New English Translation
The Source of Sufficiency
4 [a] Moses answered again,[b] “And if[c] they do not believe me or pay attention to me,[d] but say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”[e] 3 The Lord[f] said, “Throw it to the ground.” So he threw it to the ground, and it became a snake,[g] and Moses ran from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and grab it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand[h]— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
6 The Lord also said to him, “Put your hand into your robe.”[i] So he put his hand into his robe, and when he brought it out—there was his hand,[j] leprous like snow![k] 7 He said, “Put your hand back into your robe.” So he put his hand back into his robe, and when he brought it out from his robe—there it was,[l] restored[m] like the rest of his skin![n] 8 “If[o] they do not believe you or pay attention to[p] the former sign, then they may[q] believe the latter sign.[r] 9 And if[s] they do not believe even these two signs or listen to you,[t] then take[u] some water from the Nile and pour it out on the dry ground. The water you take out of the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”[v]
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave[ac] a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?[ad] 12 So now go, and I will be with your mouth[ae] and will teach you[af] what you must say.”[ag]
14 Then the Lord became angry with[ak] Moses, and he said, “What about[al] your brother Aaron the Levite?[am] I know that he can speak very well.[an] Moreover, he is coming[ao] to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart.[ap]
15 “So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with your mouth[aq] and with his mouth,[ar] and I will teach you both[as] what you must do.[at] 16 He[au] will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if[av] he[aw] were your mouth[ax] and as if you were his God.[ay] 17 You will also take in your hand this staff, with which you will do the signs.”[az]
The Return of Moses
18 [ba] So Moses went back[bb] to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Let me go, so that I may return[bc] to my relatives[bd] in Egypt and see[be] if they are still alive.” Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back[bf] to Egypt, because all the men who were seeking your life are dead.”[bg] 20 Then Moses took[bh] his wife and sons[bi] and put them on a donkey and headed back[bj] to the land of Egypt, and Moses took the staff of God in his hand. 21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt,[bk] see that you[bl] do before Pharaoh all the wonders I have put under your control.[bm] But I will harden[bn] his heart[bo] and[bp] he will not let the people go. 22 You must say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord has said, “Israel is my son, my firstborn,[bq] 23 and I said to you, ‘Let my son go that he may serve[br] me,’ but since you have refused to let him go,[bs] I will surely kill[bt] your son, your firstborn!”’”
24 Now on the way, at a place where they stopped for the night,[bu] the Lord met Moses and sought to kill him.[bv] 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of her son and touched it to Moses’ feet,[bw] and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood[bx] to me.” 26 So the Lord[by] let him alone. (At that time[bz] she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” referring to[ca] the circumcision.)
27 The Lord said[cb] to Aaron, “Go to the wilderness to meet Moses. So he went and met him at the mountain of God[cc] and greeted him with a kiss.[cd] 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had[ce] sent him and all the signs that he had commanded him. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and brought together all the Israelite elders.[cf] 30 Aaron spoke[cg] all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people, 31 and the people believed. When they heard[ch] that the Lord had attended to[ci] the Israelites and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed down close to the ground.[cj]
Opposition to the Plan of God
5 [ck] Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, ‘Release[cl] my people so that they may hold a pilgrim feast[cm] to me in the wilderness.’” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord[cn] that[co] I should obey him[cp] by releasing[cq] Israel? I do not know the Lord,[cr] and I will not release Israel!” 3 And they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us go a three-day journey[cs] into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice[ct] to the Lord our God, so that he does not strike us with plague or the sword.”[cu] 4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you cause the people to refrain from their work?[cv] Return to your labor!” 5 Pharaoh was thinking,[cw] “The people of the land are now many, and you are giving them rest from their labor.”
6 That same day Pharaoh commanded[cx] the slave masters and foremen[cy] who were[cz] over the people:[da] 7 “You must no longer[db] give straw to the people for making bricks[dc] as before.[dd] Let them go[de] and collect straw for themselves. 8 But you must require[df] of them the same quota of bricks that they were making before.[dg] Do not reduce it, for they are slackers.[dh] That is why they are crying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder[di] for the men so they will keep at it[dj] and pay no attention to lying words!”[dk]
10 So the slave masters of the people and their foremen went to the Israelites and said,[dl] “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I am not giving[dm] you straw. 11 You[dn] go get straw for yourselves wherever you can[do] find it, because there will be no reduction at all in your workload.’” 12 So the people spread out[dp] through all the land of Egypt to collect stubble for straw. 13 The slave masters were pressuring[dq] them, saying, “Complete[dr] your work for each day, just like when there was straw!” 14 The Israelite foremen whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them were beaten and were asked,[ds] “Why did you not complete your requirement for brickmaking as in the past—both yesterday and today?”[dt]
15 [du] The Israelite foremen went and cried out to Pharaoh, “Why are you treating[dv] your servants this way? 16 No straw is given to your servants, but we are told,[dw] ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are even[dx] being beaten, but the fault[dy] is with your people.”
17 But Pharaoh replied,[dz] “You are slackers! Slackers![ea] That is why you are saying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to the Lord.’” 18 So now, get back to work![eb] You will not be given straw, but you must still produce[ec] your quota[ed] of bricks!” 19 The Israelite foremen saw[ee] that they[ef] were in trouble when they were told,[eg] “You must not reduce the daily quota of your bricks.”
20 When they went out from Pharaoh, they encountered Moses and Aaron standing there to meet them,[eh] 21 and they said to them, “May the Lord look on you and judge,[ei] because you have made us stink[ej] in the opinion of[ek] Pharaoh and his servants,[el] so that you have given them an excuse to kill us!”[em]
The Assurance of Deliverance
22 [en] Moses returned[eo] to the Lord, and said, “Lord,[ep] why have you caused trouble for this people?[eq] Why did you ever[er] send me? 23 From the time I went to speak to Pharaoh in your name, he has caused trouble[es] for this people, and you have certainly not rescued[et] them!”[eu]
6 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh,[ev] for compelled by my strong hand[ew] he will release them, and by my strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”[ex]
2 God spoke[ey] to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord.[ez] 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as[fa] God Almighty,[fb] but by my name ‘the Lord’[fc] I was not known to them.[fd] 4 I also established my covenant with them[fe] to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as resident foreigners.[ff] 5 I[fg] have also heard[fh] the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving,[fi] and I have remembered my covenant.[fj] 6 Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out[fk] from your enslavement to[fl] the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose,[fm] and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you to myself for a people, and I will be your God.[fn] Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from your enslavement to[fo] the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you to the land I swore to give[fp] to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—and I will give it to you[fq] as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
9 [fr] Moses told this[fs] to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him[ft] because of their discouragement[fu] and hard labor. 10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt that he must release[fv] the Israelites from his land.” 12 But Moses replied to[fw] the Lord, “If the Israelites did not listen to me, then[fx] how will Pharaoh listen to me, since[fy] I speak with difficulty?”[fz]
The Ancestry of Moses and Aaron
15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.
16 Now these were the names of the sons of Levi, according to their records:[gg] Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (The length of Levi’s life was 137 years.)
17 The sons of Gershon, by their families, were Libni and Shimei.
18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. (The length of Kohath’s life was 133 years.)
19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi, according to their records.
20 Amram married[gh] his father’s sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses. (The length of Amram’s life was 137 years.)
21 The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zikri.
22 The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.
23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24 The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.
25 Now Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel and she bore him Phinehas.
These were the heads of the fathers’ households[gi] of Levi according to their clans.
26 It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by their regiments.”[gj] 27 They were the men who were speaking to Pharaoh king of Egypt, in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. It was the same Moses and Aaron.
The Authentication of the Word
28 [gk] When[gl] the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 he said to him,[gm] “I am the Lord. Tell[gn] Pharaoh king of Egypt all that[go] I am telling[gp] you.” 30 But Moses said before the Lord, “Since I speak with difficulty,[gq] why should Pharaoh listen to me?”
7 So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God[gr] to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.[gs] 2 You are to speak[gt] everything I command you,[gu] and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that he must release[gv] the Israelites from his land. 3 But I will harden[gw] Pharaoh’s heart, and although I will multiply[gx] my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you.[gy] I will reach into[gz] Egypt and bring out my regiments,[ha] my people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 5 Then[hb] the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I extend my hand[hc] over Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.”
6 And Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.
8 The Lord said[hd] to Moses and Aaron,[he] 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do[hf] a miracle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down[hg] before Pharaoh,’ it will become[hh] a snake.” 10 When[hi] Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord had commanded them—Aaron threw down[hj] his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake.[hk] 11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers,[hl] and the magicians[hm] of Egypt by their secret arts[hn] did the same thing. 12 Each man[ho] threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard,[hp] and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
Plague One: Water to Blood
14 [hq] The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard;[hr] he refuses to release[hs] the people. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when[ht] he goes out to the water. Position yourself[hu] to meet him by the edge of the Nile,[hv] and take[hw] in your hand the staff[hx] that was turned into a snake. 16 Tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you to say,[hy] “Release my people, that they may serve me[hz] in the wilderness!” But until now[ia] you have not listened.[ib] 17 This is what the Lord has said: “By this you will know that I am the Lord: I am going to strike[ic] the water of the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood.[id] 18 Fish[ie] in the Nile will die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable[if] to drink water from the Nile.”’” 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,[ig] over their ponds, and over all their reservoirs[ih]—so that it becomes[ii] blood.’ There will be blood everywhere in[ij] the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.” 20 Moses and Aaron did so,[ik] just as the Lord had commanded. He raised[il] the staff[im] and struck the water that was in the Nile right before the eyes[in] of Pharaoh and his servants,[io] and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood.[ip] 21 When the fish[iq] that were in the Nile died, the Nile began[ir] to stink, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood[is] everywhere in the land of Egypt! 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same[it] by their secret arts, and so[iu] Pharaoh’s heart remained hard,[iv] and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron[iw]—just as the Lord had predicted. 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. He did not pay any attention to this.[ix] 24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink,[iy] because they could not drink the water of the Nile.
Plague Two: Frogs
25 [iz] Seven full days passed[ja] after the Lord struck[jb] the Nile. 8 1 (7:26)[jc] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Release my people in order that they may serve me! 2 But if you refuse to release them, then I am going to plague[jd] all your territory with frogs.[je] 3 The Nile will swarm[jf] 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.[jg] 4 Frogs[jh] will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.”’”[ji]
5 The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff[jj] over the rivers, over the canals, and over the ponds, and bring the frogs up over the land of Egypt.’” 6 So Aaron extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs[jk] came up and covered the land of Egypt.
8 Then Pharaoh summoned[jn] Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray[jo] to the Lord that he may take the frogs away[jp] from me and my people, and I will release[jq] the people that they may sacrifice[jr] to the Lord.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me[js]—when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed[jt] from you and your houses, so that[ju] they will be left[jv] only in the Nile?” 10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said,[jw] “It will be[jx] as you say,[jy] so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will depart from you, your houses, your servants, and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”
12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried[jz] to the Lord because of[ka] the frogs that he had brought on[kb] Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did as Moses asked[kc]—the frogs died[kd] in the houses, the villages, and the fields. 14 The Egyptians[ke] piled them in countless heaps,[kf] and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief,[kg] he hardened[kh] his heart and did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.[ki]
Plague Three: Gnats
16 [kj] The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become[kk] gnats[kl] throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 17 They did so; Aaron extended his hand with his staff, he struck the dust of the ground, and it became gnats on people[km] and on animals. All the dust of the ground became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 18 When[kn] the magicians attempted[ko] to bring forth gnats by their secret arts, they could not. So there were gnats on people and on animals. 19 The magicians said[kp] to Pharaoh, “It is the finger[kq] of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard,[kr] and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
Plague Four: Flies
20 [ks] The Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and position yourself before Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord has said, “Release my people that they may serve me! 21 If you do not release[kt] my people, then I am going to send[ku] swarms of flies[kv] 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.[kw] 22 But on that day I will mark off[kx] the land of Goshen, where my people are staying,[ky] so that no swarms of flies will be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of this land.[kz] 23 I will put a division[la] between my people and your people. This sign will take place[lb] tomorrow.”’” 24 The Lord did so; a[lc] thick[ld] swarm of flies came into[le] Pharaoh’s house and into the houses[lf] of his servants, and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land was ruined[lg] because of the swarms of flies.
25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.”[lh] 26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do,[li] for the sacrifices we make[lj] to the Lord our God would be an abomination[lk] to the Egyptians.[ll] If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes,[lm] will they not stone us?[ln] 27 We must go[lo] on a three-day journey[lp] into the wilderness and sacrifice[lq] to the Lord our God, just as he is telling us.”[lr]
29 Moses said, “I am going to go out[lw] 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[lx] by not releasing[ly] the people to sacrifice to the Lord.” 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did as Moses asked[lz]—he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained! 32 But Pharaoh hardened[ma] his heart this time also and did not release the people.
Plague Five: Disease
9 [mb] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has said, “Release my people that they may serve me! 2 For if you refuse to release them[mc] and continue holding them,[md] 3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring[me] a very terrible plague[mf] on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels,[mg] the herds, and the flocks. 4 But the Lord will distinguish[mh] between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing[mi] will die of all that the Israelites have.”’”[mj]
5 The Lord set[mk] an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this[ml] in the land.” 6 And the Lord did this[mm] on the next day;[mn] all[mo] the livestock of the Egyptians[mp] died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate,[mq] and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard,[mr] and he did not release the people.
Plague Six: Boils
8 [ms] Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot[mt] from a furnace, and have Moses throw it[mu] into the air while Pharaoh is watching.[mv] 9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out and fester[mw] on both people and animals in all the land of Egypt.” 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.
11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened[mx] Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.
Plague Seven: Hail
13 [my] The Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand[mz] before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has said: “Release my people so that they may serve me! 14 For this time I will send all my plagues[na] on your very self[nb] and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out[nc] my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed[nd] from the earth. 16 But[ne] for this purpose I have caused you to stand:[nf] to show you[ng] my strength, and so that my name may be declared[nh] in all the earth. 17 You are still exalting[ni] yourself against my people by[nj] not releasing them. 18 I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down[nk] about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred[nl] in Egypt from the day it was founded[nm] until now. 19 So now, send instructions[nn] to gather[no] your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person[np] or animal caught[nq] in the field and not brought into the house—the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’”
20 Those[nr] of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the Lord’s message hurried to bring their servants and livestock into the houses, 21 but those[ns] who did not take[nt] the Lord’s message seriously left their servants and their cattle in the field.
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky[nu] that there may be[nv] hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals,[nw] and on everything that grows[nx] in the field in the land of Egypt.” 23 When Moses extended[ny] his staff toward the sky, the Lord[nz] sent thunder[oa] and hail, and fire fell to the earth;[ob] so the Lord caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 24 Hail fell[oc] and fire mingled[od] with the hail; the hail was so severe[oe] that there had not been any like it[of] in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 25 The hail struck everything in the open fields, both[og] people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows[oh] in the field, and it broke all the trees of the field to pieces. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was there no hail.
27 So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time![oi] The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are guilty.[oj] 28 Pray to the Lord, for the mighty[ok] thunderings and hail are too much![ol] I will release you and you will stay no longer.”[om]
29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city[on] 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.[oo] 30 But as for you[op] and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear[oq] the Lord God.”
