Exodus 9:14
For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
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(14) I will . . . send all my plagues upon thine heart.—The naturally obdurate heart of Pharaoh, which he had further indurated by his own voluntary action (Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32), and which God had begun to harden penally (Exodus 9:12), was now to be softened by a repetition of blow after blow, until it should finally succumb, and yield, and humble itself under the mighty hand of God, and consent to the departure of the whole people, with flocks, and herds, and “little ones.”

Exodus 9:14-15. I will at this time send all my plagues — Either these verses relate to what was to happen some time afterward, namely, the slaying of the firstborn, or the latter verse is to be read as follows, a translation which is equally agreeable to the Hebrew: “For now I had stretched out my hand, to smite thee and thy people with pestilence, and thou hadst been cut off, &c., but that thou wast preserved” (as follows in the succeeding verse) “that it might be known that there is none like me in all the earth.” All my plagues upon thy heart — Hitherto thou hast not felt my plagues on thy own person; but I will shortly reach and wound it: will give thee a wound that will pierce thy very heart; an irrecoverable and mortal wound. Who can tell the greatness of his wrath, or what a fearful thing it is to fall under the righteous judgment of a holy and offended God?

9:13-21 Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message to Pharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man of such a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with; and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power of God has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies. When God's justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same time shows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguished between Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians and others. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgment itself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Some believed the things which were spoken, and they feared, and housed their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Even among the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God's word; and shall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not, and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deaf to the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leaves the blood of those that perish upon their own heads.All my plagues - This applies to all the plagues which follow; the effect of each was foreseen and foretold. The words "at this time" point to a rapid and continuous succession of blows. The plagues which precede appear to have been spread over a considerable time; the first message of Moses was delivered after the early harvest of the year before, when the Israelites could gather stubble, i. e. in May and April: the second mission, when the plagues began, was probably toward the end of June, and they went on at intervals until the winter; this plague was in February; see Exodus 9:31.10. Moses took ashes from the furnace—Hebrew, "brick-kiln." The magicians, being sufferers in their own persons, could do nothing, though they had been called; and as the brick-kiln was one of the principal instruments of oppression to the Israelites [De 4:20; 1Ki 8:51; Jer 11:4], it was now converted into a means of chastisement to the Egyptians, who were made to read their sin in their punishment. Upon thine heart, or, into thy heart: thou hast hitherto not felt my plagues upon thy own person or thy body, but I shall shortly reach and wound it, and that not only in the skin, as the magicians and others are now smitten, but even to thy heart, such as shall make thy heart sick, Micah 6:13, such as shall give thee a mortal and irrecoverable wound. Some understand it of inward and spiritual judgments upon Pharaoh’s heart, such as hardness of heart; but that plague had been inflicted upon him, and is recorded before this time. And Pharaoh’s heart being here opposed to his servants and people, seems rather to denote his person, the heart or soul being often put synecdochically for the whole man.

For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart,.... Not meaning particularly the plague of the hail, which next follows, so called, because it consisted of various things, as hail, rain, lightning, and thunder, as Aben Ezra, and who observes, that Pharaoh was more terrified with this plague than with any other; but rather all the plagues yet to come, for by them are not meant all the plagues that were in the power of God to inflict, which how many and great they are none can say, but all that he had determined in his mind to bring upon him; and these should not so much affect and afflict his body, as the boils and ulcers had the magicians, but should reach his heart, and fill him with horror and terror:

and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; even all that he intended to bring not only upon himself, but upon his subjects, both high and low:

that thou mayest know, that there is none like unto me in all the earth; for the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands, particularly his providential dealings with the sons of men, and especially with him.

For I will at this time send all my plagues upon {c} thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.

(c) So that your own conscience will condemn you of ingratitude and malice.

14. this time … all my plagues] The two expressions seem hardly consistent: ‘this time’ shews that the hail is referred to, while ‘all my plagues’ points to much more than a single plague. J writes as a rule so clearly that the inconsistency is urged as one reason for supposing that vv. 14–16 are not from his hand.

plagues] Heb. maggçphâh, properly a severe stroke or blow, only here of the ‘plagues’ of Egypt (cf. the cognate verb ‘smite’ in Exodus 8:2 Exodus 12:23; Exodus 12:27, Joshua 24:5); of a great defeat in war (EVV. slaughter), 1 Samuel 4:17 (vv. 2, 10 the cognate verb, ‘smitten’), 2 Samuel 18:7 (with ‘smitten’) al.; of various supernatural chastisements, Numbers 14:37; Numbers 16:48-50; Numbers 25:8-9; Numbers 25:18, 2 Samuel 24:21; 2 Samuel 24:25, Zechariah 14:12; Zechariah 14:15; Zechariah 14:18.

upon thine heart] The expression (though it might be interpreted with Di. as a reference to the Pharaoh’s hardened heart) is strange: read, probably, changing one letter, all these my plagues (cf. Exodus 10:1) upon thee (אלה בך for אל לבך), and upon thy servants, &c.; cf. Exodus 8:4; Exodus 8:9; Exodus 8:11; Exodus 8:21; Exodus 8:29.

that thou mayest know, &c.] See on Exodus 8:10.

