Now therefore forgive, I pray you, my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) This death.
—Comp, Exodus 10:7
. The entire destruction of the harvest threatened death to large numbers of the poorer class of persons.Exodus 10:17
. Pharaoh desires their prayers that this death
only might be taken away,
not this sin:
he deprecates the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart.
10:12-20 God bids Moses stretch out his hand; locusts came at the call. An army might more easily have been resisted than this host of insects. Who then is able to stand before the great God? They covered the face of the earth, and ate up the fruit of it. Herbs grow for the service of man; yet when God pleases, insects shall plunder him, and eat the bread out of his mouth. Let our labour be, not for the habitation and meat thus exposed, but for those which endure to eternal life. Pharaoh employs Moses and Aaron to pray for him. There are those, who, in distress, seek the help of other people's prayers, but have no mind to pray for themselves. They show thereby that they have no true love to God, nor any delight in communion with him. Pharaoh desires only that this death might be taken away, not this sin. He wishes to get rid of the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart, which was more dangerous. An east wind brought the locusts, a west wind carries them off. Whatever point the wind is in, it is fulfilling God's word, and turns by his counsel. The wind bloweth where it listeth, as to us; but not so as it respects God. It was also an argument for their repentance; for by this it appeared that God is ready to forgive, and swift to show mercy. If he does this upon the outward tokens of humiliation, what will he do if we are sincere! Oh that this goodness of God might lead us to repentance! Pharaoh returned to his resolution again, not to let the people go. Those who have often baffled their convictions, are justly given up to the lusts of their hearts.
This death only - Pliny calls locusts a pestilence brought on by divine wrath. Pharaoh now recognizes the justice of his servants' apprehensions, Exodus 10:7
13-19. the Lord brought an east wind—The rod of Moses was again raised, and the locusts came. They are natives of the desert and are only brought by an east wind into Egypt, where they sometimes come in sun-obscuring clouds, destroying in a few days every green blade in the track they traverse. Man, with all his contrivances, can do nothing to protect himself from the overwhelming invasion. Egypt has often suffered from locusts. But the plague that followed the wave of the miraculous rod was altogether unexampled. Pharaoh, fearing irretrievable ruin to his country, sent in haste for Moses, and confessing his sin, implored the intercession of Moses, who entreated the Lord, and a "mighty strong west wind took away the locusts."
I desire no further favour, I will no more offend nor need your pardon.
this deadly plague, compare 2 Kings 4:40,2 Corinthians 11:23
. Besides it did destroy the life of herbs and trees, yea, of beasts and men, either directly, or at least by consequence, in depriving them of the necessary supports of life.
Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin, only this once,.... Pretending that he would never offend any more, and if he did, he did not desire it should be forgiven him, but that due punishment should be inflicted on him. These words are directed to Moses, he being the principal person that came to him with a commission from the Lord, and who was made a god to Pharaoh; and therefore he does not ask forgiveness of the Lord, but of Moses:
and entreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only; this deadly plague of the locusts, which devouring all the fruits of the earth, must in course produce a famine, and that the death of men. Moreover, the author of the book of Wisdom says, that the bites of the locusts killed men,"For them the bitings of grasshoppers and flies killed, neither was there found any remedy for their life: for they were worthy to be punished by such.'' (Wisdom 16:9)Pharaoh was sensible that this plague came from God, and that he only could remove it; and therefore begs the prayers of Moses and Aaron to him for the removal of it, and suggests that he would never desire such another favour; but that if he offended again, and another plague was inflicted on him, he could not desire it to be taken away; by which he would be understood, that he determined to offend no more, or give them any occasion for any other judgment to come upon him, was he once clear of this. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17
. only this once
] Genesis 18:32
this death only
] only this terribly destructive pest. The term ‘death’ depicts vividly the consternation which the Pharaoh feels at it.Verse 17.
- Only this once
. Compare Genesis 18:32
. Pharaoh kept this promise. He did not ask any more for the removal of a plague. This death only
. "this fatal visitation" - this visitation, which, by producing famine, causes numerous deaths in a nation. Pharaoh feels now, as his courtiers had felt when the plague was first threatened, that "Egypt is destroyed" (ver. 7).
As 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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