31 (Now the[or] flax and the barley were struck[os] by the hail,[ot] for the barley had ripened[ou] and the flax[ov] was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the spelt[ow] were not struck, for they are later crops.)[ox]
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. 34 When Pharaoh saw[oy] that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again:[oz] both he and his servants hardened[pa] their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard,[pb] and he did not release the Israelites, as the Lord had predicted through Moses.
Plague Eight: Locusts
10 [pc] The Lord said[pd] to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order to display[pe] these signs of mine before him,[pf] 2 and in order that in the hearing of your son and your grandson you may tell[pg] how I made fools[ph] of the Egyptians[pi] and about[pj] my signs that I displayed[pk] among them, so that you may know[pl] that I am the Lord.”
3 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh and told him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has said: ‘How long do you refuse[pm] to humble yourself before me?[pn] Release my people so that they may serve me! 4 But if you refuse to release my people, I am going to bring[po] locusts[pp] into your territory[pq] tomorrow. 5 They will cover[pr] the surface[ps] of the earth, so that you[pt] will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped[pu]—what is left over[pv] for you—from the hail, and they will eat every tree that grows for you from the field. 6 They will fill your houses, the houses of your servants, and all the houses of Egypt, such as[pw] neither[px] your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they have been[py] in the land until this day!’” Then Moses[pz] turned and went out from Pharaoh.
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?”[qd] 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[qe] a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”
10 He said to them, “The Lord will need to be with you[qf] if I release you and your dependents![qg] Watch out![qh] Trouble is right in front of you.[qi] 11 No![qj] Go, you men[qk] only, and serve the Lord, for that[ql] is what you want.”[qm] Then Moses and Aaron[qn] were driven[qo] out of Pharaoh’s presence.
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand over the land of Egypt for[qp] the locusts, that they may come up over the land of Egypt and eat everything that grows[qq] in the ground, everything that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord[qr] brought[qs] an east wind on the land all that day and all night.[qt] The morning came,[qu] and the east wind had brought up[qv] the locusts! 14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in all the territory[qw] of Egypt. It was very severe;[qx] there had been no locusts like them before, nor will there be such ever again.[qy] 15 They covered[qz] the surface[ra] of all the ground so that the ground became dark with them,[rb] 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.
16 [rc] Then Pharaoh quickly[rd] summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned[re] against the Lord your God and against you! 17 So now, forgive my sin this time only, and pray to the Lord your God that he would only[rf] take this death[rg] away from me.” 18 Moses[rh] went out[ri] from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 19 and the Lord turned a very strong west wind,[rj] and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea.[rk] Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites.
Plague Nine: Darkness
22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was absolute darkness[rp] throughout the land of Egypt for three days.[rq] 23 No one[rr] could see[rs] another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord—only your flocks and herds will be detained. Even your families[rt] may go with you.”
25 But Moses said, “Will you also[ru] provide us[rv] with sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may present them[rw] to the Lord our God? 26 Our livestock must[rx] also go with us! Not a hoof is to be left behind! For we must take[ry] these animals[rz] to serve the Lord our God. Until we arrive there, we do not know what we must use to serve the Lord.”[sa]
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to release them. 28 Pharaoh said to him, “Go from me![sb] Watch out for yourself! Do not appear before me again,[sc] for when[sd] you see my face you will die!” 29 Moses said, “As you wish![se] I will not see your face again.”[sf]
Plague Ten: Death
11 [sg] 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,[sh] he will drive you out completely[si] from this place. 2 Instruct[sj] the people that each man and each woman is to request[sk] from his or her neighbor[sl] items of silver and gold.”[sm]
4 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt,[sp] 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh[sq] 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. 6 There will be a great cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as there has never been,[sr] nor ever will be again.[ss] 7 But against any of the Israelites not even a dog will bark[st] against either people or animals,[su] so that you may know that the Lord distinguishes[sv] between Egypt and Israel.’ 8 All these your servants will come down to me and bow down[sw] to me, saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow[sx] you,’ and after that I will go out.” Then Moses[sy] went out from Pharaoh in great anger.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that my wonders[sz] may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
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 [ta] The Lord said[tb] to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,[tc] 2 “This month is to be your beginning of months; it will be your first month of the year.[td] 3 Tell the whole community of Israel, ‘On the tenth day of this month they each[te] must take a lamb[tf] for themselves according to their families[tg]—a lamb for each household.[th] 4 If any household is too small[ti] for a lamb,[tj] the man[tk] and his next-door neighbor[tl] are to take[tm] a lamb according to the number of people—you will make your count for the lamb according to how much each one can eat.[tn] 5 Your lamb must be[to] perfect,[tp] a male, one year old;[tq] you may take[tr] it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You must care for it[ts] until the fourteenth day of this month, and then the whole community[tt] of Israel will kill it around sundown.[tu] 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. 8 They will eat the meat the same night;[tv] they will eat it roasted over the fire with bread made without yeast[tw] and with bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat it raw[tx] or boiled in water, but roast it over the fire with its head, its legs, and its entrails. 10 You must leave nothing until morning, but you must burn with fire whatever remains of it until morning. 11 This is how you are to eat it—dressed to travel,[ty] your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.[tz]
12 ‘I will pass through[ua] the land of Egypt in the same[ub] night, and I will attack[uc] all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both of humans and of animals,[ud] and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.[ue] I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, so that when I see[uf] the blood I will pass over you,[ug] and this plague[uh] will not fall on you to destroy you[ui] when I attack[uj] the land of Egypt.[uk]
14 ‘This day will become[ul] a memorial[um] for you, and you will celebrate it as a festival[un] to the Lord—you will celebrate it perpetually as a lasting ordinance.[uo] 15 For seven days[up] you must eat[uq] bread made without yeast.[ur] Surely[us] on the first day you must put away yeast from your houses because anyone who eats bread made with yeast[ut] from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off[uu] from Israel.
16 ‘On the first day there will be a holy convocation,[uv] and on the seventh day there will be a holy convocation for you. You must do no work of any kind[uw] on them, only what every person will eat—that alone may be prepared for you. 17 So you will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because on this very[ux] day I brought your regiments[uy] out from the land of Egypt, and so you must keep this day perpetually as a lasting ordinance.[uz] 18 In the first month,[va] 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. 19 For seven days[vb] yeast must not be found in your houses, for whoever eats what is made with yeast—that person[vc] will be cut off from the community of Israel, whether a resident foreigner[vd] or one born in the land. 20 You will not eat anything made with yeast; in all the places where you live you must eat bread made without yeast.’”
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel, and told them, “Go and select[ve] for yourselves a lamb or young goat[vf] for your families, and kill the Passover animals.[vg] 22 Take a branch of hyssop,[vh] dip it in the blood that is in the basin,[vi] 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[vj] the door of his house until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees[vk] 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[vl] to enter your houses to strike you.[vm] 24 You must observe this event as an ordinance for you and for your children forever. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give to you, just as he said, you must observe[vn] this ceremony. 26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’[vo]— 27 then you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice[vp] of the Lord’s Passover, when he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck[vq] Egypt and delivered our households.’” The people bowed down low to the ground,[vr] 28 and the Israelites went away and did exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.[vs]
The Deliverance from Egypt
29 [vt] It happened[vu] 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. 30 Pharaoh got up[vv] in the night,[vw] along with all his servants and all Egypt, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no house[vx] in which there was not someone dead. 31 Pharaoh[vy] summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and said, “Get up, get out[vz] from among my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, serve the Lord as you have requested![wa] 32 Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have requested, and leave. But bless me also.”[wb]
33 The Egyptians were urging[wc] the people on, in order to send them out of the land quickly,[wd] for they were saying, “We are all dead!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added,[we] with their kneading troughs bound up in their clothing on their shoulders. 35 Now the Israelites had done[wf] as Moses told them—they had requested from the Egyptians[wg] silver and gold items and clothing. 36 The Lord[wh] gave the people favor[wi] in the sight of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted,[wj] and so they plundered Egypt.[wk]
37 The Israelites journeyed[wl] from Rameses[wm] to Sukkoth. There were about 600,000 men[wn] on foot, plus their dependents.[wo] 38 A mixed multitude[wp] also went up with them, and flocks and herds—a very large number of cattle.[wq] 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[wr] of Egypt and were not able to delay, they[ws] could not prepare[wt] food for themselves either.
40 Now the length of time the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years.[wu] 41 At the end of the 430 years, on the very day, all the regiments[wv] of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt. 42 It was a night of vigil for the Lord to bring them out from the land of Egypt,[ww] and so[wx] on this night all Israel is to keep the vigil[wy] to the Lord for generations to come.
Participation in the Passover
43 [wz] The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner may[xa] share in eating it.[xb] 44 But everyone’s servant who is bought for money, after you have circumcised him, may eat it. 45 A foreigner and a hired worker must not eat it. 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. 47 The whole community of Israel must observe it.
48 “When a resident foreigner[xc] lives with you and wants to observe the Passover to the Lord, all his males must be circumcised,[xd] and then he may approach and observe it, and he will be like one who is born in the land[xe]—but no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 49 The same law will apply[xf] to the person who is native-born and to the resident foreigner[xg] who lives among you.”
50 So all the Israelites did exactly as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.[xh] 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
3 Moses said to the people, “Remember[xn] this day on which you came out from Egypt, from the place where you were enslaved,[xo] for the Lord brought you out of there[xp] with a mighty hand—and no bread made with yeast may be eaten.[xq] 4 On this day,[xr] in the month of Abib,[xs] you are going out.[xt]
5 “When[xu] 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,[xv] then you will keep[xw] this ceremony[xx] in this month. 6 For seven days[xy] you must eat[xz] bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day there is to be[ya] a festival to the Lord. 7 Bread made without yeast must be eaten[yb] for seven days;[yc] no bread made with yeast shall be seen[yd] among you, and you must have no yeast among you within any of your borders.
8 “You are to tell your son[ye] on that day,[yf] ‘It is[yg] because of what[yh] the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 [yi] It[yj] will be a sign[yk] for you on your hand and a memorial[yl] on your forehead,[ym] so that the law of the Lord may be[yn] in your mouth,[yo] for[yp] with a mighty hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 10 So you must keep[yq] this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.[yr]
11 “When the Lord brings you[ys] into the land of the Canaanites,[yt] as he swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it[yu] to you, 12 then you must give over[yv] to the Lord the first offspring of every womb.[yw] Every firstling[yx] of a beast that you have[yy]—the males will be the Lord’s.[yz] 13 Every firstling[za] of a donkey you must redeem[zb] with a lamb, and if you do not redeem it, then you must break its neck.[zc] Every firstborn of[zd] your sons you must redeem.
14 [ze] “In the future,[zf] when your son asks you[zg] ‘What is this?’[zh] you are to tell him, ‘With a mighty hand[zi] the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the land of slavery.[zj] 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused[zk] to release us, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of people to the firstborn of animals.[zl] That is why I am sacrificing[zm] to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb, but all my firstborn sons I redeem.’ 16 It will be for a sign on your hand and for frontlets[zn] on your forehead, for with a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”[zo]
The Leading of God
17 [zp] When Pharaoh released[zq] the people, God did not lead them[zr] by the way to the land[zs] of the Philistines,[zt] although[zu] that was nearby, for God said,[zv] “Lest[zw] the people change their minds[zx] and return to Egypt when they experience[zy] war.” 18 So God brought the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea,[zz] and the Israelites went up from the land of Egypt prepared for battle.[aaa]
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph[aab] had made the Israelites solemnly swear,[aac] “God will surely attend to[aad] you, and you will carry[aae] my bones up from this place with you.”
20 They journeyed from Sukkoth and camped in Etham, on the edge of the desert. 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,[aaf] so that they could[aag] travel day or night.[aah] 22 He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night from before the people.[aai]
- Exodus 4:1 sn In chap. 3, the first part of this extensive call, Yahweh promises to deliver his people. At the hesitancy of Moses, God guarantees his presence will be with him, and that assures the success of the mission. But with chap. 4, the second half of the call, the tone changes sharply. Now Moses protests his inadequacies in view of the nature of the task. In many ways, these verses address the question, “Who is sufficient for these things?” There are three basic movements in the passage. The first nine verses tell how God gave Moses signs in case Israel did not believe him (4:1-9). The second section records how God dealt with the speech problem of Moses (4:10-12). And finally, the last section records God’s provision of a helper, someone who could talk well (4:13-17). See also J. E. Hamlin, “The Liberator’s Ordeal: A Study of Exodus 4:1-9, ” Rhetorical Criticism [PTMS], 33-42.
- Exodus 4:1 tn Heb “and Moses answered and said.”
- Exodus 4:1 tn Or “What if.” The use of הֵן (hen) is unusual here, introducing a conditional idea in the question without a following consequence clause (see Exod 8:22 HT [8:26 ET]; Jer 2:10; 2 Chr 7:13). The Greek has “if not” but adds the clause “what shall I say to them?”
- Exodus 4:1 tn Heb “listen to my voice,” so as to respond positively.
- Exodus 4:2 tn Or “rod” (KJV, ASV); NCV, CEV “walking stick”; NLT “shepherd’s staff.”sn The staff appears here to be the shepherd’s staff that he was holding. It now will become the instrument with which Moses will do the mighty works, for it is the medium of the display of the divine power (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 27; also, L. Shalit, “How Moses Turned a Staff into a Snake and Back Again,” BAR 9 : 72-73).
- Exodus 4:3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 4:3 sn The details of the verse are designed to show that there was a staff that became a snake. The question is used to affirm that there truly was a staff, and then the report of Moses running from it shows it was a genuine snake. Using the serpent as a sign would have had an impact on the religious ideas of Egypt, for the sacred cobra was one of their symbols.
- Exodus 4:4 sn The signs authenticated Moses’ ministry as the Lord’s emissary. This sign will show that the Lord had control over Egypt and its stability, over life and death. But first Moses has to be convinced that he can turn it into a dead stick again.
- Exodus 4:6 tn The word חֵיק (kheq), often rendered “bosom,” refers to the front of the chest and a fold in the garment there where an item could be placed for carrying (see Prov 6:27; 16:33; 21:14). So “into your robe” should be understood loosely here and in v. 7 as referring to the inside of the top front of Moses’ garment. The inside chest pocket of a jacket is a rough modern equivalent.
- Exodus 4:6 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) points out the startling or amazing sight as if the reader were catching the first glimpse of it with Moses.
- Exodus 4:6 sn This sudden skin disease indicated that God was able to bring such diseases on Egypt in the plagues and that only he could remove them. The whitening was the first stage of death for the diseased (Num 12:10; 2 Kgs 5:27). The Hebrew words traditionally rendered “leprous” or “leprosy,” as they are used in Lev 13 and 14, encompass a variety of conditions, not limited to the disease called leprosy and identified as Hansen’s disease in modern times.
- Exodus 4:7 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) points out the startling or amazing sight as if the reader were catching the first glimpse of it with Moses.
- Exodus 4:7 tn Heb “it returned.”
- Exodus 4:7 tn Heb “like his flesh.”
- Exodus 4:8 tn Heb “and it will be if.”
- Exodus 4:8 tn Heb “listen to the voice of,” meaning listen so as to respond appropriately.
