|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:16-22 Moses' success with the elders of Israel would be good. God, who, by his grace, inclines the heart, and opens the ear, could say beforehand, They shall hearken to thy voice; for he would make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh, Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humble complaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty hand stretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly be broken by the power of God's hand, who will not bow to the power of his word. Pharaoh's people should furnish Israel with riches at their departure. In Pharaoh's tyranny and Israel's oppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners. However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sends redemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends the teaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and to strive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, they come forth with all they have and are, and apply all to the glory of God and the service of his church.
Verse 19. - I am sure. Literally, "I know," a better rendering, since, "I am sure" implies something leas than knowledge. No, not by a mighty hand. Or "not even by a mighty hand." Pharaoh will not be willing to let you go even when my mighty hand is laid upon him. (See Exodus 8:15, 19, 32; Exodus 9:12, 35; Exodus 10:20, 27.) "But by strong hand" (marg.) is a rendering which the rules of grammar do not permit.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go,.... Or "but" (c) "I am sure", &c. though so reasonable a request was made him, yet it would not be granted; this is observed to them, that they might not be discouraged when he should refuse to dismiss them, which the omniscient God knew beforehand, and acquaints them with it, that, when it came to pass, they might be induced to believe that the mission of Moses was of God, rather than the contrary:
no, not by a mighty hand; the mighty power of God displayed once and again, even in nine plagues inflicted on him, until the tenth and last came upon him; or "unless by a mighty hand" (d), even the almighty hand of God; prayers, entreaties, persuasions, and arguments, will signify nothing, unless the mighty power of God is exerted upon him.
(c) "ego autem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "sed ego", V. L. (d) Sept. "nisi", V. L. Pagninus, Vatablus; so Noldius, p. 344. No. 1246.
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