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Warning of the Final Plague


The L ord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go from here; indeed, when he lets you go, he will drive you away. 2Tell the people that every man is to ask his neighbor and every woman is to ask her neighbor for objects of silver and gold.” 3The L ord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, Moses himself was a man of great importance in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s officials and in the sight of the people.

4 Moses said, “Thus says the L ord: About midnight I will go out through Egypt. 5Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the female slave who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. 6Then there will be a loud cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as has never been or will ever be again. 7But not a dog shall growl at any of the Israelites—not at people, not at animals—so that you may know that the L ord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8Then all these officials of yours shall come down to me, and bow low to me, saying, ‘Leave us, you and all the people who follow you.’ After that I will leave.” And in hot anger he left Pharaoh.

9 The L ord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, in order that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; but the L ord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.

1. And the Lord said unto Moses.131131     See Lat., Dixerat autem. He now relates that it was not with self-conceived confidence that he was lately so elated, as we have seen him;132132     “Tellement que sa confiance le fait parler haut;” as to be led by his confidence to use such high language. — Fr. but because he had been forewarned by divine revelation that the end of the contests was now near, and that nothing now remained but. that Pharaoh should fall by his mortal wound. This verse, then, is connected with the preceding, and explains its cause; because Moses would not have been at liberty to interrupt the course of his vocation, unless he had now plainly known that he was arriving at its conclusion. Nor would it otherwise agree with what follows, via, that Moses spoke to Pharaoh after he had declared that he would not appear any more in his sight, unless the subject were continued without interruption. But this sentence is introduced parenthetically, (meaning) that however obstinate Pharaoh might be, the hour was now come in which he must succumb to God. But God not only declares that the heart of Pharaoh should be changed, so that he would not hinder the people’s departure, but that he would be himself anxious for that, which he had so pertinaciously refused; for this is the meaning of the words, he will not only send you away, but altogether thrust you out. For in his alarm at their presence, he eagerly drove them from his kingdom.

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