
the apostle here shows what was his own way and acting after he grew
up to years of understanding. So fxsyag, is used for one that is grown
up to be sui juris, or to be a man ; vvv srru Â§Â»j fxeyag ufxi, Horn. Od. ii.
ver. 314. 'I was an infant,' saith Telemachus, 'but now I am grown
up,' or grown great. It is grandis absolutely in Latin, though grandis
natu be one stricken in years. At ego nunc grandis, hunc grandem
natu ad carnificinam dabo ; Plaut. Capt. Being grown up, being grown
a man. Ciim adoleverit, 'when he was grownup,' that is, come to
years of understanding, to act the duty whereunto he was called.
Most expositors suppose this expresseth the time when he was forty
years of age. For they refer the refusal to be called the son of Pha-
raoh's daughter, to that act of his in slaying the Egyptian, which was
when he was full forty years old, Acts vii. 23. And there is counte-
nance given hereunto from what is affirmed, Exod. ii. ] 1. ' And it came
to pass, in those days, after Moses was grown up, that he went out
unto his brethren,' where the Hebrew, rrffitt bli"\ is rendered by the
LXX. fxsyag yevo/uevog, the words here used by the apostle.
But although that time and fact be also included herein, yet the
VER. 24â€”26.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 477
whole duty cannot be confined thereunto. For as it was an act of faith,
Moses had in his mind long before refused to be called the son of Pha-
raoh's daughter, that is, to renounce his own people, and to join himself
to the Egyptians. Wherefore the largest and most comprehensive in-
terpretation of the words, suits best with the sense of the place or mind
of the Holy Spirit therein. According as he grew up in stature and un-
derstanding, he acted faith in the duties whereunto he was called. For
the story mentioned by Josephus, of what he did in his infancy, by
trampling on the crown of the king, when he would have placed it on
his head, is undoubtedly fabulous. And,
Obs. II. It is good to fill up every age and season with the duties
which are proper thereunto. And it is the duty of all that are young,
that according as by time and instruction they come to the knowledge
of what is required of them, they apply themselves vigorously and
diligently thereunto. â€” Not as is the manner of the most, whose inclina-
tions to serve their lusts grow with their years and stature.
2. What he did at that season is declared as the first effect, fruit, and
indication of his faith. ' He refused to be called the son of Pharoah's
Three things are here to be inquired into.
1. How and on what account he was esteemed, and commonly called
the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
2. How and by what means he came to know that he was of another
stock and race.
3. How did he refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
First. For the first, vlog SvyarpoQ Qapaio, it is manifest from the
story, Exod. ii. that when Pharaoh's daughter found him in the river
and saved his life, she gave orders to his mother who appeared for a
nurse, that she should nurse him for hers, ver. 9, and she would pay
her wages. Herein she owned it to be hers, or took the care of it on
herself. But this she might do, and yet esteem and keep it only as a
servant. So servus is called a servando. She saved him, and he was
hers. But when he was weaned his mother carried him home to her,
she having probably often seen him in the meantime. And it must be
acknowledged, that there was no less danger herein, no less a trial of
the faith of his parents than when they put him into an ark of bulrushes
and set him floating on the river. For to carry a tender infant, proba-
bly about three years of age, to be bred in an idolatrous persecuting
court, was no less dangerous to his soul and eternal condition, than the
exposing of him in the river was to his natural life. But there is no
doubt his parents, who were true believers, Mere now satisfied that in
all these wonderful passages concerning him, there was some extraor-
dinary design of providence working effectually for some especial divine
end. They resolved therefore to comply with the conduct thereof, and
leave him to the sovereign care and disposal of God. And this, by the
way, gives not the least countenance to those parents who, for gain or
advantage, or to please their humour, will dispose their children to per-
sons, ways, places, employments, wherein they cannot avoid dangerous
and inextricable temptations.
But when Moses was thus brought to the court to Pharaoh's daugh-
478 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
ter, it is said, ' he became her son.' It is probable she had no other
child, whether she were married or not. Wherefore being inclined both
in her affection for the child who was beautiful, and by the marvellous
manner of her finding and saving of him, by the consent of her father,
she solemnly adopted him to be her son, and consequently the heir of
all her honour and riches, which ensued on adoption. Hereon she
gave him his name, as was usual in cases of adoption, taking it from
the first occasion of her owning of him, she called his name Moses,
and she said, ' Because I drew him out of the water.' Whether he had
any other name given him in the house of his parents is uncertain.
This is that which God would have him use, as a perpetual remem-
brance of his deliverance when he was in a helpless condition.
Being thus publicly adopted and owned, he was by all esteemed,
honoured, and called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, without any
respect to his extraction from the Hebrews, though no doubt that also
was commonly known among the Egyptians, though the stories that
Josephus, Philo, Clemens, from Ezekiel Tragicus, tell about him, and
their, fear of him, are justly to be suspected.
