5:1 1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, 2 the God of Israel, ‘Release 3 my people so that they may hold a pilgrim feast 4 to me in the desert.’” 5:2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord 5 that 6 I should obey him 7 by releasing 8 Israel? I do not know the Lord, 9 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 10 into the desert so that we may sacrifice 11 to the Lord our God, so that he does not strike us with plague or the sword.” 12 5:4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you cause the people to refrain from their work? 13 Return to your labor!” 5:5 Pharaoh was thinking, 14 “The people of the land are now many, and you are giving them rest from their labor.”
5:6 That same day Pharaoh commanded 15 the slave masters and foremen 16 who were 17 over the people: 18 5:7 “You must no longer 19 give straw to the people for making bricks 20 as before. 21 Let them go 22 and collect straw for themselves. 5:8 But you must require 23 of them the same quota of bricks that they were making before. 24 Do not reduce it, for they are slackers. 25 That is why they are crying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to our God.’ 5:9 Make the work harder 26 for the men so they will keep at it 27 and pay no attention to lying words!” 28
5:10 So the slave masters of the people and their foremen went to the Israelites and said, 29 “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I am not giving 30 you straw. 5:11 You 31 go get straw for yourselves wherever you can 32 find it, because there will be no reduction at all in your workload.’” 5:12 So the people spread out 33 through all the land of Egypt to collect stubble for straw. 5:13 The slave masters were pressuring 34 them, saying, “Complete 35 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, 36 “Why did you not complete your requirement for brickmaking as in the past – both yesterday and today?” 37
5:15 38 The Israelite foremen went and cried out to Pharaoh, “Why are you treating 39 your servants this way? 5:16 No straw is given to your servants, but we are told, 40 ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are even 41 being beaten, but the fault 42 is with your people.”
5:17 But Pharaoh replied, 43 “You are slackers! Slackers! 44 That is why you are saying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to the Lord.’ 5:18 So now, get back to work! 45 You will not be given straw, but you must still produce 46 your quota 47 of bricks!” 5:19 The Israelite foremen saw 48 that they 49 were in trouble when they were told, 50 “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, 51 5:21 and they said to them, “May the Lord look on you and judge, 52 because you have made us stink 53 in the opinion of 54 Pharaoh and his servants, 55 so that you have given them an excuse to kill us!” 56
5:22 57 Moses returned 58 to the Lord, and said, “Lord, 59 why have you caused trouble for this people? 60 Why did you ever 61 send me? 5:23 From the time I went to speak to Pharaoh in your name, he has caused trouble 62 for this people, and you have certainly not rescued 63 them!” 64
6:2 God spoke 68 to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 69 6:3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as 70 God Almighty, 71 but by 72 my name ‘the Lord’ 73 I was not known to them. 74 6:4 I also established my covenant with them 75 to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as resident foreigners. 76 6:5 I 77 have also heard 78 the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, 79 and I have remembered my covenant. 80 6:6 Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out 81 from your enslavement to 82 the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose, 83 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. 84 Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from your enslavement to 85 the Egyptians. 6:8 I will bring you to the land I swore to give 86 to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob – and I will give it to you 87 as a possession. I am the Lord!’”
6:9 88 Moses told this 89 to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him 90 because of their discouragement 91 and hard labor. 6:10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 6:11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt that he must release 92 the Israelites from his land.” 6:12 But Moses replied to 93 the Lord, “If the Israelites did not listen to me, then 94 how will Pharaoh listen to me, since 95 I speak with difficulty?” 96
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.
6:17 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.
6:21 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 105 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.” 106 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.
6:28 107 When 108 the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 6:29 he said to him, 109 “I am the Lord. Tell 110 Pharaoh king of Egypt all that 111 I am telling 112 you.” 6:30 But Moses said before the Lord, “Since I speak with difficulty, 113 why should Pharaoh listen to me?”
7:1 So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God 114 to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 115 7:2 You are to speak 116 everything I command you, 117 and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that he must release 118 the Israelites from his land. 7:3 But I will harden 119 Pharaoh’s heart, and although I will multiply 120 my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt, 7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. 121 I will reach into 122 Egypt and bring out my regiments, 123 my people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 7:5 Then 124 the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I extend my hand 125 over Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.
