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into his servants' houses, and into , so to do; for we shall sacrifice y the all the land of Egypt: the land was abomination of the Egyptians to corrupted by reason of the swarm the LORD our God: Lo, shall we of flies.
sacrifice the abomination of the 25 | And Pharaoh called for Mo- Egyptians before their eyes, and ses, and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, will they not stone us? sacrifice to your God in the land.
y Gen. 43. 32. & 46. 34. Deut. 7. 25, 26. & 26 And Moses said, It is not meet 12. 31 of the plague considered in its effects, destruction' of the land here mentioned or to the vast numbers of the insects by was the spoiling, devouring, or consum. which it was brought about. See Note ing of the fruits of the land, the herbage, on Gen. 50. 9.
:- The land was cor- the young grain, the pasture grounds, rupted; or Heb. destroyed, as the &c. If the plague consisted of swarms word often signifies. See Note on Gen. of beetles, this is not an improbable sup6. 13. By the land we are probably to position. understand the inhabitants of the land,' 25. Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the who were destroyed in the sense of be- land. It is evident that each successive ing reduced to the greatest extremities, plague thus far exceeded in intensity and of suffering an annoyance that was that which went before it, and so griev. almost beyond endurance, in addition ous was the present, that with a view to which probably many of them actu- to its removal Pharaoh sent for Moses ally perished in consequence of the in- and Aaron and proposed to them a comflammation produced by the bites or promise. Unable to bear the tormentstings of the venomous insects. The ing scourge, and yet unwilling to resign original word, however, is often used to his grasp of his Hebrew bondmen, he signify the afflictive and wasting effects flatters himself that by a half-way measof a judgment which at the same time ure he may secure himself from injury falls short of actually extinguishing life. in both respects. He consents that they Thus the Psalmist says of this and the should sacrifice to their God, provided preceding plague of frogs, Ps. 78. 45, they would do it in the land of Egypt. He sent divers sorts of flies among 26. Moses said, It is not meet so to do. them, which devoured them (D3389 Heb. 7 672837753 23 lo nakon lagsyokelum); and frogs which destroyed oth kën, it is not appointed, ordained, them (annwn tashhithëm, corrupted constituted, so to do. The reply of Mo. them).' It is probably to this judgment ses was prompt and decided. He knew more especially that the author of the his duty too well thus to depart, in the Book of Wisdom alludes when he says, least degree, from the strict import of ch. 16. 8-10, ‘And indeed thou madest his instructions. Implicit obedience was thine enemies to confess that it is thou his only rule of conduct, and by adherwho deliverest from all evil: For them ing in the most inflexible manner to the the bitings of grasshoppers and flies expressed will of Jehovah, the name of killed, neither was there found any re. Moses has come down to the latest gen. medy for their life : for they were wor- eration honored by the testimony of thy to be punished by such. But thy pre-eminent fidelity— Moses was faithsons not the very teeth of venomous ful in all his house.' Far from acceptdragons overcame, for thy mercy was ing this concession, he tells Pharaoh ever by them. It is, however, but fair there is no alternative. His entire reto remark that some commentators of quisition must be complied with, or it note suppose that the corruption' or ) would amount to nothing. He moreVOL. I
27 We will go z three days' jour., 28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you ney into the wilderness, and sacri- go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD fice to the LORD our God, as a he your God in the wilderness: only shall command us.
ye shall not go very far away:
b entreat for me. z ch. 3. 18. a ch. 3. 12.
