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Exodus 1:1--11:10

Context
Blessing during Bondage in Egypt

1:1 1 These 2  are the names 3  of the sons of Israel 4  who entered Egypt – each man with his household 5  entered with Jacob: 1:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 1:3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 1:4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 1:5 All the people 6  who were directly descended 7  from Jacob numbered seventy. 8  But Joseph was already in Egypt, 9  1:6 and in time 10  Joseph 11  and his brothers and all that generation died. 1:7 The Israelites, 12  however, 13  were fruitful, increased greatly, multiplied, and became extremely strong, 14  so that the land was filled with them.

1:8 Then a new king, 15  who did not know about 16  Joseph, came to power 17  over Egypt. 1:9 He said 18  to his people, “Look at 19  the Israelite people, more numerous and stronger than we are! 1:10 Come, let’s deal wisely 20  with them. Otherwise 21  they will continue to multiply, 22  and if 23  a war breaks out, they will ally themselves with 24  our enemies and fight against us and leave 25  the country.”

1:11 So they put foremen 26  over the Israelites 27  to oppress 28  them with hard labor. As a result 29  they built Pithom and Rameses 30  as store cities for Pharaoh. 1:12 But the more the Egyptians 31  oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread. 32  As a result the Egyptians loathed 33  the Israelites, 1:13 and they 34  made the Israelites serve rigorously. 35  1:14 They made their lives bitter 36  by 37  hard service with mortar and bricks and by all kinds of service 38  in the fields. Every kind of service the Israelites were required to give was rigorous. 39 

1:15 The king of Egypt said 40  to the Hebrew midwives, 41  one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 42  1:16 43  “When you assist 44  the Hebrew women in childbirth, observe at the delivery: 45  If it is a son, kill him, 46  but if it is a daughter, she may live.” 47  1:17 But 48  the midwives feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. 49 

1:18 Then the king of Egypt summoned 50  the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” 51  1:19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew 52  women are not like the Egyptian women – for the Hebrew women 53  are vigorous; they give birth before the midwife gets to them!” 54  1:20 So God treated the midwives well, 55  and the people multiplied and became very strong. 1:21 And because the midwives feared God, he made 56  households 57  for them.

1:22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “All sons 58  that are born you must throw 59  into the river, but all daughters you may let live.” 60 

The Birth of the Deliverer

2:1 61 A man from the household 62  of Levi married 63  a woman who was a descendant of Levi. 64  2:2 The woman became pregnant 65  and gave birth to a son. When 66  she saw that 67  he was a healthy 68  child, she hid him for three months. 2:3 But when she was no longer able to hide him, she took a papyrus basket 69  for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile. 70  2:4 His sister stationed herself 71  at a distance to find out 72  what would 73  happen to him.

2:5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh 74  came down to wash herself 75  by the Nile, while her attendants were walking alongside the river, 76  and she saw the basket among the reeds. She sent one of her attendants, 77  took it, 78  2:6 opened it, 79  and saw the child 80  – a boy, 81  crying! 82  – and she felt compassion 83  for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

2:7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get 84  a nursing woman 85  for you from the Hebrews, so that she may nurse 86  the child for you?” 2:8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes, do so.” 87  So the young girl 88  went and got 89  the child’s mother. 90  2:9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child 91  and nurse him for me, and I will pay your 92  wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

2:10 When the child grew older 93  she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. 94  She named him Moses, saying, “Because I drew him from the water.” 95 

The Presumption of the Deliverer

2:11 96 In those days, 97  when 98  Moses had grown up, he went out to his people 99  and observed 100  their hard labor, and he saw an Egyptian man attacking 101  a Hebrew man, one of his own people. 102  2:12 He looked this way and that 103  and saw that no one was there, 104  and then he attacked 105  the Egyptian and concealed the body 106  in the sand. 2:13 When he went out 107  the next day, 108  there were 109  two Hebrew men fighting. So he said to the one who was in the wrong, 110  “Why are you attacking 111  your fellow Hebrew?” 112 

2:14 The man 113  replied, “Who made you a ruler 114  and a judge over us? Are you planning 115  to kill me like you killed that 116  Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, 117  “Surely what I did 118  has become known.” 2:15 When Pharaoh heard 119  about this event, 120  he sought to kill Moses. So Moses fled 121  from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, 122  and he settled 123  by a certain well. 124 

2:16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and began to draw 125  water 126  and fill 127  the troughs in order to water their father’s flock. 2:17 When some 128  shepherds came and drove them away, 129  Moses came up and defended them 130  and then watered their flock. 2:18 So when they came home 131  to their father Reuel, 132  he asked, “Why have you come home so early 133  today?” 2:19 They said, “An Egyptian man rescued us 134  from the shepherds, 135  and he actually 136  drew water for us and watered the flock!” 2:20 He said 137  to his daughters, “So where is he? 138  Why in the world 139  did you leave the man? Call him, so that he may eat 140  a meal 141  with us.”

2:21 Moses agreed 142  to stay with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 143  2:22 When she bore 144  a son, Moses 145  named him Gershom, for he said, “I have become a resident foreigner in a foreign land.” 146 

The Call of the Deliverer

2:23 147 During 148  that long period of time 149  the king of Egypt died, and the Israelites 150  groaned because of the slave labor. They cried out, and their desperate cry 151  because of their slave labor went up to God. 2:24 God heard their groaning, 152  God remembered 153  his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, 2:25 God saw 154  the Israelites, and God understood…. 155 

3:1 Now Moses 156  was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert 157  and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. 158  3:2 The angel of the Lord 159  appeared 160  to him in 161  a flame of fire from within a bush. 162  He looked 163  – and 164  the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! 165  3:3 So Moses thought, 166  “I will turn aside to see 167  this amazing 168  sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” 169  3:4 When the Lord 170  saw that 171  he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” 172  And Moses 173  said, “Here I am.” 3:5 God 174  said, “Do not approach any closer! 175  Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy 176  ground.” 177  3:6 He added, “I am the God of your father, 178  the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look 179  at God.

3:7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen 180  the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 181  3:8 I have come down 182  to deliver them 183  from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a land that is both good and spacious, 184  to a land flowing with milk and honey, 185  to the region of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 186  3:9 And now indeed 187  the cry 188  of the Israelites has come to me, and I have also seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them. 189  3:10 So now go, and I will send you 190  to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

3:11 Moses said 191  to God, 192  “Who am I, that I should go 193  to Pharaoh, or that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 3:12 He replied, 194  “Surely I will be with you, 195  and this will be the sign 196  to you that I have sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you and they will serve 197  God on this mountain.”

3:13 Moses said 198  to God, “If 199  I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ 200  – what should I say 201  to them?”

3:14 God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” 202  And he said, “You must say this 203  to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 3:15 God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord 204  – the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is my name 205  forever, and this is my memorial from generation to generation.’ 206 

3:16 “Go and bring together 207  the elders of Israel and tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, 208  appeared 209  to me – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – saying, “I have attended carefully 210  to you and to what has been done 211  to you in Egypt, 3:17 and I have promised 212  that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, 213  to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’

3:18 “The elders 214  will listen 215  to you, and then you and the elders of Israel must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met 216  with us. So now, let us go 217  three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice 218  to the Lord our God.’ 3:19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, 219  not even under force. 220  3:20 So I will extend my hand 221  and strike Egypt with all my wonders 222  that I will do among them, and after that he will release you. 223 

3:21 “I will grant this people favor with 224  the Egyptians, so that when 225  you depart you will not leave empty-handed. 3:22 Every 226  woman will ask her neighbor and the one who happens to be staying 227  in her house for items of silver and gold 228  and for clothing. You will put these articles on your sons and daughters – thus you will plunder Egypt!” 229 

The Source of Sufficiency

4:1 230 Moses answered again, 231  “And if 232  they do not believe me or pay attention to me, 233  but say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?” 4:2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 234  4:3 The Lord 235  said, “Throw it to the ground.” So he threw it to the ground, and it became a snake, 236  and Moses ran from it. 4:4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and grab it by the tail” – so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand 237 4:5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

4:6 The Lord also said to him, “Put your hand into your robe.” 238  So he put his hand into his robe, and when he brought it out – there was his hand, 239  leprous like snow! 240  4:7 He said, “Put your hand back into your robe.” So he put his hand back into his robe, and when he brought it out from his robe – there it was, 241  restored 242  like the rest of his skin! 243  4:8 “If 244  they do not believe you or pay attention to 245  the former sign, then they may 246  believe the latter sign. 247  4:9 And if 248  they do not believe even these two signs or listen to you, 249  then take 250  some water from the Nile and pour it out on the dry ground. The water you take out of the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” 251 

4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, 252  “O 253  my Lord, 254  I am not an eloquent man, 255  neither in the past 256  nor since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 257 

4:11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave 258  a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 259  4:12 So now go, and I will be with your mouth 260  and will teach you 261  what you must say.” 262 

4:13 But Moses said, 263  “O 264  my Lord, please send anyone else whom you wish to send!” 265 

4:14 Then the Lord became angry with 266  Moses, and he said, “What about 267  your brother Aaron the Levite? 268  I know that he can speak very well. 269  Moreover, he is coming 270  to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart. 271 

4:15 “So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with your mouth 272  and with his mouth, 273  and I will teach you both 274  what you must do. 275  4:16 He 276  will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if 277  he 278  were your mouth 279  and as if you were his God. 280  4:17 You will also take in your hand this staff, with which you will do the signs.” 281 

The Return of Moses

4:18 282 So Moses went back 283  to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Let me go, so that I may return 284  to my relatives 285  in Egypt and see 286  if they are still alive.” Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 4:19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back 287  to Egypt, because all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 288  4:20 Then Moses took 289  his wife and sons 290  and put them on a donkey and headed back 291  to the land of Egypt, and Moses took the staff of God in his hand. 4:21 The Lord said 292  to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, 293  see that you 294  do before Pharaoh all the wonders I have put under your control. 295  But I will harden 296  his heart 297  and 298  he will not let the people go. 4:22 You must say 299  to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says 300  the Lord, “Israel is my son, my firstborn, 301  4:23 and I said to you, ‘Let my son go that he may serve 302  me,’ but since you have refused to let him go, 303  I will surely kill 304  your son, your firstborn!”’”

4:24 Now on the way, at a place where they stopped for the night, 305  the Lord met Moses and sought to kill him. 306  4:25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of her son and touched it to Moses’ feet, 307  and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood 308  to me.” 4:26 So the Lord 309  let him alone. (At that time 310  she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” referring to 311  the circumcision.)

4:27 The Lord said 312  to Aaron, “Go to the wilderness to meet Moses. So he went and met him at the mountain of God 313  and greeted him with a kiss. 314  4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had 315  sent him and all the signs that he had commanded him. 4:29 Then Moses and Aaron went and brought together all the Israelite elders. 316  4:30 Aaron spoke 317  all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people, 4:31 and the people believed. When they heard 318  that the Lord had attended to 319  the Israelites and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed down close to the ground. 320 

Opposition to the Plan of God

5:1 321 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, 322  the God of Israel, ‘Release 323  my people so that they may hold a pilgrim feast 324  to me in the desert.’” 5:2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord 325  that 326  I should obey him 327  by releasing 328  Israel? I do not know the Lord, 329  and I will not release Israel!” 5:3 And they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us go a three-day journey 330  into the desert so that we may sacrifice 331  to the Lord our God, so that he does not strike us with plague or the sword.” 332  5:4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you cause the people to refrain from their work? 333  Return to your labor!” 5:5 Pharaoh was thinking, 334  “The people of the land are now many, and you are giving them rest from their labor.”

5:6 That same day Pharaoh commanded 335  the slave masters and foremen 336  who were 337  over the people: 338  5:7 “You must no longer 339  give straw to the people for making bricks 340  as before. 341  Let them go 342  and collect straw for themselves. 5:8 But you must require 343  of them the same quota of bricks that they were making before. 344  Do not reduce it, for they are slackers. 345  That is why they are crying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to our God.’ 5:9 Make the work harder 346  for the men so they will keep at it 347  and pay no attention to lying words!” 348 

5:10 So the slave masters of the people and their foremen went to the Israelites and said, 349  “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I am not giving 350  you straw. 5:11 You 351  go get straw for yourselves wherever you can 352  find it, because there will be no reduction at all in your workload.’” 5:12 So the people spread out 353  through all the land of Egypt to collect stubble for straw. 5:13 The slave masters were pressuring 354  them, saying, “Complete 355  your work for each day, just like when there was straw!” 5:14 The Israelite foremen whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them were beaten and were asked, 356  “Why did you not complete your requirement for brickmaking as in the past – both yesterday and today?” 357 

5:15 358 The Israelite foremen went and cried out to Pharaoh, “Why are you treating 359  your servants this way? 5:16 No straw is given to your servants, but we are told, 360  ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are even 361  being beaten, but the fault 362  is with your people.”

5:17 But Pharaoh replied, 363  “You are slackers! Slackers! 364  That is why you are saying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to the Lord.’ 5:18 So now, get back to work! 365  You will not be given straw, but you must still produce 366  your quota 367  of bricks!” 5:19 The Israelite foremen saw 368  that they 369  were in trouble when they were told, 370  “You must not reduce the daily quota of your bricks.”

5:20 When they went out from Pharaoh, they encountered Moses and Aaron standing there to meet them, 371  5:21 and they said to them, “May the Lord look on you and judge, 372  because you have made us stink 373  in the opinion of 374  Pharaoh and his servants, 375  so that you have given them an excuse to kill us!” 376 

The Assurance of Deliverance

5:22 377 Moses returned 378  to the Lord, and said, “Lord, 379  why have you caused trouble for this people? 380  Why did you ever 381  send me? 5:23 From the time I went to speak to Pharaoh in your name, he has caused trouble 382  for this people, and you have certainly not rescued 383  them!” 384 

6:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh, 385  for compelled by my strong hand 386  he will release them, and by my strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” 387 

6:2 God spoke 388  to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 389  6:3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as 390  God Almighty, 391  but by 392  my name ‘the Lord’ 393  I was not known to them. 394  6:4 I also established my covenant with them 395  to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as resident foreigners. 396  6:5 I 397  have also heard 398  the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, 399  and I have remembered my covenant. 400  6:6 Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out 401  from your enslavement to 402  the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose, 403  and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 6:7 I will take you to myself for a people, and I will be your God. 404  Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from your enslavement to 405  the Egyptians. 6:8 I will bring you to the land I swore to give 406  to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob – and I will give it to you 407  as a possession. I am the Lord!’

6:9 408 Moses told this 409  to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him 410  because of their discouragement 411  and hard labor. 6:10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 6:11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt that he must release 412  the Israelites from his land.” 6:12 But Moses replied to 413  the Lord, “If the Israelites did not listen to me, then 414  how will Pharaoh listen to me, since 415  I speak with difficulty?” 416 

6:13 The Lord spoke 417  to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge 418  for the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

The Ancestry of the Deliverer

6:14 419 These are the heads of their fathers’ households: 420 

The sons 421  of Reuben, the firstborn son of Israel, were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These were the clans 422  of Reuben.

6:15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.

6:16 Now these are the names of the sons of Levi, according to their records: 423  Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (The length of Levi’s life was 137 years.)

6:17 The sons of Gershon, by their families, were Libni and Shimei.

6:18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. (The length of Kohath’s life was 133 years.)

6:19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi, according to their records.

6:20 Amram married 424  his father’s sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses. (The length of Amram’s life was 137 years.)

6:21 The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zikri.

6:22 The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.

6:23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

6:24 The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.

6:25 Now Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel and she bore him Phinehas.

These are the heads of the fathers’ households 425  of Levi according to their clans.

6:26 It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by their regiments.” 426  6:27 They were the men who were speaking to Pharaoh king of Egypt, in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. It was the same Moses and Aaron.

The Authentication of the Word

6:28 427 When 428  the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 6:29 he said to him, 429  “I am the Lord. Tell 430  Pharaoh king of Egypt all that 431  I am telling 432  you.” 6:30 But Moses said before the Lord, “Since I speak with difficulty, 433  why should Pharaoh listen to me?”

7:1 So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God 434  to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 435  7:2 You are to speak 436  everything I command you, 437  and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that he must release 438  the Israelites from his land. 7:3 But I will harden 439  Pharaoh’s heart, and although I will multiply 440  my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt, 7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. 441  I will reach into 442  Egypt and bring out my regiments, 443  my people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 7:5 Then 444  the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I extend my hand 445  over Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.

7:6 And Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7:7 Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.

7:8 The Lord said 446  to Moses and Aaron, 447  7:9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do 448  a miracle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down 449  before Pharaoh,’ it will become 450  a snake.” 7:10 When 451  Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord had commanded them – Aaron threw 452  down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake. 453  7:11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, 454  and the magicians 455  of Egypt by their secret arts 456  did the same thing. 7:12 Each man 457  threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 7:13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard, 458  and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

The First Blow: Water to Blood

7:14 459 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; 460  he refuses to release 461  the people. 7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when 462  he goes out to the water. Position yourself 463  to meet him by the edge of the Nile, 464  and take 465  in your hand the staff 466  that was turned into a snake. 7:16 Tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you to say, 467  “Release my people, that they may serve me 468  in the desert!” But until now 469  you have not listened. 470  7:17 Thus says the Lord: “By this you will know that I am the Lord: I am going to strike 471  the water of the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood. 472  7:18 Fish 473  in the Nile will die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable 474  to drink water from the Nile.”’” 7:19 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over Egypt’s waters – over their rivers, over their canals, 475  over their ponds, and over all their reservoirs 476  – so that it becomes 477  blood.’ There will be blood everywhere in 478  the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.” 7:20 Moses and Aaron did so, 479  just as the Lord had commanded. Moses raised 480  the staff 481  and struck the water that was in the Nile right before the eyes 482  of Pharaoh and his servants, 483  and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 484  7:21 When the fish 485  that were in the Nile died, the Nile began 486  to stink, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood 487  everywhere in the land of Egypt! 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same 488  by their secret arts, and so 489  Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 490  and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron 491  – just as the Lord had predicted. 7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. He did not pay any attention to this. 492  7:24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, 493  because they could not drink the water of the Nile.

The Second Blow: Frogs

7:25 494 Seven full days passed 495  after the Lord struck 496  the Nile. 8:1 (7:26) 497  Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Release my people in order that they may serve me! 8:2 But if you refuse to release them, then I am going to plague 498  all your territory with frogs. 499  8:3 The Nile will swarm 500  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. 501  8:4 Frogs 502  will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.”’” 503 

8:5 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff 504  over the rivers, over the canals, and over the ponds, and bring the frogs up over the land of Egypt.’” 8:6 So Aaron extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs 505  came up and covered the land of Egypt.

8:7 The magicians did the same 506  with their secret arts and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt too. 507 

8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned 508  Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray 509  to the Lord that he may take the frogs away 510  from me and my people, and I will release 511  the people that they may sacrifice 512  to the Lord.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me 513  – when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed 514  from you and your houses, so that 515  they will be left 516  only in the Nile?” 8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, 517  “It will be 518  as you say, 519  so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 8:11 The frogs will depart from you, your houses, your servants, and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”

8:12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried 520  to the Lord because of 521  the frogs that he had brought on 522  Pharaoh. 8:13 The Lord did as Moses asked 523  – the 524  frogs died out of the houses, the villages, and the fields. 8:14 The Egyptians 525  piled them in countless heaps, 526  and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, 527  he hardened 528  his heart and did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted. 529 

The Third Blow: Gnats

8:16 530 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become 531  gnats 532  throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 8:17 They did so; Aaron extended his hand with his staff, he struck the dust of the ground, and it became gnats on people 533  and on animals. All the dust of the ground became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:18 When 534  the magicians attempted 535  to bring forth gnats by their secret arts, they could not. So there were gnats on people and on animals. 8:19 The magicians said 536  to Pharaoh, “It is the finger 537  of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 538  and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

The Fourth Blow: Flies

8:20 539 The Lord 540  said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and position yourself before Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Release my people that they may serve me! 8:21 If you do not release 541  my people, then I am going to send 542  swarms of flies 543  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. 544  8:22 But on that day I will mark off 545  the land of Goshen, where my people are staying, 546  so that no swarms of flies will be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of this land. 547  8:23 I will put a division 548  between my people and your people. This sign will take place 549  tomorrow.”’” 8:24 The Lord did so; a 550  thick 551  swarm of flies came into 552  Pharaoh’s house and into the houses 553  of his servants, and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land was ruined 554  because of the swarms of flies.

8:25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 555  8:26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do, 556  for the sacrifices we make 557  to the Lord our God would be an abomination 558  to the Egyptians. 559  If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes, 560  will they not stone us? 561  8:27 We must go 562  on a three-day journey 563  into the desert and sacrifice 564  to the Lord our God, just as he is telling us.” 565 

8:28 Pharaoh said, “I will release you 566  so that you may sacrifice 567  to the Lord your God in the desert. Only you must not go very far. 568  Do 569  pray for me.”

8:29 Moses said, “I am going to go out 570  from you and pray to the Lord, and the swarms of flies will go away from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow. Only do not let Pharaoh deal falsely again 571  by not releasing 572  the people to sacrifice to the Lord.” 8:30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 8:31 and the Lord did as Moses asked 573  – he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained! 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened 574  his heart this time also and did not release the people.

The Fifth Blow: Disease

9:1 575 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people that they may serve me! 9:2 For if you refuse to release them 576  and continue holding them, 577  9:3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring 578  a very terrible plague 579  on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, 580  the herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will distinguish 581  between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing 582  will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 583 

9:5 The Lord set 584  an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this 585  in the land.” 9:6 And the Lord did this 586  on the next day; 587  all 588  the livestock of the Egyptians 589  died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, 590  and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 591  and he did not release the people.

The Sixth Blow: Boils

9:8 592 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot 593  from a furnace, and have Moses throw it 594  into the air while Pharaoh is watching. 595  9:9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out and fester 596  on both people and animals in all the land of Egypt.” 9:10 So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh, Moses threw it into the air, and it caused festering boils to break out on both people and animals.

9:11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. 9:12 But the Lord hardened 597  Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.

The Seventh Blow: Hail

9:13 598 The Lord said 599  to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand 600  before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: “Release my people so that they may serve me! 9:14 For this time I will send all my plagues 601  on your very self 602  and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 9:15 For by now I could have stretched out 603  my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed 604  from the earth. 9:16 But 605  for this purpose I have caused you to stand: 606  to show you 607  my strength, and so that my name may be declared 608  in all the earth. 9:17 You are still exalting 609  yourself against my people by 610  not releasing them. 9:18 I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down 611  about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred 612  in Egypt from the day it was founded 613  until now. 9:19 So now, send instructions 614  to gather 615  your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person 616  or animal caught 617  in the field and not brought into the house – the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’”

9:20 Those 618  of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their 619  servants and livestock into the houses, 9:21 but those 620  who did not take 621  the word of the Lord seriously left their servants and their cattle 622  in the field.

9:22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky 623  that there may be 624  hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals, 625  and on everything that grows 626  in the field in the land of Egypt.” 9:23 When Moses extended 627  his staff toward the sky, the Lord 628  sent thunder 629  and hail, and fire fell to the earth; 630  so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:24 Hail fell 631  and fire mingled 632  with the hail; the hail was so severe 633  that there had not been any like it 634  in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 9:25 The hail struck everything in the open fields, both 635  people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows 636  in the field, and it broke all the trees of the field to pieces. 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was there no hail.

9:27 So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! 637  The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. 638  9:28 Pray to the Lord, for the mighty 639  thunderings and hail are too much! 640  I will release you and you will stay no longer.” 641 

9:29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city 642  I will spread my hands to the Lord, the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the Lord. 643  9:30 But as for you 644  and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear 645  the Lord God.”

9:31 (Now the 646  flax and the barley were struck 647  by the hail, 648  for the barley had ripened 649  and the flax 650  was in bud. 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt 651  were not struck, for they are later crops.) 652 

9:33 So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and spread out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain stopped pouring on the earth. 9:34 When Pharaoh saw 653  that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again: 654  both he and his servants hardened 655  their hearts. 9:35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 656  and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord had predicted through Moses.

The Eighth Blow: Locusts

10:1 657 The Lord said 658  to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order to display 659  these signs of mine before him, 660  10:2 and in order that in the hearing of your son and your grandson you may tell 661  how I made fools 662  of the Egyptians 663  and about 664  my signs that I displayed 665  among them, so that you may know 666  that I am the Lord.”

10:3 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh and told him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: ‘How long do you refuse 667  to humble yourself before me? 668  Release my people so that they may serve me! 10:4 But if you refuse to release my people, I am going to bring 669  locusts 670  into your territory 671  tomorrow. 10:5 They will cover 672  the surface 673  of the earth, so that you 674  will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped 675  – what is left over 676  for you – from the hail, and they will eat every tree that grows for you from the field. 10:6 They will fill your houses, the houses of your servants, and all the houses of Egypt, such as 677  neither 678  your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they have been 679  in the land until this day!’” Then Moses 680  turned and went out from Pharaoh.

10:7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long 681  will this man be a menace 682  to us? Release the people so that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not know 683  that Egypt is destroyed?”

10:8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. Exactly who is going with you?” 684  10:9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our sheep and our cattle we will go, because we are to hold 685  a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”

10:10 He said to them, “The Lord will need to be with you 686  if I release you and your dependents! 687  Watch out! 688  Trouble is right in front of you! 689  10:11 No! 690  Go, you men 691  only, and serve the Lord, for that 692  is what you want.” 693  Then Moses and Aaron 694  were driven 695  out of Pharaoh’s presence.

10:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand over the land of Egypt for 696  the locusts, that they may come up over the land of Egypt and eat everything that grows 697  in the ground, everything that the hail has left.” 10:13 So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord 698  brought 699  an east wind on the land all that day and all night. 700  The morning came, 701  and the east wind had brought up 702  the locusts! 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in all the territory 703  of Egypt. It was very severe; 704  there had been no locusts like them before, nor will there be such ever again. 705  10:15 They covered 706  the surface 707  of all the ground, so that the ground became dark with them, 708  and they ate all the vegetation of the ground and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Nothing green remained on the trees or on anything that grew in the fields throughout the whole land of Egypt.

