78:12 He did amazing things in the sight of their ancestors,
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. 1
and hurled lightning bolts down on their livestock. 3
He sent fury, rage, and trouble
as messengers who bring disaster. 5
he did not spare them from death;
he handed their lives over to destruction. 7
78:51 He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their reproductive power 8 in the tents of Ham.
78:52 Yet he brought out his people like sheep;
he led them through the wilderness like a flock.
78:53 He guided them safely along,
while the sea covered their enemies.
2 tn Heb “and he turned over to the hail their cattle.”
3 tn Heb “and their livestock to the flames.” “Flames” here refer to the lightning bolts that accompanied the storm.
4 tn Heb “he sent against them the rage of his anger.” The phrase “rage of his anger” employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.
5 tn Heb “fury and indignation and trouble, a sending of messengers of disaster.”
6 tn Heb “he leveled a path for his anger.” There were no obstacles to impede its progress; it moved swiftly and destructively.
7 tn Or perhaps “[the] plague.”
8 tn Heb “the beginning of strength.” If retained, the plural form אוֹנִים (’onim, “strength”) probably indicates degree (“great strength”), but many ancient witnesses read “their strength,” which presupposes an emendation to אֹנָם (’onam; singular form of the noun with third masculine plural pronominal suffix).