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  Discovery Box

Exodus 7:1--14:31

Context

7:1 So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God 1  to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2  7:2 You are to speak 3  everything I command you, 4  and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that he must release 5  the Israelites from his land. 7:3 But I will harden 6  Pharaoh’s heart, and although I will multiply 7  my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt, 7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. 8  I will reach into 9  Egypt and bring out my regiments, 10  my people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 7:5 Then 11  the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I extend my hand 12  over Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.

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

7:8 The Lord said 13  to Moses and Aaron, 14  7:9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do 15  a miracle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down 16  before Pharaoh,’ it will become 17  a snake.” 7:10 When 18  Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord had commanded them – Aaron threw 19  down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake. 20  7:11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, 21  and the magicians 22  of Egypt by their secret arts 23  did the same thing. 7:12 Each man 24  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, 25  and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

The First Blow: Water to Blood

7:14 26 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; 27  he refuses to release 28  the people. 7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when 29  he goes out to the water. Position yourself 30  to meet him by the edge of the Nile, 31  and take 32  in your hand the staff 33  that was turned into a snake. 7:16 Tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you to say, 34  “Release my people, that they may serve me 35  in the desert!” But until now 36  you have not listened. 37  7:17 Thus says the Lord: “By this you will know that I am the Lord: I am going to strike 38  the water of the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood. 39  7:18 Fish 40  in the Nile will die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable 41  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, 42  over their ponds, and over all their reservoirs 43  – so that it becomes 44  blood.’ There will be blood everywhere in 45  the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.” 7:20 Moses and Aaron did so, 46  just as the Lord had commanded. Moses raised 47  the staff 48  and struck the water that was in the Nile right before the eyes 49  of Pharaoh and his servants, 50  and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 51  7:21 When the fish 52  that were in the Nile died, the Nile began 53  to stink, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood 54  everywhere in the land of Egypt! 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same 55  by their secret arts, and so 56  Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 57  and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron 58  – just as the Lord had predicted. 7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. He did not pay any attention to this. 59  7:24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, 60  because they could not drink the water of the Nile.

The Second Blow: Frogs

7:25 61 Seven full days passed 62  after the Lord struck 63  the Nile. 8:1 (7:26) 64  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 65  all your territory with frogs. 66  8:3 The Nile will swarm 67  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. 68  8:4 Frogs 69  will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.”’” 70 

8:5 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff 71  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 72  came up and covered the land of Egypt.

8:7 The magicians did the same 73  with their secret arts and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt too. 74 

8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned 75  Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray 76  to the Lord that he may take the frogs away 77  from me and my people, and I will release 78  the people that they may sacrifice 79  to the Lord.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me 80  – when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed 81  from you and your houses, so that 82  they will be left 83  only in the Nile?” 8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, 84  “It will be 85  as you say, 86  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 87  to the Lord because of 88  the frogs that he had brought on 89  Pharaoh. 8:13 The Lord did as Moses asked 90  – the 91  frogs died out of the houses, the villages, and the fields. 8:14 The Egyptians 92  piled them in countless heaps, 93  and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, 94  he hardened 95  his heart and did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted. 96 

The Third Blow: Gnats

8:16 97 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become 98  gnats 99  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 100  and on animals. All the dust of the ground became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:18 When 101  the magicians attempted 102  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 103  to Pharaoh, “It is the finger 104  of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 105  and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

The Fourth Blow: Flies

8:20 106 The Lord 107  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 108  my people, then I am going to send 109  swarms of flies 110  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. 111  8:22 But on that day I will mark off 112  the land of Goshen, where my people are staying, 113  so that no swarms of flies will be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of this land. 114  8:23 I will put a division 115  between my people and your people. This sign will take place 116  tomorrow.”’” 8:24 The Lord did so; a 117  thick 118  swarm of flies came into 119  Pharaoh’s house and into the houses 120  of his servants, and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land was ruined 121  because of the swarms of flies.

8:25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 122  8:26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do, 123  for the sacrifices we make 124  to the Lord our God would be an abomination 125  to the Egyptians. 126  If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes, 127  will they not stone us? 128  8:27 We must go 129  on a three-day journey 130  into the desert and sacrifice 131  to the Lord our God, just as he is telling us.” 132 

8:28 Pharaoh said, “I will release you 133  so that you may sacrifice 134  to the Lord your God in the desert. Only you must not go very far. 135  Do 136  pray for me.”

8:29 Moses said, “I am going to go out 137  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 138  by not releasing 139  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 140  – he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained! 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened 141  his heart this time also and did not release the people.

The Fifth Blow: Disease

9:1 142 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 143  and continue holding them, 144  9:3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring 145  a very terrible plague 146  on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, 147  the herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will distinguish 148  between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing 149  will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 150 

9:5 The Lord set 151  an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this 152  in the land.” 9:6 And the Lord did this 153  on the next day; 154  all 155  the livestock of the Egyptians 156  died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, 157  and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 158  and he did not release the people.

The Sixth Blow: Boils

9:8 159 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot 160  from a furnace, and have Moses throw it 161  into the air while Pharaoh is watching. 162  9:9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out and fester 163  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 164  Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.

The Seventh Blow: Hail

9:13 165 The Lord said 166  to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand 167  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 168  on your very self 169  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 170  my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed 171  from the earth. 9:16 But 172  for this purpose I have caused you to stand: 173  to show you 174  my strength, and so that my name may be declared 175  in all the earth. 9:17 You are still exalting 176  yourself against my people by 177  not releasing them. 9:18 I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down 178  about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred 179  in Egypt from the day it was founded 180  until now. 9:19 So now, send instructions 181  to gather 182  your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person 183  or animal caught 184  in the field and not brought into the house – the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’”

9:20 Those 185  of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their 186  servants and livestock into the houses, 9:21 but those 187  who did not take 188  the word of the Lord seriously left their servants and their cattle 189  in the field.

9:22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky 190  that there may be 191  hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals, 192  and on everything that grows 193  in the field in the land of Egypt.” 9:23 When Moses extended 194  his staff toward the sky, the Lord 195  sent thunder 196  and hail, and fire fell to the earth; 197  so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:24 Hail fell 198  and fire mingled 199  with the hail; the hail was so severe 200  that there had not been any like it 201  in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 9:25 The hail struck everything in the open fields, both 202  people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows 203  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! 204  The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. 205  9:28 Pray to the Lord, for the mighty 206  thunderings and hail are too much! 207  I will release you and you will stay no longer.” 208 

9:29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city 209  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. 210  9:30 But as for you 211  and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear 212  the Lord God.”

9:31 (Now the 213  flax and the barley were struck 214  by the hail, 215  for the barley had ripened 216  and the flax 217  was in bud. 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt 218  were not struck, for they are later crops.) 219 

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 220  that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again: 221  both he and his servants hardened 222  their hearts. 9:35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 223  and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord had predicted through Moses.

The Eighth Blow: Locusts

10:1 224 The Lord said 225  to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order to display 226  these signs of mine before him, 227  10:2 and in order that in the hearing of your son and your grandson you may tell 228  how I made fools 229  of the Egyptians 230  and about 231  my signs that I displayed 232  among them, so that you may know 233  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 234  to humble yourself before me? 235  Release my people so that they may serve me! 10:4 But if you refuse to release my people, I am going to bring 236  locusts 237  into your territory 238  tomorrow. 10:5 They will cover 239  the surface 240  of the earth, so that you 241  will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped 242  – what is left over 243  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 244  neither 245  your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they have been 246  in the land until this day!’” Then Moses 247  turned and went out from Pharaoh.

10:7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long 248  will this man be a menace 249  to us? Release the people so that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not know 250  that Egypt is destroyed?”

10:8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. Exactly who is going with you?” 251  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 252  a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”

10:10 He said to them, “The Lord will need to be with you 253  if I release you and your dependents! 254  Watch out! 255  Trouble is right in front of you! 256  10:11 No! 257  Go, you men 258  only, and serve the Lord, for that 259  is what you want.” 260  Then Moses and Aaron 261  were driven 262  out of Pharaoh’s presence.

10:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand over the land of Egypt for 263  the locusts, that they may come up over the land of Egypt and eat everything that grows 264  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 265  brought 266  an east wind on the land all that day and all night. 267  The morning came, 268  and the east wind had brought up 269  the locusts! 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in all the territory 270  of Egypt. It was very severe; 271  there had been no locusts like them before, nor will there be such ever again. 272  10:15 They covered 273  the surface 274  of all the ground, so that the ground became dark with them, 275  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.

10:16 276 Then Pharaoh quickly 277  summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned 278  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 279  take this death 280  away from me.” 10:18 Moses 281  went out 282  from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 10:19 and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, 283  and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. 284  Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 10:20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites.

The Ninth Blow: Darkness

10:21 285 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward heaven 286  so that there may be 287  darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness so thick it can be felt.” 288 

10:22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was absolute darkness 289  throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 290  10:23 No one 291  could see 292  another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

10:24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord – only your flocks and herds will be detained. Even your families 293  may go with you.”

10:25 But Moses said, “Will you also 294  provide us 295  with sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may present them 296  to the Lord our God? 10:26 Our livestock must 297  also go with us! Not a hoof is to be left behind! For we must take 298  these animals 299  to serve the Lord our God. Until we arrive there, we do not know what we must use to serve the Lord.” 300 

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! 301  Watch out for yourself! Do not appear before me again, 302  for when 303  you see my face you will die!” 10:29 Moses said, “As you wish! 304  I will not see your face again.” 305 

The Tenth Blow: Death

11:1 306 The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will release you from this place. When he releases you, 307  he will drive you out completely 308  from this place. 11:2 Instruct 309  the people that each man and each woman is to request 310  from his or her neighbor 311  items of silver and gold.” 312 

11:3 (Now the Lord granted the people favor with 313  the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s servants and by the Egyptian people.) 314 

11:4 Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight 315  I will go throughout Egypt, 316  11:5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh 317  who sits on his throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 11:6 There will be a great cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as there has never been, 318  nor ever will be again. 319  11:7 But against any of the Israelites not even a dog will bark 320  against either people or animals, 321  so that you may know that the Lord distinguishes 322  between Egypt and Israel.’ 11:8 All these your servants will come down to me and bow down 323  to me, saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow 324  you,’ and after that I will go out.” Then Moses 325  went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

11:9 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that my wonders 326  may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

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

The Institution of the Passover

12:1 327 The Lord said 328  to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 329  12:2 “This month is to be your beginning of months; it will be your first month of the year. 330  12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel, ‘In the tenth day of this month they each 331  must take a lamb 332  for themselves according to their families 333  – a lamb for each household. 334  12:4 If any household is too small 335  for a lamb, 336  the man 337  and his next-door neighbor 338  are to take 339  a lamb according to the number of people – you will make your count for the lamb according to how much each one can eat. 340  12:5 Your lamb must be 341  perfect, 342  a male, one year old; 343  you may take 344  it from the sheep or from the goats. 12:6 You must care for it 345  until the fourteenth day of this month, and then the whole community 346  of Israel will kill it around sundown. 347  12:7 They will take some of the blood and put it on the two side posts and top of the doorframe of the houses where they will eat it. 12:8 They will eat the meat the same night; 348  they will eat it roasted over the fire with bread made without yeast 349  and with bitter herbs. 12:9 Do not eat it raw 350  or boiled in water, but roast it over the fire with its head, its legs, and its entrails. 12:10 You must leave nothing until morning, but you must burn with fire whatever remains of it until morning. 12:11 This is how you are to eat it – dressed to travel, 351  your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 352 

12:12 I will pass through 353  the land of Egypt in the same 354  night, and I will attack 355  all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both of humans and of animals, 356  and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. 357  I am the Lord. 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, so that when I see 358  the blood I will pass over you, 359  and this plague 360  will not fall on you to destroy you 361  when I attack 362  the land of Egypt. 363 

12:14 This day will become 364  a memorial 365  for you, and you will celebrate it as a festival 366  to the Lord – you will celebrate it perpetually as a lasting ordinance. 367  12:15 For seven days 368  you must eat 369  bread made without yeast. 370  Surely 371  on the first day you must put away yeast from your houses because anyone who eats bread made with yeast 372  from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off 373  from Israel.

