Exodus 8 Commentary

Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
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Summary Chart of
The Book of Exodus
DELIVERANCE
FROM OPPRESSION
PREPARATION FOR
WORSHIP
Redemption from Egypt
Ex 1:1-18:27
Revelation from God
Ex 19:1-40:38
Getting Israel Out of Egypt Getting Egypt Out of Israel!
Narration Legislation
Birth of
Moses
Ex 1-2
Call of
Moses
Ex 3-6
Conflict with Pharaoh
Ex 7-10
Exodus
from
Egypt
Ex 11-12
Red
Sea
Crossed
Ex 13-15
Journey
To
Sinai
Ex 16-18
Law
Given
Ex 19-24
Tent
Plan
Ex 25-31
Idol
Worship
Ex 32-34
Tent
Built
Ex 35-40
Subjection Redemption Instruction
Suffering and Liberation
of People of God
Guidance
of God
Worship
of God
Moses and
Burdens of Israel
Pharaoh and
Plagues Upon Egypt
Red Sea
Deliverance
Wilderness
Provision
Sinai
Instructions
Bondage
and Oppression
Deliverance
and Provision
Law Pattern
and Construction
Israel in Egypt
Ex 1:1-13:16
Israel to Sinai
Ex 13:17-18:27
Israel at Sinai
Ex 19:1-40:38
God's People
Enduring
Bondage
God's Grace
Revealed
in Redemption
God's Glory
Manifested
in Worship
Egypt
430 Years

(15% of Exodus)
Wilderness
2 Months

(30% of Exodus)
Mt Sinai
10 Months

(55% of Exodus)
From
Groaning
                To
Glory!
 
Jensen's Survey of the Old Testament - online

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GENESIS EXODUS
human effort and failure divine power and triumph
word of promise work of fulfillment
a people chosen a people called
God’s electing mercy God’s electing manner
revelation of nationality realization of nationality

SUMMARY OF THE PENTATEUCH
(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 8:1 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.

NIV  Exodus 8:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 

  • Go - Jer 1:17-19 15:19-21 Eze 2:6,7 
  • Let - Ex 3:12,18 5:1 7:16 

The Ten Plagues on Egypt

THE
PLAGUE
EGYPTIAN
DEITY
THE EFFECT ON
PHARAOH

1 BLOOD (Ex 7:20+)

Hapi

Pharaoh hardened (Ex 7:22+)

2 FROGS (Ex 8:6+)

Heqt

Pharaoh begs relief, makes promise (Ex 8:8+)
then is hardened (Ex 8:15+)

3 GNATS (Ex 8:17+)

Hathor, Nut

Pharaoh hardened (Ex 8:19+)

4 FLIES (Ex 8:24+)

Shu, Isis

Pharaoh bargains (Ex 8:28+) but is hardened (Ex 8:32+)

5 PESTILENCE (Ex 9:6+)

Apis

Pharaoh hardened (Ex 9:7+)

6 BOILS (Ex 9:10+)

Sekhmet

Pharaoh hardened (Ex 9:12+)

7 HAIL (Ex 9:23+)

Geb

Pharaoh begs relief (Ex 9:27+), makes promise (Ex 9:28+) then is hardened (Ex 9:35+)

8 LOCUSTS (Ex 10:13+)

Serapis

Pharaoh bargains (Ex 10:11+), begs relief (Ex 10:17+), but is hardened (Ex 10:20+)

9 DARKNESS (Ex 10:22+)

Ra

Pharaoh bargains (Ex 10:24+), but is hardened (Ex 10:27+)

10 FIRSTBORN KILLED (Ex 12:29+)

 

Pharaoh beg Israel to leave (Ex 12:31-33+)

PREPARATORY TO PLAGUE
 NUMBER TWO - FROGS

Mattoon entitles this section "The Ruler and the Ribbits!" 

Then - Then marks sequence or progression and picks up with the last verse in Exodus 7:25 "Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile." These seven days would have been miserable with no easy water supply, bloody water everywhere one looked and a horrible stench pervading the air night and day! Don't underestimate the misery of this first plague. Jehovah was demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that He had triumphed over the weak gods of the of Egyptians that were associated with their previously glorious Nile River! 

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 - Note again God refers to Israel as His possession, not Pharaoh's (or Satan's) and His command is without any compromise. Jehovah is demanding their unconditional release from the hands and power of Pharaoh! Jehovah wants His people to serve Him not the powers of darkness! Israel had been chosen as His people and were to be for His great glory! He wants His people to worship Him (Ex 8:1NIV), an event that will one day be consummated in Heaven throughout eternity. The Septuagint brings out this desire of Jehovah to be worshipped in translating the Hebrew with the verb latreuo which means to serve by carrying our religious duties in a spirit of worship.

THOUGHT - That Jehovah desires worship of worms such as we are but by the grace of God and the blood the Lamb, should send out hearts into daily exultation and rejoicing, for the "best is yet to come" for us! And so we see this word latreuo describes believers who are saved out of the Great Tribulation (Read Rev 7:9,10+ and Rev 7:14+) John writing "they are before the throne of God; and they serve (latreuo in the present tense = continually)  Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them." (Rev 7:15+) And then again latreuo is used for the last blessed time in Revelation 22:3 where John records " There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve (latreuo) Him." Hallelujah! Amen!

Go to Pharaoh - 5x - Exod. 3:11; Exod. 7:15; Exod. 8:1; Exod. 9:1; Exod. 10:1

Let My people go, that they may serve Me - This command is repeated some 9 times (Ex 5:1+; Ex 7:16+; Ex 8:1+; Ex 8:20+; Ex 8:21+; Ex 9:1+; Ex 9:13+; Ex 10:3+; Ex 10:4+) Play Louis Armstrong - Go Down Moses - Let My People Go or another version Moses Go Down (Let My People Go)

Currid - The last clause says, ‘so that they may serve me’.  That is a crucial translation because a major issue of the exodus event is being underscored: who is it that the Hebrews are to ‘serve’—Pharaoh or Yahweh? At this point in time the Hebrews are serving the King of Egypt. Yahweh wants their service. Therefore, Moses’ proclamation is a direct assault on the power of Pharaoh. (EPSC-Ex)

James M Boice - If we are to understand the full significance of this plague, we must recognize that a goddess of Egypt was involved in the judgment—the goddess Hekt [also Heqet], who was always pictured with the head and often the head and body of a frog. Since Hekt was embodied in the frog, the frog was sacred in Egypt. It could not be killed, and consequently there was nothing the Egyptians could do about this horrible and ironic proliferation of the goddess. They were forced to loathe the symbols of their depraved worship. But they could not kill them. And when the frogs died, their decaying bodies must have turned the towns and countryside into a stinking horror.

Spurgeon - There was a suitableness in God’s choosing the frogs to humble Egypt’s kings, because frogs were worshipped by that nation as emblems of the Deity. Images of a certain frog-headed goddess were placed in the catacombs, and frogs themselves were preserved with sacred honors. These be thy gods, O Egypt! Thou shalt have enough of them! Pharaoh himself shall pay a new reverence to these reptiles. As the true God is everywhere present around us, in our bed-chambers and in our streets, so shall Pharaoh find every place filled with what he chooses to call divine. Is it not a just way of dealing with him? (Exodus 8:8 Take Away the Frogs

Exodus 8:2  "But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs.

  • But if you refuse to let them go,- Ex 7:14 9:2 
  • frogs - Ps 78:45 Ps 105:30 Rev 16:13,14

Parallel Passages:

Ps 78:43-45 When He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan,  44 And turned their rivers to blood, And their streams, they could not drink. He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, 45 And frogs which destroyed (Heb = shachath;  Lxx = diaphtheiro) them. 

Ps 105:30 Their land swarmed (sharats - teemed) with frogs Even in the chambers of their kings. 


RIBBIT, RIBBIT
 

WHY THE FROGS
WOULD CROAK IN EGYPT

God explained He will conquer Egypt with croakers.

But if you refuse to let them go, behold - The behold (hinneh) is used to gain Pharaoh's attention and focus on the condition that would be fulfilled should he refuse to obey Jehovah's command. The Septuagint translates refuse with the phrase "not willing" (me boule - boulomai = a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion). 

I will smite your whole territory with frogs - Hebrew literally - “plague all your border with frogs.” Jehovah promises to "inflict a blow" (nagaph) on Egypt with frogs. This same verb nagaph is used to summarize Jehovah's 10 plague on Egypt, Joshua 24:5 recording "Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued (nagaph) Egypt by what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out." Moses uses this same verb (nagaph) to describe the 10th plague when "the LORD...passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared" the homes of Israel. (Ex 12:27).

Mattoon - The Egyptians could not kill the frogs because they believed they were gods, even though the frogs were destroying their comfort and happiness.The Egyptians worshiped the frog as a god of fertility. Now in the plague, the frog's fertility will run wild and produce abundantly. These folks would be miserable. The perpetual croaking would drive them nuts and rob them of any peace and rest. Sin is like this too. It robs us of our peace and joy. It plagues us with guilt. You cannot escape the effects of sin except through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Nile River cleared up, Pharaoh thought he got rid of God and he had no more worries. Beloved, you can't get rid of God's commands by resistance or holding out. The Lord comes back with the same message to obey His commands. If you don't, you incur new punishment or pressure.

NET on whole territory (all your border) - The expression “all your border” is figurative for all the territory of Egypt and the people and things that are within the borders (also used in Exod 10:4, 14, 19; 13:7).

Smite (05062)(nagaph) means to give a blow, usually from God and either fatal or disastrous (Ex 8:2, Passover - Ex 12:23, 27, smiting Israel after making a golden calf). Prophecy to Israel she would be struck down because of her disobedience (Lev 26:17). Moses warning Israel would be struck down if they went against their enemies after refusing to go into the promised land (Nu 14:42). Lord causes defeat of Israel's enemies if they obey (Dt 28:7) but defeat (striking down) of Israel if the disobey (Dt 28:25)> Striking one's foot (figuratively speaking) is prevented by walking in wisdom (Pr 3:23). 

Nagaph - 46v - beaten(1), defeated(17), hurts(1), plagued(1), routed(4), smite(3), smites(1), smote(3), strike(7), striking(1), struck(4), struck down(3), stumble(2), surely*(1). - Ex 8:2; Ex 12:23; Ex 12:27; Ex 21:22; Ex 21:35; Ex 32:35; Lev. 26:17; Num. 14:42; Deut. 1:42; Deut. 28:7; Deut. 28:25; Jos. 24:5; Jdg. 20:32; Jdg. 20:35; Jdg. 20:36; Jdg. 20:39; 1 Sam. 4:2; 1 Sam. 4:3; 1 Sam. 4:10; 1 Sam. 7:10; 1 Sam. 25:38; 1 Sam. 26:10; 2 Sam. 2:17; 2 Sam. 10:15; 2 Sam. 10:19; 2 Sam. 12:15; 2 Sam. 18:7; 1 Ki. 8:33; 2 Ki. 14:12; 1 Chr. 19:16; 1 Chr. 19:19; 2 Chr. 6:24; 2 Chr. 13:15; 2 Chr. 13:20; 2 Chr. 14:12; 2 Chr. 20:22; 2 Chr. 21:14; 2 Chr. 21:18; 2 Chr. 25:22; Ps. 89:23; Ps. 91:12; Prov. 3:23; Isa. 19:22; Jer. 13:16; Zech. 14:12; Zech. 14:18


David Thompson - Now liberals have attacked this plague by suggesting that the reason the frogs came up in such great numbers was because the Nile had been polluted to the point that fish died and that is what drove the frogs up onto the land. However, any logical assessment of what happens here refutes that point. We may make five key observations that would indicate this was not a natural result of polluted water:

1) This happens in conjunction with the hand and staff of Moses and Aaron. Ex 8:6

2) The frogs did not just hang around the banks of the Nile but covered all Egypt. Ex 8:6

3) Pharaoh himself realizes this is a judgment of God. Ex 8:7–not some annual Nile River thing

4) The frogs left all the land and went back to the Nile at God’s command . Ex 8:11

5) The frogs all died in massive numbers at the same time at different places. Ex 8:13

Exodus 8:3  "The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls.

