The Book of Exodus


 

Introduction to the book of EXODUS

 

Exodus 1

 

EXODUS 2

 

EXODUS 3

 

EXODUS 4

 

EXODUS 5

 

EXODUS 6

 

EXODUS 7

 

EXODUS 8

 

EXODUS 9

 

EXODUS 10

 

EXODUS 11

 

EXODUS 12

 

EXODUS 13

 

EXODUS 14

 

EXODUS 15

 

EXODUS 16

 

EXODUS 17

 

EXODUS 18

 

EXODUS 19

 

EXODUS 20

 

EXODUS 21

 

EXODUS 22

 

EXODUS 23

 

EXODUS 24

 

EXODUS 25

 

EXODUS 26

 

EXODUS 27

 

EXODUS 28

 

EXODUS 29

 

Exodus 30

 

EXODUS 31

 

EXODUS 32

 

EXODUS 33

 

EXODUS 34

 

EXODUS 35

 

EXODUS 36

 

EXODUS 37

 

EXODUS 38

 

EXODUS 39


EXODUS 40. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407


Introduction to the book of EXODUS


Introduction: This is semi-finished at the end of the Exodus series!


Authorship: See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. p. 112 concerning Mosaic authorship.


Outline:

I. Prelude to the Exodus

A. Historical introduction Ex. 1

B. Moses early life and training Ex. 2

C. The calling of Moses Ex 3-4:19

D. Moses travels back to Egypt and meets his people, the Jews, and his brother, Aaron. Ex. 4:20–31

E. Moses before the Pharaoh Ex. 5-

II. The exodus out of Egypt

           III. Beginning of the desert wandering


The Great Metaphor of Israel being taken out of Egypt: As I was in the middle of my study of Psalm 47, I suddenly connected it to the history of Israel. Then, a lot of why’s suddenly began to be answered. God has Jacob and his family in the Land of Promise; why does He remove them from the Land of Promise, put them into Egypt, and then take them out? There are several reasons: (1) this is an unprecedented event in history, known to the entire world. It was clear to the world that the God of Israel was more powerful than the gods of Egypt, the most powerful nation of the world at that time. (2) God then gave the Land of Promise to Israel, which involved the destruction of a variety of nations, show His superiority over their gods. Anyone outside the Land of Promise could hear about these events and recognize their God as the God of Creation, and believe in Him. (3) A great reason for God choosing these sets of events is also metaphorical. As men, we are born in subjection to sin with no way to remove ourselves from slavery to sin. God makes Himself known to us and He takes those of us who believe in Him out of our slavery to sin. Footnote After this point, some men die in the desert, not appropriating to themselves by faith what God has promised. Some seize this promise and take all that God has for them (the Land of Promise) along with the many blessings which God has for them in this life. This is the generation of believers who believe God after salvation and advance spiritually. In the book of Exodus through the book of Numbers, we will see the first generation of Jews, which I will call Gen X, who fail time and time again and who die the sin unto death in the desert, never reaching the Land of Promise which God has promised them (well, they reach it and they back down). The next generation, the generation of promise, those who came out of Egypt being 20 and younger, believe God and believe His promises, and they will take the Land of Promise and all there which God has for them (houses they did not build, wells they did not dig, a land flowing with milk and honey). As believers in Jesus Christ, we are taken out of slavery to sin, but then we have a life to lead after that. Some believers fail time and time again; some believers do not believe God, and some are taken out of this life by the sin unto death. Others believe God and seize what He has promised, and end up with great prosperity and blessing.


Theory Regarding Egypt: One of the problems in the exodus is the lack of corroboration of evidence from Egypt. We have no Egyptian records indicating that there was this great exodus of Jews from their land; nor one of the great devastation which occurred. In fact, we do not even know which pharaoh was the pharaoh of the exodus. I’ve got a theory, and I do not know how accurate this is, but: the Egyptians suffered an embarrassingly decisive defeat at the hands of their slaves, the Israelites. What occurred was unprecedented in human history. Slave revolts do not result in the complete decimation of the country of their masters. There is no indication that the pharaoh died—only his firstborn—my thinking is that this was such an embarrassment that the Egyptian government did everything possible to cover it up. It is even possible that the pharaoh of the exodus was expunged from Egyptian history and the pharaoh’s on both sides were given longer reigns to take up the slack. We have seen history rewritten in the United States and we have definitely seen it rewritten in the Soviet Union—so it is not a stretch to think that perhaps the rewriting of history has been done before and that is what occurred here. Also, Satan does not want records of this. He does not want us to clearly look back and see the power of God; and Satan certainly played a big part in the history and culture of Egypt, being closely tied into its religion. So, a combination of Satanic influence and human and national pride would result in events of the exodus being expunged from the history of Egypt.


Exodus 1

 

Exodus 1:1–22

 


Introduction: Exodus picks up 100–300 years after the death of Joseph and follows seamlessly the history of Israel in Egypt for another century. This chapter begins somewhere between 1650–1550 b.c. The Exodus took place between 1550–1440 b.c. At some point in time, Joseph is not only just a part of Egyptian history, but he is lost to the Egyptians entirely. Whatever happened, whether the Hyksos dynasty followed Joseph by 50–100 years, destroying most of the records of all recent rulers, or whether this was just lost to that time period, we do not know, but there comes a point where the Egyptians recognized that they had a non-Egyptian population residing in the midst of Egypt, growing incredibly fast. One of Pharaoh's solutions is to enslave the entire Jewish population. When this does not stem the tide of Jewish birth, this Pharaoh or another unofficially orders the midwives to kill the children of the Israelites. When this does not have the achieved result expected, Pharaoh then issues an official decree, demanding the death of all male Jewish babies.


Outline of Chapter 1:

 

           vv.        1–7    Introduction to the Israelite population in Egypt

           vv.        8–14  Pharaoh's first solution: enslave the Jews

           vv.       15–21  Pharaoh's second solution: command the midwives to kill the Israelite male children

           v.          22      Pharaoh's third solution: cast the Israelite male infants into the Nile


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:



Introduction to the Israelite Population in Egypt


Genesis leaves Joseph, the Prime Minister of Egypt, placed there by God, in a coffin. He had brought with him to Egypt, under God's direction, his brothers. The book of Exodus begins with a conjunction. It is a continuation of the previous Genesis. This conjunction means that it does not stand by itself. Exodus lists the sons of Jacob, also called Israel:

 

And these are the names of the sons of Israel, who came into Egypt—with Jacob did each man and his household had come—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. [Exodus 1:1-4]


Jacob was their father. Jesus Christ renamed him Israel in Gen. 32:28. These are named in the same order as they are found in Gen. 35:22b-26. However, they are grouped differently. Whereas Joseph or Jacob may have grouped them strictly as to their mother, the author of Exodus, Moses, groups them slightly differently. Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah are grouped together, all of whom are sons of Leah, who eventually (after the time of Moses) settled in the southern portion of the land of Canaan (with the exception of the tribe of Levi, who was scattered amongst the other tribes, as the Jews are scattered today throughout the world). We will more about these four tribes than the others in the remainder of the Law. Issachar and Zebulun were born to Leah later in life after Jacob sired children through Leah and Rachel's personal servants, Bilhah and Zilpah. Leah seduced her husband Jacob and bore him three more children. Benjamin was the last child born to Jacob through Rachel when Rachel died in childbirth (Joseph was the first). Dan and Naphtali were Bilhah's children, and Gad and Asher were Zilpah's.

 

And it came to pass that all the persons who were descended from [lit., going out of the loins of] Jacob were seventy-five souls—but Joseph was already in Egypt. So then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. [Ex. 1:5-6]


For the number 75 rather than 70, see Norman Geisler and William Nix; A General Introduction to the Bible; Chicago; Moody Press, ©1968, p. 262.


The word generation, dôwr (ר) [pronounced dore] is used in a number of different ways in Scripture. It can mean a period of time, a generation, an age and even a dwelling, a circle, a ball; it can refer to a time in the past or in the future and to a particular group of people. In this case, it was a reference to the generations which Joseph saw. We are told that he saw the third generation of Ephraim's sons, so this refers to Joseph's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and their contemporaries. This would place us roughly 100–150 years past the end of Gen. 50.


The Jews grew in population from seventy to two million. This indicates a lot of right man right woman relationships where there is a great deal of affection and love between the couples. Population growth conforms to the equations At = A0ekt where A0 is the original population, At is the population after t years, and k is a constant (e ≈ 2.71). If we assume that a family grows from two to seven over a period of forty years (that is, they have an average of five children in each family) then the population constant k ≈ .0313. Or, if we take Jacob's family as typical, we have, over a period of fifty years, twelve children resulting from five adults; and by that time, three of the children have between them another two children, our population constant would be approximately 0.0277. These two population constants give us a time period of 300-400 years. Jacob would have been more successful and therefore more prolific (since he had his wives' maids) than the average family. This all mathematically squares with the Bible's time table of 430 years in Egypt (Ex. 12:40), which may include Abram's sojourning in Egypt (see Gen. 12:10 15:13), but I doubt that.


Since Joseph had been put on the throne by God, he was able to watch over his people and to protect them. However, there came a time when God's geographical will for the Jews had to change, so God caused the circumstances to change. After a few generations, what has occurred in the past is, at best, history, and at worst, forgotten. Government leadership was not perpetuated in the Jewish sojourners.

 

But the sons of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly [lit., swarmed] and multiplied and became extremely strong (or, numerous)—that the land was filled with them. [Ex. 1:7]


We have a polysyndeton here—a repetition of and's to indicate the incredible population growth of the Jews. Combined with this, we have a synonymia [pronounced syn-o-NYM-i-a], which is a repetition of synonyms. The writer here has told us in five ways about the population explosion of the Jews. This indicates growth which even the author Moses finds surprising.

 

Shârats (ץ ַר ָש ), translated "increased abundantly" means "to swarm, or abound." It is also translated "breed, creep or move." It is in the Qal imperfect. The same word is used in Gen. 1:20, 21 7:21 8:17. Simply put, the Jews had a population explosion. "Multiplied" is also in the Qal imperfect and it means 'to multiply, to become many." The imperfect means uncompleted action, meaning that during the time this passage refers to, they were still multiplying. They were in God's geographical will and we receive blessings as a natural result of being in His will. At first, Joseph, one of their own, was on the throne as the Prime Minister. However, all things are subject to change. It was time for them to return to the land of Canaan and they will require a lot of prodding. People often complain that they do not understand God's will or cannot determine what God's will is for their life. The Jews knew only a small portion of their heritage and they were very stiff-necked. God had to subject them to extremely unpleasant conditions in order to get them to leave Egypt. Most people take a very dim view of slavery, particularly in the United States; however, the Bible at best intimates that slavery is not the best route for a prosperous person to employ (see the book of Philemon). On the other hand, God often used slavery to achieve his purposes. Here, a very evil, unjust brand of slavery was imposed upon the Israelites for the specific purpose of causing them to remain in God's geographical will. Had their misery from being enslaved not been intensified, then they would not have left Egypt under Moses. Because of the slavery which took place in the United States, there were millions of black people who were saved and will spend eternity in God's presence. We can learn in two ways: the easy way or the hard way. God has provided His word and therein we find our direction in life. It is in His Word where we discover God's plan for our life; His will for our life. If we refuse to know Him and His will through His Word, then we learn it the hard way—as did the Jews in the Exodus.


Anti-Semitism developed in Egypt. Under the Pharaoh who put Joseph into power, there was very little anit-Semitism. The Pharaoh put Joseph into power due to his abilities and his race and background were not issues to Pharaoh. However, in almost any country where there are Jews, we eventually find anti-Semitism. It is Satan's plan to try to wipe out the Jewish race so that the promises made by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could not be fulfilled. Even in areas where the Jews resemble everyone else, and there will still be pockets of anti-Semitism. On the surface level, it is one of the most unreasonable prejudices found. The Jews are generally hard-working, agreeable, prosperous and peaceful. Any nation which treats them fairly is blessed and any nation which discriminates, or persecutes them is reduced in power and often eliminated from history. See the doctrine of anti-Semitism.

 

We have a difficult time placing a date on this time period. I have heard opinions which vary from 1800's b.c to as recently as 1100's b.c. We do not have absolutely confirmed reports of the exodus in Egyptian history. We do have mention from time to time of ׳Apiru (or Hapiru) peoples in the Delta region. Whereas this could be the Hebrew people, it may be a word for any outside tribal group residing within the borders of Egypt. The Hebrew word for Hebrew is ‛Iberîy (י  ̣ר  ְב  ̣ע) [pronounced ib-REE] and we first saw it used in conjunction with Abraham; after that, it was never used until Joseph's stay in Egypt. In the Egyptian historical documents which we possess, there are several documents which refer to Hapiru peoples populating Egypt; however, these are likely different peoples living in Egypt between the years 2000 and 1200 b.c. It is not unlikely that this word was first applied to the Hebrews in the early documents and then came into general usage for any and all displaced peoples in the land of Egypt.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Pharaoh's First Solution: Enslave the Jews

 

Then a new king, who had not known Joseph, arose over Egypt. [Ex. 1:8]


All of the kings of Egypt are referred to in the Bible by the title Pharaoh. This Pharaoh is not the Pharaoh of Ex. 5. The Pharaoh in this verse arose two to eight generations after Joseph. A country requires very little time to degenerate. A country can go from its highest to its lowest point in one generation (take the WW II and the post WW II generation in America; followed almost immediately by the hippie generation, who brought serious degeneracy into our midst). When Joseph died, his position of authority was not perpetuated by another Jew, therefore the Jews lost their position of partial power in Egypt. This was not necessarily a matter of anti-Semitism as we saw the Joseph was head and shoulders above his brothers, his father and his grandfather in the realm of spiritual growth and orientation to God's plan and to His grace. So it is possible for the Pharaoh of Joseph and his sons to recognize the inate ability of Joseph; but to also see that this is lacking in his brothers.

 

This text reads arose over against Egypt. Rather than saying there arose a king over Egypt who did not know Pharaoh, this king is qualified by the adjective châdâsh (ש ָד ָח ) [pronounced khaw-DAWSH] means new, fresh. This word which is so common in our vocabulary, is found 50 times in the Old Testament. The preposition is ‛al (ל ַע) [pronounced al] and unfortunately all but ignored by Owen. It means upon, on account of, concerning, together with, beyond, over, to, towards, against. What is possibly implied here is an imposition; and definitely elevation. The verb is qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom] and it means to arise, to stand, to stand up; however, this is in the Qal imperfect, indicating a process, not a completed event, which could mean a dynasty. None of this is absolutely conclusive, but there is a strong indication that this is a new, foreign dynasty rising over Egypt. A reasonable guess would be that this is the Hyksos dynasty or the end of the Hyksos dynasty. The latter seems very probable since an Egyptian control would automatically be suspicious of foreigners.

