And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
~ Genesis 17:7-8, Exodus 6:4
Table, Expounding Certain Words in the First Book of Moses, Called Genesis, and A Prologue Into the Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus, by William Tyndale. 1530.
A Table, Expounding Certain Words in the First Book of Moses, Called Genesis.
Abrech. Tender father; or, as some will, Bow the knee. Ark. A ship made fiat, as it were a chest or a coffer.
Bisse. Fine white, whether it be silk or linen.
Bless. God’s blessings are his gifts: as in the first chapter he blessed them, saying, “Grow and multiply, and have dominion,” etc. And in the ninth chapter he blessed Noah and his sons, and gave them dominion over all beasts, and authority to eat them. And God blessed Abraham with cattle and other riches. And Jacob desired Esau to receive the blessing which he brought him, that is, the present and gift. God blessed the seventh day; that is, gave it a preeminence, that men should rest therein from bodily labor, and learn to know the will of God and his laws, and how to work their works godly all the week after. God also blesseth all nations in Abraham’s Seed; that is, he turneth his love and favour unto them, and giveth them his Spirit and knowledge of the true way, and lust and power to walk therein, and all for Christ’s sake, Abraham’s son.
Cain. So is it written in Hebrew. Notwithstanding, whether we call him Cain, or Caim, it maketh no matter, so we understand the meaning. Every land hath his-manner: that we call John, the Welshmen call Evan, the Dutch Haunce. Such difference is between the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; and that maketh them that translate out of the Hebrew vary in names from them that translate out of Latin or Greek. Curse. God’s curse is the taking away of his benefits; as God cursed the earth, and made it barren. So now hunger, dearth, war, pestilence, and such like, are yet right curses, and signs of the wrath of God unto the unbelievers; but unto them that know Christ they are very blessings, and that wholesome cross and true purgatory of our flesh, through which all must go that will live godly and be saved: as thou readest, (Matthew 5:1). “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake,” etc.
And (Hebrews 12:1). “The Lord chastiseth whom he loveth; and scourgeth all the children that he receiveth.”
Firmament. The sky. Faith, is the believing of God’s promises, and a sure trust in the goodness and truth of God: which faith justified Abraham, and was the mother of all his good works which he, afterwards did. For faith is the goodness of all works in the sight of God. Good works are things of God’s commandment, wrought in faith; and to sew a shoe at the commandment of God, to do thy neighbor service withal, with faith to be saved by Christ, as God promiseth us, is much better than to build an abbey of thine own imagination, trusting to be saved by the reigned works of hypocrites. Jacob robbed Laban his uncle; Moses robbed the Egyptians; and Abraham is about to slay and burn his own son: and all are holy works, because they are wrought in faith at God’s commandment. To steal, rob, and murder, are no holy works before worldly people; but unto them that have their trust in God they are holy, when God commandeth them. What God commandeth not, getteth no reward with God. Holy works of men’s imaginations receive their reward here, as Christ testifieth, Matthew 6:1. Howbeit, of faith and works I have spoken abundantly in Mammon. Let him that desireth more seek there.
Grace. Favour: as Noah found grace; that is to say, found favour and love.
Ham and Cam all one. Jehovah , is God’s name; neither is any creature so called; and it is as much to say as, One that is of himself, and dependeth of nothing. Moreover, as oft as thou seest LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing), it is in Hebrew Jehovah, Thou that art; or, lie that is. Marshal. In Hebrew he is called Sartabaim: as thou wouldest say, Lord of the slaughtermen. And though that Tabaim be taken for cooks in many places, (for the cooks did slay the beasts themselves in those days,) yet it may be taken for them that put men to execution also. And that I thought it should here best signify, inasmuch as he had the oversight of the king’s prison, and the king’s prisoners, were they never so great men, were under his custody: and therefore I call him chief marshal; an officer, as it were the lieutenant of the Tower, or master of the Marshalsea.
Slime was their mortar, 11th chapter; and slime-pits, 14th chapter. That slime was a fatness that oozed out of the earth, like unto tar; and thou mayest call it cement, if thou wilt.
