8:19 The magicians said 3 to Pharaoh, “It is the finger 4 of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 5 and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
1 tn Heb “thus, so.”
2 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.
3 tn Heb “and the magicians said.”
4 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.
5 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.