9:23 When Moses extended 1 his staff toward the sky, the Lord 2 sent thunder 3 and hail, and fire fell to the earth; 4 so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:24 Hail fell 5 and fire mingled 6 with the hail; the hail was so severe 7 that there had not been any like it 8 in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.
1 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.
2 tn By starting the clause with the subject (an example of disjunctive word order) the text is certainly stressing that Yahweh alone did this.
3 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!
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 tn Heb “very heavy” or “very severe.” The subject “the hail” is implied.
8 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.”