Exodus 9:32
But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
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(32) The wheat and the rie.—“Rie,” or rye, is a wrong translation. It is a grain which has never been grown in Egypt. The only three kinds of grain cultivated were wheat, barley, and the holcus sorghum, or doora. There is no doubt that this last is intended by the Hebrew cussemeth, which is a word derived from the Egyptian. The wheat is a full month later than the barley in Egypt, and does not come into ear till March. The holcus sorghum may be grown at any time, except during the inundation. If sown with the wheat, it would ripen about the same period.

They were not grown up.—Heb., they were late, or dark. The ear was undeveloped, and lay hid in the low tufts that grew like grass.

Exodus 9:32. They were not grown up — Were hidden, or dark, as the margin reads it; or late, as many interpreters render the expression. This kind of corn, coming later up, was now tender, and hidden, either under ground, or in the herb, whereby it was secured both from the fire, by its greenness and moisture, and from the hail, by its pliableness and yielding to it: whereas the stalks of barley were more dry and stiff, and therefore more liable to be injured and destroyed by the fire and hail.

9:22-35 Woful havoc this hail made: it killed both men and cattle; the corn above ground was destroyed, and that only preserved which as yet was not come up. The land of Goshen was preserved. God causes rain or hail on one city and not on another, either in mercy or in judgment. Pharaoh humbled himself to Moses. No man could have spoken better: he owns himself wrong; he owns that the Lord is righteous; and God must be justified when he speaks, though he speaks in thunder and lightning. Yet his heart was hardened all this while. Moses pleads with God: though he had reason to think Pharaoh would repent of his repentance, and he told him so, yet he promises to be his friend. Moses went out of the city, notwithstanding the hail and lightning which kept Pharaoh and his servants within doors. Peace with God makes men thunder-proof. Pharaoh was frightened by the tremendous judgment; but when that was over, his fair promises were forgotten. Those that are not bettered by judgments and mercies, commonly become worse.Rie - Rather, "spelt," the common food of the ancient Egyptians, now called "doora" by the natives, and the only grain represented on the sculptures: the name, however, occurs on the monuments very frequently in combination with other species. 31, 32. the flax and the barley was smitten, &c.—The peculiarities that are mentioned in these cereal products arise from the climate and physical constitution of Egypt. In that country flax and barley are almost ripe when wheat and rye (spelt) are green. And hence the flax must have been "bolled"—that is, risen in stalk or podded in February, thus fixing the particular month when the event took place. Barley ripens about a month earlier than wheat. Flax and barley are generally ripe in March, wheat and rye (properly, spelt) in April. The Hebrew word may be rendered either dark or hid, to wit, under the ground, whereby it was secured from this stroke; or late, as divers of the Hebrews and other interpreters render it. This kind of corn coming later up, was now tender and hidden, either in the ground or in the herb; whereby it was in some measure secured both from the fire by its greenness and moisture, and from the hail by its pliableness and yielding to it, whereas the stalks of barley were more dry and stiff, and therefore more liable to the hail and fire.

But the wheat and the rye were not smitten,.... Bruised, broken, beat down, and destroyed by hail: the word by us rendered "rye", and by other "fitches" or "spelt", is thought by Dr. Shaw (q) to be "rice", of which there were and still are plantations in Egypt; whereas rye is little, if at all known in those countries, and besides is of the quickest growth; and he observes that rice was the "olyra" of the ancient Egyptians, by which word the Septuagint render the Hebrew word here; and from Pliny (r) we learn, that "olyra", and "oryza", or rice, are the same, and which with the Greeks is "zea", by which some translate the word here:

for they were not grown up; and so their leaves, as the same traveller observes, were at that time of so soft and yielding a nature, that the hail by meeting with no resistance, as from the flax and barley, did them no harm; and so the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it: "they were late"; and so the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret it: for the wheat harvest with the Jews, and so with the Egyptians, was later than the barley harvest, there being about a month's difference between them: some render the word "dark or hidden" (s) because, as Aben Ezra says, they were now under ground; and if this was the case, indeed the reason is clear why they were not smitten; but this was not the case, for, according to Pliny (t), there was but one month's difference in Egypt between the barley and the wheat; but rather they are said to be so, because the ear was as yet hid, and was not come forth; it just began to spindle, or, as the above traveller explains it, they were of a dark green colour, as young corn generally is, as contradistinction to its being of a bright yellow or golden colour, when it is ripe; for, adds he, the context supposes the wheat and the rice not only to have been sown, but to have been likewise in some forwardness, as they well might be in the month of Abib, answering to our March.

(q) Travels, tom. 2. c. 2. sect. 5. p. 407. Ed. 2.((r) Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 7. 9. (s) "caliginosa", Montanus, Vatablus; "latuerant", Tigurine version; "latentia", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius. (t) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 7. 9.)

But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
32. spelt] ‘bread made from spelt is frequently found in Egyptian tombs’ (Lepsius, in a private letter to Dillmann). ‘Spelt’ (Isaiah 28:25, Ezekiel 4:9†) is a cereal closely allied to wheat, which it much resembles (NHB. 479; and, with fuller particulars, EB. ii. 1532). LXX. ὄλυρα; Aq. Sym. ζέα.

were not grown up] are late (see Ges. Thes. p. 137); i.e. are habitually late in coming up: as stated above, they are about a month later than flax and barley.

Verse 32. - The wheat and the rie were not smitten, for they were not grown up. In Egypt the wheat harvest is at least a month later than the barley harvest, coming in April, whereas the barley harvest is finished by the end of March. Rye was not grown in Egypt; and it is generally agreed that the Hebrew word here translated "rie" means the Holcus sorghum, or doora, which is the only grain besides wheat and barley represented on the Egyptian monuments. The doora is now raised commonly as an after-crop; but, if sown late in the autumn, it would ripen about the same time as the wheat. Exodus 9:32The account of the loss caused by the hail is introduced very appropriately in Exodus 9:31 and Exodus 9:32, to show how much had been lost, and how much there was still to lose through continued refusal. "The flax and the barley were smitten, for the barley was ear, and the flax was גּבעל (blossom); i.e., they were neither of them quite ripe, but they were already in ear and blossom, so that they were broken and destroyed by the hail. "The wheat," on the other hand, "and the spelt were not broken down, because they were tender, or late" (אפילת); i.e., they had no ears as yet, and therefore could not be broken by the hail. These accounts are in harmony with the natural history of Egypt. According to Pliny, the barley is reaped in the sixth month after the sowing-time, the wheat in the seventh. The barley is ripe about the end of February or beginning of March; the wheat, at the end of March or beginning of April. The flax is in flower at the end of January. In the neighbourhood of Alexandria, and therefore quite in the north of Egypt, the spelt is ripe at the end of April, and farther south it is probably somewhat earlier; for, according to other accounts, the wheat and spelt ripen at the same time (vid., Hengstenberg, p. 119). Consequently the plague of hail occurred at the end of January, or at the latest in the first half of February; so that there were at least eight weeks between the seventh and tenth plagues. The hail must have smitten the half, therefore, of the most important field-produce, viz., the barley, which was a valuable article of food both for men, especially the poorer classes, and for cattle, and the flax, which was also a very important part of the produce of Egypt; whereas the spelt, of which the Egyptians preferred to make their bread (Herod. 2, 36, 77), and the wheat were still spared.
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