7:8 The Lord said 126 to Moses and Aaron, 127 7:9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do 128 a miracle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down 129 before Pharaoh,’ it will become 130 a snake.” 7:10 When 131 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord had commanded them – Aaron threw 132 down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake. 133 7:11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, 134 and the magicians 135 of Egypt by their secret arts 136 did the same thing. 7:12 Each man 137 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, 138 and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
7:14 139 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; 140 he refuses to release 141 the people. 7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when 142 he goes out to the water. Position yourself 143 to meet him by the edge of the Nile, 144 and take 145 in your hand the staff 146 that was turned into a snake. 7:16 Tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you to say, 147 “Release my people, that they may serve me 148 in the desert!” But until now 149 you have not listened. 150 7:17 Thus says the Lord: “By this you will know that I am the Lord: I am going to strike 151 the water of the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood. 152 7:18 Fish 153 in the Nile will die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable 154 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, 155 over their ponds, and over all their reservoirs 156 – so that it becomes 157 blood.’ There will be blood everywhere in 158 the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.” 7:20 Moses and Aaron did so, 159 just as the Lord had commanded. Moses raised 160 the staff 161 and struck the water that was in the Nile right before the eyes 162 of Pharaoh and his servants, 163 and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 164 7:21 When the fish 165 that were in the Nile died, the Nile began 166 to stink, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood 167 everywhere in the land of Egypt! 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same 168 by their secret arts, and so 169 Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 170 and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron 171 – just as the Lord had predicted. 7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. He did not pay any attention to this. 172 7:24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, 173 because they could not drink the water of the Nile.
7:25 174 Seven full days passed 175 after the Lord struck 176 the Nile. 8:1 (7:26) 177 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 178 all your territory with frogs. 179 8:3 The Nile will swarm 180 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. 181 8:4 Frogs 182 will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.”’” 183
8:5 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff 184 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 185 came up and covered the land of Egypt.
8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned 188 Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray 189 to the Lord that he may take the frogs away 190 from me and my people, and I will release 191 the people that they may sacrifice 192 to the Lord.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me 193 – when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed 194 from you and your houses, so that 195 they will be left 196 only in the Nile?” 8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, 197 “It will be 198 as you say, 199 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 200 to the Lord because of 201 the frogs that he had brought on 202 Pharaoh. 8:13 The Lord did as Moses asked 203 – the 204 frogs died out of the houses, the villages, and the fields. 8:14 The Egyptians 205 piled them in countless heaps, 206 and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, 207 he hardened 208 his heart and did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted. 209
8:16 210 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become 211 gnats 212 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 213 and on animals. All the dust of the ground became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:18 When 214 the magicians attempted 215 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 216 to Pharaoh, “It is the finger 217 of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 218 and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
8:20 219 The Lord 220 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 221 my people, then I am going to send 222 swarms of flies 223 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. 224 8:22 But on that day I will mark off 225 the land of Goshen, where my people are staying, 226 so that no swarms of flies will be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of this land. 227 8:23 I will put a division 228 between my people and your people. This sign will take place 229 tomorrow.”’” 8:24 The Lord did so; a 230 thick 231 swarm of flies came into 232 Pharaoh’s house and into the houses 233 of his servants, and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land was ruined 234 because of the swarms of flies.
8:25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 235 8:26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do, 236 for the sacrifices we make 237 to the Lord our God would be an abomination 238 to the Egyptians. 239 If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes, 240 will they not stone us? 241 8:27 We must go 242 on a three-day journey 243 into the desert and sacrifice 244 to the Lord our God, just as he is telling us.” 245
8:29 Moses said, “I am going to go out 250 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 251 by not releasing 252 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 253 – he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained! 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened 254 his heart this time also and did not release the people.
9:1 255 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 256 and continue holding them, 257 9:3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring 258 a very terrible plague 259 on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, 260 the herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will distinguish 261 between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing 262 will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 263
9:5 The Lord set 264 an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this 265 in the land.” 9:6 And the Lord did this 266 on the next day; 267 all 268 the livestock of the Egyptians 269 died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, 270 and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 271 and he did not release the people.
9:8 272 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot 273 from a furnace, and have Moses throw it 274 into the air while Pharaoh is watching. 275 9:9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out and fester 276 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 277 Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.