Some think that the then present king of Egypt had no child but
that only daughter, whom they called Thermutis, and that this adopted
son of hers was to succeed to the crown ; but this also is uncertain and
improbable. But the secular interest, power, glory, honour, and
wealth which belonged to him by virtue of this adoption, were such as
the apostle calls the treasures in Egypt, then one of the most rich and
populous nations in the world. But,
Secondly. It may be inquired how it was, and by what means, (sup-
posing Moses to be carried to Pharaoh's daughter presently after he
was weaned, and thenceforth brought up in the court,) could he come
to know his stock, race, and kindred, so as on all disadvantages to
cleave to them, to the relinquishment of his new regal relations. I
answer, there were many means thereof, which God made effectual to
1. His circumcision. He found himself circumcised, and so to
belong to the circumcised people. Hereon God instructed him to
inquire into the reason and nature of that distinguishing character.
And so he learned that it was the token of God's covenant with the
people, the posterity of Abraham, of whom he was ; it was a blessed
inlet into the knowledge and fear of the true God. And whatever
is pretended by some to the contrary, it is a most eminent divine privi-
lege, to have the seal of the covenant in baptism communicated to the
children of believers in their infancy ; and a means it hath been to pre-
serve many from fatal apostacies.
2. His nurse, who was his mother, as the custom is in such cases,
was frequently with him, and probably his father also on the same
account. Whether they were ever known to the Egyptians to be his
parents I very much question. But there is no doubt but that they,
being persons truly fearing God, and solicitous about his eternal condi-
tion, did take care to communicate to him the principles of true reli-
gion, with a detestation of the Egyptian idolatries and superstition.
3. The notoriety of the matter of fact was continually before him. It
VER. 24 â€” 26.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 479
was known to all Egypt that he was of an Hebrew extraction, and
now incorporated into the royal family of the Egyptians. Hereon he
considered what these two people were, what was the difference between
them ; and quickly found which of them was the people of God, and
how they came so to be.
By these means his mind was inlaid with the principles of faith and
the true religion, before he was given up to learn the wisdom of the
Egyptians, and before the temptations from wealth, power, and glory
had any influence on his affections. And,
Obs. III. It is a blessed thing to have the principles of true religion
fixed in the minds of children, and their affections engaged to them,
before they are exposed to temptations from learning, wisdom, wealth,
or preferment. â€” And the negligence of most parents herein, who have
none of those difficulties in the discharge of their duty which the
parents of Moses had to conflict withal, is a treachery which they must
be accountable for.
Obs. IV. The token of God's covenant received in infancy being
duly considered, is the most effectual means to preserve persons in the
profession of true religion against apostasy by outward temptations.
Thirdly. Our third inquiry is, how, or when did Moses refuse to be
called ' the son of Pharaoh's daughter,' ^gv^aaro. Some observe that
apveo/nai, signifies sometimes not only to refuse barely, but to reject
with indignation. But there is no need to affix any such signification
to it in this place. The sense of it is determined in the opposite act .of
choosing, mentioned in the next place. Choosing and refusing are
opposite acts of the mind, both of the same kind.
Some restrain this refusal to that act of his in slaying the Egyptian,
wherein he declared that he owned not his alliance to the court of
Egypt. But whereas it is the internal frame and act of his mind that
is here intended, it is not to be confined to any particular outward
action, much less to that which fell not out till he was ' full forty years
old,' Acts vii. 2o, and before which it is said, that he owned the Israel-
ites for his brethren, ' he went out unto his brethren, and looked on
their burdens,' Exod. ii. 11, which he could not do without a resolution
to relinquish his relation to Pharaoh's daughter.
Wherefore this refusal consisted in general in three things. 1. In
the sedate resolution of his mind, not finally to abide and continue in
that state whereinto he was brought by his adoption. And this
was not attained to without great consideration, with great exercise of
faith in prayer, and trust in God. For this refusal was an act and
fruit of faith, of whose power it is here given as an instance. The least
sedate consideration of his circumstances, of what he was, what he was
to leave, what he was to undergo, (whereof in the next verses,) will
evidence^to any what conflicts of mind, what reasonings and fears he
was e^rcised withal ; what self-denial and renunciation of all earthly
advantages he herein engaged into. Herein principally consisted the
refusal which is here celebrated as a fruit and evidence of faith. 2. No
doubt but, as he had occasion, he did converse and confer with his
brethren, not only owning himself to be of their stock and race, but
also of their faith and religion, and to belong to the same covenant.
480 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
3. When there was no longer a consistency between his faith and pro-
fession to be continued with his station in the court, he openly and
fully fell off from all respect to his adoption, and joined himself to the
other people, as we shall see in the following verse. And we may ob-
serve from hence, that,
Obs. V. The work of faith in all ages of the church, as to its nature,
efficacy, and the method of its actings, is uniform and the same. â€” They
had not of old a faith of one kind, and we of another. This in general
is the design of the apostle to prove in this whole chapter. It hath
been varied in its degrees of light by outward revelations, but in itself
from first to last it is still the same. And hereof the instance here
insisted on is a most evident demonstration. The first act of faith
purely evangelical, is self-denial, Matt. xvi. 24 ; Luke ix. 23. And what
greater instance of it, unless it were in Jesus Christ himself, can be
given since the foundation of the world, than in what is here recorded
of Moses ? He was in the quiet possession of all the secular advan-
tages which a man not born of the royal family could enjoy, and perhaps
in a just expectation of them also. He was every way able honourably
to fill up his place and trust in the discharge of all public offices com-
mitted to him. For ' he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyp-
tians, and was mighty in word and deed,' even before he fell off from
the court, Acts vii. 22. Wherefore, his personal eminency above other