- Exodus 4:8 tn The nuance of this perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive will be equal to the imperfect of possibility—“they may believe.”
- Exodus 4:8 tn Heb “believe the voice of the latter sign,” so as to understand and accept the meaning of the event.
- Exodus 4:9 tn Heb “and it will be if.”
- Exodus 4:9 tn Heb “listen to your voice.”
- Exodus 4:9 tn The verb form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive; it functions then as the equivalent of the imperfect tense—here as an imperfect of instruction.
- Exodus 4:9 sn This is a powerful sign, for the Nile was always known as the source of life in Egypt, but now it will become the evidence of death. So the three signs were alike, each consisting of life and death. They would clearly anticipate the struggle with Egypt through the plagues. The point is clear that in the face of the possibility that people might not believe, the servants of God must offer clear proof of the power of God as they deliver the message of God. The rest is up to God.
- Exodus 4:10 sn Now Moses took up another line of argumentation, the issue of his inability to speak fluently (vv. 10-17). The point here is that God’s servants must yield themselves as instruments to God, the Creator. It makes no difference what character traits they have or what weaknesses they think they have (Moses manages to speak very well) if God is present. If the sovereign God has chosen them, then they have everything that God intended them to have.
- Exodus 4:10 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “my lord” or “my Lord.” Often rendered “please,” it is “employed in petitions, complaints and excuses” (W. H. C. Propp, Exodus 1-18 [AB], 213).
- Exodus 4:10 tn The designation in Moses’ address is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay), a term of respect and deference such as “lord, master, sir” but pointed as it would be when it represents the tetragrammaton. B. Jacob says since this is the first time Moses spoke directly to Yahweh, he did so hesitatingly (Exodus, 87).
- Exodus 4:10 tn When a noun clause is negated with לֹא (loʾ), rather than אֵין (ʾen), there is a special emphasis, since the force of the negative falls on a specific word (GKC 479 §152.d). The expression “eloquent man” is אִישׁ דְּבָרִים (ʾish devarim, “a man of words”). The genitive may indicate a man characterized by words or a man who is able to command or control words. Moses apparently is resigned to the fact that he can do the signs, but he knows the signs have to be explained.
- Exodus 4:10 tn Heb “also from yesterday also from three days ago” or “neither since yesterday nor since before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”
- Exodus 4:10 tn The two expressions are כְבַד־פֶּה (khevad peh, “heavy of mouth”), and then כְבַד לָשׁוֹן (khevad lashon, “heavy of tongue”). Both use genitives of specification, the mouth and the tongue being what are heavy—slow. “Mouth” and “tongue” are metonymies of cause. Moses is saying that he has a problem speaking well. Perhaps he had been too long at the other side of the desert, or perhaps he was being a little dishonest. At any rate, he has still not captured the meaning of God’s presence. See among other works, J. H. Tigay, “‘Heavy of Mouth’ and ‘Heavy of Tongue’: On Moses’ Speech Difficulty,” BASOR 231 (1978): 57-67.
- Exodus 4:11 tn The verb שִׂים (sim) means “to place, put, set”; the sentence here more precisely says, “Who put a mouth into a man?”sn The argumentation by Moses is here met by Yahweh’s rhetorical questions. They are intended to be sharp—it is reproof for Moses. The message is twofold. First, Yahweh is fully able to overcome all of Moses’ deficiencies. Second, Moses is exactly the way that God intended him to be. So the rhetorical questions are meant to prod Moses’ faith.
- Exodus 4:11 sn The final question obviously demands a positive answer. But the clause is worded in such a way as to return to the theme of “I AM.” Isaiah 45:5-7 developed this same idea of God’s control over life. Moses protests that he is not an eloquent speaker, and the Lord replies with reminders about himself and promises, “I will be with your mouth,” an assertion that repeats the verb he used four times in 3:12 and 14 and in promises to Isaac and Jacob (Gen 26:3; 31:3).
- Exodus 4:12 sn The promise of divine presence always indicates intervention (for blessing or cursing). Here it means that God would be working through the organs of speech to help Moses speak. See Deut 18:18; Jer 1:9.
- Exodus 4:12 sn The verb is וְהוֹרֵיתִיךָ (vehoretikha), the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive. The form carries the instructional meaning because it follows the imperative “go.” In fact, there is a sequence at work here: “go…and/that I may teach you.” It is from יָרָה (yarah), the same root behind תּוֹרָה (torah, “law”). This always referred to teaching either wisdom or revelation. Here Yahweh promises to teach Moses what to say.
- Exodus 4:12 tn The form is the imperfect tense. While it could be taken as a future (“what you will say”), an obligatory imperfect captures the significance better (“what you must say” or “what you are to say”). Not even the content of the message will be left up to Moses.
- Exodus 4:13 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 4:13 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “Lord” or “my Lord.”
- Exodus 4:13 tn The text has simply שְׁלַח־נָא בְּיַד־תִּשְׁלָח (shelakh naʾ beyad tishlakh, “send by the hand you will send”). This is not Moses’ resignation to doing God’s will—it is his final attempt to avoid the call. It carries the force of asking God to send someone else. This is an example of an independent relative clause governed by the genitive: “by the hand of—whomever you will send” (see GKC 488-89 §155.n).
- Exodus 4:14 tn Heb “and the anger of Yahweh burned against.”sn Moses had not dared openly to say “except me” when he asked God to send whomever he wanted to send. But God knew that is what he meant. Moses should not have resisted the call or pleaded such excuses or hesitated with such weak faith. Now God abandoned the gentle answer and in anger brought in a form of retribution. Because Moses did not want to do this, he was punished by not having the honor of doing it alone. His reluctance and the result are like the refusal of Israel to enter the land and the result they experienced (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 49-50).
- Exodus 4:14 tn Heb “Is not” or perhaps “Is [there] not.”
- Exodus 4:14 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 29) suggests that the term “Levite” may refer to a profession rather than ancestry here, because both Moses and Aaron were from the tribe of Levi and there would be little point in noting that ancestry for Aaron. In thinking through the difficult problem of the identity of Levites, he cites McNeile as saying “the Levite” referred to one who had had official training as a priest (cf. Judg 17:7, where a member of the tribe of Judah was a Levite). If it was the duty of the priest to give “torah”—to teach—then some training in the power of language would have been in order.
- Exodus 4:14 tn The construction uses the Piel infinitive absolute and the Piel imperfect to express the idea that he spoke very well: דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר (dabber yedabber).sn Now Yahweh, in condescending to Moses, selects something that Moses (and God) did not really need for the work. It is as if he were saying: “If Moses feels speaking ability is so necessary (rather than the divine presence), then that is what he will have.” Of course, this golden-tongued Aaron had some smooth words about how the golden calf was forged!
- Exodus 4:14 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the participle points to the imminent future; it means “he is about to come” or “here he is coming.”
- Exodus 4:14 sn It is unlikely that this simply means that as a brother he will be pleased to see Moses, for the narrative has no time for that kind of comment. It is interested in more significant things. The implication is that Aaron will rejoice because of the revelation of God to Moses and the plan to deliver Israel from bondage (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 93).
- Exodus 4:15 tn Or “I will help you speak.” The independent pronoun puts emphasis (“as for me”) on the subject (“I”).
- Exodus 4:15 tn Or “and will help him speak.”
- Exodus 4:15 tn The word “both” is supplied to convey that this object (“you”) and the subject of the next verb (“you must do”) are plural in the Hebrew text, referring to Moses and Aaron. In 4:16 “you” returns to being singular in reference to Moses.
- Exodus 4:15 tn The imperfect tense carries the obligatory nuance here as well. The relative pronoun with this verb forms a noun clause functioning as the direct object of “I will teach.”
- Exodus 4:16 tn The word “he” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.
- Exodus 4:16 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity.
- Exodus 4:16 tn Heb “and it will be [that] he, he will be to you for a mouth,” or more simply, “he will be your mouth.”
- Exodus 4:16 tn Heb “he will be to you for a mouth.”
- Exodus 4:16 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity. The word “you” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.sn Moses will be like God to Aaron, giving him the words to say, inspiring him as God would inspire a prophet. The whole process had now been removed one step. Instead of God speaking to Moses and Moses telling the people, Aaron would be the speaker for a while. But God was still going to work through Moses.
- Exodus 4:17 sn Mention of the staff makes an appropriate ending to the section, for God’s power (represented by the staff) will work through Moses. The applicable point that this whole section is making could be worded this way: The servants of God who sense their inadequacy must demonstrate the power of God as their sufficiency.
- Exodus 4:18 sn This last section of the chapter reports Moses’ compliance with the commission. It has four parts: the decision to return (18-20), the instruction (21-23), the confrontation with Yahweh (24-26), and the presentation with Aaron (27-31).
- Exodus 4:18 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys, the second verb becoming adverbial in the translation: “and he went and he returned” becomes “and he went back.”
- Exodus 4:18 tn There is a sequence here with the two cohortative forms: אֵלְכָה נָּא וְאָשׁוּבָה (ʾelekhah nnaʾ veʾashuva)—“let me go in order that I may return.”
- Exodus 4:18 tn Heb “brothers.”
- Exodus 4:18 tn This verb is parallel to the preceding cohortative and so also expresses purpose: “let me go that I may return…and that I may see.”
- Exodus 4:19 tn The text has two imperatives, “Go, return”; if these are interpreted as a hendiadys (as in the translation), then the second is adverbial.
- Exodus 4:19 sn The text clearly stated that Pharaoh sought to kill Moses; so this seems to be a reference to Pharaoh’s death shortly before Moses’ return. Moses was forty years in Midian. In the 18th dynasty, only Pharaoh Thutmose III had a reign of the right length (1504-1450 b.c.) to fit this period of Moses’ life. This would place Moses’ returning to Egypt near 1450 b.c., in the beginning of the reign of Amenhotep II, whom most conservatives identify as the pharaoh of the exodus. Rameses II, of course, had a very long reign (1304-1236). But if he were the one from whom Moses fled, then he could not be the pharaoh of the exodus, but his son would be—and that puts the date of the exodus after 1236, a date too late for anyone. See E. H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, 62.
- Exodus 4:20 tn Heb “And Moses took.”
- Exodus 4:20 sn Only Gershom has been mentioned so far. The other son’s name will be explained in chapter 18. The explanation of Gershom’s name was important to Moses’ sojourn in Midian. The explanation of the name Eliezer fits better in the later chapter (18:2-4).
- Exodus 4:20 tn The verb would literally be rendered “and returned”; however, the narrative will record other happenings before he arrived in Egypt, so an ingressive nuance fits here—he began to return, or started back.
- Exodus 4:21 tn The construction may involve a verbal hendiadys using the two infinitive forms: “when you go to return” (בְּלֶכְתְּךָ לָשׁוּב, belekhtekha lashuv). The clause is temporal, subordinated to the instruction to do the signs. Therefore, its focus cannot be on going to return, i.e., preparing or beginning to return.
- Exodus 4:21 tn The two verb forms in this section are the imperative (רְאֵה, reʾeh) followed by the perfect with the vav (וַעֲשִׂיתָם, vaʿasitam). The second could be coordinated and function as a second command: “see…and [then] do”; or it could be subordinated logically: “see…so that you do.” Some commentators who take the first option suggest that Moses was supposed to contemplate these wonders before doing them before Pharaoh. That does not seem as likely as the second interpretation reflected in the translation.
- Exodus 4:21 tn Or “in your power”; Heb “in your hand.”
- Exodus 4:21 tn Heb “strengthen” (in the sense of making stubborn or obstinate). The text has the expression וַאֲנִי אֲחַזֵּק אֶת־לִבּוֹ (vaʾani ʾakhazzeq ʾet libbo), “I will make strong his will,” or “I will strengthen his resolve,” recognizing the “heart” as the location of decision making (see Prov 16:1, 9).
- Exodus 4:21 sn Here is the first mention of the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh. God first tells Moses he must do the miracles, but he also announces that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart, as if working against Moses. It will help Moses to know that God is bringing about the resistance in order to bring a greater victory with greater glory. There is a great deal of literature on this, but see among the resources F. W. Danker, “Hardness of Heart: A Study in Biblical Thematic,” CTM 44 (1973): 89-100; R. R. Wilson, “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart,” CBQ 41 (1979): 18-36; and R. B. Chisholm Jr., “Divine Hardening in the Old Testament,” BSac 153 (1996): 410-34.
- Exodus 4:21 tn Or “so that.”
- Exodus 4:22 sn The metaphor uses the word “son” in its connotation of a political dependent, as it was used in ancient documents to describe what was intended to be a loyal relationship with well-known privileges and responsibilities, like that between a good father and son. The word can mean a literal son, a descendant, a chosen king (and so, the Messiah), a disciple (in Proverbs), and here, a nation subject to God. If the people of Israel were God’s “son,” then they should serve him and not Pharaoh. Malachi reminds people that the Law said “a son honors his father,” and so God asked, “If I am a father, where is my honor?” (Mal 1:6).
- Exodus 4:23 tn The text uses the imperative, “send out” (שַׁלַּח, shallakh) followed by the imperfect or jussive with the vav (ו) to express purpose.
- Exodus 4:23 tn The Piel infinitive serves as the direct object of the verb, answering the question of what Pharaoh would refuse to do. The command and refusal to obey are the grounds for the announcement of death for Pharaoh’s son.
- Exodus 4:23 tn The construction is very emphatic. The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) gives it an immediacy and a vividness, as if God is already beginning to act. The participle with this particle has the nuance of an imminent future act, as if God is saying, “I am about to kill.” These words are not repeated until the last plague.
- Exodus 4:24 tn Or “at a lodging place” or “at an inn.”
- Exodus 4:24 sn The next section (vv. 24-26) records a rather strange story. God had said that if Pharaoh would not comply he would kill his son—but now God was ready to kill Moses, the representative of Israel, God’s own son. Apparently, one would reconstruct that on the journey Moses fell seriously ill, but his wife, learning the cause of the illness, saved his life by circumcising her son and casting the foreskin at Moses’ feet (indicating that it was symbolically Moses’ foreskin). The point is that this son of Abraham had not complied with the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. No one, according to Exod 12:40-51, would take part in the Passover-exodus who had not complied. So how could the one who was going to lead God’s people not comply? The bold anthropomorphisms and the location at the border invite comparisons with Gen 32, the Angel wrestling with Jacob. In both cases there is a brush with death that could not be forgotten. See also, W. Dumbrell, “Exodus 4:24-25: A Textual Re-examination,” HTR 65 (1972): 285-90; T. C. Butler, “An Anti-Moses Tradition,” JSOT 12 (1979): 9-15; and L. Kaplan, “And the Lord Sought to Kill Him,” HAR 5 (1981): 65-74.
- Exodus 4:25 tn Heb “to his feet.” The referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The LXX has “and she fell at his feet” and then “the blood of the circumcision of my son stood.” But it is clear that she caused the foreskin to touch Moses’ feet, as if the one were a substitution for the other, taking the place of the other (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 60).
- Exodus 4:25 sn U. Cassuto explains that she was saying, “I have delivered you from death, and your return to life makes you my bridegroom a second time, this time my blood bridegroom, a bridegroom acquired through blood” (Exodus, 60-61).
- Exodus 4:26 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 4:26 tn Or “Therefore.” The particle אָז (ʾaz) here is not introducing the next item in a series of events. It points back to the past (“at that time,” see Gen 4:26) or to a logical connection (“therefore, consequently”).