9:13 278 The Lord said 279 to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand 280 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 281 on your very self 282 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 283 my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed 284 from the earth. 9:16 But 285 for this purpose I have caused you to stand: 286 to show you 287 my strength, and so that my name may be declared 288 in all the earth. 9:17 You are still exalting 289 yourself against my people by 290 not releasing them. 9:18 I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down 291 about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred 292 in Egypt from the day it was founded 293 until now. 9:19 So now, send instructions 294 to gather 295 your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person 296 or animal caught 297 in the field and not brought into the house – the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’”
9:20 Those 298 of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their 299 servants and livestock into the houses, 9:21 but those 300 who did not take 301 the word of the Lord seriously left their servants and their cattle 302 in the field.
9:22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky 303 that there may be 304 hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals, 305 and on everything that grows 306 in the field in the land of Egypt.” 9:23 When Moses extended 307 his staff toward the sky, the Lord 308 sent thunder 309 and hail, and fire fell to the earth; 310 so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:24 Hail fell 311 and fire mingled 312 with the hail; the hail was so severe 313 that there had not been any like it 314 in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 9:25 The hail struck everything in the open fields, both 315 people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows 316 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! 317 The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. 318 9:28 Pray to the Lord, for the mighty 319 thunderings and hail are too much! 320 I will release you and you will stay no longer.” 321
9:29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city 322 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. 323 9:30 But as for you 324 and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear 325 the Lord God.”
9:31 (Now the 326 flax and the barley were struck 327 by the hail, 328 for the barley had ripened 329 and the flax 330 was in bud. 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt 331 were not struck, for they are later crops.) 332
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 333 that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again: 334 both he and his servants hardened 335 their hearts. 9:35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 336 and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord had predicted through Moses.
10:1 337 The Lord said 338 to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order to display 339 these signs of mine before him, 340 10:2 and in order that in the hearing of your son and your grandson you may tell 341 how I made fools 342 of the Egyptians 343 and about 344 my signs that I displayed 345 among them, so that you may know 346 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 347 to humble yourself before me? 348 Release my people so that they may serve me! 10:4 But if you refuse to release my people, I am going to bring 349 locusts 350 into your territory 351 tomorrow. 10:5 They will cover 352 the surface 353 of the earth, so that you 354 will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped 355 – what is left over 356 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 357 neither 358 your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they have been 359 in the land until this day!’” Then Moses 360 turned and went out from Pharaoh.
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?” 364 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 365 a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”
10:10 He said to them, “The Lord will need to be with you 366 if I release you and your dependents! 367 Watch out! 368 Trouble is right in front of you! 369 10:11 No! 370 Go, you men 371 only, and serve the Lord, for that 372 is what you want.” 373 Then Moses and Aaron 374 were driven 375 out of Pharaoh’s presence.
10:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand over the land of Egypt for 376 the locusts, that they may come up over the land of Egypt and eat everything that grows 377 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 378 brought 379 an east wind on the land all that day and all night. 380 The morning came, 381 and the east wind had brought up 382 the locusts! 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in all the territory 383 of Egypt. It was very severe; 384 there had been no locusts like them before, nor will there be such ever again. 385 10:15 They covered 386 the surface 387 of all the ground, so that the ground became dark with them, 388 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.
10:16 389 Then Pharaoh quickly 390 summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned 391 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 392 take this death 393 away from me.” 10:18 Moses 394 went out 395 from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 10:19 and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, 396 and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. 397 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.
10:22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was absolute darkness 402 throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 403 10:23 No one 404 could see 405 another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
10:25 But Moses said, “Will you also 407 provide us 408 with sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may present them 409 to the Lord our God? 10:26 Our livestock must 410 also go with us! Not a hoof is to be left behind! For we must take 411 these animals 412 to serve the Lord our God. Until we arrive there, we do not know what we must use to serve the Lord.” 413
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! 414 Watch out for yourself! Do not appear before me again, 415 for when 416 you see my face you will die!” 10:29 Moses said, “As you wish! 417 I will not see your face again.” 418
1 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).
2 tn Heb “Yahweh.”
3 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).
4 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.
5 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).
6 tn The relative pronoun introduces the consecutive clause that depends on the interrogative clause (see GKC 318-19 §107.u).
7 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).
8 tn The Piel infinitive construct here has the epexegetical usage with lamed (ל); it explains the verb “obey.”
9 sn This absolute statement of Pharaoh is part of a motif that will develop throughout the conflict. For Pharaoh, the
10 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).
11 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
12 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.
13 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.
14 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.)
