Indemnification Promised - RR171E10

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Indemnification Promised
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 10
Length: 0:42:33
TapeCode: RR171E10
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


Let us worship God. Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.

Oh Lord, our God unto whom all flesh shall come. We thank thee who art the judge of all men and nations that thy will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven, that thy kingdom shall prevail, that thy justice shall govern all men and nations. And so we come into thy presence to rejoice in thee, in thy grace and mercy, and in the certainty and truth of thy word. Bless us, by thy word and by thy spirit and grant that we may behold wondrous things out of thy law. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is Exodus 3:19-22. Our subject: Indemnification Promised. Indemnification Promised. Exodus 3:19-22. “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty. But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.”

This is a favorite passage with people who are eager to try to prove that God has a bad character, and gave immoral orders to Israel. Namely, to borrow from the Egyptians and then to leave the country. The problem with this view is that it is not true. The word, the English word “borrow” comes from the Middle English “borwen” which in turn was derived from an Anglo Saxon word, which meant “a pledge” or a “guarantee.” Our English translation “borrow” translates the Hebrew word “sha’al” which can mean “request,” “demand,” “require,” and much more, and only incidentally, “borrow.” [00:03:59]

Ellison has called the translation as ...[edit]

Ellison has called the translation as “borrow” as indefensible. It was a demand as compensation for their labors. Clements has pointed out, and I quote, “The Egyptians will be glad to pay the Hebrews for the work they have compelled them to do as an encouragement to go.” This demand would come after the plagues on Egypt, and the payment would be required as pledge not to return to Egypt. The disastrous plagues which struck Egypt prior to Israel’s departure were particularly painful to the Egyptians. They shattered the Egyptian economy, they brought grief to every family. But even more, they were a religious catastrophe. Egyptian’s religion was materialistic in the ancient sense of harmony with nature and its gods. They believed that people who are in tune, religiously, would have nature at peace with them, and in tune meant with the forces of nature. Henry Frankfurt, one of the great Egyptologists, pointed out that the Egyptian way of life was not struggle, but harmony. Harmony with nature and society, with rulers and superiors. You got along with everybody, and then all was well.

God’s impact on Egyptian life and thought through Moses was as a result particularly devastating. God struck, first against the natural world Egypt trusted and depended on for its life. The plagues were all outwardly naturalistic.

Now to appreciate the force of that, you must remember that, to this date to a great degree and especially in Antiquity, Egypt could count on the weather. They could count on the Nile to rise and to flood, and to bring silt that would be nourishing, and would fertilize the fields. They could count on it being dry otherwise. They could depend on all the forces of nature. It is not an area of variety, but suddenly, the whole of the natural world around them was working against Egypt. Then second, God made a mockery of Pharaoh’s divinity and Pharaoh’s wisdom with each passing day, because Pharaoh’s wisdom became more and more obviously foolishness and evil. There was no one who could mistake that. Everything that Pharaoh did in the way of trying to frustrate Moses, led to greater disasters, and he was supposed to be the living god. As a result of Pharaoh’s wisdom, the wealth of Egypt passes into the hands of Israel. To survive, Egypt sends out the Hebrews with its wealth, as a bribe to stay away. [00:08:02]

In this we see an instance of God’s purpose in history...[edit]

In this we see an instance of God’s purpose in history. Almost a century ago, F.W. Grant very tellingly wrote, as a result of all this and I quote, “The wealth of the world passes into the hands of the people of God. All things are yours says the apostle. Whether the world, or life or death, or things present or things to come, all are yours. Men out of Christ, as they have right to nothing, so indeed they possess nothing. In the end it will be found so. Godliness it is that hath promise of the life which now is and of that which is to come. They who go as pilgrims out of the world yet carry with them all the goods of the world, and the world that would enjoy it must yield it up to them. To them who belong to the world, the world cannot belong.” Very interesting words, a century old almost. Why is it that the church no longer thinks so?

