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pv ANCIENT CHRISTIAN

COMMENTARY ON
SCRIPTURE
OLD TESTAMENT
III

EXODUS,
LEVITICUS,
NUMBERS,
DEUTERONOMY
Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
1
EDITED BY
JOSEPH T. LIENHARD, S.J.

IN COLLABORATION WITH
RONNIE J. ROMBS

GENERAL EDITOR
THOMAS C. ODEN

InterVarsity Press
Downers Grove, Illinois

p vi InterVarsity Press

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
2
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2001 by the Institute of Classical Christian Studies (ICCS), omas C. Oden


and Joseph T. Lienhard

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Pericopal headings have been adapted from the New American Bible. Copyright
1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C. Used with
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duced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Selected excerpts from Ancient Christian Writers: e Works of the Fathers in


Translation. Copyright 1946-. Used by permission of Paulist Press, www.paulist-
press.com.

Selected excerpts from Fathers of the Church: A New Translation. Copyright


1947-. Used by permission of e Catholic University of America Press.

Selected excerpts from Bede: On the Tabernacle, translated with notes and intro-
duction by Arthur G. Holder. Copyright 1994. Used by permission of Liverpool
University Press.

Selected excerpts from e Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st
Century. Copyright 1990-. Used by permission of the Augustinian Heritage Insti-
tute.

ISBN 08308-14736

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
3
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy/edited by Joseph T. Lienhard.


p. cm.(Ancient Christian commentary on Scripture. Old Testament; 3)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and indexes.
ISBN 08308-14736 (cloth: alk. paper)
1. Bible. O.T. ExodusCommentaries. 2. Bible. O.T. LeviticusCommentaries.
3.
Bible. O.T. NumbersCommentaries. 4. Bible. O.T. Deuteronomy
Commentaries. 5.
Bible. O.T. PentateuchHermeneuticsHistoryEarly church, ca. 30
600. I. Lienhard,
Joseph T. II. Series
BS1225.3 .E96 2001
222.1077dc21
2001024408

p vii ANCIENT CHRISTIAN COMMENTARY


PROJECT RESEARCH TEAM

GENERAL EDITOR
omas C. Oden

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
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Christopher A. Hall

OPERATIONS MANAGER
Joel Elowsky

TRANSLATIONS PROJECTS DIRECTOR


Joel Scandre

RESEARCH AND ACQUISITIONS DIRECTOR


Michael Glerup

EDITORIAL SERVICES DIRECTOR


Warren Calhoun Robertson

ORIGINAL LANGUAGE VERSION DIRECTOR


Konstantin Gavrilkin

GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTS


Chris Branste er Susan Kipper
Meesaeng Lee Choi Sergey Kozin
Jerey Finch Hsueh-Ming Liao
Steve Finlan Michael Nausner
Patricia Ireland Robert Paul Seesengood
Alexei Khamine Baek-Yong Sung
Vladimir Kharlamov Elena Vishnevskaya
Christian T. Collins Winn

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
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ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Judy Cox

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
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15:121 SONG OF MOSES P 78

OVERVIEW: e Song of Moses is the first great song in Scripture.


e song prefigures the song that the bride sings to Christ her
husband (ORIGEN). Christians must leave behind Egypt and all
that it stands for (JEROME). Baptism cleanses Christians of all that
is dark and unclean. e armies of pride and arrogance are oblit-
erated in baptism. Like the Egyptians, our sins have been put to
death. e three-horse team is a triple fear: of pain, humiliation
and death (AUGUSTINE). e elite ocers of the Egyptians are
luxury, wickedness and pride (CAESARIUS OF ARLES). Horses repre-
sent the irrational, passionate part of the soul, as Plato taught
(CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA). Despair can drive us into the depths
(AUGUSTINE). Gods le hand tolerates the prosperity of the
wicked, but his right hand destroys them (GREGORY THE GREAT).
God is not like other gods; there is no comparison between him
and demons (CHRYSOSTOM). e enemy fails to understand the
power of baptism and continues in pursuit (AUGUSTINE). e sea
swallows up guilt and error but leaves virtue and innocence
unharmed (AMBROSE). e earth figuratively devours the godless
when they imagine themselves victorious (AUGUSTINE). When
they are converted, the Gentiles will cease to be stone and will
receive new human and rational natures in Christ (ORIGEN).
e Bible a ests that both men and women were prophets
(CONSTITUTIONS). Miriam was a prophetess (EPHREM) and a type of
the church (AMBROSE). e song of Miriam should be our song too
(AUGUSTINE). e same name suits the sister of Moses and the
mother of Jesus (PETER CHRYSOLOGUS ). e tambourine is a sign of
virginity (GREGORY OF NYSSA).