- Exodus 4:26 tn The Hebrew simply has לַמּוּלֹת (lammulot, “to the circumcision[s]”). The phrase explains that the saying was in reference to the act of circumcision. Some scholars speculate that there was a ritual prior to marriage from which this event and its meaning derived. But it appears rather that if there was some ancient ritual, it would have had to come from this event. The difficulty is that the son is circumcised, not Moses, making the comparative mythological view untenable. Moses had apparently not circumcised Eliezer. Since Moses was taking his family with him, God had to make sure the sign of the covenant was kept. It may be that here Moses sent them all back to Jethro (18:2) because of the difficulties that lay ahead.
- Exodus 4:27 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
- Exodus 4:27 tn S. R. Driver considers that this verse is a continuation of vv. 17 and 18 and that Aaron met Moses before Moses started back to Egypt (Exodus, 33). The first verb, then, might have the nuance of a past perfect: Yahweh had said.
- Exodus 4:27 tn Heb “and kissed him.”
- Exodus 4:28 tn This verb and the last one in the verse are rendered with the past perfect nuance because they refer to what the Lord had done prior to Moses’ telling Aaron.
- Exodus 4:29 sn These are the leaders of the tribes who represented all the people. Later, after the exodus, Moses will select the most capable of them and others to be rulers in a judicial sense (Exod 18:21).
- Exodus 4:30 tn Heb “And Aaron spoke.”
- Exodus 4:31 tc The LXX (Greek OT) has “and they rejoiced,” probably reading וַיִּשְׂמְחוּ (vayyismekhu) instead of what the MT reading, וַיִּשְׂמְעוּ (vayyismeʿu, “and they heard”). To rejoice would have seemed a natural response of the people at the news, and the words sound similar in Hebrew.tn The form is the preterite with the vav consecutive, “and they heard.” It clearly is a temporal clause subordinate to the following verbs that report how they bowed and worshiped. But it is also in sequence to the preceding: they believed, and then they bowed when they heard.
- Exodus 4:31 tn Or “intervened for.” The word פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been translated “visited,” which is open to many interpretations. It means that God intervened in the life of the Israelites to bless them with the fulfillment of the promises. It says more than that he took notice of them, took pity on them, or remembered them. He had not yet fulfilled the promises, but he had begun to act by calling Moses and Aaron. The translation “attended to” attempts to capture that much.
- Exodus 4:31 tn The verb וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ (vayyishtakhavu) is usually rendered “worshiped.” More specifically, the verbal root חָוָה (khava) in the Hishtaphel stem means “to cause oneself to be low to the ground.” While there is nothing wrong with giving it a general translation of “worship,” it may be better in a passage like this to take it in conjunction with the other verb (“bow”) as a verbal hendiadys, using it as an adverb to that verb. The implication is certainly that they prayed, or praised, and performed some other aspect of worship, but the text may just be describing it from their posture of worship. With this response, all the fears of Moses are swept aside—they believed and they were thankful to God.
- Exodus 5:1 sn The enthusiasm of the worshipers in the preceding chapter turns sour in this one when Pharaoh refuses to cooperate. The point is clear that when the people of God attempt to devote their full service and allegiance to God, they encounter opposition from the world. Rather than finding instant blessing and peace, they find conflict. This is the theme that will continue through the plague narratives. But what makes chapter 5 especially interesting is how the people reacted to this opposition. The chapter has three sections: first, the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh (vv. 1-5); then the report of the stern opposition of the king (vv. 6-14); and finally, the sad account of the effect of this opposition on the people (vv. 15-21).
- Exodus 5:1 tn The form שַׁלַּח (shallakh), the Piel imperative, has been traditionally translated “let [my people] go.” The Qal would be “send”; so the Piel “send away, release, dismiss, discharge.” B. Jacob observes, “If a person was dismissed through the use of this verb, then he ceased to be within the power or sphere of influence of the individual who had dismissed him. He was completely free and subsequently acted entirely on his own responsibility” (Exodus, 115).
- Exodus 5:1 tn The verb חָגַג (khagag) means to hold a feast or to go on a pilgrim feast. The Arabic cognate of the noun form is haj, best known for the pilgrim flight of Mohammed, the hajira. The form in the text (וְיָחֹגּוּ, veyakhoggu) is subordinated to the imperative and thus shows the purpose of the imperative.
- Exodus 5:2 tn Heb “Yahweh.” This is a rhetorical question, expressing doubt or indignation or simply a negative thought that Yahweh is nothing (see erotesis in E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 944-45). Pharaoh is not asking for information (cf. 1 Sam 25:5-10).
- Exodus 5:2 tn The relative pronoun introduces the consecutive clause that depends on the interrogative clause (see GKC 318-19 §107.u).
- Exodus 5:2 tn The imperfect tense here receives the classification of obligatory imperfect. The verb שָׁמַע (shamaʿ) followed by “in the voice of” is idiomatic; rather than referring to simple audition—“that I should hear his voice”—it conveys the thought of listening that issues in action—“that I should obey him.”sn The construction of these clauses is similar to (ironically) the words of Moses: “Who am I that I should go?” (3:11).
- Exodus 5:2 tn The Piel infinitive construct here has the epexegetical usage with lamed (ל); it explains the verb “obey.”
- Exodus 5:2 sn This absolute statement of Pharaoh is part of a motif that will develop throughout the conflict. For Pharaoh, the Lord (Yahweh) did not exist. So he said “I do not know the Lord [i.e., Yahweh].” The point of the plagues and the exodus will be “that he might know.” Pharaoh will come to know this Yahweh, but not in any pleasant way.
- Exodus 5:3 tn The word “journey” is an adverbial accusative telling the distance that Moses wanted the people to go. It is qualified by “three days.” It is not saying that they will be gone three days, but that they will go a distance that will take three days to cover (see Gen 31:22-23; Num 10:33; 33:8).
- Exodus 5:3 tn The purpose clause here is formed with a second cohortative joined with a vav (ו): “let us go…and let us sacrifice.” The purpose of the going was to sacrifice.sn Where did Moses get the idea that they should have a pilgrim feast and make sacrifices? God had only said they would serve Him in that mountain. In the OT the pilgrim feasts to the sanctuary three times a year incorporated the ideas of serving the Lord and keeping the commands. So the words here use the more general idea of appearing before their God. They would go to the desert because there was no homeland yet. Moses later spoke of the journey as necessary to avoid offending Egyptian sensibilities (8:25-26).
- Exodus 5:3 sn The last clause of this verse is rather unexpected here: “lest he meet [afflict] us with pestilence or sword.” To fail to comply with the summons of one’s God was to invite such calamities. The Law would later incorporate many such things as the curses for disobedience. Moses is indicating to Pharaoh that there is more reason to fear Yahweh than Pharaoh.
- Exodus 5:4 sn The clause is a rhetorical question. Pharaoh is not asking them why they do this, but rather is accusing them of doing it. He suspects their request is an attempt to get people time away from their labor. In Pharaoh’s opinion, Moses and Aaron were “removing the restraint” (פָּרַע, paraʿ) of the people in an effort to give them rest. Ironically, under the Law the people would be expected to cease their labor when they went to appear before God. He would give them the rest that Pharaoh refused to give. It should be noted also that it was not Israel who doubted that Yahweh had sent Moses, as Moses had feared—but rather Pharaoh.
- Exodus 5:5 tn Heb “And Pharaoh said.” This is not the kind of thing that Pharaoh is likely to have said to Moses, and so it probably is what he thought or reasoned within himself. Other passages (like Exod 2:14; 3:3) show that the verb “said” can do this. (See U. Cassuto, Exodus, 67.)
- Exodus 5:6 tn Heb “and Pharaoh commanded on that day.”
- Exodus 5:6 tn The Greek has “scribes” for this word, perhaps thinking of those lesser officials as keeping records of the slaves and the bricks.
- Exodus 5:6 tn The phrase “who were” is supplied for clarity.
- Exodus 5:6 sn In vv. 6-14 the second section of the chapter describes the severe measures by the king to increase the labor by decreasing the material. The emphasis in this section must be on the harsh treatment of the people and Pharaoh’s reason for it—he accuses them of idleness because they want to go and worship. The real reason, of course, is that he wants to discredit Moses (v. 9) and keep the people as slaves.
- Exodus 5:7 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys: לֹא תֹאסִפוּן לָתֵת (loʾ toʾsifun latet, “you must not add to give”). The imperfect tense acts adverbially, and the infinitive becomes the main verb of the clause: “you must no longer give.”
- Exodus 5:7 tn The expression “for making bricks” is made of the infinitive construct followed by its cognate accusative: לִלְבֹּן הַלְּבֵנִים (lilbon hallevenim).
- Exodus 5:7 tn Heb “as yesterday and three days ago” or “as yesterday and before that.” This is idiomatic for “as previously” or “as in the past.”
- Exodus 5:7 tn The jussive יֵלְכוּ (yelekhu) and its following sequential verb would have the force of decree and not permission or advice. He is telling them to go and find straw or stubble for the bricks.
- Exodus 5:8 tn The verb is the Qal imperfect of שִׂים (sim, “place, put”). The form could be an imperfect of instruction: “You will place upon them the quota.” Or, as here, it may be an obligatory imperfect: “You must place.”
- Exodus 5:8 tn Heb “yesterday and three days ago” or “yesterday and before that” is idiomatic for “previously” or “in the past.”
- Exodus 5:8 tn Or “loafers.” The form נִרְפִּים (nirpim) is derived from the verb רָפָה (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.” They had been letting the work go, Pharaoh reasoned, and being idle is why they had time to think about going to worship.
- Exodus 5:9 tn Heb “let the work be heavy.”
- Exodus 5:9 tn The text has וְיַעֲשׂוּ־בָהּ (veyaʿasu vah, “and let them work in it”) or the like. The jussive forms part of the king’s decree that the men not only be required to work harder but be doing it: “Let them be occupied in it.”sn For a discussion of this whole section, see K. A. Kitchen, “From the Brickfields of Egypt,” TynBul 27 (1976): 137-47.
- Exodus 5:9 sn The words of Moses are here called “lying words” (דִבְרֵי־שָׁקֶר, divre shaqer). Here is the main reason, then, for Pharaoh’s new policy. He wanted to discredit Moses. So the words that Moses spoke Pharaoh calls false and lying words. The world was saying that God’s words were vain and deceptive because they were calling people to a higher order. In a short time God would reveal that they were true words.
- Exodus 5:10 tn Heb “went out and spoke to the people saying.” Here “the people” has been specified as “the Israelites” for clarity.
- Exodus 5:10 tn The construction uses the negative particle combined with a subject suffix before the participle: אֵינֶנִּי נֹתֵן (ʾenenni noten, “there is not I—giving”).
- Exodus 5:11 tn The independent personal pronoun emphasizes that the people were to get their own straw, and it heightens the contrast with the king. “You—go get.”
- Exodus 5:11 tn The tense in this section could be translated as having the nuance of possibility: “wherever you may find it,” or the nuance of potential imperfect: “wherever you are able to find any.”
- Exodus 5:12 tn The verb וַיָּפֶץ (vayyafets) is from the hollow root פּוּץ (puts) and means “scatter, spread abroad.”
- Exodus 5:13 tn Or “pressed.”
- Exodus 5:13 tn כַּלּוּ (kallu) is the Piel imperative; the verb means “to finish, complete” in the sense of filling up the quota.
- Exodus 5:14 tn The quotation is introduced with the common word לֵאמֹר (leʾmor, “saying”) and no mention of who said the question.
- Exodus 5:14 sn The idioms for time here are found also in 3:10 and 5:7-8. This question no doubt represents many accusations shouted at Israelites during the period when it was becoming obvious that, despite all their efforts, they were unable to meet their quotas as before.
- Exodus 5:15 sn The last section of this event tells the effect of the oppression on Israel, first on the people (15-19) and then on Moses and Aaron (20-21). The immediate reaction of Israel was to cry to Pharaoh—something they would learn should be directed to God. When Pharaoh rebuffed them harshly, they turned bitterly against their leaders.
- Exodus 5:15 tn The imperfect tense should be classified here with the progressive imperfect nuance, because the harsh treatment was a present reality.
- Exodus 5:16 tn Heb “[they] are saying to us,” the line can be rendered as a passive since there is no expressed subject for the participle.
- Exodus 5:16 tn הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to the action reflected in the passive participle מֻכִּים (mukkim): “look, your servants are being beaten.”
- Exodus 5:16 tn The word rendered “fault” is the basic OT verb for “sin”—וְחָטָאת (vekhataʾt). The problem is that it is pointed as a perfect tense, feminine singular verb. Some other form of the verb would be expected, or a noun. But the basic word-group means “to err, sin, miss the mark, way, goal.” The word in this context seems to indicate that the people of Pharaoh—the slave masters—have failed to provide the straw. Hence: “fault” or “they failed.” But, as indicated, the line has difficult grammar, for it would literally translate: “and you [fem.] sin your people.” Many commentators (so GKC 206 §74.g) wish to emend the text to read with the Greek and the Syriac, thus: “you sin against your own people” (meaning the Israelites are his loyal subjects).
- Exodus 5:17 tn Heb “And he said.”
- Exodus 5:17 tn Or “loafers.” The form נִרְפִּים (nirpim) is derived from the verb רָפָה (rafah), meaning “to be weak, to let oneself go.”
- Exodus 5:18 tn The text has two imperatives: “go, work.” They may be used together to convey one complex idea (so a use of hendiadys): “go back to work.”
- Exodus 5:18 tn The imperfect תִּתֵּנּוּ (tittennu) is here taken as an obligatory imperfect: “you must give” or “you must produce.”
- Exodus 5:18 sn B. Jacob is amazed at the wealth of this tyrant’s vocabulary in describing the work of others. Here, תֹכֶן (tokhen) is another word for “quota” of bricks, the fifth word used to describe their duty (Exodus, 137).
- Exodus 5:19 tn The common Hebrew verb translated “saw,” like the common English verb for seeing, is also used to refer to mental perception and understanding, as in the question “See what I mean?” The foremen understood how difficult things would be under this ruling.
- Exodus 5:19 tn The text has the sign of the accusative with a suffix and then a prepositional phrase: אֹתָם בְּרָע (ʾotam beraʿ), meaning something like “[they saw] them in trouble” or “themselves in trouble.” Gesenius shows a few examples where the accusative of the reflexive pronoun is represented by the sign of the accusative with a suffix, and these with marked emphasis (GKC 439 §135.k).
- Exodus 5:19 tn The clause “when they were told” translates לֵאמֹר (leʾmor), which usually simply means “saying.” The thing that was said was clearly the decree that was given to them.
- Exodus 5:20 sn Moses and Aaron would not have made the appeal to Pharaoh that these Hebrew foremen did, but they were concerned to see what might happen, and so they waited to meet the foremen when they came out.
- Exodus 5:21 tn The foremen vented their anger on Moses and Aaron. The two jussives express their desire that the evil these two have caused be dealt with. “May Yahweh look on you and may he judge” could mean only that God should decide if Moses and Aaron are at fault, but given the rest of the comments it is clear the foremen want more. The second jussive could be subordinated to the first—“so that he may judge [you].”