Now, the use of the word, “borrow,” as a translation seems to have been popularized by Luther, unfortunately. It does not appear in the catholic Douay Version nor in the Geneva Bible, but it crept in after Luther’s use, which was wrong. {Casuto?} saw clearly the meaning of this request by Israel, and that it was at God’s command, of course. It was not an isolated instance, but an application of God’s law, which somewhat later was set down later by Moses in Deuteronomy 15:12-15. So, God was requiring things be done in terms of His justice. This is what Deuteronomy 15:12-15 reads: “And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.” [00:11:14]

Now notice that last verse...[edit]

Now notice that last verse. God is harkening back to what He ordered Moses to have the people ask of the Egyptians. Compensation. And He is saying, “You are to do the same, for you are bond servants.” This is God’s law, and His requirement of all men in history. As a result, {Casuto?} said, “This was required by law. That is, absolute justice demanded it, and although no earthly court could compel the King of Egypt and his servants to fulfill his obligation, the heavenly court saw to it, that the requirements of law and justice were carried out, and directed to the course of events to this end.” Now that tells us something about God’s justice in history, so when we look at the people in our time who are unjust, or evil, dare we believe that this is not God’s way today, because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Now, Deuteronomy 15:12-15 refers specifically to bond servants in service, or debt, or to make restitution for crime. A bond servant’s labor could be sold to another man. In any case, at the end of six years, at the time of his release, he had worked off his debt but he was also to be compensated liberally for the loss of his freedom. This was not equivalent to payment for services, but a way of enabling the person to resume a normal life with some capital in hand. All this was to spoil the Egyptians. The Hebrew word can mean either “spoil” or “save.” Spoil or save, and it is almost always translated as “save” in the Bible. Now, this would render the phrase, “And he shall save the Egyptians,” this word translated as spoil, natsal, occurs 212 times in the Old Testament, and in 210 instances in all but one, its meaning is to “snatch,” or “save,” “to rescue,” “to recover.” We should remember that the Hebrews had been in Egypt for some generations. They had accumulated properties, properties which could not be taken with them. After all, they were leaving with livestock, and camels, donkeys. How much can you transport on such things? In asking for compensation and getting it, no injustice was done. They were leaving their houses, they were leaving their furnishings. [00:15:09]

In what way then, did they save the Egyptians? The...[edit]

In what way then, did they save the Egyptians? The implication is that God’s greater judgment would have fallen on Egypt had they not given to the Hebrews. Moreover, God did not want a continuing hatred of Egypt and Egyptians to remain in Israel. In fact, the law of Deuteronomy 23:7-8 declares, “Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite for he is thy brother. Thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian because thou wast a stranger in his land. The children that are begotten of them shalt enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation.” This means, therefore, that God says there must be compensation. There must not be grounds for hatred. Foreigners who are eligible for citizenship in Israel’s covenant, some because of their low moral status were eligible only after three generations, others after ten. Israel was to remember the handicaps of being an alien in Egypt, and be godly in its dealings with aliens in its midst.

Now an interesting aspect of this whole episode is that God declares, “The king of Egypt will not let you go, no not by a mighty hand,” or better, “unless a mighty hand compels him.” That mighty hand was of course, the hand of the Lord God. In Genesis 15:14, God promised Abraham that Israel would come out of Egypt with great substance. So, centuries before, God had predicted their captivity and their departure with great substance. Now, Pharaoh’s power, having been broken by God with the plagues, God enriches Israel by requesting indemnification by Egypt. But the request at God’s orders was not to be made by Moses nor by the men of Israel, but by the women, and that’s a very interesting point. “That every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiments: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil [or save] the Egyptians.” The weakest of Israel, in terms of ability to fight; women, would ask by God’s grace receive the gifts. But there was another reason for this request being made by women, and obviously when you understand the culture, to women. In our day, we forget that, in more than one culture of Antiquity and in some to this century, women had a protected role. A man took his wealth, and converted it into gems, into gold, into silver, and made these in the form of ornaments. Ornaments to be worn by his wife. So that his wife would have earrings, bracelets, necklaces, all kinds of jewelry which she wore constantly. This kind of thing, in case you didn’t’ know it, still prevailed in the Colonial Era. When a man accumulated more gold and silver coins than he could use, he would take it to someone like Paul Revere, a silversmith, who would then convert it into a teapot, or plates, or candelabra, which he would then take and give to his wife. They would be her possession. [00:20:39]

Now there’s an interesting aspect to this...[edit]

