And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…
A Southern lady, writing of the early days of the war in America, says — "The fear of an uprising of the blacks was most powerful with us at night. The notes of the whip-poor-wills in the sweet.gum swamp near the stable, the mutterings of a distant thunderstorm, even the rustle of the night wind in the oaks that shaded my window, filled me with nameless dread. In the daytime it seemed impossible to associate suspicion with those familiar tawny or sable faces that surrounded us. We had seen them for so many years smiling or saddening with the family joys or sorrows: they were so guileless, patient, and satisfied. What subtle influence was at work that should transform them into tigers thirsting for our blood? But when evening came again, the ghost that refused to be laid was again at one's elbow. Rusty bolts were drawn and rusty fire-arms loaded. A watch was set where never before had eye or ear been lent to such a service."
(H. O. Mackey.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
WEB: It happened at midnight, that Yahweh struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of livestock.