- Exodus 5:21 tn Heb “you have made our aroma stink.”
- Exodus 5:21 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
- Exodus 5:21 tn Heb “in the eyes of his servants.” This phrase is not repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Exodus 5:21 tn Heb “to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” The infinitive construct with the lamed (לָתֶת, latet) signifies the result (“so that”) of making the people stink. Their reputation is now so bad that Pharaoh might gladly put them to death. The next infinitive could also be understood as expressing result: “put a sword in their hand so that they can kill us.”
- Exodus 5:22 sn In view of the apparent failure of the mission, Moses seeks Yahweh for assurance. The answer from Yahweh not only assures him that all is well, but that there will be a great deliverance. The passage can be divided into three parts: the complaint of Moses (5:22-23), the promise of Yahweh (6:1-9), and the instructions for Moses (6:10-13). Moses complains because God has not delivered his people as he had said he would, and God answers that he will because he is the sovereign covenant God who keeps his word. Therefore, Moses must keep his commission to speak God’s word. See further, E. A. Martens, “Tackling Old Testament Theology,” JETS 20 (1977): 123-32. The message is very similar to that found in the NT, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Pet 3:4). The complaint of Moses (5:22-23) can be worded with Peter’s “Where is the promise of his coming?” theme; the assurance from Yahweh (6:1-9) can be worded with Peter’s “The Lord is not slack in keeping his promises” (2 Pet 3:9); and the third part, the instructions for Moses (6:10-13) can be worded with Peter’s “Prepare for the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Pet 3:12). The people who speak for God must do so in the sure confidence of the coming deliverance—Moses with the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and Christians with the deliverance from this sinful world.
- Exodus 5:22 tn Heb “and Moses returned.”
- Exodus 5:22 tn The designation in Moses’ address is “Lord” (אֲדֹנָי, ʾadonay)—the term for “lord” or “master” but pointed as it would be when it represents the tetragrammaton.
- Exodus 5:22 tn The verb is הֲרֵעֹתָה (hareʿotah), the Hiphil perfect of רָעַע (raʿaʿ). The word itself means “to do evil,” and in this stem “to cause evil”—but evil in the sense of pain, calamity, trouble, or affliction, and not always in the sense of sin. Certainly not here. That God had allowed Pharaoh to oppose them had brought greater pain to the Israelites.sn Moses’ question is rhetorical; the point is more of a complaint or accusation to God, although there is in it the desire to know why. B. Jacob (Exodus, 139) comments that such frank words were a sign of the man’s closeness to God. God never has objected to such bold complaints by the devout. He then notes how God was angered by his defenders in the book of Job rather than by Job’s heated accusations.
- Exodus 5:22 tn The demonstrative pronoun serves for emphasis in the question (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118). This second question continues Moses’ bold approach to God, more chiding than praying. He is implying that if this was the result of the call, then God had no purpose calling him (compare Jeremiah’s similar complaint in Jer 20).
- Exodus 5:23 sn Now the verb (הֵרַע, heraʿ) has a different subject—Pharaoh. The ultimate cause of the trouble was God, but the immediate cause was Pharaoh and the way he increased the work. Meanwhile, the Israelite foremen have pinned most of the blame on Moses and Aaron. Moses knows all about the sovereignty of God, and as he speaks in God’s name, he sees the effect it has on pagans like Pharaoh. So the rhetorical questions are designed to prod God to act differently.
- Exodus 5:23 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic: וְהַצֵּל לֹא־הִצַּלְתָּ (vehatsel loʾ hitsalta). The verb נָצַל (natsal) means “to deliver, rescue” in the sense of plucking out, even plundering. The infinitive absolute strengthens both the idea of the verb and the negative. God had not delivered this people at all.
- Exodus 5:23 tn Heb “your people.” The pronoun (“them”) has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons here, to avoid redundancy.
- Exodus 6:1 sn The expression “I will do to Pharaoh” always refers to the plagues. God would first show his sovereignty over Pharaoh before defeating him.
- Exodus 6:1 tn The expression “with a strong hand” (וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה, uveyad khazaqah) could refer (1) to God’s powerful intervention (“compelled by my strong hand”) or (2) to Pharaoh’s forceful pursuit (“he will forcefully drive them out”). In Exod 3:20 God has summarized what his hand would do in Egypt, and that is probably what is intended here, as he promises that Moses will see what God will do. All Egypt ultimately desired that Israel be released (12:33), and when they were released Pharaoh pursued them to the sea, and so in a sense drove them out—whether that was his intention or not. But ultimately it was God’s power that was the real force behind it all. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 74) considers that it is unlikely that the phrase would be used in the same verse twice with the same meaning. So he thinks that the first “strong hand” is God’s, and the second “strong hand” is Pharaoh’s. It is true that if Pharaoh acted forcefully in any way that contributed to Israel leaving Egypt it was because God was acting forcefully in his life. So in an understated way, God is saying that when forced by God’s strong hand, Pharaoh will indeed release God’s people.”
- Exodus 6:1 tn Or “and he will forcefully drive them out of his land,” if the second occurrence of “strong hand” refers to Pharaoh’s rather than God’s (see the previous note).sn In Exod 12:33 the Egyptians were eager to send (release) Israel away in haste, because they all thought they were going to die.
- Exodus 6:2 tn Heb “And God spoke.”
- Exodus 6:2 sn The announcement “I am the Lord” (Heb “Yahweh”) draws in the preceding revelation in Exod 3:15. In that place God called Moses to this task and explained the significance of the name “Yahweh” by the enigmatic expression “I am that I am.” “I am” (אֶהְיֶה, ʾehyeh) is not a name; “Yahweh” is. But the explanation of the name with this sentence indicates that Yahweh is the one who is always there, and that guarantees the future, for everything he does is consistent with his nature. He is eternal, never changing; he remains. Now, in Exodus 6, the meaning of the name “Yahweh” will be more fully unfolded.
- Exodus 6:3 tn The preposition bet (ב) in this construction should be classified as a bet essentiae, a bet of essence (see also GKC 379 §119.i).
- Exodus 6:3 tn The traditional rendering of the title as “Almighty” is reflected in LXX and Jerome. But there is still little agreement on the etymology and exact meaning of אֵל־שַׁדַּי (ʾel shadday). Suggestions have included the idea of “mountain God,” meaning the high God, as well as “the God with breasts.” But there is very little evidence supporting such conclusions and not much reason to question the ancient versions.
- Exodus 6:3 tn Heb “Yahweh,” traditionally rendered in English as “the Lord.” The phrase has been placed in quotation marks in the translation to indicate it represents the tetragrammaton.
- Exodus 6:3 tn The verb is the Niphal form נוֹדַעְתִּי (nodaʿti). If the text had wanted to say, “I did not make myself known,” then a Hiphil form would have been more likely. It is saying, “but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.”sn There are a number of important issues that need clarification in the interpretation of this section. First, it is important to note that “I am Yahweh” is not a new revelation of a previously unknown name. It would be introduced differently if it were. This is the identification of the covenant God as the one calling Moses—that would be proof for the people that their God had called him. Second, the title “El Shadday” is not a name, but a title. It is true that in the patriarchal accounts “El Shadday” is used six times; in Job it is used thirty times. Many conclude that it does reflect the idea of might or power. In some of those passages that reveal God as “El Shadday,” the name “Yahweh” was also used. But Wellhausen and other proponents of the earlier source critical analysis used Exod 6:3 to say that P, the so-called priestly source, was aware that the name “Yahweh” was not known by them, even though J, the supposed Yahwistic source, wrote using the name as part of his theology. Third, the texts of Genesis show that Yahweh had appeared to the patriarchs (Gen 12:1; 17:1; 18:1; 26:2; 26:24; 26:12; 35:1; 48:3), and that he spoke to each one of them (Gen 12:7; 15:1; 26:2; 28:13; 31:3). The name “Yahweh” occurs 162 times in Genesis, 34 of those times on the lips of speakers in Genesis (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:340-41). They also made proclamation of Yahweh by name (4:26; 12:8), and they named places with the name (22:14). These passages should not be ignored or passed off as later interpretation. Fourth, “Yahweh” is revealed as the God of power, the sovereign God, who was true to his word and could be believed. He would do as he said (Num 23:19; 14:35; Exod 12:25; 22:24; 24:14; 36:36; 37:14). Fifth, there is a difference between promise and fulfillment in the way revelation is apprehended. The patriarchs were individuals who received the promises but without the fulfillment. The fulfillment could only come after the Israelites became a nation. Now, in Egypt, they are ready to become that promised nation. The two periods were not distinguished by not having and by having the name, but by two ways God revealed the significance of his name. “I am Yahweh” to the patriarchs indicated that he was the absolute, almighty, eternal God. The patriarchs were individuals sojourning in the land. God appeared to them in the significance of El Shadday. That was not his name. So Gen 17:1 says that “Yahweh appeared…and said, ‘I am El Shadday.’” See also Gen 35:11; 48:2; 28:3. Sixth, the verb “to know” is never used to introduce a name which had never been known or experienced. The Niphal and Hiphil of the verb are used only to describe the recognition of the overtones or significance of the name (see Jer 16:21, Isa 52:6; Ps 83:17ff; 1 Kgs 8:41ff. [people will know his name when prayers are answered]). For someone to say that he knew Yahweh meant that Yahweh had been experienced or recognized (see Exod 33:6; 1 Kgs 18:36; Jer 28:9; Ps 76:2). Seventh, “Yahweh” is not one of God’s names—it is his only name. Other titles, like “El Shadday,” are not strictly names but means of revealing Yahweh. All the revelations to the patriarchs could not compare to this one, because God was now dealing with the nation. He would make his name known to them through his deeds (see Ezek 20:5). So now they will “know” the “name.” The verb יָדַע (yadaʿ) means more than “aware of, be knowledgeable about”; it means “to experience” the reality of the revelation by that name. This harmonizes with the usage of שֵׁם (shem), “name,” which encompasses all the attributes and actions of God. It is not simply a reference to a title, but to the way that God revealed himself—God gave meaning to his name through his acts. God is not saying that he had not revealed a name to the patriarchs (that would have used the Hiphil of the verb). Rather, he is saying that the patriarchs did not experience what the name Yahweh actually meant, and they could not without seeing it fulfilled. When Moses came to the elders, he identified his call as from Yahweh, the God of the fathers—and they accepted him. They knew the name. But, when they were delivered from bondage, then they fully knew by experience what that name meant, for his promises were fulfilled. U. Cassuto (Exodus, 79) paraphrases it this way: “I revealed Myself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in My aspect that finds expression in the name Shaddai…I was not known to them, that is, it was not given to them to recognize Me as One that fulfils his promises.” This generation was about to “know” the name that their ancestors knew and used, but never experienced with the fulfillment of the promises. This section of Exodus confirms this interpretation, because in it God promised to bring them out of Egypt and give them the promised land—then they would know that he is Yahweh (6:7). This meaning should have been evident from its repetition to the Egyptians throughout the plagues—that they might know Yahweh (e.g., 7:5). See further R. D. Wilson, “Yahweh [Jehovah] and Exodus 6:3, ” Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, 29-40; L. A. Herrboth, “Exodus 6:3b: Was God Known to the Patriarchs as Jehovah?” CTM 4 (1931): 345-49; F. C. Smith, “Observation on the Use of the Names and Titles of God in Genesis,” EvQ 40 (1968): 103-9.
- Exodus 6:4 tn The statement refers to the making of the covenant with Abraham (Gen 15 and following) and confirming it with the other patriarchs. The verb הֲקִמֹתִי (haqimoti) means “set up, establish, give effect to, conclude” a covenant agreement. The covenant promised the patriarchs a great nation, a land—Canaan, and divine blessing. They lived with those promises, but now their descendants were in bondage in Egypt. God’s reference to the covenant here is meant to show the new revelation through redemption will start to fulfill the promises and show what the reality of the name Yahweh is to them.
- Exodus 6:4 tn Heb “the land of their sojournings.” The noun מְגֻרִים (megurim) is a reminder that the patriarchs did not receive the promises. It is also an indication that those living in the age of promise did not experience the full meaning of the name of the covenant God. The “land of their sojournings” is the land of Canaan where the family lived (גָּרוּ, garu) as foreigners, without owning property or having the rights of kinship with the surrounding population.
- Exodus 6:5 tn The addition of the independent pronoun אֲנִי (ʾani, “I”) emphasizes the fact that it was Yahweh himself who heard the cry.
- Exodus 6:5 tn Heb “And also I have heard.”
- Exodus 6:5 tn The form is the Hiphil participle מַעֲבִדִים (maʿavidim, “causing to serve”). The participle occurs in a relative clause that modifies “the Israelites.” The clause ends with the accusative “them,” which must be combined with the relative pronoun for a smooth English translation. So “who the Egyptians are enslaving them,” results in the translation “whom the Egyptians are enslaving.”
- Exodus 6:5 sn As in Exod 2:24, this remembering has the significance of God’s beginning to act to fulfill the covenant promises.
- Exodus 6:6 tn The verb וְהוֹצֵאתִי (vehotseʾti) is a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive, and so it receives a future translation—part of God’s promises. The word will be used later to begin the Decalogue and other covenant passages—“I am Yahweh who brought you out….”
- Exodus 6:6 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV “from under the yoke of.”
- Exodus 6:6 tn Heb “from labor of them.” The antecedent of the pronoun is the Egyptians who have imposed slave labor on the Hebrews.
- Exodus 6:7 sn These covenant promises are being reiterated here because they are about to be fulfilled. They are addressed to the nation, not individuals, as the plural suffixes show. Yahweh was their God already, because they had been praying to him and he is acting on their behalf. When they enter into covenant with God at Sinai, then he will be the God of Israel in a new way (19:4-6; cf. Gen 17:7-8; 28:20-22; Lev 26:11-12; Jer 24:7; Ezek 11:17-20).
- Exodus 6:7 tn Heb “from under the burdens of” (so KJV, NASB); NIV “from under the yoke of.”
- Exodus 6:8 tn Heb “which I raised my hand to give it.” The relative clause specifies which land is their goal. The bold anthropomorphism mentions part of an oath-taking ceremony to refer to the whole event and reminds the reader that God swore that he would give the land to them. The reference to taking an oath would have made the promise of God sure in the mind of the Israelite.
- Exodus 6:8 sn Here is the twofold aspect again clearly depicted: God swore the promise to the patriarchs, but he is about to give what he promised to this generation. This generation will know more about him as a result.
- Exodus 6:9 sn The final part of this section focuses on instructions for Moses. The commission from God is the same—he is to speak to Pharaoh and he is to lead Israel out. It should have been clear to him that God would do this, for he had just been reminded how God was going to lead out, deliver, redeem, take the people as his people, and give them land. It was God’s work of love from beginning to end. Moses simply had his task to perform.
- Exodus 6:9 tn Heb “and Moses spoke thus.”
- Exodus 6:9 tn Heb “to Moses.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Exodus 6:9 tn The Hebrew מִקֹּצֶּר רוּחַ (miqqotser ruakh) means “because of the shortness of spirit.” This means that they were discouraged, dispirited, and weary—although some have also suggested it might mean impatient. The Israelites were now just not in the frame of mind to listen to Moses.
