And Moses said, it is not meet so to do
It being the command and will of God that they should go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice there; and besides it was dangerous, the Egyptians might be provoked by their sacrifices to fall upon them, and kill them;
for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our
by which Moses is not to be understood as calling the idols of Egypt an abomination, as being so to God and to all good men, that were not idolaters; for though they were, Moses would scarcely call them so before Pharaoh, when he could have made use of another word as well; but his meaning is, that the Israelites would sacrifice that which would be an abomination, and very detestable to the Egyptians for them to do. And so the Targum of Jonathan;
``for the sheep, which are the idols of the Egyptians, we shall take and offer before the Lord our God.''Herodotus F23 says, it was not accounted with the Egyptians lawful to sacrifice any creature but swine, and male oxen, and calves, such as were clean; but nevertheless, as after these times the Egyptians did offer such creatures as oxen, sheep, and goats, at least some of them did, Bishop Patrick thinks this may only refer to the rites and ceremonies of sacrificing, and to the qualities and condition of the beasts that were offered, about which the Egyptians in later ages were very curious; however, be it which it will, something might be done which would displease the Egyptians, and therefore it was best to sacrifice out of their land:
lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their
eyes, and will they not stone us?
rise up in a body in great wrath, and fall upon us and slay us, by taking up stones and casting at us, or by some means or another dispatch us while offering; just as Pilate mingled the blood of the Galilaeans with their sacrifices, ( Luke 13:1 ) and the Egyptians were a people that greatly resented any indignity done to their deities, and would prosecute it with great wrath and fury; as appears from an instance which Diodorus Siculus F24 reports he was an eyewitness of, as that a certain Roman having killed a cat, (which is an Egyptian deity,) the mob rose about his house, so that neither the princes sent by the king of Egypt to entreat them, nor the common dread of the Roman name, could deliver the man from punishment, though he did it imprudently, and not on purpose.
F23 Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 41, 42, 45.
F24 Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 75.