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Exodus 8:28-32

28. And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me.

28. Tunc dixit Pharao, Ego dimittam vos ut sacrificetis Jehovae Deo vestro: veruntamen non longius pergetis eundo: orate pro me.

29. And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.

29. Et dixit Moses, Ecce, ego egrediar a te, et rogabo Jehovam ut recedat examen insectorum a Pharaone, et a servis ejus, et a populo ejus eras. Veruntamen non adjiciat Pharao agere fallaciter, non dimittendo populum ut sacrificet Jehovae.

30. And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the Lord.

30. Tunc egressus est Moses a Pharaone, et oravit ad Jehovae.

31. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people: there remained not one.

31. Et fecit Jehova secundum verbum Mosis, et recessit mixtura insectorum a Pharaone, et a populo ejus: non unum fuit residuum.

32. And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.

32. Et aggravavit Pharao cor suum etiam hac vice, nec dimisit populum.

28. And Pharaoh said, I will let you go. When he sees that his delays and shifts avail him nothing, he professes entire obedience; not that he then proposed to deceive and lie, because he was prevented by fear; but only, because overwhelmed with a present sense of his calamity, he dared not raise his crest against God. Therefore (as I said before) he did not so much wish designedly to conciliate and frustrate Moses by falsehood, as he deceived himself. For we must observe that (like one who has a wolf by the ears) he was constrained to promise the dismissal of the people, whom he retained to his own great injury. And this is why he commends himself to their prayers, for necessity urged him to implore God’s pardon and peace: although it might have been that he desired craftily to engage their affection to himself under the pretext of religion. For by this anxious precaution for himself, he betrays his want of confidence. Finally, by requesting their prayers, he, as it were, throws out a rope by which he may draw them back to himself when the sacrifice was over.

29. And Moses said, Behold I go out from thee. Moses does not reply to this demand, because he knew that the design of God was otherwise; and God had justly left him in ignorance as to what He did not yet wish him to know. There is, then, no reason why Moses should be accused of bad faith when he faithfully fulfilled the charge committed to him; although he was silent as to what he was not ordered to declare, even as to that which God wished to be concealed from the tyrant. But the holy Prophet, aroused to pious indignation by the king’s perfidy, does not immediately remove the plague, but waits till the morrow; and moreover, denounces with severity that, if he should persist in deceit, its punishment awaited him. This great magnanimity he had derived from the miracles, for, having experienced in them the unconquerable power of God, he had no cause for fear. For it was an act of extraordinary boldness openly and before the tyrant’s face to reproach him for his falsehoods, and at the same time to threaten him with punishment unless he desisted from them. But we said before that Moses had not acted from the workings of his own mind, when he promised Pharaoh what he asked, but that he had spoken thus confidently from special impulse. For the general promise in which God affirms that He will grant the prayers of His servants, must not be applied to particular cases, so that they should expect to obtain this or that in a specified manner, unless they have some peculiar testimony from the word or the Spirit of God.

31. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses. “The word” here may be expounded either of the answer, or the prayer, of Moses. The former pleases me best, viz., that by the result God proved that He ratified what Moses had said, whom He had made the proclaimer of His judgment; but if any one prefer to refer it to his prayer, let him retain his opinion. When he adds that the “heart of the king was hardened at this time also,” he aggravates the crime of his obstinacy, since there was no bound to his rebellion under such a series of punishments, by which even an iron heart should have been corrected.

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