on Exodus 19 :4
How I bare you on eagles' wings - Mr. Bruce contends that the word נשר nesher does not mean the bird we term eagle; but a bird which the Arabs, from its kind and merciful disposition, call rachama, which is noted for its care of its young, and its carrying them upon its back. See his Travels, vol. vii., pl. 33. It is not unlikely that from this part of the sacred history the heathens borrowed their fable of the eagle being a bird sacred to Jupiter, and which was employed to carry the souls of departed heroes, kings, etc., into the celestial regions. The Romans have struck several medals with this device, which may be seen in different cabinets, among which are the following: one of Faustina, daughter of Antoninus Pius, on the reverse of which she is represented ascending to heaven on the back of an eagle; and another of Salonia, daughter of the Emperor Galienus, on the reverse of which she is represented on the back of an eagle, with a scepter in her hand, ascending to heaven. Jupiter himself is sometimes represented on the back of an eagle also, with his thunder in his hand, as on a medal of Licinus. This brings us nearer to the letter of the text, where it appears that the heathens confounded the figure made use of by the sacred penman, I bare you on eagles' wings, with the manifestation of God in thunder and lightning on Mount Sinai. And it might be in reference to all this that the Romans took the eagle for their ensign. See Scheuchzer, Fusellius, etc.
Brought you unto myself - In this and the two following verses, we see the design of God in selecting a people for himself.
1. They were to obey his voice, Exodus 19:5, to receive a revelation from him, and to act according to that revelation, and not according to their reason or fancy, in opposition to his declarations.
2. They were to obey his voice indeed, שמוע תשמעו shamoa tishmeu, in hearing they should hear; they should consult his testimonies, hear them whenever read or proclaimed, and obey them as soon as heard, affectionately and steadily.
3. They must keep his covenant - not only copy in their lives the ten commandments, but they must receive and preserve the grand agreement made between God and man by sacrifice, in reference to the incarnation and death of Christ; for from the foundation of the world the covenant of God ratified by sacrifices referred to this, and now the sacrificial system was to be more fully opened by the giving of the law.
4. They should then be God's peculiar treasure, סגלה segullah, his own patrimony, a people in whom he should have all right, and over whom he should have exclusive authority above all the people of the earth; for though all the inhabitants of the world were his by his right of creation and providence, yet these should be peculiarly his, as receiving his revelation and entering into his covenant.
5. They should be a kingdom of priests, Exodus 19:6. Their state should be a theocracy; and as God should be the sole governor, being king in Jeshurun, so all his subjects should be priests, all worshippers, all sacrificers, every individual offering up the victim for himself. A beautiful representation of the Gospel dispensation, to which the Apostles Peter and John apply it, 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10, and Revelation 20:6; under which dispensation every believing soul offers up for himself that Lamb of God which was slain for and which takes away the sin of the world, and through which alone a man can have access to God.
on Exodus 19 :4
On eagles' wings - Both in the law Deuteronomy 32:11 and in the Gospel Matthew 23:37, the Church is compared to fledgelings which the mother cherishes and protects under her wings: but in the law that mother is an eagle, in the Gospels "a hen"; thus shadowing forth the diversity of administration under each covenant: the one of power, which God manifested when He brought His people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and led them into the promised land; the other of grace, when Christ came in humility and took the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Compare also Revelation 12:14.
on Exodus 19 :4