10:16 709 Then Pharaoh quickly 710  summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned 711  against the Lord your God and against you! 10:17 So now, forgive my sin this time only, and pray to the Lord your God that he would only 712  take this death 713  away from me.” 10:18 Moses 714  went out 715  from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 10:19 and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, 716  and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. 717  Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 10:20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites.

The Ninth Blow: Darkness

10:21 718 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward heaven 719  so that there may be 720  darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness so thick it can be felt.” 721 

10:22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was absolute darkness 722  throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 723  10:23 No one 724  could see 725  another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

10:24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord – only your flocks and herds will be detained. Even your families 726  may go with you.”

10:25 But Moses said, “Will you also 727  provide us 728  with sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may present them 729  to the Lord our God? 10:26 Our livestock must 730  also go with us! Not a hoof is to be left behind! For we must take 731  these animals 732  to serve the Lord our God. Until we arrive there, we do not know what we must use to serve the Lord.” 733 

10:27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to release them. 10:28 Pharaoh said to him, “Go from me! 734  Watch out for yourself! Do not appear before me again, 735  for when 736  you see my face you will die!” 10:29 Moses said, “As you wish! 737  I will not see your face again.” 738 

The Tenth Blow: Death

11:1 739 The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will release you from this place. When he releases you, 740  he will drive you out completely 741  from this place. 11:2 Instruct 742  the people that each man and each woman is to request 743  from his or her neighbor 744  items of silver and gold.” 745 

11:3 (Now the Lord granted the people favor with 746  the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s servants and by the Egyptian people.) 747 

11:4 Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight 748  I will go throughout Egypt, 749  11:5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh 750  who sits on his throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 11:6 There will be a great cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as there has never been, 751  nor ever will be again. 752  11:7 But against any of the Israelites not even a dog will bark 753  against either people or animals, 754  so that you may know that the Lord distinguishes 755  between Egypt and Israel.’ 11:8 All these your servants will come down to me and bow down 756  to me, saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow 757  you,’ and after that I will go out.” Then Moses 758  went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

11:9 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that my wonders 759  may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

11:10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites from his land.

1 sn Chapter 1 introduces the theme of bondage in Egypt and shows the intensifying opposition to the fulfillment of promises given earlier to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The first seven verses announce the theme of Israel’s prosperity in Egypt. The second section (vv. 8-14) reports continued prosperity in the face of deliberate opposition. The third section (vv. 15-21) explains the prosperity as divine favor in spite of Pharaoh’s covert attempts at controlling the population. The final verse records a culmination in the developing tyranny and provides a transition to the next section – Pharaoh commands the open murder of the males. The power of God is revealed in the chapter as the people flourish under the forces of evil. However, by the turn of affairs at the end of the chapter, the reader is left with a question about the power of God – “What can God do?” This is good Hebrew narrative, moving the reader through tension after tension to reveal the sovereign power and majesty of the Lord God, but calling for faith every step of the way. See also D. W. Wicke, “The Literary Structure of Exodus 1:22:10,” JSOT 24 (1982): 99-107.

2 tn Heb “now these” or “and these.” The vav (ו) disjunctive marks a new beginning in the narrative begun in Genesis.

3 sn The name of the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible is שְׁמוֹת (shÿmot), the word for “Names,” drawn from the beginning of the book. The inclusion of the names at this point forms a literary connection to the book of Genesis. It indicates that the Israelites living in bondage had retained a knowledge of their ancestry, and with it, a knowledge of God’s promise.

4 tn The expression בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל (bÿne yisrael, “sons of Israel”) in most places refers to the nation as a whole and can be translated “Israelites,” although traditionally it has been rendered “the children of Israel” or “the sons of Israel.” Here it refers primarily to the individual sons of the patriarch Israel, for they are named. But the expression is probably also intended to indicate that they are the Israelites (cf. Gen 29:1, “eastern people,” or “easterners,” lit., “sons of the east”).

5 tn Heb “a man and his house.” Since this serves to explain “the sons of Israel,” it has the distributive sense. So while the “sons of Israel” refers to the actual sons of the patriarch, the expression includes their families (cf. NIV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

6 tn The word נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul.” But the word refers to the whole person, the body with the soul, and so “life” or “person” is frequently a better translation.

7 tn The expression in apposition to נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) literally says “those who went out from the loins of Jacob.” This distinguishes the entire company as his direct descendants.

8 sn Gen 46 describes in more detail Jacob’s coming to Egypt with his family. The Greek text of Exod 1:5 and of Gen 46:27 and two Qumran manuscripts, have the number as seventy-five, counting the people a little differently. E. H. Merrill in conjunction with F. Delitzsch notes that the list in Gen 46 of those who entered Egypt includes Hezron and Hamul, who did so in potentia, since they were born after the family entered Egypt. Joseph’s sons are also included, though they too were born in Egypt. “The list must not be pressed too literally” (E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 49).

9 tn Heb “and Joseph was in Egypt” (so ASV). The disjunctive word order in Hebrew draws attention to the fact that Joseph, in contrast to his brothers, did not come to Egypt at the same time as Jacob.

10 tn The text simply uses the vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite, “and Joseph died.” While this construction shows sequence with the preceding verse, it does not require that the death follow directly the report of that verse. In fact, readers know from the record in Genesis that the death of Joseph occurred after a good number of years. The statement assumes the passage of time in the natural course of events.

11 tn The verse has a singular verb, “and Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation.” Typical of Hebrew style the verb need only agree with the first of a compound subject.

sn Since the deaths of “Joseph and his brothers and all that generation” were common knowledge, their mention must serve some rhetorical purpose. In contrast to the flourishing of Israel, there is death. This theme will appear again: In spite of death in Egypt, the nation flourishes.

12 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”

13 tn The disjunctive vav marks a contrast with the note about the deaths of the first generation.

14 tn Using מְאֹד (mÿod) twice intensifies the idea of their becoming strong (see GKC 431-32 §133.k).

sn The text is clearly going out of its way to say that the people of Israel flourished in Egypt. The verbs פָּרָה (parah, “be fruitful”), שָׁרַץ (sharats, “swarm, teem”), רָבָה (ravah, “multiply”), and עָצַם (’atsam, “be strong, mighty”) form a literary link to the creation account in Genesis. The text describes Israel’s prosperity in the terms of God’s original command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, to show that their prosperity was by divine blessing and in compliance with the will of God. The commission for the creation to fill the earth and subdue it would now begin to materialize through the seed of Abraham.

15 sn It would be difficult to identify who this “new king” might be, since the chronology of ancient Israel and Egypt is continually debated. Scholars who take the numbers in the Bible more or less at face value would place the time of Jacob’s going down to Egypt in about 1876 b.c. This would put Joseph’s experience in the period prior to the Hyksos control of Egypt (1720-1570’s), and everything in the narrative about Joseph points to a native Egyptian setting and not a Hyksos one. Joseph’s death, then, would have been around 1806 b.c., just a few years prior to the end of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt. This marked the end of the mighty Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The relationship between the Hyksos (also Semites) and the Israelites may have been amicable, and the Hyksos then might very well be the enemies that the Egyptians feared in Exodus 1:10. It makes good sense to see the new king who did not know Joseph as either the founder (Amosis, 1570-1546) or an early king of the powerful 18th Dynasty (like Thutmose I). Egypt under this new leadership drove out the Hyksos and reestablished Egyptian sovereignty. The new rulers certainly would have been concerned about an increasing Semite population in their territory (see E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 49-55).

16 tn The relative clause comes last in the verse in Hebrew. It simply clarifies that the new king had no knowledge about Joseph. It also introduces a major theme in the early portion of Exodus, as a later Pharaoh will claim not to know who Yahweh is. The Lord, however, will work to make sure that Pharaoh and all Egypt will know that he is the true God.

17 tn Heb “arose.”

18 tn Heb “and he said.”

19 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the exhortation to follow by drawing the listeners’ attention to the Israelites. In other words, the exhortation that follows is based on this observation. The connection could be rendered “since, because,” or the like.

20 tn The verb is the Hitpael cohortative of חָכַם (khakam, “to be wise”). This verb has the idea of acting shrewdly, dealing wisely. The basic idea in the word group is that of skill. So a skillful decision is required to prevent the Israelites from multiplying any more.

sn Pharaoh’s speech invites evaluation. How wise did his plans prove to be?

21 tn The word פֶּן (pen) expresses fear or precaution and can also be translated “lest” or “else” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 75-76, §461).

22 tn The verb can be translated simply “will multiply,” but since Pharaoh has already indicated that he is aware they were doing that, the nuance here must mean to multiply all the more, or to continue to multiply. Cf. NIV “will become even more numerous.”

23 tn The words וְהָיָה כִּי (vÿhayah ki) introduce a conditional clause – “if” (see GKC 335 §112.y).

24 tn Heb “and [lest] he [Israel] also be joined to.”

25 tn Heb “and go up from.” All the verbs coming after the particle פֶּן (pen, “otherwise, lest” in v. 10) have the same force and are therefore parallel. These are the fears of the Egyptians. This explains why a shrewd policy of population control was required. They wanted to keep Israel enslaved; they did not want them to become too numerous and escape.

26 tn Heb “princes of work.” The word שָׂרֵי (sare, “princes”) has been translated using words such as “ruler,” “prince,” “leader,” “official,” “chief,” “commander,” and “captain” in different contexts. It appears again in 2:14 and 18:21 and 25. Hebrew מַס (mas) refers to a labor gang organized to provide unpaid labor, or corvée (Deut 20:11; Josh 17:13; 1 Kgs 9:15, 21). The entire phrase has been translated “foremen,” which combines the idea of oversight and labor. Cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “taskmasters”; NIV “slave masters”; NLT “slave drivers.”

27 tn Heb “over them”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

28 sn The verb עַנֹּתוֹ (’annoto) is the Piel infinitive construct from עָנָה (’anah, “to oppress”). The word has a wide range of meanings. Here it would include physical abuse, forced subjugation, and humiliation. This king was trying to crush the spirit of Israel by increasing their slave labor. Other terms in the passage that describe this intent include “bitter” and “crushing.”

29 tn The form is a preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive, וַיִּבֶן (vayyiven). The sequence expressed in this context includes the idea of result.

30 sn Many scholars assume that because this city was named Rameses, the Pharaoh had to be Rameses II, and hence that a late date for the exodus (and a late time for the sojourn in Egypt) is proved. But if the details of the context are taken as seriously as the mention of this name, this cannot be the case. If one grants for the sake of discussion that Rameses II was on the throne and oppressing Israel, it is necessary to note that Moses is not born yet. It would take about twenty or more years to build the city, then eighty more years before Moses appears before Pharaoh (Rameses), and then a couple of years for the plagues – this man would have been Pharaoh for over a hundred years. That is clearly not the case for the historical Rameses II. But even more determining is the fact that whoever the Pharaoh was for whom the Israelites built the treasure cities, he died before Moses began the plagues. The Bible says that when Moses grew up and killed the Egyptian, he fled from Pharaoh (whoever that was) and remained in exile until he heard that that Pharaoh had died. So this verse cannot be used for a date of the exodus in the days of Rameses, unless many other details in the chapters are ignored. If it is argued that Rameses was the Pharaoh of the oppression, then his successor would have been the Pharaoh of the exodus. Rameses reigned from 1304 b.c. until 1236 and then was succeeded by Merneptah. That would put the exodus far too late in time, for the Merneptah stela refers to Israel as a settled nation in their land. One would have to say that the name Rameses in this chapter may either refer to an earlier king, or, more likely, reflect an updating in the narrative to name the city according to its later name (it was called something else when they built it, but later Rameses finished it and named it after himself [see B. Jacob, Exodus, 14]). For further discussion see G. L. Archer, “An 18th Dynasty Ramses,” JETS 17 (1974): 49-50; and C. F. Aling, “The Biblical City of Ramses,” JETS 25 (1982): 129-37. Furthermore, for vv. 11-14, see K. A. Kitchen, “From the Brick Fields of Egypt,” TynBul 27 (1976): 137-47.

31 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Egyptians) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 tn The imperfect tenses in this verse are customary uses, expressing continual action in past time (see GKC 315 §107.e). For other examples of כַּאֲשֶׁר (kaasher) with כֵּן (ken) expressing a comparison (“just as…so”) see Gen 41:13; Judg 1:7; Isa 31:4.

sn Nothing in the oppression caused this, of course. Rather, the blessing of God (Gen 12:1-3) was on Israel in spite of the efforts of Egypt to hinder it. According to Gen 15 God had foretold that there would be this period of oppression (עָנָה [’anah] in Gen 15:13). In other words, God had decreed and predicted both their becoming a great nation and the oppression to show that he could fulfill his promise to Abraham in spite of the bondage.

33 tn Heb “they felt a loathing before/because of”; the referent (the Egyptians) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

34 tn Heb “the Egyptians.” For stylistic reasons this has been replaced by the pronoun “they” in the translation.

35 tn Heb “with rigor, oppression.”

36 sn The verb מָרַר (marar) anticipates the introduction of the theme of bitterness in the instructions for the Passover.

37 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this verse has the instrumental use: “by means of” (see GKC 380 §119.o).

38 tn Heb “and in all service.”

39 tn The line could be more literally translated, “All their service in which they served them [was] with rigor.” This takes the referent of בָּהֶם (bahem) to be the Egyptians. The pronoun may also resume the reference to the kinds of service and so not be needed in English: “All their service in which they served [was] with rigor.”

40 tn Heb “and the king of Egypt said.”

41 sn The word for “midwife” is simply the Piel participle of the verb יָלַד (yalad, “to give birth”). So these were women who assisted in the childbirth process. It seems probable that given the number of the Israelites in the passage, these two women could not have been the only Hebrew midwives, but they may have been over the midwives (Rashi). Moreover, the LXX and Vulgate do not take “Hebrew” as an adjective, but as a genitive after the construct, yielding “midwives of/over the Hebrews.” This leaves open the possibility that these women were not Hebrews. This would solve the question of how the king ever expected Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children. And yet, the two women have Hebrew names.

42 tn Heb “who the name of the first [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the second [was] Puah.”

43 tn The verse starts with the verb that began the last verse; to read it again seems redundant. Some versions render it “spoke” in v. 15 and “said” in v. 16. In effect, Pharaoh has been delayed from speaking while the midwives are named.

44 tn The form is the Piel infinitive construct serving in an adverbial clause of time. This clause lays the foundation for the next verb, the Qal perfect with a vav consecutive: “when you assist…then you will observe.” The latter carries an instructional nuance (= the imperfect of instruction), “you are to observe.”

45 tn Heb “at the birthstool” (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV), but since this particular item is not especially well known today, the present translation simply states “at the delivery.” Cf. NIV “delivery stool.”

46 sn The instructions must have been temporary or selective, otherwise the decree from the king would have ended the slave population of Hebrews. It is also possible that the king did not think through this, but simply took steps to limit the population growth. The narrative is not interested in supplying details, only in portraying the king as a wicked fool bent on destroying Israel.

47 tn The last form וָחָיָה (vakhaya) in the verse is unusual; rather than behaving as a III-Hey form, it is written as a geminate but without the daghesh forte in pause (GKC 218 §76.i). In the conditional clause, following the parallel instruction (“kill him”), this form should be rendered “she may live” or “let her live.”

48 tn Heb “and they [fem. pl.] feared”; the referent (the midwives) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

49 tn The verb is the Piel preterite of חָיָה (khaya, “to live”). The Piel often indicates a factitive nuance with stative verbs, showing the cause of the action. Here it means “let live, cause to live.” The verb is the exact opposite of Pharaoh’s command for them to kill the boys.

50 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition has here the nuance of “summon.” The same construction is used later when Pharaoh summons Moses.

51 tn The second verb in Pharaoh’s speech is a preterite with a vav (ו) consecutive. It may indicate a simple sequence: “Why have you done…and (so that you) let live?” It could also indicate that this is a second question, “Why have you done …[why] have you let live?”

52 sn See further N. Lemche, “‘Hebrew’ as a National Name for Israel,” ST 33 (1979): 1-23.

53 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Hebrew women) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

54 tn Heb “before the midwife comes to them (and) they give birth.” The perfect tense with the vav consecutive serves as the apodosis to the preceding temporal clause; it has the frequentative nuance (see GKC 337-38 §112.oo).

sn The point of this brief section is that the midwives respected God above the king. They simply followed a higher authority that prohibited killing. Fearing God is a basic part of the true faith that leads to an obedient course of action and is not terrified by worldly threats. There probably was enough truth in what they were saying to be believable, but they clearly had no intention of honoring the king by participating in murder, and they saw no reason to give him a straightforward answer. God honored their actions.

55 tn The verb וַיֵּיטֶב (vayyetev) is the Hiphil preterite of יָטַב (yatav). In this stem the word means “to cause good, treat well, treat favorably.” The vav (ו) consecutive shows that this favor from God was a result of their fearing and obeying him.

56 tn The temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi) focuses attention on the causal clause and lays the foundation for the main clause, namely, “God made households for them.” This is the second time the text affirms the reason for their defiance, their fear of God.

57 tn Or “families”; Heb “houses.”

58 tn The substantive כֹּל (kol) followed by the article stresses the entirety – “all sons” or “all daughters” – even though the nouns are singular in Hebrew (see GKC 411 §127.b).

59 tn The form includes a pronominal suffix that reiterates the object of the verb: “every son…you will throw it.”

60 tn The first imperfect has the force of a definite order, but the second, concerning the girls, could also have the nuance of permission, which may fit better. Pharaoh is simply allowing the girls to live.

sn Verse 22 forms a fitting climax to the chapter, in which the king continually seeks to destroy the Israelite strength. Finally, with this decree, he throws off any subtlety and commands the open extermination of Hebrew males. The verse forms a transition to the next chapter, in which Moses is saved by Pharaoh’s own daughter. These chapters show that the king’s efforts to destroy the strength of Israel – so clearly a work of God – met with failure again and again. And that failure involved the efforts of women, whom Pharaoh did not consider a threat.

61 sn The chapter records the exceptional survival of Moses under the decree of death by Pharaoh (vv. 1-10), the flight of Moses from Pharaoh after killing the Egyptian (vv. 11-15), the marriage of Moses (vv. 16-22), and finally a note about the Lord’s hearing the sighing of the people in bondage (vv. 23-25). The first part is the birth. The Bible has several stories about miraculous or special births and deliverances of those destined to lead Israel. Their impact is essentially to authenticate the individual’s ministry. If the person’s beginning was providentially provided and protected by the Lord, then the mission must be of divine origin too. In this chapter the plot works around the decree for the death of the children – a decree undone by the women. The second part of the chapter records Moses’ flight and marriage. Having introduced the deliverer Moses in such an auspicious way, the chapter then records how this deliverer acted presumptuously and had to flee for his life. Any deliverance God desired had to be supernatural, as the chapter’s final note about answering prayer shows.

62 tn Heb “house.” In other words, the tribe of Levi.

63 tn Heb “went and took”; NASB “went and married.”

64 tn Heb “a daughter of Levi.” The word “daughter” is used in the sense of “descendant” and connects the new account with Pharaoh’s command in 1:22. The words “a woman who was” are added for clarity in English.

sn The first part of this section is the account of hiding the infant (vv. 1-4). The marriage, the birth, the hiding of the child, and the positioning of Miriam, are all faith operations that ignore the decree of Pharaoh or work around it to preserve the life of the child.

65 tn Or “conceived” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

66 tn A preterite form with the vav consecutive can be subordinated to a following clause. What she saw stands as a reason for what she did: “when she saw…she hid him three months.”

67 tn After verbs of perceiving or seeing there are frequently two objects, the formal accusative (“she saw him”) and then a noun clause that explains what it was about the child that she perceived (“that he was healthy”). See GKC 365 §117.h.

68 tn Or “fine” (טוֹב, tov). The construction is parallel to phrases in the creation narrative (“and God saw that it was good,” Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 17, 21, 25, 31). B. Jacob says, “She looked upon her child with a joy similar to that of God upon His creation (Gen 1.4ff.)” (Exodus, 25).

69 sn See on the meaning of this basket C. Cohen, “Hebrew tbh: Proposed Etymologies,” JANESCU 9 (1972): 36-51. This term is used elsewhere only to refer to the ark of Noah. It may be connected to the Egyptian word for “chest.”

70 sn The circumstances of the saving of the child Moses have prompted several attempts by scholars to compare the material to the Sargon myth. See R. F. Johnson, IDB 3:440-50; for the text see L. W. King, Chronicles concerning Early Babylonian Kings, 2:87-90. Those who see the narrative using the Sargon story’s pattern would be saying that the account presents Moses in imagery common to the ancient world’s expectations of extraordinary achievement and deliverance. In the Sargon story the infant’s mother set him adrift in a basket in a river; he was loved by the gods and destined for greatness. Saying Israel used this to invent the account in Exodus would undermine its reliability. But there are other difficulties with the Sargon comparison, not the least of which is the fact that the meaning and function of the Sargon story are unclear. Second, there is no outside threat to the child Sargon. The account simply shows how a child was exposed, rescued, nurtured, and became king (see B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 8-12). Third, other details do not fit: Moses’ father is known, Sargon’s is not; Moses is never abandoned, since he is never out of the care of his parents, and the finder is a princess and not a goddess. Moreover, without knowing the precise function and meaning of the Sargon story, it is almost impossible to explain its use as a pattern for the biblical account. By itself, the idea of a mother putting a child by the river if she wants him to be found would have been fairly sensible, for that is where the women of the town would be washing their clothes or bathing. If someone wanted to be sure the infant was discovered by a sympathetic woman, there would be no better setting (see R. A. Cole, Exodus [TOTC], 57). While there need not be a special genre of storytelling here, it is possible that Exodus 2 might have drawn on some of the motifs and forms of the other account to describe the actual event in the sparing of Moses – if they knew of it. If so it would show that Moses was cast in the form of the greats of the past.

71 tn Or “stood.” The verb is the Hitpael preterite of יָצַב (yatsav), although the form is anomalous and perhaps should be spelled as in the Samaritan Pentateuch (see GKC 193 §71). The form yields the meaning of “take a stand, position or station oneself.” His sister found a good vantage point to wait and see what might become of the infant.

72 tn Heb “to know”; many English versions have “to see.”

73 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; it should be classified here as a historic future, future from the perspective of a point in a past time narrative.

74 sn It is impossible, perhaps, to identify with certainty who this person was. For those who have taken a view that Rameses was the pharaoh, there were numerous daughters for Rameses. She is named Tharmuth in Jub. 47:5; Josephus spells it Thermouthis (Ant. 2.9.5 [2.224]), but Eusebius has Merris (Praep. Ev. ix. 27). E. H. Merrill (Kingdom of Priests, 60) makes a reasonable case for her identification as the famous Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. She would have been there about the time of Moses’ birth, and the general picture of her from history shows her to be the kind of princess with enough courage to countermand a decree of her father.

75 tn Or “bathe.”

76 sn A disjunctive vav initiates here a circumstantial clause. The picture is one of a royal entourage coming down to the edge of a tributary of the river, and while the princess was bathing, her female attendants were walking along the edge of the water out of the way of the princess. They may not have witnessed the discovery or the discussion.

77 tn The word here is אָמָה (’amah), which means “female slave.” The word translated “attendants” earlier in the verse is נַעֲרֹת (naarot, “young women”), possibly referring here to an assortment of servants and companions.

78 tn The verb is preterite, third person feminine singular, with a pronominal suffix, from לָקַח (laqakh, “to take”). The form says literally “and she took it,” and retains the princess as the subject of the verb.

79 tn Heb “and she opened.”

80 tn The grammatical construction has a pronominal suffix on the verb as the direct object along with the expressed object: “and she saw him, the child.” The second object defines the previous pronominal object to avoid misunderstanding (see GKC 425 §131.m).

81 tn The text has נַעַר (naar, “lad, boy, young man”), which in this context would mean a baby boy.

82 tn This clause is introduced with a disjunctive vav and the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “behold” in the KJV). The particle in this kind of clause introduces the unexpected – what Pharaoh’s daughter saw when she opened the basket: “and look, there was a baby boy crying.” The clause provides a parenthetical description of the child as she saw him when she opened the basket and does not advance the narrative. It is an important addition, however, for it puts readers in the position of looking with her into the basket and explains her compassion.

83 tn The verb could be given a more colloquial translation such as “she felt sorry for him.” But the verb is stronger than that; it means “to have compassion, to pity, to spare.” What she felt for the baby was strong enough to prompt her to spare the child from the fate decreed for Hebrew boys. Here is part of the irony of the passage: What was perceived by many to be a womanly weakness – compassion for a baby – is a strong enough emotion to prompt the woman to defy the orders of Pharaoh. The ruler had thought sparing women was safe, but the midwives, the Hebrew mother, the daughter of Pharaoh, and Miriam, all work together to spare one child – Moses (cf. 1 Cor 1:27-29).

84 sn The text uses קָרָא (qara’), meaning “to call” or “summon.” Pharaoh himself will “summon” Moses many times in the plague narratives. Here the word is used for the daughter summoning the child’s mother to take care of him. The narratives in the first part of the book of Exodus include a good deal of foreshadowing of events that occur in later sections of the book (see M. Fishbane, Biblical Text and Texture).

85 tn The object of the verb “get/summon” is “a woman.” But מֵינֶקֶת (meneqet, “nursing”), the Hiphil participle of the verb יָנַק (yanaq, “to suck”), is in apposition to it, clarifying what kind of woman should be found – a woman, a nursing one. Of course Moses’ mother was ready for the task.

86 tn The form וְתֵינִק (vÿteniq) is the Hiphil imperfect/jussive, third feminine singular, of the same root as the word for “nursing.” It is here subordinated to the preceding imperfect (“shall I go”) and perfect with vav (ו) consecutive (“and summon”) to express the purpose: “in order that she may.”

sn No respectable Egyptian woman of this period would have undertaken the task of nursing a foreigner’s baby, and so the suggestion by Miriam was proper and necessary. Since she was standing a small distance away from the events, she was able to come forward when the discovery was made.

87 tn Heb “Go” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “Go ahead”; TEV “Please do.”

88 sn The word used to describe the sister (Miriam probably) is עַלְמָה (’alma), the same word used in Isa 7:14, where it is usually translated either “virgin” or “young woman.” The word basically means a young woman who is ripe for marriage. This would indicate that Miriam is a teenager and so about fifteen years older than Moses.

