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Exodus 9:4-6

Context
9:4 But the Lord will distinguish 1  between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing 2  will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 3 

9:5 The Lord set 4  an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this 5  in the land.” 9:6 And the Lord did this 6  on the next day; 7  all 8  the livestock of the Egyptians 9  died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died.

1 tn The verb פָּלָה (palah) in Hiphil means “to set apart, make separate, make distinct.” See also Exod 8:22 (18 HT); 11:7; 33:16.

2 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.

3 tn The lamed preposition indicates possession: “all that was to the Israelites” means “all that the Israelites had.”

4 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”

5 tn Heb “this thing.”

6 tn Heb “this thing.”

7 tn Heb “on the morrow.”

8 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.”

9 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.



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