8:3 The Nile will swarm 1 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. 2
8:21 If you do not release 3 my people, then I am going to send 4 swarms of flies 5 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. 6
1 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.
2 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.
3 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.”
4 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”).
5 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.
6 tn Or perhaps “the land where they are” (cf. NRSV “the land where they live”).