Exodus 8:15
But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
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(15) When Pharaoh saw that there was respite.—Hebrew, a breathing space.

He hardened his heart.—Hitherto Pharaoh’s nature had not been impressed; his heart had remained dull, callous, hard. Now an impression had been made (Exodus 8:8), and he must have yielded, if he had not called in his own will to efface it. Herein was his great guilt. (See the comment on Exodus 4:21.)

Exodus 8:15. Pharaoh hardened his heart — Observe, he did it himself, not God, any otherwise than by not hindering.

8:1-15 Pharaoh is plagued with frogs; their vast numbers made them sore plagues to the Egyptians. God could have plagued Egypt with lions, or bears, or wolves, or with birds of prey, but he chose to do it by these despicable creatures. God, when he pleases, can arm the smallest parts of the creation against us. He thereby humbled Pharaoh. They should neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep in quiet; but wherever they were, they should be troubled by the frogs. God's curse upon a man will pursue him wherever he goes, and lie heavy upon him whatever he does. Pharaoh gave way under this plague. He promises that he will let the people go. Those who bid defiance to God and prayer, first or last, will be made to see their need of both. But when Pharaoh saw there was respite, he hardened his heart. Till the heart is renewed by the grace of God, the thoughts made by affliction do not abide; the convictions wear off, and the promises that were given are forgotten. Till the state of the air is changed, what thaws in the sun will freeze again in the shade.Villages - Literally, enclosures, or courtyards. 8-15. Pharaoh called, … Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me—The frog, which was now used as an instrument of affliction, whether from reverence or abhorrence, was an object of national superstition with the Egyptians, the god Ptha being represented with a frog's head. But the vast numbers, together with their stench, made them an intolerable nuisance so that the king was so far humbled as to promise that, if Moses would intercede for their removal, he would consent to the departure of Israel, and in compliance with this appeal, they were withdrawn at the very hour named by the monarch himself. But many, while suffering the consequences of their sins, make promises of amendment and obedience which they afterwards forget; and so Pharaoh, when he saw there was a respite, was again hardened [Ex 8:15]. No text from Poole on this verse.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite,.... From his affliction, as the Targum of Jonathan adds; the plague was removed, and he found himself and his people at ease: or there was a "breathing" (c); before he and his people were so oppressed, that they could scarce breathe, but now being delivered from the judgment on them with which they were straitened, were enlarged and at liberty, and in easy circumstances: he hardened his heart; See Gill on Exodus 7:14.

and hearkened not unto them; to Moses and Aaron, to let the children of Israel go, as they had required, and he had promised:

as the Lord had said; had foretold that he would not hearken to them, nor let Israel go as yet.

(c) "respiratio", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
15. that the respite had come] the respite (or relief, Esther 4:14; lit. open space, width), promised in v. 10 f.

he made his heart stubborn] The word used by J; cf. Exodus 7:14.

and hearkened not, &c.] The closing phrase, from P: notice exactly the same words in Exodus 7:13; and cf. p. 55.

Plagues of frogs in different places are mentioned by the classical writers; they are also not unknown in modern times (DB. iii. 890). In Egypt ‘each year the inundation brings with it myriads of frogs, which swarm along the banks of the river and canals, and fill the night air with continual croakings’ (Sayce, EHH. 168); similarly Seetzen and other travellers cited by Di. ‘Accordingly here also the Hebrew tradition simply describes a miraculously intensified form of a natural phaenomenon characteristic of the country. For the frogs come at the signal given by Aaron’s wonder-working rod, they climb up even into the houses, and they disappear, not, as happens now, by returning to the water, or being devoured by the ibis or other water-birds, but by dying immediately, in immense numbers, upon the land’ (Di.).

Verse 15. - When Pharaoh saw that there was respite. Literally, "a taking of breath," i.e., "a breathing-space." He hardened his heart. He became hard and merciless once more, believing that the danger was past, and not expecting any fresh visitation. As Isaiah says - "Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:10). Bad men "despise the riches of God's goodness and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth them to repentance." In this way, they "treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Romans 2:4, 5), either in this world or in the world to come. As the Lord had said. See Exodus 3:19; Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:4. CHAPTER 8:16-19 Exodus 8:15The king appointed the following day, probably because he hardly thought it possible for so great a work to be performed at once. Moses promised that it should be so: "According to thy word (sc., let it be), that thou mayest know that there is not (a God) like Jehovah our God." He then went out and cried, i.e., called aloud and earnestly, to Jehovah concerning the matter (דּבר על) of the frogs, which he had set, i.e., prepared, for Pharaoh (שׂוּם as in Genesis 45:7). In consequence of his intercession God took the plague away. The frogs died off (מן מוּת, to die away out of, from), out of the houses, and palaces, and fields, and were gathered together by bushels (חמרים from חמר, the omer, the largest measure used by the Hebrews), so that the land stank with the odour of their putrefaction. Though Jehovah had thus manifested Himself as the Almighty God and Lord of the creation, Pharaoh did not keep his promise; but when he saw that there was breathing-time (רוחה, ἀνάψυξις, relief from an overpowering pressure), literally, as soon as he "got air," he hardened his heart, so that he did not hearken to Moses and Aaron (והכבּד inf. abs. as in Genesis 41:43).
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