8:1 (7:26) 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Release my people in order that they may serve me! 8:2 But if you refuse to release them, then I am going to plague 2 all your territory with frogs. 3 8:3 The Nile will swarm 4 with frogs, and they will come up and go into your house, in your bedroom, and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading troughs. 5 8:4 Frogs 6 will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.”’” 7
8:5 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff 8 over the rivers, over the canals, and over the ponds, and bring the frogs up over the land of Egypt.’” 8:6 So Aaron extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs 9 came up and covered the land of Egypt.
8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned 12 Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray 13 to the Lord that he may take the frogs away 14 from me and my people, and I will release 15 the people that they may sacrifice 16 to the Lord.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me 17 – when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed 18 from you and your houses, so that 19 they will be left 20 only in the Nile?” 8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, 21 “It will be 22 as you say, 23 so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 8:11 The frogs will depart from you, your houses, your servants, and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”
8:12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried 24 to the Lord because of 25 the frogs that he had brought on 26 Pharaoh. 8:13 The Lord did as Moses asked 27 – the 28 frogs died out of the houses, the villages, and the fields. 8:14 The Egyptians 29 piled them in countless heaps, 30 and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, 31 he hardened 32 his heart and did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted. 33
8:16 34 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become 35 gnats 36 throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 8:17 They did so; Aaron extended his hand with his staff, he struck the dust of the ground, and it became gnats on people 37 and on animals. All the dust of the ground became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:18 When 38 the magicians attempted 39 to bring forth gnats by their secret arts, they could not. So there were gnats on people and on animals. 8:19 The magicians said 40 to Pharaoh, “It is the finger 41 of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 42 and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
8:20 43 The Lord 44 said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and position yourself before Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Release my people that they may serve me! 8:21 If you do not release 45 my people, then I am going to send 46 swarms of flies 47 on you and on your servants and on your people and in your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground they stand on. 48 8:22 But on that day I will mark off 49 the land of Goshen, where my people are staying, 50 so that no swarms of flies will be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of this land. 51 8:23 I will put a division 52 between my people and your people. This sign will take place 53 tomorrow.”’” 8:24 The Lord did so; a 54 thick 55 swarm of flies came into 56 Pharaoh’s house and into the houses 57 of his servants, and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land was ruined 58 because of the swarms of flies.
8:25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 59 8:26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do, 60 for the sacrifices we make 61 to the Lord our God would be an abomination 62 to the Egyptians. 63 If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes, 64 will they not stone us? 65 8:27 We must go 66 on a three-day journey 67 into the desert and sacrifice 68 to the Lord our God, just as he is telling us.” 69
8:29 Moses said, “I am going to go out 74 from you and pray to the Lord, and the swarms of flies will go away from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow. Only do not let Pharaoh deal falsely again 75 by not releasing 76 the people to sacrifice to the Lord.” 8:30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 8:31 and the Lord did as Moses asked 77 – he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained! 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened 78 his heart this time also and did not release the people.
9:1 79 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people that they may serve me! 9:2 For if you refuse to release them 80 and continue holding them, 81 9:3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring 82 a very terrible plague 83 on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, 84 the herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will distinguish 85 between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing 86 will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 87
9:5 The Lord set 88 an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this 89 in the land.” 9:6 And the Lord did this 90 on the next day; 91 all 92 the livestock of the Egyptians 93 died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, 94 and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 95 and he did not release the people.
9:8 96 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot 97 from a furnace, and have Moses throw it 98 into the air while Pharaoh is watching. 99 9:9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out and fester 100 on both people and animals in all the land of Egypt.” 9:10 So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh, Moses threw it into the air, and it caused festering boils to break out on both people and animals.
9:11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. 9:12 But the Lord hardened 101 Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.
9:13 102 The Lord said 103 to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand 104 before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: “Release my people so that they may serve me! 9:14 For this time I will send all my plagues 105 on your very self 106 and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 9:15 For by now I could have stretched out 107 my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed 108 from the earth. 9:16 But 109 for this purpose I have caused you to stand: 110 to show you 111 my strength, and so that my name may be declared 112 in all the earth. 9:17 You are still exalting 113 yourself against my people by 114 not releasing them. 9:18 I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down 115 about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred 116 in Egypt from the day it was founded 117 until now. 9:19 So now, send instructions 118 to gather 119 your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person 120 or animal caught 121 in the field and not brought into the house – the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’”
9:20 Those 122 of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their 123 servants and livestock into the houses, 9:21 but those 124 who did not take 125 the word of the Lord seriously left their servants and their cattle 126 in the field.
9:22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky 127 that there may be 128 hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals, 129 and on everything that grows 130 in the field in the land of Egypt.” 9:23 When Moses extended 131 his staff toward the sky, the Lord 132 sent thunder 133 and hail, and fire fell to the earth; 134 so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:24 Hail fell 135 and fire mingled 136 with the hail; the hail was so severe 137 that there had not been any like it 138 in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 9:25 The hail struck everything in the open fields, both 139 people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows 140 in the field, and it broke all the trees of the field to pieces. 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was there no hail.
9:27 So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! 141 The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. 142 9:28 Pray to the Lord, for the mighty 143 thunderings and hail are too much! 144 I will release you and you will stay no longer.” 145
9:29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city 146 I will spread my hands to the Lord, the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the Lord. 147 9:30 But as for you 148 and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear 149 the Lord God.”
9:31 (Now the 150 flax and the barley were struck 151 by the hail, 152 for the barley had ripened 153 and the flax 154 was in bud. 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt 155 were not struck, for they are later crops.) 156
9:33 So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and spread out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain stopped pouring on the earth. 9:34 When Pharaoh saw 157 that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again: 158 both he and his servants hardened 159 their hearts. 9:35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 160 and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord had predicted through Moses.
10:1 161 The Lord said 162 to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order to display 163 these signs of mine before him, 164 10:2 and in order that in the hearing of your son and your grandson you may tell 165 how I made fools 166 of the Egyptians 167 and about 168 my signs that I displayed 169 among them, so that you may know 170 that I am the Lord.”
10:3 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh and told him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: ‘How long do you refuse 171 to humble yourself before me? 172 Release my people so that they may serve me! 10:4 But if you refuse to release my people, I am going to bring 173 locusts 174 into your territory 175 tomorrow. 10:5 They will cover 176 the surface 177 of the earth, so that you 178 will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped 179 – what is left over 180 for you – from the hail, and they will eat every tree that grows for you from the field. 10:6 They will fill your houses, the houses of your servants, and all the houses of Egypt, such as 181 neither 182 your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they have been 183 in the land until this day!’” Then Moses 184 turned and went out from Pharaoh.
10:8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. Exactly who is going with you?” 188 10:9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our sheep and our cattle we will go, because we are to hold 189 a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”
10:10 He said to them, “The Lord will need to be with you 190 if I release you and your dependents! 191 Watch out! 192 Trouble is right in front of you! 193 10:11 No! 194 Go, you men 195 only, and serve the Lord, for that 196 is what you want.” 197 Then Moses and Aaron 198 were driven 199 out of Pharaoh’s presence.
10:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand over the land of Egypt for 200 the locusts, that they may come up over the land of Egypt and eat everything that grows 201 in the ground, everything that the hail has left.” 10:13 So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord 202 brought 203 an east wind on the land all that day and all night. 204 The morning came, 205 and the east wind had brought up 206 the locusts! 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in all the territory 207 of Egypt. It was very severe; 208 there had been no locusts like them before, nor will there be such ever again. 209 10:15 They covered 210 the surface 211 of all the ground, so that the ground became dark with them, 212 and they ate all the vegetation of the ground and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Nothing green remained on the trees or on anything that grew in the fields throughout the whole land of Egypt.
10:16 213 Then Pharaoh quickly 214 summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned 215 against the Lord your God and against you! 10:17 So now, forgive my sin this time only, and pray to the Lord your God that he would only 216 take this death 217 away from me.” 10:18 Moses 218 went out 219 from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 10:19 and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, 220 and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. 221 Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 10:20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites.
10:22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was absolute darkness 226 throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 227 10:23 No one 228 could see 229 another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
10:25 But Moses said, “Will you also 231 provide us 232 with sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may present them 233 to the Lord our God? 10:26 Our livestock must 234 also go with us! Not a hoof is to be left behind! For we must take 235 these animals 236 to serve the Lord our God. Until we arrive there, we do not know what we must use to serve the Lord.” 237
10:27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to release them. 10:28 Pharaoh said to him, “Go from me! 238 Watch out for yourself! Do not appear before me again, 239 for when 240 you see my face you will die!” 10:29 Moses said, “As you wish! 241 I will not see your face again.” 242
1 sn Beginning with 8:1, the verse numbers through 8:32 in English Bibles differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 8:1 ET = 7:26 HT, 8:2 ET = 7:27 HT, 8:3 ET = 7:28 HT, 8:4 ET = 7:29 HT, 8:5 ET = 8:1 HT, etc., through 8:32 ET = 8:28 HT. Thus in English Bibles chapter 8 has 32 verses, while in the Hebrew Bible it has 28 verses, with the four extra verses attached to chapter 7.
2 tn The construction here uses the deictic particle and the participle to convey the imminent future: “I am going to plague/about to plague.” The verb נָגַף (nagaf) means “to strike, to smite,” and its related noun means “a blow, a plague, pestilence” or the like. For Yahweh to say “I am about to plague you” could just as easily mean “I am about to strike you.” That is why these “plagues” can be described as “blows” received from God.
3 tn Heb “plague all your border with frogs.” The expression “all your border” is figurative for all the territory of Egypt and the people and things that are within the borders (also used in Exod 10:4, 14, 19; 13:7).
sn This word for frogs is mentioned in the OT only in conjunction with this plague (here and Pss 78:45, 105:30). R. A. Cole (Exodus [TOTC], 91) suggests that this word “frogs” (צְפַרְדְּעִים, tsÿfardÿ’im) may be an onomatopoeic word, something like “croakers”; it is of Egyptian origin and could be a Hebrew attempt to write the Arabic dofda.
4 sn The choice of this verb שָׁרַץ (sharats) recalls its use in the creation account (Gen 1:20). The water would be swarming with frogs in abundance. There is a hint here of this being a creative work of God as well.
5 sn This verse lists places the frogs will go. The first three are for Pharaoh personally – they are going to touch his private life. Then the text mentions the servants and the people. Mention of the ovens and kneading bowls (or troughs) of the people indicates that food would be contaminated and that it would be impossible even to eat a meal in peace.
6 tn Here again is the generic use of the article, designating the class – frogs.
7 sn The word order of the Hebrew text is important because it shows how the plague was pointedly directed at Pharaoh: “and against you, and against your people, and against all your servants frogs will go up.”
9 tn The noun is singular, a collective. B. Jacob notes that this would be the more natural way to refer to the frogs (Exodus, 260).
10 tn Heb “thus, so.”
11 sn In these first two plagues the fact that the Egyptians could and did duplicate them is ironic. By duplicating the experience, they added to the misery of Egypt. One wonders why they did not use their skills to rid the land of the pests instead, and the implication of course is that they could not.
12 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition has the meaning “to summon.”
13 tn The verb הַעְתִּירוּ (ha’tiru) is the Hiphil imperative of the verb עָתַר (’atar). It means “to pray, supplicate,” or “make supplication” – always addressed to God. It is often translated “entreat” to reflect that it is a more urgent praying.
14 tn This form is the jussive with a sequential vav that provides the purpose of the prayer: pray…that he may turn away the frogs.
sn This is the first time in the conflict that Pharaoh even acknowledged that Yahweh existed. Now he is asking for prayer to remove the frogs and is promising to release Israel. This result of the plague must have been an encouragement to Moses.
15 tn The form is the Piel cohortative וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה (va’ashallÿkhah) with the vav (ו) continuing the sequence from the request and its purpose. The cohortative here stresses the resolve of the king: “and (then) I will release.”
16 tn Here also the imperfect tense with the vav (ו) shows the purpose of the release: “that they may sacrifice.”
17 tn The expression הִתְפָּאֵר עָלַי (hitpa’er ’alay) is problematic. The verb would be simply translated “honor yourself” or “deck yourself with honor.” It can be used in the bad sense of self-exaltation. But here it seems to mean “have the honor or advantage over me” in choosing when to remove the frogs. The LXX has “appoint for me.” Moses is doing more than extending a courtesy to Pharaoh; he is giving him the upper hand in choosing the time. But it is also a test, for if Pharaoh picked the time it would appear less likely that Moses was manipulating things. As U. Cassuto puts it, Moses is saying “my trust in God is so strong you may have the honor of choosing the time” (Exodus, 103).
18 tn Or “destroyed”; Heb “to cut off the frogs.”
19 tn The phrase “so that” is implied.
20 tn Or “survive, remain.”
21 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
22 tn “It will be” has been supplied.
23 tn Heb “according to your word” (so NASB).
24 tn The verb צָעַק (tsa’aq) is used for prayers in which people cry out of trouble or from danger. U. Cassuto observes that Moses would have been in real danger if God had not answered this prayer (Exodus, 103).
25 tn Heb “over the matter of.”
26 tn The verb is an unusual choice if it were just to mean “brought on.” It is the verb שִׂים (sim, “place, put”). S. R. Driver thinks the thought is “appointed for Pharaoh” as a sign (Exodus, 64). The idea of the sign might be too much, but certainly the frogs were positioned for the instruction of the stubborn king.
28 tn Heb “and the frogs died.”
29 tn Heb “and they piled them.” For clarity the translation supplies the referent “the Egyptians” as the ones who were piling the frogs.
30 tn The word “heaps” is repeated: חֳמָרִם הֳמָרִם (khomarim khomarim). The repetition serves to intensify the idea to the highest degree – “countless heaps” (see GKC 396 §123.e).