15 tn Heb “and Pharaoh commanded on that day.”
16 tn The Greek has “scribes” for this word, perhaps thinking of those lesser officials as keeping records of the slaves and the bricks.
17 tn The phrase “who were” is supplied for clarity.
18 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.
19 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys: לֹא תֹאסִפוּן לָתֵת (lo’ to’sifun 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.”
20 tn The expression “for making bricks” is made of the infinitive construct followed by its cognate accusative: לִלְבֹּן הַלְּבֵנִים (lilbon hallÿvenim).
21 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.”
22 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.
23 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.”
24 tn Heb “yesterday and three days ago” or “yesterday and before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”
25 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.
26 tn Heb “let the work be heavy.”
27 tn The text has וְיַעֲשׂוּ־בָהּ (vÿya’asu-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.
28 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.
29 tn Heb “went out and spoke to the people saying.” Here “the people” has been specified as “the Israelites” for clarity.
30 tn The construction uses the negative particle combined with a subject suffix before the participle: אֵינֶנִּי נֹתֵן (’enenni noten, “there is not I – giving”).
31 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.”
32 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.”
33 tn The verb וַיָּפֶץ (vayyafets) is from the hollow root פּוּץ (puts) and means “scatter, spread abroad.”
34 tn Or “pressed.”
35 tn כַּלּוּ (kallu) is the Piel imperative; the verb means “to finish, complete” in the sense of filling up the quota.
36 tn The quotation is introduced with the common word לֵאמֹר (le’mor, “saying”) and no mention of who said the question.
37 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.
38 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.
39 tn The imperfect tense should be classified here with the progressive imperfect nuance, because the harsh treatment was a present reality.
40 tn Heb “[they] are saying to us,” the line can be rendered as a passive since there is no expressed subject for the participle.
41 tn הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to the action reflected in the passive participle מֻכִּים (mukkim): “look, your servants are being beaten.”
42 tn The word rendered “fault” is the basic OT verb for “sin” – וְחָטָאת (vÿkhata’t). 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).
43 tn Heb “And he said.”
44 tn Or “loafers.” The form נִרְפִּים (nirpim) is derived from the verb רָפָה (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.”
45 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.”
46 tn The imperfect תִּתֵּנּוּ (tittennu) is here taken as an obligatory imperfect: “you must give” or “you must produce.”
47 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).
48 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.
49 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).
50 tn The clause “when they were told” translates לֵאמֹר (le’mor), which usually simply means “saying.” The thing that was said was clearly the decree that was given to them.
51 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.
52 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].”
53 tn Heb “you have made our aroma stink.”
54 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
55 tn Heb “in the eyes of his servants.” This phrase is not repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
56 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.”
57 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.
58 tn Heb “and Moses returned.”
59 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.
60 tn The verb is הֲרֵעֹתָה (hare’otah), the Hiphil perfect of רָעַע (ra’a’). 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.
61 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).
62 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.
63 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.
64 tn Heb “your people.” The pronoun (“them”) has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons here, to avoid redundancy.
65 sn The expression “I will do to Pharaoh” always refers to the plagues. God would first show his sovereignty over Pharaoh before defeating him.
66 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.”
67 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.
68 tn Heb “And God spoke.”
69 sn The announcement “I am the
70 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).
71 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.
72 tn The noun שְׁמִי (shÿmi, “my name,” and “Yahweh” in apposition to it), is an adverbial accusative, specifying how the patriarchs “knew” him.
73 tn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered in English as “the
74 tn The verb is the Niphal form נוֹדַעְתִּי (noda’ti). 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.
75 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.
76 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.
77 tn The addition of the independent pronoun אֲנִי (’ani, “I”) emphasizes the fact that it was Yahweh himself who heard the cry.
78 tn Heb “And also I have heard.”
79 tn The form is the Hiphil participle מַעֲבִדִים (ma’avidim, “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.”
81 sn The verb וְהוֹצֵאתִי (vÿhotse’ti) 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….”
82 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV “from under the yoke of.”
83 tn Heb “from labor of them.” The antecedent of the pronoun is the Egyptians who have imposed slave labor on the Hebrews.
84 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).
85 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV “from under the yoke of.”
86 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.
87 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.
88 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.
89 tn Heb “and Moses spoke thus.”
90 tn Heb “to Moses.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
91 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.
92 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.