  • kneading bowls - Ex 12:34 

"RIBBIT, RIBBIT"

The land of Egypt would not just be teeming with physical frogs, but with peeping, squeaking, croaking, etc sounds all day and night! We think that just the site and presence of the frogs was what was irritating to the people, but frogs make noise and lots of frogs make lots of noise! This would cause a bad case of "frog insomnia!" While the Egyptians may not have heard all of the sounds in the video, it is likely they heard quite a few of them and they were non-stop (Four minutes of various frog sounds). I have constant ringing in my ears and if I focus on it, it is very disturbing. Well, the Egyptians were hearing a "ringing" in their ears and it was more like a repetitious ribbit, ribbit, ribbit

Wiersbe - The fact that there were still frogs in the river indicates that the water was again normal (8:11). If the water were still blood, the frogs would have died. (Be Delivered)

The Nile will swarm with frogs - The verb swarm means multiplication as used of Israel in Ex 1:7+ which "increased greatly, and multiplied." What this means is that God is saying that when He sends this plague, you will look out into the Nile and you will see the water multiplying with moving frogs. Just think of that for a moment. You are looking at the Nile and all of a sudden you see movement in the Nile, and as you look, you discover a multiplication of frogs and they are headed straight for your house! 

NET on swarm - The choice of this verb שָׁרַץ (sharats) recalls its use in the creation account (Gen 1:20). The water would be swarming with frogs in abundance. 

Thompson on swarm - The word “swarm” is interesting. It is a word that specifically refers to a great multiplication of numbers with moving, living, smaller creatures (William Gesenius, Hebrew Lexicon, p. 850). What this means is that God is saying that when He sends this plague, you will look out into the Nile and you will see the water multiplying in moving frogs. Just think of that for a moment. You are looking at the Nile and all of a sudden you see movement in the Nile, and as you look, you discover a multiplication of frogs in the Nile. It is swarming with frogs. (Sermon)

Ryken - The Egyptians relied on Heqet for two things in particular. One was to control the frog population by protecting crocodiles, the frog’s natural predators. Obviously, when Egypt was overrun (or overhopped!) with frogs, Heqet was humiliated. This plague proved that she was powerless to resist the mighty strength of the Lord. (PW-Ex)

Which will come up and go into your house - Your house is Pharaoh's house  This is strange and clear evidence that this is not some natural phenomenon because frogs do not usually come into houses, but stay near the shore for security and food. This is not a description of the natural behavior of frogs but evidence of the supernatural hand of God! Undoubtedly Pharaoh had the safest house with the most guards and servants and yet still he was absolutely helpless against God's army of frogs and could do nothing to stop the frogs from "breaking and entering!" This is so bizarre as to almost be comical. It's like that game we used to play as kids when we played hide and seek, and the frogs are saying "Ready or not, here we come!"

And into your bedroom and on your bed - This too is supernaturally directed behavior! Your bed is Pharaoh's bed!  Can you imagine Pharaoh crawling into his ornate royal bed covered with the finest of linens and just as he pulls up the covers, he feels movement beneath his body and under the covers? Talk about insomnia! Ryken quips "By the time frogs started showing up under his bedcovers, even Pharaoh was starting to have his doubts about Heqet’s power."

NET - This verse lists places the frogs will go. The first three are for Pharaoh personally—they are going to touch his private life. Then the text mentions the servants and the people. Mention of the ovens and kneading bowls (or troughs) of the people indicates that food would be contaminated and that it would be impossible even to eat a meal in peace.

And into the houses of your servants and on your people - So the frogs do not restrict themselves to Pharaoh but affect al the Egyptians. God is telling these frogs "Hop" and they are hopping everywhere! 

Cassuto - they shall come into the houses of thy servants, and, needless to say, upon your people, that means, into the houses of your people, although frogs are fond of wet and cold places, they will be found—so great shall their number be—even in your ovens, which are kindled for the baking of bread, and in your kneading-bowls, in which the dough becomes warm and leavened. Nor is this all. The frogs will be so numerous and daring that they will even climb up people’s legs, even up the legs of his majesty himself (Ex 8:4) and the frogs shall climb up both upon you, and upon your people, and upon all your servants. The mocking satire is obvious.

And into your ovens and into your kneading bowls - God has a sense of humor with this plague. The frogs were not deadly but they were disturbing. Imagine a mother going to pull out her kneading bowl to make bread for the evening meal and she let's out a piercing scream because there are frogs in her bowl! Think about what would happen to the frogs that entered ovens! Have you ever smelled barbque frog or even worse frog legs that were burned to a crisp? Because frogs were considered sacred the people could not kill them but simply had to be endured

Swarm (08317)(sharats) means to swarm; to breed abundantly; to multiply. It is a word that specifically refers to a great multiplication of numbers with moving, living, smaller creatures. It means to teem, to swarm in numbers and rate of birth and multiplication. It serves as a description of a large number of creatures densely populating a location. Most passages use the animals themselves as the subject of the verb, but some verses speak of land or water swarming with creatures. Shārats emphasizes their immense numbers and prolific reproduction. In Ex 8:3 the Septuagint uses the verb exereugomai which means to vomit forth or to overflow with. 

Sharats - 14v - breed abundantly(1), increased greatly(1), populate the abundantly(1), swarm(3), swarmed(2), swarms(5), teem(1). Gen. 1:20; Gen. 1:21; Gen. 7:21; Gen. 8:17; Gen. 9:7; Exod. 1:7; Exod. 8:3; Lev. 11:29; Lev. 11:41; Lev. 11:42; Lev. 11:43; Lev. 11:46; Ps. 105:30; Ezek. 47:9

Matthew Henry - Frogs were to make such an inroad upon them as should make them uneasy in their houses, in their beds, and at their tables; they should not be able to eat, nor drink, nor sleep in quietness, but, wherever they were, should be infested by them, Ex 8:3, 4. God’s curse upon a man will pursue him wherever he goes, and lie heavily upon him whatever he does. See Deut 28:16, etc. There is no avoiding divine judgments when they invade with commission.

Exodus 8:4  So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants.

  • Ps 107:40 Isa 19:11,22 23:9 Da 4:37 Ac 12:22,23 

Heket with Head of Frog

So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants - Frogs literally on Pharaoh! Here a frog, there a frog, everywhere a frog, frog! Frog legs on Pharaoh's legs! That probably set him to hopping! God has definitely got a sense of humor! 

Boice - Ancient Egyptian amulets carved in the shape of frogs were supposed to have magical powers and religious significance. One of the great goddesses of Egypt was Heket, who was often pictured with the head (and sometimes the body) of a frog. It is possible that the connection between frogs and the goddess meant that frogs were sacred and could not be killed.

Currid - Why frogs? This plague, like the previous one, appears to be part of a contest to establish who was the true God. The Egyptians regarded the frog as a symbol of divine power and a representation of fertility. One of the major goddesses of Egypt was Hekhet, who is depicted as a human female with a frog’s head. She was the spouse of the creator-god Khnum. He was thought to fashion human bodies on his potter’s wheel, and Hekhet would then blow the breath of life into them. Hekhet also had the responsibility of controlling the multiplication of frogs in ancient Egypt by protecting the frog-eating crocodiles. But Yahweh overwhelms Hekhet and causes her to be impotent in her task. She is powerless to repel or resist Yahweh’s overpowering regeneration of frogs. It is the Hebrew God who really bestows fertility; he rapidly produces frogs so that they become a curse upon Egypt. God is sovereign over fertility, over Egypt and over the Egyptian gods. (Ibid)

Exodus 8:5  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.'"

  • Ex 7:19 

Then - First Aaron gave Pharaoh a "preview of coming attractions" and now on with the show! He just said this is what I am going to do and He started to do it.

The LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.'" - So most of the places that had been turned to blood would now birth frogs and lots of them. 

Thompson  - Now Pharaoh is learning Moses is the key guy connected to God and when Aaron does what he tells him, God’s power is fully displayed. When God’s people hear the Word taught and then obey it, God’s power is fully displayed.

M Henry - Aaron is ordered to draw out the forces, and with his outstretched arm and rod to give the signal of battle. Dictum factum—No sooner said then done; the host is mustered, and, under the direction and command of an invisible power, shoals of frogs invade the land, and the Egyptians, with all their art and all their might, cannot check their progress, nor so much as give them a diversion.... Frogs came up, at the divine call, and covered the land. Note, God has many ways of disquieting those that live at ease.

Exodus 8:6  So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

  • and the frogs - Lev 11:12 Ps 78:45 Ps 105:30 Rev 16:13 

Parallel Passages:

Psalms 78:45  He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, And frogs which destroyed them. 

Psalms 105:30 Their land swarmed with frogs Even in the chambers of their kings. 

Revelation 16:13 (see comments below)  And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs;

So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt - Covered the land means you could not take a step without stepping on a gooey frog! 

Cassuto -   Gradually, village after village, city after city, street by street, house by house, room by room, everything became filled with frogs in the course of a few days. Then Pharaoh began to fear and called the magicians to take action. They did do something; but their action was not a cure for the plague.

As we see later frogs (no fins or scales) are considered unclean

Leviticus 11:9-12+ ‘These you may eat, whatever is in the water: all that have fins and scales, those in the water, in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. 10 ‘But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you, 11 and they shall be abhorrent to you; you may not eat of their flesh, and their carcasses you shall detest. 12‘Whatever in the water does not have fins and scales is abhorrent to you.

Spurgeon - “Who are you that I should do great things to conquer you? I will even vanquish you by frogs.” There was a suitableness in God’s choosing the frogs to humble Egypt’s king, because frogs were worshipped by that nation as emblems of the Deity. Images of a certain frog-headed goddess were placed in the catacombs and frogs themselves were preserved with sacred honors. These be thy gods, O Egypt! You shall have enough of them! Pharaoh himself shall pay a new reverence to these reptiles. As the true God is everywhere present around us—in our bedchambers and in our streets, so shall Pharaoh find every place filled with what he chooses to call divine.


Tony Garland's Commentary on Revelation 16:13

three unclean spirits

These are “spirits of demons.” See commentary on Revelation 16:14. See Three: Life, Resurrection, Completeness, the Trinity.

like frogs

Their comparison with frogs alludes to their uncleanness, being aquatic animals lacking scales (Lev. 11:9-12; Dt 14:9-10). They also recall the plague of frogs in Egypt (Ex. 8:2-13; Ps. 78:45; 105:30). See The Plagues of Egypt and the Tribulation.

They are the elect agents to awaken the world to the attempt to abolish God from the earth; and they are frog-like in that they come forth out of the pestiferous quagmires of the universe, do their work amid the world’s evening shadows, and creep, and croak, and defile, and fill the ears of the nations with their noisy demonstrations, till they set all the kings and armies of the whole earth in enthusiastic commotion for the final crushing out of the Lamb and all His powers.39

coming out of the mouth

The mouth is the organ which reflects the will as evidenced by one’s words. Fire of judgment came out of the mouths of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:5) and a sword comes out of the mouth of Jesus (Rev. 1:16; Rev 19:15), the latter undoubtedly a reference to the Word of God (see commentary on Revelation 1:16). That which comes forth from these mouths is empowered, influenced, and promulgated by the unclean spirits. “The unclean spirits proceed from the mouths of the unholy triumvirate, suggesting the persuasive and deceptive propaganda which in the last days will lead men to an unconditional commitment to the cause of evil.”40

of the dragon . . . of the beast . . . of the false prophet

The three spirits correspond to the three personages of the “antitrinity” : the dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. All three work together with a unified goal of drawing the nations to battle.

The dragon is Satan and the devil, both names which indicate his slanderous accusations (Rev. 12:9). “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). The Beast is known for his blasphemous mouth (Da 7:8, 11+, Da 7:20, 25+, Da 11:36; Rev. 13:6) and the False Prophet, although appearing like a lamb, speaks like a dragon—He tells those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast (Rev. 13:11). Each of these would be highly influential on their own, but aided by unclean spirits, their deception is especially effective. See commentary on Revelation 13:14.

