Exodus Chapter Eight

2nd Plague: Invasion of Frogs (vv. 1-7)

VERSE 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me (ynIdub.[;y:w> yMi[;-ta, xL;v; hw"hy> rm;a' hKo wyl'ae T'r>m;a'w> h[or>P;-la, aBo hv,mo-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Yahweh + prep el + p.n. Moses + Qal imper.m.s. bo go + prep el + p.n. Pharaoh + waw w/Qal perf. 2m.s. amar + prep el w/3m.s.suff. + part koh thus, so + Qal perf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Yahweh + Piel imper.m.s. shalach let go + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr.w/1s.suff. am + waw w/Qal impf.3m.p.w/1s.suff. abad serve]).

VERSE 2 "But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs (~y[iD>r>p;c.B; ^l.WbG>-lK'-ta, @gEnO ykinOa' hNEhi x;Lev;l. hT'a; !aem'-~aiw> [waw w/part im if + adj.m.s.abs. ma-en refusing; also at 9:2 & 10:3 + pro.2m.s. attah you + prep lamed w/Piel infin.constr. shalach send, let go + interj hinneh + pro.1s. anoki I + Qal part.m.s.abs. nagaph strike, hit; cp. 7:27; 12:23,27; cognate noun is negeph which means ‘plague’ + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr. kol all; "whole" + noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. gebul border; "territory" + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun f.p.abs. sepharde-a frog]).

VERSE 3 "The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed (^t,J'mi-l[;w> ^b.K'v.mi rd;x]b;W ^t,ybeB. Wab'W Wl['w> ~y[iD>r>p;c. raoy>h; #r;v'w> [waw w/Qal perf.3m.s. sharatz teem, swarm + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. ye-or Nile + noun f.p.abs. sephardea frog + waw w/Qal perf.3p. alah go up + waw w/Qal perf.3p. bo go + prep beth w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. bayith house + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr. cheder chamber+ noun m.s.constr. m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. mishkap couch, bed; with previous noun = "bedroom" + waw w/prep al + noun f.s.const.w/2m.s.suff. mittah bed], and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls [^yt,Ara]v.mib.W ^yr,WNt;b.W ^M,[;b.W ^yd,b'[] tybeb.W [waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr. bayith house + noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. ebed servant + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. am + waw w/prep beth w/noun both p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. tannur oven + waw w/prep beth w/noun f.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. mish-eret kneading bowl]).

VERSE 4 "So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants (~y[iD>r>p;c.h; Wl[]y: ^yd,b'[]-lk'b.W ^M.[;b.W hk'b.W [waw w/prep beth w/2m.s.suff. + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. am + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr. kol all + noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. ebed servant + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. sephardea frog])."'"

VERSE 5 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers (troh'N>h;-l[; ^J,m;B. ^d>y"-ta, hjen> !roh]a;-la, rmoa/ hv,mo-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Yahweh + prep el + p.n. Moses + Qal imper.m.s. amar + prep el + p.n. Aaron + Qal imper.m.s. natah stretch + d.o. marker + noun f.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. yad + prep beth w/noun m.s.const.w/2m.s.suff. matteh staff + prep al + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. nahar rivers], over the streams [canals] and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt [~yIr'c.mi #r,a,-l[; ~y[iD>r>p;c.h;-ta, l[;h;w> ~yMig:a]h'-l[;w> ~yrIaoy>h;-l[; [prep al + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. ye-or streams; canals + waw w/prep al + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. anam pool; pond + waw w/Hiphil imper.m.s. alah ascend + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. sepharadea frog + prep al + noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Egypt]).'

VERSE 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt (~yIr'c.mi #r,a,-ta, sk;T.w: [;Der>p;C.h; l[;T;w: ~yIr'c.mi ymeyme l[; Ady"-ta, !roh]a; jYEw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. natah stretch + d.o. marker + noun f.s.constr.w/3m.s.suff. yad + prep al + noun m.p.constr. mayim + p.n. Egypt + waw w/Qal impf.3f.s. alah go up + def.art.w/noun f.s.abs. separdea frogs; a singular here + prep al + noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Egypt]).

VERSE 7 The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt (~yIr'c.mi #r,a,-l[; ~y[iD>r>p;c.h;-ta, Wl[]Y:w: ~h,yjel'B. ~yMijur>x]h; !ke-Wf[]Y:w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. ashah + adv ken "the same" + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. charetom magician + prep beth w/noun m.p.constr.w/3m.p.suff. lat "with their secret arts" + waw w/Hiphil impf.3m.p. alah + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. separdea frogs + prep al + noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Egypt]).

