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Exodus 3:21-22

Context

3:21 “I will grant this people favor with 1  the Egyptians, so that when 2  you depart you will not leave empty-handed. 3:22 Every 3  woman will ask her neighbor and the one who happens to be staying 4  in her house for items of silver and gold 5  and for clothing. You will put these articles on your sons and daughters – thus you will plunder Egypt!” 6 

1 tn Heb “in the eyes of.” This idiom usually means that someone will be treated well by the observer. It is unlikely that it means here that the Egyptians will like the Hebrews. Rather, it means that the Egyptians will give things to the Hebrews free – gratis (see 12:35-36). Not only will God do mighty works to make the king yield, but also he will work in the minds of the Egyptian people so that they will be favorably disposed to give Israel wealth.

2 tn The temporal indicator (here future) with the particle ki (וְהָיָה כִּי, vÿhaya ki) introduces a temporal clause.

3 tn Heb “a woman,” one representing all.

4 tn Heb “from the sojourner.” Both the “neighbor” and the “sojourner” (“one who happens to be staying in her house”) are feminine. The difference between them seems to be primarily that the second is temporary, “a lodger” perhaps or “visitor,” while the first has permanent residence.

5 tn Heb “vessels of silver and vessels of gold.” These phrases both use genitives of material, telling what the vessels are made of.

6 sn It is clear that God intended the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, as they might a defeated enemy in war. They will not go out “empty.” They will “plunder” Egypt. This verb (וְנִצַּלְתֶּם [vÿnitsaltem] from נָצַל [natsal]) usually means “rescue, deliver,” as if plucking out of danger. But in this stem it carries the idea of plunder. So when the text says that they will ask (וְשָׁאֲלָה, vÿshaalah) their neighbors for things, it implies that they will be making many demands, and the Egyptians will respond like a defeated nation before victors. The spoils that Israel takes are to be regarded as back wages or compensation for the oppression (see also Deut 15:13). See further B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians, a Critical Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69; and T. C. Vriezen, “A Reinterpretation of Exodus 3:21-22 and Related Texts,” Ex Oriente Lux 23 (1975): 389-401.



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