 

So he said unto his people, "Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are too many and mighty [lit., strong due to numbers] for us! Come, let us show ourselves wise with regard to them—so that they do not multiply so much that it would come to pass when war befalls us that they also shall join themselves unto them who hate us, and shall make war upon us, and then go up out of the land." [Ex. 1:9–10]


This Pharaoh, who did not know Joseph, looked upon the Jews as an infiltration and not as a blessing. Obviously, he was not a student of recent Egyptian history. As was mentioned in our study of Genesis, we do not have any historical documents from Egypt for several hundred years, around the time of Joseph's rule. It is possible that this is the first Hyksos dynasty king—a foreign king who has taken over Egypt. The phrasing of this verse would easily allow for this to be from a foreign dynasty Footnote . In any case, if these records were destroyed and say 100 years had passed or this is a foreign king with no sense of Egyptian history, then this Pharaoh would have no way of knowing who Joseph was or how the Jews came to be there. This Pharaoh's concern was to control this foreign population, which seemed to grow much faster than the Egyptian population (which is the result of the lack of right man right woman relationships).


According to this verse, the Jews were not large enough of a population at this point to be a threat to Egypt in terms of a revolution, but they were large enough and indigenous enough that if another nation came to make war with Egypt, their potential alliance with the Jews could be the determining factor in the outcome of such an attack. This Pharaoh will set the stage, but will be long gone by the time of the exodus out of Egypt. His plan of action was to enslave the Jew:

 

So they set over them chiefs of tribute [or, forced labor], to the end they might humiliate them with their burden—and they built store-cities for Pharaoh even Pithom and Raamses. [Ex. 1:11]

 

Most translations use the word taskmasters rather than princes of tribute (the literal meaning). It is two Hebrew words: sar (ר ַש ) [pronounced sar] which means Lord or prince and the other is the word miç (ס  ̣מ) which properly means burden, and has come to mean tribute, tax or tribute in the form of forced labor. That is, the Jews were expected to serve the Egyptians with slave labor as a form of tribute or tax (this in exchange for living in Egypt). Burden is the word çebâlâh (ה ָל ָב  ְס) [pronounced seb-aw-LAW] and it refers particularly to the heavy burdens placed upon the Israelites by Egypt. This word is found only in a few passages in Exodus (Ex. 2:11 5:4, 5 6:6, 7) and could be a blend of Egyptian and Hebrew. Nevertheless, it was likely a word first used when placed under slave labor and never used again after the exodus.

 

The term "store-cities" is rendered elsewhere as "treasure cities" or "storage cities." It is actually two words: the feminine plural noun miçekenâh (ה ָנ  ְ  ְס  ̣מ) [pronounced mis-ken-AW] and it means treasure, storage, supply and the feminine plural noun construct of ‛îyr (רי  ̣ע ) [pronounced eer] which simply means city, town. The contstruct means that it modifies or is closely related to the previous noun, so together they means cities of treasures, storage cities. The Greek word used is "fortified cities." The two would go hand in hand; if a city was used to store a lot of Egypt's wealth, then it would very likely be well-fortified. The Egyptians were degenerate but not stupid.


Pithom is mentioned only here in the Bible, but it is definitely a proper name from Egypt from at least 1300 b.c on. It's location is disputed. Raamses [pronounced RĂ-ăm-sez] was the city where the 19th and 20th dynasties resided (this is circa the first half of the second millennium b.c—not too far off from this time period). It is located in the northeast delta area, but its exact location is disputed also.

 

But the more they were humiliating them, the more were they multiplying, and the more were they breaking forth—so they were filled with alarm, because of the sons of Israel. [Ex. 1:12]

 

The Piel imperfect of ‛ănâh (ה ָנְַע) [pronounced aw-NAW] means to look down, to browbeat, to afflict, to humiliate. In the intensive Piel stem, we are being told that the Egypt resorted to prejudice and viciousness. Slavery is not a horrible institution; however, when it is abused, as it is here, only being in God's will with one's right-man or right-woman can counteract the affects of its cruelty. The Egyptians tried to confine the Israelites to specific areas, to forced labor, to a humiliated state of being; yet the Jews continued to pârats ( ַר ָ) [pronounced paw-RATS], which means to break out, to break forth, to spread out. Because of the tremendous population explosion that the Jews enjoyed because of their good marital situations, the Egyptian scould not confine them in any way. In fact, they, the slave owners and taskmasters feared Israel in general because their population growth far exceeded that of the free Egyptians.

 

And the Egyptians rigorously made the sons of Israel serve with [unusually brutal] rigor; and embittered their lives with harsh service, in clay and in bricks, and in all manner of service in the field—all their service, wherein they served them under [unusually brutal] cruelty. [Ex. 1:13–14]

 

Vv. 13 and 14 contain the same two words. At the end of v. 13, we have the Hiphil imperfect, 3rd masculine plural of ׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced aw-BAR] and it means to work, to serve. The Hiphil is the causative stem, meaning the Egyptians caused the Israelites to serve them. In v. 14, this verb is in the Qal perfect, 3rd person plural, so the subject of the verb is the Israelites and this verse looks upon this as a completed action. The way in which they caused the Israelites to serve them was with rigor. We have the preposition be  (ְ Footnote ) [pronounced beh with a very short eh] and this means in, into, at, by, on, with, within. Here, with is the most likely translation. Pereke (׃ך ר ) [pronounced PEH-rek] and it means harshness, severity; its root word meaning is to break, to fracture. Therefore the translations which merely state that the Jews served with rigor leaves the cruelty and severity out of the meaning, which certainly belongs here. I have translated those last two words somewhat differently in both verses, one corresponding to the causative stem and the other to the active stem of ׳âbar.


The Jews occupied the land of Goshen, which was only a short distance away from all the building projects that the Egyptian Pharaoh's had going. King Rameses II (the Great) was a man who was deceitful and had a passion for building. His name is found on an incredible number of temples, public buildings—a number which are beyond human imagination (and these are the ones which we have uncovered). After a great deal of detective work, it became clear that many of these buildings had been built centuries before Rameses II; he just saw to it that his monogram was carved on all of them. However, it is very likely that the archeological findings of Professor Pierre Montet of Strasbourg between 1929 and 1932, with Rameses II's stamp were likely created during his reign. In this area, which is near the present fishing village named San there were found a very large number of statues, sphinxes, columns and fragments of buildings, all with his name on them. The Pharaoh's in general had a great lust for building and the Israelites were located quite nearby in the land of Goshen, on a few miles south of the new capital.


The Jews themselves were bright and learned, yet the Egyptians forced upon them hard-labor, designed for slaves. Still, because these Jews had a relationship with the one God of the universe, because they had found their right woman, and because some of them have doctrine, they did not only bear up under these pressures but they thrived. Imagine how difficult it would be to be involved in various forms of mental labor and then be suddenly thrown into hard, physically-demanding labor. This is hot, hard, and physical labor, the kind that would cause many men to buckle under. The Jews, among other things, actually built two fortified storage cities, which would certainly demand a lot of stone and brick. With today's modern equipment, that is difficult work. Then it was strenuous beyond what most men today could imagine. This took patience and trust. They waited upon God's perfect timing. In fact, they waited possibly two centuries and served Egypt as slaves for that long, waiting upon God. There is no mention of revolution or of rebellion. The Jews endured this servitude. God had not directed them to do otherwise. However, what occurred in the Jews was a certain type of mental attitude caused by being under generations of slavery. Because of this, God had to destroy that generation like a cancer before they infected their sons and daughters with their slave mentality.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Pharaoh's Second Solution: Command the Midwives to Kill the Israelite Male Children

 

Then spoke the king of Egypt to the Hebrew midwives—of whom the name of the one was Shiprah and the name of the other was Puah; [Ex. 1:15]


For this population, there were not only two midwives. There has been a hierarchy set up of midwives, with two women in charge, Shiprah and Puah. It would not make sense for there to be this few midwives for a population of two million Jews, nor would it make sense for all the midwives to be directly under the Pharaoh. The midwives reported to Shiprah and Puah and they reported directly to Pharaoh. In any large city, there is one district attorney—however, he is not prosecuting every criminal case. Under him you have assistant district attorneys. Don't think that those in the ancient world were so backward as to not understand levels of authority. Gleason gives these two famous women the title of administrative superintendents over the obstetrical guild of the Hebrew community Footnote .

 

He said, "When you act as midwives unto the Hebrew women, then you shall observe its gender [lit., look upon the birthstool]—If it is a son, then shall you kill it. But if it is a daughter, then shall it live. [Ex. 1:16]


There are several things to note in this passage. First of all, there has been a passage of time from v. 11 to v. 15. The Jews endure slavery, they build two fortified storage cities and they continue to multiply as a race. This would cover at least a generation at least. My point here is that this is a new Pharaoh. This could be two or three or more generations later. Each Pharaoh warns the next Pharaoh about the Jews; or they know why the Jews are under slavery and each new Pharaoh watches them with interest. This is a new tact. Insofar as God is concerned, one anti-Semitic Pharaoh is no more important than the next, so God the Holy Spirit does not even bother to record either Pharaoh's name. In fact, there might be four or five Pharaoh's in this book and God does not distinguish one from the other. However, God the Holy Spirit records the names of the midwives and their names have come down to us almost 4,000 years later. Notice the difference in their stations in life, the midwives as versus the Pharaohs, yet we can only guess as to who each Pharaoh is and God the Holy Spirit has recorded for all eternity the names of the midwives. God has a much different value system than we have. Fame and power in the human realm mean absolutely nothing to God. Personal integrity and day to day choices is much more important. How we treat the Jew is important to God. Their names mean "Beauty" and "Splendor." Since God occassionally renames those that are His (which, incidentally, is not something that we do ourselves), this could be His viewpoint of these two women and these would be their names throughout eternity. It is also very likely that thexe two women did have a place of authority over the midwives throughout all of Egypt, as it was unlikely that there were just two midwives. Or they were the midwives for that particular area. In either case, they were believers in Jesus Christ and they had enough doctrine to realize when they were to obey the civil authorities over them and when they should disobey those authorities. Next notice that there is not an official decree here, as slavery was. The Pharaoh went directly to the midwives and this was to be done surreptitiously.

 

But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt said unto them—but let the male children live. Then called the king of Egypt for the midwives and said to them, "Wherefore have you done this thing—that you should let the male children live?" And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, "Because not like the Egyptian women are the Hebrew women—for [possibly, but] they are full of life; and before the midwife can come in unto them they have given birth." [Ex. 1:17–19]

 

The Piel imperfect, 3rd person feminine plural of châyay (י ַי ָח ) [pronounced khaw-YAH-ee] means to live, to revive. Although the midwives are the subject of the verb, therefore causing the action, this is causing by way of permission; therefore the use of the word let.


Even Pharaoh realized that this was such an outrageous proposition that (1) he could not make it official policy and (2) he could not have the babies murdered right in front of their mothers. So Pharaoh went to the midwives directly and give them an unofficial directive. The midwives, while assisting the Hebrew women, were to kill the male babies but not to be so tactless is to do it right in front of them. They were to deliver the babies and tell them that the baby had been born dead if it was a male. What the midwives have done here is they have lied to the Pharaoh as opposed to lying to the mother. Even the Pharaoh realized that you cannot kill a woman's baby in front of her. So their story to the Pharaoh was that the babies were born before they could get there and born clearly alive. Therefore there was nothing that the midwives could do. It is also possible that they did not lie to Pharaoh—they could have intentionally arrived too late to the births.


In general, the Bible does not encourage civil disobedience. Paul makes it very clear in Rom. 13 that we are to obey the civil authorities over us. Jesus Christ has told us to pay our taxes ("Render unto Cæsar what is Cæsar's."). However, this is a situation which demands that the midwives, as believers in Jesus Christ, oppose the Pharaoh, and, in this situation, possibly even lie to the Pharaoh. They were not disobeying a lawful decree or an official policy. This order was directly from the Pharaoh; it was his idea (although it may have been suggested by one of his underlings) but he did not enact this into law. Disobeying the law is generally not condoned by God; however, in this situation, these women are not disobeying the law. This is akin to a government official (even the president) commanding a woman to have sex with him, or commanding someone to assassinate another official; or demanding that we perjure ourselves in court on his behalf. Pharaoh has put them i the situation where they must either disobey his intentions or disobey the will of God. They chose to disregard Pharaoh's mandates. Therefore, their behavior is not only condoned, but these women have their names recorded forever in God's Word whereas we do not even know the exact names of the Pharaoh's involved. At best, we can make some educated guesses using archeology.


It makes me grimace when I cover a topic like this because, for some people, this is all the light that they need. They take a concept like this and somehow manage to distort it into bombing abortion clinics and terrorizing those who work for abortion clinics; becoming pacifists under any and all circumstances and refusing to serve their country; refusing to pay all or a portion of their taxes; maintaining an arsenal of unregistered weapons; etc. Before you ever disobey the law in any way, you need to be certain that you are on firm Biblical ground, having been taught carefully verse-by-verse on the topic at hand. Taking three or four verses out of context to support your view is not good enough. Notice exactly the action that these two midwives took: they were unofficially ordered by Pharaoh to surreptitiously kill babies that they had just delivered and they did not kill any babies.


A minor problem must be dealt with here. We have two midwives serving a population of 2,000,000 Jews in the midst of a population explosion. This does not seem possible. Well, in fact, it is not possible. According to Gleason Archer in his Difficulties of the Bible, it was common for the Egyptian to set up bureaucratic chain of command with any governmental agency or activity. We saw this with Joseph. Pharaoh okayed his plan to maintain grain repositories and then put Joseph in charge of it. Joseph would have hired a staff under him to handle this as he would have been the chief administrator of this project. The two midwives named here were the ones who were heads over all the Jewish midwives in the land of Goshen. They were the link between this medical service and the Pharaoh.

 

So then God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and became extremely numerous. And it came to pass because the midwives feared God, that he gave them households [and families]. [Ex. 1:20-21]

 

In v. 20, the population explosion continues. We find the word waxed in the KJV and it is old English for became. The Hebrew word ׳âtsam ( ַצ ָע) [pronounced aw-TSAM] means "to become mighty or numerous." Probably, in this case, the best way to understand it it that the Jews became mighty because there were so many of them.

 

Bayith (ת  ̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith], in v. 21, pertains to family, house or household. This literally says that God gave them houses. This is a metonymy where house stands for the accessories of a home—a husband and children. The midwives were often unmarried and therefore without children (as this implies) and in their work, they tended to meet mostly married couples where the wife was about to give birth. God brought to them their right men and provided for them both a household and family. This tells you that it does not matter what your vocation is or where you spend your time; God will bless us with that right person as long as we are patient and remain in His will.

 

In the Hebrew, one of the equivalent words for salvation was to fear or yârê̓(א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY] and it means both "to fear" and "to revere." When we find this phrase in the OT, we are speaking of people who have believed in Jesus Christ. In the OT times, deities were often very country-specific. We have a similar situation today. In certain areas, such as India, we have people who mostly believe in Hinduism and in the East we have Buddhism. These are no different (and no better) than pagan religions of the old world. However, there is but one true God and there are not many roads to find Him but just one (as Jesus said, "Narrow is the gate and few that are that find it." and "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by me."). Here, these midwives believe in Jesus Christ, the God of Israel. Furthermore, God recognizes their correct judgement and blesses them for it. Before you engage in any sort of civil disobedience, do not use this passage as an excuse, and make certain that Rom. 13 has been thoroughly exegeted for you. Christian activism is a trap and a detrimental to the cause of Christ.