b ver. 8. ch. 9. 28. 1 Kings 13. 6. over condescends to state the reason ed a week's holiday, to go and hold why it is impossible to listen to such a their feast in the desert, but whether he proposal. He in effect presents his ob- was henceforth to lose entirely so conjections in the form of a dilemma: If | siderable and so useful a part of the we sacrifice here, we must do it either population of the kingdom. This was after the manner of the Egyptians, or the Egyptian view of the question; to of the Israelites. If after their manner, which is to be added the apprehension that would be an abomination to the that becoming thus independent of their Lord our God; if after our own man control, they might one day resolve ner, that would be an abomination to themselves into a very dangerous hosthem, and they will stone us; for they tile power on the frontiers, whether in will not endure to see us slay those ani. the desert as pastoral nomades, or as a mals for sacrifice, which they adore as settled people in Palestine. Viewing deities. Chal. “For the beasts which the the matter thus, as the Egyptian king Egyptians worship, shall we offer for sa- unquestionably did, his conduct, though crifice; lo, shall we offer for sacrifice the no more excusable, is somewhat less beasts which the Egyptians worship ?! surprising. It goes to illustrate his po.
27. As he shall command us. The Is- sition to bear in mind, that he could say raelites knew not, therefore, precisely he had not brought them into bondage. in what manner they should serve the They had labored for a century in the Lord, till they came to the place ap- public service; whence the king, or few pointed. So Moses says, ch. 10. 26, Egyptians then living, had ever known 'We know not with what we must serve them otherwise than as bondsmen, and the Lord until we come thither.' few, if any Hebrews then living, could
28. Only ye shall not go very far away. remember when they were free. In The haughty monarch still shrinks from these circumstances it may justly be an unconditional submission to the man- doubted whether there is now any state date of heaven. He will yield the form having bondsmen, however acquired, er point, and allow them to go out of which would consent to part with them Egypt, but then they must agree not to on much easier terms than the urgent go very far away,-a stipulation of compulsion to which God had recourse which the object evidently was to keep with Pharaoh. Corrupt human nature them still within his reach. In this, has ever shown an inveterate pertinaciand still more clearly in the subsequent ty in holding on to a usurped dominion incidents, the king betrays his suspicion over a nation or community of slaves. that under the plea of going into the No matter how clear their right to be wilderness to worship their God, the free, or how great the injustice or opreal intention of the Hebrews was to pression of detaining them in bondage, make their escape from his power al. yet for the most part men will harden together. Indeed it must be admitted their hearts,' just as did Pharaoh, in re. that the real question before Pharaoh sisting the claims of justice, and will was not merely the ostensible matter, resign their asserted possessions only whether the Hebrews were to be allow. I with their lives.
29 And Moses said, Behold, I go 32 And Pharaoh e hardened his out from thee, and I will entreat heart at this time also, neither the LORD that the swarms of flies would he let the people go. may depart from Pharaoh, from
CHAPTER IX. his servants, and from his people, THEN ih unto Pharaoh, and tell to-morrow: but let not Pharaoh ç deal deceitfully any more, in not him, Thus saith the LORD God of letting the people go to sacrifice to the Hebrews, Let my people go, the LORD.
that they may serve me. 30 And Moses went out from Pha 2 For if thou b refuse to let them raoh, and d entreated the LORD: go, and wilt hold them still.
31 And the LORD did according to 3 Behold, the chand of the LORD the word of Moses: and he removed is upon thy cattle which is in the the swarms of flies from Phara- field, upon the horses, upon the oh, from his servants, and from asses, upon the camels, upon the his people; there remained not oxen, and upon the sheep: there
shall be a very grievous murrain.
e ver. 15. ch. 4. 21. a ch. 8. 1. bch. 8. 2. c ch. 7. 4.
C ver. 15. d ver. 12.
