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Exodus 10:17-20

Context
10:17 So now, forgive my sin this time only, and pray to the Lord your God that he would only 1  take this death 2  away from me.” 10:18 Moses 3  went out 4  from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 10:19 and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, 5  and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. 6  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.

1 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.

2 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.

3 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Heb “and he went out.”

5 tn Or perhaps “sea wind,” i.e., a wind off the Mediterranean.

6 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.



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