Exodus 10:10
And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.
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(10) Little ones.—Heb., families. These would include the children and the dependents. (See comment on Exodus 1:1.)

Evil is before you.—Heb., evil is before your facesi.e., you contemplate doing me a mischief, by depriving me of the services of so large a body of labourers.

Exodus 10:10. The Lord be so with you, as I will let you go — As if he had said, “May your God Jehovah assist you to my ruin, if I let you go on these terms.” Look to it, for evil is before you — More evil and affliction shall befall you forthwith, unless you be content to go on my terms. Here the spirit of wickedness speaks its own language in impotent wishes of evil, when all its guile, malice, rage, and pride could perform nothing to hurt or hinder the Israel of God from doing as they were commanded. He especially curses and threatens them in case they offered to take their little ones, telling them it was at their peril. Satan doth all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety, knowing how destructive it is to the interests of his kingdom.

10:1-11 The plagues of Egypt show the sinfulness of sin. They warn the children of men not to strive with their Maker. Pharaoh had pretended to humble himself; but no account was made of it, for he was not sincere therein. The plague of locusts is threatened. This should be much worse than any of that kind which had ever been known. Pharaoh's attendants persuade him to come to terms with Moses. Hereupon Pharaoh will allow the men to go, falsely pretending that this was all they desired. He swears that they shall not remove their little ones. Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety. Whatever would put us from engaging our children in God's service, we have reason to suspect Satan in it. Nor should the young forget that the Lord's counsel is, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth; but Satan's counsel is, to keep children in a state of slavery to sin and to the world. Mark that the great foe of man wishes to retain him by the ties of affection, as Pharaoh would have taken hostages from the Israelites for their return, by holding their wives and children in captivity. Satan is willing to share our duty and our service with the Saviour, because the Saviour will not accept those terms.Evil is before you - i. e. "your intentions are evil." Great as the possible infliction might be, Pharaoh held it to be a less evil than the loss of so large a population. 7-11. Pharaoh's servants said—Many of his courtiers must have suffered serious losses from the late visitations, and the prospect of such a calamity as that which was threatened and the magnitude of which former experience enabled them to realize, led them to make a strong remonstrance with the king. Finding himself not seconded by his counsellors in his continued resistance, he recalled Moses and Aaron, and having expressed his consent to their departure, inquired who were to go. The prompt and decisive reply, "all," neither man nor beast shall remain, raised a storm of indignant fury in the breast of the proud king. He would permit the grown-up men to go away; but no other terms would be listened to. I wish God may be no more ready and willing to be with you, and to do you good, than I am willing to let you go.

Evil is before you; either,

1. Evil of sin. You have some ill design against me, either to stir up sedition or war against me, or utterly to depart out of my kingdom. Or rather,

2. Evil of calamity or mischief.

1. Because it is here said to be before their faces, whereas evil designs are in men’s hearts, and the fair pretenses wherewith they cover them are said to be before their faces.

2. The word of caution he gives to them, look to it, or take heed, seems to simply that he speaks not of the evil they designed against Pharaoh, but of that which they would unavoidably bring upon themselves from so potent a king, by the refusal of such fair offers, and continuing in such insolent and unreasonable demands.

And he said unto them, let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones,.... Either as mocking them, let the Lord you talk of be with you if he will, and let him deliver you if he can, as I shall let you go with your children, which I never will; or as wishing them ill, that the Lord their God may be with them, as he should dismiss them on their proposal, that is, not at all; he wishes they might never have the presence of the Lord, or receive any from him, till he should dismiss them, which he was determined never to do in the manner they desired; and therefore the sum of his wish or imprecation is, that they might never enjoy any benefits from the Lord; the first sense seems to be best:

look to it, for evil is before you; which is either a charge of sin upon them, that they had an evil design upon him, and intended to raise a mutiny, make an insurrection, and form a rebellion against him; or a threatening to inflict the evil of punishment upon them, if they would not comply with his terms; and it is as if he should say, be it at your peril if you offer to go away in any other manner than it is my pleasure.

And he said unto them, Let {d} the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for {e} evil is before you.

(d) That is, I hope the degree of affection that the Lord has for you is no more than the degree to which I want to let you go.

(e) Punishment is prepared for you. Some read, You intend some mischief.

10. The Pharaoh’s good wishes are of course intended ironically (cf. Amos 5:14): Jehovah be with you, and protect you, as assuredly as I will let you go, i.e. not at all.

for evil is before you] i.e. is contemplated by you, is what ye purpose (marg.): lit. is before your faces. The ‘evil’ is their intention of leaving Egypt altogether.

Verse 10. - And he said, etc. Pharaoh's reply to the plain statement of Moses is full of scorn and anger, as if he would say - "When was ever so extravagant and outrageous a demand made? How can it be supposed that I would listen to it? So may Jehovah help you, as I will help you in this - to let you go, with your families." (Taph is "family," or household, not "little ones." See Exodus 1:1.) Look to it; for evil is before you. Or, "Look to it; for you have evil in view." Beware, i.e., of what you are about. You entertain the evil design of robbing me of my slaves - a design which I shall not allow you to carry out. There is no direct threat, only an indirect one, implied in "Look to it." Exodus 10:10As Moses had left Pharaoh after announcing the plague, he was fetched back again along with Aaron, in consequence of the appeal made to the king by his servants, and asked by the king, how many wanted to go to the feast. ומי מי, "who and who still further are the going ones;" i.e., those who wish to go? Moses required the whole nation to depart, without regard to age or sex, along with all their flocks and herds. He mentioned "young and old, sons and daughters;" the wives as belonging to the men being included in the "we." Although he assigned a reason for this demand, viz., that they were to hold a feast to Jehovah, Pharaoh was so indignant, that he answered scornfully at first: "Be it so; Jehovah be with you when I let you and your little ones go;" i.e., may Jehovah help you in the same way in which I let you and your little ones go. This indicated contempt not only for Moses and Aaron, but also for Jehovah, who had nevertheless proved Himself, by His manifestations of mighty power, to be a God who would not suffer Himself to be trifled with. After this utterance of his ill-will, Pharaoh told the messengers of God that he could see through their intention. "Evil is before your face;" i.e., you have evil in view. He called their purpose an evil one, because they wanted to withdraw the people from his service. "Not so," i.e., let it not be as you desire. "Go then, you men, and serve Jehovah." But even this concession was not seriously meant. This is evident from the expression, "Go then," in which the irony is unmistakeable; and still more so from the fact, that with these words he broke off all negotiation with Moses and Aaron, and drove them from his presence. ויגרשׁ: "one drove them forth;" the subject is not expressed, because it is clear enough that the royal servants who were present were the persons who drove them away. "For this are ye seeking:" אתהּ relates simply to the words "serve Jehovah," by which the king understood the sacrificial festival, for which in his opinion only the men could be wanted; not that "he supposed the people for whom Moses had asked permission to go, to mean only the men" (Knobel). The restriction of the permission to depart to the men alone was pure caprice; for even the Egyptians, according to Herodotus (2, 60), held religious festivals at which the women were in the habit of accompanying the men.
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