Chapter Outline

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Pharaoh's Third Solution: Cast the Israelite Male Infants into the Nile

 

Then Pharaoh commanded to all his people, saying, "Every son that is born to the Hebrews, into the river shall you cast him; but every daughter shall you allow to live." [Ex. 1:22]


Although to the Hebrews is not found in Textus Receptus, this phrase is in the western Samaritan, the Vulgate, and in several targums. Context implies this phrase even if it was not originally written here, but most modern translations insert it.


It is at this point that Pharaoh issues the official decree. He has ordered the murder of thousands of baby Hebrew boys. Here, civil disobedience is appropriate. Notice the hand of Satan behind all of this. The seed of the woman, who will crush Satan's head, shall come through the Jewish race; therefore, it is one of Satan's plans to kill the male children. Also, it has always been Satan's attempt to amalgamate the Jewish race into the population as a whole. If there is no Jewish race, then God's promises to them cannot be fulfilled. The Pharaoh has similar motives (although he has certainly been influenced by Satan). With the large male Jewish population—particularly as slaves—they could revolt at any time, which would be a messy and distressful situation. It is not that the Egyptians could not handle the Jews in war (at that point in time) but that this would disrupt the Pharaoh's rule and engage his army in what would amount to be a civil war. Furthermore, as a male, he doesn't mind having the Jewish women around and it would not be a problem if they were integrated into the Egyptian race. Satan has influenced Pharaoh to both destroy the Jewish race by killing the male population and this could in turn cause them to amalgamate into the general population.



EXODUS 2


Exodus 2:1–25


Introduction: Chapter 2 covers the birth of Moses and his young life in the palace. We are told very little about this area of his life—although Moses was undoubtedly the greatest genius in royalty. He had to chose between ruling over Egypt or ruling over a group of ungracious, stiff-necked Jews, as a part of God's plan for his life. It was not a choice made all at once; it involved many small decisions, many of which are made in this chapter. There are few one-shot decisions which impact your entire life for good; in fact only salvation comes to mind. There are a number of one-shot decisions which cause you great grief throughout your life: the choice to engage in pre-marital sex the first time; the decision to try drugs; the decision to marry the wrong person. Almost all the correct things which affect your life for the best requires you to make many correct decisions: the decision to marry the right person is a result of hundreds of decisions; the decision not to take drugs is sometimes almost a daily choice for some people (as is the decision not to drink); spiritual growth is based upon several decisons every single day of your life, the most important of which is to take in God's Word as presented by a pastor-teacher. Moses makes many of those decisions in this chapter. We will follow him from birth to almost age 80 in one chapter. The rest of the Torah cover the last 40 years of his life.


Outline of Chapter 2:

 

       vv.   1–10    Moses as a child

       vv.  11–14    Moses kills an Egyptian 

       vv.  15–18    Moses flees Egypt and meets his future family

       vv.  19–22    Moses moves into the house of Reuel and takes one of his daughters to wife

       vv.  23–25    God remembers Israel


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

       v.    2            Moses as a Type of Christ

       V.   10          The Intelligence of Pharaoh’s Daughter

       v.    15          The Familia Background of Moses

       v.    25          Why Did God Move Israel out of the Land of Canaan and into Egypt, and then out of Egypt and back to the Land of Canaan?



Moses as a Child

 

And there went a man of the house of Levi, and married [lit., took] a daughter of Levi. [Ex. 2:1]


The literal word here is house, but it stands for the lineage of Levi. Further, as we have seen in the past, the use of the word daughter means descendant; but not necessarily daughter as we use the word.


We have already examined Levi. We have seen that in conjunction with Simeon, he had a tendency toward horrible cruelty. Together they were self-righteous and the over-reacted. However, even though there are a great many characteristics which are transmitted genetically, everyone has free will and people can chose not to be ruled by their emotions. To examine Gen. 34, we would never suspect that the Levites were to be priests to God. Because of certain denominations and one particular church (which will go unnamed), we have a lot of confused ideas about what the priesthood. We see them as religious figures; those who are closer to God in some ethereal way, those who have a particularly high ranking in the church. In the church age, the time in which we live, every believer is a priest. A priest is someone who represents man to God (whereas, conversely, the prophet represented God to man). There had to be a go-between man and God;. This was made very clear in the Levitical priesthood laws, which we will study. They had to go through all kinds of purification rituals and there were many things which were forbidden them, because it would make them unclean. When a priest is unclean, he cannot be in God's presence. Man, at that time, could not go to God either; not directly. Man is unclean. We are all stained with our personal sins; we all have a sin nature; and we all have Adam's original sin imputed to us. Moses came from this stock; from the family which were to become priests to God on behalf of the Israelites. Moses many times represented the Jews to God and argued on their behalf. Being a man who understood God's Word, Moses was able to do this. To head off any bizarre thinking; Moses argued with God and God was glorified because Moses understood God's Word. Moses did not come up with some kind of an argument that God hadn't thought of, changed God's mind, and then God did things differently. It is sometimes presented that way as language of accommodation. However, God does not change His mind (or "repent," as per the old English term).

 

And the woman conceived and bare a son; and she observed him, that he was a healthy child [with a good temperament], so she hid him three months. [Ex. 2:2]


Moses, in v. 2, is described via translation variously as good, beautiful, goodly, or fine. The Hebrew word is ţôwb (בת) [pronounced tobe] and it is used of men and women, describing them as good; but it seems to have a very wide range of meanings, translated variously as precious, joyful, kindly, cheerful, etc. It is important, in interpretation here, to remind ourselves that we are speaking of a three-month-old baby. At three months of age, few babies are into gross immorality and almost all of them appear precious to their mothers. In my very limited field of expertise here, I have noticed that what does separate some babies from others is their temperment and their health. Therefore, we will translate this, "healthy with a good temperment."

 

We have the Qal imperfect, 3rd person singular of rââh (ה ָא ָר) [pronounced raw-AW] which is the simple word which means to see. However, it has a wide variety of applications; here, in the imperfect (cointuous sense) and considering the object, I have translated this observe. We are not made aware of the nuts and bolts of this law—whether there was a bounty on these male Hebrew babies or whether Pharaoh had commissioned his own soldiers to enforce this law, but even in the land of Goshen, wwhich was primarily Jewish, they still had to hide their infants.


Moses as a Type of Christ

It is important that we see that Moses is a type of Christ, as were many of those whose lives have been recorded in Scripture. A type is someone or something which foreshadows the person of Jesus Christ or His first advent (possibly his second advent, but I cannot come up with an example of that). We will take it in points:

1.    The ruler of the land, influenced by Satan, tried to have Moses and the humanity of Jesus Christ killed almost at birth (Ex. 1:22 Matt. 2:16)

2.    Both were divinely chosen deliverers (Ex. 3:7–10 Acts 7:25 John 3:16; check also Isa. 61:1–2 Luke 4:18–19 2Cor. 1:10 1Thess. 1:10)

3.    Moses forsook the crown of Egypt for the Jews; our Lord forsook His place as Deity1 in order to take on the form of a man (Heb. 11:24–26 Phil. 2:6–8)

4.    Both Moses and our Lord went to their people and their people did not receive them (Ex. 2:11–14 John 1:11 Acts 7:23–29 18:5–6 28:17–28)

5.    When rejected, they both turned toward the Gentiles (Ex. 2:11–14 John 1:11 Acts 7:23–29 18:5–6 28:17–28)

6.    During this time of rejection, both took a bride (Ex. 2:16–21 Matt. 12:14–21 2Cor. 11:2 Eph. 5:30–32)

7.    Moses represented the Jews before God; Jesus Christ represents us before God (Num. 14:11–20 1Tim. 2:5)

8.    Moses interceded on behalf of the Jews and Jesus Christ intercedes on our behalf (Num. 14:11–20 John 17:1–26 Rom. 8:33–34 Heb. 7:25 1John 2:1)

9.    Furthermore, Moses and Christ both acts as prophets (Acts 3:22–23); advocates (Ex. 32:31–35 1John 2:1–2); and leaders or kings (Deut. 33:4–5 Isa. 55:4 Heb. 2:10)

10.  After having been rejected, Moses and Christ both return to their people to be accepted as leaders (Ex. 4:29–31 Acts 15:14–17 Rom. 11:24–26)

11.  Moses presented the first covenant to the children of Israel, Jesus the second (Deut. 4:1–2, 23 Heb. 8:6 9:15)

1  He did not forsake His Deity, however.


Chapter Outline

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And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark [made out] of papyrus-reeds, and covered it over with bitumen and with pitch, and put therein the child and laid it among the papyrus reeds, upon the bank [lit., lip] of the river. Then did his sister station herself at a distance; to see what would be done with him. [Ex. 2:3–4]


I very much enjoyed the KJV that the ark was covered with "slime and pitch." That would make a wonderful Mother's Day sermon. How many mothers are going to allow their child to get anywhere near "slime"? Perhaps the translator was the kind of man who liked to chide the ladies? The Greek word used in the Septuagint is ἄσφαλτος, which, transliterated, is asphaltos. This is bitumen, which boiled up from the subterranean fountains not far from Babylon and from the bottom of the Dead Sea. It hardens in the sun and is gathered up on the surface of the water (Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies). "Tar" is an acceptable rendering. The bitumen is very easily melted and is very brittle when cold; however, when it is combined with the tar, it becomes a strong cement once it sets up. The ark itself was made from papyrus reeds, very plentiful along the banks of the river.


This idea which came out of the blue to Moses' mother. She knew about Noah and his ark and how it saved him and his small family, the only uncorrupted humans of the antediluvian race. She had an uncorrupted baby and she was going to put him in the ark for God to save him. The Hebrew word here and in Genesis are the same word (however, it is not the same word as found in the ark of the covenant. In each case, the ark held God's super grace hero of his generation in the midst of turmoil all around. Vv. 5-6: the bulrushes, rushes or the flags, as they are called in some translations, where the ark was placed, are papyrus reeds.


Furthermore, the mother of Moses was very authority oriented. It had been the command of Pharaoh to cast all of the male babies into the Nile. This is exactly what she did. She cast Moses into the Nile—however, it was in an ark. Obviously the edict of Pharaoh did not specify that Hebrew male children could not be placed in a container of sorts.

 

So then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe by the river, and her maidens were walking by the side of the river—where she saw the ark in the midst of the papyrus reeds, and sent her handmaiden and get it. And she opened and examined the child, and saw [the] infant weeping, so she took pity on him and said, "Of the children of the Hebrews is this." [Ex. 2:5-6]

 

I have taken a lot of liberties with the translation of this verse. Râ’âh, which we recently saw is the verb to see, I have translated examined. The word for child is na׳ar (ר ַע ַנ) [pronounced NAH-ar] and it can be translated boy, lad, youth, male-child, and in this situation, infant. For some reason, the KJV particles Lo, behold sound too dated for modern English. Instead of translating it as a demonstrative particle, I translated it saw.


The intention of the Pharaoh's daughter to bathe in the river tells us that even she lacked indoor plumbing (which did exist later in Rome). Whereas public bathing for orientals today, it is quite acceptable to the ancient Egyptians. We have actual pictures from monuments of women of rank bathing, attended to by four fremale servants. When she picked the baby Moses up, she immediately knew that this was a Hebrew child because he had been circumcised (when a baby is crying, we all know one of the first things a mother will check for).

 

Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call for you a woman who is nursing, of the Hebrew women—that she may nurse for you the child?" And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the maid went and called the mother of the child. [Ex. 2:7–8]


Miriam, Moses' sister, has been watching from the background. She makes herself known. Notice that there will be a bit of protocol here. The Pharaoh's daughter is not a stupid woman; she carries the genes of the Pharaoh, who has to have a reasonable amount of intelligence to get there (we will later see that his son will be second in Egypt only to Moses in innate ability). She knows that this woman who was lurking in the background is not just some Hebrew woman who just happened to meander by. Furthermore, by her size, age and health, it is unlikely that she is the mother. The Pharaoh's daughter probably immediately surmised that this woman was the boy's sister. Everyone there knows that the this woman is be the child's mother. This is not said outright to protect the mother and to protect the child.

 

The verb yânaq (ק ַנ ָי) [pronounced yaw-NAK] in the Qal means to suck but in the Hiphil, it means to cause a baby to nurse or simply to nurse. It is often translated in the KJV, to give suck, however, our modern term to nurse is more than adequate.

 

And Pharaoh's daughter said to her [the mother], "Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed it. [Ex. 2:9]


Note that nothing is said about the true parents of the child; no one is acknowledging that they are doing anything illegal. Miriam, Moses' sister, who happens to be passing by, just happens to know someone who could nurse this child. Furthermore, the woman, Moses' mother, is paid by the Pharaoh's daughter to nurse the child on her behalf. All of these points of protocol protect the mother and the child. If she is ever caught with the child and questioned, she need only say that she is being paid by the Pharaoh's daughter to nurse it for her. All of this could be verified and the child would remain safe. If the Pharaoh's daughter is questioned with regards to her own lawfulness, she simply discovered an abandoned child–how was she to know it was condemned to death? If this matter were pursued, then she would appeal to her father.


Satan has been warned from the beginning of human history that the seed of the woman would crush his head. Although Satan is not omnipresent, he still has a huge demon force which keeps him informed as to what is occurring throughout the world. Satan is a genius and is able to process a great deal of information; more than we could imagine. He does not know what exactly the savior/deliverer of Israel is going to be; who the seed of the woman who will crush his head will be. He looks for certain signs and is a better student of the Bible than 99,9% of all Christians. So when the time is right, Satan will make an attempt to kill this child before it has grown. He did that here and when Christ was born. And notice: he was not going to take any chances but he would attempt to kill an entire generation, if possible. However, Satan's plans, no matter how genius they are, are no match for God's plans. To those few confused individuals who think that Satan is always after them; first of all, he isn't, and secondly, God is far greater than Satan and God's plan is far greater than Satan's. If you are alive, God has a plan for your life and this plan is far greater than anything Satan could devise. Even if you are a believer and believe (rightly so) that demons plague you; they are a part of Satan's plan and God's plan is far greater. There is no suffering or disaster or persecution or demonic attack that can befall us that God has not made provision for in eternity past. What is usually the case is that a believer, very negative toward God's word and God's plan, has made a total mess out of his own life and now thinks that it is irreparable. Even David with his escapade with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband; that was terrifically bad judgement and one sin compounded after another; and God not only blessed David (after the discipline) but the line of Jesus Christ came through Bathsheba because she was David's right woman. Can you imagine that? After all that David did, God even gave him his right woman and restored the kingdom to him. Don't get any foolish ideas; David was a great man who loved God's Word and grew daily by it. Furthermore, he received discipline which would crush any other person. God blessed David despite his shortcomings. This is how God treats a super grace believer. Had he not married all those other women, he would have met and married Bathsheba and have needed no other woman. But, I digress.