COMPARISON OF THE PLAGUES OF
EXODUS AND REVELATION

PLAGUE EGYPT TRIBULATION

#1 - Nile/Water to blood

Ex. 7:20+; Ps 105:29

Rev. 8:8-9; 11:6; 16:3-6

#2 - Frogs

Ex 8:6+  Ps 105:30

Rev. 16:13 (note)

#3 - Gnats

Ex 8:17+ 

Rev. 11:6??? (note)

#4 - Flies

Ex. 8:24+; Ps. 105:31

Rev. 11:6??? (note)

#5 - Livestock Died

Ex. 9:6+

Rev. 8:9 (note)

#6 - Boils

Ex. 9:10+

Rev. 16:2

#7 - Hail

Ex. 9:23+; Ps. 105:32

Rev. 8:7; 16:21

#8 - Locusts

Ex. 10:13+; Ps. 105:34

Rev. 9:3

#9 - Darkness

Ex. 10:22+; Ps. 105:32

Rev. 8:12;
Rev 9:2
Rev 16:10

#10 - Death of Firstborn

Ex. 12:29+; Ps. 105:36

 

Exodus 8:7  The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

  • Ex 7:11,22 De 13:1-3 Mt 24:24 2Th 2:9-11 2Ti 3:8 Rev 13:14 

SATANIC COUNTERFEIT
NOT RELIEF BUT MORE FROGS!

The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt. - How did they accomplish this? We simply do not know with certainty but given the phrase with their secret arts it is very possible that Satan gave them the power to produce frogs. Notice they magicians seemingly only made the situation worse than it was. The real power would have been if they had removed the frogs but they could not accomplish that miracle. Cassuto says "without doubt Pharaoh was not pleased with his magicians; he was not asking for a supplementary plague, but for a cure of the affliction. But this was not within their power."

The problem was getting rid of them, and that was what the Egyptian magicians could not do.
-- J M Boice

Wiersbe - Satan opposes God’s work by imitating it, and in this way he minimizes the power and glory of God....Pharaoh’s attitude was, “Anything Jehovah can do, we can do better!” Of course, he couldn’t, but that was enough to bolster his pride and keep him from submitting to the Lord. (Be Delivered)

Ryken on magician's replication of the miracle - this time Pharaoh wasn’t all that impressed. He didn’t want any more frogs than he already had! What he really wanted was for someone to get rid of them all; but rather than subtracting from the invasion, his magicians could only add to it, so that, again, even Satan’s power was turned to God’s glory.

Thompson - The purpose of the magicians doing this is so that Pharaoh will say our magicians can do the same thing Moses and Aaron can do, who claim they are from God. They wanted Pharaoh to think they were just as powerful as Moses

Believer's Study Bible - It is ironic that the magicians could only compound the problem. They were unable to solve it or to reverse what God had done to afflict the people.


David Thompson - Now liberals have attacked this plague by suggesting that the reason the frogs came up in such great numbers was because the Nile had been polluted to the point that fish died and that is what drove the frogs up onto the land.

However, any logical assessment of what happens here refutes that point. We may make five key observations that would indicate this was not a natural result of polluted water:

1) This happens in conjunction with the hand and staff of Moses and Aaron. Ex 8:6

2) The frogs did not just hang around the banks of the Nile but covered all Egypt. Ex 8:6

3) Pharaoh himself realizes this is a judgment of God. Ex 8:7–not some annual Nile River thing

4) The frogs left all the land and went back to the Nile at God’s command . Ex 8:11

5) The frogs all died in massive numbers at the same time at different places. Ex 8:13

Well, this shows the folly of the liberals because what was it that polluted the water? It became blood. That is what killed the fish. So if you suggest that the reason for the frogs is the water became bad, then you actually acknowledge plague #1 is exactly why it became bad. (Sermon)

Exodus 8:8  Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD."

  • Entreat - Ex 5:2 9:28 10:17 Nu 21:7 1Sa 12:19 1Ki 13:6 Ac 8:24 
  • and I will - Ex 8:25-28  Ex 10:8-11,24-27 12:31,32 14:5 Ps 66:3 *marg: Ps 78:34-36 Jer 34:8-16 

LIAR, LIAR
PANTS ON FIRE

Liar Liar Pants On Fire is a phrase that children like to scream at each other whenever they think the other is lying. As subsequent passages prove, Pharaoh is not sincere, but is lying. 

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said - Pharaoh forced to eat a bit of humble pie! The greatest ruler in the world brought to his knees by frogs! He is really desperate now. His magicians made more not less. He does the unthinkable in calling for help from Moses and Aaron. How long the frogs were covering the land is not stated, but however long, it was enough to garner the attention of Pharaoh. He had experienced enough of the croaking, jumping frogs! 

NET Note - This is the first time in the conflict that Pharaoh even acknowledged that Yahweh existed. Now he is asking for prayer to remove the frogs and is promising to release Israel. This result of the plague must have been an encouragement to Moses.

Ryken points out that his request for prayer "was not a sign of Pharaoh’s spirituality but only of his superstition. Many desperate people have called for a minister without ever really intending to call upon God." This is a remarkable request—remarkable because it shows how much Pharaoh had learned about the ways of God. For starters, he had learned God’s name. The first time he encountered Moses, he said “Who is the LORD …?… I do not know the LORD” (Exod. 5:2). Now he was getting to know him after all—much better than he expected—just as God had promised. Pharaoh’s speech to Moses and Aaron begins and ends with the special name of the Lord. Pharaoh had also learned something about God’s power. The reason he summoned Moses and Aaron was because he knew that this plague was a divine miracle. He knew that God had sent the frogs and that only God could take them away. By asking for their removal, he was admitting that the Lord God of Israel had power over all creation. Pharaoh even seems to have understood that the way to gain access to that power was through prayer. The word he used for prayer (atar) is the word for supplication, for making a humble entreaty. Somehow he knew that divine intervention would come through human intercession. Pharaoh had learned what God requires. He ended his speech by making the first of many false concessions: “I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD” (Exod. 8:8b). This turned out to be a lie, of course. People will promise God anything when they are in trouble, but the promise is soon forgotten. Nevertheless, Pharaoh’s promise clearly shows that he understood what God demanded of him. At some level he knew that God’s people were made for God’s glory and that he needed to let the Israelites go and make sacrifices to their God. (PW-Ex)

Spurgeon -- “There is a measure of faith which goes to increase a man’s condemnation, since he ought to know that if what he believes is true, then the proper thing is to pray himself. It would have been a wonderfully good sign if Pharaoh had said, ‘Join with me, O Moses and Aaron, while I pray unto Jehovah that he may take the frogs from me.’ But, no, he had only a condemning faith, which contented itself with other men’s prayers.

Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people - "Pharaoh begins and ends his speech with the name of YHWH. He is humble now, or seems to be so." (Cassuto) Notice Pharaoh is beginning to come to "know" this LORD He about Whom heretofore he had arrogantly asked "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” (Ex 5:2+) Notice that Pharaoh does not entreat his magicians to remove the frogs. Intellectually he is beginning to get the picture that this one Moses calls LORD has power and so Pharaoh asks Moses to go to Him. Pharaoh does not entreat Moses to remove the frogs, but to the God of Moses. Clearly Moses' words and actions had not drawn attention to himself but to the LORD. 

THOUGHT - Every believer should learn from Moses' example here. We are God's vessels of honor, but only One rightly deserves the honor and that is God Alone. This principle is inherent in Jesus' command in the Sermon on the Mount "“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Mt 5:16). Notice Jesus' qualifying phrase "in such a way." His point is that in whatever good works God allows us and empowers us to accomplish, we are to carry out those good works in such a way that the glory and honor deflect off of or away from us and instead point clearly to the Lord. For all of us in ministry (and we are all in ministry) it is so tempting and easy when praised for some good work to take just a miniscule portion of the glory for ourselves (if we are really being gut level honest!) We are still in this fallen flesh and that is simply a natural weakness, and so none of us will be perfect in giving God 100% of the glory. We can however know we are on the right track when others begin to say things like what you did or said makes me want to fall more and more in love with Jesus and live more and more like Him (or similar statements that point toward the Triune God and His glory). 

And I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD - Pharaoh is disingenuous. He is lying. He will make the same statement again after the swarms of insects in Ex 8:28 and then again after God's thunder and hail in Ex 9:28. In Ex 10:8 after the locusts, for a fourth time, Pharaoh tells Moses the Israelites can go. Then in Ex 10:24 after the thick darkness, Pharaoh tells them they can go and serve the LORD. 

Mattoon - In this second plague, God changed His method to get Pharaoh to submit. Imagine this situation, "Pharaoh, what caused you to give in and break? What terrible animals did God use to get you to surrender? Were you attacked by vultures, wolves, lions, or bears? What dreaded beasts were they?" Imagine the humiliation of Pharaoh as  game. Proverbs 29:23-A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. The Lord did not give Pharaoh the luxury of a dignified invasion of bears, lions, or tigers. God showed the greatness of His power by making an animal, empty of every evil quality, as the means of a terrible affliction to His enemies. How easy is it, both to the justice and mercy of God, to destroy or save, by means of the most despicable and insignificant of instruments! With God, nothing is impossible. Pharaoh not only suffered humiliation from the frogs, but God also humiliated Pharaoh another way. The Lord reversed the relationship of Moses and Pharaoh, making the king the suitor and Moses the one being sought. What an embarrassment for the Pharaoh, the so called "god" of Egypt has to go to Moses. The Almighty has exalted Moses in the eyes of the Pharaoh. Pharaoh has gained nothing by resisting God, only pain and humiliation. The same holds true for us today.

Ryken adds "What all this shows is how much a person can learn about God without ever coming to him for salvation. Pharaoh knew that God was both Creator and Judge. He recognized the power of God’s name and believed that he could answer prayer. But he did not know God as his Savior and Lord. The proof is that he could not pray to God for himself; he had to ask Moses and Aaron to do the praying for him. He also made the wrong request. Rather than asking God to take away his sins, he asked God to take away the frogs. Pharaoh wanted relief from the punishment for his sin without being willing to repent of the sin itself. Quite literally, the man didn’t have a prayer—at least not a proper prayer to call his own." (Ibid)

Believer's Study Bible - Personally affected, Pharaoh promised anything for relief, but he honored his word only until the frogs were removed. This statement showed his first recognition of the God Yahweh.

Spurgeon -  When it pleases God by His judgments to humble men, He is never at a loss for means—He can use lions or lice, famines or flies. In the armory of God there are weapons of every kind, from the stars in their courses down to caterpillars in their hosts. The dust of the earth, out of which man is formed, will at God’s command forget its kinship and overwhelm a caravan, while the waters will forsake their channels, invade the tops of the mountains and drown a rebellious race. When the Lord contends against proud men, He has but to lift His finger and countless legions throng around Him, all loyal to their Lord and valiant for His name. Know you not that the beasts of the field are His servants and the stones of the street obey His bidding? Every wave worships Him and every wind knows its Lord. If you would war against Him, it would be well for you to know what His forces are—consider the battle—do no more. In the case before us JEHOVAH has to deal with Pharaoh and He humbles him by frogs. Strange! Singular! One would have thought that such despicable means would never have been used. The Lord began with the proud monarch by turning the waters into blood, but it may be that Pharaoh said in his heart, “What a great man I am! If JEHOVAH comes forth against me, He must needs work a terrible miracle in order to conquer.” He goes his way to his house unhumbled. This time the Lord will deal with him in another style. I grant you that the conflict was still sublime in the truest sense, but in Pharaoh’s estimation the croaking frogs which came up from all the banks of the Nile were a mean sort of adversaries. From every reservoir and marsh, they marched up in countless hordes, entering into his chamber and coming upon his bed and his kneading trough. He could neither sleep nor eat, nor walk abroad, without encountering the loathsome reptiles. The Lord seemed by this to say, “Who are you that I should do great things to conquer you? I will even vanquish you by frogs. There was a suitableness in God’s choosing the frogs to humble Egypt’s king, because frogs were worshipped by that nation as emblems of the Deity. Images of a certain frog-headed goddess were placed in the catacombs and frogs themselves were preserved with sacred honors. These be thy gods, O Egypt! You shall have enough of them! Pharaoh himself shall pay a new reverence to these reptiles. As the true God is everywhere present around us—in our bedchambers and in our streets, so shall Pharaoh find every place filled with what he chooses to call divine. Is it not a just way of dealing with Him? The Lord has sure ways of reaching the hearts of proud men, and if He does not use frogs today, He can use other means, for He has servants everywhere prepared for each emergency. He knows how to reach the rich and make them sit by the wayside, like Belisarius, begging for an obolus. The strong and healthy man, He can soon place among the invalids and make him cry like a sick girl, “Give me to drink, Titinius.”(Exodus 8:8 Take Away the Frogs)

Exodus 8:9  Moses said to Pharaoh, "The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?"