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
7
15:1 Moses and the People of Israel Sang

WHO MAY SING THE PERFECT SONG. ORIGEN: As the perfect Bride of
the perfect husband, then, she has received the words of perfect
doctrine. Moses and the children of Israel sang the first song to
God when they saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore1 and
when they saw the strong hand and the mighty strong arm of
the Lord and [when they] believed in God and Moses his
servant.2 en they sang, therefore, saying, Let us sing to the
Lord, for he is gloriously magnified.3 And I think that nobody
can a ain to that perfect and mystical song and to the perfection
of the Bride which this Scripture contains unless he first march-
es through the midst of the sea upon dry land and, with the
water becoming to him as a wall on the right hand and on the le -
,4 so makes his escape from the hands of the Egyptians. [ en]
he beholds them dead on the seashore5 and, seeing the strong
hand with which the Lord has acted against the Egyptians,
believes in the Lord and in his servant Moses. In Moses, I sayin
the law, and in the Gospels and in all the divine Scriptures. For
them he will have good cause to sing and say, Let us sing unto
the Lord, for he is gloriously magnified. COMMENTARY ON THE SONG
OF SONGS, PROLOGUE 4.6

WHAT THE HORSE AND RIDER ARE. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA p 80 : It is

1 1 Ex 14:30.
2 2 Ex 14:31.
3 3 Ex 15:1.
4 4 Ex 14:22.
5 5 Ex 14:30.
6 6 ACW 26:47.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
8
said in the ode, For he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and
his rider has he cast into the sea. e many-limbed and brutal
aection, lust, with the rider mounted, who gives reigns to plea-
sures, he has cast into the sea, throwing them away into the
disorders of the world. us also Plato, in his book On the
Soul,says that the charioteer and the horse that ran othe irra-
tional part, which is divided in two, into anger and concupis-
cencefall down. So the myth intimates that it was through the
licentiousness of the steeds that Phathon was thrown out. STRO-
MATEIS 5.8.7

CHRISTIANS DELIVERED FROM THE A DVERSARY. JEROME: Our motive in


going over all this, dearly beloved brethren, is that we may be on
our guard, for fear that, a er coming out from Egypt and hasten-
ing through the desert for forty days8for forty years, as it
wereto reach the land of promise, we should long for the flesh-
pots of Egypt9 and be bi en to death by the serpents.10 We have
le Egypt; what have we to do with the food of Egypt? We who
have bread from heaven; why do we go in search of earthly
foods? We who have le Pharaoh, let us call upon the help of the
Lord so that the Egyptian king may be drowned in the baptism of
those who believe. Let his horses and their riders perish there;
let the raging army of the adversary be destroyed. Let us not
murmur against the Lord lest we be struck down by him. HOMILY
90.11

7 7 ANF 2:457.
8 8 Jerome means the forty days of Lent.
9 9 Ex 16:3.
10 10 Num 21:6.
11 11 FC 57:234.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
9
WHAT GOD HAS CAST INTO THE SEA. AUGUSTINE: For he has been glo-
riously extolled who has already granted us in the bath of
regeneration what we have been singing about: horse and rider
he has cast into the sea. All our past sins, you see, which have
been pressing on us, as it were, from behind, he has drowned and
obliterated in baptism. ese dark things of ours were being
ridden by unclean spirits as their mounts, and like horsemen
they were riding them wherever they liked. ats why the apos-
tle calls them rulers of this darkness.12 We have been rid of all
this through baptism, as through the Red Sea, so called because
sanctified by the blood of the crucified Lord. Let us not turn back
to Egypt in our hearts, but with him as our protector and guide
let us wend our way through the other trials and temptations of
the desert toward the kingdom. SERMON 223E.2.13

SIN CAST INTO THE SEA. AUGUSTINE: As far as we are concerned, you
see, they are dead, because they cannot lord it over us anymore;
because our very misdeeds, which made us into their subjects,
have been, so to say, sunk and obliterated in the sea, when we
were set free by the bath of holy grace. SERMON 363.2.14

15:3 e Lord is His Name

See GREGORY NAZIANZUS ON EXODUS 3:14.

12 12 Eph 6:12.
13 13 WSA 3 6:227.
14 14 WSA 3 10:27071.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
10
15:4 Pharaohs Chariots and Host

SINS OBLITERATED IN BAPTISM. A UGUSTINE: And the worldly pride


and arrogance and the troops of innumerable sins which were
fighting for the devil in us, he obliterated in baptism. SERMON
363.2.15

THE THREE FEARS THAT TERRORIZE US. A UGUSTINE: e devil had


placed teams of three16 in each chariot, who were to terrorize
us by haunting us with the fear of pain, the fear of humiliation,
the fear of death. All these things were sunk in the Red Sea,
because together with him, together with the One who for our
sakes was scourged, dishonored and slain, we were buried
through baptism into death.17 us he overwhelmed all our
enemies in the Red Sea, having consecrated the waters of bap-
tism with the bloody death which was u erly to consume p
81 our sins. SERMON 363.2.18