89 tn Heb קָרָא (qara’, “called”).

90 sn During this period of Egyptian history the royal palaces were in the northern or Delta area of Egypt, rather than up the Nile as in later periods. The proximity of the royal residences to the Israelites makes this and the plague narratives all the more realistic. Such direct contact would have been unlikely if Moses had had to travel up the Nile to meet with Pharaoh. In the Delta area things were closer. Here all the people would have had access to the tributaries of the Nile near where the royal family came, but the royal family probably had pavilions and hunting lodges in the area. See also N. Osborn, “Where on Earth Are We? Problems of Position and Movement in Space,” BT 31 (1980): 239-42.

91 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperative of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh), and so is properly rendered “cause to go” or “take away.”

92 tn The possessive pronoun on the noun “wage” expresses the indirect object: “I will pay wages to you.”

93 tn The verb is the preterite of גָּדַל (gadal), and so might be rendered “and he became great.” But the context suggests that it refers to when he was weaned and before he was named, perhaps indicating he was three or four years old (see Gen 21:8).

94 tn The idiomatic expression literally reads: “and he was to her for a son.” In this there are two prepositions lamed. The first expresses possession: “he was to her” means “she had.” The second is part of the usage of the verb: הָיָה (haya) with the lamed (ל) preposition means “to become.”

95 sn The naming provides the climax and summary of the story. The name of “Moses” (מֹשֶׁה, mosheh) is explained by “I have drawn him (מְשִׁיתִהוּ, mÿshitihu) from the water.” It appears that the name is etymologically connected to the verb in the saying, which is from מָשָׁה (mashah, “to draw out”). But commentators have found it a little difficult that the explanation of the name by the daughter of Pharaoh is in Hebrew when the whole background is Egyptian (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 20). Moreover, the Hebrew spelling of the name is the form of the active participle (“the one who draws out”); to be a precise description it should have been spelled מָשׁוּי (mashuy), the passive participle (“the one drawn out”). The etymology is not precise; rather, it is a wordplay (called paronomasia). Either the narrator merely attributed words to her (which is unlikely outside of fiction), or the Hebrew account simply translated what she had said into Hebrew, finding a Hebrew verb with the same sounds as the name. Such wordplays on names (also popular etymology) are common in the Bible. Most agree that the name is an Egyptian name. Josephus attempted to connect the biblical etymology with the name in Greek, Mouses, stating that Mo is Egyptian for water, and uses means those rescued from it (Ant. 2.9.6 [2.228]; see also J. Gwyn Griffiths, “The Egyptian Derivation of the Name Moses,” JNES 12 [1953]: 225). But the solution to the name is not to be derived from the Greek rendering. Due to the estimation Egyptians had of the Nile, the princess would have thought of the child from the river as a supernatural provision. The Egyptian hieroglyphic ms can be the noun “child” or the perfective verb “be born.” This was often connected with divine elements for names: Ptah-mose, “Ptah is born.” Also the name Rameses (R-m-sw) means “[the god] Re’ is he who has born him.” If the name Moses is Egyptian, there are some philological difficulties (see the above article for their treatment). The significance of all this is that when the child was named by the princess, an Egyptian word related to ms was used, meaning something like “child” or “born.” The name might have even been longer, perhaps having a theophoric element (divine name) with it – “child of [some god].” The name’s motivation came from the fact that she drew him from the Nile, the source of life in Egypt. But the sound of the name recalled for the Hebrews the verb “to draw out” in their own language. Translating the words of the princess into Hebrew allowed for the effective wordplay to capture the significance of the story in the sound of the name. The implication for the Israelites is something to this effect: “You called him ‘born one’ in your language and after your custom, but in our language that name means ‘drawing out’ – which is what was to become of him. You drew him out of the water, but he would draw us out of Egypt through the water.” So the circumstances of the story show Moses to be a man of destiny, and this naming episode summarizes how divine providence was at work in Israel. To the Israelites the name forever commemorated the portent of this event in the early life of the great deliverer (see Isa 63:11).

96 sn Chapter 1 described how Israel was flourishing in spite of the bondage. Chapter 2 first told how God providentially provided the deliverer, but now when this deliverer attempted to deliver one of his people, it turned out badly, and he had to flee for his life. This section makes an interesting study in the presumption of the leader, what Christian expositors would rightly describe as trying to do God’s work by the flesh. The section has two parts to it: the flight from Egypt over the failed attempt to deliver (vv. 11-15), and Moses’ introduction to life as the deliverer in Midian (vv. 16-22).

97 sn The expression “those days” refers to the days of bondage.

98 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next and main idea of the verse. This is the second use of this verb in the chapter. In v. 10 the verb had the sense of “when he began to grow” or “when he got older,” but here it carries the nuance of “when he had grown up.”

99 tn Heb “brothers.” This term does not require them to be literal siblings, or even close family members. It simply refers to fellow Hebrews, people with whom Moses has begun to feel close ties of kinship. They are “brothers” in a broad sense, ultimately fellow members of the covenant community.

100 tn The verb רָאָה (raa, “to see”) followed by the preposition bet (ב) can indicate looking on something as an overseer, or supervising, or investigating. Here the emphasis is on Moses’ observing their labor with sympathy or grief. It means more than that he simply saw the way his fellow Hebrews were being treated (cf. 2:25).

sn This journey of Moses to see his people is an indication that he had become aware of his destiny to deliver them. This verse says that he looked on their oppression; the next section will say that the Lord looked on it.

101 tn The verb מַכֶּה (makkeh) is the Hiphil participle of the root נָכָה (nakha). It may be translated “strike, smite, beat, attack.” It can be used with the sense of killing (as in the next verse, which says Moses hid the body), but it does not necessarily indicate here that the Egyptian killed the Hebrew.

102 tn Heb “brothers.” This kinship term is used as a means of indicating the nature of Moses’ personal concern over the incident, since the appositional clause adds no new information.

103 tn The text literally says, “and he turned thus and thus” (וַיִּפֶן כֹּה וָכֹה, vayyifen koh vakhoh). It may indicate that he turned his gaze in all directions to ascertain that no one would observe what he did. Or, as B. Jacob argues, it may mean that he saw that there was no one to do justice and so he did it himself (Exodus, 37-38, citing Isa 59:15-16).

104 tn Heb “he saw that there was no man.”

105 sn The verb וַיַּךְ (vayyakh) is from the root נָכָה (nakhah, “to smite, attack”) which is used in v. 11. This new attack is fatal. The repetition of the verb, especially in Exodus, anticipates the idea of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” The problem is, however, that Moses was not authorized to take this matter into his own hands in this way. The question the next day was appropriate: “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” The answer? No one – yet.

106 tn Heb “him”; for stylistic reasons the referent has been specified as “the body.”

107 tn The preterite with the vav consecutive is subordinated to the main idea of the verse.

108 tn Heb “the second day” (so KJV, ASV).

109 tn The deictic particle is used here to predicate existence, as in “here were” or “there were.” But this use of הִנֵּה (hinneh) indicates also that what he encountered was surprising or sudden – as in “Oh, look!”

110 tn The word רָשָׁע (rasha) is a legal term, meaning the guilty. This guilty man rejects Moses’ intervention for much the same reason Pharaoh will later (5:2) – he does not recognize his authority. Later Pharaoh will use this term to declare himself as in the wrong (9:27) and God in the right.

111 tn This is the third use of the verb נָכָה (nakha) in the passage; here it is the Hiphil imperfect. It may be given a progressive imperfect nuance – the attack was going on when Moses tried to intervene.

112 sn Heb “your neighbor.” The word רֵעֶךָ (reekha) appears again in 33:11 to describe the ease with which God and Moses conversed. The Law will have much to say about how the Israelites were to treat their “neighbors, fellow citizens” (Exod 20:16-17; 21:14, 18, 35; 22:7-11, 14, 26; cf. Luke 10:25-37).

113 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

114 tn Heb “Who placed you for a man, a ruler and a judge over us?” The pleonasm does not need to be translated. For similar constructions see Lev 21:9; Judg 6:8; 2 Sam 1:13; Esth 7:6.

115 tn The line reads “[is it] to kill me you are planning?” The form אֹמֵר (’omer) is the active participle used verbally; it would literally be “[are you] saying,” but in this context it conveys the meaning of “thinking, planning.” The Qal infinitive then serves as the object of this verbal form – are you planning to kill me?

116 tn Heb “the Egyptian.” Here the Hebrew article functions in an anaphoric sense, referring back to the individual Moses killed.

117 tn The verb form is “and he said.” But the intent of the form is that he said this within himself, and so it means “he thought, realized, said to himself.” The form, having the vav consecutive, is subordinated to the main idea of the verse, that he was afraid.

118 tn The term הַדָּבָר (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter, incident]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to what Moses had done. For clarity this has been specified in the translation with the phrase “what I did.”

119 tn The form with the vav consecutive is here subordinated to the main idea that Pharaoh sought to punish Moses.

120 tn Heb הַדָּבָר (haddavar, “the word [thing, matter, incident]”) functions here like a pronoun to refer in brief to what Moses had done.

121 tn The vav (ו) consecutive with the preterite shows result – as a result of Pharaoh’s search for him, he fled.

122 sn The location of Midyan or Midian is uncertain, but it had to have been beyond the Egyptian borders on the east, either in the Sinai or beyond in the Arabah (south of the Dead Sea) or even on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Midianites seem to have traveled extensively in the desert regions. R. A. Cole (Exodus [TOTC], 60) reasons that since they later were enemies of Israel, it is unlikely that these traditions would have been made up about Israel’s great lawgiver; further, he explains that “Ishmaelite” and “Kenite” might have been clan names within the region of Midian. But see, from a different point of view, G. W. Coats, “Moses and Midian,” JBL 92 (1973): 3-10.

123 tn The verb reads “and he sat” or “and he lived.” To translate it “he sat by a well” would seem anticlimactic and unconnected. It probably has the same sense as in the last clause, namely, that he lived in Midian, and he lived near a well, which detail prepares for what follows.

124 tn The word has the definite article, “the well.” Gesenius lists this use of the article as that which denotes a thing that is yet unknown to the reader but present in the mind under the circumstances (GKC 407-8 §126.q-r). Where there was a well, people would settle, and as R. A. Cole says it, for people who settled there it was “the well” (Exodus [TOTC], 60).

125 tn The preterites describing their actions must be taken in an ingressive sense, since they did not actually complete the job. Shepherds drove them away, and Moses watered the flocks.

126 tn The object “water” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied.

127 tn This also has the ingressive sense, “began to fill,” but for stylistic reasons is translated simply “fill” here.

128 tn The definite article here is the generic use; it simply refers to a group of shepherds.

129 tn The actions of the shepherds are subordinated to the main statement about what Moses did.

sn The verb is וַיְגָרְשׁוּם (vaygorshum). Some shepherds came and drove the daughters away. The choice of this verb in the narrative has a tie with the name of Moses’ first son, Gershom. Moses senses very clearly that he is a sojourner in a strange land – he has been driven away.

130 sn The verb used here is וַיּוֹשִׁעָן (vayyoshian, “and he saved them”). The word means that he came to their rescue and delivered them. By the choice of words the narrator is portraying Moses as the deliverer – he is just not yet ready to deliver Israel from its oppressors.

131 tn The verb means “to go, to come, to enter.” In this context it means that they returned to their father, or came home.

132 sn The name “Reuel” is given here. In other places (e.g., chap. 18) he is called Jethro (cf. CEV, which uses “Jethro” here). Some suggest that this is simply a confusion of traditions. But it is not uncommon for ancients, like Sabean kings and priests, to have more than one name. Several of the kings of Israel, including Solomon, did. “Reuel” means “friend of God.”

133 tn The sentence uses a verbal hendiadys construction: מִהַרְתֶּן בֹּא (miharten bo’, “you have made quick [to] come”). The finite verb functions as if it were an adverb modifying the infinitive, which becomes the main verb of the clause.

sn Two observations should be made at this point. First, it seems that the oppression at the well was a regular part of their routine because their father was surprised at their early return, and their answer alluded to the shepherds rather automatically. Secondly, the story is another meeting-at-the-well account. Continuity with the patriarchs is thereby kept in the mind of the reader (cf. Gen 24; 29:1-12).

134 sn Continuing the theme of Moses as the deliverer, the text now uses another word for salvation (נָצַל, natsal, “to deliver, rescue”) in the sense of plucking out or away, snatching out of danger.

135 tn Heb “from the hand of the shepherds” (so NASB); NAB “saved us from the interference of the shepherds.” Most recent English versions translate simply “from the shepherds.”

136 tn The construction is emphatic with the use of the perfect tense and its infinitive absolute: דָלָה דָּלֹה (daloh dalah). B. Jacob says, “They showed their enthusiasm through the use of the infinitive absolute – And think of that, he even drew water for us; a man did this for us girls” (Exodus, 41).

137 tn Heb “And he said.”

138 tn The conjunction vav (ו) joins Reuel’s question to what the daughters said as logically following with the idea, “If he has done all that you say, why is he not here for me to meet?” (see GKC 485 §154.b).

139 tn This uses the demonstrative pronoun as an enclitic, for emphasis (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). The question reads more literally, “Why [is] this [that] you left him?”

140 tn The imperfect tense coming after the imperative indicates purpose.

141 tn Heb “bread,” i.e., “food.”

142 tn Or “and Moses was willing” to stay with Reuel. The Talmud understood this to mean that he swore, and so when it came time to leave he had to have a word from God and permission from his father-in-law (Exod 4:18-19).

143 tn The words “in marriage” are implied, and have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

144 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is subordinated to the next clause, which reports the naming and its motivation.

145 tn Heb “and he called”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

146 sn Like the naming of Moses, this naming that incorporates a phonetic wordplay forms the commemorative summary of the account just provided. Moses seems to have settled into a domestic life with his new wife and his father-in-law. But when the first son is born, he named him גֵּרְשֹׁם (gerÿshom). There is little information available about what the name by itself might have meant. If it is linked to the verb “drive away” used earlier (גָרַשׁ, garash), then the final mem (מ) would have to be explained as an enclitic mem. It seems most likely that that verb was used in the narrative to make a secondary wordplay on the name. The primary explanation is the popular etymology supplied by Moses himself. He links the name to the verb גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to live as an alien”). He then adds that he was a sojourner (גֵּר, ger, the participle) in a foreign land. The word “foreign” (נָכְרִיּה, nokhriyyah) adds to the idea of his being a resident alien. The final syllable in the name would then be connected to the adverb “there” (שָׁם, sham). Thus, the name is given the significance in the story of “sojourner there” or “alien there.” He no doubt knew that this was not the actual meaning of the name; the name itself had already been introduced into the family of Levi (1 Chr 6:1, 16). He chose the name because its sounds reflected his sentiment at that time. But to what was Moses referring? In view of naming customs among the Semites, he was most likely referring to Midian as the foreign land. If Egypt had been the strange land, and he had now found his place, he would not have given the lad such a name. Personal names reflect the present or recent experiences, or the hope for the future. So this naming is a clear expression by Moses that he knows he is not where he is supposed to be. That this is what he meant is supported in the NT by Stephen (Acts 7:29). So the choice of the name, the explanation of it, and the wordplay before it, all serve to stress the point that Moses had been driven away from his proper place of service.

147 sn The next section of the book is often referred to as the “Call of Moses,” and that is certainly true. But it is much more than that. It is the divine preparation of the servant of God, a servant who already knew what his destiny was. In this section Moses is shown how his destiny will be accomplished. It will be accomplished because the divine presence will guarantee the power, and the promise of that presence comes with the important “I AM” revelation. The message that comes through in this, and other “I will be with you” passages, is that when the promise of God’s presence is correctly appropriated by faith, the servant of God can begin to build confidence for the task that lies ahead. It will no longer be, “Who am I that I should go?” but “I AM with you” that matters. The first little section, 2:23-25, serves as a transition and introduction, for it records the Lord’s response to Israel in her affliction. The second part is the revelation to Moses at the burning bush (3:1-10), which is one of the most significant theological sections in the Torah. Finally, the record of Moses’ response to the call with his objections (3:11-22), makes up the third part, and in a way, is a transition to the next section, where God supplies proof of his power.

148 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator “And it was” (cf. KJV, ASV “And it came to pass”). This has been left untranslated for stylistic reasons.

149 tn Heb “in those many days.”

150 tn Heb “the sons of Israel.”

151 tn “They cried out” is from זָעַק (zaaq), and “desperate cry” is from שַׁוְעָה (shavah).

152 sn The word for this painfully intense “groaning” appears elsewhere to describe a response to having two broken arms (Ezek 30:24).

153 sn The two verbs “heard” and “remembered,” both preterites, say far more than they seem to say. The verb שָׁמַע (shama’, “to hear”) ordinarily includes responding to what is heard. It can even be found in idiomatic constructions meaning “to obey.” To say God heard their complaint means that God responded to it. Likewise, the verb זָכַר (zakhar, “to remember”) means to begin to act on the basis of what is remembered. A prayer to God that says, “Remember me,” is asking for more than mere recollection (see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel [SBT], 1-8). The structure of this section at the end of the chapter is powerful. There are four descriptions of the Israelites, with a fourfold reaction from God. On the Israelites’ side, they groaned (אָנַח [’anakh], נְאָקָה [nÿaqah]) and cried out (זָעַק [zaaq], שַׁוְעָה [shavah]) to God. On the divine side God heard (שָׁמָע, shama’) their groaning, remembered (זָכַר, zakhar) his covenant, looked (רָאָה, raah) at the Israelites, and took notice (יָדַע, yada’) of them. These verbs emphasize God’s sympathy and compassion for the people. God is near to those in need; in fact, the deliverer had already been chosen. It is important to note at this point the repetition of the word “God.” The text is waiting to introduce the name “Yahweh” in a special way. Meanwhile, the fourfold repetition of “God” in vv. 24-25 is unusual and draws attention to the statements about his attention to Israel’s plight.

154 tn Heb “and God saw.”

155 tn Heb “and God knew” (יָדַע, yada’). The last clause contains a widely used verb for knowing, but it leaves the object unexpressed within the clause, so as to allow all that vv. 23-24 have described to serve as the compelling content of God’s knowing. (Many modern English versions supply an object for the verb following the LXX, which reads “knew them.”) The idea seems to be that God took personal knowledge of, noticed, or regarded them. In other passages the verb “know” is similar in meaning to “save” or “show pity.” See especially Gen 18:21, Ps 1:6; 31:7, and Amos 3:2. Exodus has already provided an example of the results of not knowing in 1:8 (cf. 5:2).

156 sn The vav (ו) disjunctive with the name “Moses” introduces a new and important starting point. The Lord’s dealing with Moses will fill the next two chapters.

157 tn Or “west of the desert,” taking אַחַר (’akhar, “behind”) as the opposite of עַל־פְּנֵי (’al-pÿne, “on the face of, east of”; cf. Gen 16:12; 25:18).

158 sn “Horeb” is another name for Mount Sinai. There is a good deal of foreshadowing in this verse, for later Moses would shepherd the people of Israel and lead them to Mount Sinai to receive the Law. See D. Skinner, “Some Major Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42.

159 sn The designation “the angel of the Lord” (Heb “the angel of Yahweh”) occurred in Genesis already (16:7-13; 21:17; 22:11-18). There is some ambiguity in the expression, but it seems often to be interchangeable with God’s name itself, indicating that it refers to the Lord.

160 tn The verb וַיֵּרָא (vayyera’) is the Niphal preterite of the verb “to see.” For similar examples of רָאָה (raah) in Niphal where the subject “appears,” that is, allows himself to be seen, or presents himself, see Gen 12:7; 35:9; 46:29; Exod 6:3; and 23:17. B. Jacob notes that God appears in this way only to individuals and never to masses of people; it is his glory that appears to the masses (Exodus, 49).

161 tn Gesenius rightly classifies this as a bet (ב) essentiae (GKC 379 §119.i); it would then indicate that Yahweh appeared to Moses “as a flame.”

162 sn Fire frequently accompanies the revelation of Yahweh in Exodus as he delivers Israel, guides her, and purifies her. The description here is unique, calling attention to the manifestation as a flame of fire from within the bush. Philo was the first to interpret the bush as Israel, suffering under the persecution of Egypt but never consumed. The Bible leaves the interpretation open. However, in this revelation the fire is coming from within the bush, not from outside, and it represents the Lord who will deliver his people from persecution. See further E. Levine, “The Evolving Symbolism of the Burning Bush,” Dor le Dor 8 (1979): 185-93.

163 tn Heb “And he saw.”

164 tn The text again uses the deictic particle with vav, וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh), traditionally rendered “and behold.” The particle goes with the intense gaze, the outstretched arm, the raised eyebrow – excitement and intense interest: “look, over there.” It draws the reader into the immediate experience of the subject.

165 tn The construction uses the suffixed negative אֵינֶנּוּ (’enennu) to convey the subject of the passive verb: “It was not” consumed. This was the amazing thing, for nothing would burn faster in the desert than a thornbush on fire.

166 tn Heb “And Moses said.” The implication is that Moses said this to himself.

167 tn The construction uses the cohortative אָסֻרָה־נָּא (’asura-nna’) followed by an imperfect with vav (וְאֶרְאֶה, vÿereh) to express the purpose or result (logical sequence): “I will turn aside in order that I may see.”

168 tn Heb “great.” The word means something extraordinary here. In using this term Moses revealed his reaction to the strange sight and his anticipation that something special was about to happen. So he turned away from the flock to investigate.

169 tn The verb is an imperfect. Here it has the progressive nuance – the bush is not burning up.

170 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) is subordinated as a temporal clause to the main point of the verse, that God called to him. The language is anthropomorphic, as if God’s actions were based on his observing what Moses did.

171 tn The particle כִּי (ki, “that”) introduces the noun clause that functions as the direct object of the verb “saw” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 81, §490).

172 sn The repetition of the name in God’s call is emphatic, making the appeal direct and immediate (see also Gen 22:11; 46:2). The use of the personal name shows how specifically God directed the call and that he knew this person. The repetition may have stressed even more that it was indeed he whom the Lord wanted. It would have been an encouragement to Moses that this was in fact the Lord who was meeting him.

173 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

174 tn Heb “And he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

175 sn Even though the Lord was drawing near to Moses, Moses could not casually approach him. There still was a barrier between God and human, and God had to remind Moses of this with instructions. The removal of sandals was, and still is in the East, a sign of humility and reverence in the presence of the Holy One. It was a way of excluding the dust and dirt of the world. But it also took away personal comfort and convenience and brought the person more closely in contact with the earth.

176 sn The word קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh, “holy”) indicates “set apart, distinct, unique.” What made a mountain or other place holy was the fact that God chose that place to reveal himself or to reside among his people. Because God was in this place, the ground was different – it was holy.

177 tn The causal clause includes within it a typical relative clause, which is made up of the relative pronoun, then the independent personal pronoun with the participle, and then the preposition with the resumptive pronoun. It would literally be “which you are standing on it,” but the relative pronoun and the resumptive pronoun are combined and rendered, “on which you are standing.”

178 sn This self-revelation by Yahweh prepares for the revelation of the holy name. While no verb is used here, the pronoun and the predicate nominative are a construction used throughout scripture to convey the “I am” disclosures – “I [am] the God of….” But the significant point here is the naming of the patriarchs, for this God is the covenant God, who will fulfill his promises.

179 tn The clause uses the Hiphil infinitive construct with a preposition after the perfect tense: יָרֵא מֵהַבִּיט (yaremehabbit, “he was afraid from gazing”) meaning “he was afraid to gaze.” The preposition min (מִן) is used before infinitives after verbs like the one to complete the verb (see BDB 583 s.v. 7b).

180 tn The use of the infinitive absolute with the perfect tense intensifies the statement: I have surely seen – there is no doubt that I have seen and will do something about it.

181 sn Two new words are introduced now to the report of suffering: “affliction” and “pain/suffering.” These add to the dimension of the oppression of God’s people.

182 sn God’s coming down is a frequent anthropomorphism in Genesis and Exodus. It expresses his direct involvement, often in the exercise of judgment.

183 tn The Hiphil infinitive with the suffix is לְהַצִּילוֹ (lÿhatsilo, “to deliver them”). It expresses the purpose of God’s coming down. The verb itself is used for delivering or rescuing in the general sense, and snatching out of danger for the specific.

184 tn Heb “to a land good and large”; NRSV “to a good and broad land.” In the translation the words “that is both” are supplied because in contemporary English “good and” combined with any additional descriptive term can be understood as elative (“good and large” = “very large”; “good and spacious” = “very spacious”; “good and ready” = “very ready”). The point made in the Hebrew text is that the land to which they are going is both good (in terms of quality) and large (in terms of size).

185 tn This vibrant description of the promised land is a familiar one. Gesenius classifies “milk and honey” as epexegetical genitives because they provide more precise description following a verbal adjective in the construct state (GKC 418-19 §128.x). The land is modified by “flowing,” and “flowing” is explained by the genitives “milk and honey.” These two products will be in abundance in the land, and they therefore exemplify what a desirable land it is. The language is hyperbolic, as if the land were streaming with these products.

186 tn Each people group is joined to the preceding by the vav conjunction, “and.” Each also has the definite article, as in other similar lists (3:17; 13:5; 34:11). To repeat the conjunction and article in the translation seems to put more weight on the list in English than is necessary to its function in identifying what land God was giving the Israelites.

187 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) focuses attention on what is being said as grounds for what follows.

188 tn The word is a technical term for the outcry one might make to a judge. God had seen the oppression and so knew that the complaints were accurate, and so he initiated the proceedings against the oppressors (B. Jacob, Exodus, 59).

189 tn Heb “seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” The word for the oppression is now לַחַץ (lakhats), which has the idea of pressure with the oppression – squeezing, pressuring – which led to its later use in the Semitic languages for torture. The repetition in the Hebrew text of the root in the participle form after this noun serves to stress the idea. This emphasis has been represented in the translation by the expression “seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them.”