12:16 On the first day there will be a holy convocation, 374  and on the seventh day there will be a holy convocation for you. You must do no work of any kind 375  on them, only what every person will eat – that alone may be prepared for you. 12:17 So you will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because on this very 376  day I brought your regiments 377  out from the land of Egypt, and so you must keep this day perpetually as a lasting ordinance. 378  12:18 In the first month, 379  from the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, you will eat bread made without yeast until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening. 12:19 For seven days 380  yeast must not be found in your houses, for whoever eats what is made with yeast – that person 381  will be cut off from the community of Israel, whether a foreigner 382  or one born in the land. 12:20 You will not eat anything made with yeast; in all the places where you live you must eat bread made without yeast.’”

12:21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel, and told them, “Go and select 383  for yourselves a lamb or young goat 384  for your families, and kill the Passover animals. 385  12:22 Take a branch of hyssop, 386  dip it in the blood that is in the basin, 387  and apply to the top of the doorframe and the two side posts some of the blood that is in the basin. Not one of you is to go out 388  the door of his house until morning. 12:23 For the Lord will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees 389  the blood on the top of the doorframe and the two side posts, then the Lord will pass over the door, and he will not permit the destroyer 390  to enter your houses to strike you. 391  12:24 You must observe this event as an ordinance for you and for your children forever. 12:25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give to you, just as he said, you must observe 392  this ceremony. 12:26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 393 12:27 then you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice 394  of the Lord’s Passover, when he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck 395  Egypt and delivered our households.’” The people bowed down low 396  to the ground, 12:28 and the Israelites went away and did exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 397 

The Deliverance from Egypt

12:29 398 It happened 399  at midnight – the Lord attacked all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the prison, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 12:30 Pharaoh got up 400  in the night, 401  along with all his servants and all Egypt, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no house 402  in which there was not someone dead. 12:31 Pharaoh 403  summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and said, “Get up, get out 404  from among my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, serve the Lord as you have requested! 405  12:32 Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have requested, and leave. But bless me also.” 406 

12:33 The Egyptians were urging 407  the people on, in order to send them out of the land quickly, 408  for they were saying, “We are all dead!” 12:34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, 409  with their kneading troughs bound up in their clothing on their shoulders. 12:35 Now the Israelites had done 410  as Moses told them – they had requested from the Egyptians 411  silver and gold items and clothing. 12:36 The Lord 412  gave the people favor 413  in the sight of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted, 414  and so they plundered Egypt. 415 

12:37 The Israelites journeyed 416  from Rameses 417  to Sukkoth. There were about 600,000 men 418  on foot, plus their dependants. 419  12:38 A mixed multitude 420  also went up with them, and flocks and herds – a very large number of cattle. 421  12:39 They baked cakes of bread without yeast using the dough they had brought from Egypt, for it was made without yeast – because they were thrust out 422  of Egypt and were not able to delay, they 423  could not prepare 424  food for themselves either.

12:40 Now the length of time the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years. 425  12:41 At the end of the 430 years, on the very day, all the regiments 426  of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt. 12:42 It was a night of vigil for the Lord to bring them out from the land of Egypt, 427  and so 428  on this night all Israel is to keep the vigil 429  to the Lord for generations to come.

Participation in the Passover

12:43 430 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner may 431  share in eating it. 432  12:44 But everyone’s servant who is bought for money, after you have circumcised him, may eat it. 12:45 A foreigner and a hired worker must not eat it. 12:46 It must be eaten in one house; you must not bring any of the meat outside the house, and you must not break a bone of it. 12:47 The whole community of Israel must observe it.

12:48 “When a foreigner lives 433  with you and wants to observe the Passover to the Lord, all his males must be circumcised, 434  and then he may approach and observe it, and he will be like one who is born in the land 435  – but no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 12:49 The same law will apply 436  to the person who is native-born and to the foreigner who lives among you.”

12:50 So all the Israelites did exactly as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. 437  12:51 And on this very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by their regiments.

The Law of the Firstborn

13:1 438 The Lord spoke 439  to Moses: 13:2 “Set apart 440  to me every firstborn male – the first offspring of every womb 441  among the Israelites, whether human or animal; it is mine.” 442 

13:3 Moses said to the people, “Remember 443  this day on which you came out from Egypt, from the place where you were enslaved, 444  for the Lord brought you out of there 445  with a mighty hand – and no bread made with yeast may be eaten. 446  13:4 On this day, 447  in the month of Abib, 448  you are going out. 449 

13:5 When 450  the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, 451  then you will keep 452  this ceremony 453  in this month. 13:6 For seven days 454  you must eat 455  bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day there is to be 456  a festival to the Lord. 13:7 Bread made without yeast must be eaten 457  for seven days; 458  no bread made with yeast shall be seen 459  among you, and you must have no yeast among you within any of your borders.

13:8 You are to tell your son 460  on that day, 461  ‘It is 462  because of what 463  the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 13:9 464  It 465  will be a sign 466  for you on your hand and a memorial 467  on your forehead, 468  so that the law of the Lord may be 469  in your mouth, 470  for 471  with a mighty hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 13:10 So you must keep 472  this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year. 473 

13:11 When the Lord brings you 474  into the land of the Canaanites, 475  as he swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it 476  to you, 13:12 then you must give over 477  to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. 478  Every firstling 479  of a beast that you have 480  – the males will be the Lord’s. 481  13:13 Every firstling 482  of a donkey you must redeem 483  with a lamb, and if you do not redeem it, then you must break its neck. 484  Every firstborn of 485  your sons you must redeem.

13:14 486 In the future, 487  when your son asks you 488  ‘What is this?’ 489  you are to tell him, ‘With a mighty hand 490  the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the land of slavery. 491  13:15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused 492  to release us, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of people to the firstborn of animals. 493  That is why I am sacrificing 494  to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb, but all my firstborn sons I redeem.’ 13:16 It will be for a sign on your hand and for frontlets 495  on your forehead, for with a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” 496 

The Leading of God

13:17 497 When Pharaoh released 498  the people, God did not lead them 499  by the way to the land 500  of the Philistines, 501  although 502  that was nearby, for God said, 503  “Lest 504  the people change their minds 505  and return to Egypt when they experience 506  war.” 13:18 So God brought the people around by the way of the desert to the Red Sea, 507  and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt prepared for battle. 508 

13:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph 509  had made the Israelites solemnly swear, 510  “God will surely attend 511  to you, and you will carry 512  my bones up from this place with you.”

13:20 They journeyed from Sukkoth and camped in Etham, on the edge of the desert. 13:21 Now the Lord was going before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, 513  so that they could 514  travel day or night. 515  13:22 He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night from before the people. 516 

The Victory at the Red Sea

14:1 517 The Lord spoke to Moses: 14:2 “Tell the Israelites that they must turn and camp 518  before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you are to camp by the sea before Baal Zephon opposite it. 519  14:3 Pharaoh will think 520  regarding the Israelites, ‘They are wandering around confused 521  in the land – the desert has closed in on them.’ 522  14:4 I will harden 523  Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them. I will gain honor 524  because of Pharaoh and because of all his army, and the Egyptians will know 525  that I am the Lord.” So this is what they did. 526 

14:5 When it was reported 527  to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, 528  the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people, and the king and his servants said, 529  “What in the world have we done? 530  For we have released the people of Israel 531  from serving us!” 14:6 Then he prepared 532  his chariots and took his army 533  with him. 14:7 He took six hundred select 534  chariots, and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, 535  and officers 536  on all of them.

14:8 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he chased after the Israelites. Now the Israelites were going out defiantly. 537  14:9 The Egyptians chased after them, and all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-Zephon. 14:10 When 538  Pharaoh got closer, 539  the Israelites looked up, 540  and there were the Egyptians marching after them, 541  and they were terrified. 542  The Israelites cried out to the Lord, 543  14:11 and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the desert? 544  What in the world 545  have you done to us by bringing 546  us out of Egypt? 14:12 Isn’t this what we told you 547  in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians, 548  because it is better for us to serve 549  the Egyptians than to die in the desert!’” 550 

14:13 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! 551  Stand firm 552  and see 553  the salvation 554  of the Lord that he will provide 555  for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again. 556  14:14 The Lord 557  will fight for you, and you can be still.” 558 

14:15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 559  14:16 And as for you, 560  lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that 561  the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 14:17 And as for me, I am going to harden 562  the hearts of the Egyptians so that 563  they will come after them, that I may be honored 564  because 565  of Pharaoh and his army and his chariots and his horsemen. 14:18 And the Egyptians will know 566  that I am the Lord when I have gained my honor 567  because of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

14:19 The angel of God, who was going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them, and the pillar 568  of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. 14:20 It came between the Egyptian camp and the Israelite camp; it was a dark cloud 569  and it lit up the night so that one camp did not come near the other 570  the whole night. 571  14:21 Moses stretched out his hand toward the sea, and the Lord drove the sea apart 572  by a strong east wind all that night, and he made the sea into dry land, and the water was divided. 14:22 So the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the water forming a wall 573  for them on their right and on their left.

14:23 The Egyptians chased them and followed them into the middle of the sea – all the horses of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. 14:24 In the morning watch 574  the Lord looked down 575  on the Egyptian army 576  through the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw the Egyptian army 577  into a panic. 578  14:25 He jammed 579  the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving, 580  and the Egyptians said, “Let’s flee 581  from Israel, for the Lord fights 582  for them against Egypt!”

