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Exodus 9:27-35

27. And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.

27. Tunc misit Pharao ad vocandum Mosen et Aharon: et dixit ad eos, Peccavi hac vice, Jehova justas est: ego autem et populus meas scelerati.

28. Entreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.

28. Precamini Jehovam, et magnum erit si non sint tonitrua (vel, multum est quod sint tonitrua) Dei et grando: et dimittam vos, nec ultra manebitis.

29. And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s.

29. Tunc dixit Moses, Ubi egresses fuero ex urbe, extendam manus meas ad Jehovam: cessabunt tonitrua, et grando non erit amplius, ut scias quod Jehovae sit terra.

30. But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God.

30. Atqui de te et servis tuis cognosco quod nondum timeatis coram facie Jehovae Dei.

31. And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was boiled.

31. Linum et hordeum percussa sunt: nam hordeum maturescebat, et linum erat in calamo.

32. But the wheat and the rye were not smitten; for they were not grown up.

32. Triticum vero et zea non sunt percussa, eo quod abscondita essent.

33. And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.

33. Et egressus Moses a congressu Pharaonis extra urbem, expandit manus suas ad Jehovam: et cessarunt tonitrua et grando, et pluvia non est eftusa super terram.

34. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, and the hail, and the thunders, were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

34. Videns autem Pharao quod cessasset pluvia, et grando, et tonitrua, adjecit adhuc ad impie agendum, et aggravavit cor suum ipse et servi ejus.

35. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.

35. Et obduruit cor Pharaonis, nec dimisit filios Israel, sicut loquutus fuerat Jehova per manum Mosis.

27. And Pharaoh sent and called. If this confession had proceeded from the heart, it would have betokened repentance; but Moses immediately perceived that fear in the heart of the wicked is not a principle which governs them in lasting duty;111111     “Et n’est maitresse que pour une minute;” and is only their mistress for a minute. — Fr. and this was more manifest in the result.

Although we must, at the same time, recollect, what I have already touched upon, that Pharaoh did not lie designedly; for when seized by terror, he caught at every means to appease God, but soon after relapsed into his former state of mind. For although with fox-like cunning the wicked pretend submission, when they see themselves caught, in order to escape from the snare, still they do not mean to mock God by their soft words; but rather under the pressure of necessity they are ready to do anything, and therefore offer propitiation’s and satisfactions; but when their fear has departed, because whatever they promised was forcibly extorted from them, they directly break out afresh. A very similar circumstance is related of Saul. He confesses to his own disgrace the innocence of David, and yet, as soon as he has escaped from the danger, and is freed from fear, he does not cease to persecute him cruelly. (1 Samuel 24:18, and 26:21.) But if we admit that this was mere dissimulation, Pharaoh had greater cause for fear, because, being experimentally convinced that God was his adversary, he was impelled by his fear to make any conditions whatever. But, first of all, he acknowledges that he had “sinned this time,” not to excuse the former cases, but. because, in such gross contempt, the crime of obstinacy was still more detestable. And this more fully appears in the following words, wherein he acknowledges the justice of God, and confesses the wickedness of himself and his people. It is just as if he had said, that he is deservedly punished, because he had too long provoked God, who is a just judge. Now since, as far as his words go, Pharaoh professes true repentance, we may gather from them, that, sinners do not attribute to God the honor due to His justice, unless they condemn themselves; and this must be more carefully observed, because there are few who think that, while they are endeavoring to rebut the accusations of guiltiness, they are dishonoring God. Yet, whosoever does not judge himself, and who does not frankly confess his sins, is assuredly murmuring against the judgment of God. Pharaoh, at length, has recourse to deprecation, in which he desires to have Moses and Aaron as his intercessors; not, I admit, without deception, (because hypocrites are always double-hearted;) yet it is certain, that because he was terrified by his troubles, he sought for peace with God, lest his rebellion should draw down upon him new and greater punishments; but as soon as, having obtained his desire, he ceased to be afraid, the secret wickedness which lay, as it were, stifled under the abundance of his miseries, burst forth out of the sense of security. What immediately follows is variously explained by the translators; some understand it negatively, “that there be not,” or “if there be not — thunderings;” and even these disagree among themselves; for some suppose that Pharaoh congratulates himself, because the thunders have ceased; but it is plain from the context that they are grossly mistaken. If, then, a negation is intended, the passage must necessarily refer to the future; as if Pharaoh had said, that he should be very graciously dealt with, if God should please to allay the thunderings.112112     ורב, literally, and much A. V., It is enough. The LXX. and V. translators seem not to have found this expression in their copies of the Hebrew text. The Syriac amplifies it into And there is abundant room before him. S. M., Multum enim est ut fuerint tonitrua, etc.; and he adds, Onkelos sic vertit, Magnum coram me est tuorum, quod non sint super nos voces illae execrandae. — W. But the various reading is equally probable; “It is much, or a great thing, that there are, or have been thunderings;” as though he said, that he had been punished enough, or more than enough for his folly; or (as best pleases myself) that he is now subdued by terror, whilst he is alarmed by the continual rollings of the thunder and the beating of the hail; for he seems to desire to prove the truth of his conversion, because he is conquered by the terrible power of God.

