Exodus 9:17
As yet exalt you yourself against my people, that you will not let them go?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) As yet exaltest thou thyself?—Heb., Dost thou still exalt, or oppose, thyself against My people?i.e., Art thou not tired of the contest? Dost thou still, in thy folly, continue it?

Exodus 9:17-18. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people? — Against me, acting for my people. God takes what is done for or against his people as done for or against himself. Behold, tomorrow — The time is precisely marked, that it might not be said to have fallen out by chance. Besides, God hereby demonstrates, that there is no part of nature but he commands, — that the fire, hail, thunder, and storm obey his will. Since the foundation thereof — Since it was a kingdom.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.Have I raised thee up - See the margin. God kept Pharaoh "standing", i. e. permitted him to live and hold out until His own purpose was accomplished.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. Against my people, i.e. against me acting for my people. The gracious God takes what is done to or against his people as done to or against himself. See Zechariah 2:8 Matthew 25:40,45 Ac 9:4,5. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? And so against God himself, disobeying his commands, despising his messengers, and slighting his miracles, and hardening his heart against him, and refusing to let Israel go, after all; thereby showing the most intolerable pride and insolence not only against the Lord's poor people, but against himself, for what is done to them he takes as done to himself; or "dost thou still tread upon my people?" (e) trample them under foot, and make an highway or causeway of them.

(e) "adhuc tu calcas populum meum?" some in Drusius; so Jarchi.

As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. exaltest thyself] A peculiar word, found only here. The root means to cast up a way (Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10); and the Heb. words for ‘Siege-mound,’ and ‘high-way’ (properly, a ‘raised way’), are derived from it; hence the meaning seems properly to be, ‘raisest thyself up as a mound (or obstacle) against my people,’ to oppose their release.Verse 17. - As yet. Rather "still." And the whole verse should be rendered - "Dost thou still oppose thyself against my people, so as not to let them go." The verb translated "oppose" - ("exalt" in the A.V.) - is strictly "to raise a mound, or bank," thence "to obstruct," "oppose." The sixth plague smote man and beast with Boils Breaking Forth in Blisters. - שׁחין (a common disease in Egypt, Deuteronomy 28:27) from the unusual word שׁחן (incaluit) signifies inflammation, then an abscess or boil (Leviticus 13:18.; 2 Kings 20:7). אבעבּעת, from בּוּע, to spring up, swell up, signifies blisters, φλυκτίδες (lxx), pustulae. The natural substratum of this plague is discovered by most commentators in the so-called Nile-blisters, which come out in innumerable little pimples upon the scarlet-coloured skin, and change in a short space of time into small, round, and thickly-crowded blisters. This is called by the Egyptians Hamm el Nil, or the heat of the inundation. According to Dr. Bilharz, it is a rash, which occurs in summer, chiefly towards the close at the time of the overflowing of the Nile, and produces a burning and pricking sensation upon the skin; or, in Seetzen's words, "it consists of small, red, and slightly rounded elevations in the skin, which give strong twitches and slight stinging sensations, resembling those of scarlet fever". The cause of this eruption, which occurs only in men and not in animals, has not been determined; some attributing it to the water, and others to the heat. Leyrer, in Herzog's Cyclopaedia, speaks of the "Anthrax which stood in a causal relation to the fifth plague; a black, burning abscess, which frequently occurs after a murrain, especially the cattle distemper, and which might be called to mind by the name ἄνθραξ, coal, and the symbolical sprinkling of the soot of the furnace." In any case, the manner in which this plague was produced was significant, though it cannot be explained with positive certainty, especially as we are unable to decide exactly what was the natural disease which lay at the foundation of the plague. At the command of God, Moses and Aaron took "handfuls of soot, and sprinkled it towards the heaven, so that it became dust over all the land of Egypt," i.e., flew like dust over the land, and became boils on man and beast. הכּבשׁן פּיח: soot or ashes of the smelting-furnace or lime-kiln. כּבשׁן is not an oven or cooking stove, but, as Kimchi supposes, a smelting-furnace or lime-kiln; not so called, however, a metallis domandis, but from כּבשׁ in its primary signification to press together, hence (a) to soften, or melt, (b) to tread down. Burder's view seems inadmissible; namely, that this symbolical act of Moses had some relation to the expiatory rites of the ancient Egyptians, in which the ashes of sacrifices, particularly human sacrifices, were scattered about. For it rests upon the supposition that Moses took the ashes from a fire appropriated to the burning of sacrifices - a supposition to which neither כּבשׁן nor פּיח is appropriate. For the former does not signify a fire-place, still less one set apart for the burning of sacrifices, and the ashes taken from the sacrifices for purifying purposes were called אפר, and not פּיח (Numbers 19:10). Moreover, such an interpretation as this, namely, that the ashes set apart for purifying purposes produced impurity in the hands of Moses, as a symbolical representation of the thought, that "the religious purification promised in the sacrificial worship of Egypt was really a defilement," does not answer at all to the effect produced. The ashes scattered in the air by Moses did not produce defilement, but boils or blisters; and we have no ground for supposing that they were regarded by the Egyptians as a religious defilement. And, lastly, there was not one of the plagues in which the object was to pronounce condemnation upon the Egyptian worship or sacrifices; since Pharaoh did not wish to force the Egyptian idolatry upon the Israelites, but simply to prevent them from leaving the country.

The ashes or soot of the smelting-furnace or lime-kiln bore, no doubt, the same relation to the plague arising therefrom, as the water of the Nile and the dust of the ground to the three plagues which proceeded from them. As Pharaoh and his people owed their prosperity, wealth, and abundance of earthly goods to the fertilizing waters of the Nile and the fruitful soil, so it was from the lime-kilns, so to speak, that those splendid cities and pyramids proceeded, by which the early Pharaohs endeavoured to immortalize the power and glory of their reigns. And whilst in the first three plagues the natural sources of the land were changed by Jehovah, through His servants Moses and Aaron, into sources of evil, the sixth plague proved to the proud king that Jehovah also possessed the power to bring ruin upon him from the workshops of those splendid edifices, for the erection of which he had made use of the strength of the Israelites, and oppressed them so grievously with burdensome toil as to cause Egypt to become like a furnace for smelting iron (Deuteronomy 4:20), and that He could make the soot or ashes of the lime-kiln, the residuum of that fiery heat and emblem of the furnace in which Israel groaned, into a seed which, when carried through the air at His command, would produce burning boils on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt. These boils were the first plague which attacked and endangered the lives of men; and in this respect it was the first foreboding of the death which Pharaoh would bring upon himself by his continued resistance. The priests were so far from being able to shelter the king from this plague by their secret arts, that they were attacked by them themselves, were unable to stand before Moses, and were obliged to give up all further resistance. But Pharaoh did not take this plague to heart, and was given up to the divine sentence of hardening.

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