Siloh, after some, is as much to say as sent; and after some, happy; and after some, it signifieth Messias, that is to say, anointed, and that we call Christ after the Greek word. And it is a prophecy of Christ; for after all the other tribes were in captivity, and their kingdom destroyed, yet the tribe of Judah had a ruler of the same blood, even unto the coming of Christ: and about the coming of Christ the Romans conquered them, and the emperor gave the kingdom of the tribe Judah unto, which was a stranger, even an Edomite, of the generation of Esau.
Testament; that is, an appointment made between God and man, and God’s promises. And sacrament is a sign representing such appointment and promises; as the rainbow representeth the promise made to Noe, that God will no more drown the world. And circumcision representeth the promises of God to Abraham, on the one side; and that Abraham and his seed should circumcise, and cut off the lusts of their flesh, on the other side, to walk in the ways of the Lord: as baptism, which is come in the room thereof, now signifieth on the one side, how that all that repent and believe are washed in Christ’s blood; and on the other side, how that the same must quench and drown the lusts of the flesh, to follow the steps of Christ.
Tyrants. “There were tyrants in the earth in those days, for the sons of God saw the daughters of men,” etc. The sons of God were the prophets’ children, which, though they succeeded their fathers, fell yet from the right way; and through falsehood of hypocrisy subdued the world under them, and became tyrants; as the successors of the apostles have played with us.
Vapour. A dewy mist, as the smoke of a seething pot. Walk. To walk with God is to live godly, and to walk in his commandments. Enos walked with God, and was no more seen; he lived godly, and died. God took him away; that is, God hid his body as he did Moses and Aaron’s, lest haply they should have made an idol of him; for he was a great preacher and a holy man.
Zaphnath Panenea. Words of Egypt are they (as I suppose); and as much to say as, ‘a man to whom secret things be opened;’ or ‘an expounder of secret things,’ as some interpret it. That Joseph brought the Egyptians into such a subjection, would seem unto some a very cruel deed: howbeit, it was a very equal way; for they paid but the fifth part of that that grew on the ground, and therewith were they quit of all duties, both of rent, custom, tribute, and toll; and the king therewith found them lords, and all ministers, and defended them. We now pay half so much unto the priests only, beside their other crafty exactions.
Then pay we rent yearly, though there grow never so little on the ground; and yet, when the king calleth, pay we never the less. So that if we look indifferently, their condition was easier than ours; and but even, a very indifferent way both for the common people, and the king also.
See, therefore, that thou look not on the ensamples of the scripture with worldly eyes, lest thou prefer Cain before Abel, Ismael before Isaac, Esau before Jacob, Reuben before Judah, Zarah before Phares, Manasses before Ephraim, and even the worst before the best, as the manner of the world is.
A Prologue Into the Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus.
Of the preface upon Genesis mayest thou understand how to behave thyself in this book also, and in all other books of the scripture. Cleave unto the text and plain story, s, and endeavour thyself to search out the meaning of all that is described therein, and the true sense of all manner of speakings of the scripture; of proverbs, similitudes, and borrowed speech, whereof I entreated in the end of The Obedience; and beware of subtle allegories.
And note every thing earnestly, as things pertaining unto thine own heart and soul.
For as God used himself unto them of the old Testament, even so shall he unto the world’s end use himself unto us which have received his holy scripture, and the testimony of his Son Jesus. As God doth all things here for them that believe his promises, and hearken unto his commandments, and with patience cleave unto him, and walk with him; even so shall he do for us, if we receive the witness of Christ with a strong faith, and endure patiently, following his steps. And on the other side, as they that fell from the promise of God through unbelief, and from his law and ordinances through impatiency of their own lusts, were forsaken of God, and so perished; even so. shall we, as many as do likewise, and as many as mock with the doctrine of Christ, and make a cloak of it to live fleshly, and to follow our lusts.
Note thereto, how God is found true at the last; and how, when all is past remedy, and brought into desperation, he then fulfilleth his promises, and that by an abject and a castaway, a despised and a refused person; yea, and by a way impossible to believe.