14:26 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sea, so that the waters may flow 583  back on the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen!” 14:27 So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state 584  when the sun began to rise. 585  Now the Egyptians were fleeing 586  before it, but the Lord overthrew 587  the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. 14:28 The water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the Israelites into the sea 588  – not so much as one of them survived! 589  14:29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the water forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 14:30 So the Lord saved 590  Israel on that day from the power 591  of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead 592  on the shore of the sea. 14:31 When Israel saw 593  the great power 594  that the Lord had exercised 595  over the Egyptians, they 596  feared the Lord, and they believed in 597  the Lord and in his servant Moses. 598 

1 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.

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

3 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.”

4 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.

5 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”).

6 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.

7 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.

8 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will not listen.”

9 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.

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

11 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.

12 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.

13 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

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

15 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.”

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

17 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).

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

19 tn Heb “and Aaron threw.”

20 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.

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

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

23 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.

24 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.”

25 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.

26 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.

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

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

29 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.

30 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.

31 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.

32 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.

33 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.”

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

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

36 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.

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

38 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.

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

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

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

42 tn Or “irrigation rivers” of the Nile.

43 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.

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

45 tn Or “in all.”

46 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.

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

48 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.

49 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.

50 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).

51 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.

52 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.

53 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.

54 tn Heb “and there was blood.”

55 tn Heb “thus, so.”

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

57 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.

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

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

60 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.

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

62 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.

63 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.

64 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.

65 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.

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

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

67 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.

68 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.

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

70 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.”

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

72 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).

73 tn Heb “thus, so.”

74 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.

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

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

77 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.

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

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

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

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

82 tn The phrase “so that” is implied.

83 tn Or “survive, remain.”

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

85 tn “It will be” has been supplied.

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

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

88 tn Heb “over the matter of.”

89 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.

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

91 tn Heb “and the frogs died.”

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

93 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).

94 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.

95 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.

96 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.

97 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.

98 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.”

99 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.

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

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

102 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.

103 tn Heb “and the magicians said.”

104 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.

105 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.

106 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.

107 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

108 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.”

109 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”).

110 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.

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

112 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.”

113 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.

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

115 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.

116 tn Heb “this sign will be tomorrow.”

117 tn Heb “and there came a….”

118 tn Heb “heavy,” or “severe.”

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

120 tn The Hebrew text has the singular here.

121 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.

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

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

124 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.

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

126 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.

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

128 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).

129 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.”

130 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.”

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

132 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.”

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

134 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.”

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

136 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).

137 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.

138 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.

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

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

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

142 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).

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

144 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.”

145 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.

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

147 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).

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

149 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.

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

151 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”

152 tn Heb “this thing.”

153 tn Heb “this thing.”

154 tn Heb “on the morrow.”

155 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.”

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

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

158 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.

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

160 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.

161 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.

162 tn Heb “before the eyes of Pharaoh.”

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

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

165 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.

166 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”

167 tn Or “take your stand.”

168 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.

169 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).

170 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.

171 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.”

172 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.”

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

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

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

176 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.

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

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

179 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.

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

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

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

183 tn Heb “man, human.”

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

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

186 tn Heb “his” (singular).

187 tn The Hebrew text again has the singular.

188 tn Heb “put to his heart.”

189 tn Heb “his servants and his cattle.”

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

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

192 tn Heb “on man and on beast.”

193 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.

194 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.

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

196 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!

197 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.

198 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.

199 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.

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

201 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.”

202 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).

203 tn Heb “all the cultivated grain of.”

204 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.

205 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).

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

207 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.”

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

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

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

210 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.

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

212 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).

213 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).

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

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

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

217 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.

218 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).

219 tn Heb “for they are late.”

220 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.

221 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.

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

223 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.

224 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.

225 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”

226 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.

227 tn Heb “in his midst.”

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

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

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

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

232 tn Heb “put” or “placed.”

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

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

235 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.

236 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.”

237 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.

238 tn Heb “within your border.”

239 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.

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

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

242 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.

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

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

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

246 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).

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

248 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.

249 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.

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

251 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.

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

253 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.

254 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.

255 tn Heb “see.”

256 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.

257 tn Heb “not thus.”

258 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.

259 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).

260 tn Heb “you are seeking.”

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

262 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.

263 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).

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

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

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

267 tn Heb “and all the night.”

268 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!

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

270 tn Heb “border.”

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

272 tn Heb “after them.”

273 tn Heb “and they covered.”

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

275 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.

276 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.

277 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.”

278 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.”

279 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.

280 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.

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

282 tn Heb “and he went out.”

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

284 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.

285 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).

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

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

288 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).

289 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).

290 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.

291 tn Heb “a man…his brother.”

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

293 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.

294 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.

295 tn Heb “give into our hand.”

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

297 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.

298 tn The same modal nuance applies to this verb.

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

300 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.

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

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

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

304 tn Heb “Thus you have spoken.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

313 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

321 tn Heb “against man or beast.”

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

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

324 tn Heb “that are at your feet.”

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

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

327 sn Chapter 12 details the culmination of the ten plagues on Egypt and the beginning of the actual deliverance from bondage. Moreover, the celebration of this festival of Passover was to become a central part of the holy calendar of Israel. The contents of this chapter have significance for NT studies as well, since the Passover was a type of the death of Jesus. The structure of this section before the crossing of the sea is as follows: the institution of the Passover (12:1-28), the night of farewell and departure (12:29-42), slaves and strangers (12:43-51), and the laws of the firstborn (13:1-16). In this immediate section there is the institution of the Passover itself (12:1-13), then the Unleavened Bread (12:14-20), and then the report of the response of the people (12:21-28).

328 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”

329 tn Heb “saying.”

330 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 294-95) shows that the intent of the passage was not to make this month in the spring the New Year – that was in the autumn. Rather, when counting months this was supposed to be remembered first, for it was the great festival of freedom from Egypt. He observes how some scholars have unnecessarily tried to date one New Year earlier than the other.

331 tn Heb “and they will take for them a man a lamb.” This is clearly a distributive, or individualizing, use of “man.”

332 tn The שֶּׂה (seh) is a single head from the flock, or smaller cattle, which would include both sheep and goats.

333 tn Heb “according to the house of their fathers.” The expression “house of the father” is a common expression for a family.

sn The Passover was to be a domestic institution. Each lamb was to be shared by family members.

334 tn Heb “house” (also at the beginning of the following verse).

335 sn Later Judaism ruled that “too small” meant fewer than ten (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 88).

336 tn The clause uses the comparative min (מִן) construction: יִמְעַט הַבַּיִת מִהְיֹת מִשֶּׂה (yimat habbayit mihyot miseh, “the house is small from being from a lamb,” or “too small for a lamb”). It clearly means that if there were not enough people in the household to have a lamb by themselves, they should join with another family. For the use of the comparative, see GKC 430 §133.c.

337 tn Heb “he and his neighbor”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

338 tn Heb “who is near to his house.”

339 tn The construction uses a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive after a conditional clause: “if the household is too small…then he and his neighbor will take.”

340 tn Heb “[every] man according to his eating.”

sn The reference is normally taken to mean whatever each person could eat. B. Jacob (Exodus, 299) suggests, however, that the reference may not be to each individual person’s appetite, but to each family. Each man who is the head of a household was to determine how much his family could eat, and this in turn would determine how many families shared the lamb.

341 tn The construction has: “[The] lamb…will be to you.” This may be interpreted as a possessive use of the lamed, meaning, “[the] lamb…you have” (your lamb) for the Passover. In the context instructing the people to take an animal for this festival, the idea is that the one they select, their animal, must meet these qualifications.

342 tn The Hebrew word תָּמִים (tamim) means “perfect” or “whole” or “complete” in the sense of not having blemishes and diseases – no physical defects. The rules for sacrificial animals applied here (see Lev 22:19-21; Deut 17:1).

343 tn The idiom says “a son of a year” (בֶּן־שָׁנָה, ben shanah), meaning a “yearling” or “one year old” (see GKC 418 §128.v).

344 tn Because a choice is being given in this last clause, the imperfect tense nuance of permission should be used. They must have a perfect animal, but it may be a sheep or a goat. The verb’s object “it” is supplied from the context.

345 tn The text has וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת (vÿhaya lakem lÿmishmeret, “and it will be for you for a keeping”). This noun stresses the activity of watching over or caring for something, probably to keep it in its proper condition for its designated use (see 16:23, 32-34).

346 tn Heb “all the assembly of the community.” This expression is a pleonasm. The verse means that everyone will kill the lamb, i.e., each family unit among the Israelites will kill its animal.

347 tn Heb “between the two evenings” or “between the two settings” (בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם, ben haarbayim). This expression has had a good deal of discussion. (1) Tg. Onq. says “between the two suns,” which the Talmud explains as the time between the sunset and the time the stars become visible. More technically, the first “evening” would be the time between sunset and the appearance of the crescent moon, and the second “evening” the next hour, or from the appearance of the crescent moon to full darkness (see Deut 16:6 – “at the going down of the sun”). (2) Saadia, Rashi, and Kimchi say the first evening is when the sun begins to decline in the west and cast its shadows, and the second evening is the beginning of night. (3) The view adopted by the Pharisees and the Talmudists (b. Pesahim 61a) is that the first evening is when the heat of the sun begins to decrease, and the second evening begins at sunset, or, roughly from 3-5 p.m. The Mishnah (m. Pesahim 5:1) indicates the lamb was killed about 2:30 p.m. – anything before noon was not valid. S. R. Driver concludes from this survey that the first view is probably the best, although the last view was the traditionally accepted one (Exodus, 89-90). Late afternoon or early evening seems to be intended, the time of twilight perhaps.

348 tn Heb “this night.”

349 sn Bread made without yeast could be baked quickly, not requiring time for the use of a leavening ingredient to make the dough rise. In Deut 16:3 the unleavened cakes are called “the bread of affliction,” which alludes to the alarm and haste of the Israelites. In later Judaism and in the writings of Paul, leaven came to be a symbol of evil or corruption, and so “unleavened bread” – bread made without yeast – was interpreted to be a picture of purity or freedom from corruption or defilement (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 90-91).

350 sn This ruling was to prevent their eating it just softened by the fire or partially roasted as differing customs might prescribe or allow.

351 tn Heb “your loins girded.”

352 tn The meaning of פֶּסַח (pesakh) is debated. (1) Some have tried to connect it to the Hebrew verb with the same radicals that means “to halt, leap, limp, stumble.” See 1 Kgs 18:26 where the word describes the priests of Baal hopping around the altar; also the crippled child in 2 Sam 4:4. (2) Others connect it to the Akkadian passahu, which means “to appease, make soft, placate”; or (3) an Egyptian word to commemorate the harvest (see J. B. Segal, The Hebrew Passover, 95-100). The verb occurs in Isa 31:5 with the connotation of “to protect”; B. S. Childs suggests that this was already influenced by the exodus tradition (Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 11). Whatever links there may or may not have been that show an etymology, in Exod 12 it is describing Yahweh’s passing over or through.

353 tn The verb וְעָבַרְתִּי (vÿavarti) is a Qal perfect with vav (ו) consecutive, announcing the future action of God in bringing judgment on the land. The word means “pass over, across, through.” This verb provides a contextual motive for the name “Passover.”