ANALYSIS: VERSES 1-7

  1. Nothing is explicitly said in Exodus regarding the cessation of the 1st judgment on the subsurface waters of Egypt.
  2. This 1st plague is mentioned elsewhere in the OT at Pss. 78:44 & 105:29.
  3. The pollution of the Nile was abated by waters flowing downstream.
  4. During the week long plague only the waters within the bounders of Egypt were turned into blood with the exception of the surface water in Goshen.
  5. As Nile water crossed over the border into Egypt is was turned into blood and as the bloody waters entered Goshen they were turned back to water.
  6. As the end of one week God stopped the plague as quickly as He had started it.
  7. This sets the stage for the next plague-the invasion of millions of frogs from the Nile.
  8. The 2nd plague was initiated in the presence of Pharaoh and his court.
  9. There was little, if any let-up in the pressure God exerted upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the sequencing of the plagues.
  10. In v. 1 Moses is told to, "Go to Pharaoh," and demand in the name of Yahweh, that he allow Israel to leave Egypt, so that His people could serve God in the wilderness.
  11. This demand will be repeated verbatim in 8:20; 9:1, 13 and 10:3.
  12. It is a slight variation on, "Let My people go, so that they may hold a festival to Me in the wilderness" (cf. 5:1; 7:16).
  13. At this point the reference to holding a brief festival in the wilderness ceases, and the demand shifts to a permanent release.
  14. In this second plague account we have the first explicit note of warning ("If you refuse to let them go…"; v. 2).
  15. What is threatened, is an invasion of frogs arising from the Nile with predictable consequences (v. 8:2b).
  16. The supernatural aspect of this plague was the sheer number of frogs that spontaneously abandoned their natural habitat and began to hop toward human habitation.
  17. So, both the unheard of number of frogs (e.g., "the Nile will swarm with frogs"), plus their unnatural behavior of leaving the Nile (e.g., "they will come up"), constituted Yahweh’s control and manipulation of this reptile (v. 3).
  18. There are various examples of God’s sovereign power over animals in the Bible resulting in unnatural and erratic behavior.
  19. Moses tells Pharaoh, on the occasion of this plague, that no one will escape the misery of having this slimy croaking creature in the living quarters of the Egyptians regardless of their station in life.
  20. Not even Pharaoh would be exempt from this nuisance, Moses predicts in v. 3 ("and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed…").
  21. The first plague was of little inconvenience to Pharaoh.
  22. All of Pharaoh’s civil servants would be subjected to this annoyance, as well as the general population.
  23. Many people slept on mats, but none were spared, as these seemingly possessed amphibians, hopped on beds, and prevented people from having a good night’s sleep.
  24. It is important to know that Egyptian homes were constructed differently than homes we are typically accustomed.
  25. It wasn’t just a matter of closing doors and windows.
  26. During the plague frogs would be found in places normally associated with cleanliness, such as ovens and kneading bowls.
  27. The two examples of extremely unlikely places to discover the presence of a frog denotes abnormal behavior.
  28. It was as if the frogs were possessed!
  29. In v. 3 there is a progression of status: Pharaoh, his officials, and the people (in v. 4 there is a partial reversing of the order: Pharaoh, the people and his officials).
  30. The double listing is a way of demonstrating that no one would be exempt from the effects of this plague.
  31. No person, place, or thing would be immune from frog infestation.
  32. While this plague was certainly announced to Pharaoh, it is not mentioned per se.
  33. This is part of the variation of the plagues accounts that keeps them from being overly formularized.
  34. The verb sharats, used of the proliferation of the frogs (translated "swarm" in v. 3), is only used elsewhere in Exodus of the population explosion among the Israelites (1:7).
  35. Again, Pharaoh’s rejection of Yahweh’s directive is not mentioned, but implied, as the narrative shifts to Moses instructing Aaron to raise his hand/staff over the "rivers" and "streams" and "pools/reservoirs" of Egypt (v. 5).
  36. V. 5 as compared to v. 3 is explained by the fact that virtually all the surface water in Egypt had as its source the Nile.
  37. Frogs arose from all sources of surface water channeled by the Nile.
  38. Again, two characteristics of this plague make it something way beyond the natural phenomenon of the Nile being polluted, with the result that the frogs merely left the Nile, and then stayed nearby.
  39. They were not driven temporarily out of polluted water.
  40. The pollution of the Nile stopped, and the frogs came up out of the Nile.
  41. God created millions and millions of frogs to bring judgment on Egypt.
  42. Frogs came up out of the Nile and its sources, and "covered the land of Egypt," at the very moment "Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt" (v.6).
  43. The two things that clearly indicated a miraculous phenomenon is: the sheer number of these creatures, and their erratic behavior.
  44. On a small, and pathetic by comparison, scale the magicians attempted to replicate this miracle.
  45. Their magic trick could only comfort those who were predisposed to doubt Yahweh’s power.
  46. Like the previous plague, and the one that follows the frog plague, the immediate effect was observed by Pharaoh and his servants when Aaron raised his staff over the waters of Egypt.
  47. The location of this encounter with Pharaoh and his officials was in the vicinity of the Nile as was the case with the first plague.
  48. Pharaoh Relents (vv. 8-14)

    VERSE 8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people (yMi[;meW yNIM,mi ~y[iD>r>p;c.h; rsey"w> hw"hy>-la, WryTi[.h; rm,aYOw: !roh]a;l.W hv,mol. h[or>p; ar'q.YIw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. qara call + p.n. Pharaoh + prep lamed w/p.n. Moses + waw w/prep lamed w/p.n. Aaron + waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + Hiphil imper.m.p. atar entreat + prep el + p.n. Yahweh + waw w/Hiphil impf.3m.s. sur turn aside, remove + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. separdea frog + prep min w/1s.suff. + waw w/prep min w/2m.s.suff. am]; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD [hw"hyl; WxB.z>yIw> ~['h'-ta, hx'L.v;a]w: [waw w/Piel impf.1s. shalach let go + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. am + waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. zabach sacrifice + prep lamed w/p.n. Yahweh])."

    VERSE 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, "The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people (^M.[;l.W ^yd,b'[]l;w> ^l. ryTi[.a; yt;m'l. yl;[' raeP't.hi h[or>p;l. hv,mo rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Moses + prep lamed w/p.n. Pharaoh + Hithpael imper.m.s. pa-ar glorify + prep al w/1s.suff. "me" + prep lamed w/interrog. mata when? + Hiphil impf.1s. athar entreat + prep lamed w/2m.s.suff. + waw w/prep lamed w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. ebed servant + waw w/prep lamed w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. am], that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile [hn"r>a;V'Ti raoy>B; qr; ^yT,B'miW ^M.mi ~y[iD>r>p;c]h; tyrIk.h;l. [waw w/Hiphil infin.constr. karath cut off; "be destroyed" + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. separdea frogs + prep min w/2m.s.suff. + waw w/prep min w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. bayith + adv raq thin; "only" + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. ye-or Nile + Niphal impf.3f.p. sha-ar be left])?"