THE PICKED OFFICERS. CAESARIUS OF ARLES: e elite of his ocers,


who were standing three deep, he submerged in the Red Sea.
Who are the elite of his ocers? Surely those chosen by the devil
for luxury, wickedness and pride, the source of all evil. More-
over, these, standing three deep, occupy those three ways in
order to subvert man to evil deeds, to tempt him to evil speech or
to win him to evil thoughts. SERMON 97.4.19
15 15 WSA 3 10:271.
16 16 So the LXX at Ex 15:4.
17 17 Rom 6:4.
18 18 WSA 3 10:271.
19 19 FC 47:77.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
11
15:5 Into the Depths

THE DEVIL KEEPS THOSE WHO DESPAIR. AUGUSTINE: But if our ene-
mies went down into the depths like a stone, the only ones the
devil remains in possession of and the only ones who have the
hardness of the devil are those about whom it is wri en, When
the sinner has come into the depths of evil, he behaves disdain-
fully.20 ey dont believe, you see, that they can be forgiven for
what they have done; and in that mood of despair they plummet
to greater depths than ever. SERMON 363.2.21

15:6 e Lord Shaers the Enemy

GODS RIGHT AND LEFT HANDS. GREGORY THE GREAT: For this reason it
is wri en again: Your right hand, O Lord, has destroyed the
enemy. For the enemies of God, though prosperous in his le
hand, are destroyed by his right hand, because very o en the
present life raises up the wicked, but the coming of eternal bliss
condemns them. PASTORAL CARE 3.26.22

15:9 e Enemy Said, I Will Pursue

THE ENEMY MISUNDERSTANDS BAPTISM. AUGUSTINE: e enemy does


not understand the power of the Lords sacrament, which is

20 20 Prov 18:3.
21 21 WSA 3 10:271.
22 22 ACW 11:184.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
12
available in saving baptism for those who believe and hope in
him. He still thinks that sins can prevail even over the baptized,
because they are being tempted by the frailty of the flesh. He
doesnt know where and when and how the complete renewal of
the whole person is to be perfected, which is begun and prefig-
ured in baptism and is already grasped by the most assured hope.
SERMON 363.2.23

15:10 e Sea Covered the Egyptians

THE WIND IS THE SPIRIT. AMBROSE: Moses himself says in his song,
You sent your Spirit, and the sea covered them. You observe
that even then holy baptism was prefigured in that passage of
the Hebrews, wherein the Egyptian perished, the Hebrew
escaped. For what else are we daily taught in this sacrament but
that guilt is swallowed up and error done away, but that virtue
and innocence remain unharmed? ON THE MYSTERIES 3.12.24

15:11 Who is Like the Lord

GOD IS INCOMPARABLE. CHRYSOSTOM: e Old Testament says,


Who is like to you among the gods, O Lord? What do you mean,
Moses? Is there any comparison at all between the true God and
false gods? Moses would reply, I did not say this to make a com-
parison; but since I was talking to the Jews, who had a lo y opin-
ion of demons, I condescended to their weakness and brought in
23 23 WSA 3 10:272.
24 24 NPNF 2 10:318.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
13
the lesson I was teaching in this way. Let me also say that since
my discussion is with the Jews, who consider that Christ is mere
man and one who violated their law, I compared him with those
whom the pagan Greeks admire. DISCOURSES A GAINST JUDAIZING
CHRISTIANS 5.3.3.25

15:12 e Earth Swallowed em

DID THE EARTH DEVOUR THE EGYPTIANS. p 82 AUGUSTINE: Certainly at


that time no yawning chasm of the earth swallowed up any of
the Egyptians; they were covered by water, they perished in the
sea. So whats the meaning of You stretched out your right
hand, the earth devoured them? Or are we correct in under-
standing Gods right hand to be the one of whom Isaiah says,
And the arm of the Lord, to whom has it been revealed?26 at,
you see, is the only Son, whom the Father did not spare but
handed him over for us all.27 And thus he stretched out his right
hand on the cross, and the earth devoured the godless, when they
thought of themselves as victorious and of him as despicable in
defeat. SERMON 363.2.28

15:16 Still as a Stone

THE GENTILES BECAME STONES. ORIGEN: God is asked that for a short
25 25 FC 68:1056.
26 26 Is 53:1.
27 27 Rom 8:32.
28 28 WSA 3 10:27273.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
14
while the Gentiles might be changed into stonesthat is what
the Greek word apoliththtsan really meansuntil the Jewish
people passes through. ere is no doubt but that a er they
have passed through, the Gentiles will cease to be stone and will
receive in place of their hard hearts a human and rational nature
in Christ, to whom is glory and power for ages of ages. Amen.
HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 22.10.29

15:19 Israel Walked on Dry Ground

See ORIGEN ON EXODUS 15:1.

29 29 FC 94:96.

Lienhard, Joseph T., and Ronnie J. Rombs. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity
Press, 2001. Print. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 3.
15