354 tn Heb “this night.”

355 tn The verb נָכָה (nakhah) means “to strike, smite, attack”; it does not always mean “to kill,” but that is obviously its outcome in this context. This is also its use in 2:12, describing how Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

356 tn Heb “from man and to beast.”

357 tn The phrase אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים (’eeseh shÿfatim) is “I will do judgments.” The statement clearly includes what had begun in Exod 6:1. But the statement that God would judge the gods of Egypt is appropriately introduced here (see also Num 33:4) because with the judgment on Pharaoh and the deliverance from bondage, Yahweh would truly show himself to be the one true God. Thus, “I am Yahweh” is fitting here (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 312).

358 tn Both of the verbs for seeing and passing over are perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives: וּפָסַחְתִּיוְרָאִיתִי (vÿraiti...ufasakhti); the first of these parallel verb forms is subordinated to the second as a temporal clause. See Gesenius’s description of perfect consecutives in the protasis and apodosis (GKC 494 §159.g).

359 tn The meaning of the verb is supplied in part from the near context of seeing the sign and omitting to destroy, as well as the verb at the start of verse 12 “pass through, by, over.” Isa 31:5 says, “Just as birds hover over a nest, so the Lord who commands armies will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it; as he passes over he will rescue it.” The word does not occur enough times to enable one to delineate a clear meaning. It is probably not the same word as “to limp” found in 1 Kgs 18:21, 26, unless there is a highly developed category of meaning there.

360 tn The word “plague” (נֶגֶף, negef) is literally “a blow” or “a striking.” It usually describes a calamity or affliction given to those who have aroused God’s anger, as in Exod 30:12; Num 8:19; 16:46, 47; Josh 22:17 (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 92-93).

361 tn Heb “for destruction.” The form מַשְׁחִית (mashkhit) is the Hiphil participle of שָׁחַת (shakhat). The word itself is a harsh term; it was used to describe Yahweh’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 13:10).

362 tn בְּהַכֹּתִי (bÿhakkoti) is the Hiphil infinitive construct from נָכָה (nakhah), with a preposition prefixed and a pronominal suffix added to serve as the subjective genitive – the subject of this temporal clause. It is also used in 12:12.

363 sn For additional discussions, see W. H. Elder, “The Passover,” RevExp 74 (1977): 511-22; E. Nutz, “The Passover,” BV 12 (1978): 23-28; H. M. Kamsler, “The Blood Covenant in the Bible,” Dor le Dor 6 (1977): 94-98; A. Rodriguez, Substitution in the Hebrew Cultus; B. Ramm, “The Theology of the Book of Exodus: A Reflection on Exodus 12:12,” SwJT 20 (1977): 59-68; and M. Gilula, “The Smiting of the First-Born: An Egyptian Myth?” TA 4 (1977): 94-85.

364 tn Heb “and this day will be.”

365 tn The expression “will be for a memorial” means “will become a memorial.”

sn The instruction for the unleavened bread (vv. 14-20) begins with the introduction of the memorial (זִכָּרוֹן [zikkaron] from זָכַר [zakhar]). The reference is to the fifteenth day of the month, the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. B. Jacob (Exodus, 315) notes that it refers to the death blow on Egypt, but as a remembrance had to be held on the next day, not during the night. He also notes that this was the origin of “the Day of the Lord” (“the Day of Yahweh”), which the prophets predicted as the day of the divine battle. On it the enemy would be wiped out. For further information, see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel (SBT). The point of the word “remember” in Hebrew is not simply a recollection of an event, but a reliving of it, a reactivating of its significance. In covenant rituals “remembrance” or “memorial” is designed to prompt God and worshiper alike to act in accordance with the covenant. Jesus brought the motif forward to the new covenant with “this do in remembrance of me.”

366 tn The verb וְחַגֹּתֶם (vÿkhaggotem), a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive to continue the instruction, is followed by the cognate accusative חַג (khag), for emphasis. As the wording implies and the later legislation required, this would involve a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Yahweh.

367 tn Two expressions show that this celebration was to be kept perpetually: the line has “for your generations, [as] a statute forever.” “Generations” means successive generations (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94). עוֹלָם (’olam) means “ever, forever, perpetual” – no end in sight.

368 tn This expression is an adverbial accusative of time. The feast was to last from the 15th to the 21st of the month.

369 tn Or “you will eat.” The statement stresses their obligation – they must eat unleavened bread and avoid all leaven.

370 tn The etymology of מַצּוֹת (matsot, “unleavened bread,” i.e., “bread made without yeast”) is uncertain. Suggested connections to known verbs include “to squeeze, press,” “to depart, go out,” “to ransom,” or to an Egyptian word “food, cake, evening meal.” For a more detailed study of “unleavened bread” and related matters such as “yeast” or “leaven,” see A. P. Ross, NIDOTTE 4:448-53.

371 tn The particle serves to emphasize, not restrict here (B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 15).

372 tn Heb “every eater of leavened bread.” The participial phrase stands at the beginning of the clause as a casus pendens, that is, it stands grammatically separate from the sentence. It names a condition, the contingent occurrences of which involve a further consequence (GKC 361 §116.w).

373 tn The verb וְנִכְרְתָה (vÿnikhrÿtah) is the Niphal perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it is a common formula in the Law for divine punishment. Here, in sequence to the idea that someone might eat bread made with yeast, the result would be that “that soul [the verb is feminine] will be cut off.” The verb is the equivalent of the imperfect tense due to the consecutive; a translation with a nuance of the imperfect of possibility (“may be cut off”) fits better perhaps than a specific future. There is the real danger of being cut off, for while the punishment might include excommunication from the community, the greater danger was in the possibility of divine intervention to root out the evildoer (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94). Gesenius lists this as the use of a perfect with a vav consecutive after a participle (a casus pendens) to introduce the apodosis (GKC 337 §112.mm).

sn In Lev 20:3, 5-6, God speaks of himself as cutting off a person from among the Israelites. The rabbis mentioned premature death and childlessness as possible judgments in such cases, and N. M. Sarna comments that “one who deliberately excludes himself from the religious community of Israel cannot be a beneficiary of the covenantal blessings” (Exodus [JPSTC], 58).

374 sn This refers to an assembly of the people at the sanctuary for religious purposes. The word “convocation” implies that the people were called together, and Num 10:2 indicates they were called together by trumpets.

375 tn Heb “all/every work will not be done.” The word refers primarily to the work of one’s occupation. B. Jacob (Exodus, 322) explains that since this comes prior to the fuller description of laws for Sabbaths and festivals, the passage simply restricts all work except for the preparation of food. Once the laws are added, this qualification is no longer needed. Gesenius translates this as “no manner of work shall be done” (GKC 478-79 §152.b).

376 tn Heb “on the bone of this day.” The expression means “the substance of the day,” the day itself, the very day (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 95).

377 tn The word is “armies” or “divisions” (see Exod 6:26 and the note there; cf. also 7:4). The narrative will continue to portray Israel as a mighty army, marching forth in its divisions.

378 tn See Exod 12:14.

379 tn “month” has been supplied.

380 tn “Seven days” is an adverbial accusative of time (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12, §56).

381 tn The term is נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), often translated “soul.” It refers to the whole person, the soul within the body. The noun is feminine, agreeing with the feminine verb “be cut off.”

382 tn Or “alien”; or “stranger.”

383 tn Heb “draw out and take.” The verb has in view the need “to draw out” a lamb or goat selected from among the rest of the flock.

384 tn The Hebrew noun is singular and can refer to either a lamb or a goat. Since English has no common word for both, the phrase “a lamb or young goat” is used in the translation.

385 tn The word “animals” is added to avoid giving the impression in English that the Passover festival itself is the object of “kill.”

386 sn The hyssop is a small bush that grows throughout the Sinai, probably the aromatic herb Origanum Maru L., or Origanum Aegyptiacum. The plant also grew out of the walls in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 4:33). See L. Baldensperger and G. M. Crowfoot, “Hyssop,” PEQ 63 (1931): 89-98. A piece of hyssop was also useful to the priests because it worked well for sprinkling.

387 tn The Greek and the Vulgate translate סַף (saf, “basin”) as “threshold.” W. C. Kaiser reports how early traditions grew up about the killing of the lamb on the threshold (“Exodus,” EBC 2:376).

388 tn Heb “and you, you shall not go out, a man from the door of his house.” This construction puts stress on prohibiting absolutely everyone from going out.

389 tn The first of the two clauses begun with perfects and vav consecutives may be subordinated to form a temporal clause: “and he will see…and he will pass over,” becomes “when he sees…he will pass over.”

390 tn Here the form is the Hiphil participle with the definite article. Gesenius says this is now to be explained as “the destroyer” although some take it to mean “destruction” (GKC 406 §126.m, n. 1).

391 tn “you” has been supplied.

392 tn The verb used here and at the beginning of v. 24 is שָׁמַר (shamar); it can be translated “watch, keep, protect,” but in this context the point is to “observe” the religious customs and practices set forth in these instructions.

393 tn Heb “what is this service to you?”

394 sn This expression “the sacrifice of Yahweh’s Passover” occurs only here. The word זֶבַח (zevakh) means “slaughtering” and so a blood sacrifice. The fact that this word is used in Lev 3 for the peace offering has linked the Passover as a kind of peace offering, and both the Passover and the peace offerings were eaten as communal meals.

395 tn The verb means “to strike, smite, plague”; it is the same verb that has been used throughout this section (נָגַף, nagaf). Here the construction is the infinitive construct in a temporal clause.

396 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys: “and the people bowed down and they worshiped.” The words are synonymous, and so one is taken as the adverb for the other.

397 tn Heb “went away and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.” The final phrase “so they did,” which is somewhat redundant in English, has been represented in the translation by the adverb “exactly.”

398 sn The next section records the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and so becomes the turning point of the book. Verses 28 and 29 could be included in the exposition of the previous section as the culmination of that part. The message might highlight God’s requirement for deliverance from bondage through the application of the blood of the sacrifice, God’s instruction for the memorial of deliverance through the purging of corruption, and the compliance of those who believed the message. But these verses also form the beginning of this next section (and so could be used transitionally). This unit includes the judgment on Egypt (29-30), the exodus from Egypt (31-39) and the historical summation and report (40-42).

399 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), often translated “and it came to pass.” Here it could be left untranslated: “In the middle of the night Yahweh attacked.” The word order of the next and main clause furthers the emphasis by means of the vav disjunctive on the divine name preceding the verb. The combination of these initial and disjunctive elements helps to convey the suddenness of the attack, while its thoroughness is stressed by the repetition of “firstborn” in the rest of the verse, the merism (“from the firstborn of Pharaoh…to the firstborn of the captive”), and the mention of cattle.

400 tn Heb “arose,” the verb קוּם (qum) in this context certainly must describe a less ceremonial act. The entire country woke up in terror because of the deaths.

