Exodus 11:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

King James Bible
And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

Darby Bible Translation
And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sitteth on his throne, even unto the firstborn of the bondwoman that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of cattle.

World English Bible
and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of livestock.

Young's Literal Translation
and every first-born in the land of Egypt hath died, from the first-born of Pharaoh who is sitting on his throne, unto the first-born of the maid-servant who is behind the millstones, and all the first-born of beasts;

Exodus 11:5 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The first-born of Pharaoh, etc. - From the heir to the Egyptian throne to the son of the most abject slave, or the principal person in each family. See Clarke's note on Exodus 12:29.

The maid-servant that is behind the mill - The meanest slaves were employed in this work. In many parts of the east they still grind all their corn with a kind of portable mill-stones, the upper one of which is turned round by a sort of lever fixed in the rim. A drawing of one of these machines as used in China is now before me, and the person who grinds is represented as pushing the lever before him, and thus running round with the stone. Perhaps something like this is intended by the expression Behind the mill in the text. On this passage Dr. Shaw has the following observation: - "Most families grind their wheat and barley at home, having two portable mill-stones for that purpose, the uppermost of which is turned round by a small handle of wood or iron that is placed in the rim. When this stone is large, or expedition required, a second person is called in to assist; and as it is usual for women alone to be concerned in this employment, who seat themselves over against each other with the mill-stone between them, we may see, not only the propriety of the expression (Exodus 11:5) of sitting behind the mill, but the force of another, (Matthew 24:41), that two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left." - Travels, p. 231, 4th edit. These portable mills, under the name of querns, were used among our ancestors in this and the sister kingdoms, and some of them are in use to the present day. Both the instrument and its name our forefathers seem to have borrowed from the continent. They have long existed among the inhabitants of Shetland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, etc.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the firstborn

Exodus 4:23 And I say to you, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son...

Exodus 12:12,29 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast...

Exodus 13:15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt...

Psalm 78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:

Psalm 105:36 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

Psalm 135:8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.

Psalm 136:10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endures for ever:

Hebrews 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

behind

Judges 16:21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass...

Isaiah 47:2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover your locks, make bore the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Lamentations 5:13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.

Matthew 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Library
A Last Merciful Warning
'And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. 2. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. 3. And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Exodus
The book of Exodus--so named in the Greek version from the march of Israel out of Egypt--opens upon a scene of oppression very different from the prosperity and triumph in which Genesis had closed. Israel is being cruelly crushed by the new dynasty which has arisen in Egypt (i.) and the story of the book is the story of her redemption. Ultimately it is Israel's God that is her redeemer, but He operates largely by human means; and the first step is the preparation of a deliverer, Moses, whose parentage,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Matthew 24:41
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Exodus 4:23
and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.'"

Exodus 12:12
"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.

Exodus 12:29
At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.

Psalm 78:51
He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.

Psalm 105:36
Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their manhood.

Psalm 135:8
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of people and animals.

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