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Chapter 11

Tenth Plague: The Death of the Firstborn. Then the Lord spoke to Moses: One more plague I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. After that he will let you depart. In fact, when he finally lets you go, he will drive you away. (A)Instruct the people that every man is to ask his neighbor, and every woman her neighbor, for silver and gold articles and for clothing. The Lord indeed made the Egyptians well-disposed toward the people; Moses himself was very highly regarded by Pharaoh’s servants and the people in the land of Egypt.

Moses then said, “Thus says the Lord: About midnight I will go forth through Egypt.(B) (C)Every firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl who is at the handmill,[a] as well as all the firstborn of the animals. Then there will be loud wailing throughout the land of Egypt, such as has never been, nor will ever be again. But among all the Israelites, among human beings and animals alike, not even a dog will growl, so that you may know that the Lord distinguishes between Egypt and Israel. All these servants of yours will then come down to me and bow down before me, saying: Leave, you and all your followers!(D) Then I will depart.” With that he left Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger.

The Lord said to Moses: Pharaoh will not listen to you so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. 10 Thus, although Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders in Pharaoh’s presence, the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go from his land.


  1. 11:5 Handmill: two pieces of stone were used to grind grain. A smaller upper stone was moved back and forth over a larger stationary stone. This menial work was done by slaves and captives.

The Plague on the Firstborn

11 Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go(A) from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.(B) Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”(C) (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed(D) toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded(E) in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight(F) I will go throughout Egypt.(G) Every firstborn(H) son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill,(I) and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing(J) throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction(K) between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go,(L) you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.”(M) Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen(N) to you—so that my wonders(O) may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,(P) and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.