401 tn The noun is an adverbial accusative of time – “in the night” or “at night.”

402 sn Or so it seemed. One need not push this description to complete literalness. The reference would be limited to houses that actually had firstborn people or animals. In a society in which households might include more than one generation of humans and animals, however, the presence of a firstborn human or animal would be the rule rather than the exception.

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

404 tn The urgency in Pharaoh’s words is caught by the abrupt use of the imperatives – “get up, go” (קוּמוּ צְּאוּ, qumu tsÿu), and “go, serve” (וּלְכוּ עִבְדוּ, ulÿkhuivdu) and “take” and “leave/go” (וָלֵכוּקְחוּ, qÿkhu...valekhu).

405 tn Heb “as you have said.” The same phrase also occurs in the following verse.

sn It appears from this clause that Pharaoh has given up attempting to impose restrictions as he had earlier. With the severe judgment on him for his previous refusals he should now know that these people are no longer his subjects, and he is no longer sovereign. As Moses had insisted, all the Israelites would leave, and with all their possessions, to worship Yahweh.

406 tn The form is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive (וּבֵרַכְתֶּם, uverakhtem); coming in the sequence of imperatives this perfect tense would be volitional – probably a request rather than a command.

sn Pharaoh probably meant that they should bless him also when they were sacrificing to Yahweh in their religious festival – after all, he might reason, he did let them go (after divine judgment). To bless him would mean to invoke good gifts from God for him.

407 tn The verb used here (חָזַק, khazaq) is the same verb used for Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. It conveys the idea of their being resolved or insistent in this – they were not going to change.

408 tn The phrase uses two construct infinitives in a hendiadys, the first infinitive becoming the modifier.

409 tn The imperfect tense after the adverb טֶרֶם (terem) is to be treated as a preterite: “before it was leavened,” or “before the yeast was added.” See GKC 314-15 §107.c.

410 tn The verbs “had done” and then “had asked” were accomplished prior to the present narrative (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 99). The verse begins with disjunctive word order to introduce the reminder of earlier background information.

411 tn Heb “from Egypt.” Here the Hebrew text uses the name of the country to represent the inhabitants (a figure known as metonymy).

412 tn The holy name (“Yahweh,” represented as “the Lord” in the translation) has the vav disjunctive with it. It may have the force: “Now it was Yahweh who gave the people favor….”

413 sn God was destroying the tyrant and his nobles and the land’s economy because of their stubborn refusal. But God established friendly, peaceful relations between his people and the Egyptians. The phrase is used outside Exod only in Gen 39:21, referring to Joseph.

414 tn The verb וַיַּשְׁאִלוּם (vayyashilum) is a Hiphil form that has the root שָׁאַל (shaal), used earlier in Qal with the meaning “requested” (12:35). The verb here is frequently translated “and they lent them,” but lending does not fit the point. What they gave the Israelites were farewell gifts sought by demanding or asking for them. This may exemplify a “permissive” use of the Hiphil stem, in which “the Hiphil designates an action that is agreeable to the object and allowed by the subject” (B. T. Arnold and J. H. Choi, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, 52).

415 sn See B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians; A Critical Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69.

416 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel journeyed.”

417 sn The wilderness itinerary begins here. W. C. Kaiser records the identification of these two places as follows: The name Rameses probably refers to Qantir rather than Tanis, which is more remote, because Qantir was by the water; Sukkoth is identified as Tell el Maskhuta in the Wadi Tumilat near modern Ismailia – or the region around the city (“Exodus,” EBC 2:379). Of the extensive bibliography, see G. W. Coats, “The Wilderness Itinerary,” CBQ 34 (1972): 135-52; G. I. Davies, “The Wilderness Itineraries: A Comparative Study,” TynBul 25 (1974): 46-81; and J. T. Walsh, “From Egypt to Moab. A Source Critical Analysis of the Wilderness Itinerary,” CBQ 39 (1977): 20-33.

418 tn The word for “men” (הַגְּבָרִים, haggÿvarim) stresses their hardiness and capability – strong men, potential soldiers – in contrast with the word that follows and designates noncombatants.

sn There have been many attempts to calculate the population of the exodus group, but nothing in the text gives the exact number other than the 600,000 people on foot who were men. Estimates of two million people are very large, especially since the Bible says there were seven nations in the land of Canaan mightier than Israel. It is probably not two million people (note, the Bible never said it was – this is calculated by scholars). But attempts to reduce the number by redefining the word “thousand” to mean clan or tribe or family unit have not been convincing, primarily because of all the tabulations of the tribes in the different books of the Bible that have to be likewise reduced. B. Jacob (Exodus, 347) rejects the many arguments and calculations as the work of eighteenth century deists and rationalists, arguing that the numbers were taken seriously in the text. Some writers interpret the numbers as inflated due to a rhetorical use of numbers, arriving at a number of 60,000 or so for the men here listed (reducing it by a factor of ten), and insisting this is a literal interpretation of the text as opposed to a spiritual or allegorical approach (see R. Allen, “Numbers,” EBC 2:686-96; see also G. Mendenhall, “The Census Lists of Numbers 1 and 26,” JBL 77 [1958]: 52-66). This proposal removes the “embarrassingly” large number for the exodus, but like other suggestions, lacks completely compelling evidence. For a more extensive discussion of the large numbers used to describe the Israelites in their wilderness experience, see the note on “46,500” in Num 1:21.

419 tn For more on this word see 10:10 and 24.

420 tn The “mixed multitude” (עֵרֶב רַב, ’erev rav) refers to a great “swarm” (see a possible cognate in 8:21[17]) of folk who joined the Israelites, people who were impressed by the defeat of Egypt, who came to faith, or who just wanted to escape Egypt (maybe slaves or descendants of the Hyksos). The expression prepares for later references to riffraff who came along.

421 tn Heb “and very much cattle.”

422 sn For the use of this word in developing the motif, see Exod 2:17, 22; 6:1; and 11:1.

423 tn Heb “and also.”

424 tn The verb is עָשׂוּ (’asu, “they made”); here, with a potential nuance, it is rendered “they could [not] prepare.”

425 sn Here as well some scholars work with the number 430 to try to reduce the stay in Egypt for the bondage. Some argue that if the number included the time in Canaan, that would reduce the bondage by half. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 102) notes that P thought Moses was the fourth generation from Jacob (6:16-27), if those genealogies are not selective. Exodus 6 has Levi – Kohath – Amram – Moses. This would require a period of about 100 years, and that is unusual. There is evidence, however, that the list is selective. In 1 Chr 2:3-20 the text has Bezalel (see Exod 31:2-5) a contemporary of Moses and yet the seventh from Judah. Elishama, a leader of the Ephraimites (Num 10:22), was in the ninth generation from Jacob (1 Chr 7:22-26). Joshua, Moses’ assistant, was the eleventh from Jacob (1 Chr 7:27). So the “four generations” leading up to Moses are not necessarily complete. With regard to Exod 6, K. A. Kitchen has argued that the four names do not indicate successive generations, but tribe (Levi), clan (Kohath), family (Amram), and individual (Moses; K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, 54-55). For a detailed discussion of the length of the sojourn, see E. H. Merrill, A Kingdom of Priests, 75-79.

426 sn This military term is used elsewhere in Exodus (e.g., 6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 50), but here the Israelites are called “the regiments of the Lord.”

427 tn There is some ambiguity in לֵיל שִׁמֻּרִים הוּא לַיהוָה (lel shimmurim hu’ la’adonay [layhveh]). It is likely that this first clause means that Yahweh was on watch for Israel to bring them out, as the next clause says. He was protecting his people (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 102). Then, the night of vigil will be transferred to Israel, who now must keep it “to” him.

428 tn “and so” has been supplied.

429 tn Heb “this night is for Yahweh a vigil for all Israelites for their generations.”

430 sn The section that concludes the chapter contains regulations pertaining to the Passover. The section begins at v. 43, but vv. 40-42 form a good setting for it. In this unit vv. 43-45 belong together because they stress that a stranger and foreigner cannot eat. Verse 46 stands by itself, ruling that the meal must be eaten at home. Verse 47 instructs that the whole nation was to eat it. Verses 48-49 make provision for foreigners who may wish to participate. And vv. 50-51 record the obedience of Israel.

431 tn This taken in the modal nuance of permission, reading that no foreigner is permitted to share in it (apart from being a member of the household as a circumcised slave [v. 44] or obeying v. 48, if a free individual).

432 tn This is the partitive use of the bet (ב) preposition, expressing that the action extends to something and includes the idea of participation in it (GKC 380 §119.m).

433 tn Both the participle “foreigner” and the verb “lives” are from the verb גּוּר (gur), which means “to sojourn, to dwell as an alien.” This reference is to a foreigner who settles in the land. He is the protected foreigner; when he comes to another area where he does not have his clan to protect him, he must come under the protection of the Law, or the people. If the “resident alien” is circumcised, he may participate in the Passover (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 104).

434 tn The infinitive absolute functions as the finite verb here, and “every male” could be either the object or the subject (see GKC 347 §113.gg and 387 §121.a).

435 tn אֶזְרָח (’ezrakh) refers to the native-born individual, the native Israelite as opposed to the “stranger, alien” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 104); see also W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 127, 210.

436 tn Heb “one law will be to.”

437 tn Heb “did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.” The final phrase “so they did,” which is somewhat redundant in English, has been represented in the translation by the adverb “exactly.”

438 sn This next section seems a little confusing at first glance: vv. 1 and 2 call for the dedication of the firstborn, then vv. 3-10 instruct concerning the ritual of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then vv. 11-16 return to the firstborn. B. Jacob (Exodus, 360) explains that vv. 3-16 contain a sermon, in which Moses “began his speech by reminding the people of the events which had just occurred and how they would be recalled by them in the future,” and then he explained the rulings that went along with it. So the first two verses state the core of the sermon, a new command calling for the redeemed (firstborn) to be sanctified. The second portion stresses that God requires the redeemed to remember their redemption by purifying themselves (3-10). The third section (11-16) develops the theme of dedication to Yahweh. The point is that in view of God’s mighty redemption, the redeemed (represented by the firstborn) must be set apart for Yahweh’s service.

439 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke.”

440 tn The verb “sanctify” is the Piel imperative of קָדַשׁ (qadash). In the Qal stem it means “be holy, be set apart, be distinct,” and in this stem “sanctify, set apart.”

sn Here is the central principle of the chapter – the firstborn were sacred to God and must be “set apart” (the meaning of the verb “sanctify”) for his use.

441 tn The word פֶּטֶּר (petter) means “that which opens”; this construction literally says, “that which opens every womb,” which means “the first offspring of every womb.” Verses 12 and 15 further indicate male offspring.

442 tn Heb “to me it.” The preposition here expresses possession; the construction is simply “it [is, belongs] to me.”

