|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:13-21 Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message to Pharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man of such a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with; and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power of God has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies. When God's justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same time shows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguished between Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians and others. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgment itself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Some believed the things which were spoken, and they feared, and housed their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Even among the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God's word; and shall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not, and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deaf to the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leaves the blood of those that perish upon their own heads.
Verse 15. - For now I will stretch out my hand. It is generally agreed by modern writers that this translation fails to give the true sense of the original God does not here announce what he is going to do, but what he might have done, and would have done, but for certain considerations. Translate, "For now might I have stretched out my hand, and smitten thee and thy people with pestilence; and then thou hadst been cut off from the earth." Scripture shows that pestilence is always in God's power, and may at any time be let loose to scourge his foes, and sweep them into the pit of destruction. (See Leviticus 26:25; Numbers 11:33; Numbers 14:12; Numbers 16:46; 2 Samuel 24:13-15, etc.) He had not done now what he might have done, and what Pharaoh's obstinacy might well have provoked him to do; and why? On account of the considerations contained in the next verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For now will I stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence,.... Which yet we never find was done; for though this by many is referred to the slaying of the firstborn, yet it is not certain that this was done by the pestilence: besides, Pharaoh was not then smitten, nor his people, only their firstborn; wherefore these words are to be rendered, not in the future, but in the imperfect or preterpluperfect tense, thus; "for when now I stretched out my hand, or if now I had stretched out my hand to smite thee and thy people with pestilence" (a); that is, at the time when he smote the cattle with the murrain or pestilence, when he could as well have smote him and his people with it; there was no want of power in God to do it, and had he done it, it would have been all over with him and them:
and thou shall be cut off from the earth; or "thou hadst been, or wouldest have been cut off from the earth" (b) must have perished out of it, and been no more in the land of the living.
(a) "modo enim cum extendi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, "vel si extendissem", Fagius, Cocceius; so Jarchi, Gersom, Targ. Onk. & Jon. (b) "sic fuisses excisus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Cocceius.
Exodus 9:15 Parallel Commentaries
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