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Exodus 8:26-28 New English Translation (NET Bible)

26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do,[a] for the sacrifices we make[b] to the Lord our God would be an abomination[c] to the Egyptians.[d] If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes,[e] will they not stone us?[f] 27 We must go[g] on a three-day journey[h] into the wilderness and sacrifice[i] to the Lord our God, just as he is telling us.”[j]

28 Pharaoh said, “I will release you[k] so that you may sacrifice[l] to the Lord your God in the wilderness. Only you must not go very far.[m] Do[n] pray for me.”


  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. Exodus 8:26 tn An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is taboo. It could be translated “detestable” or “loathsome.”
  4. 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.
  5. Exodus 8:26 tn Heb “if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians [or “of Egypt”] before their eyes.”
  6. 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).
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.”
  10. 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.”
  11. Exodus 8:28 sn By changing from “the people” to “you” (plural) the speech of Pharaoh was becoming more personal.
  12. 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.”
  13. 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.
  14. 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).
New English Translation (NET)

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