    VERSE 10 Then he said, "Tomorrow (rx'm'l. rm,aYOw [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + prep lamed w/adv machar tomorrow])."

    So he said, "May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God (Wnyhel{a/ hw"hyK; !yae-yKi [d;Te ![;m;l. ^r>b'd>Ki rm,aYOw:: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + prep kaph w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. dabar word + prep lema-an according to + Qal impf.2m.s. yada know + part ki that w/adv ayin none + prep kaph w/p.n. Yahweh + noun m.p.constr.w/1p.suff. Elohim]).

    VERSE 11 "The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile (hn"r>a;V'Ti raoy>B; qr; ^M,[;meW ^yd,b'[]meW ^yT,B'miW ^M.mi ~y[iD>r>p;c.h; Wrs'w> [waw w/Qal perf.3p. sur depart + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. separdea frogs + prep min w/2m.s.suff. + waw w/prep min w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. bayith + waw w/prep min w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. ebed servant + waw w/prep min w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.sufff. am + adv raq "only" + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. ye-or Nile + Niphal impf.3f.p. sha-ar remain])."

    VERSE 12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh (h[or>p;l. ~f'-rv,a] ~y[iD>r>p;c.h; rb;D>-l[; hw"hy>-la, hv,mo q[;c.YIw: h[or>P; ~[ime !roh]a;w> hv,mo aceYEw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. yatsa go out + p.n. Moses + waw w/p.n. Aaron + prep min w/prep im "from" + p.n. Pharaoh + waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. tsa-aq cry for help + prep el + p.n. Yahweh + prep al + non m.s.constr. dabar "concerning" + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. separdea frogs + rel.pro. asher + Qal perf.3m.s.s shim put; "inflicted" + prep lamed w/p.n. Pharaoh]).

    VERSE 13 The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields (tdoF'h;-!miW trocex]h;-!mi ~yTiB'h;-!mi ~y[iD>r>p;c.h; WtmuY"w: hv,mo rb;d>Ki hw"hy> f[;Y:w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. ashah + p.n. Yahweh + prep kaph w/noun m.s.constr. dabar word + p.n. Moses + waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. muth die + def.art.w/noun f.p.abs. separdea frogs + prep min + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. bayith + prep min + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. chater courtyard + waw w/prep min + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. shadeh field]).

    VERSE 14 So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul (#r,a'h' va;b.Tiw: ~rIm'x\ ~rIm'x\ ~t'ao WrB.c.YIw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. tsabar pile up + d.o. marker w/3m.p.suff. + noun m.p.abs. chomer cement; root means to ferment + waw w/Qal impf.3f.s. ba-ash stink + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. eretz]).

    VERSE 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said (hw"hy> rB,DI rv,a]K; ~h,lea] [m;v' al{w> ABli-ta, dBek.h;w> hx'w"r>h' ht'y>h' yKi h[or>P; ar>Y:w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. ra-ah see + p.n. Pharaoh + part ki that + Qal perf.3f.s. hayah + def.art.w/noun f.s.abs. rewach space; relief + waw w/Hiphil infin.constr. kabad be heavy + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr.w/3m.s.suff. leb heart + waw w/neg lo + Qal perf.3m.s. shama listen + prep el w/3m.p.suff. + prep kaph w/rel.pro. asher + Piel perf.3m.s. dabar speak + p.n. Yahweh]).

    ANALYSIS: VERSES 8-15

  49. It didn’t take very long for the king of Egypt to have reached his misery limit, so he summoned Moses and Aaron into his presence, asking them to "entreat Yahweh" to "remove the frogs" from his land (v. 8).
  50. Once again, he saw the impotence of his magicians, as they at best could only produce more frogs, and he wanted the frogs gone.
  51. However long it was before he had had enough, it is important to understand that the frogs just kept coming!
  52. There was not just one appearing of frogs, but a continual onslaught of frogs from the waters of Egypt.
  53. His request to Moses "entreat Yahweh that He remove the frogs from me and my people" indicates that he acknowledges Yahweh’s existence, and His power to influence, on a large scale, the natural order within Egypt (v. 8).
  54. This province was the gods of Egypt, he had been raised to believe.
  55. For the first time he promises to let Israel have a festival.
  56. The literal translation of the first part of v. 9 reads: "Honor yourself over me." (NAS has "The honor is yours to tell me.").
  57. Moses’ offer has to do with the timing for his prayer on Pharaoh’s behalf, as the phrase "when shall I entreat for you…" indicates.
  58. A special feature of the frog episode is that Pharaoh is given the opportunity to choose the time of the frogs’ removal.
  59. By giving Pharaoh the opportunity to do say when the plague stops, would demonstrate to him personally, that this was neither the consequence of some natural process, nor the activity of the gods of Egypt.
  60. It would demonstrate that the ending of the plague was solely the work of Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews.
  61. By specifying the timing of the cessation of this plague, Pharaoh was boxed in, so to speak.
  62. In other words, the theological implications for him was that the God Moses represented was a true and powerful God, that none could thwart.
  63. One might ask why Pharaoh did not say "Today!" instead of "Tomorrow!" in v. 10.
  64. Probably both Pharaoh and Moses understood that an intercession of this nature would take some time.
  65. It may be that Moses told him to set the day.
  66. Pharaoh requested the earliest possible moment for relief from the frogs.
  67. I can just imagine while the two men were talking, and negotiating, that they had all around them frogs.
  68. Moses’ faith is evident in vv. 10 & 11, when he indicates that his prayer will be answered.
  69. In declaring that he would receive a favorable answer from Yahweh, he was offering Pharaoh the opportunity to know something he had previously mocked.
  70. Moses confidence in his prediction that the frogs "will depart" from Egypt, and henceforth stay in their proper habitat is spelled out in v. 11.
  71. Moses also had no illusions, as he knew there was a coming plague that would end in the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn.
  72. Nevertheless, he uses the opportunity to point out the uniqueness of the true God.
  73. V. 12 records the fact that Moses entreated ("cried out") Yahweh to reverse that which he had inflicted upon Pharaoh.
  74. V. 13 record the favorable answer to Moses’ intercession.
  75. All the frogs outside their habitat (cf. v. 13 "frogs died out of the houses, the courtyards, and the field.") suddenly died.
  76. This too was a demonstration of Yahweh’s power.
  77. But Yahweh left behind a reminder, according to v. 14.
  78. The Egyptians were left with millions of dead frogs that they had to dispose of.
  79. They piled them up, and the frogs began to decompose with the predictable effect on the olfactory senses.
  80. According to God’s pre-announcement Pharaoh would not keep his word, but would continue to harden his heart, in the face of even more proof of Yahweh’s greatness.
  81. V. 15 records Pharaoh getting a reprieve and falling back into his intransigence.
  82. 3rd Plague: Gnats (vv. 16-19)

