And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:With frogs - Some months appear to have elapsed between this and the former plague, if the frogs made their appearance at the usual time, that is in September. The special species mentioned here is of Egyptian origin. This plague was, like the preceding, in general accordance with natural phenomena, but marvelous both for its extent and intensity, and for its direct connection with the words and acts of God's messengers. It had also apparently, like the other plagues, a direct bearing upon Egyptian superstitions. There was a female deity with a frog's head, and the frog was connected with the most ancient forms of nature-worship in Egypt.
And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:Into thine house - This appears to have been special to the plague, as such. It was especially the visitation which would be felt by the scrupulously-clean Egyptians.
Kneadingtroughs - Not dough, as in the margin. See Exodus 12:34.
And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.
And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.The magicians would seem to have been able to increase the plague, but not to remove it; hence, Pharaoh's application to Moses, the first symptoms of yielding.
Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.
And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?Glory over me - See the margin, "have honor over me," i. e. have the honor, or advantage over me, directing me when I shall entreat God for thee and thy servants.
When - Or by when; i. e. for what exact time. Pharaoh's answer in Exodus 5:10 refers to this, by tomorrow. The shortness of the time would, of course, be a test of the supernatural character of the transaction.
And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.
And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.
And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.
And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.Villages - Literally, enclosures, or courtyards.
And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.It is observed by Hebrew commentators that the nine plagues are divided into three groups: distinct warnings are given of the first two plagues in each group; the third in each is inflicted without any previous notice; namely, the third, lice, the sixth, boils, the ninth, darkness.
The dust of the land - The two preceding plagues fell upon the Nile. This fell on the earth, which was worshipped in Egypt as the father of the gods. An special sacredness was attached to the black fertile soil of the basin of the Nile, called Chemi, from which the ancient name of Egypt is supposed to be derived.
Lice - The Hebrew word occurs only in connection with this plague. These insects are generally identified with mosquitos, a plague nowhere greater than in Egypt. They are most troublesome toward October, i. e. soon after the plague of frogs, and are dreaded not only for the pain and annoyance which they cause, but also because they are said to penetrate into the body through the nostrils and ears.
And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.
Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.The finger of God - This expression is thoroughly Egyptian; it need not imply that the magicians recognized Yahweh, the God who performed the marvel. They may possibly have referred it to as a god that was hostile to their own protectors.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.Cometh forth to the water - See the Exodus 7:15 note. It is not improbable that on this occasion Pharaoh went to the Nile with a procession in order to open the solemn festival, which was held 120 days after the first rise, at the end of October or early in November. At that time the inundation is abating and the first traces of vegetation are seen on the deposit of fresh soil.
The plague now announced may be regarded as connected with the atmosphere, also an object of worship.
Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.Swarms of flies - Generally, supposed to be the dog-fly, which at certain seasons is described as a plague far worse than mosquitos. Others, however, adopt the opinion that the insects were a species of beetle, which was reverenced by the Egyptians as a symbol of life, of reproductive or creative power. The sun-god, as creator, bore the name Chepera, and is represented in the form, or with the head, of a beetle.
And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.I will sever ... - This severance constituted a specific difference between this and the preceding plagues. Pharaoh could not of course attribute the exemption of Goshen from a scourge, which fell on the valley of the Nile, to an Egyptian deity, certainly not to Chepera (see the last note), a special object of worship in Lower Egypt.
And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.
And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.To your God - Pharaoh now admits the existence and power of the God whom he had professed not to know; but, as Moses is careful to record, he recognizes Him only as the national Deity of the Israelites.
In the land - i. e. in Egypt, not beyond the frontier.
And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?The abomination - i. e. an animal which the Egyptians held it sacrilegious to slay. The ox, bull, or cow, is meant. The cow was never sacrificed in Egypt, being sacred to Isis, and from a very early age the ox was worshipped throughout Egypt, and more especially at Heliopolis and Memphis under various designations, Apis, Mnevis, Amen-Ehe, as the symbol or manifestation of their greatest deities, Osiris, Atum, Ptah, and Isis.
We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.Three days' journey - See the Exodus 3:18 note.
And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.
And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.
And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.
And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.
And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.