|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:4-10 The death of all the first-born in Egypt at once: this plague had been the first threatened, but is last executed. See how slow God is to wrath. The plague is foretold, the time is fixed; all their first-born should sleep the sleep of death, not silently, but so as to rouse the families at midnight. The prince was not too high to be reached by it, nor the slaves at the mill too low to be noticed. While angels slew the Egyptians, not so much as a dog should bark at any of the children of Israel. It is an earnest of the difference there shall be in the great day, between God's people and his enemies. Did men know what a difference God puts, and will put to eternity, between those that serve him and those that serve him not, religion would not seem to them an indifferent thing; nor would they act in it with so much carelessness as they do. When Moses had thus delivered his message, he went out from Pharaoh in great anger at his obstinacy; though he was the meekest of the men of the earth. The Scripture has foretold the unbelief of many who hear the gospel, that it might not be a surprise or stumbling-block to us, Ro 10:16. Let us never think the worse of the gospel of Christ for the slights men put upon it. Pharaoh was hardened, yet he was compelled to abate his stern and haughty demands, till the Israelites got full freedom. In like manner the people of God will find that every struggle against their spiritual adversary, made in the might of Jesus Christ, every attempt to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and every desire to attain increasing likeness and love to that Lamb, will be rewarded by increasing freedom from the enemy of souls.
Verses 4-8. - The writer returns here to his account of the last interview between Moses and Pharaoh, repeating the introductory words of Exodus 10:29 - "and Moses said." Having accepted his dismissal, and declared that he would not see the face of Pharaoh any more (ibid.), Moses, before quitting the presence, proceeded to announce the last plague, prefacing the announcement, as usual (Exodus 7:17; Exodus 8:2; Exodus 9:1, 13; Exodus 10:3), with the solemn declaration, which showed that he acted in the matter merely as God's instrument - " Thus saith Jehovah." He makes the announcement with the utmost plainness, noting the exact Lime of the visitation (ver. 4) - its extent (ver. 5) - the terrible "cry" that would follow (ver. 6) the complete exemption of the Israelites (ver. 7) - the message which Pharaoh would send him by his servants, to depart at once - and his own intention of acting on it (ver. 8). Then, without waiting for a reply, in hot anger at the prolonged obstinacy of the monarch, he went out. Verse 4. - About midnight. - Compare Exodus 12:29. It would add to the horror of the infliction that it should come in the depth of the night. Probably the night intended was not the next night, but one left purposely indefinite, that terror and suspense might work upon the mind of Pharaoh. Shall I go out. The word "I" is repressed in the original, and is emphatic. This crowning plague Jehovah inflicts by no instrumentality, but takes wholly upon himself. (See Exodus 12:12, 13, 23, 27, 29.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses said,.... To Pharaoh before he left him, when he had told him he should see his face no more; for the three preceding verses are to be read in a parenthesis, being placed here by the historian, as giving some light to this last discourse and transaction between Moses and Pharaoh:
thus saith the Lord, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt; perhaps to the capital and metropolis of it, which might stand in the midst of it, as usually does the royal city; or it may only signify that he would go into the very heart of it, and steer his course all around in every part and quarter of it, slaying the firstborn everywhere in all towns and cities throughout the kingdom, as follows; in order to which he is said to go out, either from the place where Moses used to go and pray to him, and where he met him and gave him his orders and instructions, or out of the land of Goshen, where he dwelt among the Israelites; or rather it only signifies the manifestation of himself in some work and action of his, the exertion of his power in inflicting punishment for sin: thus God is sometimes said to go forth out of his place when he is about to exercise judgment in the earth; for this must be understood consistent with his omnipresence, see Isaiah 26:21 and this was to be done about midnight, the middle of the night following the present day, which was the fourteenth of the month of Abib or Nisan; it was in the morning of that day Moses had this discourse with Pharaoh, and in the evening of it the passover was kept, and about the middle of the night the firstborn were slain, as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. Thus saith the Lord, About midnight—Here is recorded the announcement of the last plague made in the most solemn manner to the king, on whose hardened heart all his painful experience had hitherto produced no softening, at least no permanently good effect.
will I go out into the midst of Egypt—language used after the manner of men.
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