 

As the child grew, and she (the mother) brought him in to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses, and said, "For out of the water I drew him." [Ex. 2:10]

 

One of the explanations given for Moses' name is that it is a combination of the word for son (mos) and the name of an Egyptian river God; further, it is stated that this woman may have thought he had been given birth to by the river-god. This is nonsense—she knows that he is an Hebrew and has said so. She is a bright, observant young woman who was raised in the palace whose superstitions are probably not too different from our own. Furthermore, she tells why she named him what she did. Moses was not an unusual name for an Egyptian. In fact, several Pharaoh's names were compounded based upon that root. "Rameses" is actually "Ramose" and "Thutmose" is based upon that root word. The Egyptians and the Jews grew up side by side for 400 years. During that time, although the Hebrews kept themselves relatively isolated, genetically and socially, they would still have a strong influence upon each other's language. In the Hebrew, Moses is Môsheh (ה שמ) [pronounced mo-SHEH] and the word for to draw out is mâshâh (ה ָש ָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAW]. Môsheh also means to draw out of the water. It is very possible that mâshâh is Hebraized Egyptian, seeing that the Pharaoh's daughter named Moses and not his own mother. This word is not found but here in in two much later passages (2Sam. 22:17 Psalm 18:16). The Pharaoh's daughter, by the syntax of the sentence, emphasizes out of the water, using two very Hebrew words, min (ן  ̣מ) [pronounced min] and mayim (ם  ̣י ַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]. My guess is that she spoke in Egyptian, not using these latter two words but words which were Egyptian for water-saved. Very likely, this was a word of intersection or similarity between the two languages and, the Pharaoh's daughter being as brilliant as she is, rightfully deemed this the most appropriate name for Moses. The name of Moses certainly has elements of Hebrew and Egyptian both in it; which is very appropriate and is one way that we recognize the genius of Moses' adopted mother.


The Intelligence of Pharaoh’s Daughter

Now, let’s have some points on the intelligence of Pharaoh's daughter:

(1) She immediately recognized the baby as being Hebrew. In checking the child, she knew what to look for. (2) Not one time does she acknowledge that the "nurse" for the baby is the baby's mother. Without missing a beat, when speaking to Moses' sister, she arranges for the baby's survival. If she is confronted, it is a baby that she has adopted and is having a Hebrew woman nurse it. If the mother of Moses is confronted, she is merely working for the Pharaoh's daughter. (3) In an instant, the Pharaoh's daughter choses the perfect name. (4) The name is similar to the name of several Egyptian rulers, which is absolutely necessary if she is going to raise this child. (5) It is a name which has Jewish origins also. (6) In the Hebrew or in the Egyptian language, the meaning of this word and similar words describe how she found the child. (7) The simple conclusion: God chose this woman to raise Moses.


Chapter Outline

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She could provide him the protection that he needed when he was young and the proper training once he has reached an age where he can tell right from wrong (somewhere between 2 and 4). During this time of youth, her brilliance with the languages of the two races would be one way that Moses would develop his ability to think and to reason. Afterward, after Moses has gone through perhaps the most important stage of child growth, he would be exposed to education and training that no other child, other than his step-brother, would have access to. Not every person can appreciate this kind of training and upbringing. No one else would have benefitted by this as much as Moses did. A prime example of the same opportunities is his step-brother. We all have free will and our free will reacts differently to the same stimuli. With two million complainers and stragglers and reversionists, God need to have the right person in leadership. God raised up a leader who knew what to do, although almost everyone in his generation opposed him in some way or another. It was like Noah: Noah taught the gospel for 120 years without a single convert other than his own family and daughter's in law. Not only would most people view Noah is an extraordinarily failed evangelist, but no one in his shoes could have taught God's Word for 120 days even, without some sort of positive response. It is human viewpoint to think that there must be a good response to indicate that we created in God's will. Both Moses and Noah faced very negative responses. Again, to head off those who take everything wrong; who see a little light at the end of the tunnel and race for it. Just because you are stubborn and hard-headed and you make everyone in your periphery angry; this does not mean that you are in God's will or that you are doing god's work. While that is a possibility, is is higl\hly unlikely. God only choses the very best men to lead in the face of constant adversity. These are men of His Word.


We find out about Moses growing up from Acts 7:22: "Now Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds." We find that Moses was treated, as we would expect, just like royalty in his youth from Hebrews. By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasureds of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Acts 7:24–26) I know that some people are concerned when I mention Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and when Yahweh Elohim appears to a patriarch, I tend to call Him Jesus Christ. I take this cue from the writer of Hebrews, this passage. These passages tell us that (1) Moses was raised in the palace; (2) he was given a royal education; (3) his intellectual power was great, as were the things that he did; (4) he chose between a relatively easy life in the castle and a life of hardship leading the Israelites out of Egypt; (5) when it reads that he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, this is renouncing his royal claim to the throne of Egypt.


Chapter Outline

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Moses Kills an Egyptian

 

And it came to pass in those days when Moses grew up that he went out unto his brethren and looked [with sympathy] on their burdens—and saw an Egyptian hitting a Hebrew—of his brothers. [Ex. 2:11]


It is Stephen, in Acts 7, who tells us that Moses was almost 40 at this time. "But when he was approaching forty, it entered his thinking [lit., heart] to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel." (Acts 7:23)


In v. 11, the verb for looked is our friend rââh, which means to see or to observe but there is some emotion involved. In this situation, because he sees his fellow Hebrews and observes their burden, this emotion is sympathy.


Moses was aware of the fact that he was an Hebrew. At what point in time he found this out, we are not told; nor do we know who told him. It is my guess that his adopted mother probably thought it best not to keep this from him and very likely told him not too long before this verse. To get the proper picture, you must understand that from Moses' infancy up, he was raised in the palace as the son of the Pharaoh's daughter. This would put him in line for the throne of Egypt. Therefore, he received the best training and education. In examining his life, we will see that Moses was a genius in many categories and this was due to his inate ability which was fostered and challenged by a royal education. As a youth, he had been brought up to take Hebrew slavery for granted. Being in the palace, he would be exposed to a great deal of anti-Semitism. His contact with his mother was very likely cut off when he had stopped nursing. My educated guess is that possibly only a few days prior to this, he had been sat down by his adoptive mother and told that he was a Hebrew and told the circumstances of his birth. I wouldn't be surprised if he hadn't made a casual anti-Semitic remark within his adopted mother's earshot, and was sat down soon thereafter and told of his background. This would give any young man pause for thought and serious introspection. From a distance, he had seen Hebrews doing slave labor and this was just a part of life. Then, suddenly, he finds that these are his people; not some foreign race which just happened to be there. So he takes a day and more closely examines their lives and their slavery. This moved Moses so that he reacted when he saw one of his brothers being treated cruelly at the hands of an Egyptian.

 

So he turned this way and that, and, when he saw that there was no man he struck the Egyptian, and hid his body [lit., him] in the sand. [Ex. 2:12]


It sounds as though Moses waited until after the beating; when he believed that he and the Egyptian were alone, and then he killed him with his bare hands. Obviously, Moses was a very powerful man, his physical body being trained as well as his mind in the palace.


There is no moral commentary one way or another about what Moses did. People are confused by acts of believers (in this case, Moses was passively still an unbeliever) and tend to become involved in over-thinking; so we will take this in points: (1) Murder was wrong and murder carried with it a sentence of death (Gen. 9:6). (2) It is doubtful that Moses knew this as a part of God's law. (3) He certainly had moral training in the palace and from his adopted mother. Besides, the Egyptians were not backward barbarians with no moral code or concept of right and wrong. (3) In any case, the law is written on every man's heart (Rom. 2:15). (4) Obviously, this was a powerful emotional response on Moses' part. (5) Furthermore, it is wrong to take the law into one's own hands. (6) Moses did recognize that what he did was wrong, and he fled, fearing retribution. (7) God used this situation as He would have any other situation. The Bible does not condone what Moses did; however, Moses was not executed for this deed. God allowed him to escape.


In the next couple verses, I made several changes from The Emphasized Bible and from the KJV due to anachronism. When Paul is giving a discourse which involves some careful reasoning, each word must be examined and each concept must be unearthed. Here, we are dealing with a narrative and the specific renderings of each word is not quite as important to understand what is going on.

 

And he went out on the second day, and saw two Hebrews quarreling together; so he said to him that did the wrong, "Why are you striking your companion?" And he said, "Who has set you for a man as a chief and a judge over us? Are you intending [lit., saying in your heart] to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? Then was Moses afraid and said [to himself] "Surely this matter has become known!" [Ex. 2:13-14]


The Hebrews under slavery are not of any high moral character. The one who is in the wrong attacks Moses, verbally (he would not do it physically). The one Jew has something on Moses and he uses it. In fact, he is probably the person who sees to it that this becomes known to Pharaoh (see the next verse). And he lacks any sort of respect for Moses as royalty, indicating that Moses was not dressed in such a way as to call attention to his royal upbringing. However, his people do recognize him and who he is. Moses fall immediately into mental attitude sinning (fear). No where do we hear him appealing to JWHW or calling on God's name. This would indicate that he is an unbeliever or out of fellowship for a long time.


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Moses Flees Egypt and Meets His Future Family

 

So Pharaoh heard about this matter and sought to kill Moses; and Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian and sat down by the well. [Ex 2:15]


We'll need to do some reconstruction here and attempt to cover some details not covered in these verses:


The Familial Background of Moses

1.    In Ex. 2:11, the two allusions to Moses' brothers (referring to the Jews as a race and not to his literal brothers) indicates that Moses knew that he was a Jew. Acts 7:23 also implies that he knew that he was a Jew at this point in time.

2.    Moses is almost 40 years old here (Acts 7:23)—had he known earlier of his background, it would make more sense that he go out among his race years earlier.

3.    This sudden interest in his family, the Jews, indicates that he had a reason to go out among his brothers. Logically, that reason would be that he just found out that he was a Jew.

4.    Having been raised as royalty for almost 40 years, being raised around Egyptians who saw the Jews as inferior, and always seeing the Jews as slaves, it would be easy for Moses to have been prejudiced against his own race. I theorize that a racial slur eventually prompted his adopted mother to tell him of his origins.

5.    Since he goes out to the Jews twice without going to his family indicates that he did not know, at this time who his family was. If he did, he was allowing it to all sink in before he visited them.

6.    V. 15 indicates Moses had to leave soon thereafter, possibly within hours, and, if he spoke with his adopted mother, she likely told him at that time of his exact origins.

7.    Whereas we are not certain whether Moses knew of his true parents in v. 11, he certainly knows more details about his heritage by Ex. 3:14, where God mentions Aaron, Moses' brother.

8.    The portion of the conversation recorded between God and Moses in chapters 3 and 4 does not have Moses eliciting information concerning his family, indicating that he knew something about them by that time

.

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Even as the heir to the throne, Moses was subject to the laws of the land and Pharaoh would have had him executed. Moses fled quite a distance, dressed as an Egyptian (but not as royalty) so that he could slip out of Egypt undetected. There was obviously very little physical difference between the Jews and the Egyptians, as the daughters of Midian will identify Moses immediately as an Egyptian (this is probably based upon his clothing and accent). He ended up just southeast of the promised land, on the other side of the Salt Sea from what would become Southern Judah. Midian was one of Abraham's sons through his concubine Keturah. She had six sons by him and Midian had five more sons. Abraham sent these sons away (along with his other progeny by his concubines) into the east (Gen. 25:1-6).

 

Now the priest of Midian [had] seven daughters and they came and drew [water from the well] and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. Then came the shepherds and drove them away, so Moses rose up and helped them and watered their flock. [Ex. 1:16–17]


There was a priesthood which existed prior to the priesthood of Aaron. A priest represented man to God. This was often a family priesthood and this indicates that this man and his seven daughters are very likely all believers in Jesus Christ. A priest-father would certainly be found in a family of believers, such as this one; however, Midian was not a country of believers. There will be later dealings between Israel and Midian which will reveal animosity and enmity (Num. 22:4 25:18 31 Isa. 9:4 10:26).


Usually in the Bible, the sons of a woman are mentioned and the daughters are excluded. Here is an exception. It appears as though this priest (obviously not celibate) had seven daughters and very likely no sons. They were handling the work that his sons would have done. There was not much water in the well and there had been some dispute between them and the shepherds in that area. Whereas the shepherds should have been supporting the priest and growing under his ministry, they were in fact not doing either, indicating that they were a group of unbelievers (hence, the general spiritual degeneracy of Midian). Obviously they were a group of bullies and possibly very immature men. An intelligent believer in Jesus Christ would want to know and ingratiate himself to the daughters of a priest. Not these men.


Moses, again and again, is portrayed physically as a very powerful man. He stood his ground against these shepherds and they backed down. His presence and authority and physical prowess were enough to cause these three or more shepherds to back off. Watering a flock of sheep took a great deal of time and even with seven women, it still took a lot of strength to drop the bucket and pull up the water. This caused their chores to take time. Moses was able to cut this time. However, what also was a factor in the quick return is that, having met Moses, they were a bit more focused and returned without having to go shopping, or whatever they would do when feeding their flock. Moses was a different kind of man. They had been harassed by the unbelieving shepherds for possibly years in a territorial dispute over this well. This was finally a man who stood up for them. The protocol exhibited by this family was as it should have been. Certainly they thought of asking Moses to eat with them at their father's house, but that would have been too forward and presumptuous. Instead, they raced back, told their father, and, under orders from him, returned to ask Moses to dinner.

 

Then they went in to their father, Reuel, and he said, "Why have you returned so early today?" [Ex. 2:18]


What has occurred up until this time is that it was difficult for them to water their cattle due to the dispute with the other shepherds, who behaved like bullies. They would have to take their cattle there surreptitiously and water them either before or after the other shepherds had been there. Often times they would be chased off, as the shepherds had begun to do that day and they would have to wait for a more opportune time to water their herd. Furthermore, they were not as strong as Moses and could not fetch the water as quickly. Therefore, today, with the help of Moses, they finished watering their cattle much faster than they normally would have. They explain the reason that they have returned so early from watering the flock; they left out the part about running back to their house.


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Moses Moves into the House of Reuel and Takes One of His Daughters to Wife

 

So they said, "An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds. Moreover also he drew [water from the well] for us and watered the flock." And he said to his daughters, "And where [is] he? Why [is] it [that] you left the man [there]. Call him, that he may eat bread." [Ex. 1:19–20]


These women had never met anyone like Moses before; they were reasonably shy around him and must have jumped at the chance to go back to get him. Even shy people, under orders from their father, lose a great deal of their shyness. They returned, brought Moses home for dinner, and Moses was invited to stay with the family. Obviously the father's ulterior motives were (1) to evangelize Moses; (2) to get much needed help with the cattle; and, (3) for Moses to marry one of the daughters. Like any good father, this priest would like for his daughters to marry someone of character and strength. This was perhaps the first man in that area that he had met who had these qualities. The other males in that area were weak, overbearing, thick, contentious, herd-bound and petty.