    3rd Plague: Gnat Swarm (vv. 16-19)

    VERSE 16 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth (#r,a'h' rp;[]-ta, %h;w> ^J.m;-ta, hjen> !roh]a;-la, rmoa/ hv,mo-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Yahweh + prep el + p.n. Moses + Qal imper.m.s. amar + prep el + p.n. Aaron + Qal imper.m.s. natah stretch + d.o. marker + noun m.s.const.w/2m.s.suff. matteh staff + waw w/Hiphil imper.m.s. nakah strike + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr. aphar dust + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. eretz], that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt [~yIr'c.mi #r,a,-lk'B. ~NIkil. hy"h'w> [waw w/Qal perf.3m.s. hayah + prep lamed w/noun m.p.abs. kinnam gnat + prep beth w/noun m.s.constr. kol + noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Egypt]).'"

    VERSE 17 They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast (hm'heB.b;W ~d'a'B' ~N"Kih; yhiT.w: #r,a'h' rp;[]-ta, %Y:w: WhJem;b. Ady"-ta, !roh]a; jYEw: !ke-Wf[]Y:w [waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. ashah + adv ken so + waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. natah stretch + p.n. Aaron + d.o. marker + noun f.s.constr.w/3m.s.suff. yad + prep beth w/noun m.s.constr.w/3m.s.suff. matteh staff + waw w/Hiphil impf.3m.s. nakah strike + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr. aphar dust + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. eretz + waw w/Qal impf.3f.s. hayah + def.art.w/noun m.s. kinnam gnat + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.as. adam man + waw w/def.art.w/noun f.s.abs. behemah beast]).

    All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt (~yIr'c.mi #r,a,-lk'B. ~yNIki hy"h #r,a'h' rp;[]-lK' [noun m.s.constr. kol + noun m.s.constr. aphar dust + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Egypt]).

    VERSE 18 The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast (hm'heB.b;W ~d'a'B' ~N"Kih; yhiT.w: Wlkoy" al{w> ~yNIKih;-ta, ayciAhl. ~h,yjel'B. ~yMijur>x;h; !ke-Wf[]Y:w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. ashah + adv ken so + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. charetom magician + prep beth w/noun m.p.constr.w/3m.p. lat secrecy + prep lamed w/Hiphil infin.constr. yatsa bring forth + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. kinnam gnats + waw w/neg lo + Qal perf.3p. yakol be able + waw w/Qal impf.3f.s. hayah + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. kinnam + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. adam man + waw w/def.art.w/prep beth w/noun f.s.abs. behemah beast]).

    VERSE 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God (awhi ~yhil{a/ [B;c.a, h[or>P;-la, ~yMijur>x;h; Wrm.aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.p. amar + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. chartom + prep el + p.n. Pharaoh + noun f.s.abs. etseba finger + noun m.p.abs. Elohim + pro.3f.s. hi this])."

    But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said (hw"hy> rB,DI rv,a]K; ~h,lea] [m;v'-al{w> h[or>P;-ble qz:x/Y<w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. chazaq harden + noun m.s.abs. leb + p.n. Pharaoh + waw w/neg lo + Qal perf.3m.s. shama listen + prep el w/3m.p.suff. + prep kaph w/rel.pro. asher + Piel perf.3m.s. dabar + p.n. Yahweh]).

