Verses of Exodus 9


Exodus 9:20 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)


Exo 9:20-21. He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: and he that regarded not the word of the Lord, left his servants and his cattle in the field.

THE word of God in every age has met with a very different reception from different people: from the antediluvian scoffers to the present moment, the generality have deemed it unworthy of their attention, while a few have regarded it with reverence and godly fear. Never had any declaration a better title to belief than that to which the text alludes: Moses had already, in the space of a few days, foretold many judgments, which were instantly inflicted or removed according to his predictions; and since they had not been effectual to subdue the stubborn heart of Pharaoh, he announced the determination of God to send another judgment on the land of Egypt, even a storm of hail and lightning, which should destroy every man and beast that should be exposed to its fury. There were many however who despised the threatening, and disdained to send their servants and cattle to a place of shelter: but others, who had profited by past experience, used with eagerness the precaution suggested to them—
From this circumstance we are led to shew,


How a regard for God’s word will influence men here—

In all temporal concerns men are affected by any report in proportion to its credibility and importance—
[If they hear of any great good that is placed within their reach, they feel a desire after it springing up in their minds: if there be some considerable probability of their attaining it, their hopes are excited, and their endeavours multiplied in order to secure it. If the possession of it appear near and certain, they already congratulate themselves on the expected acquisition, though not without a mixture of anxious suspense. On the other hand, do they hear of any great evil that may come upon them? they begin to be disquieted: does it approach nearer and nearer? they think how they may avoid it, and use every precaution that prudence can suggest: does it appear imminent and almost unavoidable? their fears and anxieties are proportionably increased. Nor are these effects peculiar to any times, places, or persons: they will be found on examination to be invariable and universal.]

Thus it must also of necessity be with respect to men’s spiritual concerns, in proportion as what God has spoken concerning them is believed and felt—
[Suppose a person to be thoroughly persuaded that, “except he recent he must eternally perish;” that, “except he be born again of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven;” and that, “he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life;” what effect must such momentous truths produce upon his mind? Must he not of necessity begin to inquire into the meaning of these expressions, and feel a solicitude to have these questions satisfactorily determined: ‘Am I a real penitent? Am I born again? Have I the Son of God?’ If he doubt the truth of these things, and think they may be taken in a lower sense, he will of course be less concerned to attain the experience of them; or, if other things appear to him of superior importance, he will attend to those things in preference. But let him have that faith which gives a present subsistence to things future, and a demonstrable reality to things invisible [Note: Heb 11:1 in the Greek.], and it will be impossible for him to trifle with such solemn declarations. It is true, he may sin against the convictions of conscience; but if he continue so to do, it is evident that his convictions are not proportioned in any degree to the importance of eternal things, and that he cherishes a secret hope of escaping by some means or other the judgments denounced against him. Let him but feel the worth of his soul in a degree proportioned to its value; let him estimate that as men estimate the worth of their natural life, and he could no more resist habitually the convictions of his mind, than he could sit composed, while his house and family were ready to be destroyed by fire: he would surely resemble those Egyptians who sought shelter for their servants and cattle; he would “flee from the wrath to come, and lay hold on eternal life.”]

Such a practical attention will be given to the word of God by all who truly believe it, because they know,


How it will affect their state hereafter—

The distinction put between the believing and unbelieving Egyptians related merely to this present life: but the Scriptures authorize us to declare that a similar distinction will be made between believers and unbelievers in the day of judgment. Yes assuredly,


They who have sought the appointed refuge shall be saved—

[Christ is that hiding-place to which all are enjoined to flee: every other covert will be found “a refuge of lies, which the hail shall sweep away [Note: Isa 28:17.]:” but Christ is a sure refuge, “to which whosoever runneth shall be safe.” Whatever we may have been, and whatever we may have done in past times, we have nothing to apprehend from the wrath of God, provided we be found in Christ.” “Believing in him, we are justified from all things,” and shall unite for ever with the murderous Manasseh, the adulterous David, the filthy Magdalen, and the persecuting Saul, in singing “Salvation to God and the Lamb!” We must not however be understood to say, that an attention to the faith of the Gospel will save us, while we neglect its practical injunctions: far from it: but this we do say, that the vilest of sinners may find “acceptance in the Beloved;” and that “all who put their trust in him may be quiet from the fear of evil.” The declaration of God himself is, “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”]