443 tn The form is the infinitive absolute of זָכַר (zakhar, “remember”). The use of this form in place of the imperative (also found in the Decalogue with the Sabbath instruction) stresses the basic meaning of the root word, everything involved with remembering (emphatic imperative, according to GKC 346 §113.bb). The verb usually implies that there will be proper action based on what was remembered.

sn There is a pattern in the arrangement of vv. 3-10 and 11-16. Both sections contain commands based on the mighty deliverance as reminders of the deliverance. “With a mighty hand” occurs in vv. 3, 9, 14, 16. An explanation to the son is found in vv. 8 and 14. The emphases “sign on your hand” and “between your eyes” are part of the conclusions to both halves (vv. 9, 16).

444 tn Heb “from a house of slaves.” “House” is obviously not meant to be literal; it indicates a location characterized by slavery, a land of slaves, as if they were in a slave house. Egypt is also called an “iron-smelting furnace” (Deut 4:20).

445 tn Heb “from this” [place].

446 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; it could be rendered “must not be eaten” in the nuance of the instruction or injunction category, but permission fits this sermonic presentation very well – nothing with yeast may be eaten.

447 tn The word הַיּוֹם (hayyom) means literally “the day, today, this day.” In this sentence it functions as an adverbial accusative explaining when the event took place.

448 sn Abib appears to be an old name for the month, meaning something like “[month of] fresh young ears” (Lev 2:14 [Heb]) (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 106). B. Jacob (Exodus, 364) explains that these names were not precise designations, but general seasons based on the lunar year in the agricultural setting.

449 tn The form is the active participle, functioning verbally.

450 tn Heb “and it will be when.”

451 tn See notes on Exod 3:8.

452 tn The verb is וְעָבַדְתָּ (vÿavadta), the Qal perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive. It is the equivalent of the imperfect tense of instruction or injunction; it forms the main point after the temporal clause – “when Yahweh brings you out…then you will serve.”

453 tn The object is a cognate accusative for emphasis on the meaning of the service – “you will serve this service.” W. C. Kaiser notes how this noun was translated “slavery” and “work” in the book, but “service” or “ceremony” for Yahweh. Israel was saved from slavery to Egypt into service for God as remembered by this ceremony (“Exodus,” EBC 2:383).

454 tn Heb “Seven days.”

455 tn The imperfect tense functions with the nuance of instruction or injunction. It could also be given an obligatory nuance: “you must eat” or “you are to eat.” Some versions have simply made it an imperative.

456 tn The phrase “there is to be” has been supplied.

457 tn The imperfect has the nuance of instruction or injunction again, but it could also be given an obligatory nuance.

458 tn The construction is an adverbial accusative of time, answering how long the routine should be followed (see GKC 374 §118.k).

459 tn Or “visible to you” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 366).

460 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence forward: “and you will declare to your son.”

sn A very important part of the teaching here is the manner in which the memory of the deliverance will be retained in Israel – they were to teach their children the reasons for the feast, as a binding law forever. This will remind the nation of its duties to Yahweh in gratitude for the great deliverance.

461 tn Heb “day, saying.” “Tell…saying” is redundant, so “saying” has not been included in the translation here.

462 tn “it is” has been supplied.

463 tn The text uses זֶה (zeh), which Gesenius classifies as the use of the pronoun to introduce a relative clause after the preposition (GKC 447 §138.h) – but he thinks the form is corrupt. B. S. Childs, however, sees no reason to posit a corruption in this form (Exodus [OTL], 184).

464 sn This passage has, of course, been taken literally by many devout Jews, and portions of the text have been encased in phylacteries and bound on the arm and forehead. B. Jacob (Exodus, 368), weighing the pros and cons of the literal or the figurative meaning, says that those who took it literally should not be looked down on for their symbolic work. In many cases, he continues, it is the spirit that kills and the letter makes alive – because people who argue against a literal usage do so to excuse lack of action. This is a rather interesting twist in the discussion. The point of the teaching was obviously meant to keep the Law of Yahweh in the minds of the people, to remind them of their duties.

465 tn That is, this ceremony.

466 tn Heb “for a sign.”

467 tn Heb “for a memorial.”

468 tn Heb “between your eyes” (KJV and ASV both similar); the same expression occurs in v. 16.

sn That these festivals and consecrations were to be signs and memorials is akin to the expressions used in the book of Proverbs (Prov 3:3, “bind them around your neck…write them on your heart”). The people were to use the festivals as outward and visible tokens to remind them to obey what the Law required.

469 tn The purpose of using this ceremony as a sign and a memorial is that the Law might be in their mouth. The imperfect tense, then, receives the classification of final imperfect in the purpose clause.

470 sn “Mouth” is a metonymy of cause; the point is that they should be ever talking about the Law as their guide as they go about their duties (see Deut 6:7; 11:19; Josh 1:8).

471 tn This causal clause gives the reason for what has just been instructed. Because Yahweh delivered them from bondage, he has the strongest claims on their life.

472 tn The form is a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive, functioning as the equivalent of an imperfect of instruction or injunction.

473 tn Or “every year,” or “year after year.”

474 tn Heb “and it will be when Yahweh brings (will bring) you.”

475 sn The name “the Canaanite” (and so collective for “Canaanites”) is occasionally used to summarize all the list of Canaanitish tribes that lived in the land.

476 tn The verb וּנְתָנָהּ (unÿtanah) is the Qal perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; this is in sequence to the preceding verb, and forms part of the protasis, the temporal clause. The main clause is the instruction in the next verse.

477 tn The unusual choice of words in this passage reflects the connection with the deliverance of the firstborn in the exodus when the Lord passed over the Israelites (12:12, 23). Here the Law said, “you will cause to pass over (וְהַעֲבַרְתָּ, vÿhaavarta) to Yahweh.” The Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) provides the main clause after the temporal clauses. Yahweh here claimed the firstborn as his own. The remarkable thing about this is that Yahweh did not keep the firstborn that was dedicated to him, but allowed the child to be redeemed by his father. It was an acknowledgment that the life of the child belonged to God as the one redeemed from death, and that the child represented the family. Thus, the observance referred to the dedication of all the redeemed to God.

sn It was once assumed by some scholars that child sacrifice lay behind this text in the earlier days, but that the priests and prophets removed those themes. Apart from the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for anything like that, the Law forbade child sacrifice, and always used child sacrifice as the sample of what not to do in conformity with the pagans (e.g., Deut 12:31). Besides, how absurd would it be for Yahweh to redeem the firstborn from death and then ask Israel to kill them. See further B. Jacob, Exodus, 371.

478 tn Heb “every opener of a womb,” that is, the firstborn from every womb.

479 tn The descriptive noun שֶׁגֶר (sheger) is related to the verb “drop, cast”; it refers to a newly born animal that is dropped or cast from the womb. The expression then reads, “and all that first open [the womb], the casting of a beast.”

480 tn Heb “that is to you.” The preposition expresses possession.

481 tn The Hebrew text simply has “the males to Yahweh.” It indicates that the Lord must have them, or they belong to the Lord.

482 tn Heb “and every opener [of a womb].”

483 tn The verb תִּפְדֶּה (tifdeh), the instructional imperfect, refers to the idea of redemption by paying a cost. This word is used regularly of redeeming a person, or an animal, from death or servitude (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 109).

484 tn The conditional clause uses an imperfect tense; this is followed by a perfect tense with the vav consecutive providing the obligation or instruction. The owner might not redeem the donkey, but if he did not, he could not keep it, he had to kill it by breaking its neck (so either a lamb for it, or the donkey itself). The donkey could not be killed by shedding blood because that would make it a sacrifice, and that was not possible with this kind of animal. See G. Brin, “The Firstling of Unclean Animals,” JQR 68 (1977): 1-15.

485 tn Heb “and every firstborn of man among your sons.” The addition of “man” is clearly meant to distinguish firstborn humans from animals.

sn One was to sacrifice the firstborn animals to Yahweh, but the children were to be redeemed by their fathers. The redemption price was five shekels (Num 18:15-16).

486 sn As with v. 8, the Law now requires that the children be instructed on the meaning of this observance. It is a memorial of the deliverance from bondage and the killing of the firstborn in Egypt.

487 tn Heb “tomorrow.”

488 tn Heb “and it will be when your son will ask you.”

489 tn The question is cryptic; it simply says, “What is this?” but certainly refers to the custom just mentioned. It asks, “What does this mean?” or “Why do we do this?”

490 tn The expression is “with strength of hand,” making “hand” the genitive of specification. In translation “strength” becomes the modifier, because “hand” specifies where the strength was. But of course the whole expression is anthropomorphic for the power of God.

491 tn Heb “house of slaves.”

492 tn Heb “dealt hardly in letting us go” or “made it hard to let us go” (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 110). The verb is the simple Hiphil perfect הִקְשָׁה (hiqshah, “he made hard”); the infinitive construct לְשַׁלְּחֵנוּ (lÿshallÿkhenu, “to release us”) could be taken epexegetically, meaning “he made releasing us hard.” But the infinitive more likely gives the purpose or the result after the verb “hardened himself.” The verb is figurative for “be stubborn” or “stubbornly refuse.”

493 tn The text uses “man” and “beast.”

494 tn The form is the active participle.

495 tn The word is טוֹטָפֹת (totafot, “frontlets”). The etymology is uncertain, but the word denotes a sign or an object placed on the forehead (see m. Shabbat 6:1). The Gemara interprets it as a band that goes from ear to ear. In the Targum to 2 Sam 1:10 it is an armlet worn by Saul (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 110). These bands may have resembled the Egyptian practice of wearing as amulets “forms of words written on folds of papyrus tightly rolled up and sewn in linen” (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:384).

496 sn The pattern of the passage now emerges more clearly; it concerns the grateful debt of the redeemed. In the first part eating the unleavened bread recalls the night of deliverance in Egypt, and it calls for purity. In the second part the dedication of the firstborn was an acknowledgment of the deliverance of the firstborn from bondage. They were to remember the deliverance and choose purity; they were to remember the deliverance and choose dedication. The NT will also say, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price, therefore, glorify God” (1 Cor 6:20). Here too the truths of God’s great redemption must be learned well and retained well from generation to generation.

497 sn This short section (vv. 17-22) marks the beginning of the journey of the Israelites toward the sea and Sinai. The emphasis here is on the leading of Yahweh – but this leading is manifested in a unique, supernatural way – unlikely to be repeated with these phenomena. Although a primary application of such a passage would be difficult, the general principle is clear: God, by his clear revelation, leads his people to the fulfillment of the promise. This section has three short parts: the leading to the sea (17-18), the bones of Joseph (19), and the leading by the cloud and pillar (20-22).

498 tn The construction for this temporal clause is the temporal indicator with the vav (ו) consecutive, the Piel infinitive construct with a preposition, and then the subjective genitive “Pharaoh.”

499 sn The verb נָחָה (nakhah, “to lead”) is a fairly common word in the Bible for God’s leading of his people (as in Ps 23:3 for leading in the paths of righteousness). This passage illustrates what others affirm, that God leads his people in a way that is for their own good. There were shorter routes to take, but the people were not ready for them.