    ANALYSIS: VERSES 16-19

  83. The account of the 3rd plague is sparse by comparison to the previous two plagues.
  84. There is no mention of Moses being told to appear before Pharaoh, as with the first two plagues.
  85. The narration of this miracle begins with a directive for Moses to order his brother Aaron to strike the loose dirt with his staff (v. 16).
  86. What he was instructed to do, and the performance of the directive, is found in verses 16 and 17.
  87. There is no mention here of Moses confronting Pharaoh in the name of Yahweh, prior to this miracle, nor is there a reference to the usual directive that the Pharaoh let Israel go.
  88. This suggests that this miracle took place, not in the presence of Pharaoh, but shortly after it became obvious that Pharaoh was not going to let Israel go, as he had promised.
  89. Pharaoh’s refusal to keep his word came just after the frog plague was stopped (8:15).
  90. When it became obvious that Pharaoh would not do as he said, then Yahweh spoke to Moses, and the "gnat" plague commenced.
  91. The moment Aaron struck the dust of the earth with his staff, "gnats" exploded in mass from the surface of the loose topsoil throughout all the land of Egypt.
  92. This judgment was universal in terms of the territory of Egypt, with the exception of Goshen.
  93. V. 17 records Aaron’s action, followed immediately with a miraculous appearance of gnats, afflicting "man and "beast."
  94. Again, this miracle suddenly appeared "throughout all the land of Egypt" (v. 17b).
  95. "Gnats" (kinnim) is a general term for very small insects.
  96. The root means "mixed," and so what we may have here is more than one specie of tiny two-winged insects.
  97. A variety of suggestions have been advanced as to the specific kind of insect involved, such as gnats, mosquitoes, flies, lice, etc.
  98. "Gnats" in popular parlance refers to insects that are merely annoying.
  99. The term is found in vv. 16-18 (3x) and in Ps. 105:31 ("He (God) spoke, and there came a swarm of flies [m.s.n. arob; also at Ps. 78:45); "gnats in all their territory.").
  100. From dust God manufactured swarms of tiny annoying insects.
  101. God’s sovereign power over land is featured in this wonder to compliment His power over water.
  102. Again, this plague was Yahweh’s response to Pharaoh’s non compliance.
  103. This wonder, like the ones before it, was thrust into the face of all the Egyptians, including of course, Pharaoh, and his officials.
  104. What is peculiar to this 3rd plague is the fact, that even though the magicians of Egypt attempted to replicate this wonder, as they had successfully done in the first two plagues, they were unable to replicate this plague.
  105. They made a concerted effort to produce "gnats," but to no avail (v. 18).
  106. Capturing and releasing enough "gnats" to rival Yahweh, even on a limited scale, proved to be a waste of energy.
  107. Catching and releasing a swarm of tiny insects at the proper time, to swarm on people, proved too complicated.
  108. Furthermore, and more importantly, the magicians were unable to remove these insects from tormenting man and beast.
  109. So they could not control, or copy, or remove this annoyance.
  110. This was evident in the first two plagues as well.
  111. The Egyptians and their livestock were tormented by this insect plague (v. 18b).
  112. The new development introduced in the account of the 3rd mighty act, is the realization by Pharaoh’s experts acknowledge that a supreme being is at work in the midst of Egypt (v. 19).
  113. That is, in the place where the Egyptian deities supposedly could manifest their greatest strength.
  114. They confess to Pharaoh this fact when they declare to him, "This is the finger [work] of God" (v. 19a).
  115. For "finger of God" also see 31:18; Deut. 9:10; Lk. 11:20.
  116. Their precise expression indicates, that what was done by God, was something that was easy for Him to do.
  117. In the first two plagues Pharaoh took solace in the fact that his magicians could replicate these wonders, but now this refuge is removed.
  118. This declaration on the part of the magicians does not constitute a complete capitulation, but it does, for the first time, show a crack in their defense (cf. 9:11).
  119. They begrudgingly defer to Yahweh in the presence of Pharaoh, without using His special name.
  120. All these acts were designed on a theological level as a proof of Yahweh’s superiority, as well as the special standing of the Israelites in His eyes.
  121. Most Egyptians were shaken, but remained in a state of unbelief.
  122. The wise men of Egypt momentarily deferred to Yahweh’s superiority, apart from a change of affiliation.
  123. They admit that they were outdistanced by a God represented by Moses and Aaron, and a God whom Pharaoh had refused to listen to.
  124. Moses and Aaron were an extension of Yahweh, just as the wonder-workers of Egypt were of their gods.
  125. Things that are different in regards to this sign, include the following: (a) Pharaoh was not confronted prior to its performance; (b) the magicians were unable to replicate the miracle; (c) Pharaoh was confronted with complete failure on the part of his wise men.
  126. This revelation has no effect on Pharaoh (v. 19).
  127. His heart/volition remains obstinate, and he pays no attention to his learned men, any more than he has to Moses and Aaron (here not in his presence as before).
  128. No explicit mention of the cessation of this plague is stated in this account.
  129. 4th Plague: Swarms of Insects (vv. 20-24)

    VERSE 20 Now the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh (h[or>p; ynEp.li bCey:t.hiw> rq,BoB; ~Kev.h; hv,mo-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Yahweh + prep el + p.n. Moses + Hiphil imper.m.s shakam rise early + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. beqer morning + waw w/Hithpael imper.m.s. yatsab station + prep lamed w/noun both p.constr. paneh face + p.n. Pharaoh], as he comes out to the water, and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me [ynIdub.[;y:w> yMi[; xL;v; hw"hy> rm;a' hKo wyl'ae T'r>m;a'w> hm'y>M'h; aceAy hNEhi [interj hinneh + Qal part.m.s.abs. yatsa go forth + def.art.w/noun m.p.abs. mayim + waw w/Qal perf.2m.s. amar + prep el w/3m.s.suff. + adv koh thus + Qal perf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Yahweh]).

    VERSE 21 "For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses (bro['h,-ta, ^M.[;b.W ^yd,b'[]b;W ^B. x;yliv.m; ynIn>hi yMi[;-ta, x;Lev;m. ^n>yae-~ai yKi [part ki for + part im if + adv ayin not + Piel part.m.s. shalach let to + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr.w/1s.suff. am + interj hinneh + Hiphil part.m.s.abs. shalach send + prep beth w/2m.s.suff.; "on you" + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. ebed servant + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. am + waw w/prep beth w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.s.suff. bayith + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. arob swarm]; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwell [h'yl,[' ~he-rv,a] hm'd'a]h' ~g:w> bro['h,-ta, ~yIr;c.mi yTeB' Wal.m'W [waw w/Qal perf.3p. male fill + noun m.p.constr. bayith + p.n. Egypt + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. arob swarm + waw w/conj gam + def.art.w/noun f.s.abs. adamah ground + rel. asher + pro.3p. hem they + prep al w/3f.s.suff. "on which"]).