93 tn Heb “And Moses spoke before.”
94 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.
95 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.
96 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.
97 tn Heb “And Yahweh spoke.”
98 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.
99 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).
100 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).
101 tn Or “descendants.”
102 tn Or “families,” and so throughout the genealogy.
103 tn Or “generations.”
106 tn Or “by their hosts” or “by their armies.” Often translated “hosts” (ASV, NASB) or “armies” (KJV), צְבָאוֹת (tsÿva’ot) 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.
107 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, ka’asher) 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.
108 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.
109 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses saying.” This has been simplified in the translation as “he said to him” for stylistic reasons.
110 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.”
111 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.
112 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.”
114 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.
115 tn The word נְבִיאֶךָ (nÿvi’ekha, “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.
116 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.”
117 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.
118 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”).
119 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.
120 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.
121 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will not listen.”
122 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.
124 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.
125 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.
126 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
127 tn Heb “said to Moses and Aaron, saying.”
128 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.”
129 tn Heb “and throw it.” The direct object, “it,” is implied.
130 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).
131 tn The clause begins with the preterite and the vav (ו) consecutive; it is here subordinated to the next clause as a temporal clause.
132 tn Heb “and Aaron threw.”
133 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.
134 sn For information on this Egyptian material, see D. B. Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (VTSup), 203-4.
135 tn The חַרְטֻּמִּים (kharttummim) seem to have been the keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred scribes.
136 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.
137 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.”
138 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.
139 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.
140 tn Or “unresponsive” (so HALOT 456 s.v. I כָּבֵד).
141 tn The Piel infinitive construct לְשַׁלַּח (lÿshallakh) serves as the direct object of מֵאֵן (me’en), 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.
142 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.
143 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.
144 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.
145 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.
146 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.”
147 tn The form לֵאמֹר (le’mor) 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.
148 tn The imperfect tense with the vav (וְיַעַבְדֻנִי, vÿya’avduni) 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.
149 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.
150 tn Or “complied” (שָׁמַעְתָּ, shama’ta).
151 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.
152 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 : 84-103; same title, ZAW 70 : 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.
153 tn The definite article here has the generic use, indicating the class – “fish” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §92).
154 tn The verb לָאָה (la’a), 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.
155 tn Or “irrigation rivers” of the Nile.
156 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.
157 tn The imperfect tense with vav (ו) after the imperative indicates the purpose or result: “in order that they [the waters] be[come] blood.”
158 tn Or “in all.”
159 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.
160 tn Heb “And he raised”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
161 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.
162 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.
163 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).
164 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.
165 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.
166 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.
167 tn Heb “and there was blood.”
168 tn Heb “thus, so.”
169 tn The vav consecutive on the preterite introduces the outcome or result of the matter – Pharaoh was hardened.
170 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.
171 tn Heb “to them”; the referents (Moses and Aaron) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
172 tn The text has וְלֹא־שָׁת לִבּוֹ גַּם־לָזֹאת (vÿlo’-shat libbo gam-lazo’t), 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.
173 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.
174 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 : 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.
175 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.
176 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.
177 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.
178 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.
179 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, tsÿfardÿ’im) may be an onomatopoeic word, something like “croakers”; it is of Egyptian origin and could be a Hebrew attempt to write the Arabic dofda.
180 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.
181 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.
182 tn Here again is the generic use of the article, designating the class – frogs.
183 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.”
185 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).
186 tn Heb “thus, so.”
187 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.
188 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition has the meaning “to summon.”
189 tn The verb הַעְתִּירוּ (ha’tiru) 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.
190 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.
191 tn The form is the Piel cohortative וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה (va’ashallÿkhah) 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.”
192 tn Here also the imperfect tense with the vav (ו) shows the purpose of the release: “that they may sacrifice.”
193 tn The expression הִתְפָּאֵר עָלַי (hitpa’er ’alay) 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).
194 tn Or “destroyed”; Heb “to cut off the frogs.”
195 tn The phrase “so that” is implied.
196 tn Or “survive, remain.”
197 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
198 tn “It will be” has been supplied.
199 tn Heb “according to your word” (so NASB).
200 tn The verb צָעַק (tsa’aq) 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).
201 tn Heb “over the matter of.”
202 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.
204 tn Heb “and the frogs died.”
205 tn Heb “and they piled them.” For clarity the translation supplies the referent “the Egyptians” as the ones who were piling the frogs.