Moses very likely left Egypt as an unbeliever. Although Joseph's bones were an heritage to the Jews and one of the things in their life which they associated with Jesus Christ, Moses had not been brought up under that environment. Instead, he was brought up in the palace, very likely cut off from his birth mother prior to the age of one, and would have had no reason to have believed in Jesus Christ. He would have been prejudiced against the Jews, and therefore against their God. This priest, on the onther hand, was a believer in JHWH, as were his daughters, and they witnessed to Moses and he not only became a believer, but he experienced his spiritual growth here with this family. Here is another example of a believer in Jesus Christ with a public ministry which had practically no response. This priest had a congregation of nine—his seven daughters, Moses and his wife. He had been unable to even evangelize the shepherds in his periphery. He had one convert outside of his family that we are aware of; a spiritual failure by anyone's standards today. Yet it was his witness to Moses and his teaching to Moses which gave Israel its greatest leader. "Who has despised the day of small things?" (Zech. 4:10) Moses' late conversion may have been one of the reasons that God spared him judgement for killing the Egyptian. Our sins from the past are wiped out once we become believers in Jesus Christ. This is not way made what Moses did right nor does it mean that we should set free prisoners who believe in Jesus Christ. They have a ministry to others who are in jail.

 

And Moses was well-pleased to dwell with thie man; and he gave Zipporah, his daughter, to Moses. And she bare a son and he called his name Gershom, for he said, "I am a alien in a foreign land." [Ex. 2:21-22]


Generally speaking, the father of the bridegroom would make the official proposal of marriage to the father of the prospective bride. However, in this case there was no father of the bridegroom to consult so tradition was reversed here and it is implied that the father of the bride did the proposing. This did occur in other instances (Josh. 15:16–17 1Sam. 18:27)

 

Gershom is Gêreshôm (םֹש  ׃ר ֵ) [pronounced gay-resh-OME]. The Hebrew word for alien is gêr (ר ֵ) [pronounced gare]. A related word is gârash (ש ַר ָ) [pronounced gaw-RASH] and it means to drive out, to cast out. The KJV reads I am a stranger in a strange land. Moses has a second son, not mentioned until Ex. 18:4.


Moses spent 40 years living with this family (Acts 7:30). This was Moses' extended vacation. He had a completely different kind of family, doctrine was taught to him by his father-in-law and God prepared him for forty plus years struggling with a group of hard-headed, obstinate Jews. It is possible that his father-in-law had portions of Scripture from prior to Abraham. We have no idea how it was transmitted during that time period. The popular theory is that it was handed down almost in its entirety as oral tradition, committed to writing by Moses. Here Moses was prepared and trained for what he was about to do. Since the Midiantes were sent out during the time of Abraham, this man would have had no information on the Jewish race and the immediate heritage of Moses. Certainly he would not have had the last 35 chapters of Genesis. At best, and this is even doubtful, he had the first ten chapters of Genesis, or a reasonable knowledge of the events that took place during those years. What I am saying is that we do not know the nuts and bolts of Moses' spiritual growth (and we have bare bones information concerning his growth in the human realm as a leader of men).. We can only intimate that it occurred during this time as he had the ability to lead the Jews once he left Midian.


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God Remembers Israel

 

And it came to pass during those many days that the king of Egypt died, and the sons of Israel sighed because of the[ir] slavery and lamented; and their cry for help, because of [their] slavery, went up to God. [Ex. 2:23]


As long as the Pharaoh, Moses' grandfather, was alive, Moses could be prosecuted and executed for murder. The statute of limitations ran out. However, the cruel treatment of the Jews by the Egyptians had continued and escalated. It was so cruel that the words used here are during those many days. The emphasis of this cruelty is further seen with the use of the polysyndeton (the use of several and's) along with synonyms (sighed, lamented, cry). That is, the life of the Jews was so difficult, that their lives were seen in terms of days and not years. As I have mentioned before, we often do not see God's plan in our lives or in the lives of others because of some suffering. God had to move a population of 2,000,000+ Jews from Egypt to the land of Canaan. You would think that a simple command from God would do the trick; but then you would think that all it would take is for the Bible to forbid pre-marital sex, and that would take care of that issue for all Christians. The Bible does forbid pre-marital sex (1Cor. 7:1 Heb. 13:4) and as you certainly know, millions of Christians ignore this simple command. In the same way, no matter what God did by way of appealing to the Jewish people as a matter of reason, they would not have moved. It took decades of cruel slavery to cause the Jews to leave Egypt and even then, they still desired to return to the leeks and garlic of Egypt (Num. 11:4–5). It is a sad fact but the only way God can reach many of us is through pain and discipline. For those who are parents, you may have two different children, one of whom does what he is told and the other who can only learn something after being spanked. We are the same way. Some of us learn and are guided by God's Word and others of us have no interest in the Scriptures and our only part in God's plan is a recipient of discipline.

 

And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham with Isaac and with Jacob; so then, God looked upon the sons of Israel and God knew [their plight]. [Ex. 2:24–25]


That God is aware of His covenant with the Jews, the Hebrew reads and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. God's response includes the use of an anaphora (the repetition of the word with); a polysyndeton, and synonymia [pronounced syn-o-NYM-i-a], which is the use of synonymous terms. This emphasizes the closeness of God's observation of the situation and His divine concern.


Obviously, God does not have ears, so He does not hear as we do; and, He doesn't forget us or our problems. This is called language of accommodation. When this verse reads God remembered, this is an anthropopathism. God does not forget. He did not get busy on the other side of the universe, suddenly snap His fingers Footnote and say, Omigosh, I forgot all about those Jews; I'd better take care of them right away. God did not put the Jews into slavery, get busy with some other divine project, and then suddenly remember that He needs to do something about this situation. This is you or me, but not God. God has to allow the proper amount of time to pass in order to fulfill His plan. They had to reach a point of almost unbearable suffering before they would listen to Moses. As we have seen, 40 years ago, Moses was not ready to lead them and they were certainly not ready to follow him. The Jews have been enslaved for about four hundred years. God is fully cognizant of this. He knew it in etrnity past and made provision for it. However, to us, four hundred years seems like an inordinantly long time. Therefore, to us, it seems as though God has forgotten about this situation and, when He finally intervenes, it seems to us as though He has suddenly remembered. That is an anthropopathism; taking divine action, thought and motivation and expressing it in terms of human thoughts.

 

The last word in v. 25 is yâdaʽ (ע ַד ָי) [pronounced yaw-DAH], is translated quite a number of different ways. It means to know by seeing or by observation and care can be inferred by the use of this word. What has happened is that the Jews prospered and multiplied, and the Egyptians became increasingly more tyrannical This passage indicates that it had gotten to a point when the Jews as a whole were severely burdened by this slavery. As we will see by their comments throughout Exodus, the Jews needed to be placed in a position where this was almost more than they could bear; otherwise, they would not have left Egypt. Just as there are times in our lives when God must place pressure upon us so that we can depend upon Him to make the right choices. However, the more of God's Word that you know, the less often it is that God has to put pressure upon you to make the correct choices.


Why did God wait? Why did he allow this slavery to go on for four hundred years? Let's go back to the days of Noah, when the population was eating, drinking and marrying and giving in marriage. They were too preoccupied with the details of life to give much thought to God. Even though the Jews were under slavery to Egypt, as we have seen, they continued to marry and to have large families. They continued to be preoccupied with the details of life. God had to allow more increasingly pressure to be put upon them by the Pharaoh until they finally cried out to God. God is glorified when we come to Him with our problems. This is a tricky point here. We are to live our lives with knowledge and to deal with our problems by using God's Word in our life. Our souls should be inundated with doctrine and our lives should reflect this. However, there will always be problems and situations that we cannot resolve; it is with these things we go to God in prayer. God is glorified when we recognize His omniscience and call to Him to deal with the situations which are beyond our control. He is also glorified when we deal with the situations within our control as a result of intake of His Word. He is glorified when we recognize we act and when we wait upon Him. The slavery of the Jews had to come to a point where they would depend upon Him. In v. 23, it got to the point where they had to call upon God and God could answer their prayers.


Why did God Move the Jews out of the Land to Egypt and then out of Egypt to the Land of Promise?

More importantly, why did God move the Jews out of the land of Canaan and into Egypt; and then out of Egypt, back to the land of Canaan?

1.    The land of Canaan had become more and more degenerate as time progressed; God already had to level Sodom and Gomorrah due to their tremendous degeneracy.

2.    These peoples had a far reaching, negative influence upon the Jews and the Jews needed to be removed from that environment.

3.    This would allow the Jews to progress spiritually without the horrible influence of the degeneracy of the Canaanites.

4.    The Egyptians were better disciplined and had a better sense of morality.

5.    God had to give the Canaanites one more chance—that was the reason behind the famine for the land of Canaan. Sometimes our last chances with God come in the form of great natural catastrophes.

6.    The Jews returned to the land of Canaan to destroy the degenerate Canaanites and repossess the land given them by God

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EXODUS 3



Exodus 3:1–22


Outline of Chapter 3:


       Vv. 1–9         Moses encounters the burning bush

       Vv. 10–22     God gives Moses his marching orders


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

God’s Preparation of Moses

                            How Should We Deal with the Pronunciation of JHWH?


Introduction: While Moses was living in the land of Midian, he became a believer in Jesus Christ and grew spiritually. His new father-in-law was a priest and it does not sound as though there was anyone interested in what he had to say [other than his daughters] until Moses came along. So all of his training and preparation went to a congregation of approximately nine persons. However, he prepared Moses to the point where God was ready to use Him.


Furthermore, in God's eternal record, His Word, we will have recorded permanently the name of this priest living out in the middle of an Arabian desert, unknown and seemingly unimportant. On the other hand, God treats the Egyptian Pharaoh's all as though they are the same person. Their names are not recorded because they received all the glory that they will ever get in their lifetimes as Pharaohs. Now they are persons lost to us in history. We can at best make educated guesses as to the identities of the Pharaoh's during Moses' time.



Moses Encounters the Burning Bush

 

Now Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian; so he led forth the flock behind the desert and came in unto the mountain of God; to Horeb. [Ex. 3:1]


A minor point concerning Moses' father-in-law; he obviously had two names, both Reuel (or Raguel) in Ex. 2:18 and Jethro in Ex. 3:1 (see also Ex. 4:18 and Num. 10:29). For anyone who has had a brother nicknamed Junior or Bubba, or anyone who went by their middle name instead of their first name, this is easily understood.


It was not abnormal for a shepherd to take the flock for a very long distance away, being gone for months at a time. They did not stay in their immediate area because there was room around them and so they did not use up the land and its resources. As Freeman points out, the Midianites with their borders along the eastern portion of Edom, took their flocks as far north as Gilgead and Bashan and as far south as the Ælanitic Gulf.

 

Chôrêb (ב ֵרֹח) [pronounced kho-RABE] is actually well-transliterated. It means waste, desert, desolation, desert. Not much of a mountain to go to for scenery. It may have been called the mountain of God because of the following incident.

 

Then appeared the messenger of JHWH unto him, in a flame of fire, from the midst of the thorn bush. So he looked and saw [lit., lo] the thorn bush burning with fire and yet the thorn bush was not consumed. And Moses said, "Please, let me turn aside and see this great sight—why the thorn bush does not burn up." [Ex. 3:2-3]


Jesus Christ is the burning bush. This can be seen in many passages, but from comparing Ex. 3:1with vv. 4, 6 and 7, it is easy to see that the messenger (or angel) of YHWH = YHWH = God. [See the doctrine of the pre-incarnate Christ--not finished yet!!] There are three persons in the Godhead, three equal in essence and perfection yet different in personality and function. God is one in essence, yet three in person. It has occurred to me, as I am certain that it has to many people, that perhaps the concept of the trinity is an anthropopathism and that we are better able to understand the function of God by seeing Him as three persons. However, the trinity is portrayed in the Bible again and again, both Old Testament and New, to where, if anything, the early revelation of the trinity in the Old Testament, as it is revealed here, for instance, would do more to confuse the reader than to clarify. Furthermore, there are passages which indicate that this is a great truth, rather than language of accommodation (Isa. 48:16 reads: "Come Near to Me, listen to this; from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now, Lord YHWH has sent Me, and His Spirit."). [See the doctrine of the Trinity not finished yet!!!] To give you the abbreviated version, the trinity is composed of God the Father, who is not seen or felt, who has planned our salvation. Jesus Christ is the revealed member of the trinity, who is YHWH in the Old Testament, when YHWH is anything visible or tangible to man. He is the creator of the universe, the One Who accomplished our salvation, the one Who came to earth as a man and lived among us. The Holy Spirit is the person in the trintiy Who is not seen, but, in some instances, felt. He restored the earth; He indwells us, providing us power and self-restraint; He accomplishes God's will within us. The Holy Spirit does not glorify Himself but God the Father and God the Son. When it comes to language of accommodation, the description of the three members of the Godhead as God the Father and God the Son is language of accomodation. God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are co-eternal and co-infinite.

 

There is a portion of The Emphasized Bible which appears to be unique among the various translations in v. 3. It is translated that Moses turns aside and prays. I cannot find another translation which contains the word "pray" in this passage. Certainly, what comes to my mind, is that Moses turns aside, prays, and then looks to the bush. However, this is the Hebrew noun nâʼ (א ָנ) [pronounced naw] which means is a particle of incitement or entreaty. Is is often translated [I] pray [thee] or [I] beseech [thee] (see Ex. 4:18, for instance). It is also rendered now or then. It is difficult to come up with an English equivalent. Moses, in speaking to someone else, might use this term as an entreaty to them; here he is using this term as an entreaty to himself, while talking to himself. To someone else, it is very similar to our use of the word please. To oneself, it is more or less an order or a decision or an act of volition which begins in the mind and is verbalized and then carried out. It is as though Moses is saying to himself, "Okay, Moses, please, get up your nerve and turn aside and look at this marvelous sight." Moses is telling himself what to do as he is somewhat afraid. It is an imperative to oneself. I mention this so that if anyone else is reading the Emphasized Bible, they do not become confused over its translation here. Moses is not going to stop and pray about this. What he feels is some normal apprehension, if not healthy fear.


Now, I want you to notice something which is evident throughout Scripture. God comes to Moses. God does all of the work in our salvation. God searches us out and God speaks to us. No doubt, you have heard of this or that person who gets together a rucksack and goes out into the forest or the desert or to a hill and looks for God. This is human arrogance! You aren't going to go off somewhere and find God. When it is the right time, God will reveal Himself to you, just as He reveals Himself to Moses (or to any other prophet of the Old or New Testament). When Jesus chose His disciples, did they all search Him out? Jesus searched them out and He chose them. The exceptions to this would be one person witnessing to another and leading him to Jesus (John 1:35–42). There is always a calling by God or the witness of another person (which is God calling to us). No one in Scripture ever goes off on a spiritual search for God. That is man's arrogance thinking that he can find God and man's arrogance thinking that he can recognize God when he finds Him.

 

And YHWH saw that he turned aside to look, so God called to him, out of the midst of the thorn-bush, and said, "Moses, Moses" And he said, "I am here [lit, behold me]." [Ex. 3:4]


This is God's call to Moses. It is one of the very few times that God has called a man using his name twice. We saw it with Abraham (Gen. 22:11) and with Jacob (Gen. 46:2). Moses has been under preparation for God's calling for some time. He is now almost eighty years old (Ex. 7:7); he's been under preparation for eighty years and now God calls him.