31 tn The word רְוָחָה (rÿvakhah) means “respite, relief.” BDB 926 relates it to the verb רָוַח (ravakh, “to be wide, spacious”). There would be relief when there was freedom to move about.
32 tn וְהַכְבֵּד (vÿhakhbed) is a Hiphil infinitive absolute, functioning as a finite verb. The meaning of the word is “to make heavy,” and so stubborn, sluggish, indifferent. It summarizes his attitude and the outcome, that he refused to keep his promises.
33 sn The end of the plague revealed clearly God’s absolute control over Egypt’s life and deities – all at the power of the man who prayed to God. Yahweh had made life unpleasant for the people by sending the plague, but he was also the one who could remove it. The only recourse anyone has in such trouble is to pray to the sovereign Lord God. Everyone should know that there is no one like Yahweh.
34 sn The third plague is brief and unannounced. Moses and Aaron were simply to strike the dust so that it would become gnats. Not only was this plague unannounced, but also it was not duplicated by the Egyptians.
35 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, meaning “and it will be.” When הָיָה (hayah) is followed by the lamed (ל) proposition, it means “become.”
36 tn The noun is כִּנִּים (kinnim). The insect has been variously identified as lice, gnats, ticks, flies, fleas, or mosquitoes. “Lice” follows the reading in the Peshitta and Targum (and so Josephus, Ant. 2.14.3 [2.300]). Greek and Latin had “gnats.” By “gnats” many commentators mean “mosquitoes,” which in and around the water of Egypt were abundant (and the translators of the Greek text were familiar with Egypt). Whatever they were they came from the dust and were troublesome to people and animals.
38 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the main clause as a temporal clause.
39 tn Heb “and the magicians did so.”
sn The report of what the magicians did (or as it turns out, tried to do) begins with the same words as the report about the actions of Moses and Aaron – “and they did so” (vv. 17 and 18). The magicians copy the actions of Moses and Aaron, leading readers to think momentarily that the magicians are again successful, but at the end of the verse comes the news that “they could not.” Compared with the first two plagues, this third plague has an important new feature, the failure of the magicians and their recognition of the source of the plague.
40 tn Heb “and the magicians said.”
41 tn The word “finger” is a bold anthropomorphism (a figure of speech in which God is described using human characteristics).
sn The point of the magicians’ words is clear enough. They knew they were beaten and by whom. The reason for their choice of the word “finger” has occasioned many theories, none of which is entirely satisfying. At the least their statement highlights that the plague was accomplished by God with majestic ease and effortlessness. Perhaps the reason that they could not do this was that it involved producing life – from the dust of the ground, as in Genesis 2:7. The creative power of God confounded the magic of the Egyptians and brought on them a loathsome plague.
42 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh became hard.” This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq; see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continuation of a prior condition.
43 sn The announcement of the fourth plague parallels that of the first plague. Now there will be flies, likely dogflies. Egypt has always suffered from flies, more so in the summer than in the winter. But the flies the plague describes involve something greater than any normal season for flies. The main point that can be stressed in this plague comes by tracing the development of the plagues in their sequence. Now, with the flies, it becomes clear that God can inflict suffering on some people and preserve others – a preview of the coming judgment that will punish Egypt but set Israel free. God is fully able to keep the dog-fly in the land of the Egyptians and save his people from these judgments.
44 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
45 tn The construction uses the predicator of nonexistence – אֵין (’en, “there is not”) – with a pronominal suffix prior to the Piel participle. The suffix becomes the subject of the clause. Heb “but if there is not you releasing.”
46 tn Here again is the futur instans use of the participle, now Qal with the meaning “send”: הִנְנִי מַשְׁלִיחַ (hinni mashliakh, “here I am sending”).
47 tn The word עָרֹב (’arov) means “a mix” or “swarm.” It seems that some irritating kind of flying insect is involved. Ps 78:45 says that the Egyptians were eaten or devoured by them. Various suggestions have been made over the years: (1) it could refer to beasts or reptiles; (2) the Greek took it as the dog-fly, a vicious blood-sucking gadfly, more common in the spring than in the fall; (3) the ordinary house fly, which is a symbol of Egypt in Isa 7:18 (Hebrew זְבוּב, zÿvuv); and (4) the beetle, which gnaws and bites plants, animals, and materials. The fly probably fits the details of this passage best; the plague would have greatly intensified a problem with flies that already existed.
48 tn Or perhaps “the land where they are” (cf. NRSV “the land where they live”).
49 tn Or “distinguish.” וְהִפְלֵיתִי (vÿhifleti) is the Hiphil perfect of פָּלָה (palah). The verb in Hiphil means “to set apart, make separate, make distinct.” God was going to keep the flies away from Goshen – he was setting that apart. The Greek text assumed that the word was from פָּלֵא (pale’), and translated it something like “I will marvelously glorify.”
50 tn The relative clause modifies the land of Goshen as the place “in which my people are dwelling.” But the normal word for “dwelling” is not used here. Instead, עֹמֵד (’omed) is used, which literally means “standing.” The land on which Israel stood was spared the flies and the hail.
51 tn Or “of the earth” (KJV, ASV, NAB).
52 tn The word in the text is פְדֻת (pÿdut, “redemption”). This would give the sense of making a distinction by redeeming Israel. The editors wish to read פְלֻת (pÿlut) instead – “a separation, distinction” to match the verb in the preceding verse. For another view, see G. I. Davies, “The Hebrew Text of Exodus VIII 19 [English 23]: An Emendation,” VT 24 (1974): 489-92.
53 tn Heb “this sign will be tomorrow.”
54 tn Heb “and there came a….”
55 tn Heb “heavy,” or “severe.”
56 tn Here, and in the next phrase, the word “house” has to be taken as an adverbial accusative of termination.
57 tn The Hebrew text has the singular here.
58 tc Concerning the connection of “the land was ruined” with the preceding, S. R. Driver (Exodus, 68) suggests reading with the LXX, Smr, and Peshitta; this would call for adding a conjunction before the last clause to make it read, “into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt; and the land was…”
tn The Hebrew word תִּשָּׁחֵת (tishakhet) is a strong word; it is the Niphal imperfect of שָׁחַת (shakhat) and is translated “ruined.” If the classification as imperfect stands, then it would have to be something like a progressive imperfect (the land was being ruined); otherwise, it may simply be a preterite without the vav (ו) consecutive. The verb describes utter devastation. This is the verb that is used in Gen 13:10 to describe how Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Swarms of flies would disrupt life, contaminate everything, and bring disease.
59 sn After the plague is inflicted on the land, then Pharaoh makes an appeal. So there is the familiar confrontation (vv. 25-29). Pharaoh’s words to Moses are an advancement on his previous words. Now he uses imperatives: “Go, sacrifice to your God.” But he restricts it to “in the [this] land.” This is a subtle attempt to keep them as a subjugated people and prevent their absolute allegiance to their God. This offered compromise would destroy the point of the exodus – to leave Egypt and find a new allegiance under the
60 tn The clause is a little unusual in its formation. The form נָכוֹן (nakhon) is the Niphal participle from כּוּן (kun), which usually means “firm, fixed, steadfast,” but here it has a rare meaning of “right, fitting, appropriate.” It functions in the sentence as the predicate adjective, because the infinitive לַעֲשּׂוֹת (la’asot) is the subject – “to do so is not right.”