14–16. The announcement of the plague (vv. 13, 17–18) is interrupted by a passage, intended evidently (Di.) to explain why, when so many plagues have produced no impression upon the Pharaoh, God continues to send fresh ones upon him: He does so in order to extort from him the recognition of Himself, and that His name may be made known throughout the world; had this not been His motive, He would ere now have summarily removed him from the earth. By Di. and others this explanation (vv. 14–16) is considered to be a didactic addition of the compiler’s (cf. on Exodus 10:1 b–2). Cf. the Introd. p. xvii.

Verse 14. - I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart. A very emphatic announcement. At this time contrasts the immediate future with the past, and tells Pharaoh that the hour of mild warnings and slight plagues is gone by. Now he is to expect something far more terrible God will send all his plagues - every worst form of evil - in rapid succession; and will send them against his heart. Each will strike a blow on that perverse and obdurate heart - each will stir his nature to its inmost depths. Conscience will wake up and insist on being heard. All the numerous brood of selfish fears and alarms will bestir themselves. He will tremble, and be amazed and perplexed. He will forego his pride and humble himself, and beg the Israelites to be gone, and even intreat that, ere they depart, the leaders whom he has so long opposed, will give him their blessing (Exodus 12:32). That thou mayest know. Pharaoh was himself to be convinced that the Lord God of Israel was, at any rate, the greatest of all gods. He was not likely to desert at once and altogether the religion in which he had been brought up, or to regard its gods as nonexistent. But he might be persuaded of one thing - that Jehovah was far above them. And this he practically acknowledges in vers. 27 and 28. Exodus 9:14As the plagues had thus far entirely failed to bend the unyielding heart of Pharaoh under the will of the Almighty God, the terrors of that judgment, which would infallibly come upon him, were set before him in three more plagues, which were far more terrible than any that had preceded them. That these were to be preparatory to the last decisive blow, is proved by the great solemnity with which they were announced to the hardened king (Exodus 9:13-16). This time Jehovah was about to "send all His strokes at the heart of Pharaoh, and against his servants and his people" (Exodus 9:14). אל־לבּך does not signify "against thy person," for לב is not used for נפשׁ, and even the latter is not a periphrasis for "person;" but the strokes were to go to the king's heart, "It announces that they will be plagues that will not only strike the head and arms, but penetrate the very heart, and inflict a mortal wound" (Calvin). From the plural "strokes," it is evident that this threat referred not only to the seventh plague, viz., the hail, but to all the other plagues, through which Jehovah was about to make known to the king that "there was none like Him in all the earth,;" i.e., that not one of the gods whom the heathen worshipped was like Him, the only true God. For, in order to show this, Jehovah had not smitten Pharaoh and his people at once with pestilence and cut them off from the earth, but had set him up to make him see, i.e., discern or feel His power, and to glorify His name in all the earth (Exodus 9:15, Exodus 9:16). In Exodus 9:15 וגו שׁלחתּי (I have stretched out, etc.) is to be taken as the conditional clause: "If I had now stretched out My hand and smitten thee...thou wouldest have been cut off." העמדתּיך forms the antithesis to תּכּהד, and means to cause to stand or continue, as in 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Chronicles 9:8 (διετηρήθης lxx). Causing to stand presupposes setting up. In this first sense the Apostle Paul has rendered it ἐξήγειρα in Romans 9:17, in accordance with the purport of his argument, because "God thereby appeared still more decidedly as absolutely determining all that was done by Pharaoh" (Philippi on Romans 9:17). The reason why God had not destroyed Pharaoh at once was twofold: (1) that Pharaoh himself might experience (הראת to cause to see, i.e., to experience) the might of Jehovah, by which he was compelled more than once to give glory to Jehovah (Exodus 9:27; Exodus 10:16-17; Exodus 12:31); and (2) that the name of Jehovah might be declared throughout all the earth. As both the rebellion of the natural man against the word and will of God, and the hostility of the world-power to the Lord and His people, were concentrated in Pharaoh, so there were manifested in the judgments suspended over him the patience and grace of the living God, quite as much as His holiness, justice, and omnipotence, as a warning to impenitent sinners, and a support to the faith of the godly, in a manner that should by typical for all times and circumstances of the kingdom of God in conflict with the ungodly world. The report of this glorious manifestation of Jehovah spread at once among all the surrounding nations (cf. Exodus 15:14.), and travelled not only to the Arabians, but to the Greeks and Romans also, and eventually with the Gospel of Christ to all the nations of the earth (vid., Tholuck on Romans 9:17).
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