It is unfortunate that in today's world, people believe in Jesus Christ and within days of their conversion, they are out hustling for God. This is not always wrong, but it is often premature. God has a plan for our lives and it is not to go out and hustle for Him when we know practically nothing. Such enthusiasm and dedication sounds great, but as babes in Christ we rarely have enough sense to come in out of the rain. We should examine Moses' preparation and life in points:

God’s Preparation of Moses

1.    Moses spent only three months as an infant with his birth mother and father (Ex. 2:1-2 Acts 5:20).

2.   For forty years, Moses received the training of an aristocrat and a royal leader in the castle of Pharaoh. He had no choice. This was what God chose for him. Ex. 2:10-11 Acts 7:22-23.

3.    At age forty, after finding out that he was a Jew and not naturally born aristocracy, Moses went out to see what the Jews were like. Up until this time, he had known Jews simply as slaves and inferiors. Ex. 2:11-14 Acts 7:23-28

4.   After killing an Egyptian taskmaster with his bare hands and redeiving no support from the Jews, he fled to the Midian desert for fear of being captured and executed by the then Pharaoh of Egypt Ex. 2:15 Act 7:29

5.   Moses spent approximately forty years in the desert under the tutelage of his father-in-law, a priest. Ex. 2:15b-3:1 7:7 Acts 7:29-30 It is possible that this is when he first believed in Jesus Christ.

6.   Moses actually service will begin at age eighty, when he will go speak to Pharaoh, demanding Pharaoh to allow God's people to depart; and then he will spedn forty yers in the desertwith this whining batch of malcontent reversionists. Ex.7:7-Dt. 34:5 Acts 7:30-44

7.   Moses was 120 years old when he died, still strong and full of vigor. Dt. 34:1-7

8.   Therefore, after being raised as royalty for forty years and then after spending forty years in the desert with the Jews and perhaps less than one year prior to that dealing with the Pharaoh, God called Moses to do His work. This means that God prepared him for eighty years before he was drafted to do anything of real spiritual significance. Too many believers think that a weekend of prayer after salvation prepares them to begin to do great things for God. The chief difference between Moses and these people was that Moses was great, and they will often burn out in a year or five after muddying up the water. They have no foundation, no background. God expects us to grow. Peter writes, Grow in the grace and [in] the knowledge fo our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18). This is a command. Grow is in the imperative mood. It is in the present active imperative. That means that we are to continually do this; it should be our lifestyle. And we are to pursue this growth—active voice. This is not an option for the Christian.

 


Chapter Outline

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And He said, "Do not come any closer; take off your sandals from your feet because the place where you are standing is holy ground." [Ex. 3:5]

 

Do not come any closer is the negative and the Qal imperfect of qârab (ב ַר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAB] and it means to approach, to come near. It is a very common verb used extensively in the Old Testament. This is folowed by the adverb of place hălôm (םֹלְַה) [pronounced hal-OME] and it means hither in the old English and here in normal person English. Do not come any closer gives a good English rendition of what has been said here.

 

The ground being called holy is only because there is a manifestationof God there—Jesus Christ. His presence makes the ground holy. Holy is the word qôdesh (ש דֹק) and it means apartness, holy, sacredness. It is ground and not holy which is in the construct. The construct is a noun which acts like a genative; even an adjective to a certain degree. When we translate this holy ground or even a ground of holiness, we have it exactly backwards; it should be that holy is the primary noun and it should be translated sacredness. Ground is more of the modifier. Everywhere around there is holy; the ground is because it happens to be in the periphery. For where you are standing upon—holy it [is] the ground. Another way to render this verse is the recognize that holy is a noun and it is being emphasized.


Removing one's shoes before entering a temple or any other palce of worship is a typical Oriental custom. This is a mark of respect. We find something similar in Josh. 5:15. Once Moses realized what he was seeing, a manifestation of the living God, he became extremely frightened. We read about some of this in Acts 7:30–33: “And after forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in the flame of a buring thorn bush. And when Moses saw it, be marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look closely, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God Of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ And Moses shook [in fear] and would not venture to look. But the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place one which you are standing is holy ground.’ “ (Ex. 3:6b, 5).

 

And he said, "I am the God of your father, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. [Ex. 3:6]


God tells Moses that He is the God of his father. Moses possibly doesn’t even know who his real father is. His mother played a part in his infancy, but possibly none whatsoever in his youth. His father has never been mentioned except as a Levite in Ex. 2:1. And recall that this is written by Moses. It is likely when he wrote Ex. 2:1, he placed in that verse the sum total of his knowledge concerning his father. Moses is not being evangelized at this point. He has already been evangelized and he has responded. He has been under the training of his priest father-in-law. We do not know how much he learned about his true genetic heritage when in the palace of Pharaoh. He obviously knew about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; otherwise this reference would have been lost on him (and it would have been less likely for him to record it). What I have said about his life in the palace concerning his training is reasonable conjecture. It is reasonable that he knew nothing of his true heritage until a few days before he went out among the Jews. Whether his mother was brought in to speak with him or what occurred, we do not know. It is possible that the Pharaoh's daughter was told enough to instruct him concerning his lineage (this she would have learned from Moses' birth mother as her father was a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph). The other possibility is that Reuel, Moses' father-in-law knew a small amount about the people to whom God made His promises (he was, after all, descended from Abraham). My poijnt is that Moses had to have a frame of reference here for what God said to him.


Moses behaves as he should in the presence of God. He is not arrogant and he recognizes his own inadequacies. He doesn't feel as though he must first respect himself and then he can respect God. He doesn't treat God as his best friend and buddy. He respects and fears JHWH and recognzies His power and authority. We have moved so far away from the fear mentioned in the Bible (which we, in fact, like to associate with the Old Testament, but it is found throughout the New) that we no longer possess correct respect for God our Father.

 

Then said JHWH, "I have seen the humiliation of my people who are in Egypt and their outcry. I have heard away from the face of their task-masters, so I know their sufferings." [Ex. 3:7]

 

The second sentence in this verse is a bit confusing as to its sentence structure. It begins with the Qal perfect of Shâma‛ (ע ַמ ָש ) [pronounced shaw-MAH] is the simple word for to hear. The perfect tense means that God has known about this from eternity past—He is not in the process of learning a little bit at a time. This is followed by the preposition min (ן  ̣מ ) [pronounced min] which attaches itself to a noun or to a verb and carries with it the idea of separation. It can mean out from, out of, on account of, off, on the side of, since, above, than, so that not. Then we have the noun for face. This is most commonly translated from the face of, from the prsence of, from before are common renderings of this combination Footnote . It can be translated as by reason of, because, which is the route most translators took. I have translated this I have heard away from the face of their task-masters, although other translations are quite different. The Emphasized Bible reads by reason of their task-masters and the NASB reads because of their taskmasters. This is followed by a conjunction and the Qal perfect for I know and the direct object, with the 3rd masculine singular suffix, their sufferings.

 

"Therefore I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to take them up out of that land into a land good and large, into a land flowing with milk and honey; into the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite." (Ex. 3:8)


The Canaanite was descended from Canaan, a son of Ham. Canaanite is the general term for this group of peoples and they are further subdivided into Hittites, Amorites, and Hivites in Gen. 10:15, 17. The Perizzites, although an early grouping of peoples, are not mentioned in any of the genealogical lists—they spring forth as a tribe in full form in Gen. 13:7 15:20 34:30. Sometimes those who occupied the land prior to the Jews are called the Canaanites and the Perizzites, thus covering all of the different peoples in the land (Gen. 13:7). This is the first mention of the Hivites, who seem to always be grouped with the Jebusites and/or the Perizzites.


There is a right time for everything. God has perfect timing. He knew when the Jews were at a point at which they truly desired to leave Egypt. Prior to this, they were relatively happy and quite prolific. Find their right man or their right woman was enough to keep them contented under moderately brutal slavery. It was not until their slavery became even more cruel and unjust that they cried to their God in pain. Here they are, God's people, serving godless heathen. God is going to give the Jew the land, the land flowing with milk and honey. God also prepares Moses by mentioning the tribes of people who are in the land. This land is large enough to support at least six different waring tribes or factions. This indicates that Israel both has their work cut out for them; but what they will receive will be a large chunk of real estate. The timing is also ideal for the tribes which presently occupy the lan dof Canaan. God had to wait until their degeneracy had reached such a severe level that they would have to be wiped out like a cancer.


It is fairly easy to determine when the Bible is to be taken literally and when it is to be taken figuratively. When God speaks of a land flowing with milk and honey, this does not mean that there will be literal floods of milk and honey. Zûwb (בז) [pronounced zoob] is used in four relatively distinct ways. (1) It means to flow away [with hunger] as we would use the expression pine away [with hunger] as we have in Lam. 4:9. (2) It means to flow or to issue from a woman (Lev. 15:25); it can also refer to the act of discharging from a man (2Sam. 3:29). (3) Zûwb can mean to flow out or to gush out as Psalm 78:20 105:41 Isa. 48:21. (4) And this word is always used in the Qal participial form when describing the promised land. In all four instances, the concept of to flow, to gush is there. Milk and honey speak of prosperity, of wonderful additions to the diet; and here, what is implied is an overabundance of such things, indicating that this will be a land of abundance, prosperity, luxury and divine blessing. This expression is used several times throughout the Bible, as in Num. 13:27 14:8 Deut. 6:3 11:9 Joshua 5:6 Ezek. 20:8 etc. Sometimes the words oil, figs, or butter are added.

 

"Now therefore, lo, the outcry of the sons of Israel has come in to me; moreover, I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. [Ex. 3:9]


The Israelites had also reached a point at which they were turning to God for help. Their pain and usfering had reached crisis levels. Someone there had God's Word, as much as had been assembled up to that point, but the majority of the Jews, having found their right woman and begun huge families, were too satisfied for a long time to become concerned about God's plan for their lives.



God Gives Moses His Marching Orders

 

Now, therefore, come, that I may send you unto Pharaoh, so that you might bring forth my people—the sons of Israel—out of Egypt." [Ex. 3:10]


In verse 10, God uses the second person masculine singular vocative three times (He says, "Come (you)."). God is telling Moses to step forward and to come to attention. He is calling Moses into service. God makes it very clear by using the second person singular three times that it is Moses and no one else that He is drafting into service. Moses very liiely had long ago decided that he would grow old and die in the desert of Midian with his wife and child and in-laws.

 

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go unto the Pharaoh and that I should bring forth the sons of Israel out of Egypt?" [Ex. 3:11]


Only in the Hebrew or with a very literal translation can you appreciate this. God has used the second personal singular, referring to Moses, three times. Moses responds by using the first person singular three times. "You, step forward, and I will send you to the Pharaoh and I will have you bring forth the children of Israel." "Who am I that I should go to the Pharaoh; that I should bring out the children of Israel?" This is the beginning of the show me a sign mentaility that the Jews fell into. Moses was the first. He sees a burning bush which does not burn up, he recognizes with fear and respect that this is God. Now he wants to know how will he actually know that he is really the person for this job.


This verse is an example of erotesis [pronounced ER-ō-TEE-sis], which is a question which is not used as a question per se—that is, to illicit information. It is used here in the expostulatory sense; that is, to reason earnestly with someone else. Moses is asking God why would he be chosen for a responsibility such as this; implying that he is not qualified. Moses has been out of the palace for forty years now and has been a shepherd and a family man all of this time. He doesn't even look upon is time in the palace as being important as he was only there through adoption and not by birth.

 

And He said, "I will be with you and this to you shall be the sign that I have sent you: when you bring forth the people out of Egypt you shall do service unto God upon this mountain." [Ex. 3:12]


God has always had a sense of humor. Notice that Moses is asking for some substantiation as to God's choice of him to deliver Israel from the hands of Egypt. He is living a very comfortable life with very few pressures, a wonderful wife and son, and a great family. So he asks God are you sure it's me you wanted? As if God has made a mistake or has got Moses mixed up with someone else. So God gives him a sign; after Moses goes to the Pharaoh, after he leads his people out of Egypt, then God will give Moses a sign that He knew what He was doing when He planned this: Moses will lead the Jews by this mountain and Moses will worship here. That will be the sign to Moses; after leading the people to the point, he will worship God at Mount Horeb. This is after the job has been done the God will give Moses a sign to let him know that God did not make a mistake (when Moses leads the people by the mountain there, obviously God has not made a mistake; because Moses has accomplished what God has sent him to do—or at least, part I; God has not clued Moses into Part II; 40 years of wandering through the desert).

 

And Moses said to God, "Lo, as surely as I go in to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you' they will certainly say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" [Ex. 3:13]


Not every nation had a direct line to God. Nations were not given their own gods who were equal to the true God, the God of Israel. There has never been an all roads lead to Rome insofar as God is concerned. Sincerity and religious fervor mean nothing to God. God has set up one program; there is one God, existing in three persons; and there is no other. Exclusivity has always been a part of God's plan. "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). God chose to come to a race of people and to work through that race of people in Old Testament times. He chose to do it that way and not to communicate directly to the other races and nations which inhabited the earth at that time. The Hebrews will not follow just any religious or military leader. It is important that Moses is representing the true God. So he asks God for some sort of identification. Here God is providing a miracle for Moses, the burning bush; a miracle that has caused Moses to be filled with fear and respect and now Moses wants to make certain that this is really God.

 

And God said to Moses, "I AM the One Who keeps on being." And He said, "Thus you will say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" [Ex. 3:14]


The Hebrew copyist reverently transcribed the letters JHWH or YHWH, which is the name of any of the three individual members of the Godhead. These are not two different Hebrew forms but two different English forms. Such reverence for God's name (also called the Tetragrammaton) is clearly refreshing to the familiarity used with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this Jewish reverence for God's name turned into legalism. The reader was enjoyed to never pronounce this sacred name, but to use a less sacred name, Adonai or Elohim, instead when speaking aloud. In this way, the Sacred Name never reached the ears of a listener, leaving the pronunciation lost forever. The Septuagint further concealed this Sacred Name by using the Greek word κύριος (kurios, meaning "Lord") to translate YHWH [it is significant to note here that Jesus Christ did not anywhere concern Himself with the correct way to pronounce YHWH; He most naturally accepted the title "Lord' (κύριος). The Latin Vulgate did the same thing as do most of our English translations (however, there are visual clues in the English translations: when we find the words "Lord" or "God" written in small caps, this is the translation of YHWH). To further add to the confusion, although YHWH occurs approximately 7,000 times in the Old Testament, it is translated Jehovah less than a dozen times in the RSV and in the AV.


There are actually two problems when it comes to the correct pronunciation of the name of God. First of all, there is no J in the Hebrew (or in the Greek). Even though there are dozens of names like Jacob, Joshua, Judah, Jedediah, James, Jude, etc. there is no letter J in either language. This J has bee inserted instead of a Y (and, occasionally, instead of other letters). In the original Hebrew manuscripts, the words were in all capital consonant letters. When read, the vowels were put in, but not with the tetragrammaton, which was not read. Therefore, the pronunciations has been lost forever to history. The vowel points were added well after the birth of Christ, millenniums after some of the Scriptures were written. Now the vowel points are put in, but it is too late. What has been done is the vowel points for "Adonai" have been placed within JHWH for the present day translation Jehovah. This occurred as late in history as 1520 ad by Galatinus. Even several of his contemporaries objected to this pronunciation as being historically and grammatically inaccurate. Most scholars prefer the pronunciation/translation Yahweh.