They, on the contrary, who have despised the offers of mercy, shall perish—

[“Whatsoever men sow, that shall they also reap:” and though God’s vengeance may be long delayed, it shall surely come at last. What if we see no symptoms of it now? There was no appearance of a deluge when Noah warned the old world; nor were the fire and brimstone visible, when Lot entreated his sons-in-law to escape with him from Sodom; yet were the predictions relative to these events exactly fulfilled: he who built the ark, and he who fled from the devoted city, were preserved; while they who took not warning, were destroyed. So also shall it be in the last day: “the unbelief of men shall not make the faith of God of none effect.” “Their covenant with death shall be disannulled, and their agreement with hell made void: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, they shall be beaten down by it [Note: Isa 28:18.].” Nor shall the excuses, which they now urge with so much confidence, avail them. It is probable that many of the Egyptians might expose themselves to danger in consequence of urgent business, or from what they judged a necessary obedience to the commands of their masters; but they perished notwithstanding. So shall that word be verified in spite of all excuses, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed; but he that feareth the commandment, shall be rewarded [Note: Pro 13:13.].”]


Those that disregard the word of the Lord—

[There are, alas! too many who “stumble at the word, being disobedient:” their language is, “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee [Note: Jer 44:16.].” If they do not avowedly reject the word, they shew by their conduct, that they consider its doctrines as fanatical, its precepts as harsh, its promises as illusory, and its threatenings as vain. But, while “they thus practically reject the word of the Lord, what wisdom is in them [Note: Jer 8:9.] ?” Doubtless if they who were in the midst of the storm saw any of their neighbours housed, they would cast a wishful look at them: and will not their lot be envied in the last day, who shall have taken refuge in Christ, and found protection from the wrath of God? Let then the remembrance of what took place in Egypt operate powerfully on our hearts. Let us “search the Scriptures, and make them our meditation day and night.” Let us take them “as a light to our feet and a lantern to our paths.” Let us “treasure them up in our hearts,” and labour to follow the directions they give us. Let us “receive the word with meekness,” “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.” Let us beg of God that it may be “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to our inmost souls, and discovering to us the very thoughts and intents of our hearts.” Let God’s blessed word regulate our hearts and lives: then will God look upon us with favourable acceptance [Note: Isa 65:2.], and acknowledge us as “his in the day that he shall make up his jewels [Note: Mal 3:17.].”]


Those who fear the word of the Lord—

[Some there are amongst us, we trust, who having once, like good Josiah, wept on account of the denunciations of God’s wrath, now, like holy Job, “esteem God’s word more than their necessary food.” There is not a threatening in it which they dare to despise, or a promise which they do not desire to enjoy, or a precept which they do not labour to obey. They desire nothing so much as to be “cast into the mould of the Gospel,” and to be “sanctified by means of it in body, soul, and spirit.” To all of this character I say, Happy are ye; for if “ye tremble at the word” of God, ye have no reason to tremble at any thing else. Ye may look at death with complacency, and at hell itself without terror, since ye are screened under the shadow of your Redeemer’s wings. Envy not then the liberty, and the thoughtlessness of sinners; neither let their revilings deter you from your purpose. The time is quickly coming when your God will appear to their shame and to your joy [Note: Isa 65:5.]. Then the wisdom of your conduct will be seen in its true colours: and you shall understand the full import of that question, “Doth not my word do good to him that walketh uprightly [Note: Mic 2:7.] ?”]

Verses of Exodus 9


Consult other comments:

Exodus 9:20 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 9:20 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Exodus 9:20 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 9:20 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 9:20 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 9:20 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 9:20 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Exodus 9:20 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 9:20 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)