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Exodus 9:27-30

Context

9:27 So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! 1  The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. 2  9:28 Pray to the Lord, for the mighty 3  thunderings and hail are too much! 4  I will release you and you will stay no longer.” 5 

9:29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city 6  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. 7  9:30 But as for you 8  and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear 9  the Lord God.”

1 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.

2 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).

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

4 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.”

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

6 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.

7 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.

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

9 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).



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