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Exodus 12:30-33

Context
12:30 Pharaoh got up 1  in the night, 2  along with all his servants and all Egypt, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no house 3  in which there was not someone dead. 12:31 Pharaoh 4  summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and said, “Get up, get out 5  from among my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, serve the Lord as you have requested! 6  12:32 Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have requested, and leave. But bless me also.” 7 

12:33 The Egyptians were urging 8  the people on, in order to send them out of the land quickly, 9  for they were saying, “We are all dead!”

1 tn Heb “arose,” the verb קוּם (qum) in this context certainly must describe a less ceremonial act. The entire country woke up in terror because of the deaths.

2 tn The noun is an adverbial accusative of time – “in the night” or “at night.”

3 sn Or so it seemed. One need not push this description to complete literalness. The reference would be limited to houses that actually had firstborn people or animals. In a society in which households might include more than one generation of humans and animals, however, the presence of a firstborn human or animal would be the rule rather than the exception.

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn The urgency in Pharaoh’s words is caught by the abrupt use of the imperatives – “get up, go” (קוּמוּ צְּאוּ, qumu tsÿu), and “go, serve” (וּלְכוּ עִבְדוּ, ulÿkhuivdu) and “take” and “leave/go” (וָלֵכוּקְחוּ, qÿkhu...valekhu).

6 tn Heb “as you have said.” The same phrase also occurs in the following verse.

sn It appears from this clause that Pharaoh has given up attempting to impose restrictions as he had earlier. With the severe judgment on him for his previous refusals he should now know that these people are no longer his subjects, and he is no longer sovereign. As Moses had insisted, all the Israelites would leave, and with all their possessions, to worship Yahweh.

7 tn The form is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive (וּבֵרַכְתֶּם, uverakhtem); coming in the sequence of imperatives this perfect tense would be volitional – probably a request rather than a command.

sn Pharaoh probably meant that they should bless him also when they were sacrificing to Yahweh in their religious festival – after all, he might reason, he did let them go (after divine judgment). To bless him would mean to invoke good gifts from God for him.

8 tn The verb used here (חָזַק, khazaq) is the same verb used for Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. It conveys the idea of their being resolved or insistent in this – they were not going to change.

9 tn The phrase uses two construct infinitives in a hendiadys, the first infinitive becoming the modifier.



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