The cause of all captivity of God’s people is this the world ever hated them for their faith and trust which they have in God; but in vain, until they fall from the faith of the promises, and love of the law and ordinances of God, and put their trust in holy deeds of their own finding, and live altogether at their own lust and pleasure, without regard of God, or respect of their neighbor. Then God forsaketh us, and sendeth us into captivity for our dishonouring of his name and despising of our neighbor. But the world persecuteth us for our faith in Christ only, (as the pope now doth,) and not for our wicked living. For in his kingdom thou mayest quietly, and with license, and under a protection, do whatsoever abomination thy heart lusteth; but God persecuteth us because we abuse his holy testament, and because that, when we know the truth, we follow it not.
Note, also, the mighty hand of the Lord, how he playeth with his adversaries, and provoketh them, and stirreth them up a little and a little, and delivereth not his people in an hour; that. both the patience of his elect, and also the worldly wit and wily policy of the wicked, wherewith they do fight against God, might appear.
Mark the long-suffering and soft patience of Moses, and how he loveth the people, and is ever between the wrath of God and them, and is ready to live and die with them, and to be put out of the book that God had written for their sakes, (as Paul for his brethren, Romans 9:1.) and how he taketh his own wrongs patiently, and never avengeth himself. And make not Moses a figure of Christ, with Rochester; but an ensample unto all princes, and to all that are in authority, how to rule unto God’s pleasure and ‘unto their neighbour’s profit. For there is not a perfecter life in this world, both to the honour of God and profit of his neighbor, nor yet a greater cross, than to rule christianly. And of Aaron also see that thou make no figure of Christ, until he come unto his sacrificing; but an ensample unto all preachers of God’s word, that they add nothing unto God’s word, or take ought therefrom.
Note also, how God sendeth his promise to the people, and Moses confirmeth it with miracles, and the people believe: but when temptation cometh, they fall into unbelief, and few bide standing. Where thou seest that all be not Christians, that will be so called, and that the cross trieth the true from the reigned; for if the cross were not, Christ should have disciples enough. Whereof also thou seest, what an excellent gift of God true faith is, and impossible to be had without the Spirit of God. For it is above all natural power, that a man, in time of temptation, when God scourgeth him, should believe then steadfastly how that God loveth him, and careth for him, and hath prepared all good things for him, and that that scourging is an earnest that God hath elect and chosen him.
Note how oft Moses stirreth them up to believe and to trust in God, putting them in remembrance alway in time of temptation of the miracles and wonders which God had wrought before-time in their eye-sight. How diligently also forbiddeth he all that might withdraw their hearts from God!
To put nought to God’s word, to take nought therefrom; to do only that which is right in the sight of the Lord; that they should make no manner image, to kneel down before it; yea, that they should make none altar of hewed stone, for fear; of images; to flee the heathen idolatries utterly, and to destroy their idols, and cut down their groves where they worshipped; and that they should not take the daughters of them unto their sons, nor give their daughters to the sons of them: and that whosoever moved any of them to worship false gods, howsoever nigh of kin he were, they must accuse him, and bring him to death; yea, and wheresoever they heard of man, woman, or city that worshipped false gods, they must slay them, and destroy the city for ever, and not build it again; and all because they should worship nothing but God, nor put confidence in any thing, save in his word.
Yea, and how warneth he to beware of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, necromancy, and all crafts of the devil, and of dreamers, soothsayers, and of miracle-doers to destroy his word, and that they should suffer none such to live. Thou wilt haply say, ‘They tell a man the truth.’ What then? God will that we care not to know what shall come. He will have us care only to keep his commandments, and to commit all chances unto him. He hath promised to care for us, and to keep us from all evil. All things are in his hand; he can remedy all things; and will, for his truth’s sake, if we pray him. In his promises only will he have us trust, and there rest, and to seek no farther.
How also doth he provoke them to love; .ever rehearsing the benefits of God done to them already, and the godly promises that were to come! And how goodly laws of love giveth he, to help one another; and that a man should not hate his neighbour in his heart, but love him as himself, Leviticus 19:1. And what a charge giveth he in every place over the poor and needy, over the stranger, friendless and widow I And when he desireth to shew mercy, rehearseth withal the benefits of God done to them at their need, that they might see a cause, at the least way in God, to shew mercy of very love unto their neighbours at their need.