61 tn This translation has been smoothed out to capture the sense. The text literally says, “for the abomination of Egypt we will sacrifice to Yahweh our God.” In other words, the animals that Israel would sacrifice were sacred to Egypt, and sacrificing them would have been abhorrent to the Egyptians.
62 tn An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is tabu. It could be translated “detestable” or “loathsome.”
63 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 109) says there are two ways to understand “the abomination of the Egyptians.” One is that the sacrifice of the sacred animals would appear an abominable thing in the eyes of the Egyptians, and the other is that the word “abomination” could be a derogatory term for idols – we sacrifice what is an Egyptian idol. So that is why he says if they did this the Egyptians would stone them.
64 tn Heb “if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians [or “of Egypt”] before their eyes.”
65 tn The interrogative clause has no particle to indicate it is a question, but it is connected with the conjunction to the preceding clause, and the meaning of these clauses indicate it is a question (GKC 473 §150.a).
66 tn The verb נֵלֵךְ (nelekh) is a Qal imperfect of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh). Here it should be given the modal nuance of obligation: “we must go.”
67 tn This clause is placed first in the sentence to stress the distance required. דֶּרֶךְ (derekh) is an adverbial accusative specifying how far they must go. It is in construct, so “three days” modifies it. It is a “journey of three days,” or, “a three day journey.”
68 tn The form is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive; it follows in the sequence: we must go…and then [must] sacrifice.”
69 tn The form is the imperfect tense. It could be future: “as he will tell us,” but it also could be the progressive imperfect if this is now what God is telling them to do: “as he is telling us.”
70 sn By changing from “the people” to “you” (plural) the speech of Pharaoh was becoming more personal.
71 tn This form, a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, is equivalent to the imperfect tense that precedes it. However, it must be subordinate to the preceding verb to express the purpose. He is not saying “I will release…and you will sacrifice,” but rather “I will release…that you may sacrifice” or even “to sacrifice.”
72 tn The construction is very emphatic. First, it uses a verbal hendiadys with a Hiphil imperfect and the Qal infinitive construct: לֹא־תַרְחִיקוּ לָלֶכֶת (lo’ tarkhiqu lalekhet, “you will not make far to go”), meaning “you will not go far.” But this prohibition is then emphasized with the additional infinitive absolute הַרְחֵק (harkheq) – “you will in no wise go too far.” The point is very strong to safeguard the concession.
73 tn “Do” has been supplied here to convey that this somewhat unexpected command is tacked onto Pharaoh’s instructions as his ultimate concern, which Moses seems to understand as such, since he speaks about it immediately (v. 29).
74 tn The deictic particle with the participle usually indicates the futur instans nuance: “I am about to…,” or “I am going to….” The clause could also be subordinated as a temporal clause.
75 tn The verb תָּלַל (talal) means “to mock, deceive, trifle with.” The construction in this verse forms a verbal hendiadys. The Hiphil jussive אַל־יֹסֵף (’al-yosef, “let not [Pharaoh] add”) is joined with the Hiphil infinitive הָתֵל (hatel, “to deceive”). It means: “Let not Pharaoh deceive again.” Changing to the third person in this warning to Pharaoh is more decisive, more powerful.
76 tn The Piel infinitive construct after lamed (ל) and the negative functions epexegetically, explaining how Pharaoh would deal falsely – “by not releasing.”
77 tn Heb “according to the word of Moses” (so KJV, ASV).
78 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
79 sn This plague demonstrates that Yahweh has power over the livestock of Egypt. He is able to strike the animals with disease and death, thus delivering a blow to the economic as well as the religious life of the land. By the former plagues many of the Egyptian religious ceremonies would have been interrupted and objects of veneration defiled or destroyed. Now some of the important deities will be attacked. In Goshen, where the cattle are merely cattle, no disease hits, but in the rest of Egypt it is a different matter. Osiris, the savior, cannot even save the brute in which his own soul is supposed to reside. Apis and Mnevis, the ram of Ammon, the sheep of Sais, and the goat of Mendes, perish together. Hence, Moses reminds Israel afterward, “On their gods also Yahweh executed judgments” (Num 33:4). When Jethro heard of all these events, he said, “Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all the gods” (Exod 18:11).
80 tn The object “them” is implied in the context.
81 tn עוֹד (’od), an adverb meaning “yet, still,” can be inflected with suffixes and used as a predicator of existence, with the nuance “to still be, yet be” (T. O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, 171-72, §137). Then, it is joined here with the Hiphil participle מַחֲזִיק (makhaziq) to form the sentence “you are still holding them.”
82 tn The form used here is הוֹיָה (hoyah), the Qal active participle, feminine singular, from the verb “to be.” This is the only place in the OT that this form occurs. Ogden shows that this form is appropriate with the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) to stress impending divine action, and that it conforms to the pattern in these narratives where five times the participle is used in the threat to Pharaoh (7:17; 8:2; 9:3, 14; 10:4). See G. S. Ogden, “Notes on the Use of הויה in Exodus IX. 3,” VT 17 (1967): 483-84.
84 sn The older view that camels were not domesticated at this time (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 70; W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 96; et. al.) has been corrected by more recently uncovered information (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 160-61).
86 tn There is a wordplay in this section. A pestilence – דֶּבֶר (dever) – will fall on Egypt’s cattle, but no thing – דָּבָר (davar) – belonging to Israel would die. It was perhaps for this reason that the verb was changed in v. 1 from “say” to “speak” (דִּבֶּר, dibber). See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 111.
87 tn The lamed preposition indicates possession: “all that was to the Israelites” means “all that the Israelites had.”
88 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”
89 tn Heb “this thing.”
90 tn Heb “this thing.”
91 tn Heb “on the morrow.”
92 tn The word “all” clearly does not mean “all” in the exclusive sense, because subsequent plagues involve cattle. The word must denote such a large number that whatever was left was insignificant for the economy. It could also be taken to mean “all [kinds of] livestock died.”
93 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
94 tn Heb “Pharaoh sent.” The phrase “representatives to investigate” is implied in the context.
95 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh was hardened.” This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved; see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continuation of a prior condition.
96 sn This sixth plague, like the third, is unannounced. God instructs his servants to take handfuls of ashes from the Egyptians’ furnaces and sprinkle them heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh. These ashes would become little particles of dust that would cause boils on the Egyptians and their animals. Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 : 101-3, suggests it is skin anthrax (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:359). The lesson of this plague is that Yahweh has absolute control over the physical health of the people. Physical suffering consequent to sin comes to all regardless of their position and status. The Egyptians are helpless in the face of this, as now God begins to touch human life; greater judgments on human wickedness lie ahead.
97 tn This word פִּיחַ (piakh) is a hapax legomenon, meaning “soot”; it seems to be derived from the verb פּוּחַ (puakh, “to breathe, blow”). The “furnace” (כִּבְשָׁן, kivshan) was a special kiln for making pottery or bricks.