  • The honor is yours to tell me Jdg 7:2 1Ki 18:25 Isa 10:15 
  • that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses -  Ex 8:13 

Moses said to Pharaoh, "The honor is yours to tell me - Moses is very respectful, which says a lot about the character of this man Moses. He know that God was on His side. He knew he had the backing of God's power. And yet he is respectful to Pharaoh. Notice Moses is building toward a higher purpose in the next verse which is that ultimately Pharaoh would know there is no one like the LORD. 

Cassuto - Moses’ reply is characterized both by dignity and complete trust in his God. He knows that the Lord is ready to receive penitents, and if Pharaoh is truly humble, as would appear from his words, the Lord will certainly grant his supplication; and if he is not sincere, the Lord will assuredly prove to him that He is all-powerful. Moses said to Pharaoh, Have this glory over me; my trust in my God is so great that I may leave to you the glory of choosing the time.

Mattoon - The phrase "glory over me" in the Hebrew means "Have honor over me and name the time of request and deliverance from the frogs." As cruel as Pharaoh has been, Moses returns good for evil.

Currid - Moses’ response at first glance is curious. He says, literally, to Pharaoh, ‘Glorify yourself over me as to when I should pray for you’ (the opening verb is a Hithpael, reflexive). What Moses seems to be saying is, ‘I trust in my God to the point that I will give you the advantage.’ In other words, Pharaoh is given the choice as to the time when the frogs will be removed from the land. (Ibid)

When shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile? - Moses asks Pharaoh when he wanted the frogs to leave. This almost seems like a silly question, for one would have thought Pharaoh would have answered "Immediately! I've got to get some sleep tonight and these slimy things are keeping me up all night!" But that's not what he requested. 

Exodus 8:10  Then he said, "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.

  • Tomorrow , Pr 27:1 Jas 4:14 
  • there is none - Ex 9:14,29 15:11 De 32:31 33:26 2Sa 7:22 1Ch 17:20 Ps 9:16 Ps 83:18 86:8 89:6-8 Isa 40:25 46:9 Jer 10:6,7 

THAT PHARAOH WOULD
KNOW - NO ONE LIKE GOD

Then he said, "Tomorrow." - Why tomorrow rather than immediately? I am not sure. 

Thompson has a suggestion why Pharaoh did this - Now one might ask why he didn’t say “right now,” “immediately or today”. Probably the reason is that Pharaoh is biding a little more time. He thinks that if the frogs leave today on their own, he would be off the hook of having to keep his bargain of letting the Hebrews go. He also may have wanted to politicize this event for the people and tell them that tomorrow he was going to do something about the frogs. Probably hidden in this is the fact that it would certainly prove whether or not Moses did have clout with God. If Pharaoh said to Moses, “have the frogs leave tomorrow” and Moses couldn’t do it; then it would prove that he was just another false religious fraud and all the people would see it and know it.

So he said, "May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God - Here is the purpose of Moses being respectful and allowing Pharaoh to determine the timing of the departure of the frogs.  The miraculous removal of the frogs was designed to open Pharaoh's eyes and show him that there was no one else like the Lord.

Ryken - By letting Pharaoh decide when the frogs would croak (so to speak), he was showing his absolute confidence in the power of God. He was not just being polite—he was making a public statement of his faith. Whenever someone performs a miracle, there are always skeptics; so Moses gave Pharaoh the advantage of setting the time, which would prove that his power came from God.

Exodus 8:11  "The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile."

  • Ex 8:3,9 

MOSES' PREDICTION

The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile - Moses tells Pharaoh exactly what will happen. When it happens Pharaoh will understand that the hand of God has moved in response to the prayers of a man named Moses. 

Currid - Moses promises that the frogs will depart from Egypt. However, he does not tell Pharaoh how they will leave, and the fulfilment of this oath occurs in a surprising manner in the next three verses. The frogs will remain in the Nile only. In other words, God will cause them to return to their natural habitat from which they originally sprang. He will once again cause nature to operate according to its normal laws.

J Ligon Duncan - Isn’t it interesting that Moses is saying, "Pharaoh, God is going to answer this for you because I want you to know, and He wants you to know that there is no one like the Lord. You’re going to find some things out about the Lord that you didn’t know before, and you’re going to find it out in what He does in this plague." Moses tells Pharaoh that the frogs will depart, but interestingly he does not tell Pharaoh how. He simply tells Pharaoh that the only living frogs left will be the ones in the Nile. Boy, should Pharaoh have attached a caveat to that request.

Exodus 8:12  Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh.

  • Ex 8:8,30 9:33 10:18 32:11 1Sa 12:23 Eze 36:37 Jas 5:16-18 

MOSES INTERCEDES

Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh - Cried out (tsaaq) is frequent in Exodus and at very crucial points, especially for prayers in which people cry out of trouble or from danger.Cassuto observes that Moses would have been in real danger if God had not answered this prayer 

Uses in Exodus - Ex 5:8; Ex 5:15; Ex 8:12; Ex 14:10 (As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.); Ex 14:15; Ex 15:25; Ex 17:4; Ex 22:23; Ex 22:27. It is translated here in the Septuagint with boao means raise a cry, call or shout of joy, pain, etc, by using one’s voice with unusually high volume. 

J Ligon Duncan - Moses leaves Pharaoh’s presence and what does he do? He cries out to God in prayer? Why? What’s at stake here? Well, a great deal is at stake here. The revelation, the manifestation of the sovereignty of God, and that calls for Moses to implore the God of Israel, and he cries out to Him. Can you imagine this story being told by former slaves around fires in the wilderness? Now think about this, people who are utterly powerless, people who have been utterly powerless, they’ve had no say about their work, they’ve had no say about their wages. They have had no say about their family life, about their ability to move, about their ability to improve their own situation; and suddenly, they are being told that the most powerful man that they have ever known existed was reduced to the point that he had to go to Moses, their religious leader, to ask him to pray to God, and that the future of the nation of Egypt was not in the hands of Pharaoh. It was clearly placed in the hands of Moses, as he interceded to God. Can you imagine how they would have responded to that? "You mean to tell us, God, that our prayers are more significant in the course of Your designs in the history of nations than are the rulers of those nations?" And God is saying, "You better believe it. You are My people, and I rule the world by My word and spirit. And I choose as one of the instruments of my decree, your prayers to move the course of nations forward, and to reveal My divine plan." Perhaps you are in a situation that makes you feel utterly powerless. Consider this scene. Whatever is powerful at a human level in your experience, cannot match the power according to God’s sovereign mercy, if your prayer of intercession is in accordance with His sovereign will. God’s people may look powerless in this world, but by prayer they are the chosen instruments of the future of time and history. You are never completely powerless in this world when you serve a sovereign God.

Cassuto - And Moses cried to the Lord—an expression used specifically for prayer for deliverance from danger (compare, for example, 14:15; 17:4); for Moses’ mission was in great danger if his prayer concerning the frogs which he had appointed for Pharaoh were not answered, that is, according to the customary interpretation, concerning the frogs with which the Lord had smitten Pharaoh, or possibly: concerning the time of the removal of the frogs that Moses had fixed for Pharaoh. His prayer was heard. 

Currid - The verb ‘to cry out’ is used frequently in the story of the exodus from Egypt. It is always employed in situations of great peril. In Ex 5:15, the Hebrew foremen ‘cry out’ to Pharaoh because of the oppression of the Egyptians. When the Egyptian army bears down on the Hebrews at the Red Sea, the people ‘cry out’ to Yahweh for salvation (Ex 14:10). Here, in this passage, Moses ‘cried out’ to Yahweh because so much was at stake: to show Pharaoh the power of Yahweh and to legitimize Moses’ mission, it was important that Yahweh should answer the prophet’s prayer. Moses had put his word on the line, and it was necessary that the Lord should respond.

Cried out (06817)(tsaaq)  cry out, to summon. It refers to shouting, complaining loudly, to pleading for relief or justice, calling for help. Gilbrant - The verb occurs nearly fifty times in the Qal with the sense of crying out for help and consolation from suffering or injustice (e.g., 2 Ki. 8:3, 5; Job 19:7; Isa. 42:2). God heard the blood of Abel, which cried out from the ground for justice (Gen. 4:10). Tsāʿaq is frequently used to express the kinds of prayers directed to God in the midst of a despairing crisis. Moses, while leading the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness, faced numerous difficult situations. And with the added complaints of the people, he would often cry out in desperation to the Lord for direction and strength (cf. Exo. 17:4). The verb is used frequently to describe the call for deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians and other oppressors (Num. 20:16; Deut. 26:7; Judg. 10:12; Neh. 9:27; Isa. 19:20).

Tsāʿaq is also used to describe a lament of sorrow or even regret. When Esau realized that Jacob had beguiled him out of his birthright and that nothing could be done to reverse the situation, "He cried out with a great and exceeding bitter cry" (Gen. 27:34). The laments of the people became great because of the desolation of the land (Isa. 33:7; Jer. 22:20). Rivers of tears flowed continually over the destruction of Jerusalem (Lam. 2:18). Elisha cried when Elijah was taken up to the heavens (2 Ki. 2:12).

The lament cry is a loud cry driven with much emotion and is at times coupled with other physical responses. The loudness of such a cry is not for the sake of being heard from a great distance but because of the extreme need for urgent help while in a desperate situation. But unlike a boisterous weeping or wail as a result of pain or grief, tsāʿaq exhibits a certain potential to provide an immediate change in the situation of distress. That is to say, the cry or lament for help is directed to someone or something that can provide help.

Most of the time, the cries were directed to God, but there were instances when the lament cry was directed to human intervention in various circumstances and even fewer times to idols (e.g., Isa. 46:7). In time of famine, the Egyptians cried out to Pharaoh for food (Gen. 41:55), and the Israelites, while journeying through the wilderness, cried out to Moses for help and direction (Num. 11:1f). However, almost half of the occurrences of tsāʿaq are directed to God, Who hears them and answers them (e.g., Num. 20:16; Ps. 34:17; 77:1). (*Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Tsaaq - 54x in 53v - appeal(1), appealed(1), called the together(1), cried(27), cries(1), cry(14), cry aloud(1), crying(2), summoned(6). Gen. 4:10; Gen. 27:34; Gen. 41:55; Ex 5:8; Ex 5:15; Ex 8:12; Ex 14:10; Ex 14:15; Ex 15:25; Ex 17:4; Ex 22:23; Ex 22:27; Num. 11:2; Num. 12:13; Num. 20:16; Deut. 22:24; Deut. 22:27; Deut. 26:7; Jos. 24:7; Jdg. 4:3; Jdg. 7:23; Jdg. 7:24; Jdg. 10:12; Jdg. 10:17; Jdg. 12:1; 1 Sam. 10:17; 1 Sam. 13:4; 1 Ki. 20:39; 2 Ki. 2:12; 2 Ki. 3:21; 2 Ki. 4:1; 2 Ki. 4:40; 2 Ki. 6:5; 2 Ki. 6:26; 2 Ki. 8:3; 2 Ki. 8:5; 2 Chr. 13:14; Neh. 9:27; Job 19:7; Job 35:12; Ps. 34:17; Ps. 77:1; Ps. 88:1; Ps. 107:6; Ps. 107:28; Isa. 19:20; Isa. 33:7; Isa. 42:2; Isa. 46:7; Isa. 65:14; Jer. 22:20; Jer. 49:3; Lam. 2:18

Exodus 8:13  The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields.