Also there is no law so simple in appearance throughout all the five books of Moses, but that there is a great reason of the making thereof, if a man search diligently. As that a man is forbid to seeth a kid in his mother’s milk, moveth us unto compassion, and to be pitiful. As doth also that a man should not offer the sire, or dam, and the young both in one day. (Leviticus 22:1.) For it might seem a cruel thing, in as much as his mother’s milk is, as it were, his blood: wherefore God will not have him sod therein; but will have a man shew courtesy upon the very beasts: as in another place he commandeth that we muzzle not the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn, (which manner of threshing is used in hot countries,)and that because we should much rather not grudge to be liberal and kind unto men that do us service. Or haply, God would have no such wanton meat used among his people: for the kid of itself is nourishing, and the goat’s milk is restorative; and both together might be too rank, and therefore forbidden; or some other like cause there was.
Of the ceremonies, sacrifices, and tabernacle, with all his glory and pomp, understand that they were not permitted only, but also commanded of God; to lead the people in the shadows of Moses and night of the old testament, until the light of Christ and day of the new testament were come: as children are led in the fantasies of youth, until the discretion of man’s age be come upon them. And all was done to keep them from idolatry.
The tabernacle was ordained to the intent they might have a place appointed them to do their sacrifices openly in the sight of the people, and namely, of the priests which waited thereon; that it might be seen that they did all things according to God’s word, and not after the idolatry of their own imagination. And the costliness of the tabernacle, and the beauty also pertained thereunto, that they should see nothing so beautiful among the heathen, but that they should see more beautiful and wonderful at home; because they should not be moved to follow them.
And in like manner, the divers fashions of sacrifices and ceremonies was to occupy their minds, that they should have no lust to follow the heathen; and the multitude of them was, that they should have so much to do in keeping them, that they should have no leisure to imagine other of their own: yea, and that God’s word might be thereby in all that they did, that they might have their faith and trust in God, which he cannot have that followeth either his own inventions, or traditions of men’s making, without God’s word.
Finally: God hath two testaments, the old and the new. The old testament is those temporal promises which God made the children of Israel, of a good land, and that he would defend them, and of wealth and prosperity, and of temporal blessings, of which thou readest over all the law of Moses, but namely Leviticus 26:1. and Deuteronomy 28:1, and the avoiding of all threatenings and curses, of which thou readest likewise every where, but specially in the two books above rehearsed, and the avoiding of all punishment ordained for the transgressors of the law.
And the old testament was built altogether upon the keeping of the law and ceremonies; and was the reward of keeping of them in this life only, and reached no farther than this life and this world: as thou readest, Leviticus 18:1.”A man that doth them shall live therein;” which text Paul rehearseth, Romans 10:1. and Galatians 3:1. that is, he that keepeth them shall have this life glorious, according to all the promises and blessings of the law, and shall avoid both all temporal punishment of the law, with all the threatenings and cursings also. For neither the law, even of the ten commandments, nor yet the ceremonies, justified in the heart before God, or purified unto the life to come: insomuch that Moses at his death, even forty years after the law and ceremonies were given, complaineth, saying, “God hath not given you an heart to understand, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear unto this day.” As who should say, God hath given you ceremonies, but ye know not the use of them; and hath given you a law, but hath not written it in your hearts.
Wherefore serveth the law then, if it giveth us no power to do the law?
Paul answereth them, that it was given to utter sin only, and to make it appear: as a corrosive is laid unto an old sore, not to heal it, but to stir it up, and make the disease alive; that a man might feel in what jeopardy he is, and how nigh death, and not aware; and to make a way unto the healing plaister.
Even so saith Paul, Galatians in.” The law was given because of transgression,” (that is, to make the sin alive, that it might be felt and seen,) “until the seed came unto whom it was promised:” that is to say, until the children of faith came, or until Christ, that Seed in whom God promised Abraham that all nations of the world should be blessed, came.
That is, the law was given to utter sin, death, damnation, t and curse, and to drive us unto Christ, in whom forgiveness, life, justifying, and blessings were promised; that we might see so great love of God to usward in Christ, that we, hence forth overcome with kindness, might love again, and of love keep the commandments.
