Exodus 10:10
And he said to 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." To punish this obstinate refusal, Jehovah would bring locusts in such dreadful swarms as Egypt had never known before, which would eat up all the plants left by the hail, and even fill the houses. "They will cover the eye of the earth." This expression, which is peculiar to the Pentateuch, and only occurs again in Exodus 10:15 and Numbers 22:5, Numbers 22:11, is based upon the ancient and truly poetic idea, that the earth, with its covering of plants, looks up to man. To substitute the rendering "surface" for the "eye," is to destroy the real meaning of the figure; "face" is better. It was in the swarms that actually hid the ground that the fearful character of the plague consisted, as the swarms of locusts consume everything green. "The residue of the escape" is still further explained as "that which remaineth unto you from the hail," viz., the spelt and wheat, and all the vegetables that were left (Exodus 10:12 and Exodus 10:15). For "all the trees that sprout" (Exodus 10:5), we find in Exodus 10:15, "all the tree-fruits and everything green upon the trees."
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