190 tn The verse has a sequence of volitives. The first form is the imperative לְכָה (lÿkha, “go”). Then comes the cohortative/imperfect form with the vav (ו), “and I will send you” or more likely “that I may send you” (וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ, vÿeshlakhakha), which is followed by the imperative with the vav, “and bring out” or “that you may bring out” (וְהוֹצֵא, vÿhotse’). The series of actions begins with Moses going. When he goes, it will be the Lord who sends him, and if the Lord sends him, it will be with the purpose of leading Israel out of Egypt.

sn These instructions for Moses are based on the preceding revelation made to him. The deliverance of Israel was to be God’s work – hence, “I will send you.” When God commissioned people, often using the verb “to send,” it indicated that they went with his backing, his power, and his authority. Moses could not have brought Israel out without this. To name this incident a commissioning, then, means that the authority came from God to do the work (compare John 3:2).

191 tn Heb “And Moses said.”

192 sn When he was younger, Moses was confident and impulsive, but now that he is older the greatness of the task makes him unsure. The remainder of this chapter and the next chapter record the four difficulties of Moses and how the Lord answers them (11-12, 13-22; then 4:1-9; and finally 4:10-17).

193 tn The imperfect tense אֵלֵךְ (’elekh) carries the modal nuance of obligatory imperfect, i.e., “that I should go.” Moses at this point is overwhelmed with the task of representing God, and with his personal insufficiency, and so in honest humility questions the choice.

194 tn Heb “And he said”; the word “replied” clarifies for English readers that speaker is God.

195 tn The particle כִּי (ki) has the asseverative use here, “surely, indeed,” which is frequently found with oaths (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §449). The imperfect tense אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh) could be rendered as the future tense, “I will be” or the present tense “I am” with you. The future makes the better sense in this case, since the subject matter is the future mission. But since it is a stative verb, the form will also lend itself nicely to explaining the divine name – he is the One who is eternally present – “I am with you always.”

sn Here is the introduction of the main motif of the commission, which will be the explanation of the divine name. It will make little difference who the servant is or what that servant’s abilities might be, if God is present. The mention of God’s presence is not a simple catch-phrase; it represents abundant provisions to the believer (see below on v. 14).

196 sn In view of Moses’ hesitancy, a sign is necessary to support the promise. A sign is often an unusual or miraculous event that introduces, authenticates, or illustrates the message. One expects a direct connection between the sign and the message (for a helpful discussion, see S. Porúbcan, “The Word ’OT in Isaia 7,14,” CBQ 22 [1960]: 144-49). In this passage the sign is a confirming one, i.e., when Israel worships at the mountain that will be the proof that God delivered them from Egypt. Thus, the purpose of the exodus that makes possible the worship will be to prove that it was God who brought it about. In the meantime, Moses will have to trust in Yahweh.

197 tn The verb תַּעַבְדוּן (taavdun, “you will serve”) is one of the foremost words for worship in the Torah. Keeping the commandments and serving Yahweh usually sum up the life of faith; the true worshiper seeks to obey him. The highest title anyone can have in the OT is “the servant of Yahweh.” The verb here could be rendered interpretively as “worship,” but it is better to keep it to the basic idea of serving because that emphasizes an important aspect of worship, and it highlights the change from Israel’s serving Egypt, which has been prominent in the earlier chapters. The words “and they” are supplied to clarify for English readers that the subject of the verb is plural (Moses and the people), unlike the other second person forms in vv. 10 and 12, which are singular.

sn This sign is also a promise from God – “you will serve God on this mountain.” It is given to Moses here as a goal, but a goal already achieved because it was a sign from God. Leading Israel out of Egypt would not be completed until they came to this mountain and served God. God does not give Moses details of what will take place on the road to Sinai, but he does give him the goal and glimpses of the defeat of Pharaoh. The rest will require Moses and the people to trust in this God who had a plan and who had the power to carry it out.

198 tn Heb “And Moses said.”

199 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) in this clause introduces the foundation for what comes later – the question. Moses is saying, “Suppose I do all this and they ask this question – what should I say?”

200 sn There has been considerable debate about the name of Yahweh in the Pentateuch, primarily because of theories that have maintained that the name Yahweh was not known in antiquity (see also 6:3 and notes there). The argument of this whole section nullifies that view. The idea that God’s name was revealed only here raises the question of what he was called earlier. The word “God” is not a name. “El Shaddai” is used only a few times in Genesis. But Israel would not have had a nameless deity – especially since Genesis says that from the very beginning people were making proclamation of the name of Yahweh (Gen 4:26; 12:8). It is possible that they did not always need a name if they were convinced that only he existed and there was no other God. But probably what Moses was anticipating was the Israelites’ wanting to be sure that Moses came with a message from their God, and that some sign could prove it. They would have known his name (Yahweh), and they would have known the ways that he had manifested himself. It would do no good for Moses to come with a new name for God, for that would be like introducing them to a new God. That would in no way authenticate to them Moses’ call, only confuse; after all, they would not be expecting a new name – they had been praying to their covenant God all along. They would want to be sure that their covenant God actually had sent Moses. To satisfy the Israelites Moses would have had to have been familiar with the name Yahweh – as they were – and know that he appeared to individuals. They would also want to know if Yahweh had sent Moses, how this was going to work in their deliverance, because they had been crying to him for deliverance. As it turned out, the Israelites had less problem with this than Moses anticipated – they were delighted when he came. It is likely that much of this concern was Moses’ own need for assurance that this was indeed the God of the fathers and that the promised deliverance was now to take place.

201 tn The imperfect tense here has a deliberative nuance (“should”), for Moses is wondering what would be best to say when the Israelites want proof of the calling.

202 tn The verb form used here is אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh), the Qal imperfect, first person common singular, of the verb הָיָה (haya, “to be”). It forms an excellent paronomasia with the name. So when God used the verb to express his name, he used this form saying, “I am.” When his people refer to him as Yahweh, which is the third person masculine singular form of the same verb, they say “he is.” Some commentators argue for a future tense translation, “I will be who I will be,” because the verb has an active quality about it, and the Israelites lived in the light of the promises for the future. They argue that “I am” would be of little help to the Israelites in bondage. But a translation of “I will be” does not effectively do much more except restrict it to the future. The idea of the verb would certainly indicate that God is not bound by time, and while he is present (“I am”) he will always be present, even in the future, and so “I am” would embrace that as well (see also Ruth 2:13; Ps 50:21; Hos 1:9). The Greek translation of the OT used a participle to capture the idea, and several times in the Gospels Jesus used the powerful “I am” with this significance (e.g., John 8:58). The point is that Yahweh is sovereignly independent of all creation and that his presence guarantees the fulfillment of the covenant (cf. Isa 41:4; 42:6, 8; 43:10-11; 44:6; 45:5-7). Others argue for a causative Hiphil translation of “I will cause to be,” but nowhere in the Bible does this verb appear in Hiphil or Piel. A good summary of the views can be found in G. H. Parke-Taylor, Yahweh, the Divine Name in the Bible. See among the many articles: B. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” TJ 1 (1980): 5-20; C. D. Isbell, “The Divine Name ehyeh as a Symbol of Presence in Israelite Tradition,” HAR 2 (1978): 101-18; J. G. Janzen, “What’s in a Name? Yahweh in Exodus 3 and the Wider Biblical Context,” Int 33 (1979): 227-39; J. R. Lundbom, “God’s Use of the Idem per Idem to Terminate Debate,” HTR 71 (1978): 193-201; A. R. Millard, “Yw and Yhw Names,” VT 30 (1980): 208-12; and R. Youngblood, “A New Occurrence of the Divine Name ‘I AM,’” JETS 15 (1972): 144-52.

203 tn Or “Thus you shall say” (also in the following verse). The word “must” in the translation conveys the instructional and imperatival force of the statement.

204 sn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered “the Lord.” First the verb “I AM” was used (v. 14) in place of the name to indicate its meaning and to remind Moses of God’s promise to be with him (v. 12). Now in v. 15 the actual name is used for clear identification: “Yahweh…has sent me.” This is the name that the patriarchs invoked and proclaimed in the land of Canaan.

205 sn The words “name” and “memorial” are at the heart of the two parallel clauses that form a poetic pair. The Hebrew word “remembrance” is a poetical synonym for “name” (cf. Job 18:17; Ps 135:13; Prov 10:7; Isa 26:8) and conveys the idea that the nature or character of the person is to be remembered and praised (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 24).

206 tn The repetition of “generation” in this expression serves as a periphrasis for the superlative: “to the remotest generation” (GKC 432 §133.l).

207 tn The form is the perfect tense with the sequential vav (ו) linking the nuance to the imperative that precedes it. Since the imperative calls for immediate action, this form either carries the same emphasis, or instructs action that immediately follows it. This applies likewise to “say,” which follows.

208 sn “The God of your fathers” is in simple apposition to the name “the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”) as a recognizable identification. If the holy name were a new one to the Israelites, an explanation would have been needed. Meanwhile, the title “God of my/your/our father(s)” was widely used in the ancient Near East and also in Genesis (26:24; 28:13; 31:5, 29; 46:1, 3; N. M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 268).

209 tn The form is the Niphal perfect of the verb “to see.” See the note on “appeared” in 3:2.

210 tn The verb פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been rendered “to visit.” This only partially communicates the point of the word. When God “visited” someone, it meant that he intervened in their lives to change their circumstances or their destiny. When he visited the Amalekites, he destroyed them (1 Sam 15:2). When he visited Sarah, he provided the long awaited child (Gen 21:1). It refers to God’s active involvement in human affairs for blessing or for cursing. Here it would mean that God had begun to act to deliver the Israelites from bondage and give them the blessings of the covenant. The form is joined here with the infinitive absolute to underscore the certainty – “I have indeed visited you.” Some translate it “remember”; others say “watch over.” These do not capture the idea of intervention to bless, and often with the idea of vengeance or judgment on the oppressors. If God were to visit what the Egyptians did, he would stop the oppression and also bring retribution for it. The nuance of the perfect tense could be a perfect of resolve (“I have decided to visit”), or an instantaneous perfect ( “I hereby visit”), or a prophetic perfect (“I have visited” = “I will visit”). The infinitive absolute reinforces the statement (so “carefully”), the rendering “attended to” attempts to convey the ideas of personal presence, mental awareness, and action, as when a nurse or physician “attends” a patient.

sn The same word was used in the same kind of construction at the end of Genesis (50:24) when Joseph promised, “God will surely visit you” (but there the imperfect tense with the infinitive absolute). Here is another link to the patriarchal narratives. This work of Moses would be interpreted as a fulfillment of Joseph’s prophecy.

211 tn The second object for the verb is the passive participle הֶעָשׂוּי (heasuy). To say that God has visited the oppression (or “attended to” it) affirms that God has decided to judge the oppressing people as he blesses Israel.

212 tn Heb “And I said.”

213 tn See the note on this list in 3:8.

214 tn Heb “And they will listen”; the referent (the elders) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

215 tn This is the combination of the verb שָׁמַע (shama’) followed by לְקֹלֶךָ (lÿqolekha), an idiomatic formation that means “listen to your voice,” which in turn implies a favorable response.

216 tn The verb נִקְרָה (niqra) has the idea of encountering in a sudden or unexpected way (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 25).

217 tn The form used here is the cohortative of הָלַךְ (halakh). It could be a resolve, but more likely before Pharaoh it is a request.

sn Was this a deceptive request if they were not planning on coming back? Since no one knows what the intent was, that question is not likely to be resolved. The request may have been intended to test the waters, so to speak – How did Pharaoh feel about the Israelites? Would he let them go and worship their God as they saw fit? In any case, it gave him the opportunity to grant to the Israelites a permission that other groups are known to have received (N. M. Sarna, Exodus [JPSTC], 19).

218 tn Here a cohortative with a vav (ו) follows a cohortative; the second one expresses purpose or result: “let us go…in order that we may.”

219 tn After verbs of perception, as with “I know” here, the object may be a noun clause introduced with the particle כִּי (ki) – “I know that….” Gesenius observes that the object clause may have a kind of accusative and an infinitive construction (especially after נָתַן [natan] with the idea of “allow”): “he will not permit you to go” (see GKC 491 §157.b, n. 2).

220 tn Heb “and not with a mighty hand.” This expression (וְלֹא בְּיָד חֲזָקָה, vÿlovÿyad khazaqa) is unclear, since v. 20 says that God will stretch out his hand and do his wonders. Some have taken v. 19b to refer to God’s mighty hand also, meaning that the king would not let them go unless a mighty hand compels him (NIV). The expression “mighty hand” is used of God’s rescuing Israel elsewhere (Exod 6:1, 13:9, 32:11; but note also Num 20:20). This idea is a rather general interpretation of the words; it owes much to the LXX, which has “except by a mighty hand,” though “and not with” does not have the meaning of “except” or “unless” in other places. In view of these difficulties, others have suggested that v. 19b means “strong [threats]” from the Israelites (as in 4:24ff. and 5:3; see B. Jacob, Exodus, 81). This does not seem as convincing as the first view. Another possibility is that the phrase conveys Pharaoh’s point of view and intention; the Lord knows that Pharaoh plans to resist letting the Israelites go, regardless of the exercise of a strong hand against him (P. Addinall, “Exodus III 19B and the Interpretation of Biblical Narrative,” VT 49 [1999]: 289-300; see also the construction “and not with” in Num 12:8; 1 Sam 20:15 and elsewhere). If that is the case, v. 20 provides an ironic and pointed contradiction to Pharaoh’s plans as the Lord announces the effect that his hand will have. At any rate, Pharaoh will have to be forced to let Israel go.

221 sn The outstretched arm is a bold anthropomorphism. It describes the power of God. The Egyptians will later admit that the plagues were by the hand of God (Exod 8:19).

222 tn The word נִפְלְאֹתַי (niflÿotay) does not specify what the intervention will be. As the text unfolds it will be clear that the plagues are intended. Signs and portents could refer to things people might do, but “wonders” only God could do. The root refers to that which is extraordinary, surpassing, amazing, difficult to comprehend. See Isa 9:6; Gen 18:14; Ps 139:6.

223 sn The two uses of the root שָׁלָח (shalakh) in this verse contribute to its force. When the Lord “sends” (Qal) his hand, Pharaoh will “send” (Piel) the Israelites out of Egypt.

224 tn Heb “in the eyes of.” This idiom usually means that someone will be treated well by the observer. It is unlikely that it means here that the Egyptians will like the Hebrews. Rather, it means that the Egyptians will give things to the Hebrews free – gratis (see 12:35-36). Not only will God do mighty works to make the king yield, but also he will work in the minds of the Egyptian people so that they will be favorably disposed to give Israel wealth.

225 tn The temporal indicator (here future) with the particle ki (וְהָיָה כִּי, vÿhaya ki) introduces a temporal clause.

226 tn Heb “a woman,” one representing all.

227 tn Heb “from the sojourner.” Both the “neighbor” and the “sojourner” (“one who happens to be staying in her house”) are feminine. The difference between them seems to be primarily that the second is temporary, “a lodger” perhaps or “visitor,” while the first has permanent residence.

228 tn Heb “vessels of silver and vessels of gold.” These phrases both use genitives of material, telling what the vessels are made of.

229 sn It is clear that God intended the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, as they might a defeated enemy in war. They will not go out “empty.” They will “plunder” Egypt. This verb (וְנִצַּלְתֶּם [vÿnitsaltem] from נָצַל [natsal]) usually means “rescue, deliver,” as if plucking out of danger. But in this stem it carries the idea of plunder. So when the text says that they will ask (וְשָׁאֲלָה, vÿshaalah) their neighbors for things, it implies that they will be making many demands, and the Egyptians will respond like a defeated nation before victors. The spoils that Israel takes are to be regarded as back wages or compensation for the oppression (see also Deut 15:13). See further B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians, a Critical Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69; and T. C. Vriezen, “A Reinterpretation of Exodus 3:21-22 and Related Texts,” Ex Oriente Lux 23 (1975): 389-401.

230 sn In chap. 3, the first part of this extensive call, Yahweh promises to deliver his people. At the hesitancy of Moses, God guarantees his presence will be with him, and that assures the success of the mission. But with chap. 4, the second half of the call, the tone changes sharply. Now Moses protests his inadequacies in view of the nature of the task. In many ways, these verses address the question, “Who is sufficient for these things?” There are three basic movements in the passage. The first nine verses tell how God gave Moses signs in case Israel did not believe him (4:1-9). The second section records how God dealt with the speech problem of Moses (4:10-12). And finally, the last section records God’s provision of a helper, someone who could talk well (4:13-17). See also J. E. Hamlin, “The Liberator’s Ordeal: A Study of Exodus 4:1-9,” Rhetorical Criticism [PTMS], 33-42.

231 tn Heb “and Moses answered and said.”

232 tn Or “What if.” The use of הֵן (hen) is unusual here, introducing a conditional idea in the question without a following consequence clause (see Exod 8:22 HT [8:26 ET]; Jer 2:10; 2 Chr 7:13). The Greek has “if not” but adds the clause “what shall I say to them?”

233 tn Heb “listen to my voice,” so as to respond positively.

234 tn Or “rod” (KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “walking stick”; NLT “shepherd’s staff.”

sn The staff appears here to be the shepherd’s staff that he was holding. It now will become the instrument with which Moses will do the mighty works, for it is the medium of the display of the divine power (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 27; also, L. Shalit, “How Moses Turned a Staff into a Snake and Back Again,” BAR 9 [1983]: 72-73).

235 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

236 sn The details of the verse are designed to show that there was a staff that became a snake. The question is used to affirm that there truly was a staff, and then the report of Moses running from it shows it was a genuine snake. Using the serpent as a sign would have had an impact on the religious ideas of Egypt, for the sacred cobra was one of their symbols.

237 sn The signs authenticated Moses’ ministry as the Lord’s emissary. This sign will show that the Lord had control over Egypt and its stability, over life and death. But first Moses has to be convinced that he can turn it into a dead stick again.

238 tn The word חֵיק (kheq), often rendered “bosom,” refers to the front of the chest and a fold in the garment there where an item could be placed for carrying (see Prov 6:27; 16:33; 21:14). So “into your robe” should be understood loosely here and in v. 7 as referring to the inside of the top front of Moses’ garment. The inside chest pocket of a jacket is a rough modern equivalent.

239 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) points out the startling or amazing sight as if the reader were catching first glimpse of it with Moses.

240 sn This sudden skin disease indicated that God was able to bring such diseases on Egypt in the plagues and that only he could remove them. The whitening was the first stage of death for the diseased (Num 12:10; 2 Kgs 5:27). The Hebrew words traditionally rendered “leprous” or “leprosy,” as they are used in Lev 13 and 14, encompass a variety of conditions, not limited to the disease called leprosy and identified as Hansen’s disease in modern times.

241 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) points out the startling or amazing sight as if the reader were catching first glimpse of it with Moses.

242 tn Heb “it returned.”

243 tn Heb “like his flesh.”

244 tn Heb “and it will be if.”

245 tn Heb “listen to the voice of,” meaning listen so as to respond appropriately.

246 tn The nuance of this perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive will be equal to the imperfect of possibility – “they may believe.”

247 tn Heb “believe the voice of the latter sign,” so as to understand and accept the meaning of the event.

248 tn Heb “and it will be if.”

249 tn Heb “listen to your voice.”

250 tn The verb form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive; it functions then as the equivalent of the imperfect tense – here as an imperfect of instruction.

251 sn This is a powerful sign, for the Nile was always known as the source of life in Egypt, but now it will become the evidence of death. So the three signs were alike, each consisting of life and death. They would clearly anticipate the struggle with Egypt through the plagues. The point is clear that in the face of the possibility that people might not believe, the servants of God must offer clear proof of the power of God as they deliver the message of God. The rest is up to God.

252 sn Now Moses took up another line of argumentation, the issue of his inability to speak fluently (vv. 10-17). The point here is that God’s servants must yield themselves as instruments to God, the Creator. It makes no difference what character traits they have or what weaknesses they think they have (Moses manages to speak very well) if God is present. If the sovereign God has chosen them, then they have everything that God intended them to have.

253 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “my lord” or “my Lord.” Often rendered “please,” it is “employed in petitions, complaints and excuses” (W. H. C. Propp, Exodus 1–18 [AB], 213).

254 tn The designation in Moses’ address is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay), a term of respect and deference such as “lord, master, sir” but pointed as it would be when it represents the tetragrammaton. B. Jacob says since this is the first time Moses spoke directly to Yahweh, he did so hesitatingly (Exodus, 87).

255 tn When a noun clause is negated with לֹא (lo’), rather than אֵין (’en), there is a special emphasis, since the force of the negative falls on a specific word (GKC 479 §152.d). The expression “eloquent man” is אִישׁ דְּבָרִים (’ish dÿvarim, “a man of words”). The genitive may indicate a man characterized by words or a man who is able to command or control words. Moses apparently is resigned to the fact that he can do the signs, but he knows the signs have to be explained.

256 tn Heb “also from yesterday also from three days ago” or “neither since yesterday nor since before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”

257 tn The two expressions are כְבַד־פֶּה (khÿvad peh, “heavy of mouth”), and then כְבַד לָשׁוֹן (khÿvad lashon, “heavy of tongue”). Both use genitives of specification, the mouth and the tongue being what are heavy – slow. “Mouth” and “tongue” are metonymies of cause. Moses is saying that he has a problem speaking well. Perhaps he had been too long at the other side of the desert, or perhaps he was being a little dishonest. At any rate, he has still not captured the meaning of God’s presence. See among other works, J. H. Tigay, “‘Heavy of Mouth’ and ‘Heavy of Tongue’: On Moses’ Speech Difficulty,” BASOR 231 (1978): 57-67.

258 tn The verb שִׂים (sim) means “to place, put, set”; the sentence here more precisely says, “Who put a mouth into a man?”

sn The argumentation by Moses is here met by Yahweh’s rhetorical questions. They are intended to be sharp – it is reproof for Moses. The message is twofold. First, Yahweh is fully able to overcome all of Moses’ deficiencies. Second, Moses is exactly the way that God intended him to be. So the rhetorical questions are meant to prod Moses’ faith.

259 sn The final question obviously demands a positive answer. But the clause is worded in such a way as to return to the theme of “I AM.” Isaiah 45:5-7 developed this same idea of God’s control over life. Moses protests that he is not an eloquent speaker, and the Lord replies with reminders about himself and promises, “I will be with your mouth,” an assertion that repeats the verb he used four times in 3:12 and 14 and in promises to Isaac and Jacob (Gen 26:3; 31:3).

260 sn The promise of divine presence always indicates intervention (for blessing or cursing). Here it means that God would be working through the organs of speech to help Moses speak. See Deut 18:18; Jer 1:9.

261 sn The verb is וְהוֹרֵיתִיךָ (vÿhoretikha), the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive. The form carries the instructional meaning because it follows the imperative “go.” In fact, there is a sequence at work here: “go…and/that I may teach you.” It is from יָרָה (yara), the same root behind תּוֹרָה (torah, “law”). This always referred to teaching either wisdom or revelation. Here Yahweh promises to teach Moses what to say.

262 tn The form is the imperfect tense. While it could be taken as a future (“what you will say”), an obligatory imperfect captures the significance better (“what you must say” or “what you are to say”). Not even the content of the message will be left up to Moses.

263 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

264 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “Lord” or “my Lord.”

265 tn The text has simply שְׁלַח־נָא בְּיַד־תִּשְׁלָח (shÿlakh-nabÿyad tishlakh, “send by the hand you will send”). This is not Moses’ resignation to doing God’s will – it is his final attempt to avoid the call. It carries the force of asking God to send someone else. This is an example of an independent relative clause governed by the genitive: “by the hand of – whomever you will send” (see GKC 488-89 §155.n).

266 tn Heb “and the anger of Yahweh burned against.”

sn Moses had not dared openly to say “except me” when he asked God to send whomever he wanted to send. But God knew that is what he meant. Moses should not have resisted the call or pleaded such excuses or hesitated with such weak faith. Now God abandoned the gentle answer and in anger brought in a form of retribution. Because Moses did not want to do this, he was punished by not having the honor of doing it alone. His reluctance and the result are like the refusal of Israel to enter the land and the result they experienced (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 49-50).

267 tn Heb “Is not” or perhaps “Is [there] not.”

268 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 29) suggests that the term “Levite” may refer to a profession rather than ancestry here, because both Moses and Aaron were from the tribe of Levi and there would be little point in noting that ancestry for Aaron. In thinking through the difficult problem of the identity of Levites, he cites McNeile as saying “the Levite” referred to one who had had official training as a priest (cf. Judg 17:7, where a member of the tribe of Judah was a Levite). If it was the duty of the priest to give “torah” – to teach – then some training in the power of language would have been in order.

269 tn The construction uses the Piel infinitive absolute and the Piel imperfect to express the idea that he spoke very well: דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר (dabber yÿdabber).

sn Now Yahweh, in condescending to Moses, selects something that Moses (and God) did not really need for the work. It is as if he were saying: “If Moses feels speaking ability is so necessary (rather than the divine presence), then that is what he will have.” Of course, this golden-tongued Aaron had some smooth words about how the golden calf was forged!

270 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the participle points to the imminent future; it means “he is about to come” or “here he is coming.”

271 sn It is unlikely that this simply means that as a brother he will be pleased to see Moses, for the narrative has no time for that kind of comment. It is interested in more significant things. The implication is that Aaron will rejoice because of the revelation of God to Moses and the plan to deliver Israel from bondage (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 93).

272 tn Or “I will help you speak.” The independent pronoun puts emphasis (“as for me”) on the subject (“I”).

273 tn Or “and will help him speak.”

274 tn The word “both” is supplied to convey that this object (“you”) and the subject of the next verb (“you must do”) are plural in the Hebrew text, referring to Moses and Aaron. In 4:16 “you” returns to being singular in reference to Moses.

275 tn The imperfect tense carries the obligatory nuance here as well. The relative pronoun with this verb forms a noun clause functioning as the direct object of “I will teach.”

276 tn The word “he” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.

277 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity.

278 tn Heb “and it will be [that] he, he will be to you for a mouth,” or more simply, “he will be your mouth.”

279 tn Heb “he will be to you for a mouth.”

280 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity. The word “you” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.

sn Moses will be like God to Aaron, giving him the words to say, inspiring him as God would inspire a prophet. The whole process had now been removed one step. Instead of God speaking to Moses and Moses telling the people, Aaron would be the speaker for a while. But God was still going to work through Moses.