98 tn The verb זָרַק (zaraq) means “to throw vigorously, to toss.” If Moses tosses the soot into the air, it will symbolize that the disease is falling from heaven.
99 tn Heb “before the eyes of Pharaoh.”
100 tn The word שְׁחִין (shÿkhin) means “boils.” It may be connected to an Arabic cognate that means “to be hot.” The illness is associated with Job (Job 2:7-8) and Hezekiah (Isa 38:21); it has also been connected with other skin diseases described especially in the Law. The word connected with it is אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת (’ava’bu’ot); this means “blisters, pustules” and is sometimes translated as “festering.” The etymology is debated, whether from a word meaning “to swell up” or “to overflow” (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:359).
101 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
102 sn With the seventh plague there is more explanation of what God is doing to Pharaoh. This plague begins with an extended lesson (vv. 13-21). Rain was almost unknown in Egypt, and hail and lightning were harmless. The Egyptians were fascinated by all these, though, and looked on them as portentous. Herodotus describes how they studied such things and wrote them down (1.2.c.38). If ordinary rainstorms were ominous, what must fire and hail have been? The Egyptians had denominated fire Hephaistos, considering it to be a mighty deity (cf. Diodorus, 1.1.c.1). Porphry says that at the opening of the temple of Serapis the Egyptians worshiped with water and fire. If these connections were clearly understood, then these elements in the plague were thought to be deities that came down on their own people with death and destruction.
103 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
104 tn Or “take your stand.”
105 tn The expression “all my plagues” points to the rest of the plagues and anticipates the proper outcome. Another view is to take the expression to mean the full brunt of the attack on the Egyptian people.
106 tn Heb “to your heart.” The expression is unusual, but it may be an allusion to the hard heartedness of Pharaoh – his stubbornness and blindness (B. Jacob, Exodus, 274).
107 tn The verb is the Qal perfect שָׁלַחְתִּי (shalakhti), but a past tense, or completed action translation does not fit the context at all. Gesenius lists this reference as an example of the use of the perfect to express actions and facts, whose accomplishment is to be represented not as actual but only as possible. He offers this for Exod 9:15: “I had almost put forth” (GKC 313 §106.p). Also possible is “I should have stretched out my hand.” Others read the potential nuance instead, and render it as “I could have…” as in the present translation.
108 tn The verb כָּחַד (kakhad) means “to hide, efface,” and in the Niphal it has the idea of “be effaced, ruined, destroyed.” Here it will carry the nuance of the result of the preceding verbs: “I could have stretched out my hand…and struck you…and (as a result) you would have been destroyed.”
109 tn The first word is a very strong adversative, which, in general, can be translated “but, howbeit”; BDB 19 s.v. אוּלָם suggests for this passage “but in very deed.”
110 tn The form הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ (he’emadtikha) is the Hiphil perfect of עָמַד (’amad). It would normally mean “I caused you to stand.” But that seems to have one or two different connotations. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 73) says that it means “maintain you alive.” The causative of this verb means “continue,” according to him. The LXX has the same basic sense – “you were preserved.” But Paul bypasses the Greek and writes “he raised you up” to show God’s absolute sovereignty over Pharaoh. Both renderings show God’s sovereign control over Pharaoh.
111 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct הַרְאֹתְךָ (har’otÿkha) is the purpose of God’s making Pharaoh come to power in the first place. To make Pharaoh see is to cause him to understand, to experience God’s power.
112 tn Heb “in order to declare my name.” Since there is no expressed subject, this may be given a passive translation.
113 tn מִסְתּוֹלֵל (mistolel) is a Hitpael participle, from a root that means “raise up, obstruct.” So in the Hitpael it means to “raise oneself up,” “elevate oneself,” or “be an obstructionist.” See W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:363; U. Cassuto, Exodus, 116.
114 tn The infinitive construct with lamed here is epexegetical; it explains how Pharaoh has exalted himself – “by not releasing the people.”
115 tn הִנְנִי מַמְטִיר (hinÿni mamtir) is the futur instans construction, giving an imminent future translation: “Here – I am about to cause it to rain.”
116 tn Heb “which not was like it in Egypt.” The pronoun suffix serves as the resumptive pronoun for the relative particle: “which…like it” becomes “the like of which has not been.” The word “hail” is added in the translation to make clear the referent of the relative particle.
117 tn The form הִוָּסְדָה (hivvasdah) is perhaps a rare Niphal perfect and not an infinitive (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 117).
118 tn The object “instructions” is implied in the context.
119 tn הָעֵז (ha’ez) is the Hiphil imperative from עוּז (’uz, “to bring into safety” or “to secure”). Although there is no vav (ו) linking the two imperatives, the second could be subordinated by virtue of the meanings. “Send to bring to safety.”
120 tn Heb “man, human.”
121 tn Heb “[who] may be found.” The verb can be the imperfect of possibility.
123 tn Heb “his” (singular).
124 tn The Hebrew text again has the singular.
125 tn Heb “put to his heart.”
126 tn Heb “his servants and his cattle.”
127 tn Or “the heavens” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
128 tn The jussive with the conjunction (וִיהִי, vihi) coming after the imperative provides the purpose or result.
129 tn Heb “on man and on beast.”
130 tn The noun refers primarily to cultivated grains. But here it seems to be the general heading for anything that grows from the ground, all vegetation and plant life, as opposed to what grows on trees.
131 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next clause in view of the emphasis put on the subject, Yahweh, by the disjunctive word order of that clause.
132 tn By starting the clause with the subject (an example of disjunctive word order) the text is certainly stressing that Yahweh alone did this.
133 tn The expression נָתַן קֹלֹת (natan qolot) literally means “gave voices” (also “voice”). This is a poetic expression for sending the thunder. Ps 29:3 talks about the “voice of Yahweh” – the God of glory thunders!
134 sn This clause has been variously interpreted. Lightning would ordinarily accompany thunder; in this case the mention of fire could indicate that the lightning was beyond normal and that it was striking in such a way as to start fires on the ground. It could also mean that fire went along the ground from the pounding hail.
135 tn The verb is the common preterite וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), which is normally translated “and there was” if it is translated at all. The verb הָיָה (hayah), however, can mean “be, become, befall, fall, fall out, happen.” Here it could be simply translated “there was hail,” but the active “hail fell” fits the point of the sequence better.
136 tn The form מִתְלַקַּחַת (mitlaqqakhat) is a Hitpael participle; the clause reads, “and fire taking hold of itself in the midst of the hail.” This probably refers to lightning flashing back and forth. See also Ezek 1:4. God created a great storm with flashing fire connected to it.
137 tn Heb “very heavy” or “very severe.” The subject “the hail” is implied.
138 tn A literal reading of the clause would be “which there was not like it in all the land of Egypt.” The relative pronoun must be joined to the resumptive pronoun: “which like it (like which) there had not been.”