  • De 34:10-12 

JEHOVAH ANSWERS
AFFIRMATIVELY 

The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields - Again note this is evidence that this is not natural but supernatural. Frogs don't just die out naturally. 

NET Note - Just as Moses had told Pharaoh “according to your word” (Ex 8:10), now the LORD does “according to the word” of Moses.

J Ligon Duncan - God’s sovereignty in this passage, is actually revealed in mercy in the gradualism of the plagues. Now what I mean by that is that God does not send the plague of death for the first plague. God visits the Nile. God sends the frogs. God sends the insects. God sends the boils. God sends the locusts. God gradually, repeatedly sends messages of warning to Egypt, and those messages themselves entail mercy. You see God’s patience in His not visiting a final judgment immediately, but in sending gradual, repeated, temporal judgments designed to reveal that He is the Lord was designed to revoke repentance.

Exodus 8:14  So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul.

  • and the - Ex 8:24 7:21 Isa 34:2 Eze 39:11 Joe 2:20 

FROGS TURN FOUL

As one writer says "The land stank!"

Consequences remain! This is exactly what sin often does to us (see thought below).

So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul - Piled in heaps reads more literally "they heaped them up, heaps, heaps" which emphasizes the immensity of the dead frog clean-up that was necessary to clear the homes and land! Pharaoh did not ask for their carcasses to be removed. God could have removed them but just killed them. The people still had to engage in removal of the bodies.  Became foul is same word used in Ex 5:21+ when the foremen railed at Moses declaring "May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious (baash) in Pharaoh’s sight." Now Egypt had become odious before God! Currid says it this way "This is a reversal of the situation in Ex 5:21, in which the Hebrew foremen complained to Moses that he had caused them to ‘stink’ (same verb) before Pharaoh. God now causes Egypt to stink before him." The same verb was also used in describing the stench from dead fish in the Nile River. (Ex 7:18, 21+) Then the stench was just at the Nile River but now this is a stench over the entire land of Egypt! Use your imagination! I would imagine Pharaoh wished he had also asked Moses to entreat God to remove the dead frogs! After Israel's deliverance and God's provision of manna, this same word is used of manna which "bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them." (Ex 16:20).

NET on heaps - The word “heaps” is repeated: חֳמָרִם הֳמָרִם (khomarim khomarim). The repetition serves to intensify the idea to the highest degree—“countless heaps”

THOUGHT - When we choose to sin, we don't have the option to choose the consequences. Even when we confess, God may remove some of the pressure of the effects of our sin, but some of the consequences continue. Such was the case with the frogs. The frogs were removed but the decaying bodies left lingering consequences reminding Pharaoh of his sin. The same is often true in our lives. So the moral is, choose life! Choose to trust and obey! 

 Became foul (0887)(baash) means to have a bad smell or to stink. To be repulsive. (All uses in Exodus - Ex 5:21; Ex 7:18; Ex. 7:21; Ex. 8:14; Ex. 16:20; Ex 16:24). The Septuagint uses the verse ozo meaning to stink or give off an unpleasant odor used in John 11:39 in Martha's cry regarding Lazarus “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

Exodus 8:15  But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

  • But when Pharaoh saw- Ex 14:5 Ec 8:11 Isa 26:10 Jer 34:7-11 Ho 6:4 
  • he hardened - Ex 4:21 7:4,13,14 Pr 29:1 Zec 7:11,12 Heb 3:8,15 Rev 16:9 

PHARAOH HARDENS
HIS HEART

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief - This is a bad "but!" But marks a change of direction and this "but" marks a change in the direction of Pharaoh's heart! The pressure was off, so he reverted to his previous thinking. 

THOUGHT - We are all a lot like Pharaoh. We confess our sin and promise God we won't do it again, but when the pressure is off and we are tempted again, we fall into the same old sin! Have you ever been there? Most of us can identify with this pattern. God's desire for us is to " lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1+) And how can we be motivated to lay aside the sin which easily entangles us? Enabled by the Holy Spirit Who gives us the desire and power (Php 2:13NLT+), we can do it by "fixing (verb means looking away from everything else and focusing) our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:2+) We can do it by putting "on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." (Ro 13:14+) Notice the pattern for victory over the flesh - (1) Surrender to the Spirit (2) Enabled by the Spirit make Jesus your the focus of your affection. See discussion of The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.

There was relief - KJV = "there was respite" The rare Hebrew verb revachah (only other use Lam 3:56) means to be wide or spacious, so the idea is that now that the pressure was off there was relief and freedom for Pharaoh to move about. Little did he know this as only the beginning of these horrors in Egypt. The Hebrew revachah is translated in Greek with the noun anapsuxis (from anapsucho from ana = again ~repetition + psucho = breathe)  which literally means a relief from heat and then cooling, refreshing or relaxing. BDAG adds anapsuxis describes the "experience of relief from obligation or trouble, breathing space." It is as if the Pharaoh now had a little "breathing room" so to speak! And old habits die hard! It is used only once in the NT, in Acts 3:20+ to describe the the messianic age (Millennial Kingdom) as a wonderful rest and relief from distressing circumstances especially as they relate to Israel who will have just gone through their most horrible time of sifting called the time of Jacob's Distress or Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7+).

he hardened his heart and did not listen to them - Literally "he made his heart heavy." The Greek verb used in the Septuagint is baruno which means to weigh down or burden. God kept His word, but Pharaoh broke his! Hard hearts are hard to break!  "Pharaoh, as soon as there is relief in sight, steels his heart, and interestingly condemns himself. He steels his heart against the Lord just as the Lord had predicted." (Duncan)

Cassuto - However, Pharaoh’s submission was only a pretence, for the sake of deliverance from an evil plight. When the frogs were removed, 15 [11] and Pharaoh saw that the respite had come, that is, relief from the affliction, he immediately made his heart stubborn, denied his promises, and did not listen to them—to Moses and Aaron—as the Lord had spoken

The most common word used for hardening his heart is kabad which has the basic meaning of to be heavy (like "heavy with sin.") When used of Pharaoh's heart it means be morally stubborn regarding a change of action or attitude. Driver adds that kabad stresses the will as being slow to move, unimpressionable, slow to be affected  (Ex 8:15; Ex 8:32; Ex 9:7; Ex 9:34; Ex 10:1; Ex 14:4; Ex 14:17) Note it is somewhat ironic that the verb kabad is used here for hardening but is used later for honoring (first God, then parents in  Ex 14:18; Ex 20:12)!

As the LORD had said  - God had told Moses this would happen. 

NET Note - The end of the plague revealed clearly God’s absolute control over Egypt’s life and deities—all at the power of the man who prayed to God. Yahweh had made life unpleasant for the people by sending the plague, but he was also the one who could remove it. The only recourse anyone has in such trouble is to pray to the sovereign Lord God. Everyone should know that there is no one like Yahweh. (ED: Good point!)

David Thompson makes an excellent point - We get a glimpse here as to what a hardened heart actually does. It sees clear direct evidence of God and His power and His Word and His will and yet still refuses to accept it or submit to it. A hardened heart actually knows the Word of God and work of God, but refuses to yield to it. 

THOUGHT - I had such an experience with an elderly Jewish opthalmologist, Otto Leipmann, who managed to escape Nazi Germany before Hitler began his most aggressive genocide. Someone in the front office (I was head of pathology so problems usually came to me) called on the intercom to tell me there was an elderly Dr Leipmann who wanted to speak with me. I checked the Travis County Medical Society book for pictures and notice he had graduated from the University of Breslau. So I quickly put Zechariah 12:10 on my computer screen and waited for him to be escorted back to my office. After I had addressed his question (which I cannot remember), I ask Dr Leipmann simply to read Zechariah 12:10+ "“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn." He agreed and slowly read it. Then he looked up and me and he was silent. I asked him "Of Whom do you think the prophet Zechariah was speaking?" He paused and then with a soft voice, almost a whisper, said "Jesus." I could have fell out of my chair! I asked him if he believed in the Messiah and he said "No, I don't." Then he said something that has haunted me ever since (that must have been about 1990-95 (can't remember exact dates). He said "I know but I don't have the faith to believe." You could have picked me up a second time off of the floor (so to speak). I told him I would be praying for him to have the faith to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. We parted and I never saw him again. I tried to follow-up (that was before email) but never with any success. Will I see Dr Otto in Heaven? I certainly pray so. The point of this story is that Dr Otto in my office that day was like Pharaoh. Both knew but neither believed (but I can still hope that some day Dr Otto's eyes were opened before they were closed forever!). 

HARDENING THE HEART
OF PHARAOH

Hardened - Study all 18 instances in Exodus which mention the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh. Notice which are prophecy, which are ambiguous as to the hardening agent, which are caused by Jehovah and which reflect the choice of Pharaoh's self-will. I think you will find this an interesting exercise as you wrestle with this subject of God hardening a person's heart. 

Ex 4:21+ The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Ex 7:3+ But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

Ex 7:13+ Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 7:22+ But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:15+ But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:19+ Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 

Ex 8:32+ But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:7+ Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:12+ And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses. 

Ex 9:34+ But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

Ex 9:35+ Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

Ex 10:1+ Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,

Ex 10:20+ But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.

Ex 10:27+  But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.

Ex 11:10+  Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

Ex 14:4+ “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. 

Ex 14:8+ The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.

Ex 14:17+ “As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.

Summary

  • 6x Jehovah definitely hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
  • 4x Jehovah gave a prophecy (I will).
  • 5x the agent hardening is not stated.
  • 3x Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
  • The first definite mention of one hardening Pharaoh’s heart is Pharaoh (Ex 8:15).

Exodus 8:16  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.'"

  • Stretch - Ex 8:5,17 

Geb "father of the earth"

PLAGUE #3 GNATS
UNANNOUNCED

This third plague came as a "supernatural surprise" - Ryken comments that many scholars "have noticed that the first nine plagues come in three sets of three. Before the first plague in each cycle, Moses goes to Pharaoh early in the morning (plagues 1, 4, and 7; see Ex 7:15, Ex 8:20, and Ex 9:13). Before the second plague in each cycle he confronts Pharaoh at his palace (plagues 2, 5, and 8; see Ex 8:1–3, Ex 9:1, and Ex 10:1). The third and final plague in each group comes without any warning or confrontation at all (plagues 3, 6, and 9; see Ex 8:16, Ex 9:8, and Ex 10:21). One advantage of grouping the plagues this way is that attention is drawn to the tenth and final plague, which stands alone as the deadly climax of God’s judgment against the Egyptians and their gods." (PW-Ex)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.' - First, notice that this plague (unlike the first 2 - Ex ) came without any advanced warning to Pharaoh. Second, notice it is a miracle of creation, dust to gnat. Ryken says "A miracle is a direct act of divine intervention in which God overrules his creation to display his glory."

Ps 105:31 says "He spoke, and there came a swarm of flies And gnats in all their territory."

The dust to gnats reminds us of Genesis 2:7 "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." It is also intriguing that the word dust was used to describe God's judgment on the serpent declaring "cursed are you more than all the cattle...on your belly you will go and dust you will eat all the days of your life." (Ge 3:14) So here was Satan's man Pharaoh who would encounter dust that God made into gnats! And he probably ended up swallowing a few! And later after Israel had been delivered and made a golden calf, Moses ground it up "until it was fine as dust and threw its dust into the brook." (Dt 9:21). 

Currid on dust of the earth - Why the dust of the earth? This is a common Hebrew expression that reflects great enormity and intensity. For example, when God promises that Abraham will have an immense number of descendants he says they will be as ‘the dust of the earth’ (Gen. 13:16). That same promise is given to Jacob in Genesis 28:14. The point is that the gnats which will descend upon Egypt will be innumerable. The meaning of the Hebrew term for ‘gnats’ is unclear. Many scholars translate it as ‘gnats’, but other suggested translations include ‘vermin’, ‘lice’, ‘maggots’, or ‘mosquitoes’. (Ibid)

Ryken - God’s strategy for gaining glory over the gods of Egypt was to defeat them one at a time by demonstrating his control over the creatures that the Egyptians worshiped. (This plague may have been directed against Hathor, Nut) (Ibid)

Thompson - “gnat” refers to a tiny biting insect that is able to bite a human or animal and cause burning painful itch and even carry various diseases. Now many believe this was a mosquito type of insect. But for those who have spent time in the south where there is a lot of swampy area and sand, you know that the sand gnats are a painful nuisance.