Now he that goeth about to quiet his conscience and to justify himself with the law, doth but heal his wounds with fretting corrosives. And he that goeth about to purchase grace with ceremonies, doth but suck the alepole to quench his thirst; inasmuch as the ceremonies were not given to justify the heart, but to signify the justifying and forgiveness that is in Christ’s blood.
Of the ceremonies, that they justify not, thou readest Hebrews 10:1. “It is impossible that sin should be done away with the blood of oxen and goats.” And of the law thou readest, Galatians in. “If there had been a law given that could have quickened,” or given life, “then had righteousness, or justifying, “come by the law indeed.” Now the law not only quickeneth not the heart, but also woundeth it with conscience of sin, and ministereth death and damnation unto her, 2 Corinthians 3:1. so that she must needs die and be damned, except she find other remedy, So far it is off that she is justified, or holpen by the law.
The new testament is those everlasting promises which are made us in Christ the Lord throughout all the scripture. And that testament is built on faith, and not in works. For it is not said of that testament, He that worketh shall live; but, “he that. believeth shall live:” as thou readest, John in. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that none which believe in him should perish, but have life everlasting.”
And when this testament is preached and believed, the Spirit entereth the heart, and quickeneth it, and giveth her life, and justifieth her. The Spirit also maketh the law a lively thing in the heart; so that a man bringeth forth good works of his own accord, without compulsion of the law, without fear of threatenings or cursings, yea, and without all manner respect or love unto any temporal pleasure, but of the very power of the Spirit, received through faith, as thou readest, John 1:1. “He gave them power to be the sons of God, in that they believed on his name.”
And of that power they work; so that he which hath the Spirit of Christ is now no more a child: he neither learneth nor worketh now any longer for pain of the rod, or for fear of bugs or pleasure of apples, but doth all things of his own courage; as Christ saith, (John 7:1). “He that believeth on me shall have rivers of living waters flowing out of his belly:” that is, all good works and all gifts of grace spring’ out of him naturally, and by their own accord. Thou needest not to wrest good works out of him, as a man would wring verjuice out of crabs: nay, they flow naturally out of him, as springs out of rocks.
The new testament was ever, even from the beginning, of the world. For there were always promises of Christ to come, by faith in which promises the elect were then justified inwardly before God, as outwardly before the world by keeping of the law and ceremonies.
And in conclusion, as thou seest blessings or cursings follow the keeping or breaking of the law of Moses; even so, naturally, do the blessings or cursings follow the keeping or breaking of the law of nature, out of which spring all our temporal laws. So that, when the people keep the temporal laws of their land, temporal prosperity, and all manner of such temporal blessings as thou readest of in Moses, do accompany them, and fall upon them. And, contrariwise, when they sin unpunished, and when the rulers have no respect unto natural equity or honesty; then God sendeth his curses among them, as hunger, dearth, murrain, baning, pestilence, war, oppression, with strange and wonderful diseases, and new kinds of misfortune and evil luck.
If any man ask me, seeing that faith justifieth me, ‘Why I work?’ I answer, ‘Love compelleth me.’ For as long as my soul feeleth what love God hath shewed me in Christ, I cannot but love God again, and his will and commandments, and of love work them, nor can they seem hard unto me. I think not myself better for my working, nor seek heaven, nor an higher place in heaven, because of it. For a Christian worketh to make his weak brother perfecter, and not to seek an higher place in heaven. I compare not myself unto him that worketh not. No, he that worketh not today, shall have grace to turn and to work tomorrow; and in the mean season I pity him, and pray for him. If I had wrought the will of God these thousand years, and another had wrought the will of the devil as long, and this day turn and be as we”. willing to suffer with Christ as I, he hath this day overtaken me, and is as far come as I, and shall have as much reward as I: and I envy him not, but rejoice most of all, as of lost treasure found. For if I be of God, I have these thousand years suffered to win him, for to come and praise the name of God with me. These thousand years I have prayed, sorrowed, longed, sighed, and sought for that which I have this day found; and therefore rejoice with all my might, and praise God for his grace and mercy.