139 tn The exact expression is “from man even to beast.” R. J. Williams lists this as an example of the inclusive use of the preposition מִן (min) to be rendered “both…and” (Hebrew Syntax, 57, §327).
140 tn Heb “all the cultivated grain of.”
141 sn Pharaoh now is struck by the judgment and acknowledges that he is at fault. But the context shows that this penitence was short-lived. What exactly he meant by this confession is uncertain. On the surface his words seem to represent a recognition that he was in the wrong and Yahweh right.
142 tn The word רָשָׁע (rasha’) can mean “ungodly, wicked, guilty, criminal.” Pharaoh here is saying that Yahweh is right, and the Egyptians are not – so they are at fault, guilty. S. R. Driver says the words are used in their forensic sense (in the right or wrong standing legally) and not in the ethical sense of morally right and wrong (Exodus, 75).
144 tn The expression וְרַב מִהְיֹת (vÿrav mihyot, “[the mighty thunder and hail] is much from being”) means essentially “more than enough.” This indicates that the storm was too much, or, as one might say, “It is enough.”
145 tn The last clause uses a verbal hendiadys: “you will not add to stand,” meaning “you will no longer stay.”
146 tn כְּצֵאתִי (kÿtse’ti) is the Qal infinitive construct of יָצָא (yatsa’); it functions here as the temporal clause before the statement about prayer.
sn There has been a good deal of speculation about why Moses would leave the city before praying. Rashi said he did not want to pray where there were so many idols. It may also be as the midrash in Exodus Rabbah 12:5 says that most of the devastation of this plague had been outside in the fields, and that was where Moses wished to go.
147 sn This clause provides the purpose/result of Moses’ intention: he will pray to Yahweh and the storms will cease “that you might know….” It was not enough to pray and have the plague stop. Pharaoh must “know” that Yahweh is the sovereign Lord over the earth. Here was that purpose of knowing through experience. This clause provides the key for the exposition of this plague: God demonstrated his power over the forces of nature to show his sovereignty – the earth is Yahweh’s. He can destroy it. He can preserve it. If people sin by ignoring his word and not fearing him, he can bring judgment on them. If any fear Yahweh and obey his instructions, they will be spared. A positive way to express the expositional point of the chapter is to say that those who fear Yahweh and obey his word will escape the powerful destruction he has prepared for those who sinfully disregard his word.
148 tn The verse begins with the disjunctive vav to mark a strong contrastive clause to what was said before this.
149 tn The adverb טֶרֶם (terem, “before, not yet”) occurs with the imperfect tense to give the sense of the English present tense to the verb negated by it (GKC 314-15 §107.c). Moses is saying that he knew that Pharaoh did not really stand in awe of God, so as to grant Israel’s release, i.e., fear not in the religious sense but “be afraid of” God – fear “before” him (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 76).
150 tn A disjunctive vav introduces the two verses that provide parenthetical information to the reader. Gesenius notes that the boldness of such clauses is often indicated by the repetition of nouns at the beginning (see GKC 452 §141.d). Some have concluded that because they have been put here rather than back after v. 25 or 26, they form part of Moses’ speech to Pharaoh, explaining that the crops that were necessary for humans were spared, but those for other things were destroyed. This would also mean that Moses was saying there is more that God can destroy (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 279).
152 tn The words “by the hail” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied from context.
153 tn Heb “was in the ear” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “had headed.”
154 sn Flax was used for making linen, and the area around Tanis was ideal for producing flax. Barley was used for bread for the poor people, as well as beer and animal feed.
155 tn The word כֻּסֶּמֶת (kussemet) is translated “spelt”; the word occurs only here and in Isa 28:25 and Ezek 4:9. Spelt is a grain closely allied to wheat. Other suggestions have been brought forward from the study of Egyptian crops (see a brief summary in W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:363-64).
156 tn Heb “for they are late.”
157 tn The clause beginning with the preterite and vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next, and main clause – that he hardened his heart again.
158 tn The construction is another verbal hendiadys: וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹּא (vayyosef lakhatto’), literally rendered “and he added to sin.” The infinitive construct becomes the main verb, and the Hiphil preterite becomes adverbial. The text is clearly interpreting as sin the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and his refusal to release Israel. At the least this means that the plagues are his fault, but the expression probably means more than this – he was disobeying Yahweh God.
159 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
160 tn The verb about Pharaoh’s heart in v. 35 is וַיֶּחֱזַק (vayyekhezaq), a Qal preterite: “and it was hardened” or “strengthened to resist.” This forms the summary statement of this stage in the drama. The verb used in v. 34 to report Pharaoh’s response was וַיַּכְבֵּד (vayyakhbed), a Hiphil preterite: “and he hardened [his heart]” or made it stubborn. The use of two descriptions of Pharaoh’s heart in close succession, along with mention of his servants’ heart condition, underscores the growing extent of the problem.
161 sn The Egyptians dreaded locusts like every other ancient civilization. They had particular gods to whom they looked for help in such catastrophes. The locust-scaring deities of Greece and Asia were probably looked to in Egypt as well (especially in view of the origins in Egypt of so many of those religious ideas). The announcement of the plague falls into the now-familiar pattern. God tells Moses to go and speak to Pharaoh but reminds Moses that he has hardened his heart. Yahweh explains that he has done this so that he might show his power, so that in turn they might declare his name from generation to generation. This point is stressed so often that it must not be minimized. God was laying the foundation of the faith for Israel – the sovereignty of Yahweh.
162 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
163 tn The verb is שִׁתִי (shiti, “I have put”); it is used here as a synonym for the verb שִׂים (sim). Yahweh placed the signs in his midst, where they will be obvious.
164 tn Heb “in his midst.”
165 tn The expression is unusual: תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי (tÿsapper bÿ’ozne, “[that] you may declare in the ears of”). The clause explains an additional reason for God’s hardening the heart of Pharaoh, namely, so that the Israelites can tell their children of God’s great wonders. The expression is highly poetic and intense – like Ps 44:1, which says, “we have heard with our ears.” The emphasis would be on the clear teaching, orally, from one generation to another.
166 tn The verb הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי (hit’allalti) is a bold anthropomorphism. The word means to occupy oneself at another’s expense, to toy with someone, which may be paraphrased with “mock.” The whole point is that God is shaming and disgracing Egypt, making them look foolish in their arrogance and stubbornness (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:366-67). Some prefer to translate it as “I have dealt ruthlessly” with Egypt (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 123).
167 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
168 tn The word “about” is supplied to clarify this as another object of the verb “declare.”
169 tn Heb “put” or “placed.”
170 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav consecutive, וִידַעְתֶּם (vida’tem, “and that you might know”). This provides another purpose for God’s dealings with Egypt in the way that he was doing. The form is equal to the imperfect tense with vav (ו) prefixed; it thus parallels the imperfect that began v. 2 – “that you might tell.”
171 tn The verb is מֵאַנְתָּ (me’anta), a Piel perfect. After “how long,” the form may be classified as present perfect (“how long have you refused), for it describes actions begun previously but with the effects continuing. (See GKC 311 §106.g-h). The use of a verb describing a state or condition may also call for a present translation (“how long do you refuse”) that includes past, present, and potentially future, in keeping with the question “how long.”
