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Exodus 7:2-4 New English Translation (NET Bible)

You are to speak[a] everything I command you,[b] and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that he must release[c] the Israelites from his land. But I will harden[d] Pharaoh’s heart, and although I will multiply[e] my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you.[f] I will reach into[g] Egypt and bring out my regiments,[h] my people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment.


  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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”).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Exodus 7:4 tn Heb “and Pharaoh will not listen.”
  7. 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.
  8. Exodus 7:4 tn See the note on this term in 6:26.
New English Translation (NET)

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