206 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).
207 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.
208 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.
209 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.
210 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.
211 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.”
212 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.
214 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the main clause as a temporal clause.
215 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.
216 tn Heb “and the magicians said.”
217 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.
218 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.
219 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.
220 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
221 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.”
222 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”).
223 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.
224 tn Or perhaps “the land where they are” (cf. NRSV “the land where they live”).
225 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.”
226 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.
227 tn Or “of the earth” (KJV, ASV, NAB).
228 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.
229 tn Heb “this sign will be tomorrow.”
230 tn Heb “and there came a….”
231 tn Heb “heavy,” or “severe.”
232 tn Here, and in the next phrase, the word “house” has to be taken as an adverbial accusative of termination.
233 tn The Hebrew text has the singular here.
234 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.
235 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
236 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 (la’asot) is the subject – “to do so is not right.”
237 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.
238 tn An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is tabu. It could be translated “detestable” or “loathsome.”
239 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.
240 tn Heb “if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians [or “of Egypt”] before their eyes.”
241 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).
242 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.”
243 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.”
244 tn The form is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive; it follows in the sequence: we must go…and then [must] sacrifice.”
245 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.”
246 sn By changing from “the people” to “you” (plural) the speech of Pharaoh was becoming more personal.
247 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.”
248 tn The construction is very emphatic. First, it uses a verbal hendiadys with a Hiphil imperfect and the Qal infinitive construct: לֹא־תַרְחִיקוּ לָלֶכֶת (lo’ tarkhiqu 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.
249 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).
250 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.
251 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.
252 tn The Piel infinitive construct after lamed (ל) and the negative functions epexegetically, explaining how Pharaoh would deal falsely – “by not releasing.”
253 tn Heb “according to the word of Moses” (so KJV, ASV).
254 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
255 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).
256 tn The object “them” is implied in the context.
257 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.”
258 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.
260 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).
262 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.
263 tn The lamed preposition indicates possession: “all that was to the Israelites” means “all that the Israelites had.”
264 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”
265 tn Heb “this thing.”
266 tn Heb “this thing.”
267 tn Heb “on the morrow.”
268 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.”
269 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
270 tn Heb “Pharaoh sent.” The phrase “representatives to investigate” is implied in the context.
271 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.
272 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 : 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.
273 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.
274 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.
275 tn Heb “before the eyes of Pharaoh.”
276 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 (’ava’bu’ot); 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).
277 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
278 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.
279 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
280 tn Or “take your stand.”
281 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.
282 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).
283 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.
284 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.”
285 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.”
286 tn The form הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ (he’emadtikha) 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.
287 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct הַרְאֹתְךָ (har’otÿkha) 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.
288 tn Heb “in order to declare my name.” Since there is no expressed subject, this may be given a passive translation.
289 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.
290 tn The infinitive construct with lamed here is epexegetical; it explains how Pharaoh has exalted himself – “by not releasing the people.”
291 tn הִנְנִי מַמְטִיר (hinÿni mamtir) is the futur instans construction, giving an imminent future translation: “Here – I am about to cause it to rain.”
292 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.
293 tn The form הִוָּסְדָה (hivvasdah) is perhaps a rare Niphal perfect and not an infinitive (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 117).
294 tn The object “instructions” is implied in the context.
295 tn הָעֵז (ha’ez) 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.”
296 tn Heb “man, human.”
297 tn Heb “[who] may be found.” The verb can be the imperfect of possibility.
299 tn Heb “his” (singular).
300 tn The Hebrew text again has the singular.
301 tn Heb “put to his heart.”
302 tn Heb “his servants and his cattle.”
303 tn Or “the heavens” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
304 tn The jussive with the conjunction (וִיהִי, vihi) coming after the imperative provides the purpose or result.
305 tn Heb “on man and on beast.”
306 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.
307 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.
308 tn By starting the clause with the subject (an example of disjunctive word order) the text is certainly stressing that Yahweh alone did this.
309 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!
310 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.
311 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.
312 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.
313 tn Heb “very heavy” or “very severe.” The subject “the hail” is implied.
314 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.”
315 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).
316 tn Heb “all the cultivated grain of.”
317 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.
318 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).
320 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.”
321 tn The last clause uses a verbal hendiadys: “you will not add to stand,” meaning “you will no longer stay.”
