Exodus 4:14
(14) The Levite.--Aben-Ezra and Rosenmller think that this was the usual designation of the brother of Moses among the Israelites, who thus distinguished him from other Aarons. But as a distinguishing mark, the term would be superfluous here, since "thy brother" prevented the possibility of any other Aaron being thought of. Probably, the term is a title of honour, the priestly character already attaching to the tribe in God's counsels.

I know that he can speak well.--Heb., I know that speaking he can speak. Facility of utterance, rather than excellence of speech, is intended.

And also, i.e., not only does his ready speech make him a suitable person to appoint, but he is coming to join thee, so that he and thou may arrange your respective parts at once.

Verse 14. - The anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. The expression used is a strong one, but does not perhaps here mean more than that God was displeased. At least, he did not punish the offender in any severer way than by the withholding of a gift that he was ready to bestow, and the partition between two of a position and a dignity which Moses might have had all to himself. Perhaps diffidence and self-distrust, even when out of place, are not altogether abhorrent to One whose creatures are continually offending him by presumption and arrogance. Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know, etc. This translation is wrong. The two clauses form one sentence, and should be rendered, "Do I not know that Aaron the Levite, thy brother, speaks well?" Aaron's designation as "the Levite" is remarkable, and seems to glance at the future consecration of his tribe to God's especial service. Behold, he cometh forth to meet thee. It has been conjectured that Aaron designed to visit Moses in Midian, in order to convey to him the intelligence that the king who had sought his life (Exodus 2:15) was dead. He did not, however, start on the journey till God gave him a special direction (ver. 27).

4:10-17 Moses continued backward to the work God designed him for; there was much of cowardice, slothfulness, and unbelief in him. We must not judge of men by the readiness of their discourse. A great deal of wisdom and true worth may be with a slow tongue. God sometimes makes choice of those as his messengers, who have the least of the advantages of art or nature, that his grace in them may appear the more glorious. Christ's disciples were no orators, till the Holy Spirit made them such. God condescends to answer the excuse of Moses. Even self-diffidence, when it hinders us from duty, or clogs us in duty, is very displeasing to the Lord. But while we blame Moses for shrinking from this dangerous service, let us ask our own hearts if we are not neglecting duties more easy, and less perilous. The tongue of Aaron, with the head and heart of Moses, would make one completely fit for this errand. God promises, I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth. Even Aaron, who could speak well, yet could not speak to purpose, unless God gave constant teaching and help; for without the constant aid of Divine grace, the best gifts will fail.And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses,.... For the objections, excuses, and delays he made with respect to his mission. In what way this anger was expressed is not easy to say, whether by not removing the impediment of his speech, or not giving him the priesthood, which Jarchi thinks he otherwise would have had, and Aaron been only a Levite, as he is called in the next clause; or whether it was by joining Aaron to him, and so lessening his honour in this embassy, though that seems to be done to encourage him; or by not suffering him to lead the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, which yet is ascribed to another cause. However, though the Lord was angry with Moses, yet without any change of affection to him, he still retained and expressed a great regard to him; did not reject him from his service as he might have done, but employed him, and preferred him to his elder brother. Moses shows himself to be a faithful historian in recording his own weaknesses, and the displeasure of God at them:

and he said, is not Aaron the Levite thy brother; he was, and his elder brother, he was born three years before him, Exodus 7:7 though Justin (w), an Heathen writer, says he was his son, and calls his name Aruas, and speaks of him as an Egyptian priest, and that he was made king after Moses's death; hence, he says, was the custom with the Jews for the same persons to be kings and priests; in all which he is mistaken. But Artapanus (x), another Heathen writer, calls him the brother of Moses, and by his right name, Aaron; and says it was by his advice Moses fled into Arabia, and speaks of his meeting him afterwards, when he was sent to the king of Egypt. Aaron is called the Levite, because he was a descendant of Levi, and yet so was Moses; perhaps this is added here, to distinguish him from others of the same name in other families, as Aben Ezra thinks; for as for what Jarchi suggests, as before, is without any foundation; and it is much more likely that Moses added this title to him, in his account of this affair, because he was the first of the tribe of Levi that was employed in the priestly office:

I know that he can speak well; or "in speaking speak" (y), speak very freely, fluently, in an eloquent manner; in which he was an eminent type of Christ, who is our advocate with the father, and has the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season; and does speak and plead for the conversion of his people, for the comfort of them, for the discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy to them; and for the carrying on the work of grace in them, and their perseverance to the end, and for their eternal glorification. The prayer in John 17:1 is a specimen of this:

and also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee; having had an intimation from God of Moses's call to come into Egypt, and deliver his people from their bondage, he immediately set out to meet him, whereby he showed more faith, zeal, and courage, than Moses did; and this is said to animate him, and was a new sign, and would be a fresh confirmation of his faith, when he should see it accomplished, as he did:

and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart: sincerely glad, and not only secretly so, but would express his cordial joy with his lips; not only because of his having a sight of his brother once more, whom he had not seen for forty years past, but because of his coming on such an errand from God, to deliver the people of Israel; and therefore, as he would express such gladness on this occasion, it became Moses to engage in this work with the utmost pleasure and cheerfulness.

(w) E Trogo, l. 36. c. 2.((x) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 433, 434. (y) "loquendo loquetur", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius.

Exodus 4:13
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