Boice - God’s third plague was against the soil—one of the most fertile soils in the world. From it grew all sorts of nourishing vegetables, plants, fruit, and grain; but now, as part of God’s judgment on the land, it began to produce gnats in great abundance. Where was the great god of the earth, Geb? Where was he to protect the land and keep it from producing the insects that brought such trouble for the people?

Charles Schulz the originator of the famous comic strip PEANUTS wrote a book the year I graduated from high school (1964) entitled What Was Bugging Ol' Pharaoh?

Dust (06083)(aphar) means dry earth, dust and is used literally in many contexts meaning "dust" or "loose earth." Source of man (Ge 2:7), curse of serpent (Ge 3:14), Abraham's descendants (Ge 13:16). The primary meaning of this word is the dry, loose dirt or dust that covers the ground (Amos 2:7; Mic. 1:10). It is used to imply earth or soil (Job 5:6; 28:2); the original material used to form the first man (Gen. 2:7); the material used to plaster walls (Lev. 14:42); the remains of a destroyed city (Ezek. 26:4); and anything pulverized into powder (Deut. 9:21). Figuratively, it signifies abundance (Gen. 13:16); utter defeat (2 Ki. 13:7); and humiliation (Job 16:15). (Baker)

Gilbrant on aphar The noun occurs with a negative connotation of "dust" several times in the OT. For instance, dust is thrown in malice (2 Sam. 16:13), put on the head as a sign of grief (Josh. 7:6; Ezek. 27:30) and made into siege works (Hab. 1:10). It is seen as a token of punishment and humiliation upon the serpent (Gen. 3:14; Isa. 65:25). The noun ʿāphār also refers to the powder of anything pulverized (Deut. 9:21) or to the debris of a ruined city (1 Ki. 20:10; Neh. 4:2, 10; Ezek. 26:4, 12). However, ʿāphāl can also be used in a neutral sense: dust is a place to hide from God's glory (Isa. 2:10, 19) and it is the material from which the physical body of mankind was made, and to which it returns (Gen. 2:7; 3:19; Job 4:19; Ecc. 3:20). Further, ʿāphāl can denote mortar used for plastering houses (Lev. 14:41f, 45), iron ore (Job 28:2) and gold dust (Job 28:6).

Figuratively, ʿāphār is used of abundance (Gen. 13:16; 28:14; 2 Chr. 1:9; Job 27:16), including blood being poured out in such abundance that it becomes common and precious metals being heaped up to the point of worthlessness (Job 22:24; Zeph. 1:17; Zech. 9:3). Several times it is used as a simile. For instance, Abraham used it as a simile for self-abasement (Gen. 18:27), and it is used in a simile of the scattered or dispersed in 2 Ki. 13:7 and Isa. 41:2. It is further used as a figure of humiliation when it describes those who sit or lie in the dust (Job 16:15; Pss. 7:5; 44:25; 119:25; Isa. 47:1) or lick the dust (Ps. 72:9; Isa. 49:23; Mic. 7:17). The Scriptures say that Yahweh raises people from the dust (1 Sam. 2:8; 1 Ki. 16:2; Ps. 113:7), and God's people are encouraged to lift themselves up from the dust (Isa. 52:2).

A final area of meaning that is not easily separated is the distinction between "the earth of the grave" (Job 7:21; 20:11; 21:26; Ps. 22:15) and "the world of the dead" or "underworld" (Job 17:16; Ps. 22:29; Dan. 12:2). Yet it seems that these two ideas are possibly reflected in these passages. (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Gnats (03654)(ken/kinnim) - In modern Hebrew kinnim means lice (louse), gnat.  One of a variety of small insects known for biting or being annoying. 

Ken - 5x - gnats(6), manner(1). - Exod. 8:16; Exod. 8:17; Exod. 8:18; Ps. 105:31; Isa. 51:6

Gilbrant Ancient sources tell us Egyptians slept under nets to prevent bites. The insect, therefore, could be a type of mosquito or blood-sucking fly. In Matt. 23:24, Jesus uses the imagery of this small insect, contrasting it to a camel (small versus large animal) to admonish self-righteous Pharisees who practised much legalism, but neglected the principles of the Law. The straining refers to a meticulous process of filtering wine to remove flying insects and other debris (Lev. 11:23). The Septuagint mentions this concept in Amos 6:6, "filtered wine," in a similar context to the Matthew passage. The word is rendered "lice" in the KJV from the translation by the rabbis and Josephus (Antiquities 2:14) and "louse" for the singular in the Talmud.The word appears only twice in the OT. In Exo. 8:17f, these gnats are created from the dust by God as the third plague against Egypt. Pharaoh's magicians could not duplicate this feat and advised their ruler to recognize the "finger of God" in the matter. (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

NET adds on kinnim - The insect has been variously identified as lice, gnats, ticks, flies, fleas, or mosquitoes. “Lice” follows the reading in the Peshitta and Targum (and so Josephus, Ant. 2.14.3 [2.300]). Greek and Latin had “gnats.” By “gnats” many commentators mean “mosquitoes,” which in and around the water of Egypt were abundant (and the translators of the Greek text were familiar with Egypt). Whatever they were they came from the dust and were troublesome to people and animals.

John Currid applies this frog plague - The second plague is repeated and intensified in the book of Revelation, where we read, ‘And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty’ (Rev. 16:13–14+). In a dramatic reversal of the exodus account, the frogs here are produced by the evil ones to do battle against God and his people. These frogs are not mere animals, however; they are symbols of evil, unclean spirits. (Ibid)


Regarding miracles as natural versus supernatural Joseph Free writes...

Efforts have sometimes been made to explain away the plagues as natural phenomena in Egypt. It is quite true that unusual quantities of frogs and lice, unexpected darkness and the other serious heightenings of natural phenomena have been known in Egypt. An examination of the plagues shows, however, that they were miraculous in at least five different ways:

(1) Intensification—frogs, insects, plagues on cattle, hail, and darkness were all known in Egypt, but now they are intensified far beyond the ordinary occurrence.

(2) Prediction—the time was set for the coming of the flies (“tomorrow,” Exodus 8:23), the death of cattle (Exodus 9:5), the hail (Exodus 9:18), and the locusts (Exodus 10:4). The removal time was also set: e.g., frogs (Exodus 8:10) and thunder (Exodus 9:29). Modern science cannot accurately predict the cessation of natural phenomena such as hail.

(3) Discrimination—in Goshen there were no flies (Exodus 8:22), no death of cattle (Exodus 9:4), no hail (Exodus 9:26), and so forth.

(4) Orderliness—the severity of the plagues increased until they ended with the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn.

(5) Moral purpose—the plagues were not just freaks of nature, but carried a moral purpose in these ways:

(a) The gods of Egypt were discredited, a purpose indicated in Exodus 12:12; the Nile-god, frog-god, and sun-god were all shown to be powerless before God.

(b) Pharaoh was made to know that the Lord is God, and to acknowledge him (Exodus 9:27; Exodus 10:16).

(c) God was revealed as Savior, in rescuing Israel from the hands of the Egyptians (Exodus 14:30). (Archaeology and Bible History)

Exodus 8:17  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. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt.

  • gnats on man - Ps 105:31 Isa 23:9 Ac  12:23 

They did so - Note again their obedience to God's command. A good pattern to imitate!

And Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth - Miracle of creation of dust to gnats.

And there were gnats on man and beast - Don't miss this. These pests were not just around them like the frogs but were actually ON THEM! In their eyes, ears, crawling up their nose, etc! This phrase makes you think they were more likely lice than gnats. If your kids have ever had lice, you know that even a few lice in hair is a veritable nightmare. Now think in terms of a supernatural onslaught of lice (or if they were gnats they were not much more pleasant). 

Man and beast - This phrase found in 22v with notable repetition in Exodus and with these plagues of increasing intensity including loss of life - Ex 8:17; Ex 8:18; Ex 9:9; Ex 9:10; Ex 9:19; Ex 9:25; Ex 12:12; Ex 13:2; Ps. 36:6; Ps. 135:8; Jer. 21:6; Jer. 36:29; Jer. 50:3; Ezek. 14:13; Ezek. 14:17; Ezek. 14:19; Ezek. 14:21; Ezek. 25:13; Ezek. 29:8; Ezek. 36:11; Jon. 3:8; Zeph. 1:3

Currid on man and beast - indicate all humanity and all the animal kingdom together (e.g. Num. 3:13; 8:17; 18:15). The scale of the third plague was so vast that no creature of the ground was left unscathed.

All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt - Even though this description is a hyperbole (all the dust of the earth became gnats) this represents a lot of gnats! The point is that the sheer number of these pests was overwhelming.

Ryken - Writing in the first century after Christ, Philo of Alexandria described these insects creeping up people’s noses and into their ears. However an entomologist would have classified them, they were nagging, annoying pests that swarmed all over Egypt, molesting every living, breathing creature. (PW-Ex)

ILLUSTRATION - The closest Marla and I have come to anything like this was hiking in Alaska. We had nets over our faces and our entire bodies covered, but the mosquito swarms were so thick that you couldn’t think about anything else.  (Steven Cole) (See this 43 second video of literally 1000's of mosquitos swarming in Alaska. Now uses God's supernatural multiplication and imagine similar dense swarms everywhere and on everyone!)

Exodus 8:18  The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast.

  • the magicians - Ex 7:11 
  • they could not - Ex 9:11 Ge 41:8 Isa 19:12 47:12,13 Da 2:10,11 4:7 5:8 Lu 10:18 2Ti 3:8,9 

MAGICIANS FAIL
FOR FIRST TIME

The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats - They tried but had no success as in the first two plagues (Ex 7:22+, Ex 8:7+). 

But they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast - Why can't the magicians duplicate this miracle? Thompson says "The reason why they cannot duplicate it is because God is actually turning dust into insect life. Even if the previous things were satanically done, Satan cannot create life. Furthermore, if the previous tricks were illusions, this would explain why the magicians could not do these things. Magicians cannot train gnats and they could not capture gnats so they could even resemble doing anything like this. They certainly cannot make insect life out of something like dust." 

Steven Cole - This plague may have been an assault on Pharaoh, whom Egyptians believed had the power to maintain the cosmic order. Or, it may have been directed against the Egyptian priests, who prided themselves on purity with frequent washings, shavings, and linen robes. 

Ryken - Not only were they unable to produce any more bugs, but they were completely covered with them, and there was nothing they could do about it. It was utterly humiliating, especially because the religious leaders of Egypt prided themselves on their physical purity. Before performing their daily rituals, they bathed thoroughly and shaved off all their hair. Therefore, according to John J. Davis, it is “rather doubtful that the priesthood in Egypt could function very effectively having been polluted by the presence of these insects. They, like their worshipers, were inflicted with the pestilence of this occasion. Their prayers were made ineffective by their own personal impurity with the presence of gnats on their bodies....Since Pharaoh’s magicians were servants of Satan, the plague of bugs clearly shows that Satan’s power has its limits. Admittedly, the devil does have some power. The Bible says that his work is “displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9). As we have seen, whether by some clever trick or by some demonic enchantment, Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate the first two plagues. Either way, they performed their magic in opposition to God, and thus in service to Satan.” (Ibid)

Exodus 8:19  Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

  • This is the finger of God - 1Sa 6:3,9 Ps 8:3 Da 2:10,11,19 Mt 12:28 Lu 11:20 Joh 11:47 Ac 4:16 
  • But Pharaoh's heart - Ex 8:15 

THE FINGER OF GOD

Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." - This is no sleight of hand trickery but was God at work. The magicians knew this was no illusion, but clearly spoke of supernatural power from a divinity they call "God." Note they did not the name Jehovah but the name Elohim. One can only imagine Pharaoh's astonishment that his magicians were impotent regarding this miracle. 

