9:3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring 1 a very terrible plague 2 on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, 3 the herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will distinguish 4 between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing 5 will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 6
9:5 The Lord set 7 an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this 8 in the land.” 9:6 And the Lord did this 9 on the next day; 10 all 11 the livestock of the Egyptians 12 died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, 13 and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 14 and he did not release the people.
1 tn The form used here is הוֹיָה (hoyah), the Qal active participle, feminine singular, from the verb “to be.” This is the only place in the OT that this form occurs. Ogden shows that this form is appropriate with the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) to stress impending divine action, and that it conforms to the pattern in these narratives where five times the participle is used in the threat to Pharaoh (7:17; 8:2; 9:3, 14; 10:4). See G. S. Ogden, “Notes on the Use of הויה in Exodus IX. 3,” VT 17 (1967): 483-84.
3 sn The older view that camels were not domesticated at this time (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 70; W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 96; et. al.) has been corrected by more recently uncovered information (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 160-61).
5 tn There is a wordplay in this section. A pestilence – דֶּבֶר (dever) – will fall on Egypt’s cattle, but no thing – דָּבָר (davar) – belonging to Israel would die. It was perhaps for this reason that the verb was changed in v. 1 from “say” to “speak” (דִּבֶּר, dibber). See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 111.
6 tn The lamed preposition indicates possession: “all that was to the Israelites” means “all that the Israelites had.”
7 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”
8 tn Heb “this thing.”
9 tn Heb “this thing.”
10 tn Heb “on the morrow.”
11 tn The word “all” clearly does not mean “all” in the exclusive sense, because subsequent plagues involve cattle. The word must denote such a large number that whatever was left was insignificant for the economy. It could also be taken to mean “all [kinds of] livestock died.”
12 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
13 tn Heb “Pharaoh sent.” The phrase “representatives to investigate” is implied in the context.
14 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh was hardened.” This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved; see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continuation of a prior condition.