500 tn The word “way” is an adverbial accusative, providing the location for the verb “lead”; it is in construct so that “land of the Philistines” is a genitive of either indirect object (“to the land”) or location (“in” or “through” the land).

501 sn The term Philistines has been viewed by modern scholarship as an anachronism, since the Philistines were not believed to have settled in the region until the reign of Rameses III (in which case the term would not fit either the early or the late view of the exodus). But the OT clearly refers to Philistines in the days of the patriarchs. The people there in the earlier period may have been Semites, judging from their names, or they may have been migrants from Crete in the early time. The Philistines after the exodus were of Greek origin. The danger of warfare at this time was clearly with Canaanitish tribes. For further details, see K. A. Kitchen, “The Philistines,” Peoples of Old Testament Times, 53-54; J. M. Grintz, “The Immigration of the First Philistines in the Inscriptions,” Tarbiz 17 (1945): 32-42, and Tarbiz 19 (1947): 64; and E. Hindson, The Philistines and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1970), 39-59.

502 tn The particle כִּי (ki) introduces a concessive clause here (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §448).

503 tn Or “thought.”

504 tn Before a clause this conjunction פֶּן (pen) expresses fear or precaution (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 75-76, §461). It may be translated “lest, else,” or “what if.”

505 tn יִנָּחֵם (yinnakhem) is the Niphal imperfect of נָחַם (nakham); it would normally be translated “repent” or “relent.” This nontheological usage gives a good illustration of the basic meaning of having a change of mind or having regrets.

506 tn Heb “see.”

507 tn The Hebrew term יַם־סוּף (Yam Suf) cannot be a genitive (“wilderness of the Red Sea”) because it follows a noun that is not in construct; instead, it must be an adverbial accusative, unless it is simply joined by apposition to “the wilderness” – the way to the wilderness [and] to the Red Sea (B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 217).

sn The translation of this name as “Red Sea” comes from the sea’s Greek name in the LXX and elsewhere. The Red Sea on today’s maps is farther south, below the Sinai Peninsula. But the title Red Sea in ancient times may very well have covered both the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba (see Deut 1:1; 1 Kgs 9:26). The name “Sea of Reeds” in various English versions (usually in the form of a marginal note) and commentaries reflects the meaning of the Hebrew word סוּף a word for reedy water plants (Exod 2:3, 5; Isa 19:6; Jonah 2:6 [Eng. v. 5]) that may have a connection with an Egyptian word used for papyrus and other marsh plants. On this basis some have taken the term Yam Suph as perhaps referring to Lake Menzaleh or Lake Ballah, which have abundant reeds, north of the extension of the Red Sea on the western side of Sinai. Whatever exact body of water is meant, it was not merely a marshy swamp that the people waded through, but a body of water large enough to make passage impossible without divine intervention, and deep enough to drown the Egyptian army. Lake Menzaleh has always been deep enough to preclude passage on foot (E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 66). Among the many sources dealing with the geography, see B. F. Batto, “The Reed Sea: Requiescat in Pace,” JBL 102 (1983): 27-35; M. Waxman, “I Miss the Red Sea,” Conservative Judaism 18 (1963): 35-44; G. Coats, “The Sea Tradition in the Wilderness Theme: A Review,” JSOT 12 (1979): 2-8; and K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 261-63.

508 tn The term חֲמֻשִׁים (khamushim) is placed first for emphasis; it forms a circumstantial clause, explaining how they went up. Unfortunately, it is a rare word with uncertain meaning. Most translations have something to do with “in battle array” or “prepared to fight” if need be (cf. Josh 1:14; 4:12). The Targum took it as “armed with weapons.” The LXX had “in the fifth generation.” Some have opted for “in five divisions.”

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

510 tn Heb “solemnly swear, saying” (so NASB). The construction uses the Hiphil infinitive absolute with the Hiphil perfect to stress that Joseph had made them take a solemn oath to carry his bones out of Egypt. “Saying” introduces the content of what Joseph said.

511 sn This verb appears also in 3:16 and 4:31. The repetition here is a reminder that God was doing what he had said he would do and what Joseph had expected.

512 tn The form is a Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it follows in the sequence of the imperfect tense before it, and so is equal to an imperfect of injunction (because of the solemn oath). Israel took Joseph’s bones with them as a sign of piety toward the past and as a symbol of their previous bond with Canaan (B. Jacob, Exodus, 380).

513 sn God chose to guide the people with a pillar of cloud in the day and one of fire at night, or, as a pillar of cloud and fire, since they represented his presence. God had already appeared to Moses in the fire of the bush, and so here again is revelation with fire. Whatever the exact nature of these things, they formed direct, visible revelations from God, who was guiding the people in a clear and unambiguous way. Both clouds and fire would again and again represent the presence of God in his power and majesty, guiding and protecting his people, by judging their enemies.

514 tn The infinitive construct here indicates the result of these manifestations – “so that they went” or “could go.”

515 tn These are adverbial accusatives of time.

516 sn See T. W. Mann, “The Pillar of Cloud in the Reed Sea Narrative,” JBL 90 (1971): 15-30.

517 sn The account recorded in this chapter is one of the best known events in all of Scripture. In the argument of the book it marks the division between the bondage in Egypt and the establishment of the people as a nation. Here is the deliverance from Egypt. The chapter divides simply in two, vv. 1-14 giving the instructions, and vv. 15-31 reporting the victory. See among others, G. Coats, “History and Theology in the Sea Tradition,” ST 29 (1975): 53-62); A. J. Ehlen, “Deliverance at the Sea: Diversity and Unity in a Biblical Theme,” CTM 44 (1973): 168-91; J. B. Scott, “God’s Saving Acts,” The Presbyterian Journal 38 (1979): 12-14; W. Wifall, “The Sea of Reeds as Sheol,” ZAW 92 (1980): 325-32.

518 tn The two imperfects follow the imperative and therefore express purpose. The point in the verses is that Yahweh was giving the orders for the direction of the march and the encampment by the sea.

519 sn The places have been tentatively identified. W. C. Kaiser summarizes the suggestions that Pi-Hahiroth as an Egyptian word may mean “temple of the [Syrian god] Hrt” or “The Hir waters of the canal” or “The Dwelling of Hator” (“Exodus,” EBC 2:387; see the literature on these names, including C. DeWit, The Date and Route of the Exodus, 17).

520 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will say.”

521 sn The word translated “wandering around confused” indicates that Pharaoh thought the Israelites would be so perplexed and confused that they would not know which way to turn in order to escape – and they would never dream of crossing the sea (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 115).

522 tn The expression has also been translated “the desert has shut [the way] for them,” and more freely “[the Israelites are] hemmed in by the desert.”

523 tn In this place the verb חָזַק (hazaq) is used; it indicates that God would make Pharaoh’s will strong or firm.

524 tn The form is וְאִכָּבְדָה (vÿikkavÿda), the Niphal cohortative; coming after the perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives expressing the future, this cohortative indicates the purpose of the hardening and chasing. Yahweh intended to gain glory by this final and great victory over the strength of Pharaoh. There is irony in this expression since a different form of the word was used frequently to describe Pharaoh’s hard heart. So judgment will not only destroy the wicked – it will reveal the glory and majesty of the sovereignty of God.

525 tn This is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive. But it announces the fulfillment of an long standing purpose – that they might know.

526 tn Heb “and they did so.”

527 tn Heb “and it was told.” The present translation uses “reported,” since this involves information given to a superior.

528 tn The verb must be given a past perfect translation because the fleeing occurred before the telling.

529 tn Heb “and they said.” The referent (the king and his servants) is supplied for clarity.

530 tn The question literally is “What is this we have done?” The demonstrative pronoun is used as an enclitic particle for emphasis (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).

531 tn Heb “released Israel.” By metonymy the name of the nation is used collectively for the people who constitute it (the Israelites).

532 tn Heb “bound.”

533 tn Heb “his people.”

534 tn The passive participle of the verb “to choose” means that these were “choice” or superb chariots.

535 tn Heb “every chariot of Egypt.” After the mention of the best chariots, the meaning of this description is “all the other chariots.”

536 tn The word שָׁלִשִׁם (shalishim) means “officers” or some special kind of military personnel. At one time it was taken to mean a “three man chariot,” but the pictures of Egyptian chariots only show two in a chariot. It may mean officers near the king, “men of the third rank” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 394). So the chariots and the crew represented the elite. See the old view by A. E. Cowley that linked it to a Hittite word (“A Hittite Word in Hebrew,” JTS 21 [1920]: 326), and the more recent work by P. C. Craigie connecting it to Egyptian “commander” (“An Egyptian Expression in the Song of the Sea: Exodus XV.4,” VT 20 [1970]: 85).

537 tn Heb “with a high hand”; the expression means “defiantly,” “boldly,” or “with confidence.” The phrase is usually used for arrogant sin and pride, the defiant fist, as it were. The image of the high hand can also mean the hand raised to deliver a blow (Job 38:15). So the narrative here builds tension between these two resolute forces.

538 tn The disjunctive vav introduces a circumstantial clause here.

539 tn Heb “drew near.”

540 tn Heb “lifted up their eyes,” an expression that indicates an intentional and careful looking – they looked up and fixed their sights on the distance.

541 tn The construction uses הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the participle, traditionally rendered “and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them.” The deictic particle calls attention in a dramatic way to what was being seen. It captures the surprise and the sudden realization of the people.

542 tn The verb “feared” is intensified by the adverb מְאֹד (mÿod): “they feared greatly” or “were terrified.” In one look their defiant boldness seems to have evaporated.

543 sn Their cry to the Lord was proper and necessary. But their words to Moses were a rebuke and disloyal, showing a lack of faith and understanding. Their arrogance failed them in the crisis because it was built on the arm of flesh. Moses would have to get used to this murmuring, but here he takes it in stride and gives them the proper instructions. They had cried to the Lord, and now the Lord would deliver.

544 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 396-97) notes how the speech is overly dramatic and came from a people given to using such exaggerations (Num 16:14), even using a double negative. The challenge to Moses brings a double irony. To die in the desert would be without proper burial, but in Egypt there were graves – it was a land of tombs and graves! Gesenius notes that two negatives in the sentence do not nullify each other but make the sentence all the more emphatic: “Is it because there were no graves…?” (GKC 483 §152.y).

545 tn The demonstrative pronoun has the enclitic use again, giving a special emphasis to the question (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).

546 tn The Hebrew term לְהוֹצִּיאָנוּ (lÿhotsianu) is the Hiphil infinitive construct with a suffix, “to bring us out.” It is used epexegetically here, explaining the previous question.

547 tn Heb “Is not this the word that we spoke to you.”

548 sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 164) explains this statement by the people as follows: “The question appears surprising at first, for we have not read previously that such words were spoken to Moses. Nor is the purport of the protest of the Israelite foremen (v 21 [5:21]) identical with that of the words uttered now. However, from a psychological standpoint the matter can be easily explained. In the hour of peril the children of Israel remember that remonstrance, and now it seems to them that it was of a sharper character and flowed from their foresight, and that the present situation justifies it, for death awaits them at this moment in the desert.” This declaration that “we told you so,” born of fright, need not have been strictly accurate or logical.