Now there’s an interesting aspect to this. It meant that women walked around with a great deal of wealth on them. Even the wives of tradesmen and peasants would carry about on their person a lot of gold and silver, the family wealth. Wasn’t it dangerous? No, women had a protected status, if they were wives. And this is one of the reasons for the ordinance requiring women to have their head covered. In fact, it was the law in Rome, in the Roman Empire, that no prostitute could ever go around with any kind of covering on her head, because the covered head meant a protected status; she was under the authority of a man. And, however, evil the nations were at different times, and they were very evil, they were afraid of adultery because the family was the most basic institution, and that was the ultimate act of treason. That is why it regularly incurred the death penalty, not only in the Bible but in other cultures as well. In fact, men would more readily commit murder in the form of murdering the husband in order then, since the wife was a widow, legally marrying her. And this is why, in Genesis 12:10-20, Abraham, in going to Egypt to escape a famine, asked Sarah to pass herself off as his sister. Because it was possible that somebody might kill him otherwise, almost certain, given the fact that he was fairly prosperous, and it showed on Sarah. But they would not commit adultery or seize her while he was alive. As his wife, while no man would touch her as long as she was a wife, they might kill Abraham, to make Sarah a widow and eligible for marriage. A lot of things in Genesis we might understand if we understand the laws of the day. Murder, in their eyes, was a lesser offense than in any way laying hands on a married woman and her wealth, because then she was inviolable. [00:23:58]

Remember, when Rachel stole some things from her father...[edit]

Remember, when Rachel stole some things from her father’s household because she felt her father had cheated her husband, Jacob. And Laban came after Jacob with a lot of men. He did not dare search his own daughter, or ask her to stand up when she said, “I’m not well, it’s my period. Excuse me.” And she was sitting on those things. Now, that was the sanctity in which women were regarded. Thus, when the Hebrew women asked the Egyptian women for an indemnity, they were going to the actual possessors of Egypt’s wealth.

Now this gives us an indication of the security and status of women in peaceful times, and feminists are unwilling to note it. This tells us why, although divorce is clearly permitted in scripture, it was rare. After all, if you paid a dowry to a woman in order to marry her and we’re not told the amount of the dowry, but we know it was usually about equivalent to three year’s wages of the bridegroom, you were handing her a lot of capital. Think of your income when you got married and multiply it by three, and say, “This is what I had to give my wife before I got married, and it was her possession, and if I ever left or wronged her, she could walk away with it,” and then you put your family wealth on her person in the form of jewels, and gold and silver, so that she had boxes of it sometimes if you were wealth enough. You were putting a great deal of trust in her, and you were making sure you stayed on the right side of her. So, this is an aspect of the things that biblical law presupposes that we forget. He had the headship, but she was the treasury. This is not the picture of the past that the feminists give us.

Finally, we are told in verse 21, that God says, “And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it shall come to pass that when ye go ye shall not go empty.” It will be obvious to Egypt that God is working to deliver the Hebrews and, in religious fear, the Egyptians will be more ready to favor Israel than Pharaoh. In Isaiah 61:6 we are told, “But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord. Men shall call you the ministers of our God. Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.” Israel’s experience is the type of that which we are experiencing, a captivity to the enemies of God. But God’s delivering judgment is promised, and our inheritance of the wealth of the centuries, Isaiah speaks often of this. God requires it, and we should recognize, as we face the evils of the world around about us, we are not to face them as people who are doomed to slavery, doomed to defeat, doomed to be outsiders in God’s purposes in history. No. Just as Egypt had to yield these things by God’s working in their hearts, and enrich Israel, so they left a wealthy people. So God says, “I will deliver you,” that we are not to fear what any man do unto us because in Christ, we are heirs of all things. Let us pray. [00:29:27]

Our Lord and our God, we thank thee for this, thy word...[edit]

Our Lord and our God, we thank thee for this, thy word, and for what it tells us about Israel and Egypt, and about ourselves and this present evil generation. About the humanistic rulers of this world. We thank thee that, because thou art on the throne, they shall be confounded and all that they have accumulated shall pass into the hands of thy people. Strengthen us in the day of battle and adversity. Prepare us to be heir and make us strong in thy service. In Christ’s name. Amen. Are there any questions now, about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] Would it be appropriate for a Christian wife to be the manager of the family budget?