Currid - Because of their failure, the magicians are perplexed. Therefore, they admit to Pharaoh that there exists a power greater than their magic. Their powers have been exhausted, and they have been defeated. Although the magicians appear again in the story (9:11), they never try to reproduce another plague. For all intents and purposes, they leave the scene of battle. In pagan myth the gods do not represent the greatest power of the universe; there is something even stronger—magic. Through the use of magic an external and mystical force beyond the ordinary power of both gods and humans can be brought to bear on natural and human events. The present episode, however, testifies to the limited nature of the power of magic. Magic is not omnipotent, but it is severely confined. Only Yahweh is omnipotent. This point is confirmed by his defeat of the Egyptian magicians in our story. (EPSC-Ex)

NET - The word “finger” is a bold anthropomorphism (a figure of speech in which God is described using human characteristics). The point of the magicians’ words is clear enough. They knew they were beaten and by whom. The reason for their choice of the word “finger” has occasioned many theories, none of which is entirely satisfying. At the least their statement highlights that the plague was accomplished by God with majestic ease and effortlessness. Perhaps the reason that they could not do this was that it involved producing life—from the dust of the ground, as in Genesis 2:7. The creative power of God confounded the magic of the Egyptians and brought on them a loathsome plague.

Jesus used this same phrase finger of God in refuting the accusation that He was in league with Satan declaring "But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (Lu 11:20+) In the parallel passage Jesus identified the finger of God with the Spirit declaring "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (Mt 12:28+)

Currid - It should be noted that the magicians do not ascribe the power to the finger of Yahweh but to ‘the finger of Elohim’. Elohim can be used as a very general name for Deity or deities (the word is a plural form). The magicians are not acknowledging Yahweh here but rather some generic greater spiritual force. Although the magicians are now convinced that there is a spiritual battle which they are losing, Pharaoh responds in the same way as he did to the earlier plagues. His heart has not been softened.

Cassuto - They admit that there is a power here greater than theirs; and that Moses and Aaron are not working with their own capacities, as they, the magicians, are doing, but that they are the agents of a Higher Power which a human being cannot oppose. But their admission is only a partial acknowledgement. They do not say, ‘the finger of YHWH’, but only the finger of God. They do not yet concede the Divinity of YHWH, but merely acknowledge that there is manifested here some unnamed Divine Power. Nor do they say ‘the hand of God’, but just ‘the finger of God’, that is, they do not admit that it is a real act of God, such as a man performs with his hand, but only that it is a token or subsidiary form of assistance such as a person can render with one finger.

After the deliverance we see this phrase used when Moses received the "10 Commandments" - "When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God." (Ex 31:18, see also Dt 9:10).

Finally David writes Psalm 8:3-4

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him? 

But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said - Although the magicians made a partial admission, Pharaoh did not change his attitude; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  Now Pharaoh even refuses to listen to his own magicians. Note that in this passage we see a descriptive definition of a hard heart, which is a heart that will not listen, in context one that refuses to listen to Jehovah. Jehovah was speaking to Pharaoh through His prophets and His plagues, but Pharaoh adamantly refused to listen. Recall that listen is not just to hear words but to hear and heed or obey those words. This Pharaoh would not do! 

Exodus 8:20  Now the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and present yourself before 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.

  • Rise early in the morning - Ex 7:15 
  • Let My people go - Ex 8:1 

A SECOND MEETING
AT THE NILE RIVER

Now the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning (cf Ex 7:15+) - Again God demonstrates His providence, telling Moses to go (Aaron not mentioned this time). God commands His men not to sleep in, a good pattern for all God's men and women that we might more efficiently redeem the precious time we have left on planet earth!

Henry -  Those that would bring great things to pass for God and their generation must rise early, and redeem time in the morning. Pharaoh was early up at his superstitious devotions to the river; and shall we be for more sleep and more slumber when any service is to be done which would pass well in our account in the great day?

In the morning - Moses had three morning meetings with Pharaoh - (1) Ex 7:15+ to warn of first plague against the Nile River, (2) Ex 8:20+ to warn of fourth plague of swarms of insects and (3) Ex 9:13+ apparently in the palace where Moses gives a long warning to Pharaoh and announces the sixth plague, heavy hail (Ex 9:18+). 

And present yourself before 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 - KJV = "Stand before" which more vividly gives us the sense of holding one’s ground and maintaining a position, clearly depicting a direct confrontation of light and darkness "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (cf Eph 6:12+). This is a face to face, mano on mano! Once again God's messengers fling down the gauntlet to let Israel go! 

Currid - The imperative (present yourself) is followed by the particle ‘behold’ (ED: AGAIN TRANSLATION OF hinneh IS OMITTED FROM THE NAS FOR REASONS UNCLEAR TO ME!) in the clause, ‘Behold he is going to the water.’ It is employed for the purpose of vividness and clarity (WHICH NAS, NET, ESV ALL MISS - ANOTHER REASON WE SHOULD ALL BECOME SOMEWHAT FACILE WITH THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES!): Pharaoh is returning to the water in the morning. Earlier (in the comment on 7:15) the suggestion was made that he may have been there to worship the Nile god Hapi. If that is true, it reflects Pharaoh’s hardened heart. Even after that god has been humiliated and defeated, the King of Egypt returns to it.

Henry - Those that would approve themselves God’s faithful servants must not be afraid of the face of man. Moses must stand before Pharaoh, proud as he was, and tell him that which was in the highest degree humbling, must challenge him 

Let My people go, that they may serve Me - This command is repeated some 9 times (Ex 5:1+; Ex 7:16+; Ex 8:1+; Ex 8:20+; Ex 8:21+; Ex 9:1+; Ex 9:13+; Ex 10:3+; Ex 10:4+) Play Louis Armstrong - Go Down Moses - Let My People Go or another version Moses Go Down (Let My People Go)

Exodus 8:21  "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; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwell.

  • swarms - Ps 78:45 Ps 105:31 Isa 7:18 

Stable Fly

PLAGUE #4
SWARMS OF INSECTS

Parallel Passages:

Ps 78:45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured (ate) them, And frogs which destroyed them. 

For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects - The exact insect is uncertain. Some suggest the dog fly (see word study below) or stable fly. Behold (hinneh) is again to get Pharaoh's attention to make sure he listens to this warning! He cannot blame God and say "You never warned me!" "The announcement of the fourth plague includes a play on words: ‘If you do not send out my people, behold, I will send out swarms of insects on you …’" (Currid)

The psalmist comments that "He (Jehovah) sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, And frogs which destroyed them." (Ps 78:45).

Currid on insects - It may be directed against the Egyptian self-generated god of resurrection, Kheprer, who is symbolized by the flying beetle.  A scarab is defined ‘an ancient Egyptian gem cut in the form of a beetle and engraved with symbols on its flat side, used as a signet etc.’

On you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses - Note the the repeated phrase "on..." indicating these insects are not going to be restricted to the kitchen table but are going to literally be all over the bodies of the people.  

And the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwell - Not only are they covering the people but covering the ground! Whoa! This will be maddening! Woe! Do you not see the incredible irony here? Almighty God would utilize tiny insects to show His power over mighty Pharaoh and his so-called gods (possibly Shu, Isis or Kheprer)! Pharaoh and his magicians could hardly just say "Shoo fly, shoo!" Pharaoh was forewarned this time just as he was with the frogs, before it was inflicted. In this case being forewarned would not allow neither Pharaoh or the people to be "forearmed." There were not enough "flyswatters" in Egypt to kill these swarms. There was no "OFF" bug spray, unless you were a Hebrew and had the "divine version" of "OFF BUG SPRAY!" (cf Ex 8:23).  

NET - The announcement of the fourth plague parallels that of the first plague. Now there will be flies, likely dogflies. Egypt has always suffered from flies, more so in the summer than in the winter. But the flies the plague describes involve something greater than any normal season for flies. The main point that can be stressed in this plague comes by tracing the development of the plagues in their sequence. Now, with the flies, it becomes clear that God can inflict suffering on some people and preserve others—a preview of the coming judgment that will punish Egypt but set Israel free. God is fully able to keep the dog-fly in the land of the Egyptians and save his people from these judgments.

Swarms (of insects) (06157)(arob) describes a noxious, winged insect which swarms, exact identification is not currently known. Gilbrant writes "Possibly derived from the Syriac noun 'arruba, referring to a swarm of vermin and insects, ʿārōv refers to unidentifiable noxious and destructive insects that could include stinging flies, dog flies, mosquitoes or gnats." The Septuagint translates every use of arob with the Greek noun kunomuia (the first word "kuno" is Greek for dog) which Liddell-Scott translates as "dog fly" adding that figuratively in secular Greek it was a "shameless fly," an abusive epithet of impudent women! 

Arob - Exod. 8:21; Exod. 8:22; Exod. 8:24; Exod. 8:29; Exod. 8:31; Ps. 78:45; Ps. 105:31

Exodus 8:22  "But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, 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.

  • I will set apart the land of Goshen- Ex 9:4,6,26 10:23 11:6,7 12:13 Mal 3:18 
  • know - Ex 8:10 7:17 Eze 30:19 
  • I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land - Ps 74:12 110:2 

A DIVISION BETWEEN 
EGYPTIANS AND ISRAELITES

But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there - Goshen  where the Israelites lived, was exempt from the plague. God placed a giant, invisible "screen door" around Goshen! The land of Goshen was the eastern section of the Nile delta. It was a fertile area, the main valley of it extending about 40 miles. Now what effect should this have had on Israel? Would this not authenticate Moses' words from God that He had come down to deliver them? Would it not increase their faith in Jehovah? One might even think it would produce worship, for only a promise produced worship in Ex 4:31, but here we see divine deeds backing up God's words! 

Set apart (06395)(palah) to be distinct, separate, set apart, to be different, to be selected, to be distinguished. To mark something as different from something else and to deal differently with it. It can take on the sense of being wonderful or amazingly constructed (Ps 139:14). This verb is used in Ex. 8:22; Ex 9:4 and Ex 11:7 meaning to make distinct, to distinguish or to separate and in all three passages the Septuagint (Lxx) translates palah with the verb paradoxazo (para = beside + doxazo = to glorify) which means to treat with distinction, to mark off, to make extraordinary. In the only other Scriptural use in Dt 28:59 paradoxazo translates "extraordinary" (pala). 

Thompson - “swarms of insects” describe an incalculable number. The word “swarm” in these verses is different from the word in verse 3. The emphasis of this word is on the fact that everything will be filled to a fullness level with flies (Ibid., p. 474). So we are not talking here about having a few flies at a picnic; we are talking here about everything filled with flies. The actual Hebrew word “insects” (arob) was used as a word referring to “flies.” In fact, in Psalm 78:45 it is translated “swarms of flies.”

Wiersbe - God’s providential care of Israel was evident in all these seven last plagues, because the Jews escaped each one of them (Ex 8:22–23; Ex 9:4, 11 [“all the Egyptians”], Ex 9:26; Ex 10:6 [“all the Egyptians”], Ex 10:23; Ex 11:7).

PURPOSE OF THE SEPARATION
OF EGYPTIANS AND ISRAELITES

In order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land - The distinction between Israel and Egypt made it obvious that the source of the plagues, from which Israel was delivered, was the God of Israel (cf. Ex 9:4, 26; 11:7). The Separation is so that the Egyptians might recognize the power, authority and sovereignty of Jehovah Who Alone could direct a plague to fall on one people and not on another.

Durham - “What is new in this fourth of the mighty acts, apart from the nature of the miracle itself, is the separation of the land of Goshen from the effects of miracle (there has been no mention of Goshen’s fate in the earlier accounts), the negotiations between Pharaoh and Moses, with each of them setting conditions, and the allusion to the antipathy of the Egyptians to Israel worship (or to Israelite ways, and to Israelites in general).”

Exodus 8:23  "I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur."' "

  • a division - Heb. a redemption

DIVISION REPRESENTS
 REDEMPTION!

I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur - Moses and Aaron give Pharaoh a day to ponder the plight of swarms of insects but he was unresponsive. The specification of time underscores the supernatural aspect of this plague and emphasizes that Jehovah is in full control of time and events (then, now and forever, amen!) 