 

"Yahweh is almost always regarded as the third person, singular, masculine, imperfect tense from the root hawah, an old form of the root hayah" [The Emphasized Bible]. Hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] means to be, to exist, to become. Some scholars do not believe that this name for God is tied to the imperfect tense [The New Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas, p.478] but regard it as strictly a substantive built upon the word hāwâ. When God told Moses to say I AM has sent you, this is written ’eheyeh (ה י  ׃ה א ) [pronounced ’e-he-YEH]; the superscript e is the way that the Hebrews indicated that there was not to be a vowel there. This is not the same as the tetragrammaton YHWH (הוהי). As Rotherham pointed out, this is closer to the verb become, which is hâwâh (ה ָו ָה) [pronounced haw-WAW or haw-VAW].


One of the unfortunate results of this confusion about God's name is that Jehovah's Witnesses have distorted this loss and have touted it as though they had suddenly discovered it. Then they have distorted JHWH and do not realize (even as the Jews did not realize) that Jesus Christ is JHWH. Strictly speaking, as Douglas points out, this is the only name for God used in the Old Testament. When anyone would "call upon the name of...", the last word would always be YHWH. God will say, "This is My Name forever" [Ex. 3:15]. In the incarnation, we now call on the name of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.


God's name is tied directly to this passage of Scripture. In the authorized version, this is translated "I am that I am." In The Emphasized Bible this is translated "I will become whatsoever I please." The verb hâyâh in this verse is repeated, twice in succession then at the end of the verse. It means "to be, to exist, to become." Verbs are repeated in the Hebrew to give great significance to their meaning. This could be translated, "I am that I am"; "I am the one existing [eternally]"; "I keep on being the one existing [eternally]."


What will help us in this translation is an examination of John 8:58. Of all the disciples, he seemed to be the only one to have a grasp as to what was occurring during our Lord's earthly ministry. He may well of been one of the simplest disciples, or, at the very least, the least literate (his Greek is simple enough for the first year Greek student to translate), yet he understood that Jesus Christ claimed to be equal with God and he understood that the cross was necessary. These two points eluded the other disciples during our Lord's earthly ministry, therefore we find His deity emphasized primarily in John's gospel. John 8:57-59 reads: The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said unto them, "Truly truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple. Most readers miss the significance of this passage, but this is one of the clear references of Jesus in the New Testament to JHWH in the Old. Certainly, many do not grasp this, but the Jews understood, and saw this statement as blasphemy, and took up stones with which to stone our Lord.


A portion of the Greek from this passage reads: πρὶν ̓Aϐραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγώ εἱμί (or, prin Abraam genesthai ego eimi). Γίνομαι is in the aorist middle infinitive, meaning a point int time. It is a deponent verb, which is why it is called the middle voice. The infinitive often states purpose. The word itself, in its most simple derivation means to become; however, to be born or to come into existance are also accurate renderings. The point in time referred to was Abraham's lifetime. Ego is "I" and it is added for emphasis, because grammatically it is not needed. The final word is the absolute status quo verb "to be" in the present active indicative., which is continuous action in the present time. This puts our Lord outside of time, prior to Abraham and continuing up until that moment. Literally, this reads, "Prior to Abraham coming into being, I [even I] AM [or, I kept on existing]." In the Septuagint (Greek) version of the Old Testament, when Moses asked our Lord what is His name so that he could give this to the Hebrews, God said, "̓Eγώ εἱμι ὁ ῎Ων." The additional two Greek words are the definite article and the present participle of I am. The participle is a verbal adjective, which, in this case, functions as a substantive. Or, "I, even I, keep on being the one being." Or, "I, even I, am, the I am." Or, "I, even I, keep on being the one who exists [eternally]."


There are several questions to be answered: How should we leave this translation? What should our pronunciation of God's name be? Should the Unspoken Name be spoken?

How Should We Deal with the Pronunciation of JHWH?

 1.   There seems to be agreement that YHWH has been built upon the Hebrew verb "to be." There is disagreement upon whether or not it is the imperfect tense, but that it is based upon their verb for "to be" seems certain.

 2.    YHWH or JHWH depends upon the transliteration of the Hebrew letters. Over time, we have taken their y and have substituted in a j.

 3.    YHWH does seem to be the only proper name for God in the Old Testament. Elohim (God) is more of a title or designation. Elohim also refers to the Godhead; it is in the plural and refers to the trinity. JHWH refers to each individual member of the trinity.

 4.    Jesus Christ is YHWH (Ex. 3:14 cpw John 8:58 Isa. 43:3,14,15 cpw 2Peter 2:1 Rev. 5:9 Mark 1:24 Luke 1:49 Isa. 43:11 Hos. 13:4 cpw Luke 2:11 John 4:42 1John 4:14)

 5.    The Holy Spirit is YHWH (?)

 6.    God the Father is YHWH Psalm 143:1 (all prayer is directed toward God the Father).

 7.    God's Word is placed above His Name Psalm 104:

 8.    Jesus Christ nowhere makes an issue out of His name YHWH. One of the poorer explanations which I have heard for this is that He was not a scribe or a literary critic. He was not learned in textual criticism. Another explanation is that He did not want to confuse the religious people of that day by bringing up deep theological issues. He was being accommodating to the populace by not using God's true name but instead He followed the conventions of the day. Our problem here is that Jesus Christ is YHWH and therefore He knows His own name. He often taught things which were difficult for the disciples and for others to understand. He knew the Scriptures. Jesus Christ was neither illiterate in the Scriputres nor was he condescending to man; leaving out the deeper theological points. And He was certainly not ignorant of His Own Name. We are saved by believing in Jesus Christ. This was not the way the early Jews or Greeks pronounced His name. This is not how His name is pronounced in Mexico. This is not how His name is pronounced in France or Germany or in Japan. The pronounciation is a matter of regional significance. We believe in Jesus Christ, in His work and in His person. Just because we pronounce His name differently than those in other countries; and, more significantly with respect to this study, differently than He pronounced it, we are not any less saved. Furthermore, if this were an issue of great importance, then Jesus would have spoken about it. He did not accomodate anyone when it came to blasphemy or spiritual ignorance.

 9.    Paul, who undoubtedly delves into deep theological issues nowhere in the New Testament epistles makes an issue out of the pronunciation of YHWH nor does he make any allusions to correcting the way YHWH's name was buried in the Septuagint. The same goes for the other writers of Scripture.

10.  When quoting Old Testament Scripture, both Jesus and Paul use the word κύριος to translate YHWH. They do not use a transliteration. Mt. 4:7,10 Mark 13:36 Rom. 9:28-29 II Cor.6:17-18

11.  Therefore, if Jesus never made an issue out of this and Paul never made an issue out of this, we should not. It is important to understand that God was revealed to man in the Old Testament and that the God that was revealed to them was Jesus Christ. 99% of the references to YHWH in the OT refer directly to Jesus Christ, the revealed member of the trinity. In His incarnation, as the unique Person of the universe, as the God-man, YHWH is now known to us by a different name: Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament prior to the cross, His name was YHWH (or, more properly, Yahweh). In the New Testament times, in the church age, His name is Jesus.

 


Chapter Outline

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This information was not given to you so that you can grab the first Jehovah's witness that you see and corner them. They are like any other religious unbeliever—this issue is Who and What Jesus Christ did and what He did for them o the cross. They trust completely in His finished work on the cross and they are saved; if they do not, then they will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (another issue which you do not need to argue with them). Unbelievers who are trying to earn their way into heaven are the most difficult of all to deal with. Jesus Christ and John the Baptist called religious legalists vipers and serpents because they led the Jews astray. If a Jehovah's Witness is interested in the gospel, then they will approach you or God will call you specifically to work with them; but in generally, you are wasting your time to argue with a Jehovah's Witness (or any other kind of cult member).

 

And God said yet further to Moses, "Thus you will say to the sons of Israel: 'Yahweh, [the] God of your fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob has sent me to you.' This is my name to times age-abiding, and this my memorial to generations after generation. [Ex. 3:15]


God's Word is God's Word. We often forget that when witnessing to people. We often do not believe in the power and reality of God's word so we think that we must prove that it is true We feel as though we must somehow back up that it is God's Word. God had prepared the Israelites for their deliverance. All Moses has to do is to return to Egypt and to take control. God has already handled all the nuts and bolts of the situation. On the other hand, this does not mean that we begin witnessing or that we take much of an active part in God's plan in the beginning of our new birth. Don't forget that Moses was prepared for perhaps eighty years prior to going into action. Then, after he was prepared, God used Moses. Youthful exuberance is wonderful and is, at times, far preferable to the older Christian who has lost his love of the Word, who is not growing, who is dead in his Christian life. Certainly, a newborn baby is far preferable to a 40 year old man who is still 15 in his lifestyle and thinking. But, a mature person is far superior to the newborn. And he has got the capactity for life, the vision, the direction and the drive. A Christian needs to grow and an emotional lift every Sunday is not enough. Even good Bible teaching every Sunday is not enough. Grounding in the Word is a daily process and God designed, for this dispensation, for pastor-teachers to take us to maturity. Self Bible-study is not a part of the New Testament plan for our growth. Moses learned from his Father-in-law, a priest. We learn and grow through a pastor-teacher. No new baby can pack a lunch box and go off to work and make it in the world at age four weeks. He requires eighteen to twenty-five years of training until he can do this. As Christians, we are the same way. We require the growth and the training. Then, when God opens up a significan trole in His plan for us, then we move into position.

 

"Go, and you will gather together the elders of Israel and you will say to them, 'Yahweh, [the] God of your fathers has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, saying, "I am concerned [lit., in visiting, I have visited you] for you and for what is done to you in Egypt" [Ex. 4:16]

 

The last sentence is called a zeugma [pronounced ZEUG-ma] and it means of unequal yoke (ζεύγμα = yoke). This is where there are two subjects and one verb. Here, what we actually have is the lack of a second subject and a second verb; where there is a second direct object. What is even more unusual is that the verb visit is found here twice, first in the Qal infinitive absolute and secondly in the Qal perfect. As the Qal infinitive absolute, it can stand alone as a verbal noun or it can be used to intensify the meaning of the verb, as it does here. Pâqad (ד ַק ָ) [pronounced paw-KAD] means to visit, to attend to, to muster. When God is the wsubject of the verb visit, two things are implied: this is much more that casual observation; God is not in heaven, He looks down and notices that the Jews are having a rough time of it and decides to do something about it. God realizes completely what is occurring to the Jews and this verb emphasizes the amount of emphathy that He feels for Israel. Secondly, God the Holy Spirit liked to use this word visit as God the Son would actually take up residence on this earth and walk among us, visiting us, an event of 33 years which divides history and stands out as an event like no other—God visiting man on earth; taking part in man's sufferings and day-to-day activities. This continual use of the word in the Old Testament where God is the subject foreshadows the first advent of our Lord (Gen. 21:1 50:24, 25 Ex. 3:16 4:31 13:19 etc.).

 

"There I say [that] I will bring you up out of the humilitation of Egypt into the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite, and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, into a land flowing with milk and honey."' [Ex. 3:17]


Moses is standing there dumbfounded. God has told him in v. 15 exactly what to do. Since it did not seem to sink in, God tells Moses again just exactly what to do in v. 16. He goes directly to the elders of Israel and tells them that he is there as a representative of the God of their fathers.

 

"So they will listen to your voice; and you will go in—you and the the elders of Israel—to the king of Egypt, and you will say to him, 'Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, has fallen in with us. Now therefore, let us go, we politely ask you, a journey of three days, into the desert, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh, our God.'" [Ex. 3:18]


In v. 18, we have the phrase "we pray thee." This is the same word used for "pray" back in v. 3.It is a polite request and "pray thee" is too old English to communicate what is being said.

 

A fascinating verb that we have in that verse: the 3rd person, masculine singular, Niphal perfect of qârâh (ה ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW], which means to encounter, to meet, to befall. The Niphal stem is usually the passive stem; what it indicates here is a chance encounter, one which has not been prearranged. The Niphal can be used in other ways, such as progress or development of the action, but the perfect tense runs counter to that. This stem often emphasizes the action of the verb upon the individual members of the group. Moses is telling Pharaoh that they have had a chance encounter with God (a chance encounter insofar as he, Moses, was concerned—the encounter was known to God from eternity past). God is the subject of this sentence, not Moses or the Hebrews.

 

"But I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go—not [even if compelled] by a firm [or, mighty] hand." [Ex. 3:19]


The last phrase is a bit difficult and several translators differ as to its sense. We have a negative and a prepositional phrase; no verb. The prepositional phrase is by a mighty hand. Rotherham, the literalist, translates this: not even by a firm hand. Owen: unless compelled by a mighty hand. The NASB: except under compulsion with the alternate reading, except by a strong hand. Both renditions can be appropriately interpreted. The Pharaoh would not let the people go, not even under the mighty hand of Moses. It will only be after God puts forth His hand and smashes Egypt with signs and wonders that Pharaoh will allow the Jewish people to leave.


Bullinger, in his marvelous Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, gives us a different slant on this last phrase. He calls this an epitasis [pronounced e-PIT-a-sis], which is primarily a figure of speech found in the Greek. It means to stretch and it is an addition to the original phrase for emphasis. This means that the Pharaoh will not just initially say no to Moses, but he will continually say no, even when faced with God's mighty hand. The next verse indicates that this is God's mighty hand that we are speaking of.


God gives Moses a short explanation of the game plan. Most of us have heard the story of the Exodus, or have seen the movie, and realize that this is a bare bones summary. But this is all that Moses needs to know. Most of us, if we knew every detail of our future, could not face it. God, however, as our future unfolds, provides for us and provides the strength to move through it. God has told Moses everything that he needs to know. Ideally, the plan would be for the Jews to first go to the desert and receive instruction from God as to their next move.

 

"So then, I will put forth my hand and smite Egypt with all my wonders, which I will do in the midst thereof; and, after that, he will send you forth." [Ex. 3:20]


An issue brought up here is the "wonders" which God will perform. Since we are mostly acquainted with the more spectacular portions of the Bible, we seem to think that the Christian life should be fraught with miracles and signs and wonders. We should walk out our front doors and there should be a cloud in the sky indicating that we should make a left turn or a right turn. How did we ever become so foolish? Firstly, our lives our filled with supernatural activity that we will never recognize until we have passed into phase three of the Christian life. However, the kinds of signs and wonders which we associate with the Christian life did not occur on a regular basis throughout history. These things were the exception to human experience. Every thousand years or so, there might be a short period of time when there would be signs and miracles and wonders. These things all occurred when God was making an important change in the way he dealt with man. Or they would occur at a particular cross roads. When God went from dealing with mankind through all families and centered in on the race of the Jews, there were some miraculous things which occurred, but miraculous to Abraham and Sarah only, and not to the outside world. When designating exactly what that line would be, God played a significant role in that family through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The bulk of their lives, including the portion with Joseph, were not filled with miracles. After this, we find that there will be miracles on the exodus because God is not going to work through a nation (which was the natural outgrowth of the family of Abraham). There will be some miracles associated with Elijah and some unusual things which will occur in David's life. Then therewill be a host of miracles and wonders associated with our Lord Jesus Christ and the foundatin of the church (because that indicates a complete change in God's plan). However, in between those times are long periods of time where God's hand is present and fully recognizable (which it should be in our lives today) but there are a dearth of signs and miracles and wonders. [see the doctrine of signs and wonders...not finished yet!!]