    VERSE 22 "But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living [remaining] (h'yl,[' dme[o yMi[; rv,a] !v,GO #r,a,-ta, aWhh; ~AYb; ytiylep.hiw> [waw w/Hiphil perf.1s. palah mark out, distinguish; "set apart" + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. yom + def.art.w/pro.3m.s. hu "that" + d.o. marker + noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Goshen + rel.pro. asher + noun m.s.constr.w/1s.suff. am + Qal part.m.s.abs. amad stand, remain + prep al w/3f.s.suff.], so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land [#r,a'h' br,q,B. hw"hy> ynIa] yKi [d;Te ![;m;l. bro[' ~v'-tAyh/ yTil.bil. [prep lamed w/part belet except + Qal infin.constr. hayah + adv sham there + noun m.s.abs. arob swarm + prep lema-an in order that + Qal impf.2m.s. yada know + part ki that + pro.1s. ani I + p.n. Yahweh + prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. qereb midst + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. eretz]).

    VERSE 23 "I will put a division between My people and your people (^M,[; !ybeW yMi[; !yBe tdup. yTim.f;w> [waw w/Qal perf.1s. shim put + noun f.s.ab.s. peduth ransom; "a division" + part bayin between + noun m.s.constr.w/1s.suff. am + waw w/part bayin + noun m.s.constr.w/2m.s.suff. am]).

    Tomorrow this sign will occur (hZ<h; taoh' hy<h.yI rx'm'l. [prep lamed w/adv machar tomorrow + Qal impf.3m.s. hayah + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. oth sign + def.art.w/adj.m.s.abs. zoth this])."'"

    VERSE 24 Then the LORD did so (!Ke hw"hy> f[;Y:w: [Qal impf.3m.s. ashah + p.n. Yahweh + adv ken so]).

    And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants (wyd'b'[] tybeW h[or>p; ht'yBe dbeK' bro[' aboY"w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. bo come + noun m.s.abs. arob swarm + adj.m.s.abs. kabad great + noun m.s.constr. bayith + p.n. Pharaoh + waw w/noun m.s.constr. bayith + noun m.p.constr.w/3m.s.suff. ebed servant] and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt [bro['h, ynEP.mi #r,a'h' txeV'Ti ~yIr;c.mi #r,a,-lk'b.W [waw w/prep beth w/noun m.s.constr. kol + noun both s.abs. eretz + p.n. Egypt + Niphal impf.3f.s. shachath destroy, corrupt, lay waste + def.art.w/noun both s.abs. eretz + prep min w/noun both p.constr. paneh face + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. arob swarm(s)]).

    ANALYSIS: VERSES 20-24

  130. This 4th plague involves insects, as did the previous one, but it was much more severe.
  131. It contains features seen in the first two plagues (outdoor confrontation with Pharaoh; Moses issuing a warning to Pharaoh.
  132. Three main differences between this plague and the first and second is the fact no one’s staff was involved; a statement of differentiation between the Israelites and the Egyptians; and Pharaoh’s capitulation to Moses’ demands.
  133. The differentiation is implicit in the accounts of plagues where it is not mentioned.
  134. It is made mention of in plagues 4 (this one) and numbers 5, 7, 9, and 10.
  135. But this was the general pattern in all ten plagues, that is, to maintain consistency with the principle espoused.
  136. The content of v. 20 is essentially word for word what we saw in connection with the first plague (7:14-16).
  137. By now Moses had gained experience in the process of confrontation with Pharaoh.
  138. Moses precise phraseology, as dictated by Yahweh, was that Pharaoh "Let My people go, that they may serve Me."
  139. No mention of "in the wilderness" is used, as it was in 7:16, and here, Moses simply referred to God as "Yahweh," leaving out, "God of the Hebrews."
  140. Pharaoh too had been learning, to his chagrin, who and what Yahweh was.
  141. It could not have been lost on Pharaoh, when he saw Moses waiting for him in the usual place on the bank of the Nile, that this was the place where plagues 1 and 2 had been initiated.
  142. The cycle of encounter and location is intended to have its effect on Amenemhet IV.
  143. He was tormented in his thoughts, and thought something like, "Oh, no, Here we go again!"
  144. The sparse account of the 3rd plague has no reference to a spoken warning, as to what would follow if Pharaoh remained obstinate.
  145. The threat component in this 4th plague account is presented as a warning of what would happen if Pharaoh refused to comply with Yahweh’s directive (v. 21).
  146. That threat component we saw in the 2nd plague, but not the 1st.
  147. Egypt was threatened with large swarms of insects, that would invade Egyptian buildings, without exception (cf. "on you, and your servants, on your people and into your houses.").
  148. The NIV translates, "swarms of flies," which in the Hebrew is a single word ebod (here in both the singular and the plural), which actually designates a mix of insects, not to be confined to flies.
  149. Various kinds of annoying, biting, and non biting insects is the notion followed here.
  150. In this threat directed at the monarch, these insects will attach themselves to people, and houses, and even cover the ground where people walk.
  151. Especially significant in the 4th plague threat is the revelation to Pharaoh that Israel living in Goshen will be exempted from this menace (v. 22).
  152. Heretofore, no such statement has been made explicit, but Pharaoh had to have heard that Israel was shielded from the nasty effects of plagues 1, 2 and 3.
  153. Here Israel’s deliverance from misery is shoved in Pharaoh’s face.
  154. All the plagues in the sequence anticipated the 10th plague—the death of the firstborn.
  155. In that climatic event, much is made in the text of the distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites..
  156. Here Yahweh’s distinction between His own, and those who are not His, is illustrated by keeping the insect swarms at the border of Goshen (cf. v. 23a "I will place a division between My people and your people.").
  157. Again, we have an example of God’s ability to turn nature on its head.
  158. Pharaoh receives yet another example of evidence of a mighty miracle in service of a divine demand.
  159. Pharaoh had opportunity to forestall this plague, as it was announced to him that this "sign" would commence sometime the following day (v. 23b).
  160. Of course Pharaoh ignored the threat, and the plague was unleashed, and "swarms (plural) came into the dwelling of Pharaoh, and all the Egyptians.
  161. Window screens did not exist in Egypt; windows were simply openings in walls (and ceilings) to let in light and air.
  162. Egyptians could have affixed cloth at doorways and windows to keep out the swarms, but this was too little, too late.
  163. Once the plague commenced all Egypt was covered with insects.
  164. Insects were a nuisance then as now, but the multiplied millions of these creatures resulted in an unbearable situation.
  165. The ruin or corruption mentioned in v. 24b (translated "laid waste" in the NAS; "was corrupted" in KJ; and "ruined" in NIV) was not topographical, but rather refers to quality of life.
  166. People couldn’t sleep with insects covering everything; they couldn’t eat without ingesting them; working was nearly impossible; children were screaming, etc.
  167. Peoples’ skin was welted with insect bites (cf. Ps. 78:45 "He sent among them flies [swarms] which devoured them. And frogs which destroyed them.").
  168. This gave an all-time new meaning to the expression "I’m being eaten alive!"
  169. Pharaoh’s 2nd Concession (vv. 25-32)