- Exodus 6:11 tn The form וִישַׁלַּח (vishallakh) is the Piel imperfect or jussive with a sequential vav; following an imperative it gives the imperative’s purpose and intended result. They are to speak to Pharaoh, and (so that as a result) he will release Israel. After the command to speak, however, the second clause also indirectly states the content of the speech (cf. Exod 11:2; 14:2, 15; 25:2; Lev 16:2; 22:2). As the next verse shows, Moses doubts that what he says will have the intended effect.
- Exodus 6:12 tn Heb “And Moses spoke before.”
- Exodus 6:12 sn This analogy is an example of a qal wahomer comparison. It is an argument by inference from the light (qal) to the heavy (homer), from the simple to the more difficult. If the Israelites, who are Yahwists, would not listen to him, it is highly unlikely Pharaoh would.
- Exodus 6:12 tn The final clause begins with a disjunctive vav (ו), a vav on a nonverb form—here a pronoun. It introduces a circumstantial causal clause.
- Exodus 6:12 tn Heb “and [since] I am of uncircumcised lips.” The “lips” represent his speech (metonymy of cause). The term “uncircumcised” makes a comparison between his speech and that which Israel perceived as unacceptable, unprepared, foreign, and of no use to God. The heart is described this way when it is impervious to good impressions (Lev 26:41; Jer 9:26) and the ear when it hears imperfectly (Jer 6:10). Moses has here returned to his earlier claim—he does not speak well enough to be doing this.
- Exodus 6:13 tn Heb “And Yahweh spoke.”
- Exodus 6:13 tn The term וַיְצַוֵּם (vayetsavvem) is a Piel preterite with a pronominal suffix on it. The verb צָוָה (tsavah) means “to command” but can also have a much wider range of meanings. In this short summary statement, the idea of giving Moses and Aaron a commission to Israel and to Pharaoh indicates that come what may they have their duty to perform.
- Exodus 6:14 sn This list of names shows that Moses and Aaron are in the line of Levi that came to the priesthood. It helps to identify them and authenticate them as spokesmen for God within the larger history of Israel. As N. M. Sarna observes, “Because a genealogy inherently symbolizes vigor and continuity, its presence here also injects a reassuring note into the otherwise despondent mood” (Exodus [JPSTC], 33).
- Exodus 6:14 tn The expression is literally “the house of their fathers.” This expression means that the household or family descended from a single ancestor. It usually indicates a subdivision of a tribe, that is, a clan, or the subdivision of a clan, that is, a family. Here it refers to a clan (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 46).
- Exodus 6:14 tn Or “descendants.”
- Exodus 6:14 tn Or “families,” and so throughout the genealogy.
- Exodus 6:16 tn Or “generations.”
- Exodus 6:20 tn Heb “took for a wife” (also in vv. 23, 25).
- Exodus 6:25 tn Heb “heads of the fathers” is taken as an abbreviation for the description of “households” in v. 14.
- Exodus 6:26 tn Or “by their hosts” or “by their armies.” Often translated “hosts” (ASV, NASB) or “armies” (KJV), צְבָאוֹת (tsevaʾot) is a military term that portrays the people of God in battle array. In contemporary English, “regiment” is perhaps more easily understood as a force for battle than “company” (cf. NAB, NRSV) or “division” (NIV, NCV, NLT), both of which can have commercial associations. The term also implies an orderly departure.
- Exodus 6:28 sn From here on the confrontation between Yahweh and Pharaoh will intensify until Pharaoh is destroyed. The emphasis at this point, though, is on Yahweh’s instructions for Moses to speak to Pharaoh. The first section (6:28-7:7) ends (v. 6) with the notice that Moses and Aaron did just as (כַּאֲשֶׁר, kaʾasher) Yahweh had commanded them; the second section (7:8-13) ends with the note that Pharaoh refused to listen, just as (כַּאֲשֶׁר) Yahweh had said would be the case.
- Exodus 6:28 tn The beginning of this temporal clause does not follow the normal pattern of using the preterite of the main verb after the temporal indicator and prepositional phrase, but instead uses a perfect tense following the noun in construct: וַיְהִי בְּיוֹם דִּבֶּר (vayehi beyom dibber). See GKC 422 §130.d. This verse introduces a summary (vv. 28-30) of the conversation that was interrupted when the genealogy began.
- Exodus 6:29 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke to Moses saying.” This has been simplified in the translation as “he said to him” for stylistic reasons.
- Exodus 6:29 tn The verb is דַּבֵּר (dabber), the Piel imperative. It would normally be translated “speak,” but in English that verb does not sound as natural with a direct object as “tell.”
- Exodus 6:29 tn The clause begins with אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר (ʾet kol ʾasher) indicating that this is a noun clause functioning as the direct object of the imperative and providing the content of the commanded speech.
- Exodus 6:29 tn דֹּבֵר (dover) is the Qal active participle; it functions here as the predicate in the noun clause: “that I [am] telling you.” This one could be rendered, “that I am speaking to you.”
- Exodus 6:30 tn See note on Exod 6:12.
- Exodus 7:1 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 (ʾelohim) 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.
- Exodus 7:1 tn The word נְבִיאֶךָ (neviʾekha, “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.
- Exodus 7:2 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.”
- Exodus 7:2 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, ʾatsavvekha) 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.
- Exodus 7:2 tn The form is וְשִׁלַּח (veshillakh), 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”).
- Exodus 7:3 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 (qashah) 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.
- Exodus 7:3 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.
- Exodus 7:4 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will not listen.”
- Exodus 7:4 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.
- Exodus 7:4 tn See the note on this term in 6:26.
- Exodus 7:5 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, yadaʿ) 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.
- Exodus 7:5 sn This is another anthropomorphism, parallel to the preceding. If God were to “put” (נָתַן, natan), “extend” (נָטָה, natah), or “reach out” (שָׁלַח, shalakh) his hand against them, they would be destroyed. Contrast Exod 24:11.
- Exodus 7:8 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
- Exodus 7:8 tn Heb “said to Moses and Aaron, saying.”
- Exodus 7:9 tn The verb is תְּנוּ (tenu), literally “give.” The imperative is followed by an ethical dative that strengthens the subject of the imperative: “you give a miracle.”
- Exodus 7:9 tn Heb “and throw it.” The direct object, “it,” is implied.
- Exodus 7:9 tn The form is the jussive יְהִי (yehi). 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).
- Exodus 7:10 tn The clause begins with the preterite and the vav (ו) consecutive; it is here subordinated to the next clause as a temporal clause.
- Exodus 7:10 tn Heb “and Aaron threw.”
- Exodus 7:10 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.
- Exodus 7:11 sn For information on this Egyptian material, see D. B. Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (VTSup), 203-4.
- Exodus 7:11 tn The חַרְטֻמִּים (khartummim) seem to have been the keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred scribes.
- Exodus 7:11 tn The term בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם (belahatehem) 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.
- Exodus 7:12 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.”
- Exodus 7:13 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.
- Exodus 7:14 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.
- Exodus 7:14 tn Or “unresponsive” (so HALOT 456 s.v. I כָּבֵד).
- Exodus 7:14 tn The Piel infinitive construct לְשַׁלַּח (leshallakh) serves as the direct object of מֵאֵן (meʾen), 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.
- Exodus 7:15 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.
- Exodus 7:15 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.
- Exodus 7:15 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.
- Exodus 7:15 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.
- Exodus 7:15 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.”
- Exodus 7:16 tn The form לֵאמֹר (leʾmor) 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.
- Exodus 7:16 tn The imperfect tense with the vav (וְיַעַבְדֻנִי, veyaʿaveduni) following the imperative is a volitive sequence showing the purpose—“that they may serve me.” The word “serve” (עָבַד, ʿavad) is a general term that includes religious observance and obedience.
- Exodus 7:16 tn The final עַד־כֹּה (ʿad 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.
- Exodus 7:16 tn Or “complied” (שָׁמַעְתָּ, shamaʿta).
- Exodus 7:17 tn The combination of הִנֵּה (hinneh) plus the participle expresses imminent future, that he is about to do something.
- Exodus 7:17 sn W. C. Kaiser summarizes a view that has been adopted by many scholars, including a good number of conservatives, that the plagues overlap with natural phenomena in Egypt. Accordingly, the “blood” would not be literal blood, but a reddish contamination in the water. If there was an unusually high inundation of the Nile, the water flowed sluggishly through swamps and was joined with the water from the mountains that washed out the reddish soil. If the flood were high, the water would have a deeper red color. In addition to this discoloration, there is said to be a type of algae which produce a stench and a deadly fluctuation of the oxygen level of the river that is fatal to fish (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:350; he cites Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 : 84-103; same title, ZAW 70 : 48-59). While most scholars would agree that the water did not actually become blood (any more than the moon will be turned to literal blood [Joel 2:31]), many are not satisfied with this kind of explanation. If the event was a fairly common feature of the Nile, it would not have been any kind of sign to Pharaoh—and it should still be observable. The features that would have to be safeguarded are that it was understood to be done by the staff of God, that it was unexpected and not a mere coincidence, and that the magnitude of the contamination, color, stench, and death, was unparalleled. God does use natural features in miracles, but to be miraculous signs they cannot simply coincide with natural phenomena.
- Exodus 7:18 tn The definite article here has the generic use, indicating the class—“fish” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §92).
- Exodus 7:18 tn The verb לָאָה (laʾah), 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.
- Exodus 7:19 tn Or “irrigation rivers” of the Nile.
- Exodus 7:19 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.
- Exodus 7:19 tn The imperfect tense with vav (ו) after the imperative indicates the purpose or result: “in order that they [the waters] be[come] blood.”
- Exodus 7:19 tn Or “in all.”
- Exodus 7:20 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.
- Exodus 7:20 tn Heb This probably refers to Aaron who is instructed to do so in v. 19. Durham suggests that the subject may be the Lord (J. Durham, Exodus [WBC], 94).
- Exodus 7:20 tn Gesenius calls the preposition on “staff” the ב (bet) instrumenti, used to introduce the object (GKC 380-81 §119.q). This construction provides a greater emphasis than an accusative.
- Exodus 7:20 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.
- Exodus 7:20 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).
- Exodus 7:20 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.
- Exodus 7:21 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.
- Exodus 7:21 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.
- Exodus 7:21 tn Heb “and there was blood.”
- Exodus 7:22 tn Heb “thus, so.”
- Exodus 7:22 tn The vav consecutive on the preterite introduces the outcome or result of the matter—Pharaoh was hardened.
- Exodus 7:22 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.
- Exodus 7:22 tn Heb “to them”; the referents (Moses and Aaron) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 7:23 tn The text has וְלֹא־שָׁת לִבּוֹ גַּם־לָזֹאת (veloʾ shat libbo gam lazoʾt), 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; Pss 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.
- Exodus 7:24 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.
- Exodus 7:25 sn An attempt to connect this plague with the natural phenomena of Egypt proposes that because of the polluted water due to the high Nile, the frogs abandoned their normal watery homes (seven days after the first plague) and sought cover from the sun in homes wherever there was moisture. Since they had already been exposed to the poisonous water, they died very suddenly. The miracle was in the announcement and the timing, i.e., that Moses would predict this blow, and in the magnitude of it all, which was not natural (Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 : 95-98). It is also important to note that in parts of Egypt there was a fear of these creatures as embodying spirits capable of great evil. People developed the mentality of bowing to incredibly horrible idols to drive away the bad spirits. Evil spirits are represented in the book of Revelation in the forms of frogs (Rev 16:13). The frogs that the magicians produced could very well have been in the realm of evil spirits. Exactly how the Egyptians thought about this plague is hard to determine, but there is enough evidence to say that the plague would have made them spiritually as well as physically uncomfortable, and that the death of the frogs would have been a “sign” from God about their superstitions and related beliefs. The frog is associated with the god Hapi, and a frog-headed goddess named Heqet was supposed to assist women at childbirth. The plague would have been evidence that Yahweh was controlling their environment and upsetting their beliefs for his own purpose.
- Exodus 7:25 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.
- Exodus 7:25 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.
- Exodus 8:1 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.
- Exodus 8:2 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.
- Exodus 8:2 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, tsefardeʿim) may be an onomatopoeic word, something like “croakers”; it is of Egyptian origin and could be a Hebrew attempt to write the Arabic dofda.
- Exodus 8:3 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.
- Exodus 8:3 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.
- Exodus 8:4 tn Here again is the generic use of the article, designating the class—frogs.
- Exodus 8:4 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.”
- Exodus 8:5 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).
- Exodus 8:6 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).
- Exodus 8:7 tn Heb “thus, so.”
- Exodus 8:7 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.
- Exodus 8:8 tn The verb קָרָא (qaraʾ) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition has the meaning “to summon.”
- Exodus 8:8 tn The verb הַעְתִּירוּ (haʿtiru) is the Hiphil imperative of the verb עָתַר (ʿatar). 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.
- Exodus 8:8 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.
- Exodus 8:8 tn The form is the Piel cohortative וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה (vaʾashallekhah) 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.”
- Exodus 8:8 tn Here also the imperfect tense with the vav (ו) shows the purpose of the release: “that they may sacrifice.”
- Exodus 8:9 tn The expression הִתְפָּאֵר עָלַי (hitpaʾer ʿalay) 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).
- Exodus 8:9 tn Or “destroyed”; Heb “to cut off the frogs.”
- Exodus 8:9 tn The phrase “so that” is implied.
- Exodus 8:9 tn Or “survive, remain.”
- Exodus 8:10 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 8:10 tn “It will be” has been supplied.
- Exodus 8:10 tn Heb “according to your word” (so NASB).
- Exodus 8:12 tn The verb צָעַק (tsaʿaq) 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).
- Exodus 8:12 tn Heb “over the matter of.”
- Exodus 8:12 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.
- Exodus 8:13 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.
- Exodus 8:13 tn Heb “and the frogs died.”
- Exodus 8:14 tn Heb “and they piled them.” For clarity the translation supplies the referent “the Egyptians” as the ones who were piling the frogs.
- Exodus 8:14 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).
- Exodus 8:15 tn The word רְוָחָה (revakhah) 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.
- Exodus 8:15 tn וְהַכְבֵּד (vehakhbed) 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.
- Exodus 8:15 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.
- Exodus 8:16 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.
- Exodus 8:16 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.”
- Exodus 8:16 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.
- Exodus 8:17 tn Heb “man,” but in the generic sense of “humans” or “people” (also in v. 18).
- Exodus 8:18 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the main clause as a temporal clause.
- Exodus 8:18 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.
- Exodus 8:19 tn Heb “and the magicians said.”
- Exodus 8:19 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.
- Exodus 8:19 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.
- Exodus 8:20 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.
- Exodus 8:21 tn The construction uses the predicator of nonexistence—אֵין (ʾen, “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.”
- Exodus 8:21 tn Here again is the futur instans use of the participle, now Qal with the meaning “send”: הִנְנִי מַשְׁלִיחַ (hineni mashliakh, “here I am sending”).
- Exodus 8:21 tn The word עָרֹב (ʿarov) 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, zevuv); 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.
- Exodus 8:21 tn Or perhaps “the land where they are” (cf. NRSV “the land where they live”).
- Exodus 8:22 tn Or “distinguish.” וְהִפְלֵיתִי (vehifleti) 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 (paleʾ), and translated it something like “I will marvelously glorify.”
- Exodus 8:22 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 (ʿomed) is used, which literally means “standing.” The land on which Israel stood was spared the flies and the hail.