29–32. I will entreat the Lord. As arrows from Jehovah's quiver. His last Pharaoh had appended to his proposal recent breach of faith was so gross an a request that Moses would intercede affront both to God and to Moses, that for him with the Lord for the removal we might have looked for the infliction of of the plague, he expresses his readiness another judgment without the least pre. to do so, but he at the same time bids monition. But warning is here given of him beware of acting any more deceit- another plague of still more deadly na. fully with the Lord or his servants. ture than any of the preceding, in case he Those that have once been perfidious should persist in refusing to let the peoare justly liable to suspicion, and there. ple go. Would that his compliance had fore have no grounds to take it ill that spared the historian the necessity of rethey are admonished on this score in relating any thing but the threatening! gard to the future. With what pro. But alas! we pass directly into the narpriety Moses exhorted Pharaoh to be rative of its execution. ware of violating his promise again ap 2. Wilt hold them still. Heb. Dann pears from the sequel. No sooner was ba mahazik bam, strengthenest upon this calamity over-past, than like a bent them ; i. e. forcibly detaining them. bow the spirit of the king sprung back 3. Behold, the hand of the Lord is to its former habitual obstinacy, and upon the cattle, &c. Heb. 177779 y heedless of the admonition and of his 779777 yad Yehovah hoyah, the hand of own word, he refused to let the peo- the Lord (is) being (i. e. made to be) ple go.
upon the cattle, &c. Carrying still the
future import which so frequently perCHAPTER IX.
tains 'to the present participle. The In four successive plagues of con- plague in this instance was to come di. stantly increasing severity had Pharaoh rectly from the hand of the Lord, with. already been made to feel the lighting out the intermediate wielding or wav. down of the heavy arm of the divine in ing of Aaron's rod. - A very grievdignation, without yet being brought to ous murrain. Heb. 72 725 727 deber submit to the mandate of heaven. He kabed meod, a pestilence very heavy; i.e. consequently yet stands a mark for the l a very great and general mortality, as
4 And d the LORD shall sever be- time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD tween the cattle of Israel, and the shall do this thing in the land. cattle of Egypt: and there shall 6 And the LORD did that thing on nothing die of all that is the chil- the morrow, and e all the cattle of dren's of Israel.
Egypt died: but of the cattle of the 5 And the LORD appointed a set children of Israel died not one.
appears from v.6. The original word forcibly with the displeasure of God for 'murrain,' when applied to men, is against them, the Israelites, whom they translated pestilence, and is rendered so much despised and oppressed, were in the Gr. both here and elsewhere, by entirely exempt from this calamity. Oavatos, death. See Note on Ex.5.3. Our 5. To-morrow the Lord shall do this English word 'murrain' comes either thing in the land. The fixing of the from the French mourir, to die, or from time in this manner would make the the Greek
to grow lean, to judgment when it came the more rewaste away. It is with us applied to a markable. "We know not what any day a particular contagious disease among will bring forth, and therefore cannot cattle, the symptoms of which are a say what we will do to-morrow, but hanging down and swelling of the head, God can. Henry. abundance of gum in the eyes, rattling 6. All the cattle of Egypt died. That in the throat, difficulty of breathing, is, some of all sorts ; not absolutely palpitation of the heart, staggering, a each and every one; for we find, v. 19, hot breath, and a shining tongue; all 25, some remaining which were smitten which symptoms prove that a general by a subsequent plague. This peculiar inflammation has taken place. But as usage of the word "all,' as denoting no particular disorder is here specified, some of all kinds, instead of the absomortality would have been a better rend- lute totality of the number spoken of, ering. There was a peculiar affliction is of great importance to a right un. in the judgment of the murrain, not only derstanding of the sacred Scriptures from the Egyptians being dependent on throughout. Thus, 1 Tim. 2. 4, 'Who their animals in various ways for their will have all men to be saved, and to sustenance and comfort, but also from come unto a knowledge of the truth ;' their being compelled to witness their i. e. all classes and ranks of men ; for excruciating sufferings without the pow- he had just before exhorted that prayers er of affording relief. The poor beasts should be made for 'kings and for all themselves were guiltless of wrong, yet that are in authority;' implying, that having their being under a constitution as no order of men are placed without in which they are a sort of appendage the pale of salvation, so none should to man, they are made subject to suffer be left out of the supplications of the iug by reason of his sin, or as Jeremiah saints. In like manner it is to be obexpresses it, ch. 12. 4, 'For the wicked served, that while in v. 25, of this chapness of the land, the beasts are con ter it is said that the hail șmote every sumed. This infliction therefore was herb of the field,' in ch. 10. 15, we are a trial to Pharaoh and the Egyptians told that the locusts ate 'every herb of whether they would be at all wrought the land which the hail had left.' For upon by a view of the effects of their a full and interesting illustration of this sin as evinced in the sufferings of the phraseology, see J. P. Smith's Geology unoffending brute creation. At the same and Scripture Compared, p. 247, in res. time, in order to impress them still more pect to the universality of the deluge.