    VERSE 25 Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land (#r,a'B' ~k,yhel{ale Wxb.zI Wkl. rm,aYOw: !roh]a;l.W hv,mo-la, h[or>p; ar'q.YIw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. qara call + p.n. Pharaoh + prep el + p.n. Moses + waw w/prep lamed w/p.n. Aaron + waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + Qal imper.m.p. halak go + prep lamed w/noun m.p.constr.w/2m.p.suff. Elohim + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun both s.abs. eretz])."

    VERSE 26 But Moses said, "It is not right to do so, for we will sacrifice to the LORD our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians (Wnyhel{a/ hw"hyl; xB;z>nI ~yIr;c.mi tb;[]AT yKi !Ke tAf[]l; !Akn" al{ hv,mo rm,aYOw [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Moses + neg lo + Niphal part.m.s.abs. kun establish, prepared, right + prep lamed w/Qal infin.constr. ashah + adv ken so + part. ki for + noun f.s.constr. to-eba abomination + p.n. Egyptians + Qal impf.1p. zabach sacrifice + prep lamed w/p.n. Yahweh + noun m.p.constr.w/1p.suff. Elohim]).

    If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us (Wnluq.s.yI al{w> ~h,ynEy[el. ~yIr;c.mi tb;[]AT-ta, xB;z>nI !he [interj hen if, behold + Qal impf.1p. zabach sacrifice + d.o. marker + noun f.s.constr. to-ebah abomination + p.n. Egyptians + prep lamed w/noun f. dual constr.w/3m.p.suff. ayin eye + waw w/neg lo + Qal impf.3m.p.w/1p.suff. saqal stone])?

    VERSE 27 "We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us (Wnyleae rm;ayO rv,a]K; Wnyhel{a/ hw"hyl; Wnx.b;z"w> rB'd>MiB; %lenE ~ymiy" tv,l{v. %r,D, [noun both s.abs. derek journey + adj.m.s.constr. shalosh tree + noun m.p.abs. yom + Qal impf.1p. halak + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. midebar + waw w/Qal perf.1p. zabach + prep lamed w/p.n. Yahweh + noun m.p.constr.w/1p.suff. Elohim + prep kaph w/rel.pro. asher + Qal impf.3m.s. amar; "commands" + prep el w/1p.suff. "us"])."

    VERSE 28 Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness (rB'd>MiB; ~k,yhel{a/ hw"hyl; ~T,x.b;z>W ~k,t.a, xL;v;a] ykinOa' h[or>P; rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Pharaoh + pro.1s. anoki I + Piel impf.1s. shalach send, let go + d.o. marker w/2m.p.suff. + waw w/Qal perf.2m.p. zabach + prep lamed w/p.n. Yahweh + noun m.p.constr.w/2m.p.suff. Elohim + def.art.w/prep beth w/noun m.s.abs. midebar]; only you shall not go very far away [tk,l,l' Wqyxir>t;-al{ qxer>h; qr; [adv raq only + Hiphil infin.abs. rachaq be distant + neg lo + Hiphil impf.2m.p. raqach + prep lamed w/Qal infin.constr. halak go]).

    Make supplication for me (ydI[]B; WryTi[.h; [Hiphil imper.m.p. atar entreat + prep ba-ar w/1s.suff. on behalf of])."

    VERSE 29 Then Moses said, "Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the LORD that the swarms of insects may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow (rx'm' AM[;meW wyd'b'[]me h[or>P;mi bro['h, rs'w> hw"hy>-la, yTir>T;[.h;w> %M'[ime aceAy ykinOa' hNEhi hv,mo rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. amar + p.n. Moses + interj hinneh + pro.1s. anoki I + Qal part.m.s.abs. yatsa go out + prep min w/prep im w/2m.s.suff. + waw w/Hiphil perf.1s. atar entreat + prep el + p.n Yahweh + waw w/Qal perf.3m.s. sur turn; "depart" + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. arob swarm + prep min w/p.n. Pharaoh + prep min w/noun m.p.constr.w/3m.s.suff. ebed servant + waw w/prep min w/noun m.s.const.w/3m.s.suff. am + adv machar tomorrow]; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD [hw"hyl; x;Boz>li ~['h'-ta, xL;v; yTil.bil. lteh' h[or>P; @seyO-la; qr; [adv raq only + neg al + Hiphil impf.3m.s. yasap add; "deal…again" + p.n. Pharaoh + Hiphil infin.constr. chatal deceive + prep lamed w/prep bilethi not + Piel infin.constr. shalach let go + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. am + prep lamed w/Qal infin.constr. zabach sacrifice + prep lamed w/p.n. Yahweh])."