322 tn כְּצֵאתִי (kÿtse’ti) 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.
323 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.
324 tn The verse begins with the disjunctive vav to mark a strong contrastive clause to what was said before this.
325 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).
326 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).
328 tn The words “by the hail” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied from context.
329 tn Heb “was in the ear” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “had headed.”
330 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.
331 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).
332 tn Heb “for they are late.”
333 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.
334 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.
335 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
336 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.
337 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.
338 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
339 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.
340 tn Heb “in his midst.”
341 tn The expression is unusual: תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי (tÿsapper bÿ’ozne, “[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.
342 tn The verb הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי (hit’allalti) 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).
343 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
344 tn The word “about” is supplied to clarify this as another object of the verb “declare.”
345 tn Heb “put” or “placed.”
346 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav consecutive, וִידַעְתֶּם (vida’tem, “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.”
347 tn The verb is מֵאַנְתָּ (me’anta), 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.”
348 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.
349 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.”
350 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.
351 tn Heb “within your border.”
352 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.
354 tn The text has לִרְאֹת וְלֹא יוּכַל (vÿlo’ yukhal lir’ot, “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.
355 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.
356 tn הַנִּשְׁאֶרֶת (hannish’eret) parallels (by apposition) and adds further emphasis to the preceding two words; it is the Niphal participle, meaning “that which is left over.”
357 tn The relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (’asher) is occasionally used as a comparative conjunction (see GKC 499 §161.b).
358 tn Heb “which your fathers have not seen, nor your fathers’ fathers.”
359 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).
360 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
361 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.
362 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.
363 tn With the adverb טֶרֶם (terem), the imperfect tense receives a present sense: “Do you not know?” (See GKC 481 §152.r).
364 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.
365 tn Heb “we have a pilgrim feast (חַג, khag) to Yahweh.”
366 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.
367 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.
368 tn Heb “see.”
369 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.
370 tn Heb “not thus.”
371 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.
372 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).
373 tn Heb “you are seeking.”
374 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Moses and Aaron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
375 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.
376 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).
377 tn The noun עֵשֶּׂב (’esev) normally would indicate cultivated grains, but in this context seems to indicate plants in general.
378 tn The clause begins וַיהוָה (va’adonay [vayhvah], “Now Yahweh….”). In contrast to a normal sequence, this beginning focuses attention on Yahweh as the subject of the verb.
379 tn The verb נָהַג (nahag) means “drive, conduct.” It is elsewhere used for driving sheep, leading armies, or leading in processions.
380 tn Heb “and all the night.”
381 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!
382 tn The verb here is a past perfect, indicting that the locusts had arrived before the day came.
383 tn Heb “border.”
384 tn This is an interpretive translation. The clause simply has כָּבֵד מְאֹד (kaved mÿ’od), the stative verb with the adverb – “it was very heavy.” The description prepares for the following statement about the uniqueness of this locust infestation.
385 tn Heb “after them.”
386 tn Heb “and they covered.”
388 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.
389 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.
390 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.”
391 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.”
392 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.
393 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.
394 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
395 tn Heb “and he went out.”
396 tn Or perhaps “sea wind,” i.e., a wind off the Mediterranean.
397 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.
398 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).
399 tn Or “the sky” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
400 sn The verb form is the jussive with the sequential vav – וִיהִי 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.”
401 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).
402 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).
403 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.
404 tn Heb “a man…his brother.”
405 tn The perfect tense in this context requires the somewhat rare classification of a potential perfect.
406 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.
407 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.
408 tn Heb “give into our hand.”
409 tn The form here is וְעָשִּׂינוּ (vÿ’asinu), 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.
410 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.
411 tn The same modal nuance applies to this verb.
412 tn Heb “from it,” referring collectively to the livestock.
413 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.
414 tn The expression is לֵךְ מֵעָלָי (lekh me’alay, “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).
415 tn Heb “add to see my face.” The construction uses a verbal hendiadys: “do not add to see” (אַל־תֹּסֶף רְאוֹת, ’al-toseph rÿ’ot), meaning “do not see again.” The phrase “see my face” means “come before me” or “appear before me.”
416 tn The construction is בְּיוֹם רְאֹתְךָ (bÿyom rÿ’otÿkha), 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.”
417 tn Heb “Thus you have spoken.”
418 tn This is a verbal hendiadys construction: “I will not add again [to] see.”