281 sn Mention of the staff makes an appropriate ending to the section, for God’s power (represented by the staff) will work through Moses. The applicable point that this whole section is making could be worded this way: The servants of God who sense their inadequacy must demonstrate the power of God as their sufficiency.

282 sn This last section of the chapter reports Moses’ compliance with the commission. It has four parts: the decision to return (18-20), the instruction (21-23), the confrontation with Yahweh (24-26), and the presentation with Aaron (27-31).

283 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys, the second verb becoming adverbial in the translation: “and he went and he returned” becomes “and he went back.”

284 tn There is a sequence here with the two cohortative forms: אֵלְכָה נָּא וְאָשׁוּבָה (’elÿkhah nnavÿashuva) – “let me go in order that I may return.”

285 tn Heb “brothers.”

286 tn This verb is parallel to the preceding cohortative and so also expresses purpose: “let me go that I may return…and that I may see.”

287 tn The text has two imperatives, “Go, return”; if these are interpreted as a hendiadys (as in the translation), then the second is adverbial.

288 sn The text clearly stated that Pharaoh sought to kill Moses; so this seems to be a reference to Pharaoh’s death shortly before Moses’ return. Moses was forty years in Midian. In the 18th dynasty, only Pharaoh Thutmose III had a reign of the right length (1504-1450 b.c.) to fit this period of Moses’ life. This would place Moses’ returning to Egypt near 1450 b.c., in the beginning of the reign of Amenhotep II, whom most conservatives identify as the pharaoh of the exodus. Rameses II, of course, had a very long reign (1304-1236). But if he were the one from whom Moses fled, then he could not be the pharaoh of the exodus, but his son would be – and that puts the date of the exodus after 1236, a date too late for anyone. See E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 62.

289 tn Heb “And Moses took.”

290 sn Only Gershom has been mentioned so far. The other son’s name will be explained in chapter 18. The explanation of Gershom’s name was important to Moses’ sojourn in Midian. The explanation of the name Eliezer fits better in the later chapter (18:2-4).

291 tn The verb would literally be rendered “and returned”; however, the narrative will record other happenings before he arrived in Egypt, so an ingressive nuance fits here – he began to return, or started back.

292 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

293 tn The construction may involve a verbal hendiadys using the two infinitive forms: “when you go to return” (בְּלֶכְתְּךָ לָשׁוּב, bÿlekhtÿkha lashuv). The clause is temporal, subordinated to the instruction to do the signs. Therefore, its focus cannot be on going to return, i.e., preparing or beginning to return.

294 tn The two verb forms in this section are the imperative (רְאֵה, rÿeh) followed by the perfect with the vav (וַעֲשִׂיתָם, vaasitam). The second could be coordinated and function as a second command: “see…and [then] do”; or it could be subordinated logically: “see…so that you do.” Some commentators who take the first option suggest that Moses was supposed to contemplate these wonders before doing them before Pharaoh. That does not seem as likely as the second interpretation reflected in the translation.

295 tn Or “in your power”; Heb “in your hand.”

296 tn Heb “strengthen” (in the sense of making stubborn or obstinate). The text has the expression וַאֲנִי אֲחַזֵּק אֶת־לִבּוֹ (vaaniakhazzeqet-libbo), “I will make strong his will,” or “I will strengthen his resolve,” recognizing the “heart” as the location of decision making (see Prov 16:1, 9).

297 sn Here is the first mention of the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh. God first tells Moses he must do the miracles, but he also announces that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart, as if working against Moses. It will help Moses to know that God is bringing about the resistance in order to bring a greater victory with greater glory. There is a great deal of literature on this, but see among the resources F. W. Danker, “Hardness of Heart: A Study in Biblical Thematic,” CTM 44 (1973): 89-100; R. R. Wilson, “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart,” CBQ 41 (1979): 18-36; and R. B. Chisholm Jr., “Divine Hardening in the Old Testament,” BSac 153 (1996): 410-34.

298 tn Or “so that.”

299 tn The sequence of the instruction from God uses the perfect tense with vav (ו), following the preceding imperfects.

300 tn The instantaneous use of the perfect tense fits well with the prophetic announcement of what Yahweh said or says. It shows that the words given to the prophet are still binding.

301 sn The metaphor uses the word “son” in its connotation of a political dependent, as it was used in ancient documents to describe what was intended to be a loyal relationship with well-known privileges and responsibilities, like that between a good father and son. The word can mean a literal son, a descendant, a chosen king (and so, the Messiah), a disciple (in Proverbs), and here, a nation subject to God. If the people of Israel were God’s “son,” then they should serve him and not Pharaoh. Malachi reminds people that the Law said “a son honors his father,” and so God asked, “If I am a father, where is my honor?” (Mal 1:6).

302 tn The text uses the imperative, “send out” (שַׁלַּח, shallakh) followed by the imperfect or jussive with the vav (ו) to express purpose.

303 tn The Piel infinitive serves as the direct object of the verb, answering the question of what Pharaoh would refuse to do. The command and refusal to obey are the grounds for the announcement of death for Pharaoh’s son.

304 tn The construction is very emphatic. The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) gives it an immediacy and a vividness, as if God is already beginning to act. The participle with this particle has the nuance of an imminent future act, as if God is saying, “I am about to kill.” These words are not repeated until the last plague.

305 tn Or “at a lodging place” or “at an inn.”

306 sn The next section (vv. 24-26) records a rather strange story. God had said that if Pharaoh would not comply he would kill his son – but now God was ready to kill Moses, the representative of Israel, God’s own son. Apparently, one would reconstruct that on the journey Moses fell seriously ill, but his wife, learning the cause of the illness, saved his life by circumcising her son and casting the foreskin at Moses’ feet (indicating that it was symbolically Moses’ foreskin). The point is that this son of Abraham had not complied with the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. No one, according to Exod 12:40-51, would take part in the Passover-exodus who had not complied. So how could the one who was going to lead God’s people not comply? The bold anthropomorphisms and the location at the border invite comparisons with Gen 32, the Angel wrestling with Jacob. In both cases there is a brush with death that could not be forgotten. See also, W. Dumbrell, “Exodus 4:24-25: A Textual Re-examination,” HTR 65 (1972): 285-90; T. C. Butler, “An Anti-Moses Tradition,” JSOT 12 (1979): 9-15; and L. Kaplan, “And the Lord Sought to Kill Him,” HAR 5 (1981): 65-74.

307 tn Heb “to his feet.” The referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The LXX has “and she fell at his feet” and then “the blood of the circumcision of my son stood.” But it is clear that she caused the foreskin to touch Moses’ feet, as if the one were a substitution for the other, taking the place of the other (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 60).

308 sn U. Cassuto explains that she was saying, “I have delivered you from death, and your return to life makes you my bridegroom a second time, this time my blood bridegroom, a bridegroom acquired through blood” (Exodus, 60-61).

309 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

310 tn Or “Therefore.” The particle אָז (’az) here is not introducing the next item in a series of events. It points back to the past (“at that time,” see Gen 4:26) or to a logical connection (“therefore, consequently”).

311 tn The Hebrew simply has לַמּוּלֹת (lammulot, “to the circumcision[s]”). The phrase explains that the saying was in reference to the act of circumcision. Some scholars speculate that there was a ritual prior to marriage from which this event and its meaning derived. But it appears rather that if there was some ancient ritual, it would have had to come from this event. The difficulty is that the son is circumcised, not Moses, making the comparative mythological view untenable. Moses had apparently not circumcised Eliezer. Since Moses was taking his family with him, God had to make sure the sign of the covenant was kept. It may be that here Moses sent them all back to Jethro (18:2) because of the difficulties that lay ahead.

312 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

313 tn S. R. Driver considers that this verse is a continuation of vv. 17 and 18 and that Aaron met Moses before Moses started back to Egypt (Exodus, 33). The first verb, then, might have the nuance of a past perfect: Yahweh had said.

314 tn Heb “and kissed him.”

315 tn This verb and the last one in the verse are rendered with the past perfect nuance because they refer to what the Lord had done prior to Moses’ telling Aaron.

316 sn These are the leaders of the tribes who represented all the people. Later, after the exodus, Moses will select the most capable of them and others to be rulers in a judicial sense (Exod 18:21).

317 tn Heb “And Aaron spoke.”

318 tc The LXX (Greek OT) has “and they rejoiced,” probably reading וַיִּשְׂמְחוּ (vayyismÿkhu) instead of what the MT reading, וַיִּשְׂמְעוּ (vayyismÿu, “and they heard”). To rejoice would have seemed a natural response of the people at the news, and the words sound similar in Hebrew.

tn The form is the preterite with the vav consecutive, “and they heard.” It clearly is a temporal clause subordinate to the following verbs that report how they bowed and worshiped. But it is also in sequence to the preceding: they believed, and then they bowed when they heard.

319 tn Or “intervened for.” The word פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been translated “visited,” which is open to many interpretations. It means that God intervened in the life of the Israelites to bless them with the fulfillment of the promises. It says more than that he took notice of them, took pity on them, or remembered them. He had not yet fulfilled the promises, but he had begun to act by calling Moses and Aaron. The translation “attended to” attempts to capture that much.

320 tn The verb וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ (vayyishtakhavu) is usually rendered “worshiped.” More specifically, the verbal root חָוָה (khava) in the hishtaphel stem means “to cause oneself to be low to the ground.” While there is nothing wrong with giving it a general translation of “worship,” it may be better in a passage like this to take it in conjunction with the other verb (“bow”) as a verbal hendiadys, using it as an adverb to that verb. The implication is certainly that they prayed, or praised, and performed some other aspect of worship, but the text may just be describing it from their posture of worship. With this response, all the fears of Moses are swept aside – they believed and they were thankful to God.

321 sn The enthusiasm of the worshipers in the preceding chapter turns sour in this one when Pharaoh refuses to cooperate. The point is clear that when the people of God attempt to devote their full service and allegiance to God, they encounter opposition from the world. Rather than finding instant blessing and peace, they find conflict. This is the theme that will continue through the plague narratives. But what makes chapter 5 especially interesting is how the people reacted to this opposition. The chapter has three sections: first, the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh (vv. 1-5); then the report of the stern opposition of the king (vv. 6-14); and finally, the sad account of the effect of this opposition on the people (vv. 15-21).

322 tn Heb “Yahweh.”

323 tn The form שַׁלַּח (shallakh), the Piel imperative, has been traditionally translated “let [my people] go.” The Qal would be “send”; so the Piel “send away, release, dismiss, discharge.” B. Jacob observes, “If a person was dismissed through the use of this verb, then he ceased to be within the power or sphere of influence of the individual who had dismissed him. He was completely free and subsequently acted entirely on his own responsibility” (Exodus, 115).

324 tn The verb חָגַג (khagag) means to hold a feast or to go on a pilgrim feast. The Arabic cognate of the noun form is haj, best known for the pilgrim flight of Mohammed, the hajira. The form in the text (וְיָחֹגּוּ, vÿyakhoggu) is subordinated to the imperative and thus shows the purpose of the imperative.

325 tn Heb “Yahweh.” This is a rhetorical question, expressing doubt or indignation or simply a negative thought that Yahweh is nothing (see erotesis in E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 944-45). Pharaoh is not asking for information (cf. 1 Sam 25:5-10).

326 tn The relative pronoun introduces the consecutive clause that depends on the interrogative clause (see GKC 318-19 §107.u).

327 tn The imperfect tense here receives the classification of obligatory imperfect. The verb שָׁמַע (shama’) followed by “in the voice of” is idiomatic; rather than referring to simple audition – “that I should hear his voice” – it conveys the thought of listening that issues in action – “that I should obey him.”

sn The construction of these clauses is similar to (ironically) the words of Moses: “Who am I that I should go?” (3:11).

328 tn The Piel infinitive construct here has the epexegetical usage with lamed (ל); it explains the verb “obey.”

329 sn This absolute statement of Pharaoh is part of a motif that will develop throughout the conflict. For Pharaoh, the Lord (Yahweh) did not exist. So he said “I do not know the Lord [i.e., Yahweh].” The point of the plagues and the exodus will be “that he might know.” Pharaoh will come to know this Yahweh, but not in any pleasant way.

330 tn The word “journey” is an adverbial accusative telling the distance that Moses wanted the people to go. It is qualified by “three days.” It is not saying that they will be gone three days, but that they will go a distance that will take three days to cover (see Gen 31:22-23; Num 10:33; 33:8).

331 tn The purpose clause here is formed with a second cohortative joined with a vav (ו): “let us go…and let us sacrifice.” The purpose of the going was to sacrifice.

sn Where did Moses get the idea that they should have a pilgrim feast and make sacrifices? God had only said they would serve Him in that mountain. In the OT the pilgrim feasts to the sanctuary three times a year incorporated the ideas of serving the Lord and keeping the commands. So the words here use the more general idea of appearing before their God. They would go to the desert because there was no homeland yet. Moses later spoke of the journey as necessary to avoid offending Egyptian sensibilities (8:25-26).

332 sn The last clause of this verse is rather unexpected here: “lest he meet [afflict] us with pestilence or sword.” To fail to comply with the summons of one’s God was to invite such calamities. The Law would later incorporate many such things as the curses for disobedience. Moses is indicating to Pharaoh that there is more reason to fear Yahweh than Pharaoh.

333 sn The clause is a rhetorical question. Pharaoh is not asking them why they do this, but rather is accusing them of doing it. He suspects their request is an attempt to get people time away from their labor. In Pharaoh’s opinion, Moses and Aaron were “removing the restraint” (פָּרַע, para’) of the people in an effort to give them rest. Ironically, under the Law the people would be expected to cease their labor when they went to appear before God. He would give them the rest that Pharaoh refused to give. It should be noted also that it was not Israel who doubted that Yahweh had sent Moses, as Moses had feared – but rather Pharaoh.

334 tn Heb “And Pharaoh said.” This is not the kind of thing that Pharaoh is likely to have said to Moses, and so it probably is what he thought or reasoned within himself. Other passages (like Exod 2:14; 3:3) show that the verb “said” can do this. (See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 67.)

335 tn Heb “and Pharaoh commanded on that day.”

336 tn The Greek has “scribes” for this word, perhaps thinking of those lesser officials as keeping records of the slaves and the bricks.

337 tn The phrase “who were” is supplied for clarity.

338 sn In vv. 6-14 the second section of the chapter describes the severe measures by the king to increase the labor by decreasing the material. The emphasis in this section must be on the harsh treatment of the people and Pharaoh’s reason for it – he accuses them of idleness because they want to go and worship. The real reason, of course, is that he wants to discredit Moses (v. 9) and keep the people as slaves.

339 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys: לֹא תֹאסִפוּן לָתֵת (lotosifun latet, “you must not add to give”). The imperfect tense acts adverbially, and the infinitive becomes the main verb of the clause: “you must no longer give.”

340 tn The expression “for making bricks” is made of the infinitive construct followed by its cognate accusative: לִלְבֹּן הַלְּבֵנִים (lilbon hallÿvenim).

341 tn Heb “as yesterday and three days ago” or “as yesterday and before that.” This is idiomatic for “as previously” or “as in the past.”

342 tn The jussive יֵלְכוּ (yelÿkhu) and its following sequential verb would have the force of decree and not permission or advice. He is telling them to go and find straw or stubble for the bricks.

343 tn The verb is the Qal imperfect of שִׂים (sim, “place, put”). The form could be an imperfect of instruction: “You will place upon them the quota.” Or, as here, it may be an obligatory imperfect: “You must place.”

344 tn Heb “yesterday and three days ago” or “yesterday and before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”

345 tn Or “loafers.” The form נִרְפִּים (nirpim) is derived from the verb רָפָה (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.” They had been letting the work go, Pharaoh reasoned, and being idle is why they had time to think about going to worship.

346 tn Heb “let the work be heavy.”

347 tn The text has וְיַעֲשׂוּ־בָהּ (vÿyaasu-vah, “and let them work in it”) or the like. The jussive forms part of the king’s decree that the men not only be required to work harder but be doing it: “Let them be occupied in it.”

sn For a discussion of this whole section, see K. A. Kitchen, “From the Brickfields of Egypt,” TynBul 27 (1976): 137-47.

348 sn The words of Moses are here called “lying words” (דִבְרֵי־שָׁקֶר, divre-shaqer). Here is the main reason, then, for Pharaoh’s new policy. He wanted to discredit Moses. So the words that Moses spoke Pharaoh calls false and lying words. The world was saying that God’s words were vain and deceptive because they were calling people to a higher order. In a short time God would reveal that they were true words.

349 tn Heb “went out and spoke to the people saying.” Here “the people” has been specified as “the Israelites” for clarity.

350 tn The construction uses the negative particle combined with a subject suffix before the participle: אֵינֶנִּי נֹתֵן (’enenni noten, “there is not I – giving”).

351 tn The independent personal pronoun emphasizes that the people were to get their own straw, and it heightens the contrast with the king. “You – go get.”

352 tn The tense in this section could be translated as having the nuance of possibility: “wherever you may find it,” or the nuance of potential imperfect: “wherever you are able to find any.”

353 tn The verb וַיָּפֶץ (vayyafets) is from the hollow root פּוּץ (puts) and means “scatter, spread abroad.”

354 tn Or “pressed.”

355 tn כַּלּוּ (kallu) is the Piel imperative; the verb means “to finish, complete” in the sense of filling up the quota.

356 tn The quotation is introduced with the common word לֵאמֹר (lemor, “saying”) and no mention of who said the question.

357 sn The idioms for time here are found also in 3:10 and 5:7-8. This question no doubt represents many accusations shouted at Israelites during the period when it was becoming obvious that, despite all their efforts, they were unable to meet their quotas as before.

358 sn The last section of this event tells the effect of the oppression on Israel, first on the people (15-19) and then on Moses and Aaron (20-21). The immediate reaction of Israel was to cry to Pharaoh – something they would learn should be directed to God. When Pharaoh rebuffed them harshly, they turned bitterly against their leaders.

359 tn The imperfect tense should be classified here with the progressive imperfect nuance, because the harsh treatment was a present reality.

360 tn Heb “[they] are saying to us,” the line can be rendered as a passive since there is no expressed subject for the participle.

361 tn הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to the action reflected in the passive participle מֻכִּים (mukkim): “look, your servants are being beaten.”

362 tn The word rendered “fault” is the basic OT verb for “sin” – וְחָטָאת (vÿkhatat). The problem is that it is pointed as a perfect tense, feminine singular verb. Some other form of the verb would be expected, or a noun. But the basic word-group means “to err, sin, miss the mark, way, goal.” The word in this context seems to indicate that the people of Pharaoh – the slave masters – have failed to provide the straw. Hence: “fault” or “they failed.” But, as indicated, the line has difficult grammar, for it would literally translate: “and you [fem.] sin your people.” Many commentators (so GKC 206 §74.g) wish to emend the text to read with the Greek and the Syriac, thus: “you sin against your own people” (meaning the Israelites are his loyal subjects).

363 tn Heb “And he said.”

364 tn Or “loafers.” The form נִרְפִּים (nirpim) is derived from the verb רָפָה (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.”

365 tn The text has two imperatives: “go, work.” They may be used together to convey one complex idea (so a use of hendiadys): “go back to work.”

366 tn The imperfect תִּתֵּנּוּ (tittennu) is here taken as an obligatory imperfect: “you must give” or “you must produce.”

367 sn B. Jacob is amazed at the wealth of this tyrant’s vocabulary in describing the work of others. Here, תֹכֶן (tokhen) is another word for “quota” of bricks, the fifth word used to describe their duty (Exodus, 137).

368 tn The common Hebrew verb translated “saw,” like the common English verb for seeing, is also used to refer to mental perception and understanding, as in the question “See what I mean?” The foremen understood how difficult things would be under this ruling.

369 tn The text has the sign of the accusative with a suffix and then a prepositional phrase: אֹתָם בְּרָע (’otam bÿra’), meaning something like “[they saw] them in trouble” or “themselves in trouble.” Gesenius shows a few examples where the accusative of the reflexive pronoun is represented by the sign of the accusative with a suffix, and these with marked emphasis (GKC 439 §135.k).

370 tn The clause “when they were told” translates לֵאמֹר (lemor), which usually simply means “saying.” The thing that was said was clearly the decree that was given to them.

371 sn Moses and Aaron would not have made the appeal to Pharaoh that these Hebrew foremen did, but they were concerned to see what might happen, and so they waited to meet the foremen when they came out.

372 tn The foremen vented their anger on Moses and Aaron. The two jussives express their desire that the evil these two have caused be dealt with. “May Yahweh look on you and may he judge” could mean only that God should decide if Moses and Aaron are at fault, but given the rest of the comments it is clear the foremen want more. The second jussive could be subordinated to the first – “so that he may judge [you].”

373 tn Heb “you have made our aroma stink.”

374 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

375 tn Heb “in the eyes of his servants.” This phrase is not repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.

376 tn Heb “to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” The infinitive construct with the lamed (לָתֶת, latet) signifies the result (“so that”) of making the people stink. Their reputation is now so bad that Pharaoh might gladly put them to death. The next infinitive could also be understood as expressing result: “put a sword in their hand so that they can kill us.”

377 sn In view of the apparent failure of the mission, Moses seeks Yahweh for assurance. The answer from Yahweh not only assures him that all is well, but that there will be a great deliverance. The passage can be divided into three parts: the complaint of Moses (5:22-23), the promise of Yahweh (6:1-9), and the instructions for Moses (6:10-13). Moses complains because God has not delivered his people as he had said he would, and God answers that he will because he is the sovereign covenant God who keeps his word. Therefore, Moses must keep his commission to speak God’s word. See further, E. A. Martens, “Tackling Old Testament Theology,” JETS 20 (1977): 123-32. The message is very similar to that found in the NT, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Pet 3:4). The complaint of Moses (5:22-23) can be worded with Peter’s “Where is the promise of his coming?” theme; the assurance from Yahweh (6:1-9) can be worded with Peter’s “The Lord is not slack in keeping his promises” (2 Pet 3:9); and the third part, the instructions for Moses (6:10-13) can be worded with Peter’s “Prepare for the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Pet 3:12). The people who speak for God must do so in the sure confidence of the coming deliverance – Moses with the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and Christians with the deliverance from this sinful world.

378 tn Heb “and Moses returned.”

379 tn The designation in Moses’ address is “Lord” (אֲדֹנָי, ’adonay) – the term for “lord” or “master” but pointed as it would be when it represents the tetragrammaton.

380 tn The verb is הֲרֵעֹתָה (hareotah), the Hiphil perfect of רָעַע (raa’). The word itself means “to do evil,” and in this stem “to cause evil” – but evil in the sense of pain, calamity, trouble, or affliction, and not always in the sense of sin. Certainly not here. That God had allowed Pharaoh to oppose them had brought greater pain to the Israelites.

sn Moses’ question is rhetorical; the point is more of a complaint or accusation to God, although there is in it the desire to know why. B. Jacob (Exodus, 139) comments that such frank words were a sign of the man’s closeness to God. God never has objected to such bold complaints by the devout. He then notes how God was angered by his defenders in the book of Job rather than by Job’s heated accusations.

381 tn The demonstrative pronoun serves for emphasis in the question (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). This second question continues Moses’ bold approach to God, more chiding than praying. He is implying that if this was the result of the call, then God had no purpose calling him (compare Jeremiah’s similar complaint in Jer 20).

382 sn Now the verb (הֵרַע, hera’) has a different subject – Pharaoh. The ultimate cause of the trouble was God, but the immediate cause was Pharaoh and the way he increased the work. Meanwhile, the Israelite foremen have pinned most of the blame on Moses and Aaron. Moses knows all about the sovereignty of God, and as he speaks in God’s name, he sees the effect it has on pagans like Pharaoh. So the rhetorical questions are designed to prod God to act differently.

383 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic: וְהַצֵּל לֹא־הִצַּלְתָּ (vÿhatsel lo-hitsalta). The verb נָצַל (natsal) means “to deliver, rescue” in the sense of plucking out, even plundering. The infinitive absolute strengthens both the idea of the verb and the negative. God had not delivered this people at all.

384 tn Heb “your people.” The pronoun (“them”) has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons here, to avoid redundancy.

385 sn The expression “I will do to Pharaoh” always refers to the plagues. God would first show his sovereignty over Pharaoh before defeating him.

386 tn The expression “with a strong hand” (וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה, uvÿyad khazaqah) could refer (1) to God’s powerful intervention (“compelled by my strong hand”) or (2) to Pharaoh’s forceful pursuit (“he will forcefully drive them out”). In Exod 3:20 God has summarized what his hand would do in Egypt, and that is probably what is intended here, as he promises that Moses will see what God will do. All Egypt ultimately desired that Israel be released (12:33), and when they were released Pharaoh pursued them to the sea, and so in a sense drove them out – whether that was his intention or not. But ultimately it was God’s power that was the real force behind it all. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 74) considers that it is unlikely that the phrase would be used in the same verse twice with the same meaning. So he thinks that the first “strong hand” is God’s, and the second “strong hand” is Pharaoh’s. It is true that if Pharaoh acted forcefully in any way that contributed to Israel leaving Egypt it was because God was acting forcefully in his life. So in an understated way, God is saying that when forced by God’s strong hand, Pharaoh will indeed release God’s people.”

387 tn Or “and he will forcefully drive them out of his land,” if the second occurrence of “strong hand” refers to Pharaoh’s rather than God’s (see the previous note).

sn In Exod 12:33 the Egyptians were eager to send (release) Israel away in haste, because they all thought they were going to die.

388 tn Heb “And God spoke.”

389 sn The announcement “I am the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”) draws in the preceding revelation in Exod 3:15. In that place God called Moses to this task and explained the significance of the name “Yahweh” by the enigmatic expression “I am that I am.” “I am” (אֶהְיֶה, ’ehyeh) is not a name; “Yahweh” is. But the explanation of the name with this sentence indicates that Yahweh is the one who is always there, and that guarantees the future, for everything he does is consistent with his nature. He is eternal, never changing; he remains. Now, in Exodus 6, the meaning of the name “Yahweh” will be more fully unfolded.

390 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this construction should be classified as a bet essentiae, a bet of essence (see also GKC 379 §119.i).

