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Verse 21

21.And I will give this people favor. By this extreme exercise of His bounty He encourages the Israelites to contend and strive more heartily; since otherwise it would be hard for them to struggle with the great cruelty of the king. Therefore He promises them not only liberty, but also abundance of rich and precious things. But, inasmuch as this was hard to believe, that the Egyptians their bitterest enemies would become so kind and liberal as to exert such beneficence towards them, God reminds them that it is in His power to turn the hearts of men whithersoever He will. He proclaims, then, that He will cause these wolves of Egypt to become like lambs, and that they who used to bite and devour should now supply them with the very wool from their backs. This passage contains rich and extensive doctrine; that whenever men cruelly rage against us, it does not happen contrary to the design of God, because He can in a moment quiet them; and that He grants this license to their cruelty, because it is expedient thus to humble and chasten us. Again, we gather from hence, that we have no enemies so fierce and barbarous, as that it is not easy for Him readily to tame them. If we were surely persuaded of this, that men’s hearts are controlled, and guided by the secret inspiration of God, we should not so greatly dread their hatred, and threatenings, and terrors, nor should we be so easily turned from the path of duty through fear of them. This alarm is the just reward of our unbelief, when we repose not on God’s providence; and although we ought to take pains to conciliate the kindness of all by courtesy, yet should we remember that our efforts will not gain their favor, unless God should so incline their hearts.

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