    VERSE 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD (hw"hy>-la, rT;[.Y<w: h[or>P; ~[ime hv,mo aceYEw: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. yatsa go out + p.n. Moses + prep min w/prep im + p.n. Pharaoh + waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. atar entreat + prep el + p.n. Yahweh]).

    VERSE 31 The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained (dx'a, ra;v.nI al{ AM[;meW wyd'b'[]me h[or>P;mi bro['h, rs;Y"w: hv,mo rb;d>Ki hw"hy> f[;Y:w: [waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. ashad do + p.n. Yahweh + prep kaph w/noun m.s.constr. dabar word + p.n. Moses + waw w/Qal impf.3m.s. sur turn; remove + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. arob swarm + prep min w/p.n. Pharaoh + prep min w/noun m.p.constr.w/3m.s.suff. ebed servant + waw w/prep min w/noun m.s.constr.w/3m.s.suff. am + neg lo + Niphal perf.3m.s. sha-ar remain + adj.m.s.abs. echad one]).

    VERSE 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go (~['h'-ta, xL;vi al{w> taZOh; ~[;P;B; ~G: ABli-ta, h[or>P; dBek.Y:w: [waw w/Hiphil impf.3m.s. kabad harden + p.n. Pharaoh + d.o. marker + noun m.s.constr.w/3m.s.suff. leb heart + conj gam also + def.art.w/adj.f.s.abs. zoth this + waw w/neg lo + Piel perf.3m.s. shalach let go + d.o. marker + def.art.w/noun m.s.abs. am]).

    ANALYSIS: VERSES 25-32

  170. As was the case with the 2nd plague (but not the 1st or the 3rd), Pharaoh, within a very short time, summons Moses and Aaron (v. 25).
  171. That people were being driven to distraction is an understatement; it is more like they were on being driven insane.
  172. But this time, he makes a concession, and that concession is: "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land."
  173. He only partially concedes to the directive.
  174. Pharaoh was offering a real, but cleverly designed concession, in exchange for relief from the insect swarms.
  175. Pharaoh knew that Israel was expecting much more than he was willing to offer.
  176. Pharaoh imagined that if he allowed Israel to freely worship God in Goshen, that this would somehow mollify the Israelites.
  177. He cedes little to Israel, and hopes to gain much.
  178. Pharaoh probably thought that this concession would work in a bargaining culture.
  179. Moses, of course, would not think of settling for a mere in-country holiday (v. 25).
  180. He knew God’s promise of relocation and the promise "to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them into a good and spacious land, flowing with milk and honey…" (3:8, 10).
  181. But this was neither the place nor the time to insist on a permanent exit from Egypt.
  182. He stayed focused on Yahweh’s original directive, namely, that Israel be allowed to leave Egypt for a three day festival.
  183. Moses counters with a practical reason as why Pharaoh’s offer was ill-advised (v.26).
  184. "It is not proper to do so," because, affirms Moses, that at least one type of animal offered in sacrifice is abominable to Egyptians.
  185. He of course is referring to the sacrifice of sheep and goats (cf. Gen. 46:34 "for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.").
  186. A public event where tens of thousand of Israelites are sacrificing these verboten animals would lead to violence against the Israelites is Moses’ contention.
  187. Again, from a human relations’ standpoint, Pharaoh’s offer is unworkable.
  188. Pharaoh does not challenge this objection, nor does he offer the Israelites protection.
  189. This understanding shows the reader how deeply engrained this taboo was in the Egyptian psyche.
  190. Moses’ reasoning is that for Israel to sacrifice these type animals in Goshen would led to the outbreak of violence.
  191. At situation that could easily get out of hand.
  192. Moses other reason for not accepting Pharaoh’s offer is found in v. 27.
  193. Moses steadfastly refuses any compromise offer by Pharaoh, because he was committed to the divine directive given him at Sinai, and reiterated in Egypt.
  194. That directive is that Israel be permitted a three-day festival in the wilderness across the northern border of Egypt.
  195. Pharaoh is convinced by Moses’ argument that Hebrew sacrifices right in front of the Egyptians could well lead to violence, and so he accepts, for the time being, the condition that Moses and his people should to what Yahweh has been saying to them (v. 28).
  196. He himself will send them forth from the land to their religious duty to Yahweh their god.
  197. Pharaoh adds a condition and a request: they are not to go a great distance, and Moses must pray on his behalf, apparently for the removal of the thick swarm of insects.
  198. Moses agrees to the second of these conditions, without reference to the first (v. 29).
  199. Moses states a condition of his own: Pharaoh must not go back on his word, as in the previous instances of deception.
  200. Moses is good as his word, and Yahweh answers Moses’ prayer fully, removing all traces of the insects, even down to the last insect (cf. "not one remained"; vv. 30-31).
  201. They simply vanished as they had appeared.
  202. God left the dead frogs, but here removes all evidence of swarming insects.
  203. But once again, Pharaoh breaks his word, steels his mind, and refuses to send Israel forth.
  204. By now no one is surprised.
  205. Though here we are not reminded of Yahweh’s prediction of this intransigence, as at the end of the second (8:11) and third (8:15) plague accounts (cf. "As.
  206. All concerned are increasingly aware of the inevitability of Pharaoh’s insane persistence in the face of more calamities.
  207. In summary, what is new in this 4th plague, apart from the nature of the miracle itself, is the separation of the land of Goshen from the effects of the judgment, the negotiations between Pharaoh and Moses, with each setting conditions, and the allusion to the antagonism of the Egyptians to Israelite worship.
  208. The account of the 4th plague ends with the request of a three-day festival in the wilderness still on the table.

END: Exodus Chapter Eight

January, 2013

Jack M. Ballinger