391 tn The traditional rendering of the title as “Almighty” is reflected in LXX and Jerome. But there is still little agreement on the etymology and exact meaning of אֵל־שַׁדַּי (’el-shadday). Suggestions have included the idea of “mountain God,” meaning the high God, as well as “the God with breasts.” But there is very little evidence supporting such conclusions and not much reason to question the ancient versions.

392 tn The noun שְׁמִי (shÿmi, “my name,” and “Yahweh” in apposition to it), is an adverbial accusative, specifying how the patriarchs “knew” him.

393 tn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered in English as “the Lord.” The phrase has been placed in quotation marks in the translation to indicate it represents the tetragrammaton.

394 tn The verb is the Niphal form נוֹדַעְתִּי (nodati). If the text had wanted to say, “I did not make myself known,” then a Hiphil form would have been more likely. It is saying, “but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.”

sn There are a number of important issues that need clarification in the interpretation of this section. First, it is important to note that “I am Yahweh” is not a new revelation of a previously unknown name. It would be introduced differently if it were. This is the identification of the covenant God as the one calling Moses – that would be proof for the people that their God had called him. Second, the title “El Shadday” is not a name, but a title. It is true that in the patriarchal accounts “El Shadday” is used six times; in Job it is used thirty times. Many conclude that it does reflect the idea of might or power. In some of those passages that reveal God as “El Shadday,” the name “Yahweh” was also used. But Wellhausen and other proponents of the earlier source critical analysis used Exod 6:3 to say that P, the so-called priestly source, was aware that the name “Yahweh” was not known by them, even though J, the supposed Yahwistic source, wrote using the name as part of his theology. Third, the texts of Genesis show that Yahweh had appeared to the patriarchs (Gen 12:1, 17:1, 18:1, 26:2, 26:24, 26:12, 35:1, 48:3), and that he spoke to each one of them (Gen 12:7, 15:1, 26:2, 28:13, 31:3). The name “Yahweh” occurs 162 times in Genesis, 34 of those times on the lips of speakers in Genesis (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:340-41). They also made proclamation of Yahweh by name (4:26, 12:8), and they named places with the name (22:14). These passages should not be ignored or passed off as later interpretation. Fourth, “Yahweh” is revealed as the God of power, the sovereign God, who was true to his word and could be believed. He would do as he said (Num 23:19; 14:35; Exod 12:25; 22:24; 24:14; 36:36; 37:14). Fifth, there is a difference between promise and fulfillment in the way revelation is apprehended. The patriarchs were individuals who received the promises but without the fulfillment. The fulfillment could only come after the Israelites became a nation. Now, in Egypt, they are ready to become that promised nation. The two periods were not distinguished by not having and by having the name, but by two ways God revealed the significance of his name. “I am Yahweh” to the patriarchs indicated that he was the absolute, almighty, eternal God. The patriarchs were individuals sojourning in the land. God appeared to them in the significance of El Shadday. That was not his name. So Gen 17:1 says that “Yahweh appeared…and said, ‘I am El Shadday.’” See also Gen 35:11, 48:2, 28:3. Sixth, the verb “to know” is never used to introduce a name which had never been known or experienced. The Niphal and Hiphil of the verb are used only to describe the recognition of the overtones or significance of the name (see Jer 16:21, Isa 52:6; Ps 83:17ff; 1 Kgs 8:41ff. [people will know his name when prayers are answered]). For someone to say that he knew Yahweh meant that Yahweh had been experienced or recognized (see Exod 33:6; 1 Kgs 18:36; Jer 28:9; and Ps 76:2). Seventh, “Yahweh” is not one of God’s names – it is his only name. Other titles, like “El Shadday,” are not strictly names but means of revealing Yahweh. All the revelations to the patriarchs could not compare to this one, because God was now dealing with the nation. He would make his name known to them through his deeds (see Ezek 20:5). So now they will “know” the “name.” The verb יָדַע (yada’) means more than “aware of, be knowledgeable about”; it means “to experience” the reality of the revelation by that name. This harmonizes with the usage of שֵׁם (shem), “name,” which encompasses all the attributes and actions of God. It is not simply a reference to a title, but to the way that God revealed himself – God gave meaning to his name through his acts. God is not saying that he had not revealed a name to the patriarchs (that would have used the Hiphil of the verb). Rather, he is saying that the patriarchs did not experience what the name Yahweh actually meant, and they could not without seeing it fulfilled. When Moses came to the elders, he identified his call as from Yahweh, the God of the fathers – and they accepted him. They knew the name. But, when they were delivered from bondage, then they fully knew by experience what that name meant, for his promises were fulfilled. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 79) paraphrases it this way: “I revealed Myself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in My aspect that finds expression in the name Shaddai…I was not known to them, that is, it was not given to them to recognize Me as One that fulfils his promises.” This generation was about to “know” the name that their ancestors knew and used, but never experienced with the fulfillment of the promises. This section of Exodus confirms this interpretation, because in it God promised to bring them out of Egypt and give them the promised land – then they would know that he is Yahweh (6:7). This meaning should have been evident from its repetition to the Egyptians throughout the plagues – that they might know Yahweh (e.g., 7:5). See further R. D. Wilson, “Yahweh [Jehovah] and Exodus 6:3,” Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, 29-40; L. A. Herrboth, “Exodus 6:3b: Was God Known to the Patriarchs as Jehovah?” CTM 4 (1931): 345-49; F. C. Smith, “Observation on the Use of the Names and Titles of God in Genesis,” EvQ 40 (1968): 103-9.

395 tn The statement refers to the making of the covenant with Abraham (Gen 15 and following) and confirming it with the other patriarchs. The verb הֲקִמֹתִי (haqimoti) means “set up, establish, give effect to, conclude” a covenant agreement. The covenant promised the patriarchs a great nation, a land – Canaan, and divine blessing. They lived with those promises, but now their descendants were in bondage in Egypt. God’s reference to the covenant here is meant to show the new revelation through redemption will start to fulfill the promises and show what the reality of the name Yahweh is to them.

396 tn Heb “the land of their sojournings.” The noun מְגֻרִים (mÿgurim) is a reminder that the patriarchs did not receive the promises. It is also an indication that those living in the age of promise did not experience the full meaning of the name of the covenant God. The “land of their sojournings” is the land of Canaan where the family lived (גּרוּ, garu) as foreigners, without owning property or having the rights of kinship with the surrounding population.

397 tn The addition of the independent pronoun אֲנִי (’ani, “I”) emphasizes the fact that it was Yahweh himself who heard the cry.

398 tn Heb “And also I have heard.”

399 tn The form is the Hiphil participle מַעֲבִדִים (maavidim, “causing to serve”). The participle occurs in a relative clause that modifies “the Israelites.” The clause ends with the accusative “them,” which must be combined with the relative pronoun for a smooth English translation. So “who the Egyptians are enslaving them,” results in the translation “whom the Egyptians are enslaving.”

400 tn As in Exod 2:24, this remembering has the significance of God’s beginning to act to fulfill the covenant promises.

401 sn The verb וְהוֹצֵאתִי (vÿhotseti) is a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive, and so it receives a future translation – part of God’s promises. The word will be used later to begin the Decalogue and other covenant passages – “I am Yahweh who brought you out….”

402 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV “from under the yoke of.”

403 tn Heb “from labor of them.” The antecedent of the pronoun is the Egyptians who have imposed slave labor on the Hebrews.

404 sn These covenant promises are being reiterated here because they are about to be fulfilled. They are addressed to the nation, not individuals, as the plural suffixes show. Yahweh was their God already, because they had been praying to him and he is acting on their behalf. When they enter into covenant with God at Sinai, then he will be the God of Israel in a new way (19:4-6; cf. Gen 17:7-8; 28:20-22; Lev 26:11-12; Jer 24:7; Ezek 11:17-20).

405 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV “from under the yoke of.”

406 tn Heb “which I raised my hand to give it.” The relative clause specifies which land is their goal. The bold anthropomorphism mentions part of an oath-taking ceremony to refer to the whole event and reminds the reader that God swore that he would give the land to them. The reference to taking an oath would have made the promise of God sure in the mind of the Israelite.

407 sn Here is the twofold aspect again clearly depicted: God swore the promise to the patriarchs, but he is about to give what he promised to this generation. This generation will know more about him as a result.

408 sn The final part of this section focuses on instructions for Moses. The commission from God is the same – he is to speak to Pharaoh and he is to lead Israel out. It should have been clear to him that God would do this, for he had just been reminded how God was going to lead out, deliver, redeem, take the people as his people, and give them land. It was God’s work of love from beginning to end. Moses simply had his task to perform.

409 tn Heb “and Moses spoke thus.”

410 tn Heb “to Moses.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

411 tn The Hebrew מִקֹּצֶּר רוּחַ (miqqotser ruakh) means “because of the shortness of spirit.” This means that they were discouraged, dispirited, and weary – although some have also suggested it might mean impatient. The Israelites were now just not in the frame of mind to listen to Moses.

412 tn The form וִישַׁלַּח (vishallakh) is the Piel imperfect or jussive with a sequential vav; following an imperative it gives the imperative’s purpose and intended result. They are to speak to Pharaoh, and (so that as a result) he will release Israel. After the command to speak, however, the second clause also indirectly states the content of the speech (cf. Exod 11:2; 14:2, 15; 25:2; Lev 16:2; 22:2). As the next verse shows, Moses doubts that what he says will have the intended effect.

413 tn Heb “And Moses spoke before.”

414 sn This analogy is an example of a qal wahomer comparison. It is an argument by inference from the light (qal) to the heavy (homer), from the simple to the more difficult. If the Israelites, who are Yahwists, would not listen to him, it is highly unlikely Pharaoh would.

415 tn The final clause begins with a disjunctive vav (ו), a vav on a nonverb form – here a pronoun. It introduces a circumstantial causal clause.

416 tn Heb “and [since] I am of uncircumcised lips.” The “lips” represent his speech (metonymy of cause). The term “uncircumcised” makes a comparison between his speech and that which Israel perceived as unacceptable, unprepared, foreign, and of no use to God. The heart is described this way when it is impervious to good impressions (Lev 26:41; Jer 9:26) and the ear when it hears imperfectly (Jer 6:10). Moses has here returned to his earlier claim – he does not speak well enough to be doing this.

417 tn Heb “And Yahweh spoke.”

418 tn The term וַיְצַוֵּם (vayÿtsavvem) is a Piel preterite with a pronominal suffix on it. The verb צָוָה (tsavah) means “to command” but can also have a much wider range of meanings. In this short summary statement, the idea of giving Moses and Aaron a commission to Israel and to Pharaoh indicates that come what may they have their duty to perform.

419 sn This list of names shows that Moses and Aaron are in the line of Levi that came to the priesthood. It helps to identify them and authenticate them as spokesmen for God within the larger history of Israel. As N. M. Sarna observes, “Because a genealogy inherently symbolizes vigor and continuity, its presence here also injects a reassuring note into the otherwise despondent mood” (Exodus [JPSTC], 33).

420 tn The expression is literally “the house of their fathers.” This expression means that the household or family descended from a single ancestor. It usually indicates a subdivision of a tribe, that is, a clan, or the subdivision of a clan, that is, a family. Here it refers to a clan (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 46).

421 tn Or “descendants.”

422 tn Or “families,” and so throughout the genealogy.

423 tn Or “generations.”

424 tn Heb “took for a wife” (also in vv. 23, 25).

425 tn Heb “heads of the fathers” is taken as an abbreviation for the description of “households” in v. 14.

426 tn Or “by their hosts” or “by their armies.” Often translated “hosts” (ASV, NASB) or “armies” (KJV), צְבָאוֹת (tsÿvaot) is a military term that portrays the people of God in battle array. In contemporary English, “regiment” is perhaps more easily understood as a force for battle than “company” (cf. NAB, NRSV) or “division” (NIV, NCV, NLT), both of which can have commercial associations. The term also implies an orderly departure.

427 sn From here on the confrontation between Yahweh and Pharaoh will intensify until Pharaoh is destroyed. The emphasis at this point, though, is on Yahweh’s instructions for Moses to speak to Pharaoh. The first section (6:28-7:7) ends (v. 6) with the notice that Moses and Aaron did just as (כַּאֲשֶׁר, kaasher) Yahweh had commanded them; the second section (7:8-13) ends with the note that Pharaoh refused to listen, just as (כַּאֲשֶׁר) Yahweh had said would be the case.

428 tn The beginning of this temporal clause does not follow the normal pattern of using the preterite of the main verb after the temporal indicator and prepositional phrase, but instead uses a perfect tense following the noun in construct: וַיְהִי בְּיוֹם דִּבֶּר (vayÿhi bÿyom dibber). See GKC 422 §130.d. This verse introduces a summary (vv. 28-30) of the conversation that was interrupted when the genealogy began.

429 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses saying.” This has been simplified in the translation as “he said to him” for stylistic reasons.

430 tn The verb is דַּבֵּר (dabber), the Piel imperative. It would normally be translated “speak,” but in English that verb does not sound as natural with a direct object as “tell.”

431 tn The clause begins with אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר (’et kol-asher) indicating that this is a noun clause functioning as the direct object of the imperative and providing the content of the commanded speech.

432 tn דֹּבֵר (dover) is the Qal active participle; it functions here as the predicate in the noun clause: “that I [am] telling you.” This one could be rendered, “that I am speaking to you.”

433 tn See note on Exod 6:12.

434 tn The word “like” is added for clarity, making explicit the implied comparison in the statement “I have made you God to Pharaoh.” The word אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is used a few times in the Bible for humans (e.g., Pss 45:6; 82:1), and always clearly in the sense of a subordinate to GOD – they are his representatives on earth. The explanation here goes back to 4:16. If Moses is like God in that Aaron is his prophet, then Moses is certainly like God to Pharaoh. Only Moses, then, is able to speak to Pharaoh with such authority, giving him commands.

435 tn The word נְבִיאֶךָ (nÿviekha, “your prophet”) recalls 4:16. Moses was to be like God to Aaron, and Aaron was to speak for him. This indicates that the idea of a “prophet” was of one who spoke for God, an idea with which Moses and Aaron and the readers of Exodus are assumed to be familiar.

436 tn The imperfect tense here should have the nuance of instruction or injunction: “you are to speak.” The subject is singular (Moses) and made emphatic by the presence of the personal pronoun “you.”

437 tn The phrase translated “everything I command you” is a noun clause serving as the direct object of the verb “speak.” The verb in the clause (אֲצַוֶּךָ, ’atsavvekha) is the Piel imperfect. It could be classified as a future: “everything that I will command you.” A nuance of progressive imperfect also fits well: “everything that I am commanding you.”

sn The distinct emphasis is important. Aaron will speak to the people and Pharaoh what Moses tells him, and Moses will speak to Aaron what God commands him. The use of “command” keeps everything in perspective for Moses’ position.

438 tn The form is וְשִׁלַּח (vÿshillakh), a Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. Following the imperfects of injunction or instruction, this verb continues the sequence. It could be taken as equal to an imperfect expressing future (“and he will release”) or subordinate to express purpose (“to release” = “in order that he may release”).

439 tn The clause begins with the emphatic use of the pronoun and a disjunctive vav (ו) expressing the contrast “But as for me, I will harden.” They will speak, but God will harden.

sn The imperfect tense of the verb קָשָׁה (qasha) is found only here in these “hardening passages.” The verb (here the Hiphil for “I will harden”) summarizes Pharaoh’s resistance to what God would be doing through Moses – he would stubbornly resist and refuse to submit; he would be resolved in his opposition. See R. R. Wilson, “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart,” CBQ 41 (1979): 18-36.

440 tn The form beginning the second half of the verse is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, הִרְבֵּיתִי (hirbeti). It could be translated as a simple future in sequence after the imperfect preceding it, but the logical connection is not obvious. Since it carries the force of an imperfect due to the sequence, it may be subordinated as a temporal clause to the next clause that begins in v. 4. That maintains the flow of the argument.

441 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will not listen.”

442 tn Heb “put my hand into.” The expression is a strong anthropomorphism to depict God’s severest judgment on Egypt. The point is that neither the speeches of Moses and Aaron nor the signs that God would do will be effective. Consequently, God would deliver the blow that would destroy.

443 tn See the note on this term in 6:26.

444 tn The emphasis on sequence is clear because the form is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive.

sn The use of the verb “to know” (יָדַע, yada’) underscores what was said with regard to 6:3. By the time the actual exodus took place, the Egyptians would have “known” the name Yahweh, probably hearing it more than they wished. But they will know – experience the truth of it – when Yahweh defeats them.

445 sn This is another anthropomorphism, parallel to the preceding. If God were to “put” (נָתַן, natan), “extend” (נָטָה, nata), or “reach out” (שָׁלַח, shalakh) his hand against them, they would be destroyed. Contrast Exod 24:11.

446 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

447 tn Heb “said to Moses and Aaron, saying.”

448 tn The verb is תְּנוּ (tÿnu), literally “give.” The imperative is followed by an ethical dative that strengthens the subject of the imperative: “you give a miracle.”

449 tn Heb “and throw it.” The direct object, “it,” is implied.

450 tn The form is the jussive יְהִי ( yÿhi). Gesenius notes that frequently in a conditional clause, a sentence with a protasis and apodosis, the jussive will be used. Here it is in the apodosis (GKC 323 §109.h).

451 tn The clause begins with the preterite and the vav (ו) consecutive; it is here subordinated to the next clause as a temporal clause.

452 tn Heb “and Aaron threw.”

453 tn The noun used here is תַּנִּין (tannin), and not the word for “serpent” or “snake” used in chap. 4. This noun refers to a large reptile, in some texts large river or sea creatures (Gen 1:21; Ps 74:13) or land creatures (Deut 32:33). This wonder paralleled Moses’ miracle in 4:3 when he cast his staff down. But this is Aaron’s staff, and a different miracle. The noun could still be rendered “snake” here since the term could be broad enough to include it.

454 sn For information on this Egyptian material, see D. B. Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (VTSup), 203-4.

455 tn The חַרְטֻּמִּים (kharttummim) seem to have been the keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred scribes.

456 tn The term בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם (bÿlahatehem) means “by their secret arts”; it is from לוּט (lut, “to enwrap”). The Greek renders the word “by their magic”; Tg. Onq. uses “murmurings” and “whispers,” and other Jewish sources “dazzling display” or “demons” (see further B. Jacob, Exodus, 253-54). They may have done this by clever tricks, manipulation of the animals, or demonic power. Many have suggested that Aaron and the magicians were familiar with an old trick in which they could temporarily paralyze a serpent and then revive it. But here Aaron’s snake swallows up their snakes.

457 tn The verb is plural, but the subject is singular, “a man – his staff.” This noun can be given a distributive sense: “each man threw down his staff.”

458 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.

sn For more on this subject, see B. Jacob, Exodus, 241-49. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 53) notes that when this word (חָזַק) is used it indicates a will or attitude that is unyielding and firm, but when כָּבֵד (kaved) is used, it stresses the will as being slow to move, unimpressionable, slow to be affected.

459 sn With the first plague, or blow on Pharaoh, a new section of the book unfolds. Until now the dominant focus has been on preparing the deliverer for the exodus. From here the account will focus on preparing Pharaoh for it. The theological emphasis for exposition of the entire series of plagues may be: The sovereign Lord is fully able to deliver his people from the oppression of the world so that they may worship and serve him alone. The distinct idea of each plague then will contribute to this main idea. It is clear from the outset that God could have delivered his people simply and suddenly. But he chose to draw out the process with the series of plagues. There appear to be several reasons: First, the plagues are designed to judge Egypt. It is justice for slavery. Second, the plagues are designed to inform Israel and Egypt of the ability of Yahweh. Everyone must know that it is Yahweh doing all these things. The Egyptians must know this before they are destroyed. Third, the plagues are designed to deliver Israel. The first plague is the plague of blood: God has absolute power over the sources of life. Here Yahweh strikes the heart of Egyptian life with death and corruption. The lesson is that God can turn the source of life into the prospect of death. Moreover, the Nile was venerated; so by turning it into death Moses was showing the superiority of Yahweh.

460 tn Or “unresponsive” (so HALOT 456 s.v. I כָּבֵד).

461 tn The Piel infinitive construct לְשַׁלַּח (lÿshallakh) serves as the direct object of מֵאֵן (meen), telling what Pharaoh refuses (characteristic perfect) to do. The whole clause is an explanation (like a metonymy of effect) of the first clause that states that Pharaoh’s heart is hard.

462 tn The clause begins with הִנֵּה (hinneh); here it provides the circumstances for the instruction for Moses – he is going out to the water so go meet him. A temporal clause translation captures the connection between the clauses.

463 tn The instruction to Moses continues with this perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive following the imperative. The verb means “to take a stand, station oneself.” It seems that Pharaoh’s going out to the water was a regular feature of his day and that Moses could be there waiting to meet him.

464 sn The Nile, the source of fertility for the country, was deified by the Egyptians. There were religious festivals held to the god of the Nile, especially when the Nile was flooding. The Talmud suggests that Pharaoh in this passage went out to the Nile to make observations as a magician about its level. Others suggest he went out simply to bathe or to check the water level – but that would not change the view of the Nile that was prevalent in the land.

465 tn The verb תִּקַּח (tiqqakh), the Qal imperfect of לָקַח (laqakh), functions here as the imperfect of instruction, or injunction perhaps, given the word order of the clause.

466 tn The final clause begins with the noun and vav disjunctive, which singles this instruction out for special attention – “now the staff…you are to take.”

467 tn The form לֵאמֹר (lemor) is the Qal infinitive construct with the lamed (ל) preposition. It is used so often epexegetically that it has achieved idiomatic status – “saying” (if translated at all). But here it would make better sense to take it as a purpose infinitive. God sent him to say these words.

468 tn The imperfect tense with the vav (וְיַעַבְדֻנִי, vÿyaavduni) following the imperative is in volitive sequence, showing the purpose – “that they may serve me.” The word “serve” (עָבַד, ’avad) is a general term to include religious observance and obedience.

469 tn The final עַד־כֹּה (’ad-koh, “until now”) narrows the use of the perfect tense to the present perfect: “you have not listened.” That verb, however, involves more than than mere audition. It has the idea of responding to, hearkening, and in some places obeying; here “you have not complied” might catch the point of what Moses is saying, while “listen” helps to maintain the connection with other uses of the verb.

470 tn Or “complied” (שָׁמַעְתָּ, shamata).

471 tn The construction using הִנֵּה (hinneh) before the participle (here the Hiphil participle מַכֶּה, makkeh) introduces a futur instans use of the participle, expressing imminent future, that he is about to do something.

472 sn W. C. Kaiser summarizes a view that has been adopted by many scholars, including a good number of conservatives, that the plagues overlap with natural phenomena in Egypt. Accordingly, the “blood” would not be literal blood, but a reddish contamination in the water. If there was an unusually high inundation of the Nile, the water flowed sluggishly through swamps and was joined with the water from the mountains that washed out the reddish soil. If the flood were high, the water would have a deeper red color. In addition to this discoloration, there is said to be a type of algae which produce a stench and a deadly fluctuation of the oxygen level of the river that is fatal to fish (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:350; he cites Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 [1957]: 84-103; same title, ZAW 70 [1958]: 48-59). While most scholars would agree that the water did not actually become blood (any more than the moon will be turned to literal blood [Joel 2:31]), many are not satisfied with this kind of explanation. If the event was a fairly common feature of the Nile, it would not have been any kind of sign to Pharaoh – and it should still be observable. The features that would have to be safeguarded are that it was understood to be done by the staff of God, that it was unexpected and not a mere coincidence, and that the magnitude of the contamination, color, stench, and death, was unparalleled. God does use natural features in miracles, but to be miraculous signs they cannot simply coincide with natural phenomena.

473 tn The definite article here has the generic use, indicating the class – “fish” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §92).

474 tn The verb לָאָה (laa), here in the Niphal perfect with a vav consecutive, means “be weary, impatient.” The Niphal meaning is “make oneself weary” in doing something, or “weary (strenuously exert) oneself.” It seems always to indicate exhausted patience (see BDB 521 s.v.). The term seems to imply that the Egyptians were not able to drink the red, contaminated water, and so would expend all their energy looking for water to drink – in frustration of course.

475 tn Or “irrigation rivers” of the Nile.

476 sn The Hebrew term means “gathering,” i.e., wherever they gathered or collected waters, notably cisterns and reservoirs. This would naturally lead to the inclusion of both wooden and stone vessels – down to the smallest gatherings.

477 tn The imperfect tense with vav (ו) after the imperative indicates the purpose or result: “in order that they [the waters] be[come] blood.”

478 tn Or “in all.”

479 sn Both Moses and Aaron had tasks to perform. Moses, being the “god” to Pharaoh, dealt directly with him and the Nile. He would strike the Nile. But Aaron, “his prophet,” would stretch out the staff over the rest of the waters of Egypt.

480 tn Heb “And he raised”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

481 tn Gesenius calls the preposition on “staff” the בְּ (bet) instrumenti, used to introduce the object (GKC 380-81 §119.q). This construction provides a greater emphasis than an accusative.

482 tn The text could be rendered “in the sight of,” or simply “before,” but the literal idea of “before the eyes of” may stress how obvious the event was and how personally they were witnesses of it.

483 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 98) notes that the striking of the water was not a magical act. It signified two things: (1) the beginning of the sign, which was in accordance with God’s will, as Moses had previously announced, and (2) to symbolize actual “striking,” wherewith the Lord strikes Egypt and its gods (see v. 25).

484 sn There have been various attempts to explain the details of this plague or blow. One possible suggestion is that the plague turned the Nile into “blood,” but that it gradually turned back to its normal color and substance. However, the effects of the “blood” polluted the water so that dead fish and other contamination left it undrinkable. This would explain how the magicians could also do it – they would not have tried if all water was already turned to blood. It also explains why Pharaoh did not ask for the water to be turned back. This view was put forward by B. Schor; it is summarized by B. Jacob (Exodus, 258), who prefers the view of Rashi that the blow affected only water in use.

485 tn The first clause in this verse begins with a vav disjunctive, introducing a circumstantial clause to the statement that the water stank. The vav (ו) consecutive on the next verb shows that the smell was the result of the dead fish in the contaminated water. The result is then expressed with the vav beginning the clause that states that they could not drink it.