[Rushdoony] She certainly was the custodian of the wealth. It doesn’t mean she was necessarily the manager, but it doesn’t exclude that possibility. Certainly, if you look at Proverbs 31, you have a remarkable picture there because one of the things it tells us is that the husband sat in the gates, which in those days meant he was either on the town council or a judge. “Her husband is known in the gates where he sitteth among the elders of the land.” Obviously then, he was in a position of authority, either as a judge or a member of the city council. So, the management of all that he possessed was left in her hands. “The heart of her husband,” we are told in verse 11, “doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” It speaks of her making garments, governing the women who work in the house, buying a field, verse 16. Planting a vineyard, handling merchandise, and buying it, taking care of the family’s responsibilities of charity, verse 20, and we are told that her family is exceptionally well-clothed. So that she is, in every respect, a capable manager, and this, I think is especially good, verse 26, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” So, you obviously have someone with great managerial capacities, and this is one reason why he can take a public office. So, while it doesn’t require that the woman manage the finances, it doesn’t on the other hand, prevent it. It’s up to the couple who will handle them. Yes? [00:33:42]

[Audience] In terms of a quantity of gold and silver...[edit]

[Audience] In terms of a quantity of gold and silver that the Egyptian women gave the Israelites, was it out of that, that the gold and silver came for the ark? Was it the excess, or in other words, did they only have to give part, or was the quantity so great?

[Rushdoony] Yes. For the work and preparing the ark and the various things that were furnishings of the tabernacle, the women gave of the gold and silver. It does not mean they gave all because that would have been a considerable amount. But, out of what they had received, they gave a portion. So, that was taken care of, too, by the indemnity paid to Israel. It does tell us something today, if you go to Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill you are safe. That’s where the police are concentrated, to protect the congressmen and senators, but you are not safe if you wander around in many parts of Washington, D.C., because the people are not protected, and certainly the women, if they are not escorted after hours are totally unsafe. The state is the most important thing in our culture, so everything is done to protect the state, not the family. And, as a consequence you have the kind of crime and total lack of safety in many, many parts of the country, especially in the big cities, for women, and yet, in a biblical culture, and in Antiquity because they were still more family-oriented as a part of the common grace their culture had, women were usually the point of safety. So that rape was relatively uncommon, except during warfare when a siege resulted and a city was taken. It tells us that the culture has changed dramatically. The locale, the center of the culture is no longer the family, but the state. Any other… yes?

[Audience] Do you think that this contrast of the people coming out of Egypt in ancient cultures when Paul says in I Timothy, that “In like manner also that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel with poverty and moderation, not with braided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly clothing.” This idea that the women wearing the jewels, or the possessions, or the family stock, so to speak. Do you think that this contrast is, I should say what do you think Paul, how does this fit into the society at that time? [00:37:31]

[Rushdoony] Alright, let’s look at that again...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Alright, let’s look at that again. “In like manner also,” this is I Timothy 2:9, “that women adorn themselves in modest apparel with shame-facedness and sobriety, not with braided hair, or gold or pearl, or costly array.” Now, that is consistently misunderstood by people today because they assume, and there are some churches that forbid women to wear gold or pearls, or costly arrayed dresses. Well, in terms of what Paul says, that is not true. What Paul is saying that they are not to put their trust, their confidence in these things. And Peter also deals with it, and let’s look at Peter because Peter takes a little more time. It’s I Peter 3:3, I think. It says of wives, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.” Now, those groups in churches and individuals who say the women should not put on gold, or have any kind of hairdo that the church decides is not tenable, should also demand that the women be nudists, or putting on apparel is on the same level as plaiting the hair or wearing of gold. So, the meaning is not they are not to put it on, but not to put their trust in it. So that their confidence is not to be in the fact that because they are married to godly men who are provident men, they therefore have the ability to put on a great deal of gold, but it’s to be a meek and quiet spirit before God. So, this is an example of the superficial reading of the Bible that is so prevalent. I have known churches that have forbidden, this is some years ago I knew of one that went so far as to forbid a wedding ring, and they thought they were holier than any other church around. And, they didn’t like it when anyone called their attention to the logic of this verse. They should have been nudists, because in their sense, anything that is forbidden here should be forbidden. Putting on of apparel. Don’t put on apparel because you’re not to put on gold. Now that’s ridiculous. Does that help explain the meaning there?

Well, if there are no further questions or comments, let us conclude with prayer.

Oh Lord, our God, thy word is truth, and thy word is a joy to our hearts and a light upon our way. Make us strong in thy service. Make us builders, not spectators, so that we may again establish a godly culture, and give the family and women their due place in society, and might glorify thereby thy holy name. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always. Amen. [00:42:21]

End of tape