- Exodus 8:22 tn Or “of the earth” (KJV, ASV, NAB).
- Exodus 8:23 tn The word in the text is פְדֻת (fedut, “redemption”). This would give the sense of making a distinction by redeeming Israel. The editors wish to read פְלֻת (felut) 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.
- Exodus 8:23 tn Heb “this sign will be tomorrow.”
- Exodus 8:24 tn Heb “and there came a….”
- Exodus 8:24 tn Heb “heavy,” or “severe.”
- Exodus 8:24 tn Here, and in the next phrase, the word “house” has to be taken as an adverbial accusative of termination.
- Exodus 8:24 tn The Hebrew text has the singular here.
- Exodus 8:24 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.
- Exodus 8:25 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.
- Exodus 8:26 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 לַעֲשׂוֹת (laʿasot) is the subject—“to do so is not right.”
- Exodus 8:26 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.
- Exodus 8:26 tn An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is taboo. It could be translated “detestable” or “loathsome.”
- Exodus 8:26 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.
- Exodus 8:26 tn Heb “if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians [or “of Egypt”] before their eyes.”
- Exodus 8:26 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 indicates it is a question (GKC 473 §150.a).
- Exodus 8:27 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.”
- Exodus 8:27 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.”
- Exodus 8:27 tn The form is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive; it follows in the sequence: we must go…and then [must] sacrifice.”
- Exodus 8:27 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.”
- Exodus 8:28 sn By changing from “the people” to “you” (plural) the speech of Pharaoh was becoming more personal.
- Exodus 8:28 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.”
- Exodus 8:28 tn The construction is very emphatic. First, it uses a verbal hendiadys with a Hiphil imperfect and the Qal infinitive construct: לֹא־תַרְחִיקוּ לָלֶכֶת (loʾ tarkhiqu lalekhet, “you will not make far to go”), meaning “you will not go far.” But this prohibition is then emphasized with the additional infinitive absolute הַרְחֵק (harkheq)—“you will not in any way go too far.” The point is very strong to safeguard the concession.
- Exodus 8:28 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).
- Exodus 8:29 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.
- Exodus 8:29 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 (ʾal 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.
- Exodus 8:29 tn The Piel infinitive construct after lamed (ל) and the negative functions epexegetically, explaining how Pharaoh would deal falsely—“by not releasing.”
- Exodus 8:31 tn Heb “according to the word of Moses” (so KJV, ASV).
- Exodus 8:32 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
- Exodus 9:1 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).
- Exodus 9:2 tn The object “them” is implied in the context.
- Exodus 9:2 tn עוֹד (ʿod), 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.”
- Exodus 9:3 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.
- Exodus 9:3 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.
- Exodus 9:3 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).
- Exodus 9:4 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.
- Exodus 9:4 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.
- Exodus 9:4 tn The ל (lamed) preposition indicates possession: “all that was to the Israelites” means “all that the Israelites had.”
- Exodus 9:5 tn Heb “and Yahweh set.”
- Exodus 9:5 tn Heb “this thing.”
- Exodus 9:6 tn Heb “this thing.”
- Exodus 9:6 tn Heb “on the morrow.”
- Exodus 9:6 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.”
- Exodus 9:6 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
- Exodus 9:7 tn Heb “Pharaoh sent.” The phrase “representatives to investigate” is implied in the context.
- Exodus 9:7 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.
- Exodus 9:8 sn This sixth plague, like the third, is unannounced. God instructs his servants to take handfuls of ashes from the Egyptians’ furnaces and sprinkle them heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh. These ashes would become little particles of dust that would cause boils on the Egyptians and their animals. Greta Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” ZAW 69 : 101-3, suggests it is skin anthrax (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:359). The lesson of this plague is that Yahweh has absolute control over the physical health of the people. Physical suffering consequent to sin comes to all regardless of their position and status. The Egyptians are helpless in the face of this, as now God begins to touch human life; greater judgments on human wickedness lie ahead.
- Exodus 9:8 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.
- Exodus 9:8 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.
- Exodus 9:8 tn Heb “before the eyes of Pharaoh.”
- Exodus 9:9 tn The word שְׁחִין (shekhin) 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 (ʾavaʿbuʿot); 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).
- Exodus 9:12 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
- Exodus 9:13 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.
- Exodus 9:13 tn Or “take your stand.”
- Exodus 9:14 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.
- Exodus 9:14 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).
- Exodus 9:15 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.
- Exodus 9:15 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.”
- Exodus 9:16 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.”
- Exodus 9:16 tn The form הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ (heʿemadtikha) is the Hiphil perfect of עָמַד (ʿamad). 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.
- Exodus 9:16 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct הַרְאֹתְךָ (harʾotekha) 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.
- Exodus 9:16 tn Heb “in order to declare my name.” Since there is no expressed subject, this may be given a passive translation.
- Exodus 9:17 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.
- Exodus 9:17 tn The infinitive construct with lamed here is epexegetical; it explains how Pharaoh has exalted himself—“by not releasing the people.”
- Exodus 9:18 tn הִנְנִי מַמְטִיר (hineni mamtir) is the futur instans construction, giving an imminent future translation: “Here—I am about to cause it to rain.”
- Exodus 9:18 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.
- Exodus 9:18 tn The form הִוָּסְדָה (hivvasedah) is perhaps a rare Niphal perfect and not an infinitive (U. Cassuto, Exodus, 117).
- Exodus 9:19 tn The object “instructions” is implied in the context.
- Exodus 9:19 tn הָעֵז (haʿez) is the Hiphil imperative from עוּז (ʿuz, “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.”
- Exodus 9:19 tn Heb “man, human.”
- Exodus 9:19 tn Heb “[who] may be found.” The verb can be the imperfect of possibility.
- Exodus 9:20 tn Heb “the one fearing.” The singular expression here and throughout vv. 20-21 refers to all who fit the description.
- Exodus 9:21 tn The Hebrew text again has the singular.
- Exodus 9:21 tn Heb “set his mind on” or “put his heart to.”
- Exodus 9:22 tn Or “the heavens” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
- Exodus 9:22 tn The jussive with the conjunction (וִיהִי, vihi) coming after the imperative provides the purpose or result.
- Exodus 9:22 tn Heb “on man and on beast.”
- Exodus 9:22 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.
- Exodus 9:23 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.
- Exodus 9:23 tn By starting the clause with the subject (an example of disjunctive word order) the text is certainly stressing that Yahweh alone did this.
- Exodus 9:23 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!
- Exodus 9:23 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.
- Exodus 9:24 tn The verb is the common preterite וַיְהִי (vayehi), 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.
- Exodus 9:24 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.
- Exodus 9:24 tn Heb “very heavy” or “very severe.” The subject “the hail” is implied.
- Exodus 9:24 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.”
- Exodus 9:25 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).
- Exodus 9:25 tn Heb “all the cultivated grain of.”
- Exodus 9:27 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.
- Exodus 9:27 tn The word רָשָׁע (rashaʿ) 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).
- Exodus 9:28 sn The text has Heb “the voices of God.” The divine epithet can be used to express the superlative (cf. Jonah 3:3).
- Exodus 9:28 tn The expression וְרַב מִהְיֹת (verav miheyot, “[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.”
- Exodus 9:28 tn The last clause uses a verbal hendiadys: “you will not add to stand,” meaning “you will no longer stay.”
- Exodus 9:29 tn כְּצֵאתִי (ketseʾti) is the Qal infinitive construct of יָצָא (yatsaʾ); 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.
- Exodus 9:29 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.
- Exodus 9:30 tn The verse begins with the disjunctive vav to mark a strong contrastive clause to what was said before this.
- Exodus 9:30 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).
- Exodus 9:31 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).
- Exodus 9:31 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.
- Exodus 9:31 tn The words “by the hail” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied from context.
- Exodus 9:31 tn Heb “was in the ear” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “had headed.”
- Exodus 9:31 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.
- Exodus 9:32 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).
- Exodus 9:32 tn Heb “for they are late.”
- Exodus 9:34 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.
- Exodus 9:34 tn The construction is another verbal hendiadys: וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹא (vayyosef lakhatoʾ), 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.
- Exodus 9:34 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word כָּבֵד (kaved); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
- Exodus 9:35 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.
- Exodus 10:1 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.
- Exodus 10:1 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
- Exodus 10:1 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.
- Exodus 10:1 tn Heb “in his midst.”
- Exodus 10:2 tn The expression is unusual: תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי (tesapper beʾozne, “[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.
- Exodus 10:2 tn The verb הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי (hitʿallalti) 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).
- Exodus 10:2 tn Heb “of Egypt.” The place is put by metonymy for the inhabitants.
- Exodus 10:2 tn The word “about” is supplied to clarify this as another object of the verb “declare.”
- Exodus 10:2 tn Heb “put” or “placed.”
- Exodus 10:2 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav consecutive, וִידַעְתֶּם (vidaʿtem, “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.”
- Exodus 10:3 tn The verb is מֵאַנְתָּ (meʾanta), 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.”
- Exodus 10:3 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 [he] prefix after the preposition [see GKC 139 §51.l]) is from the verb עָנָה (ʿanah). 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.
- Exodus 10:4 tn הִנְנִי (hineni) before the active participle מֵבִיא (meviʾ) is the imminent future construction: “I am about to bring” or “I am going to bring”—precisely, “here I am bringing.”
- Exodus 10:4 tn One of the words for “locusts” in the Bible is אַרְבֶּה (ʾarbeh), which comes from רָבָה (ravah, “to be much, many”). It was used for locusts because of their immense numbers.
- Exodus 10:4 tn Heb “within your border.”
- Exodus 10:5 tn The verbs describing the locusts are singular because it is a swarm or plague of locusts. This verb (וְכִסָּה, vekhissah, “cover”) is a Piel perfect with a vav consecutive; it carries the same future nuance as the participle before it.
- Exodus 10:5 tn Heb “eye,” an unusual expression (see v. 15; Num 22:5, 11).
- Exodus 10:5 tn The text has וְלֹא יוּכַל לִרְאֹת (veloʾ yukhal lirʾot, “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.
- Exodus 10:5 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.
- Exodus 10:5 tn הַנִּשְׁאֶרֶת (hannishʾeret) parallels (by apposition) and adds further emphasis to the preceding two words; it is the Niphal participle, meaning “that which is left over.”
- Exodus 10:6 tn The relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher) is occasionally used as a comparative conjunction (see GKC 499 §161.b).
- Exodus 10:6 tn Heb “which your fathers have not seen, nor your fathers’ fathers.”
- Exodus 10:6 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).
- Exodus 10:6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 10:7 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.
- Exodus 10:7 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.
- Exodus 10:7 tn With the adverb טֶרֶם (terem), the imperfect tense receives a present sense: “Do you not know?” (See GKC 481 §152.r).
- Exodus 10:8 tn The question is literally “who and who are the ones going?” (מִי וָמִי הַהֹלְכִים, mi vami haholekhim). 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.
- Exodus 10:9 tn Heb “we have a pilgrim feast (חַג, khag) to Yahweh.”
- Exodus 10:10 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.
- Exodus 10:10 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 (tappekhem), often translated “little ones” or “children,” refers to dependent people, noncombatants in general.
- Exodus 10:10 tn Heb “see.”
- Exodus 10:10 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.
- Exodus 10:11 tn Heb “not thus.”
- Exodus 10:11 tn The word is הַגְּבָרִים (haggevarim, “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.
- Exodus 10:11 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).
- Exodus 10:11 tn Heb “you are seeking.”
- Exodus 10:11 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Moses and Aaron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 10:11 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.
- Exodus 10:12 tn The preposition ב (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 ל (lamed).
- Exodus 10:12 tn The noun עֵשֶּׂב (ʿesev) normally would indicate cultivated grains, but in this context seems to indicate plants in general.
- Exodus 10:13 tn The clause begins וַיהוָה (vaʾdonay [vayhvah], “Now Yahweh….”). In contrast to a normal sequence, this beginning focuses attention on Yahweh as the subject of the verb.
- Exodus 10:13 tn The verb נָהַג (nahag) means “drive, conduct.” It is elsewhere used for driving sheep, leading armies, or leading in processions.
- Exodus 10:13 tn Heb “and all the night.”
- Exodus 10:13 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!
- Exodus 10:13 tn The verb here is a past perfect, indicting that the locusts had arrived before the day came.
- Exodus 10:14 tn Heb “border.”
- Exodus 10:14 tn This is an interpretive translation. The clause simply has כָּבֵד מְאֹד (kaved meʾod), the stative verb with the adverb—“it was very heavy.” The description prepares for the following statement about the uniqueness of this locust infestation.
- Exodus 10:14 tn Heb “after them.”
- Exodus 10:15 tn Heb “and they covered.”
- Exodus 10:15 tn Heb “eye,” an unusual expression (see v. 5; Num 22:5, 11).
- Exodus 10:15 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.
- Exodus 10:16 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.
- Exodus 10:16 tn The Piel preterite וַיְמַהֵר (vayemaher) 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.”
- Exodus 10:16 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.”
- Exodus 10:17 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.
- Exodus 10:17 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.
- Exodus 10:18 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 10:18 tn Heb “and he went out.”
- Exodus 10:19 tn Or perhaps “sea wind,” i.e., a wind off the Mediterranean.
- Exodus 10:19 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: ἑρυθρά θαλασσά (eruthra thalassa). 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.
- Exodus 10:21 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).
- Exodus 10:21 tn Or “the sky” (also in the following verse). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
- Exodus 10:21 sn The verb form is the jussive with the sequential vav—וִיהִי חֹשֶׁךְ (vihi khoshekh). B. Jacob (Exodus, 286) notes this as the only instance where Scripture says, “Let there be darkness” (although it is subordinated as a purpose clause; cf. Gen 1:3). Isa 45:7 alluded to this by saying, “who created light and darkness.”
- Exodus 10:21 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).
- Exodus 10:22 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).
- Exodus 10:22 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.
- Exodus 10:23 tn Heb “a man…his brother.”
- Exodus 10:23 tn The perfect tense in this context requires the somewhat rare classification of a potential perfect.
- Exodus 10:24 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.
- Exodus 10:25 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.
- Exodus 10:25 tn Heb “give into our hand.”
- Exodus 10:25 tn The form here is וְעָשִּׂינוּ (veʿasinu), 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.
- Exodus 10:26 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.
- Exodus 10:26 tn The same modal nuance applies to this verb.
- Exodus 10:26 tn Heb “from it,” referring collectively to the livestock.
- Exodus 10:26 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.
- Exodus 10:28 tn The expression is לֵךְ מֵעָלָי (lekh meʿalay, “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).
- Exodus 10:28 tn Heb “add to see my face.” The construction uses a verbal hendiadys: “do not add to see” (אַל־תֹּסֶף רְאוֹת, ʾal toseph reʾot), meaning “do not see again.” The phrase “see my face” means “come before me” or “appear before me.”
- Exodus 10:28 tn The construction is בְּיוֹם רְאֹתְךָ (beyom reʾotekha), 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.”
- Exodus 10:29 tn Heb “Thus you have spoken.”
- Exodus 10:29 tn This is a verbal hendiadys construction: “I will not add again [to] see.”
- Exodus 11:1 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.
