Exodus 11:6
And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) There shall be a great cry.—The shrill cries uttered by mourners in the East are well known to travellers. Mr. Stuart Poole heard those of the Egyptian women at Cairo, in the great cholera of 1848, at a distance of two miles (Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii., p. 888). Herodotus, describing the lamentations of the Persian soldiers at the funeral of Masistius, says that “all Bœotia resounded with their clamour” (Exodus 9:24). The Egyptian monuments represent mourners as tearing their hair, putting dust upon their heads, and beating their breasts (Wilkinson, in Rawlinson’s Herodotus, vol. ii., p. 138).

11:4-10 The death of all the first-born in Egypt at once: this plague had been the first threatened, but is last executed. See how slow God is to wrath. The plague is foretold, the time is fixed; all their first-born should sleep the sleep of death, not silently, but so as to rouse the families at midnight. The prince was not too high to be reached by it, nor the slaves at the mill too low to be noticed. While angels slew the Egyptians, not so much as a dog should bark at any of the children of Israel. It is an earnest of the difference there shall be in the great day, between God's people and his enemies. Did men know what a difference God puts, and will put to eternity, between those that serve him and those that serve him not, religion would not seem to them an indifferent thing; nor would they act in it with so much carelessness as they do. When Moses had thus delivered his message, he went out from Pharaoh in great anger at his obstinacy; though he was the meekest of the men of the earth. The Scripture has foretold the unbelief of many who hear the gospel, that it might not be a surprise or stumbling-block to us, Ro 10:16. Let us never think the worse of the gospel of Christ for the slights men put upon it. Pharaoh was hardened, yet he was compelled to abate his stern and haughty demands, till the Israelites got full freedom. In like manner the people of God will find that every struggle against their spiritual adversary, made in the might of Jesus Christ, every attempt to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and every desire to attain increasing likeness and love to that Lamb, will be rewarded by increasing freedom from the enemy of souls.Two points are to be noticed:

1. The extent of the visitation: the whole land suffers in the persons of its firstborn, not merely for the guilt of the sovereign, but for the actual participation of the people in the crime of infanticide Exodus 1:22.

2. The limitation: Pharaoh's command had been to slay ALL the male children of the Israelites, but only one child in each Egyptian family was to die. If Tothmosis II was the Pharaoh, the visitation fell with special severity on his family. He left no son, but was succeeded by his widow.

The mill - This consisted of two circular stones, one fixed in the ground, the other turned by a handle. The work of grinding was extremely laborious, and performed by women of the lowest rank.

Firstborn of beasts - This visitation has a special force in reference to the worship of beasts, which was universal in Egypt; each district having its own sacred animal, adored as a manifestation or representative of the local tutelary deity.

6. shall be a great cry throughout all the land—In the case of a death, people in the East set up loud wailings, and imagination may conceive what "a great cry" would be raised when death would invade every family in the kingdom. No text from Poole on this verse.

And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt,.... Of parents for the loss of their firstborn sons, their heirs, the support and glory of their families; children for the loss of their elder brethren; and servants for the loss of the prime and principal in their masters' houses; and all in a dreadful fright, expecting instantly death themselves:

such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more; for though the later destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea might be a greater loss, yet not occasion greater mourning; since that was only a loss of military persons, and did not affect at least so many families as this; and though their king was lost also, it might not give them so much concern, since through his ill conduct, his hardness and obstinacy, he had been the means of so many plagues inflicted on them.

And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. such as, &c.] cf. Exodus 9:18 b, 24b, Exodus 10:6 b, 14b; and p. 56.

Verse 6. - There shall be a great cry. The violence of Oriental emotions, and the freedom with which they are vented are well known. Herodotus relates that the Egyptians stript themselves and beat their breasts at funerals (2:85) No doubt they also uttered shrill lamentations, as did the Greeks (Lucian, De Luetu, § 12) and the Persians (Herod. 9:24). With bitter mourning in every house, the "cry" might well be one, such as there had been none like before, neither would there be any like again. Exodus 11:6Moses' address to Pharaoh forms the continuation of his brief answer in Exodus 10:29. At midnight Jehovah would go out through the midst of Egypt. This midnight could not be "the one following the day on which Moses was summoned to Pharaoh after the darkness," as Baumgarten supposes; for it was not till after this conversation with the king that Moses received the divine directions as to the Passover, and they must have been communicated to the people at least four days before the feast of the Passover and their departure from Egypt (Exodus 12:3). What midnight is meant, cannot be determined. So much is certain, however, that the last decisive blow did not take place in the night following the cessation of the ninth plague; but the institution of the Passover, the directions of Moses to the people respecting the things which they were to ask for from the Egyptians, and the preparations for the feast of the Passover and the exodus, all came between. The "going out" of Jehovah from His heavenly seat denotes His direct interposition in, and judicial action upon, the world of men. The last blow upon Pharaoh was to be carried out by Jehovah Himself, whereas the other plagues had been brought by Moses and Aaron. מצרים בּתוך "in (through) the midst of Egypt:" the judgment of God would pass from the centre of the kingdom, the king's throne, over the whole land. "Every first-born shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh, that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid that is behind the mill," i.e., the meanest slave (cf. Exodus 12:29, where the captive in the dungeon is substituted for the maid, prisoners being often employed in this hard labour, Judges 16:21; Isaiah 47:2), "and all the first-born of cattle." This stroke was to fall upon both man and beast as a punishment for Pharaoh's conduct in detaining the Israelites and their cattle; but only upon the first-born, for God did not wish to destroy the Egyptians and their cattle altogether, but simply to show them that He had the power to do this. The first-born represented the whole race, of which it was the strength and bloom (Genesis 49:3). But against the whole of the people of Israel "not a dog shall point its tongue" (Exodus 11:7). The dog points its tongue to growl and bite. The thought expressed in this proverb, which occurs again in Joshua 10:21 and Judith 11:19, was that Israel would not suffer the slightest injury, either in the case of "man or beast." By this complete preservation, whilst Egypt was given up to death, Israel would discover that Jehovah had completed the separation between them and the Egyptians. The effect of this stroke upon the Egyptians would be "a great cry," having no parallel before or after (cf. Exodus 10:14); and the consequence of this cry would be, that the servants of Pharaoh would come to Moses and entreat them to go out with all the people. "At thy feet," i.e., in thy train (vid., Deuteronomy 11:6; Judges 8:5). With this announcement Moses departed from Pharaoh in great wrath. Moses' wrath was occasioned by the king's threat (Exodus 10:28), and pointed to the wrath of Jehovah, which Pharaoh would soon experience. As the more than human patience which Moses had displayed towards Pharaoh manifested to him the long-suffering and patience of his God, in whose name and by whose authority he acted, so the wrath of the departing servant of God was to show to the hardened king, that the time of grace was at an end, and the wrath of God was about to burst upon him.
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