486 tn The preterite could be given a simple definite past translation, but an ingressive past would be more likely, as the smell would get worse and worse with the dead fish.

487 tn Heb “and there was blood.”

488 tn Heb “thus, so.”

489 tn The vav consecutive on the preterite introduces the outcome or result of the matter – Pharaoh was hardened.

490 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.

491 tn Heb “to them”; the referents (Moses and Aaron) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

492 tn The text has וְלֹא־שָׁת לִבּוֹ גַּם־לָזֹאת (vÿlo-shat libbo gam-lazot), which literally says, “and he did not set his heart also to this.” To “set the heart” to something would mean “to consider it.” This Hebrew idiom means that he did not pay attention to it, or take it to heart (cf. 2 Sam 13:20; Ps 48:13; 62:10; Prov 22:17; 24:32). Since Pharaoh had not been affected by this, he did not consider it or its implications further.

493 sn The text stresses that the water in the Nile, and Nile water that had been diverted or collected for use, was polluted and undrinkable. Water underground also was from the Nile, but it had not been contaminated, certainly not with dead fish, and so would be drinkable.

494 sn An attempt to connect this plague with the natural phenomena of Egypt proposes that because of the polluted water due to the high Nile, the frogs abandoned their normal watery homes (seven days after the first plague) and sought cover from the sun in homes wherever there was moisture. Since they had already been exposed to the poisonous water, they died very suddenly. The miracle was in the announcement and the timing, i.e., that Moses would predict this blow, and in the magnitude of it all, which was not natural (Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 [1957]: 95-98). It is also important to note that in parts of Egypt there was a fear of these creatures as embodying spirits capable of great evil. People developed the mentality of bowing to incredibly horrible idols to drive away the bad spirits. Evil spirits are represented in the book of Revelation in the forms of frogs (Rev 16:13). The frogs that the magicians produced could very well have been in the realm of evil spirits. Exactly how the Egyptians thought about this plague is hard to determine, but there is enough evidence to say that the plague would have made them spiritually as well as physically uncomfortable, and that the death of the frogs would have been a “sign” from God about their superstitions and related beliefs. The frog is associated with the god Hapi, and a frog-headed goddess named Heqet was supposed to assist women at childbirth. The plague would have been evidence that Yahweh was controlling their environment and upsetting their beliefs for his own purpose.

495 tn The text literally has “and seven days were filled.” Seven days gave Pharaoh enough time to repent and release Israel. When the week passed, God’s second blow came.

496 tn This is a temporal clause made up of the preposition, the Hiphil infinitive construct of נָכָה (nakhah), הַכּוֹת (hakkot), followed by the subjective genitive YHWH. Here the verb is applied to the true meaning of the plague: Moses struck the water, but the plague was a blow struck by God.

497 sn Beginning with 8:1, the verse numbers through 8:32 in English Bibles differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 8:1 ET = 7:26 HT, 8:2 ET = 7:27 HT, 8:3 ET = 7:28 HT, 8:4 ET = 7:29 HT, 8:5 ET = 8:1 HT, etc., through 8:32 ET = 8:28 HT. Thus in English Bibles chapter 8 has 32 verses, while in the Hebrew Bible it has 28 verses, with the four extra verses attached to chapter 7.

498 tn The construction here uses the deictic particle and the participle to convey the imminent future: “I am going to plague/about to plague.” The verb נָגַף (nagaf) means “to strike, to smite,” and its related noun means “a blow, a plague, pestilence” or the like. For Yahweh to say “I am about to plague you” could just as easily mean “I am about to strike you.” That is why these “plagues” can be described as “blows” received from God.

499 tn Heb “plague all your border with frogs.” The expression “all your border” is figurative for all the territory of Egypt and the people and things that are within the borders (also used in Exod 10:4, 14, 19; 13:7).

sn This word for frogs is mentioned in the OT only in conjunction with this plague (here and Pss 78:45, 105:30). R. A. Cole (Exodus [TOTC], 91) suggests that this word “frogs” (צְפַרְדְּעִים, tsÿfardÿim) may be an onomatopoeic word, something like “croakers”; it is of Egyptian origin and could be a Hebrew attempt to write the Arabic dofda.

500 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.

501 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.

502 tn Here again is the generic use of the article, designating the class – frogs.

503 sn The word order of the Hebrew text is important because it shows how the plague was pointedly directed at Pharaoh: “and against you, and against your people, and against all your servants frogs will go up.”

504 sn After the instructions for Pharaoh (7:25-8:4), the plague now is brought on by the staff in Aaron’s hand (8:5-7). This will lead to the confrontation (vv. 8-11) and the hardening (vv. 12-15).

505 tn The noun is singular, a collective. B. Jacob notes that this would be the more natural way to refer to the frogs (Exodus, 260).

506 tn Heb “thus, so.”

507 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.

508 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition has the meaning “to summon.

509 tn The verb הַעְתִּירוּ (hatiru) is the Hiphil imperative of the verb עָתַר (’atar). It means “to pray, supplicate,” or “make supplication” – always addressed to God. It is often translated “entreat” to reflect that it is a more urgent praying.

510 tn This form is the jussive with a sequential vav that provides the purpose of the prayer: pray…that he may turn away the frogs.

sn This is the first time in the conflict that Pharaoh even acknowledged that Yahweh existed. Now he is asking for prayer to remove the frogs and is promising to release Israel. This result of the plague must have been an encouragement to Moses.

511 tn The form is the Piel cohortative וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה (vaashallÿkhah) with the vav (ו) continuing the sequence from the request and its purpose. The cohortative here stresses the resolve of the king: “and (then) I will release.”

512 tn Here also the imperfect tense with the vav (ו) shows the purpose of the release: “that they may sacrifice.”

513 tn The expression הִתְפָּאֵר עָלַי (hitpaeralay) is problematic. The verb would be simply translated “honor yourself” or “deck yourself with honor.” It can be used in the bad sense of self-exaltation. But here it seems to mean “have the honor or advantage over me” in choosing when to remove the frogs. The LXX has “appoint for me.” Moses is doing more than extending a courtesy to Pharaoh; he is giving him the upper hand in choosing the time. But it is also a test, for if Pharaoh picked the time it would appear less likely that Moses was manipulating things. As U. Cassuto puts it, Moses is saying “my trust in God is so strong you may have the honor of choosing the time” (Exodus, 103).

514 tn Or “destroyed”; Heb “to cut off the frogs.”

515 tn The phrase “so that” is implied.

516 tn Or “survive, remain.”

517 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

518 tn “It will be” has been supplied.

519 tn Heb “according to your word” (so NASB).

520 tn The verb צָעַק (tsaaq) is used for prayers in which people cry out of trouble or from danger. U. Cassuto observes that Moses would have been in real danger if God had not answered this prayer (Exodus, 103).

521 tn Heb “over the matter of.”

522 tn The verb is an unusual choice if it were just to mean “brought on.” It is the verb שִׂים (sim, “place, put”). S. R. Driver thinks the thought is “appointed for Pharaoh” as a sign (Exodus, 64). The idea of the sign might be too much, but certainly the frogs were positioned for the instruction of the stubborn king.

523 tn Heb “according to the word of Moses” (so KJV, NASB). Just as Moses had told Pharaoh “according to your word” (v. 10), now the Lord does “according to the word” of Moses.

524 tn Heb “and the frogs died.”

525 tn Heb “and they piled them.” For clarity the translation supplies the referent “the Egyptians” as the ones who were piling the frogs.

526 tn The word “heaps” is repeated: חֳמָרִם הֳמָרִם (khomarim khomarim). The repetition serves to intensify the idea to the highest degree – “countless heaps” (see GKC 396 §123.e).

527 tn The word רְוָחָה (rÿvakhah) means “respite, relief.” BDB 926 relates it to the verb רָוַח (ravakh, “to be wide, spacious”). There would be relief when there was freedom to move about.

528 tn וְהַכְבֵּד (vÿhakhbed) is a Hiphil infinitive absolute, functioning as a finite verb. The meaning of the word is “to make heavy,” and so stubborn, sluggish, indifferent. It summarizes his attitude and the outcome, that he refused to keep his promises.

529 sn The end of the plague revealed clearly God’s absolute control over Egypt’s life and deities – all at the power of the man who prayed to God. Yahweh had made life unpleasant for the people by sending the plague, but he was also the one who could remove it. The only recourse anyone has in such trouble is to pray to the sovereign Lord God. Everyone should know that there is no one like Yahweh.

530 sn The third plague is brief and unannounced. Moses and Aaron were simply to strike the dust so that it would become gnats. Not only was this plague unannounced, but also it was not duplicated by the Egyptians.

531 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, meaning “and it will be.” When הָיָה (hayah) is followed by the lamed (ל) proposition, it means “become.”

532 tn The noun is כִּנִּים (kinnim). The insect has been variously identified as lice, gnats, ticks, flies, fleas, or mosquitoes. “Lice” follows the reading in the Peshitta and Targum (and so Josephus, Ant. 2.14.3 [2.300]). Greek and Latin had “gnats.” By “gnats” many commentators mean “mosquitoes,” which in and around the water of Egypt were abundant (and the translators of the Greek text were familiar with Egypt). Whatever they were they came from the dust and were troublesome to people and animals.

533 tn Heb “man,” but in the generic sense of “humans” or “people” (also in v. 18).

534 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the main clause as a temporal clause.

535 tn Heb “and the magicians did so.”

sn The report of what the magicians did (or as it turns out, tried to do) begins with the same words as the report about the actions of Moses and Aaron – “and they did so” (vv. 17 and 18). The magicians copy the actions of Moses and Aaron, leading readers to think momentarily that the magicians are again successful, but at the end of the verse comes the news that “they could not.” Compared with the first two plagues, this third plague has an important new feature, the failure of the magicians and their recognition of the source of the plague.

536 tn Heb “and the magicians said.”

537 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.

538 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.

539 sn The announcement of the fourth plague parallels that of the first plague. Now there will be flies, likely dogflies. Egypt has always suffered from flies, more so in the summer than in the winter. But the flies the plague describes involve something greater than any normal season for flies. The main point that can be stressed in this plague comes by tracing the development of the plagues in their sequence. Now, with the flies, it becomes clear that God can inflict suffering on some people and preserve others – a preview of the coming judgment that will punish Egypt but set Israel free. God is fully able to keep the dog-fly in the land of the Egyptians and save his people from these judgments.

540 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

541 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.”

542 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”).

543 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.

544 tn Or perhaps “the land where they are” (cf. NRSV “the land where they live”).

545 tn Or “distinguish.” וְהִפְלֵיתִי (vÿhifleti) is the Hiphil perfect of פָּלָה (palah). The verb in Hiphil means “to set apart, make separate, make distinct.” God was going to keep the flies away from Goshen – he was setting that apart. The Greek text assumed that the word was from פָּלֵא (pale’), and translated it something like “I will marvelously glorify.”

546 tn The relative clause modifies the land of Goshen as the place “in which my people are dwelling.” But the normal word for “dwelling” is not used here. Instead, עֹמֵד (’omed) is used, which literally means “standing.” The land on which Israel stood was spared the flies and the hail.

547 tn Or “of the earth” (KJV, ASV, NAB).

548 tn The word in the text is פְדֻת (pÿdut, “redemption”). This would give the sense of making a distinction by redeeming Israel. The editors wish to read פְלֻת (pÿlut) instead – “a separation, distinction” to match the verb in the preceding verse. For another view, see G. I. Davies, “The Hebrew Text of Exodus VIII 19 [English 23]: An Emendation,” VT 24 (1974): 489-92.

549 tn Heb “this sign will be tomorrow.”

550 tn Heb “and there came a….”

551 tn Heb “heavy,” or “severe.”

552 tn Here, and in the next phrase, the word “house” has to be taken as an adverbial accusative of termination.

553 tn The Hebrew text has the singular here.

554 tc Concerning the connection of “the land was ruined” with the preceding, S. R. Driver (Exodus, 68) suggests reading with the LXX, Smr, and Peshitta; this would call for adding a conjunction before the last clause to make it read, “into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt; and the land was…”

tn The Hebrew word תִּשָּׁחֵת (tishakhet) is a strong word; it is the Niphal imperfect of שָׁחַת (shakhat) and is translated “ruined.” If the classification as imperfect stands, then it would have to be something like a progressive imperfect (the land was being ruined); otherwise, it may simply be a preterite without the vav (ו) consecutive. The verb describes utter devastation. This is the verb that is used in Gen 13:10 to describe how Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Swarms of flies would disrupt life, contaminate everything, and bring disease.

555 sn After the plague is inflicted on the land, then Pharaoh makes an appeal. So there is the familiar confrontation (vv. 25-29). Pharaoh’s words to Moses are an advancement on his previous words. Now he uses imperatives: “Go, sacrifice to your God.” But he restricts it to “in the [this] land.” This is a subtle attempt to keep them as a subjugated people and prevent their absolute allegiance to their God. This offered compromise would destroy the point of the exodus – to leave Egypt and find a new allegiance under the Lord.

556 tn The clause is a little unusual in its formation. The form נָכוֹן (nakhon) is the Niphal participle from כּוּן (kun), which usually means “firm, fixed, steadfast,” but here it has a rare meaning of “right, fitting, appropriate.” It functions in the sentence as the predicate adjective, because the infinitive לַעֲשּׂוֹת (laasot) is the subject – “to do so is not right.”

557 tn This translation has been smoothed out to capture the sense. The text literally says, “for the abomination of Egypt we will sacrifice to Yahweh our God.” In other words, the animals that Israel would sacrifice were sacred to Egypt, and sacrificing them would have been abhorrent to the Egyptians.

558 tn An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is tabu. It could be translated “detestable” or “loathsome.”

559 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 109) says there are two ways to understand “the abomination of the Egyptians.” One is that the sacrifice of the sacred animals would appear an abominable thing in the eyes of the Egyptians, and the other is that the word “abomination” could be a derogatory term for idols – we sacrifice what is an Egyptian idol. So that is why he says if they did this the Egyptians would stone them.

560 tn Heb “if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians [or “of Egypt”] before their eyes.”

561 tn The interrogative clause has no particle to indicate it is a question, but it is connected with the conjunction to the preceding clause, and the meaning of these clauses indicate it is a question (GKC 473 §150.a).

562 tn The verb נֵלֵךְ (nelekh) is a Qal imperfect of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh). Here it should be given the modal nuance of obligation: “we must go.”

563 tn This clause is placed first in the sentence to stress the distance required. דֶּרֶךְ (derekh) is an adverbial accusative specifying how far they must go. It is in construct, so “three days” modifies it. It is a “journey of three days,” or, “a three day journey.”

564 tn The form is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive; it follows in the sequence: we must go…and then [must] sacrifice.”

565 tn The form is the imperfect tense. It could be future: “as he will tell us,” but it also could be the progressive imperfect if this is now what God is telling them to do: “as he is telling us.”

566 sn By changing from “the people” to “you” (plural) the speech of Pharaoh was becoming more personal.

567 tn This form, a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, is equivalent to the imperfect tense that precedes it. However, it must be subordinate to the preceding verb to express the purpose. He is not saying “I will release…and you will sacrifice,” but rather “I will release…that you may sacrifice” or even “to sacrifice.”

568 tn The construction is very emphatic. First, it uses a verbal hendiadys with a Hiphil imperfect and the Qal infinitive construct: לֹא־תַרְחִיקוּ לָלֶכֶת (lotarkhiqu lalekhet, “you will not make far to go”), meaning “you will not go far.” But this prohibition is then emphasized with the additional infinitive absolute הַרְחֵק (harkheq) – “you will in no wise go too far.” The point is very strong to safeguard the concession.

569 tn “Do” has been supplied here to convey that this somewhat unexpected command is tacked onto Pharaoh’s instructions as his ultimate concern, which Moses seems to understand as such, since he speaks about it immediately (v. 29).

570 tn The deictic particle with the participle usually indicates the futur instans nuance: “I am about to…,” or “I am going to….” The clause could also be subordinated as a temporal clause.

571 tn The verb תָּלַל (talal) means “to mock, deceive, trifle with.” The construction in this verse forms a verbal hendiadys. The Hiphil jussive אַל־יֹסֵף (’al-yosef, “let not [Pharaoh] add”) is joined with the Hiphil infinitive הָתֵל (hatel, “to deceive”). It means: “Let not Pharaoh deceive again.” Changing to the third person in this warning to Pharaoh is more decisive, more powerful.

572 tn The Piel infinitive construct after lamed (ל) and the negative functions epexegetically, explaining how Pharaoh would deal falsely – “by not releasing.”

573 tn Heb “according to the word of Moses” (so KJV, ASV).

574 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.

575 sn This plague demonstrates that Yahweh has power over the livestock of Egypt. He is able to strike the animals with disease and death, thus delivering a blow to the economic as well as the religious life of the land. By the former plagues many of the Egyptian religious ceremonies would have been interrupted and objects of veneration defiled or destroyed. Now some of the important deities will be attacked. In Goshen, where the cattle are merely cattle, no disease hits, but in the rest of Egypt it is a different matter. Osiris, the savior, cannot even save the brute in which his own soul is supposed to reside. Apis and Mnevis, the ram of Ammon, the sheep of Sais, and the goat of Mendes, perish together. Hence, Moses reminds Israel afterward, “On their gods also Yahweh executed judgments” (Num 33:4). When Jethro heard of all these events, he said, “Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all the gods” (Exod 18:11).

576 tn The object “them” is implied in the context.

577 tn עוֹד (’od), an adverb meaning “yet, still,” can be inflected with suffixes and used as a predicator of existence, with the nuance “to still be, yet be” (T. O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, 171-72, §137). Then, it is joined here with the Hiphil participle מַחֲזִיק (makhaziq) to form the sentence “you are still holding them.”

578 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.

579 tn The word דֶּבֶר (dever) is usually translated “pestilence” when it applies to diseases for humans. It is used only here and in Ps 78:50 for animals.

580 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).

581 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.

582 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.

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

584 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”

585 tn Heb “this thing.”

586 tn Heb “this thing.”

587 tn Heb “on the morrow.”

588 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.”

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

590 tn Heb “Pharaoh sent.” The phrase “representatives to investigate” is implied in the context.

591 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.

592 sn This sixth plague, like the third, is unannounced. God instructs his servants to take handfuls of ashes from the Egyptians’ furnaces and sprinkle them heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh. These ashes would become little particles of dust that would cause boils on the Egyptians and their animals. Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 [1957]: 101-3, suggests it is skin anthrax (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:359). The lesson of this plague is that Yahweh has absolute control over the physical health of the people. Physical suffering consequent to sin comes to all regardless of their position and status. The Egyptians are helpless in the face of this, as now God begins to touch human life; greater judgments on human wickedness lie ahead.

593 tn This word פִּיחַ (piakh) is a hapax legomenon, meaning “soot”; it seems to be derived from the verb פּוּחַ (puakh, “to breathe, blow”). The “furnace” (כִּבְשָׁן, kivshan) was a special kiln for making pottery or bricks.

594 tn The verb זָרַק (zaraq) means “to throw vigorously, to toss.” If Moses tosses the soot into the air, it will symbolize that the disease is falling from heaven.

595 tn Heb “before the eyes of Pharaoh.”

596 tn The word שְׁחִין (shÿkhin) means “boils.” It may be connected to an Arabic cognate that means “to be hot.” The illness is associated with Job (Job 2:7-8) and Hezekiah (Isa 38:21); it has also been connected with other skin diseases described especially in the Law. The word connected with it is אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת (’avabuot); this means “blisters, pustules” and is sometimes translated as “festering.” The etymology is debated, whether from a word meaning “to swell up” or “to overflow” (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:359).

597 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.

598 sn With the seventh plague there is more explanation of what God is doing to Pharaoh. This plague begins with an extended lesson (vv. 13-21). Rain was almost unknown in Egypt, and hail and lightning were harmless. The Egyptians were fascinated by all these, though, and looked on them as portentous. Herodotus describes how they studied such things and wrote them down (1.2.c.38). If ordinary rainstorms were ominous, what must fire and hail have been? The Egyptians had denominated fire Hephaistos, considering it to be a mighty deity (cf. Diodorus, 1.1.c.1). Porphry says that at the opening of the temple of Serapis the Egyptians worshiped with water and fire. If these connections were clearly understood, then these elements in the plague were thought to be deities that came down on their own people with death and destruction.

599 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”

600 tn Or “take your stand.”

601 tn The expression “all my plagues” points to the rest of the plagues and anticipates the proper outcome. Another view is to take the expression to mean the full brunt of the attack on the Egyptian people.

602 tn Heb “to your heart.” The expression is unusual, but it may be an allusion to the hard heartedness of Pharaoh – his stubbornness and blindness (B. Jacob, Exodus, 274).

603 tn The verb is the Qal perfect שָׁלַחְתִּי (shalakhti), but a past tense, or completed action translation does not fit the context at all. Gesenius lists this reference as an example of the use of the perfect to express actions and facts, whose accomplishment is to be represented not as actual but only as possible. He offers this for Exod 9:15: “I had almost put forth” (GKC 313 §106.p). Also possible is “I should have stretched out my hand.” Others read the potential nuance instead, and render it as “I could have…” as in the present translation.

604 tn The verb כָּחַד (kakhad) means “to hide, efface,” and in the Niphal it has the idea of “be effaced, ruined, destroyed.” Here it will carry the nuance of the result of the preceding verbs: “I could have stretched out my hand…and struck you…and (as a result) you would have been destroyed.”

605 tn The first word is a very strong adversative, which, in general, can be translated “but, howbeit”; BDB 19 s.v. אוּלָם suggests for this passage “but in very deed.”

606 tn The form הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ (heemadtikha) is the Hiphil perfect of עָמַד (’amad). It would normally mean “I caused you to stand.” But that seems to have one or two different connotations. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 73) says that it means “maintain you alive.” The causative of this verb means “continue,” according to him. The LXX has the same basic sense – “you were preserved.” But Paul bypasses the Greek and writes “he raised you up” to show God’s absolute sovereignty over Pharaoh. Both renderings show God’s sovereign control over Pharaoh.

607 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct הַרְאֹתְךָ (harotÿkha) is the purpose of God’s making Pharaoh come to power in the first place. To make Pharaoh see is to cause him to understand, to experience God’s power.

608 tn Heb “in order to declare my name.” Since there is no expressed subject, this may be given a passive translation.

609 tn מִסְתּוֹלֵל (mistolel) is a Hitpael participle, from a root that means “raise up, obstruct.” So in the Hitpael it means to “raise oneself up,” “elevate oneself,” or “be an obstructionist.” See W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:363; U. Cassuto, Exodus, 116.

610 tn The infinitive construct with lamed here is epexegetical; it explains how Pharaoh has exalted himself – “by not releasing the people.”

611 tn הִנְנִי מַמְטִיר (hinÿni mamtir) is the futur instans construction, giving an imminent future translation: “Here – I am about to cause it to rain.”

612 tn Heb “which not was like it in Egypt.” The pronoun suffix serves as the resumptive pronoun for the relative particle: “which…like it” becomes “the like of which has not been.” The word “hail” is added in the translation to make clear the referent of the relative particle.

613 tn The form הִוָּסְדָה (hivvasdah) is perhaps a rare Niphal perfect and not an infinitive (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 117).

614 tn The object “instructions” is implied in the context.

615 tn הָעֵז (haez) is the Hiphil imperative from עוּז (’uz, “to bring into safety” or “to secure”). Although there is no vav (ו) linking the two imperatives, the second could be subordinated by virtue of the meanings. “Send to bring to safety.”

616 tn Heb “man, human.”

617 tn Heb “[who] may be found.” The verb can be the imperfect of possibility.

618 tn The text has “the one fearing.” The singular expression here and throughout vv. 20-21 refers to all who fit the description.

619 tn Heb “his” (singular).

620 tn The Hebrew text again has the singular.

621 tn Heb “put to his heart.”

622 tn Heb “his servants and his cattle.”

623 tn Or “the heavens” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

624 tn The jussive with the conjunction (וִיהִי, vihi) coming after the imperative provides the purpose or result.

625 tn Heb “on man and on beast.”

626 tn The noun refers primarily to cultivated grains. But here it seems to be the general heading for anything that grows from the ground, all vegetation and plant life, as opposed to what grows on trees.

627 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next clause in view of the emphasis put on the subject, Yahweh, by the disjunctive word order of that clause.

628 tn By starting the clause with the subject (an example of disjunctive word order) the text is certainly stressing that Yahweh alone did this.

629 tn The expression נָתַן קֹלֹת (natan qolot) literally means “gave voices” (also “voice”). This is a poetic expression for sending the thunder. Ps 29:3 talks about the “voice of Yahweh” – the God of glory thunders!

630 sn This clause has been variously interpreted. Lightning would ordinarily accompany thunder; in this case the mention of fire could indicate that the lightning was beyond normal and that it was striking in such a way as to start fires on the ground. It could also mean that fire went along the ground from the pounding hail.

631 tn The verb is the common preterite וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), which is normally translated “and there was” if it is translated at all. The verb הָיָה (hayah), however, can mean “be, become, befall, fall, fall out, happen.” Here it could be simply translated “there was hail,” but the active “hail fell” fits the point of the sequence better.

632 tn The form מִתְלַקַּחַת (mitlaqqakhat) is a Hitpael participle; the clause reads, “and fire taking hold of itself in the midst of the hail.” This probably refers to lightning flashing back and forth. See also Ezek 1:4. God created a great storm with flashing fire connected to it.

633 tn Heb “very heavy” or “very severe.” The subject “the hail” is implied.

634 tn A literal reading of the clause would be “which there was not like it in all the land of Egypt.” The relative pronoun must be joined to the resumptive pronoun: “which like it (like which) there had not been.”

635 tn The exact expression is “from man even to beast.” R. J. Williams lists this as an example of the inclusive use of the preposition מִן (min) to be rendered “both…and” (Hebrew Syntax, 57, §327).

636 tn Heb “all the cultivated grain of.”

637 sn Pharaoh now is struck by the judgment and acknowledges that he is at fault. But the context shows that this penitence was short-lived. What exactly he meant by this confession is uncertain. On the surface his words seem to represent a recognition that he was in the wrong and Yahweh right.