- Exodus 11:1 tn The expression כְּשַּׂלְּחוֹ כָּלָה (kesallekho 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.
- Exodus 11:1 tn The words are emphatic: גָּרֵשׁ יְגָרֵשׁ (garesh yegaresh). 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.
- Exodus 11:2 tn Heb “Speak now in the ears of the people.” The expression is emphatic; it seeks to ensure that the Israelites hear the instruction.
- Exodus 11:2 tn The verb translated “request” is וְיִשְׁאֲלוּ (veyishʾalu), 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]).
- Exodus 11:2 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.
- Exodus 11:2 sn See D. Skinner, “Some Major Themes of Exodus,” Mid-America Theological Journal 1 (1977): 31-42.
- Exodus 11:3 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
- Exodus 11:3 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.
- Exodus 11:4 tn Heb “I will go out in the midst of Egypt.”
- Exodus 11:5 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.
- Exodus 11:6 tn Heb “which like it there has never been.”
- Exodus 11:6 tn Heb “and like it it will not add.”
- Exodus 11:7 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 : 75).
- Exodus 11:7 tn Heb “against man or beast.”
- Exodus 11:7 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.
- Exodus 11:8 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).
- Exodus 11:8 tn Heb “that are at your feet.”
- Exodus 11:8 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 11:9 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.
- Exodus 12:1 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).
- Exodus 12:1 tn Heb “and Yahweh said.”
- Exodus 12:1 tn Heb “saying.”
- Exodus 12:2 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.
- Exodus 12:3 tn Heb “and they will take for them a man a lamb.” This is clearly a distributive, or individualizing, use of “man.”
- Exodus 12:3 tn The שֶּׂה (seh) is a single head from the flock, or smaller cattle, which would include both sheep and goats.
- Exodus 12:3 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.
- Exodus 12:3 tn Heb “house” (also at the beginning of the following verse).
- Exodus 12:4 sn Later Judaism ruled that “too small” meant fewer than ten (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 88).
- Exodus 12:4 tn The clause uses the comparative min (מִן) construction: יִמְעַט הַבַּיִת מִהְיֹת מִשֶּׁה (yimʿat habbayit miheyot misseh, “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.
- Exodus 12:4 tn Heb “he and his neighbor”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 12:4 tn Heb “who is near to his house.”
- Exodus 12:4 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.”
- Exodus 12:4 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.
- Exodus 12:5 tn The construction has: “[The] lamb…will be to you.” This may be interpreted as a possessive use of the ל (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.
- Exodus 12:5 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).
- Exodus 12:5 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).
- Exodus 12:5 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.
- Exodus 12:6 tn The text has וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת (vehaya lakem lemishmeret, “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).
- Exodus 12:6 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.
- Exodus 12:6 tn Heb “between the two evenings” or “between the two settings” (בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם, ben haʿarbayim). 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.
- Exodus 12:8 tn Heb “this night.”
- Exodus 12:8 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).
- Exodus 12:9 sn This ruling was to prevent their eating it just softened by the fire or partially roasted as differing customs might prescribe or allow.
- Exodus 12:11 tn Heb “your loins girded.”
- Exodus 12:11 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.
- Exodus 12:12 tn The verb וְעָבַרְתִּי (veʿavarti) 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.”
- Exodus 12:12 tn Heb “this night.”
- Exodus 12:12 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.
- Exodus 12:12 tn Heb “from man and to beast.”
- Exodus 12:12 tn The phrase אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים (ʾeʿeseh shefatim) 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).
- Exodus 12:13 tn Both of the verbs for seeing and passing over are perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives: וּפָסַחְתִּי…וְרָאִיתִי (veraʾiti…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).
- Exodus 12:13 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.
- Exodus 12:13 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).
- Exodus 12:13 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).
- Exodus 12:13 tn בְּהַכֹּתִי (behakkoti) 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.
- Exodus 12:13 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.
- Exodus 12:14 tn Heb “and this day will be.”
- Exodus 12:14 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.”
- Exodus 12:14 tn The verb וְחַגֹּתֶם (vekhaggotem), 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.
- Exodus 12:14 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 (ʿolam) means “ever, forever, perpetual”—no end in sight.
- Exodus 12:15 tn This expression is an adverbial accusative of time. The feast was to last from the 15th to the 21st of the month.
- Exodus 12:15 tn Or “you will eat.” The statement stresses their obligation—they must eat unleavened bread and avoid all leaven.
- Exodus 12:15 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.
- Exodus 12:15 tn The particle serves to emphasize, not restrict here (B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 15).
- Exodus 12:15 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).
- Exodus 12:15 tn The verb וְנִכְרְתָה (venikhretah) 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).
- Exodus 12:16 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.
- Exodus 12:16 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).
- Exodus 12:17 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).
- Exodus 12:17 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.
- Exodus 12:17 tn See Exod 12:14.
- Exodus 12:18 tn “month” has been supplied.
- Exodus 12:19 tn “Seven days” is an adverbial accusative of time (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12, §56).
- Exodus 12:19 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.”
- Exodus 12:19 tn Or “alien”; or “stranger.” The term גֵּר (ger) refers to a foreign resident, but with different social implications in different settings. The Patriarchs were foreign, temporary residents in parts of Canaan who abided by the claims of local authorities (see Gen 20, 23, 26). Under Mosaic law a גֵּר normally refers to a naturalized citizen who is part of the worshiping congregation of Israel and has entered into the covenant with the Lord (Deut 29:10-13). Mosaic law treats the גֵּר as a naturalized citizen with almost identical rights and obligations, both civil and religious, as natural born Israelites. This is one of two verses of Mosaic Law in which the LXX does not call the גֵּר a proselyte (προσήλυτος, prosēlutos), or “convert” (cf. Deut 14:21), though in this context (and probably in Deut 14:21) the גֵּר must be a convert.
- Exodus 12:21 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.
- Exodus 12:21 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.
- Exodus 12:21 tn The word “animals” is added to avoid giving the impression in English that the Passover festival itself is the object of “kill.”
- Exodus 12:22 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.
- Exodus 12:22 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).
- Exodus 12:22 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.
- Exodus 12:23 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.”
- Exodus 12:23 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).
- Exodus 12:23 tn “you” has been supplied.
- Exodus 12:25 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.
- Exodus 12:26 tn Heb “what is this service to you?”
- Exodus 12:27 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.
- Exodus 12:27 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.
- Exodus 12:27 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.
- Exodus 12:28 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.”
- Exodus 12:29 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).
- Exodus 12:29 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayehi), 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.
- Exodus 12:30 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.
- Exodus 12:30 tn The noun is an adverbial accusative of time—“in the night” or “at night.”
- Exodus 12:30 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.
- Exodus 12:31 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 12:31 tn The urgency in Pharaoh’s words is caught by the abrupt use of the imperatives—“get up, go” (קוּמוּ צְּאוּ, qumu tseʾu), and “go, serve” (וּלְכוּ עִבְדוּ, ulekhu ʿivedu) and “take” and “leave/go” (וָלֵכוּ…קְחוּ, qekhu…valekhu).
- Exodus 12:31 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.
- Exodus 12:32 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.
- Exodus 12:33 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.
- Exodus 12:33 tn The phrase uses two construct infinitives in a hendiadys, the first infinitive becoming the modifier.
- Exodus 12:34 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.
- Exodus 12:35 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.
- Exodus 12:35 tn Heb “from Egypt.” Here the Hebrew text uses the name of the country to represent the inhabitants (a figure known as metonymy).
- Exodus 12:36 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….”
- Exodus 12:36 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.
- Exodus 12:36 tn The verb וַיַּשְׁאִלוּם (vayyashʾilum) is a Hiphil form that has the root שָׁאַל (shaʾal), 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).
- Exodus 12:36 sn See B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians; A Critical Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69.
- Exodus 12:37 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel journeyed.”
- Exodus 12:37 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 Tel 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.
- Exodus 12:37 tn The word for “men” (הַגְּבָרִים, haggevarim) 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 : 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.
- Exodus 12:37 tn For more on this word see 10:10 and 24.
- Exodus 12:38 tn The “mixed multitude” (עֵרֶב רַב, ʿerev rav) refers to a great “swarm” (see a possible cognate in 8:21 ) 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.
- Exodus 12:38 tn Heb “and very much cattle.”
- Exodus 12:39 sn For the use of this word in developing the motif, see Exod 2:17, 22; 6:1; and 11:1.
- Exodus 12:39 tn Heb “and also.”
- Exodus 12:39 tn The verb is עָשׂוּ (ʿasu, “they made”); here, with a potential nuance, it is rendered “they could [not] prepare.”
- Exodus 12:40 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.
- Exodus 12:41 sn This military term is used elsewhere in Exodus (e.g., 6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 51), but here the Israelites are called “the regiments of the Lord.”
- Exodus 12:42 tn There is some ambiguity in לֵיל שִׁמֻּרִים הוּא לַיהוָה (lel shimmurim huʾ laʾadonay [layhvah]). 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.
- Exodus 12:42 tn “and so” has been supplied.
- Exodus 12:42 tn Heb “this night is for Yahweh a vigil for all Israelites for their generations.”
- Exodus 12:43 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.
- Exodus 12:43 tn This is 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).
- Exodus 12:43 tn This is the partitive use of the ב (bet) preposition, expressing that the action extends to something and includes the idea of participation in it (GKC 380 §119.m).
- Exodus 12:48 tn The noun “foreigner” (גֵּר; ger) is based on the same verbal root as “lives” (גּוּר; gur), which means “to sojourn, to dwell as an alien.” This reference is to a foreigner who settles in the land. The choice to participate in the covenant sign of circumcision and in the Passover are indicators that these foreigners are converts to worshiping the Lord. This LXX renders גֵּר as “proselyte” in Mosaic Law. (See also Deut 29:10-13). As what is essentially a naturalized citizen, the גֵּר comes under the full protection of the Law. If the “resident foreigner” is circumcised, he may participate in the Passover (cf. S. R. Driver, Exodus, 104).
- Exodus 12:48 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).
- Exodus 12:48 tn אֶזְרָח (ʾezrakh) 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.
- Exodus 12:49 tn Heb “one law will be to.”
- Exodus 12:49 sn The foreign resident, גֵּר (ger), in Mosaic Law was essentially a naturalized citizen and convert to worshiping the God of Israel (see notes at 12:19 and 48). The theme of having the same laws for native and foreign born Israelites appears in Exod 12:49; Lev 24:22; Num 9:14; 15:15, 16, 29. This equality is significant against the background of the ancient near east. The Code of Hammurapi, for example, distinguished different applications of law depending on social status.
- Exodus 12:50 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.”
- Exodus 13:1 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.
- Exodus 13:1 tn Heb “and Yahweh spoke.”
- Exodus 13:2 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.
- Exodus 13:2 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.
- Exodus 13:2 tn Heb “to me it.” The preposition here expresses possession; the construction is simply “it [is, belongs] to me.”
- Exodus 13:3 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).
- Exodus 13:3 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).
- Exodus 13:3 tn Heb “from this” [place].
- Exodus 13:3 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.
- Exodus 13:4 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.
- Exodus 13:4 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.
- Exodus 13:4 tn The form is the active participle, functioning verbally.
- Exodus 13:5 tn Heb “and it will be when.”
- Exodus 13:5 tn See notes on Exod 3:8.
- Exodus 13:5 tn The verb is וְעָבַדְתָּ (veʿavadta), 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.”
- Exodus 13:5 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).
- Exodus 13:6 tn Heb “Seven days.”
- Exodus 13:6 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.
- Exodus 13:6 tn The phrase “there is to be” has been supplied.
- Exodus 13:7 tn The imperfect has the nuance of instruction or injunction again, but it could also be given an obligatory nuance.
- Exodus 13:7 tn The construction is an adverbial accusative of time, answering how long the routine should be followed (see GKC 374 §118.k).
- Exodus 13:7 tn Or “visible to you” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 366).
- Exodus 13:8 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.
- Exodus 13:8 tn Heb “day, saying.” “Tell…saying” is redundant, so “saying” has not been included in the translation here.
- Exodus 13:8 tn “it is” has been supplied.
- Exodus 13:8 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).
- Exodus 13:9 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.
- Exodus 13:9 tn That is, this ceremony.
- Exodus 13:9 tn Heb “for a sign.”
- Exodus 13:9 tn Heb “for a memorial.”
- Exodus 13:9 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.
- Exodus 13:9 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.
- Exodus 13:9 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).
- Exodus 13:9 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.
- Exodus 13:10 tn The form is a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive, functioning as the equivalent of an imperfect of instruction or injunction.
- Exodus 13:10 tn Or “every year,” or “year after year.”
- Exodus 13:11 tn Heb “and it will be when Yahweh brings (will bring) you.”
- Exodus 13:11 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.
- Exodus 13:11 tn The verb וּנְתָנָהּ (unetanah) 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.
- Exodus 13:12 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, vehaʿavarta) 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.
- Exodus 13:12 tn Heb “every opener of a womb,” that is, the firstborn from every womb.
- Exodus 13:12 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.”
- Exodus 13:12 tn Heb “that is to you.” The preposition expresses possession.
- Exodus 13:12 tn The Hebrew text simply has “the males to Yahweh.” It indicates that the Lord must have them, or they belong to the Lord.
- Exodus 13:13 tn Heb “and every opener [of a womb].”
- Exodus 13:13 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).
- Exodus 13:13 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.
- Exodus 13:13 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).
- Exodus 13:14 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.
- Exodus 13:14 tn Heb “tomorrow.”
- Exodus 13:14 tn Heb “and it will be when your son will ask you.”
- Exodus 13:14 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?”
- Exodus 13:14 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.
- Exodus 13:14 tn Heb “house of slaves.”
- Exodus 13:15 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 (leshallekhenu, “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.”
- Exodus 13:15 tn The text uses “man” and “beast.”
- Exodus 13:15 tn The form is the active participle.
- Exodus 13:16 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).
- Exodus 13:16 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.
- Exodus 13:17 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).
- Exodus 13:17 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.”
- Exodus 13:17 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.
- Exodus 13:17 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).
- Exodus 13:17 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.
- Exodus 13:17 tn The particle כִּי (ki) introduces a concessive clause here (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §448).
- Exodus 13:17 tn Or “thought.”
- Exodus 13:17 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.”
- Exodus 13:17 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.
- Exodus 13:17 tn Heb “see.”
- Exodus 13:18 tn The Hebrew term יַם־סוּף (Yam Suf) is understood as an adverbial accusative “to, toward” (NASB, NIV, ESV) or “by” (ASV) the Red Sea. To translate as a genitive, “wilderness of the Red Sea” (KJV, Young’s) requires emending מִדְבָּר (midbar, “wilderness”) to the construct form מִדְבַּר (midbar, “wilderness of”).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 (suf) 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 Suf 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.
- Exodus 13:18 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.”
- Exodus 13:19 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Exodus 13:19 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.
- Exodus 13:19 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.
- Exodus 13:19 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).
- Exodus 13:21 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.
- Exodus 13:21 tn The infinitive construct here indicates the result of these manifestations—“so that they went” or “could go.”
- Exodus 13:21 tn These are adverbial accusatives of time.
- Exodus 13:22 sn See T. W. Mann, “The Pillar of Cloud in the Reed Sea Narrative,” JBL 90 (1971): 15-30.