172 tn The clause is built on the use of the infinitive construct to express the direct object of the verb – it answers the question of what Pharaoh was refusing to do. The Niphal infinitive construct (note the elision of the ה [hey] prefix after the preposition [see GKC 139 §51.l]) is from the verb עָנָה (’anah). The verb in this stem would mean “humble oneself.” The question is somewhat rhetorical, since God was not yet through humbling Pharaoh, who would not humble himself. The issue between Yahweh and Pharaoh is deeper than simply whether or not Pharaoh will let the Israelites leave Egypt.
173 tn הִנְנִי (hinni) before the active participle מֵבִיא (mevi’) is the imminent future construction: “I am about to bring” or “I am going to bring” – precisely, “here I am bringing.”
174 tn One of the words for “locusts” in the Bible is אַרְבֶּה (’arbeh), which comes from רָבָה (ravah, “to be much, many”). It was used for locusts because of their immense numbers.
175 tn Heb “within your border.”
176 tn The verbs describing the locusts are singular because it is a swarm or plague of locusts. This verb (וְכִסָּה, vÿkhissah, “cover”) is a Piel perfect with a vav consecutive; it carries the same future nuance as the participle before it.
178 tn The text has לִרְאֹת וְלֹא יוּכַל (vÿlo’ yukhal lir’ot, “and he will not be able to see”). The verb has no expressed subjects. The clause might, therefore, be given a passive translation: “so that [it] cannot be seen.” The whole clause is the result of the previous statement.
179 sn As the next phrase explains “what escaped” refers to what the previous plague did not destroy. The locusts will devour everything, because there will not be much left from the other plagues for them to eat.
180 tn הַנִּשְׁאֶרֶת (hannish’eret) parallels (by apposition) and adds further emphasis to the preceding two words; it is the Niphal participle, meaning “that which is left over.”
181 tn The relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (’asher) is occasionally used as a comparative conjunction (see GKC 499 §161.b).
182 tn Heb “which your fathers have not seen, nor your fathers’ fathers.”
183 tn The Hebrew construction מִיּוֹם הֱיוֹתָם (miyyom heyotam, “from the day of their being”). The statement essentially says that no one, even the elderly, could remember seeing a plague of locusts like this. In addition, see B. Childs, “A Study of the Formula, ‘Until This Day,’” JBL 82 (1963).
184 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
185 sn The question of Pharaoh’s servants echoes the question of Moses – “How long?” Now the servants of Pharaoh are demanding what Moses demanded – “Release the people.” They know that the land is destroyed, and they speak of it as Moses’ doing. That way they avoid acknowledging Yahweh or blaming Pharaoh.
186 tn Heb “snare” (מוֹקֵשׁ, moqesh), a word used for a trap for catching birds. Here it is a figure for the cause of Egypt’s destruction.
187 tn With the adverb טֶרֶם (terem), the imperfect tense receives a present sense: “Do you not know?” (See GKC 481 §152.r).
188 tn The question is literally “who and who are the ones going?” (מִי וָמִי הַהֹלְכִים, mi vami haholÿkhim). Pharaoh’s answer to Moses includes this rude question, which was intended to say that Pharaoh would control who went. The participle in this clause, then, refers to the future journey.
189 tn Heb “we have a pilgrim feast (חַג, khag) to Yahweh.”
190 sn Pharaoh is by no means offering a blessing on them in the name of Yahweh. The meaning of his “wish” is connected to the next clause – as he is releasing them, may God help them. S. R. Driver says that in Pharaoh’s scornful challenge Yahweh is as likely to protect them as Pharaoh is likely to let them go – not at all (Exodus, 80). He is planning to keep the women and children as hostages to force the men to return. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 125) paraphrases it this way: “May the help of your God be as far from you as I am from giving you permission to go forth with your little ones.” The real irony, Cassuto observes, is that in the final analysis he will let them go, and Yahweh will be with them.
191 tn The context of Moses’ list of young and old, sons and daughters, and the contrast with the word for strong “men” in v. 11 indicates that טַפְּכֶם (tappÿkhem), often translated “little ones” or “children,” refers to dependent people, noncombatants in general.
192 tn Heb “see.”
193 tn Heb “before your face.”
sn The “trouble” or “evil” that is before them could refer to the evil that they are devising – the attempt to escape from Egypt. But that does not make much sense in the sentence – why would he tell them to take heed or look out about that? U. Cassuto (Exodus, 126) makes a better suggestion. He argues that Pharaoh is saying, “Don’t push me too far.” The evil, then, would be what Pharaoh was going to do if these men kept making demands on him. This fits the fact that he had them driven out of his court immediately. There could also be here an allusion to Pharaoh’s god Re’, the sun-deity and head of the pantheon; he would be saying that the power of his god would confront them.
194 tn Heb “not thus.”
195 tn The word is הַגְּבָרִים (haggÿvarim, “the strong men”), a word different from the more general one that Pharaoh’s servants used (v. 7). Pharaoh appears to be conceding, but he is holding hostages. The word “only” has been supplied in the translation to indicate this.
196 tn The suffix on the sign of the accusative refers in a general sense to the idea contained in the preceding clause (see GKC 440-41 §135.p).
197 tn Heb “you are seeking.”
198 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Moses and Aaron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
199 tn The verb is the Piel preterite, third person masculine singular, meaning “and he drove them out.” But “Pharaoh” cannot be the subject of the sentence, for “Pharaoh” is the object of the preposition. The subject is not specified, and so the verb can be treated as passive.
200 tn The preposition בְּ (bet) is unexpected here. BDB 91 s.v. (the note at the end of the entry) says that in this case it can only be read as “with the locusts,” meaning that the locusts were thought to be implicit in Moses’ lifting up of his hand. However, BDB prefers to change the preposition to לְ (lamed).
201 tn The noun עֵשֶּׂב (’esev) normally would indicate cultivated grains, but in this context seems to indicate plants in general.
202 tn The clause begins וַיהוָה (va’adonay [vayhvah], “Now Yahweh….”). In contrast to a normal sequence, this beginning focuses attention on Yahweh as the subject of the verb.
203 tn The verb נָהַג (nahag) means “drive, conduct.” It is elsewhere used for driving sheep, leading armies, or leading in processions.
204 tn Heb “and all the night.”
205 tn The text does not here use ordinary circumstantial clause constructions; rather, Heb “the morning was, and the east wind carried the locusts.” It clearly means “when it was morning,” but the style chosen gives a more abrupt beginning to the plague, as if the reader is in the experience – and at morning, the locusts are there!
206 tn The verb here is a past perfect, indicting that the locusts had arrived before the day came.
207 tn Heb “border.”
208 tn This is an interpretive translation. The clause simply has כָּבֵד מְאֹד (kaved mÿ’od), the stative verb with the adverb – “it was very heavy.” The description prepares for the following statement about the uniqueness of this locust infestation.
209 tn Heb “after them.”