638 tn The word רָשָׁע (rasha’) can mean “ungodly, wicked, guilty, criminal.” Pharaoh here is saying that Yahweh is right, and the Egyptians are not – so they are at fault, guilty. S. R. Driver says the words are used in their forensic sense (in the right or wrong standing legally) and not in the ethical sense of morally right and wrong (Exodus, 75).

639 sn The text has Heb “the voices of God.” The divine epithet can be used to express the superlative (cf. Jonah 3:3).

640 tn The expression וְרַב מִהְיֹת (vÿrav mihyot, “[the mighty thunder and hail] is much from being”) means essentially “more than enough.” This indicates that the storm was too much, or, as one might say, “It is enough.”

641 tn The last clause uses a verbal hendiadys: “you will not add to stand,” meaning “you will no longer stay.”

642 tn כְּצֵאתִי (kÿtseti) is the Qal infinitive construct of יָצָא (yatsa’); it functions here as the temporal clause before the statement about prayer.

sn There has been a good deal of speculation about why Moses would leave the city before praying. Rashi said he did not want to pray where there were so many idols. It may also be as the midrash in Exodus Rabbah 12:5 says that most of the devastation of this plague had been outside in the fields, and that was where Moses wished to go.

643 sn This clause provides the purpose/result of Moses’ intention: he will pray to Yahweh and the storms will cease “that you might know….” It was not enough to pray and have the plague stop. Pharaoh must “know” that Yahweh is the sovereign Lord over the earth. Here was that purpose of knowing through experience. This clause provides the key for the exposition of this plague: God demonstrated his power over the forces of nature to show his sovereignty – the earth is Yahweh’s. He can destroy it. He can preserve it. If people sin by ignoring his word and not fearing him, he can bring judgment on them. If any fear Yahweh and obey his instructions, they will be spared. A positive way to express the expositional point of the chapter is to say that those who fear Yahweh and obey his word will escape the powerful destruction he has prepared for those who sinfully disregard his word.

644 tn The verse begins with the disjunctive vav to mark a strong contrastive clause to what was said before this.

645 tn The adverb טֶרֶם (terem, “before, not yet”) occurs with the imperfect tense to give the sense of the English present tense to the verb negated by it (GKC 314-15 §107.c). Moses is saying that he knew that Pharaoh did not really stand in awe of God, so as to grant Israel’s release, i.e., fear not in the religious sense but “be afraid of” God – fear “before” him (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 76).

646 tn A disjunctive vav introduces the two verses that provide parenthetical information to the reader. Gesenius notes that the boldness of such clauses is often indicated by the repetition of nouns at the beginning (see GKC 452 §141.d). Some have concluded that because they have been put here rather than back after v. 25 or 26, they form part of Moses’ speech to Pharaoh, explaining that the crops that were necessary for humans were spared, but those for other things were destroyed. This would also mean that Moses was saying there is more that God can destroy (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 279).

647 tn The unusual forms נֻכָּתָה (nukkatah) in v. 31 and נֻכּוּ (nukku) in v. 32 are probably to be taken as old Qal passives. There are no attested Piel uses of the root.

648 tn The words “by the hail” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied from context.

649 tn Heb “was in the ear” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “had headed.”

650 sn Flax was used for making linen, and the area around Tanis was ideal for producing flax. Barley was used for bread for the poor people, as well as beer and animal feed.

651 tn The word כֻּסֶּמֶת (kussemet) is translated “spelt”; the word occurs only here and in Isa 28:25 and Ezek 4:9. Spelt is a grain closely allied to wheat. Other suggestions have been brought forward from the study of Egyptian crops (see a brief summary in W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:363-64).

652 tn Heb “for they are late.”

653 tn The clause beginning with the preterite and vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next, and main clause – that he hardened his heart again.

654 tn The construction is another verbal hendiadys: וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹּא (vayyosef lakhatto’), literally rendered “and he added to sin.” The infinitive construct becomes the main verb, and the Hiphil preterite becomes adverbial. The text is clearly interpreting as sin the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and his refusal to release Israel. At the least this means that the plagues are his fault, but the expression probably means more than this – he was disobeying Yahweh God.

655 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.

656 tn The verb about Pharaoh’s heart in v. 35 is וַיֶּחֱזַק (vayyekhezaq), a Qal preterite: “and it was hardened” or “strengthened to resist.” This forms the summary statement of this stage in the drama. The verb used in v. 34 to report Pharaoh’s response was וַיַּכְבֵּד (vayyakhbed), a Hiphil preterite: “and he hardened [his heart]” or made it stubborn. The use of two descriptions of Pharaoh’s heart in close succession, along with mention of his servants’ heart condition, underscores the growing extent of the problem.

657 sn The Egyptians dreaded locusts like every other ancient civilization. They had particular gods to whom they looked for help in such catastrophes. The locust-scaring deities of Greece and Asia were probably looked to in Egypt as well (especially in view of the origins in Egypt of so many of those religious ideas). The announcement of the plague falls into the now-familiar pattern. God tells Moses to go and speak to Pharaoh but reminds Moses that he has hardened his heart. Yahweh explains that he has done this so that he might show his power, so that in turn they might declare his name from generation to generation. This point is stressed so often that it must not be minimized. God was laying the foundation of the faith for Israel – the sovereignty of Yahweh.

658 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”

659 tn The verb is שִׁתִי (shiti, “I have put”); it is used here as a synonym for the verb שִׂים (sim). Yahweh placed the signs in his midst, where they will be obvious.

660 tn Heb “in his midst.”

661 tn The expression is unusual: תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי (tÿsapper bÿozne, “[that] you may declare in the ears of”). The clause explains an additional reason for God’s hardening the heart of Pharaoh, namely, so that the Israelites can tell their children of God’s great wonders. The expression is highly poetic and intense – like Ps 44:1, which says, “we have heard with our ears.” The emphasis would be on the clear teaching, orally, from one generation to another.

662 tn The verb הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי (hitallalti) is a bold anthropomorphism. The word means to occupy oneself at another’s expense, to toy with someone, which may be paraphrased with “mock.” The whole point is that God is shaming and disgracing Egypt, making them look foolish in their arrogance and stubbornness (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:366-67). Some prefer to translate it as “I have dealt ruthlessly” with Egypt (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 123).

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

664 tn The word “about” is supplied to clarify this as another object of the verb “declare.”

665 tn Heb “put” or “placed.”

666 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav consecutive, וִידַעְתֶּם (vidatem, “and that you might know”). This provides another purpose for God’s dealings with Egypt in the way that he was doing. The form is equal to the imperfect tense with vav (ו) prefixed; it thus parallels the imperfect that began v. 2 – “that you might tell.”

667 tn The verb is מֵאַנְתָּ (meanta), a Piel perfect. After “how long,” the form may be classified as present perfect (“how long have you refused), for it describes actions begun previously but with the effects continuing. (See GKC 311 §106.g-h). The use of a verb describing a state or condition may also call for a present translation (“how long do you refuse”) that includes past, present, and potentially future, in keeping with the question “how long.”

668 tn The clause is built on the use of the infinitive construct to express the direct object of the verb – it answers the question of what Pharaoh was refusing to do. The Niphal infinitive construct (note the elision of the ה [hey] prefix after the preposition [see GKC 139 §51.l]) is from the verb עָנָה (’anah). The verb in this stem would mean “humble oneself.” The question is somewhat rhetorical, since God was not yet through humbling Pharaoh, who would not humble himself. The issue between Yahweh and Pharaoh is deeper than simply whether or not Pharaoh will let the Israelites leave Egypt.

669 tn הִנְנִי (hinni) before the active participle מֵבִיא (mevi’) is the imminent future construction: “I am about to bring” or “I am going to bring” – precisely, “here I am bringing.”

670 tn One of the words for “locusts” in the Bible is אַרְבֶּה (’arbeh), which comes from רָבָה (ravah, “to be much, many”). It was used for locusts because of their immense numbers.

671 tn Heb “within your border.”

672 tn The verbs describing the locusts are singular because it is a swarm or plague of locusts. This verb (וְכִסָּה, vÿkhissah, “cover”) is a Piel perfect with a vav consecutive; it carries the same future nuance as the participle before it.

673 tn Heb “eye,” an unusual expression (see v. 15; Num 22:5, 11).

674 tn The text has לִרְאֹת וְלֹא יוּכַל (vÿloyukhal lirot, “and he will not be able to see”). The verb has no expressed subjects. The clause might, therefore, be given a passive translation: “so that [it] cannot be seen.” The whole clause is the result of the previous statement.

675 sn As the next phrase explains “what escaped” refers to what the previous plague did not destroy. The locusts will devour everything, because there will not be much left from the other plagues for them to eat.

676 tn הַנִּשְׁאֶרֶת (hannisheret) parallels (by apposition) and adds further emphasis to the preceding two words; it is the Niphal participle, meaning “that which is left over.”

677 tn The relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (’asher) is occasionally used as a comparative conjunction (see GKC 499 §161.b).

678 tn Heb “which your fathers have not seen, nor your fathers’ fathers.”

679 tn The Hebrew construction מִיּוֹם הֱיוֹתָם (miyyom heyotam, “from the day of their being”). The statement essentially says that no one, even the elderly, could remember seeing a plague of locusts like this. In addition, see B. Childs, “A Study of the Formula, ‘Until This Day,’” JBL 82 (1963).

680 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

681 sn The question of Pharaoh’s servants echoes the question of Moses – “How long?” Now the servants of Pharaoh are demanding what Moses demanded – “Release the people.” They know that the land is destroyed, and they speak of it as Moses’ doing. That way they avoid acknowledging Yahweh or blaming Pharaoh.

682 tn Heb “snare” (מוֹקֵשׁ, moqesh), a word used for a trap for catching birds. Here it is a figure for the cause of Egypt’s destruction.

683 tn With the adverb טֶרֶם (terem), the imperfect tense receives a present sense: “Do you not know?” (See GKC 481 §152.r).

684 tn The question is literally “who and who are the ones going?” (מִי וָמִי הַהֹלְכִים, mi vami haholÿkhim). Pharaoh’s answer to Moses includes this rude question, which was intended to say that Pharaoh would control who went. The participle in this clause, then, refers to the future journey.

685 tn Heb “we have a pilgrim feast (חַג, khag) to Yahweh.”

686 sn Pharaoh is by no means offering a blessing on them in the name of Yahweh. The meaning of his “wish” is connected to the next clause – as he is releasing them, may God help them. S. R. Driver says that in Pharaoh’s scornful challenge Yahweh is as likely to protect them as Pharaoh is likely to let them go – not at all (Exodus, 80). He is planning to keep the women and children as hostages to force the men to return. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 125) paraphrases it this way: “May the help of your God be as far from you as I am from giving you permission to go forth with your little ones.” The real irony, Cassuto observes, is that in the final analysis he will let them go, and Yahweh will be with them.

687 tn The context of Moses’ list of young and old, sons and daughters, and the contrast with the word for strong “men” in v. 11 indicates that טַפְּכֶם (tappÿkhem), often translated “little ones” or “children,” refers to dependent people, noncombatants in general.

688 tn Heb “see.”

689 tn Heb “before your face.”

sn The “trouble” or “evil” that is before them could refer to the evil that they are devising – the attempt to escape from Egypt. But that does not make much sense in the sentence – why would he tell them to take heed or look out about that? U. Cassuto (Exodus, 126) makes a better suggestion. He argues that Pharaoh is saying, “Don’t push me too far.” The evil, then, would be what Pharaoh was going to do if these men kept making demands on him. This fits the fact that he had them driven out of his court immediately. There could also be here an allusion to Pharaoh’s god Re’, the sun-deity and head of the pantheon; he would be saying that the power of his god would confront them.

690 tn Heb “not thus.”

691 tn The word is הַגְּבָרִים (haggÿvarim, “the strong men”), a word different from the more general one that Pharaoh’s servants used (v. 7). Pharaoh appears to be conceding, but he is holding hostages. The word “only” has been supplied in the translation to indicate this.

692 tn The suffix on the sign of the accusative refers in a general sense to the idea contained in the preceding clause (see GKC 440-41 §135.p).

693 tn Heb “you are seeking.”

694 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Moses and Aaron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

695 tn The verb is the Piel preterite, third person masculine singular, meaning “and he drove them out.” But “Pharaoh” cannot be the subject of the sentence, for “Pharaoh” is the object of the preposition. The subject is not specified, and so the verb can be treated as passive.

696 tn The preposition בְּ (bet) is unexpected here. BDB 91 s.v. (the note at the end of the entry) says that in this case it can only be read as “with the locusts,” meaning that the locusts were thought to be implicit in Moses’ lifting up of his hand. However, BDB prefers to change the preposition to לְ (lamed).

697 tn The noun עֵשֶּׂב (’esev) normally would indicate cultivated grains, but in this context seems to indicate plants in general.

698 tn The clause begins וַיהוָה (vaadonay [vayhvah], “Now Yahweh….”). In contrast to a normal sequence, this beginning focuses attention on Yahweh as the subject of the verb.

699 tn The verb נָהַג (nahag) means “drive, conduct.” It is elsewhere used for driving sheep, leading armies, or leading in processions.

700 tn Heb “and all the night.”

701 tn The text does not here use ordinary circumstantial clause constructions; rather, Heb “the morning was, and the east wind carried the locusts.” It clearly means “when it was morning,” but the style chosen gives a more abrupt beginning to the plague, as if the reader is in the experience – and at morning, the locusts are there!

702 tn The verb here is a past perfect, indicting that the locusts had arrived before the day came.

703 tn Heb “border.”

704 tn This is an interpretive translation. The clause simply has כָּבֵד מְאֹד (kaved mÿod), the stative verb with the adverb – “it was very heavy.” The description prepares for the following statement about the uniqueness of this locust infestation.

705 tn Heb “after them.”

706 tn Heb “and they covered.”

707 tn Heb “eye,” an unusual expression (see v. 5; Num 22:5, 11).

708 tn The verb is וַתֶּחְשַׁךְ (vattekhshakh, “and it became dark”). The idea is that the ground had the color of the swarms of locusts that covered it.

709 sn The third part of the passage now begins, the confrontation that resulted from the onslaught of the plague. Pharaoh goes a step further here – he confesses he has sinned and adds a request for forgiveness. But his acknowledgment does not go far enough, for this is not genuine confession. Since his heart was not yet submissive, his confession was vain.

710 tn The Piel preterite וַיְמַהֵר (vaymaher) could be translated “and he hastened,” but here it is joined with the following infinitive construct to form the hendiadys. “He hurried to summon” means “He summoned quickly.”

711 sn The severity of the plague prompted Pharaoh to confess his sin against Yahweh and them, now in much stronger terms than before. He also wants forgiveness – but in all probability what he wants is relief from the consequences of his sin. He pretended to convey to Moses that this was it, that he was through sinning, so he asked for forgiveness “only this time.”

712 sn Pharaoh’s double emphasis on “only” uses two different words and was meant to deceive. He was trying to give Moses the impression that he had finally come to his senses, and that he would let the people go. But he had no intention of letting them out.

713 sn “Death” is a metonymy that names the effect for the cause. If the locusts are left in the land it will be death to everything that grows.

714 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

715 tn Heb “and he went out.”

716 tn Or perhaps “sea wind,” i.e., a wind off the Mediterranean.

717 tn The Hebrew name here is יַם־סוּף (Yam Suf), sometimes rendered “Reed Sea” or “Sea of Reeds.” The word סוּף is a collective noun that may have derived from an Egyptian name for papyrus reeds. Many English versions have used “Red Sea,” which translates the name that ancient Greeks used: ejruqrav qalavssa (eruqra qalassa).

sn The name Red Sea is currently applied to the sea west of the Arabian Peninsula. The northern fingers of this body of water extend along the west and east sides of the Sinai Peninsula and are presently called the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba or the Gulf of Eilat. In ancient times the name applied to a much larger body of water, including the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf (C. Houtman, Exodus, 1:109-10). See also Num 14:25; 21:4; Deut 1:40; 2:1; Judg 11:16; 1 Kgs 9:26; Jer 49:21. The sea was deep enough to drown the entire Egyptian army later (and thus no shallow swamp land). God drives the locusts to their death in the water. He will have the same power over Egyptian soldiers, for he raised up this powerful empire for a purpose and soon will drown them in the sea. The message for the Israelites is that God will humble all who refuse to submit.

718 sn The ninth plague is that darkness fell on all the land – except on Israel. This plague is comparable to the silence in heaven, just prior to the last and terrible plague (Rev 8:1). Here Yahweh is attacking a core Egyptian religious belief as well as portraying what lay before the Egyptians. Throughout the Bible darkness is the symbol of evil, chaos, and judgment. Blindness is one of its manifestations (see Deut 28:27-29). But the plague here is not blindness, or even spiritual blindness, but an awesome darkness from outside (see Joel 2:2; Zeph 1:15). It is particularly significant in that Egypt’s high god was the Sun God. Lord Sun was now being shut down by Lord Yahweh. If Egypt would not let Israel go to worship their God, then Egypt’s god would be darkness. The structure is familiar: the plague, now unannounced (21-23), and then the confrontation with Pharaoh (24-27).

719 tn Or “the sky” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

720 sn The verb form is the jussive with the sequential vavוִיהִי חֹשֶׁךְ (vihi khoshekh). B. Jacob (Exodus, 286) notes this as the only instance where Scripture says, “Let there be darkness” (although it is subordinated as a purpose clause; cf. Gen 1:3). Isa 45:7 alluded to this by saying, “who created light and darkness.”

721 tn The Hebrew term מוּשׁ (mush) means “to feel.” The literal rendering would be “so that one may feel darkness.” The image portrays an oppressive darkness; it was sufficiently thick to possess the appearance of substance, although it was just air (B. Jacob, Exodus, 286).

722 tn The construction is a variation of the superlative genitive: a substantive in the construct state is connected to a noun with the same meaning (see GKC 431 §133.i).

723 sn S. R. Driver says, “The darkness was no doubt occasioned really by a sand-storm, produced by the hot electrical wind…which blows in intermittently…” (Exodus, 82, 83). This is another application of the antisupernatural approach to these texts. The text, however, is probably describing something that was not a seasonal wind, or Pharaoh would not have been intimidated. If it coincided with that season, then what is described here is so different and so powerful that the Egyptians would have known the difference easily. Pharaoh here would have had to have been impressed that this was something very abnormal, and that his god was powerless. Besides, there was light in all the dwellings of the Israelites.

724 tn Heb “a man…his brother.”

725 tn The perfect tense in this context requires the somewhat rare classification of a potential perfect.

726 tn Or “dependents.” The term is often translated “your little ones,” but as mentioned before (10:10), this expression in these passages takes in women and children and other dependents. Pharaoh will now let all the people go, but he intends to detain the cattle to secure their return.

727 tn B. Jacob (Exodus, 287) shows that the intent of Moses in using גַּם (gam) is to make an emphatic rhetorical question. He cites other samples of the usage in Num 22:33; 1 Sam 17:36; 2 Sam 12:14, and others. The point is that if Pharaoh told them to go and serve Yahweh, they had to have animals to sacrifice. If Pharaoh was holding the animals back, he would have to make some provision.

728 tn Heb “give into our hand.”

729 tn The form here is וְעָשִּׂינוּ (vÿasinu), the Qal perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive – “and we will do.” But the verb means “do” in the sacrificial sense – prepare them, offer them. The verb form is to be subordinated here to form a purpose or result clause.

730 tn This is the obligatory imperfect nuance. They were obliged to take the animals if they were going to sacrifice, but more than that, since they were not coming back, they had to take everything.

731 tn The same modal nuance applies to this verb.

732 tn Heb “from it,” referring collectively to the livestock.

733 sn Moses gives an angry but firm reply to Pharaoh’s attempt to control Israel; he makes it clear that he has no intention of leaving any pledge with Pharaoh. When they leave, they will take everything that belongs to them.

734 tn The expression is לֵךְ מֵעָלָי (lekh mealay, “go from on me”) with the adversative use of the preposition, meaning from being a trouble or a burden to me (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 84; R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 51, §288).

735 tn Heb “add to see my face.” The construction uses a verbal hendiadys: “do not add to see” (אַל־תֹּסֶף רְאוֹת, ’al-toseph rÿot), meaning “do not see again.” The phrase “see my face” means “come before me” or “appear before me.”

736 tn The construction is בְּיוֹם רְאֹתְךָ (bÿyom rÿotÿkha), an adverbial clause of time made up of the prepositional phrase, the infinitive construct, and the suffixed subjective genitive. “In the day of your seeing” is “when you see.”

737 tn Heb “Thus you have spoken.”

738 tn This is a verbal hendiadys construction: “I will not add again [to] see.”

739 sn The last plague is the most severe; it is that for which all the others were preliminary warnings. Up to this point Yahweh had been showing his power to destroy Pharaoh, and now he would begin to do so by bringing death to the Egyptians, a death that would fulfill the warning of talionic judgment – “let my son go, or I will kill your son.” The passage records the announcement of the judgment first to Moses and then through Moses to Pharaoh. The first two verses record the word of God to Moses. This is followed by a parenthetical note about how God had elevated Moses and Israel in the eyes of Egypt (v. 3). Then there is the announcement to Pharaoh (vv. 4-8). This is followed by a parenthetical note on how God had hardened Pharaoh so that Yahweh would be elevated over him. It is somewhat problematic here that Moses is told not to see Pharaoh’s face again. On the one hand, given the nature of Pharaoh to blow hot and cold and to change his mind, it is not impossible for another meeting to have occurred. But Moses said he would not do it (v. 29). One solution some take is to say that the warning in 10:28 originally stood after chapter 11. A change like that is unwarranted, and without support. It may be that vv. 1-3 are parenthetical, so that the announcement in v. 4 follows closely after 10:29 in the chronology. The instruction to Moses in 11:1 might then have been given before he left Pharaoh or even before the interview in 10:24-29 took place. Another possibility, supported by usage in Akkadian, is that the expression “see my face” (and in v. 29 “see your face”) has to do with seeking to have an official royal audience (W. H. C. Propp, Exodus 1–18 [AB], 342). Pharaoh thinks that he is finished with Moses, but as 11:8 describes, Moses expects that in fact Moses will soon be the one in a position like that of royalty granting an audience to Egyptians.

740 tn The expression כְּשַּׂלְּחוֹ כָּלָה (kÿsallÿkho kalah) is difficult. It seems to say, “as/when he releases [you] altogether.” The LXX has “and when he sends you forth with everything.” Tg. Onq. and modern translators make kala adverbial, “completely” or “altogether.” B. S. Childs follows an emendation to read, “as one sends away a bride” (Exodus [OTL], 130). W. C. Kaiser prefers the view of Yaron that would render it “in the manner of one’s sending away a kallah [a slave purchased to be one’s daughter-in-law]” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:370). The last two readings call for revising the vocalization and introducing a rare word into the narrative. The simplest approach is to follow a meaning “when he releases [you] altogether,” i.e., with all your people and your livestock.

741 tn The words are emphatic: גָּרֵשׁ יְגָרֵשׁ (garesh yÿgaresh). The Piel verb means “to drive out, expel.” With the infinitive absolute it says that Pharaoh “will drive you out vigorously.” He will be glad to be rid of you – it will be a total expulsion.

742 tn Heb “Speak now in the ears of the people.” The expression is emphatic; it seeks to ensure that the Israelites hear the instruction.

743 tn The verb translated “request” is וְיִשְׁאֲלוּ (vÿyishalu), the Qal jussive: “let them ask.” This is the point introduced in Exod 3:22. The meaning of the verb might be stronger than simply “ask”; it might have something of the idea of “implore” (see also its use in the naming of Samuel, who was “asked” from Yahweh [1 Sam 1:20]).

744 tn “each man is to request from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor.”

sn Here neighbor refers to Egyptian neighbors, who are glad to see them go (12:33) and so willingly give their jewelry and vessels.

745 sn See D. Skinner, “Some Major Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42.

746 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

747 tn Heb “in the eyes of the servants of Pharaoh and in the eyes of the people.” In the translation the word “Egyptian” has been supplied to clarify that the Egyptians and not the Israelites are meant here.

sn The presence of this clause about Moses, which is parenthetical in nature, further indicates why the Egyptians gave rather willingly to the Israelites. They were impressed by Moses’ miracles and his power with Pharaoh. Moses was great in stature – powerful and influential.

748 tn Heb “about the middle of the night.”

749 tn Heb “I will go out in the midst of Egypt.”

750 sn The firstborn in Egyptian and Israelite cultures was significant, but the firstborn of Pharaoh was most important. Pharaoh was considered a god, the son of Re, the sun god, for the specific purpose of ruling over Re’s chief concern, the land of Egypt. For the purpose of re-creation, the supreme god assumed the form of the living king and gave seed which was to become the next king and the next “son of Re.” Moreover, the Pharaoh was the incarnation of the god Horus, a falcon god whose province was the heavens. Horus represented the living king who succeeded the dead king Osiris. Every living king was Horus, every dead king Osiris (see J. A. Wilson, “Egypt,” Before Philosophy, 83-84). To strike any firstborn was to destroy the heir, who embodied the hopes and aspirations of the Egyptians, but to strike the firstborn son of Pharaoh was to destroy this cardinal doctrine of the divine kingship of Egypt. Such a blow would be enough for Pharaoh, for then he would drive the Israelites out.

751 tn Heb “which like it there has never been.”

752 tn Heb “and like it it will not add.”

753 tn Or perhaps “growl”; Heb “not a dog will sharpen his tongue.” The expression is unusual, but it must indicate that not only would no harm come to the Israelites, but that no unfriendly threat would come against them either – not even so much as a dog barking. It is possible this is to be related to the watchdog (see F. C. Fensham, “Remarks on Keret 114b – 136a,” JNSL 11 [1983]: 75).

754 tn Heb “against man or beast.”

755 tn The verb פָּלָה (palah) in Hiphil means “to set apart, make separate, make distinct.” See also Exod 8:22 (18 HT); 9:4; 33:16.

756 sn Moses’ anger is expressed forcefully. “He had appeared before Pharaoh a dozen times either as God’s emissary or when summoned by Pharaoh, but he would not come again; now they would have to search him out if they needed help” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 289-90).

757 tn Heb “that are at your feet.”

758 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

759 sn The thought is essentially the same as in Exod 7:3-4, but the wonders, or portents, here refer to what is yet to be done in Egypt.



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