And you shall say to him, The LORD God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, till now you would not hear.
Jump to: Barnes • Benson • BI • Calvin • Cambridge • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • JFB • KD • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Parker • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Lord God of the Hebrews.—Heb., Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews. On the first application made to him by Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh had professed not to know who Jehovah was (Exodus 5:2). To prevent his again doing so, Moses is ordered to give both name and title.
Hath sent me—Rather, sent me.
Let my people go.—Comp. Exodus 5:1. The reference is to Moses’ first appearance before Pharaoh, and the message then delivered.
Thou wouldest not hear.—Rather, thou hast not heard: i.e., thou hast not obeyed.
in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water—for the purpose of ablutions or devotions perhaps; for the Nile was an object of superstitious reverence, the patron deity of the country. It might be that Moses had been denied admission into the palace; but be that as it may, the river was to be the subject of the first plague, and therefore, he was ordered to repair to its banks with the miracle-working rod, now to be raised, not in demonstration, but in judgment, if the refractory spirit of the king should still refuse consent to Israel's departure for their sacred rites.
the Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee; still appearing in the character of the ambassador of Jehovah, the God of the children of Israel:
saying, let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness; the demand is once more renewed, before any punishment is inflicted for refusal, that the patience and forbearance of God might be the more visible, and his judgments appear the more righteous when inflicted, as well as Pharaoh be left more inexcusable. The reason of the demand is observed:
that they may serve me; keep a feast, and sacrifice to him, as is before expressed, and the place where is pointed at:
in the wilderness; at Sinai, in Arabia, where were the mountains of Sinai and Horeb; but the time of their service is not here expressed, as elsewhere, namely, three days:
and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear; and obey the voice of the Lord, upbraiding him with his disobedience, and the hardness of his heart; but signifying it was not now too late, though it was advisable to be quick, or the blow would be given, and the plagues inflicted.And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. The demand to be made of the Pharaoh. The terms, as elsewhere in J (Exodus 8:1; Exodus 8:20, Exodus 9:1; Exodus 9:13, Exodus 10:3): see p. 56.Verse 16. - The Lord God... hath sent me unto thee. Rather, "sent me unto thee." The reference is to the original sending (Exodus 5:1). Thou wouldest not hear. Literally, "Thou hast not heard," i.e. up to this time thou hast not obeyed the command given to thee. Exodus 7:8-13), and concluded with the announcement of the last blow that God would inflict upon the hardened king (Exodus 11:1-10). The centre of these negotiations, or rather the main point of this lengthened section, which is closely connected throughout, and formally rounded off by Exodus 11:9-10 into an inward unity, is found in the nine plagues which the messengers of Jehovah brought upon Pharaoh and his kingdom at the command of Jehovah, to bend the defiant spirit of the king, and induce him to let Israel go out of the land and serve their God. If we carefully examine the account of these nine penal miracles, we shall find that they are arranged in three groups of three plagues each. For the first and second, the fourth and fifth, and the seventh and eighth were announced beforehand by Moses to the king (Exodus 7:15; Exodus 8:1, Exodus 8:20; Exodus 9:1, Exodus 9:13; Exodus 10:1), whilst the third, sixth, and ninth were sent without any such announcement (Exodus 8:16; Exodus 9:8; Exodus 10:21). Again, the first, fourth, and seventh were announced to Pharaoh in the morning, and the first and fourth by the side of the Nile (Exodus 7:15; Exodus 8:20), both of them being connected with the overflowing of the river; whilst the place of announcement is not mentioned in the case of the seventh (the hail, Exodus 9:13), because hail, as coming from heaven, was not connected with any particular locality. This grouping is not a merely external arrangement, adopted by the writer for the sake of greater distinctness, but is founded in the facts themselves, and the effect which God intended the plagues to produce, as we may gather from these circumstances - that the Egyptian magicians, who had imitated the first plagues, were put to shame with their arts by the third, and were compelled to see in it