7 And Pharaoh sent, and behold, in all the land of Egypt, and shall there was not one of the cattle of besa boil breaking forth with blains the Israelites dead. And f the heart | upon man, and upon beast, throughof Pharaoh was hardened, and he out all the land of Egypt. did not let the people go.
10 And they took ashes of the fur. 8 | And the LORD said unto Moses nace, and stood before Pharaoh ; and unto Aaron, Take to you hand- and Moses sprinkled it up toward fuls of ashes of the furnace, and let heaven: and it became h a boil Moses sprinkle it toward the hea- breaking forth with blains upon ven in the sight of Pharaoh. man, and upon beast. 9 And it shall become small dust
fch. 7. 14. & 8. 32.
& Rev. 16. 2. h Deut. 28. 27.
7. And Pharaoh sent, &c. This shows it comes from a root signifying to that he was at least somewhat impress- blow,' properly denotes the fine cineed by the plague as a calamity of very real particles which are carried off in marvellous operation. His sending to the dense clouds of smoke arising from ascertain the fact of the Israelites' ex a furnace. The original for ‘furnace sig. emption indicates that he was not satis- nifies also a 'lime-kiln or brick-kiln ;' fied with reports to that effect. But and as these were among the instruwhether the result of the mission con- ments of oppression to the Israelites, it vinced him that the hand of God was in was fitting that they should be convertthe affliction or not, it is clear that no ed to a means of chastisement to the permanent good impression was made Egyptians, for God oftentimes makes upon him. His heart remained still un men to recognize their sin in their punsoftened, and he refused to let Israel go. ishment.
8. Take to you handfuls of ashes of 9. It shall become dust, &c.; i. e. it the furnace, &c. Something similar to shall by a miraculous diffusion become this is still to be recognized in the ma a fine cinder-like sleet floating in the ledictory usages of the East. "When atmosphere above the surface of the the magicians pronounce an impreca- earth like a cloud of dust which does tion on an individual, a village, or a not subside, and wherever it lights upcountry, they take ashes of cow's dung on the persons of men causing a 'boil (or from a common fire,) and throw breaking forth with blains.' Heb.' boil them in the air, saying to the objects budding, germinating, or efflorescing of their displeasure, such a sickness, or with pustules or blisters. The original such a curse, shall surely come upon term for ' boil,' 7970 shehin, denotes you.' Roberts. The obstinacy of Phả- an inflammation, which gives us the true raoh under such an accumulation of sense of the obsolete word 'blains,' accalls, warnings, and judgments was be companied with a sense of tormenting coming continually a sin of a more and heat, which first produces a morbid tumore aggravated character, and it was mor, and then a malignant ulcer. In therefore fitting that the punishments it Job, 2.7, 8, the word occurs in the sense incurred should also be of a growing in- of a burning itch or an inflamed scab, tensity. As the ravages of the pesti- which Job could not remove with his lence that had wasted their flocks and nails, and was therefore obliged to make herds had proved unavailing, a plague use of a potsherd, or fragment of a was now to be sent that should seize broken earthen vessel, for the purpose. their bodies and touch them to the In the case of the Egyptians, the “Shequick. The Heb. terin for ashes,' as hin' was of a still more virulent nature,