29. And Moses said. In this answer Moses indirectly hints, that he leaves the presence of Pharaoh, in order duly and purely to supplicate God; since by his unbelief he would in a manner pollute the sacrifices. For, as he had already shown, that legitimate worship could not be offered by the people except away from Egypt, so now he seeks to be alone for prayer; and thus, by this change of place, he indicates that the place, in which Pharaoh dwells, is unholy. We have already said, that Moses promises nothing out of mere rash impulse, but that, taught either by the inspiration of the Spirit, or by sure revelation, he pronounces, with the authority of a prophet, what God is about to do. Moreover, it is not without reason that Moses exhorts Pharaoh to learn from the remission of the punishment, that the God of Israel is the Lord of Egypt also; for the word earth seems here to be limited to Egypt; although I do not deny that it may be properly understood of the whole world; but, whichever you may prefer, Moses rightly concludes, that the glory and dominion of God is perfectly manifested, not only when he appears as an avenger in the infliction of punishment, but that He also shows it in an opposite way, when all the elements are subservient to His mercy. Besides, His power is still more clearly shown forth, when He himself heals the wounds which He has inflicted; and, therefore, in Isaiah 41:23, and 45:7, in order to prove His divinity, He joins the two together, viz., that it is His prerogative and attribute both to “do good, or to do evil.”

30. But as for thee and thy servants, I know. Such freedom of reproof plainly proves with what magnanimity the holy Prophet was endued, who, without taking any account of the wrath of the imperious and cruel tyrant, does not hesitate to condemn the impiety of himself and his whole court. Nor can it indeed be questioned, that God miraculously restrained so many wild beasts to keep their hands off Moses; for it cannot be attributed either to their moderation or humanity, that men, otherwise worse than bloody-minded, did not kill him a hundred times over, when he so bitterly provoked them. But, from his firmness, it also appears how much he had profited by his novitiate;113113     Tyrocinio. — Lat. Apprentissage. — Fr. because he, who had before fled far for refuge in fear of their darts, now has no alarm in the hottest conflict. But he justly affirms that the Egyptians do not “fear the Lord;” because alarm and terror do not always lead the mind to reverence and due obedience. For Moses speaks of true fear, which altogether attaches us to God, wherefore it is called “wisdom,” and “the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7, and Psalm 111:10.) But hypocrites, although they fear the name of God, are very far from willingly desiring to serve Him. Wherefore, lest we be deceived by empty imaginations, let us learn honestly to sift all our feelings, and diligently to examine into all those winding114114     Arrieres boutiques. — Fr. recesses, wherewith human hearts are filled and incredibly entangled. A question arises, why Moses undertook the part of an intercessor, when he sees no repentance? my reply is, that he was not thus ready to spare, as if he had been persuaded; but that he gave a short intermission, until the king’s impiety should again betray itself, and thus God should fulfill what he had predicted respecting all the plagues. It is, then, absurd to gather, as some do, from this passage, that ministers of the word and pastors should be satisfied with a mere verbal confession; for Moses did not so much intend to pardon as to open a way for the remaining judgments of God.

31. And the flax and the barley. He relates the calamity which the hail inflicted; and shows that a part of the fruits of the earth was destroyed, viz., that which had already grown into stalk; but that the seeds which grow more slowly were spared. For God desired to give a remnant of hope, which might invite the king and his people to repentance, if only their wickedness were curable.

34. And when Pharaoh saw. Again, as usual, Pharaoh gathers audacity from the mitigation of his punishment, as security arms the reprobate against God; for as soon as the scourges of God rest for awhile, they cherish the presumption that they will be unpunished, and construe the short truce into an abiding peace. Pharaoh, then, hardens anew his heart, which he seemed to have somewhat changed, as soon as he is delivered from this infliction; as though he had not been warned that others remained behind, nay, that the hand of God was already stretched out against him. Therefore, at the end of the chapter, Moses amplifies the crime when he adds, that this had been foretold115115     Ver. 35, A.V., marg. ref. “by the hand of Moses.” We have sometimes seen already that the wicked king was hardened, as God had said to Moses; now, more! is expressed, viz., that Moses had been the proclaimer of his indomitable and desperate obstinacy.


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