210 tn Heb “and they covered.”
212 tn The verb is וַתֶּחְשַׁךְ (vattekhshakh, “and it became dark”). The idea is that the ground had the color of the swarms of locusts that covered it.
213 sn The third part of the passage now begins, the confrontation that resulted from the onslaught of the plague. Pharaoh goes a step further here – he confesses he has sinned and adds a request for forgiveness. But his acknowledgment does not go far enough, for this is not genuine confession. Since his heart was not yet submissive, his confession was vain.
214 tn The Piel preterite וַיְמַהֵר (vaymaher) could be translated “and he hastened,” but here it is joined with the following infinitive construct to form the hendiadys. “He hurried to summon” means “He summoned quickly.”
215 sn The severity of the plague prompted Pharaoh to confess his sin against Yahweh and them, now in much stronger terms than before. He also wants forgiveness – but in all probability what he wants is relief from the consequences of his sin. He pretended to convey to Moses that this was it, that he was through sinning, so he asked for forgiveness “only this time.”
216 sn Pharaoh’s double emphasis on “only” uses two different words and was meant to deceive. He was trying to give Moses the impression that he had finally come to his senses, and that he would let the people go. But he had no intention of letting them out.
217 sn “Death” is a metonymy that names the effect for the cause. If the locusts are left in the land it will be death to everything that grows.
218 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
219 tn Heb “and he went out.”
220 tn Or perhaps “sea wind,” i.e., a wind off the Mediterranean.
221 tn The Hebrew name here is יַם־סוּף (Yam Suf), sometimes rendered “Reed Sea” or “Sea of Reeds.” The word סוּף is a collective noun that may have derived from an Egyptian name for papyrus reeds. Many English versions have used “Red Sea,” which translates the name that ancient Greeks used: ejruqrav qalavssa (eruqra qalassa).
sn The name Red Sea is currently applied to the sea west of the Arabian Peninsula. The northern fingers of this body of water extend along the west and east sides of the Sinai Peninsula and are presently called the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba or the Gulf of Eilat. In ancient times the name applied to a much larger body of water, including the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf (C. Houtman, Exodus, 1:109-10). See also Num 14:25; 21:4; Deut 1:40; 2:1; Judg 11:16; 1 Kgs 9:26; Jer 49:21. The sea was deep enough to drown the entire Egyptian army later (and thus no shallow swamp land). God drives the locusts to their death in the water. He will have the same power over Egyptian soldiers, for he raised up this powerful empire for a purpose and soon will drown them in the sea. The message for the Israelites is that God will humble all who refuse to submit.
222 sn The ninth plague is that darkness fell on all the land – except on Israel. This plague is comparable to the silence in heaven, just prior to the last and terrible plague (Rev 8:1). Here Yahweh is attacking a core Egyptian religious belief as well as portraying what lay before the Egyptians. Throughout the Bible darkness is the symbol of evil, chaos, and judgment. Blindness is one of its manifestations (see Deut 28:27-29). But the plague here is not blindness, or even spiritual blindness, but an awesome darkness from outside (see Joel 2:2; Zeph 1:15). It is particularly significant in that Egypt’s high god was the Sun God. Lord Sun was now being shut down by Lord Yahweh. If Egypt would not let Israel go to worship their God, then Egypt’s god would be darkness. The structure is familiar: the plague, now unannounced (21-23), and then the confrontation with Pharaoh (24-27).
223 tn Or “the sky” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
224 sn The verb form is the jussive with the sequential vav – וִיהִי חֹשֶׁךְ (vihi khoshekh). B. Jacob (Exodus, 286) notes this as the only instance where Scripture says, “Let there be darkness” (although it is subordinated as a purpose clause; cf. Gen 1:3). Isa 45:7 alluded to this by saying, “who created light and darkness.”
225 tn The Hebrew term מוּשׁ (mush) means “to feel.” The literal rendering would be “so that one may feel darkness.” The image portrays an oppressive darkness; it was sufficiently thick to possess the appearance of substance, although it was just air (B. Jacob, Exodus, 286).
226 tn The construction is a variation of the superlative genitive: a substantive in the construct state is connected to a noun with the same meaning (see GKC 431 §133.i).
227 sn S. R. Driver says, “The darkness was no doubt occasioned really by a sand-storm, produced by the hot electrical wind…which blows in intermittently…” (Exodus, 82, 83). This is another application of the antisupernatural approach to these texts. The text, however, is probably describing something that was not a seasonal wind, or Pharaoh would not have been intimidated. If it coincided with that season, then what is described here is so different and so powerful that the Egyptians would have known the difference easily. Pharaoh here would have had to have been impressed that this was something very abnormal, and that his god was powerless. Besides, there was light in all the dwellings of the Israelites.
228 tn Heb “a man…his brother.”
229 tn The perfect tense in this context requires the somewhat rare classification of a potential perfect.
230 tn Or “dependents.” The term is often translated “your little ones,” but as mentioned before (10:10), this expression in these passages takes in women and children and other dependents. Pharaoh will now let all the people go, but he intends to detain the cattle to secure their return.
231 tn B. Jacob (Exodus, 287) shows that the intent of Moses in using גַּם (gam) is to make an emphatic rhetorical question. He cites other samples of the usage in Num 22:33; 1 Sam 17:36; 2 Sam 12:14, and others. The point is that if Pharaoh told them to go and serve Yahweh, they had to have animals to sacrifice. If Pharaoh was holding the animals back, he would have to make some provision.
232 tn Heb “give into our hand.”
233 tn The form here is וְעָשִּׂינוּ (vÿ’asinu), the Qal perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive – “and we will do.” But the verb means “do” in the sacrificial sense – prepare them, offer them. The verb form is to be subordinated here to form a purpose or result clause.
234 tn This is the obligatory imperfect nuance. They were obliged to take the animals if they were going to sacrifice, but more than that, since they were not coming back, they had to take everything.
235 tn The same modal nuance applies to this verb.
236 tn Heb “from it,” referring collectively to the livestock.
237 sn Moses gives an angry but firm reply to Pharaoh’s attempt to control Israel; he makes it clear that he has no intention of leaving any pledge with Pharaoh. When they leave, they will take everything that belongs to them.
238 tn The expression is לֵךְ מֵעָלָי (lekh me’alay, “go from on me”) with the adversative use of the preposition, meaning from being a trouble or a burden to me (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 84; R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 51, §288).
239 tn Heb “add to see my face.” The construction uses a verbal hendiadys: “do not add to see” (אַל־תֹּסֶף רְאוֹת, ’al-toseph rÿ’ot), meaning “do not see again.” The phrase “see my face” means “come before me” or “appear before me.”
240 tn The construction is בְּיוֹם רְאֹתְךָ (bÿyom rÿ’otÿkha), an adverbial clause of time made up of the prepositional phrase, the infinitive construct, and the suffixed subjective genitive. “In the day of your seeing” is “when you see.”
241 tn Heb “Thus you have spoken.”
242 tn This is a verbal hendiadys construction: “I will not add again [to] see.”