And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them…
The meaning is not simply that the stroke should be followed by healing, nor is it simply that the stroke should possess a healing virtue; but both ideas seem to be included. The full thought is expressed by the Prophet Hosea (Hosea 6:1, 2), "Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." Henderson says, "The doctrine here taught is, that when God has purposes of mercy towards a sinful people, he will continue to visit them with calamities till they are humbled, and thus brought into a fit state for appreciating the value of his mercies." For illustrations of the same view of God's working, see Job 5:17-19; Isaiah 57:15-19; Hosea 5:15. There are few conceptions of God which should seem so tender and so restfully satisfying as this to conscious sinners who long to be freed from their sins. God will not leave us alone; he will smite. God will watch the effects of his smiting, and take the first opportunity to heal. God never smites save with the prospect before him of healing, and with gracious intentions of making his healings an unspeakable blessing - "the intention of healing is predominant throughout" (comp. Zephaniah 3:8, 9; Jeremiah 12:5-7).
I. THESE TWO THINGS - SMITING AND HEALING - ARE OFTEN SEVERED IN MAN.
1. Some smite for others to heal.
2. Some smite in malice, and do not want us to be healed.
3. Some smite in willfulness, and do not care whether we are healed.
4. Some smite in kindness, but are unable to heal the wounds they make.
And so often men do not know how to smite, though they mean well, and so the wounds they make are mischievous, and only wounds, not really corrective agencies. Man's bungling ways in smiting and healing, make us say, after David, "Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of man."
II. THESE TWO THINGS - SMITING AND HEALING - ARE ALWAYS UNITED IN GOD.
1. In God's thought.
2. In God's arrangement.
3. Given time enough, also in God's action.
Because of the union God's smitings can always be severe enough to be efficient. He can venture to smite harder than any man can ever do, But God's wounds never go beyond his healing power. The most striking illustration is perhaps that set before us in the story of Job. In dealing with him we know not which to admire most - God's wonderful smitings, God's wonderful healings, or the gracious way in which the smitings and the healings fitted in together. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.