Currid on division (or redemption - see below) - The meaning seems to be that Yahweh will deliver his people from the plague and hand over Pharaoh’s people to it. Pharaoh, of course, can do no such thing.

NET on division - The word in the text is פְדֻת (pédut, “redemption” This would give the sense of making a distinction by redeeming Israel.

Morris -  The remaining miracles not only were utterly beyond the abilities of either men or demons to perform or imitate, but also further demonstrated by this divinely ordained selectivity the true God behind the miracles. Each judgment, in fact, in some way "mocked" the impotent gods of Egypt.

Division (0634)(peduth from padah) means to achieve the transfer of ownership from one to another through payment of a price or an equivalent substitute and thus it means redemption or ransom. The significance of this term in Exodus 8:19 is difficult to understand, as the Septuagint word diastole also means division and not redemption. Here are the other 3 uses, all meaning redemption...

Psalm 111:9  He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. 

Psalm 130:7   O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption

Isaiah 50:2   “Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink for lack of water And die of thirst. 

Exodus 8:24  Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt.

  • there - Ex 8:21 Ps 78:45 105:31 

PROMISE KEPT...
A PLETHORA OF PESTS

Then the LORD did so - God always fulfills His promises. 

And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants - Nowhere is excluded except Goshen. The word great (kabed - Ex 4:10; Ex 7:14; Ex 8:24; Ex 9:3; Ex 9:18; Ex 9:24; Ex 10:14; Ex 12:38; Ex 17:12; Ex 18:18; Ex 19:16;) means a "heavy" swarm (arob) and reads literally "and the insects came heavily." There is a fascinating play on words because the word kabed in Ex 7:14 describes Pharaoh’s heart as stubborn!

and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt - "One of the results of the fourth plague is that the land was ‘ruined’ because of the flies. The verb form is a Niphal imperfect. The imperfect tense here probably serves as a habitual non-perfective expressing continuous action. In other words, the land was in the process of being destroyed." (Currid) The Septuagint translates laid waste with a strong Greek verb  exolothreuo which can mean utterly destroyed.

Laid waste (07843)(shachath)  means to decay, to go to ruin, to corrupt, to destroy (Sodom and Gomorrah = Ge 13:10, Ge 18:28, 31-32), to lay waste (Ex 8:24). Shachath is used of Israelites who worshiped the golden calf (Ex 32:7; Dt 9:12; 32:5, Hos 9:9). God warned He would destroy Israel if they were turned away from following Him (Nu 32:15). Shachath describes Israel's behavior as more corrupt after a judge died (Jdg 2:19). NET Note adds that "This is the verb that is used in Ge 13:10 (also Ge 18:28, 31, 32, Ge 19:13, 14)  to describe how Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Swarms of flies would disrupt life, contaminate everything, and bring disease."

Boice - Insects have always been a problem in Egypt, but with the fourth plague they became intolerable. A literal translation is that swarms of other insects came up over the land. This was a multiplication of all kinds of insects. Many of these insects were also associated with the gods and goddesses. They could not be killed, only endured.

Thompson - The people could not eat with these flies, they could not sleep without these flies, they could not work without these flies, and they could not even go for a walk without these flies. As one writer said, the skin of these Egyptians must have been welted with fly bites.

Different people had deities whose office it was to defend them against flies.  Among these may be reckoned Baalzebub, the fly-god of Ekron; Hercules, {muscarum abactor,} Hercules the expeller of flies; and hence Jupiter had the titles of [apomuios, muiagros, muiochoros,] because he was supposed to expel flies, and especially clear his temples of these insects.  

Exodus 8:25  Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land."

  • Ex 8:8 9:27 10:16 12:31 Rev 3:9 

PHARAOH PROPOSES
A COMPROMISE 

Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron - Note this time Pharaoh does not even waste time calling the magicians! Jehovah is bringing humbling circumstances into his life and nation and this verse suggests he is beginning to "soften" but clearly that is not the case. It is one thing to be sorry for one's sins, but another to be sorry to the point of repentance. He was not there.

and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land - Pharaoh tried a compromise, but Israelite worship was offensive to the Egyptians, who worshipped the bull-god Apis and the cow-goddess Hathor. Furthermore, Moses had to leave the land in order to be obedient to Yahweh's command. Your God instead of "our" God. And God instead of Jehovah and given that Elohim is plural, Pharaoh may be saying "to your gods." He steadfastly refuses to acknowledge Jehovah.  

NET on within this land - he restricts it to “in the [this] land.” This is a subtle attempt to keep them as a subjugated people and prevent their absolute allegiance to their God. This offered compromise would destroy the point of the exodus—to leave Egypt and find a new allegiance under the LORD.

Morgan - Evil is always suggesting some compromise. To listen to it, is to remain enslaved. The only way into liberty is to leave the land of evil; to go accompanied by the women and the children; and to take all property also. It is when that attitude is assumed, that men pass out from all bondage, and find the liberty which is in the purpose of God for them.

Currid points out that Pharaoh "resorts to his own cunning. At first glance, it appears that Pharaoh has acceded to the Hebrews’ request. But consider how the seed of the serpent operates, as he adds the words, ‘in the land’. This is a great restriction on the people of God who had asked to go into the wilderness (5:1) and leave Pharaoh’s land (6:11). Pharaoh still desires to be in control of the situation and to keep the Hebrews under his authority." (Ibid)


SCOFIELD: Three compromises proposed by Pharaoh are similar to those urged upon Christians today:

(1) Here he says in effect: "Be a Christian if you will, but not a narrow one - stay in Egypt." This invariably ends in conformity with the world. Cp. Ps 50:9-17 2 Co 6:14-18 Gal 1:4.

(2) Pharaoh, in suggesting that the Israelites should "not go very far" (Ex 8:28) simply modifies the former proposal, as if to say: "Do not be too unworldly." Cp. 1 Sa 15:3,9,13-15,19-23.

(3) Pharaoh then makes the most subtle proposal of the three, saying (Ex 10:8-11) that the Israelites might go out to offer sacrifices to their God, but their children should remain in Egypt. Even some of the most godly parents are inclined to desire prosperity and worldly position for their children. Cp. Mt 20:20,21.Ex 8:28, Ex 10:8-11,24 Ex 12:31 

Exodus 8:26  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. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us?

  • It is not - Ex 3:18 2Co 6:14-17 
  • we will sacrifice to the LORD our God - Ge 43:32 46:34 De 7:25,26 12:30,31 Ezr 9:1 Isa 44:19 
  • abomination - Ex 9:3. 1Ki 11:5-7 2Ki 23:13 

MOSES ARGUES WITH 
PHARAOH'S OFFER

But - Introduces Moses' rebuttal - "Not right!" Currid points out "The prophet’s response is an apodictic ‘No’, the most emphatic form of the negative in the Hebrew language."

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 - Israel would sacrifice animals considered sacred by the Egyptians and actually symbolized their gods! 

If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us? - Moses indicates it would be dangerous. Cole adds "Moses refuses on the grounds that to sacrifice in Egypt would be like killing a pig in a Muslim mosque, or slaughtering a cow in a Hindu temple … In the sense that the Egyptians would consider the sacrifice of a sacred animal as blasphemous.” "An “abomination” is something that is off-limits, something that is tabu. It could be translated “detestable” or “loathsome.”" (NET)

Cassuto says there are two ways to understand “the abomination of the Egyptians.” One is that the sacrifice of the sacred animals would appear an abominable thing in the eyes of the Egyptians, and the other is that the word “abomination” could be a derogatory term for idols—we sacrifice what is an Egyptian idol. So that is why he says if they did this the Egyptians would stone them.

Abomination (detestable, loathsome) (08441)(toebah) is an abhorrent, detestable thing, that which causes horror, repulsion, loathing and extreme disgust to others. Used to describe idols in Deut 32:16 which were abominations that provoked God to anger. The Septuagint translates with bdelugma  meaning a detestable thing (Lk 16:15) and anything connected with idolatry (Rev 17:4, Mt 24:15). 

Exodus 8:27  "We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us."

  • three days' - Ex 3:18 Ex 5:1 
  • as He commands us - Ex 3:12 10:26 34:11 Lev 10:1 Mt 28:20 

MOSES REFUSES
TO COMPROMISE

We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness And sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us- Similar to what Jehovah had told them in Ex 3:18+ "So now, please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’"

Thompson - Actually, it appears that Moses is a little weak-legged here. He was never told by God to tell Pharaoh this. But Moses is using this logic to say we need to go three days away so we will be away from the Egyptian mainstream of religion because we don’t want to do anything that is an abomination to Egyptian religion.

Exodus 8:28  Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me."

  • I will - Ho 10:2 
  • Make supplication for me - Ex 8:8,29 9:28 10:17 1Ki 13:6 Ezr 6:10 Ec 6:10 Ac 8:24 

PHARAOH OFFERS
A COMPROMISE

Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away - Notice he acknowledges the LORD your God. What is Pharaoh doing? Is he really broken and contrite? Of course not, but he does want relief from the consequences of his sin. Notice he still has a condition (only you shall not go very far away) indicating he still wants to be in control. " The point is very strong to safeguard the concession" (NET)

Make supplication for me - Pharaoh wants the heat turned down so to speak, even as he had requested in Ex 8:8

THOUGHT - Are not we all like Pharaoh from time to time in that we desire for God to remove the consequences of sin, consequences which we are responsible for? That's a rhetorical question! All of us have sinned and experienced the dire consequences of our sin. Like I would always tell my kids when they were considering bad choices "You have freedom to make your choice, but you do not have freedom to chose the consequences that result from you sin, consequences God either allows or sends in the form of discipline (Heb 12:5-11)." 

Exodus 8:29  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; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD."

  • tomorrow - Ex 8:10 
  • deal - Ex 8:8,15 Ps 66:3 Ps 78:34-37 Jer 42:20,21 Ac 5:3,4 Ga 6:7 

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 - Moses gives a specific time which will undergird that this is due to the LORD's sovereign control. 

only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD." - Currid comments that "Moses agrees to act on the request of Pharaoh. However, as Pharaoh places a restriction on his plea with ‘only’ (8:28), Moses puts an ‘only’ limitation on his fulfilment of it. The caveat is that Pharaoh should ‘not deceive again’. The verb ‘to mock/deceive’ in this case signifies the pretence of doing something, but wilfully failing to execute it. Pharaoh has been acting the part of the conniver, the schemer, the liar: Moses sees right through the false swearing and misrepresentations and he does not countenance such activity."

Thompson - Moses said to Pharaoh that he would ask God to remove the bugs by tomorrow, but he warned Pharaoh that he had better not change his mind again.

Exodus 8:30  So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD.

  • made supplication to the LORD - Ex 8:12 9:33 Jas 5:16 

MOSES INTERCEDES
A SECOND TIME

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD - Interesting that he would not do this is his presence. 

Exodus 8:31  The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.

GOD ANSWERS MOSES
AND REMOVES INSECTS

The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained - For the second time Jehovah answered Moses affirmatively. The extermination was complete so that not one remained. Again we see evidence that this was clearly a miracle wrought by the sovereign power of Yahweh!

Exodus 8:32  But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

  • Ex 8:15 4:21 7:13,14 Isa 63:17 Ac 28:26,27 Ro 2:5 Jas 1:13,14 

AGAIN PHARAOH
HARDENED HIS HEART

But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go - The pressure was off again and again Pharaoh did not keep his word. Note the effect of the hardening is to reject Jehovah's call to let His people go. For lists of all episodes of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart see "Hardening of the Heart of Pharaoh."

Guzik - "Despite God’s kindness to him and to Egypt, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart. This is a demonstration of how deep and severe the gradual hardening of a heart may become. Despite God’s kindness to him and to Egypt, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart. This is a demonstration of how deep and severe the gradual hardening of a heart may become.

Chadwick - The drunkard, the murderer himself, is a man who at first did evil as far as he dared, and afterwards dared to do evil which he would once have shuddered at.

Thompson - Now here is certainly one thing that we see from this passage, that it is possible to see many displays and evidences of the greatness of God and reject it to the point where you are so hardhearted to the Word and will of God that you will not submit to it.

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