the finger of God (Exodus 8:19), - that they were smitten themselves by the sixth, and were unable to stand before Moses (Exodus 9:11), - and that after the ninth, Pharaoh broke off all further negotiation with Moses and Aaron (Exodus 10:28-29). The last plague, commonly known as the tenth, which Moses also announced to the king before his departure (Exodus 11:4.), differed from the nine former ones both in purpose and form. It was the first beginning of the judgment that was coming upon the hardened king, and was inflicted directly by God Himself, for Jehovah "went out through the midst of Egypt, and smote the first-born of the Egyptians both of man and beast" (Exodus 11:4; Exodus 12:29); whereas seven of the previous plagues were brought by Moses and Aaron, and of the two that are not expressly said to have been brought by them, one, that of the dog-flies, was simply sent by Jehovah (Exodus 8:21, Exodus 8:24), and the other, the murrain of beasts, simply came from His hand (Exodus 9:3, Exodus 9:6). The last blow (נגע Exodus 11:1), which brought about the release of Israel, was also distinguished from the nine plagues, as the direct judgment of God, by the fact that it was not effected through the medium of any natural occurrence, as was the case with all the others, which were based upon the natural phenomena of Egypt, and became signs and wonders through their vast excess above the natural measure of such natural occurrences and their supernatural accumulation, blow after blow following one another in less than a year, and also through the peculiar circumstances under which they were brought about. In this respect also the triple division is unmistakeable. The first three plagues covered the whole land, and fell upon the Israelites as well as the Egyptians; with the fourth the separation commenced between Egyptians and Israelites, so that only the Egyptians suffered from the last six, the Israelites in Goshen being entirely exempted. The last three, again, were distinguished from the others by the fact, that they were far more dreadful than any of the previous ones, and bore visible marks of being the forerunners of the judgment which would inevitably fall upon Pharaoh, if he continued his opposition to the will of the Almighty God.
In this graduated series of plagues, the judgment of hardening was inflicted upon Pharaoh in the manner explained above. In the first three plagues God showed him, that He, the God of Israel, was Jehovah (Exodus 7:17), i.e., that He ruled as Lord and King over the occurrences and powers of nature, which the Egyptians for the most part honoured as divine; and before His power the magicians of Egypt with their secret arts were put to shame. These three wonders made no impression upon the king. The plague of frogs, indeed, became so troublesome to him, that he begged Moses and Aaron to intercede with their God to deliver him from them, and promised to let the people go (Exodus 8:8). But as soon as they were taken away, he hardened his heart, and would not listen to the messengers of God. Of the three following plagues, the first (i.e., the fourth in the entire series), viz., the plague of swarming creatures or dog-flies, with which the distinction between the Egyptians and Israelites commenced, proving to Pharaoh that the God of Israel was Jehovah in the midst of the land (Exodus 8:22), made such an impression upon the hardened king, that he promised to allow the Israelites to sacrifice to their God, first of all in the land, and when Moses refused this condition, even outside the land, if they would not go far away, and Moses and Aaron would pray to God for him, that this plague might be taken away by God from him and from his people (Exodus 8:25.). But this concession was only forced out of him by suffering; so that as soon as the plague ceased he withdrew it again, and his hard heart was not changed by the two following plagues. Hence still heavier plagues were sent, and he had to learn from the last three that there was no god in the whole earth like Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews (Hebrews 9:14). The terrible character of these last plagues so affected the proud heart of Pharaoh, that twice he acknowledged he had sinned (Exodus 9:27; Exodus 10:16), and gave a promise that he would let the Israelites go, restricting his promise first of all to the men, and then including their families also (Exodus 10:11, Exodus 10:24). But when this plague was withdrawn, he resumed his old sinful defiance once more (Exodus 9:34-35; Exodus 10:20), and finally was altogether hardened, and so enraged at Moses persisting in his demand that they should take their flocks as well, that he drove away the messengers of Jehovah and broke off all further negotiations, with the threat that he would kill them if ever they came into his presence again (Exodus 10:28-29).
