Acts 7:23 MEANING

Acts 7:23
(23) It came into his heart.--The distinct purpose in going out to look after his brethren is stated somewhat more emphatically than in Exodus 2:11.

Verse 23. - Well-nigh for full, A.V. When he was precisely forty years old (Meyer) The exact meaning seems to be "when he was in the act of completing forty years." The account in Exodus 2:11 only says, "When Moses was grown" (μέγας γενόμενος, LXX.); the age of forty years, and the number of years, forty, that he sojourned in Midian, as given below, ver. 30, are traditional. "There are that say that Moses was forty years in Pharaoh's palace, forty years in Midian, and forty years in the wilderness" (Tauchum, in Exodus it.). "Moses was forty years in Pharaoh's court, and forty years in Midian, and forty years he served Israel" (Beresh. Rabb.), both quoted by Lightfoot ('Comment. and Exercitations upon the Acts'). The sum total of the three periods of forty years is given as the length of Moses' life, viz. a hundred and twenty years (Deuteronomy 34:7). Ver. 24. - Smiting for and smote, A.V.

7:17-29 Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing times with the church. God is preparing for his people's deliverance, when their day is darkest, and their distress deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, fair toward God; it is the beauty of holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take special care of those of whom he designs to make special use. And did he thus protect the child Moses? Much more will he secure the interests of his holy child Jesus, from the enemies who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen for disputing in defence of Christ and his gospel: in opposition to these they set up Moses and his law. They may understand, if they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the light, that God will, by this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs of mercy.And when he was full forty years old,.... This Stephen had from tradition, and not from Scripture, which is silent about the age of Moses at this time, and only says, "it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown", Exodus 2:11 but that he was at this time at such an age, is the general sense of the Jews. Upon the above mentioned passage they have this note (h).

"twenty years old was Moses at that time; and there are that say, that he was forty years old. And (i) elsewhere still more particularly; Moses was "forty" years in the palace of Pharaoh, forty years in Midian, (the Amsterdam edition reads, "in the wilderness", wrongly,) and he served Israel forty years.''

Indeed, the fabulous history of his life makes him to be but fifteen years of age at this time (k); but Stephen's account is undoubtedly right, and which is confirmed by the above testimonies.

It came into his heart; by the Spirit of God, under a more than ordinary impulse of which he now was:

to visit his brethren, the children of Israel; whom he knew to be his brethren, partly from the common report in Pharaoh's court concerning him, and partly from the mark of circumcision in his flesh, and chiefly from divine revelation: for some years he had lived a courtly and military life, and had took no notice of the Israelites in their oppressions; but now the Lord laid it upon his heart to visit them, and observe how things were with them; and though he could not use any public and open authority, yet Philo the Jew says (l), that he exhorted the officers to use mildness and moderation with them, and comforted and encouraged the Israelites to bear their burdens with patience and constancy, and not sink under them; suggesting, that things would take another turn, and would change for the better in time.

(h) Shemot Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 91. 3.((i) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 100, fol. 88. 4. (k) Chronicon Mosis, fol. 5. 2.((l) De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 608, 609.

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