549 tn Heb “better for us to serve.”

550 tn Since Hebrew does not use quotation marks to indicate the boundaries of quotations, there is uncertainty about whether the Israelites’ statement in Egypt includes the end of v. 12 or consists solely of “leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians.” In either case, the command to Moses to leave them alone rested on the assumption, spoken or unspoken, that serving Egypt would be less risky than what Moses was proposing. Now with the Egyptian army on the horizon, the Israelites are sure that their worst predictions are about to take place.

551 tn The use of אַל (’al) with the jussive has the force of “stop fearing.” It is a more immediate negative command than לֹא (lo’) with the imperfect (as in the Decalogue).

552 tn The force of this verb in the Hitpael is “to station oneself” or “stand firm” without fleeing.

553 tn The form is an imperative with a vav (ו). It could also be rendered “stand firm and you will see” meaning the result, or “stand firm that you may see” meaning the purpose.

554 tn Or “victory” (NAB) or “deliverance” (NIV, NRSV).

555 tn Heb “do,” i.e., perform or accomplish.

556 tn The construction uses a verbal hendiadys consisting of a Hiphil imperfect (“you will not add”) and a Qal infinitive construct with a suffix (“to see them”) – “you will no longer see them.” Then the clause adds “again, for ever.”

sn U. Cassuto (Exodus, 164) notes that the antithetical parallelism between seeing salvation and seeing the Egyptians, as well as the threefold repetition of the word “see” cannot be accidental; so too the alliteration of the last three words beginning with ayin (ע).

557 tn The word order places emphasis on “the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”).

558 tn The imperfect tense needs to be interpreted in contrast to all that Yahweh will be doing. It may be given a potential imperfect nuance (as here), or it may be obligatory to follow the command to stand firm: “you must be still.”

559 tn The text literally says, “speak to the Israelites that they may journey.” The intent of the line, using the imperative with the subordinate jussive or imperfect expressing purpose is that the speaking is the command to move.

560 tn The conjunction plus pronoun (“and you”) is emphatic – “and as for you” – before the imperative “lift up.” In contrast, v. 17 begins with “and as for me, I….”

561 tn The imperfect (or jussive) with the vav (ו) is sequential, coming after the series of imperatives instructing Moses to divide the sea; the form then gives the purpose (or result) of the activity – “that they may go.”

562 tn הִנְנִי (hinni) before the participle gives it the force of a futur instans participle, meaning “I am about to harden” or “I am going to harden” their heart.

563 tn The form again is the imperfect tense with vav (ו) to express the purpose or the result of the hardening. The repetition of the verb translated “come” is interesting: Moses is to divide the sea in order that the people may cross, but God will harden the Egyptians’ hearts in order that they may follow.

564 tn For the comments on this verb see the discussion in v. 4. God would get glory by defeating Egypt.

565 tn Or “I will get glory over.”

566 tn The construction is unusual in that it says, “And Egypt will know.” The verb is plural, and so “Egypt” must mean “the Egyptians.” The verb is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive, showing that this recognition or acknowledgment by Egypt will be the result or purpose of the defeat of them by God.

567 tn The form is בְּהִכָּבְדִי (bÿhikkavÿdi), the Niphal infinitive construct with a preposition and a suffix. For the suffix on a Niphal, see GKC 162-63 §61.c. The word forms a temporal clause in the line.

568 sn B. Jacob (Exodus, 400-401) makes a good case that there may have been only one pillar, one cloud; it would have been a dark cloud behind it, but in front of it, shining the way, a pillar of fire. He compares the manifestation on Sinai, when the mountain was on fire but veiled by a dark cloud (Deut 4:11; 5:22). See also Exod 13:21; Num 14:14; Deut 1:33; Neh 9:12, 19; Josh 24:7; Pss 78:14; 105:39.

569 tn The two nouns “cloud” and “darkness” form a nominal hendiadys: “and it was the cloud and the darkness” means “and it was the dark cloud.” Perhaps this is what the Egyptians saw, preventing them from observing Moses and the Israelites.

570 tn Heb “this to this”; for the use of the pronouns in this reciprocal sense of “the one to the other,” see GKC 448 §139.e, n. 3.

571 tc The LXX reads very differently at the end of this verse: “and there was darkness and blackness and the night passed.” B. S. Childs (Exodus [OTL], 218) summarizes three proposals: (1) One takes the MT as it stands and explains it along the lines of the Targum and Jewish exegesis, that there was one cloud that was dark to one group and light to the other. (2) Another tries to reconstruct a verb from the noun “darkness” or make some use of the Greek verb. (3) A third seeks a different meaning for the verb “lit,” “gave light” by comparative philology, but no consensus has been reached. Given that there is no easy solution apart from reconstructing the text, and given that the MT can be interpreted as it is, the present translation follows the MT.

572 tn Or “drove the sea back” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV). The verb is simply the Hiphil of הָלַךְ (halakh, “to walk, go”). The context requires that it be interpreted along the lines of “go back, go apart.”

573 tn The clause literally reads, “and the waters [were] for them a wall.” The word order in Hebrew is disjunctive, with the vav (ו) on the noun introducing a circumstantial clause.

sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 119), still trying to explain things with natural explanations, suggests that a northeast wind is to be thought of (an east wind would be directly in their face he says), such as a shallow ford might cooperate with an ebb tide in keeping a passage clear. He then quotes Dillmann about the “wall” of water: “A very summary poetical and hyperbolical (xv. 8) description of the occurrence, which at most can be pictured as the drying up of a shallow ford, on both sides of which the basin of the sea was much deeper, and remained filled with water.” There is no way to “water down” the text to fit natural explanations; the report clearly shows a miraculous work of God making a path through the sea – a path that had to be as wide as half a mile in order for the many people and their animals to cross between about 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:389). The text does not say that they actually only started across in the morning watch, however.

574 tn The night was divided into three watches of about four hours each, making the morning watch about 2:00-6:00 a.m. The text has this as “the watch of the morning,” the genitive qualifying which of the night watches was meant.

575 tn This particular verb, שָׁקַף (shaqaf) is a bold anthropomorphism: Yahweh looked down. But its usage is always with some demonstration of mercy or wrath. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 120) suggests that the look might be with fiery flashes to startle the Egyptians, throwing them into a panic. Ps 77:17-19 pictures torrents of rain with lightning and thunder.

576 tn Heb “camp.” The same Hebrew word is used in Exod 14:20. Unlike the English word “camp,” it can be used of a body of people at rest (encamped) or on the move.

577 tn Heb “camp.”

578 tn The verb הָמַם (hamam) means “throw into confusion.” It is used in the Bible for the panic and disarray of an army before a superior force (Josh 10:10; Judg 4:15).

579 tn The word in the text is וַיָּסַר (vayyasar), which would be translated “and he turned aside” with the sense perhaps of removing the wheels. The reading in the LXX, Smr, and Syriac suggests a root אָסַר (’asar, “to bind”). The sense here might be “clogged – presumably by their sinking in the wet sand” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 120).

580 tn The clause is וַיְנַהֲגֵהוּ בִּכְבֵדֻת (vaynahagehu bikhvedut). The verb means “to drive a chariot”; here in the Piel it means “cause to drive.” The suffix is collective, and so the verbal form can be translated “and caused them to drive.” The idea of the next word is “heaviness” or “hardship”; it recalls the previous uses of related words to describe Pharaoh’s heart. Here it indicates that the driving of the crippled chariots was with difficulty.

581 tn The cohortative has the hortatory use here, “Let’s flee.” Although the form is singular, the sense of it is plural and so hortatory can be used. The form is singular to agree with the singular subject, “Egypt,” which obviously means the Egyptian army. The word for “flee” is used when someone runs from fear of immanent danger and is a different word than the one used in 14:5.

582 tn The form is the Niphal participle; it is used as the predicate here, that is, the verbal use: “the Lord is fighting.” This corresponds to the announcement in v. 14.

583 tn The verb, “and they will return,” is here subordinated to the imperative preceding it, showing the purpose of that act.

584 tn The Hebrew term לְאֵיתָנוֹ (lÿetano) means “to its place,” or better, “to its perennial state.” The point is that the sea here had a normal level, and now when the Egyptians were in the sea on the dry ground the water would return to that level.

585 tn Heb “at the turning of the morning”; NASB, NIV, TEV, CEV “at daybreak.”

586 tn The clause begins with the disjunctive vav (ו) on the noun, signaling either a circumstantial clause or a new beginning. It could be rendered, “Although the Egyptians…Yahweh…” or “as the Egyptians….”

587 tn The verb means “shake out” or “shaking off.” It has the significance of “throw downward.” See Neh 5:13 or Job 38:13.

588 tn Heb “that was coming after them into the sea.” The referent of “them” (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

589 tn Heb “not was left among them as much as one.”

590 tn The Hebrew term וַיּוֹשַׁע (vayyosha’) is the key summation of the chapter, and this part of the book: “So Yahweh saved Israel.” This is the culmination of all the powerful works of God through these chapters.

591 tn Heb “the hand,” with “hand” being a metonymy for power.

592 tn The participle “dead” is singular, agreeing in form with “Egypt.”

593 tn The preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces a clause that is subordinate to the main points that the verse is making.

594 tn Heb “the great hand,” with “hand” being a metonymy for work or power. The word play using “hand” contrasts the Lord’s hand/power at work on behalf of the Israelites with the hand/power of Egypt that would have killed them.

595 tn Heb “did, made.”

596 tn Heb “and the people feared.”

597 tn The verb is the Hiphil preterite of אָמַן (’aman).

sn S. R. Driver says that the belief intended here is not simply a crediting of a testimony concerning a person or a thing, but a laying firm hold morally on a person or a thing (Exodus, 122). Others take the Hiphil sense to be declarative, and that would indicate a considering of the object of faith trustworthy or dependable, and therefore to be acted on. In this passage it does not mean that here they came to faith, but that they became convinced that he would save them in the future.

598 sn Here the title of “servant” is given to Moses. This is the highest title a mortal can have in the OT – the “servant of Yahweh.” It signifies more than a believer; it describes the individual as acting on behalf of God. For example, when Moses stretched out his hand, God used it as his own (Isa 63:12). Moses was God’s personal representative. The chapter records both a message of salvation and of judgment. Like the earlier account of deliverance at the Passover, this chapter can be a lesson on deliverance from present troubles – if God could do this for Israel, there is no trouble too great for him to overcome. The passage can also be understood as a picture (at least) of the deliverance at the final judgment on the world. But the Israelites used this account for a paradigm of the power of God: namely, God is able to deliver his people from danger because he is the sovereign Lord of creation. His people must learn to trust him, even in desperate situations; they must fear him and not the situation. God can bring any threat to an end by bringing his power to bear in judgment on the wicked.



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