Attestation of the Divine Mission of Moses and Aaron. - By Jehovah's directions Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and proved by a miracle (מופת Exodus 4:21) that they were the messengers of the God of the Hebrews. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh, and it became a serpent. Aaron's staff as no other than the wondrous staff of Moses (Exodus 4:2-4). This is perfectly obvious from a comparison of Exodus 7:15 and Exodus 7:17 with Exodus 7:19 and Exodus 7:20. If Moses was directed, according to Exodus 7:15., to go before Pharaoh with his rod which had been turned into a serpent, and to announce to him that he would smite the water of the Nile with the staff in his hand and turn it into blood, and then, according to Exodus 7:19., this miracle was carried out by Aaron taking his staff and stretching out his hand over the waters of Egypt, the staff which Aaron held over the water cannot have been any other than the staff of Moses which had been turned into a serpent. Consequently we must also understand by the staff of Aaron, which was thrown down before Pharaoh and became a serpent, the same wondrous staff of Moses, and attribute the expression "thy (i.e., Aaron's) staff" to the brevity of the account, i.e., to the fact that the writer restricted himself to the leading facts, and passed over such subordinate incidents as that Moses gave his staff to Aaron for him to work the miracle. For the same reason he has not even mentioned that Moses spoke to Pharaoh by Aaron, or what he said, although in Exodus 7:13 he states that Pharaoh did not hearken unto them, i.e., to their message or their words. The serpent, into which the staff was changed, is not called נחשׁ here, as in Exodus 7:15 and Exodus 4:3, but תּנּיּן (lxx δράκων, dragon), a general term for snake-like animals. This difference does not show that there were two distinct records, but may be explained on the ground that the miracle performed before Pharaoh had a different signification from that which attested the divine mission of Moses in the presence of his people. The miraculous sign mentioned here is distinctly related to the art of snake-charming, which was carried to such an extent by the Psylli in ancient Egypt (cf. Bochart, and Hengstenberg, Egypt and Moses, pp. 98ff. transl.). It is probable that the Israelites in Egypt gave the name תּנּיּן (Eng. ver. dragon), which occurs in Deuteronomy 32:33 and Psalm 91:13 as a parallel to פּתן (Eng. ver. asp), to the snake with which the Egyptian charmers generally performed their tricks, the Hayeh of the Arabs. What the magi and conjurers of Egypt boasted that they could perform by their secret or magical arts, Moses was to effect in reality in Pharaoh's presence, and thus manifest himself to the king as Elohim (Exodus 7:1), i.e., as endowed with divine authority and power. All that is related of the Psylli of modern times is, that they understand the art of turning snakes into sticks, or of compelling them to become rigid and apparently dead (for examples see Hengstenberg); but who can tell what the ancient Psylli may have been able to effect, or may have pretended to effect, at a time when the demoniacal power of heathenism existed in its unbroken force? The magicians summoned by Pharaoh also turned their sticks into snakes (Exodus 7:12); a fact which naturally excites the suspicion that the sticks themselves were only rigid snakes, though, with our very limited acquaintance with the dark domain of heathen conjuring, the possibility of their working "lying wonders after the working of Satan," i.e., supernatural things (2 Thessalonians 2:9), cannot be absolutely denied. The words, "They also, the chartummim of Egypt, did in like manner with their enchantments," are undoubtedly based upon the assumption, that the conjurers of Egypt not only pretended to possess the art of turning snakes into sticks, but of turning sticks into snakes as well, so that in the persons of the conjurers Pharaoh summoned the might of the gods of Egypt to oppose the might of Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews. For these magicians, whom the Apostle Paul calls Jannes and Jambres, according to the Jewish tradition (2 Timothy 3:8), were not common jugglers, but חכמים "wise men," men educated in human and divine wisdom, and חרטתּים, ἱερογραμματεῖς, belonging to the priestly caste (Genesis 41:8); so that the power of their gods was manifested in their secret arts (להטים from להט to conceal, to act secretly, like לטים in Exodus 7:22 from לוּט), and in the defeat of their enchantments by Moses the gods of Egypt were overcome by Jehovah (Exodus 12:12). The supremacy of Jehovah over the demoniacal powers of Egypt manifested itself in the very first miraculous sign, in the fact that Aaron's staff swallowed those of the magicians; though this miracle made no impression upon Pharaoh (Exodus 7:13).
LinksExodus 7:16 Interlinear
Exodus 7:16 Parallel Texts
Exodus 7:16 NIV
Exodus 7:16 NLT
Exodus 7:16 ESV
Exodus 7:16 NASB
Exodus 7:16 KJV
Exodus 7:16 Bible Apps
Exodus 7:16 Parallel
Exodus 7:16 Biblia Paralela
Exodus 7:16 Chinese Bible
Exodus 7:16 French Bible
Exodus 7:16 German Bible