In v. 22, the Jews will spoil the Egyptians. This is outdated language which does not communicate. We associate that with buying Nintendo games for a six-year-old. Here, the Jews are merely taking what is rightfully theirs for services performed while under slavery to the Egyptians. It is payment due for services rendered.

 

"Then I will give grace to this people in the eyes of the Egyptians; so it will come to pass that when you do go, you will not go empty [-handed] but every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that live in her house, jewels [possibly, articles] of silver and jewels [possibly, articles] of gold and clothing; and you will put them upon your sons and upon our daughters; so shall you recover [or, take] from the Egyptians." [Ex. 3:21-22]

 

We first must deal with the specific words in v. 22; then we can handle the interpretation. The KJV translates the word shâ’al (ל ַא ָש) [pronounced shaw-AL] as borrow. It does not mean that; it means to ask, to inquire. It is in the Qal perfect, meaning that once they ask and once they leave, that is it. They have worked as faithful slaves on behalf of these Egyptians and for these Egyptians for over a century. The word often translated spoil or plunder is nâtsal (ל ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAL] and it means to snatch away (in a good or a bad sense) and it is often translated pluck, preserve, deliver, recover, rescue, save. Here, recover contextually fits; although take is a reasonable translation also. This is in the Piel perfect, which is a completed action and the Piel stem is intensive. At that point in time, the plagues upon Egypt and the circumstances surrounding their leaving will be very intense.


The Jews have worked for years under the hands of the Egyptians and have produced and built and slaved for the country as a whole and for individual families. God has allowed that and has not said anything about the evils of slavery. However, it is now time for the Jews to become established and God will see to it that they are paid for what they have done. The amount of compensation that they will receive will be small compared to what they have done on behalf of Egypt; but it will be a beginning. When the salves were freed here in the United States, every slave-owner should have given that slave some seed money or some land or something with which to begin a life. We will see in Ex. 12:33 that the Egyptians wanted the Jews to leave, as they were afraid of the dire consequences if they remained. This is one of the few places in the Bible where it is implied that there is a price for keeping slaves and that the Egyptians did owe the Israelites something for their years of slavery.


We may wonder why the Jews needed any kind of jewelry in their circumstances; it was an Oriental custom to wear fine jewelry when going to a sacred festival. This way they did not displease the deities. It is also common for us today to dress up for Sunday church. However, this jewelry and the like was payment for services rendered.


You may have certainly noticed the poor place in which this chapter got divided from chapter 4. Moses continues speaking to God in Ex. 4:1 and God comiques speaking to and being patient with Moses. There should have not have been a chapter break until between vv. 19 & 20 of Ex. 4.


EXODUS 4



Exodus 4:1–31


Introduction: As we have noted, the chapter breaks are not inspired and this is one example which substantiates that. We are still observing the conversation between Moses and Jesus Christ. Chapter 3 should have been extended to Ex. 4:17, which is the end of the conversation between Jesus Christ and Moses and chapter 4 should have begun here, when Moses takes his family and returns to Egypt. During this return, Moses is required to circumcise his children (who are grown men now) and this duty is relegated to his wife, who finds the experience less than enjoyable. This portion of God's Word is amusing because we have the very bitchy opinion of the wife of Moses given to the man who would lead two million Jews out of Egypt. We will also have the opportunity to meet Moses' brother Aaron.


Outline of Chapter 4:

 

       Vv.  1–17    God continues to reassure Moses

       Vv. 18–23    Moses and his family begin to travel to Egypt

       Vv. 24–26    Moses under the sin unto death

       Vv. 27–31    Moses meets Aaron and the elders of Israel


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:



God Continues to Reassure Moses


Moses is still not going for it. He voices another objection: In Ex. 3:18, God has told Moses that the people will listen to him. Still, he objects.

 

Then Moses responded, and he said, "And look [lit., lo], they will not believe me, neither [will they] listen to my voice; for they will say 'Yahweh has not appeared to you.'" [Ex. 4:1]


Moses is taken aback by all of this. He has no idea how he can pull this off. He does not see himself as a messenger of God but, at this point in time, can only see this from the human viewpoint. He would just be some fool from the Midian desert who comes to the people of Israel alledging that he has spoken to God. God told Moses that the people will listen to him; Moses says that they won't. God's word is filled with promises and mandates that we often find ourselves contradicting. Whereas, it is crystal clear in the Bible that sex is allowed only on the playing field of marriage between a man and a woman and not until after the marriage, how many Christians adhere to this? Here is one place where you have the opportunity to compare yourself to one of the greatest men who ever lived. God said one thing; Moses told God that He is wrong. God has given you specific mandates; you have told God that He is wrong. Some people have no concept of how inconsequential their opinion is. As a young person, one of the very few areas where my viewpoint lined up with God's was with respect to school. During my tenure at high school, the latest thinking was to ask us students how we felt about this issue or that. I personally was quite uncomfortable with this; I was going to school in order to gain the knowledge to someday have an opinion and I did not have enough information at that time to have an opinion on those things I was expected to have an opinion on. How arrogant we are to have any opinion which is in opposition to God. How much smaller it makes us appear. However, luckily for Moses, God will entertain Moses' concern.

 

And Yahweh said to him, "What is this in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." Then said he, "Cast it to the earth." And he cast it to the earth and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from the face thereof. [Ex. 4:2-3]


As Scofield points out, a staff or rod, in Scripture, is often indicative of power and authority (Psalm 2:9 11-:2 Rev. 2:27). Cast down (that is, held in the carnal,earthly realm, it becomes a serpent striking fear in the hearts of all those under it. Taken up by the man of God, it becomes a rod of God (Ex. 4:20).


What exactly was extent at that time in terms of the Scriptures, we do not know; and we know even less about what Scriptures Moses was familiar with. Very possibly a prototype Genesis (from which Moses got his information) existed and possibly Job, but we have no indication that Moses had access to either of those books at this time. Therefore, his primary source of revelation came directly from God. Today, our primariy source of revelation (99.99999%) comes from the written word. When someone tells me that God has spoken to them or has spoken to their heart or has let them know something, I personally have serious doubts in this area. If we are filled with His Word and filled with the Spirit, we do not require a cloud overhead telling us should we make a right or a left turn. However, at this time, there was very little if any written revelation. There certainly was a system of sacrifice, which taught salvation and rebound (definitely the former and very likely the latter). Information about what has happened in history and God's relationship to man over the previous 1000 years or so has been passed down orally. Moses' father-in-law has certainly passed on to Moses whatever he knew and Moses has experienced some growth. As unusual as this might sound, it is important to realize that we have the opportunity to know more and have an impact equal to Moses in God's history because we have the entire Word of God and the opportunity to know the entire Word of God. Moses is speaking directly, face-to-face with the living God, Jesus Christ, and he is telling Him, "I don't know; I don't think Your idea is going to work. I think that Your plan has several flaws." Because of the lack of divine revelation in Moses' soul God will have to work with Moses using some signs and wonders. Afterwards, as Moses becomes further and further entrenched in His Word (this will be by divine revelation and by writing God's Word) there will be fewer and fewer signs for Moses himself. However, there will be a great many signs for the children of Israel.


Back to the passage itself; God did not ask Moses what was in his hand because God was not sure. He asked Moses so that Moses would have no doubt in his mind as to what he was holding. The miracle which ws performed was nothing. It was a very small thing for God to do. The less that we require in the way of miracles, the better off we are. Miracles and wonders do not ground one in the faith. Similarly, Christian apologetics, although they have their place, do not appreciably cause one to grow. Moses will in later life not hearken back to this miracle and find strength and power in it. This miracle was good for a few hours; or, at best, a few days.

 

And Yahweh said to Moses, "Put forth your hand and take it by its tail."—so he put forth his hand and laid hold of it and it became a staff in his hand— "that they may believe that Yahweh, God of their fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, has appeared to you." [Ex. 4:4–5]


God is performing some minor miracles for Moses which will do two things: (1) it will give Moses a place to temporarily place his faith until he becomes more inculcated with God's Word; and (2) it shows Moses what miracles he will be capable of when he meets with his people, the Jews. This way, just in case they do not believe him, Moses will realize that there are certain things that he can do by way of miracles to impress them. Moses is concerned first of all that the Jews will not believe him (Ex. 4:1); and God performs this miracle so that he will see what he is capable of doing before his own people the Jews. These same miracles will also be performed for the Egyptian Pharaoh. As we will see, the elders of the Jews accepted Moses immediately (Ex. 4:31) and these signs were used more extensively later (Ex. 7:8–13).

 

Then said Yahweh to him, yet again, "Bring, if you would, your hand into your bosom." So he brought his hand into his bosom, and took it out and lo, his hand was leprous, like snow. And He said, "Put your hand back into your bosom." And he put back his hand into his bosom and lo, it had come again, like his own flesh. [Ex. 4:6-7]


As I learned many years ago, the heart is what we are and the hand is what we do as a result of what we are. Moses had both a corrupt and an honorable heart; when he put his hand near his heart and took it out, what was revealed was his dishonorable, leprous heart; a heart filled with excuses and negative voliton. However, Moses was also saved and he did have some doctrine. So when he put his hand back inside his cloak (or shirt) it came out whole again. A passage in the New Testament which deals with this issue would be Luke 6:43-45.


Again, these are just miracles which are done to impress Moses enough to give him the courage to do what God has told him to do. As amazing as it may seem, this will not be enough to convince Moses to go ahead with God's plan. He has had some training, but, as we have noted, this training has been with a very small amount of Scripture. Moses will, when he receives God's Word on the Mount Sinai, become much more grounded and that will prepare him for the forty years of wandering in the desert with a bunch of spiritual degenerates.

 

"Thus it shall come to pass: if they will not believe you nor hearken to the voice of the first sign, then will they believe the voice of the next sign. And it shall come to pass if they will not believe even thoese two signs nor hearken to your voice, then shall you take of the water of the river and pour it out on the dry land; and the water which you have taken from the river shall certainly become blood on the dry land." [Ex. 4:8-9]


God is telling Moses that there is a backup plan to the backup plan. Moses is still thinking about the elders of Israel beliving him and God is giving Moses the contingency plan when Pharaoh refuses to let the people go. God is a couple steps ahead of Moses. God knows what He is doing and will perform whatever miracles need to be performed in order to accomplish His purposes. Still, Moses has another objection. Moses is a very bright man and can come up with a lot of objections.

 

The Moses said to Yahweh, "Pardon, O My Lord, [but] I am not an eloquent man [lit., a man of words]; neither, heretofore, nor since You have spoken to your servant, for heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue am I." [Ex. 4:10]


Moses is thinking of excuses why he cannot participate as quickly as he possibly can. It does not occur to him to just trust God and go with God's program. So Moses thinks about this—even though he can perform a couple of miracles, he still has to speak to the men of Israel and he is not accustomed to public speaking. He may have had some training in this decades ago, but he has never had to put it into practice.

 

Then Yahweh said to him, "Who appointed a mouth for man or who appointed him to be dumb or deaf or seeing or blind. Is it not I, Yahweh?" [Ex. 4:11]


This is not an excuse to God. God has chosen Moses. It is God who has decided who can speak and who cannot. This is not Moses' prerogative to second guess what God has provided for him.

 

"Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth so will I direct you, what you will speak." [Ex. 4:12]


Yahweh has made it quite clear that Moses has a mouth (by divine design) and that God will tell him what to say. What more could he expect? Jesus Christ told His disciples the same thing fifteen hundred years later. "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore, be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak. For it is not you who is speaking but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." (Matt 10:16-20; also see Mark 13:11 Luke 21:12-17).


This verse has been taken out of context and it cannot be claimed by believers in lieu of learning God's Word. They believe that when the time comes, we will just open our mouths and God will just speak for us. God chose the disciples who were, for the most part, spiritually weak. Jesus Christ told them time and time again about the cross and they later remembered that when writing Scripture, but did not when the time came. Jesus Christ knew when he spoke these words to them that they were for all intents and purposes, without resources. Under circumstances of pressure; the eleven disciples would fall apart. He therefore promised them that they would be able to communicate His Word as they should be able to even under pressure. Most, if not all of the disciples, would develop the doctrinal resources in their souls and be able to speak God's Word under tremendous pressure through the power of the Holy Spirit to the courts and rulers that they will be brought before. We, ourselves, the entire Word of God and the ability to grasp its meaning and intention. We claim such a promise in cognizance, not in ignorance. God can and does prepare us to a point where we are not robots but our souls take an active part in what we say and think. This is certainly not a full exposition of these three passages, which actually were spoken on two occasions, the first time spoken to all the disciples as a near prophecy, and the second time as a near and far prophecy said to only certain Apostles.


In this context, Moses was still coming up with excuses and God was answering those excuses. God has a plan for our lives and we should fall into this plan willingly. It is not some obscure maze that we have to continually pray about and ask for miracles to direct us. In Moses' case, God spoke to him directly because (1) there was a dearth of Scripture and, (2) because God had an extremely important and individual job for Moses to do. Once we learn some doctrine, what God wants us to do is often too clear; and we, due to negative voliton and not due to ignorance, will choose against His plan.

 

And he said, "Pardon, O my Lord, send [your message], if you would please, by the hand of him whom you will send." [Ex. 4:13]


Moses is saying, "Please, if you would, send someone else." The hand is the agency by which something is done. Whereas this verse literally reads: "And he [Moses] said, O Lord, send I pray you by the hand You will send." In other words, accomplish Your work through any agency except me. God has all the patience in the world; a thousand years is as a day to Him. Also, God does not have anger as an emotion. The next verse is put in terms of language of accommodation. It is put on a level which we can understand. At this point in time, even we should start becoming impatient with Moses.

 

Then the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Moses, and He said, "Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he is certainly able to speak [lit., in speaking, he can speak]. Moreover, also, I see [lit., lo], he himself is coming forth to meet you as surely as he sees you, so sure will he rejoice in his heart." [Ex. 4:14]

 

God knew in eternity past that there was no one else for this job other than Moses. He was the perfect person to perform these miracles and to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. He was also aware that Moses would refuse to lead the children of Israel and that Moses would refuse to stand up to Pharaoh. Moses needs someone there to hold his hand. So God provided Aaron, the brother of Moses, in eternity past. The way that this is expressed is humorous: "What about your brother, Aaron? I know that he can speak." Actually, the Hebrew word is our common word for speaking: dâbar (ר ַב ָ) [pronounced daw-BAR]. This is first found in the Piel infinitive absolute and then in the Piel imperfect. The double use of this word means that Aaron can certain speak. Normally the Piel tense would stand out as being quite intensive, but dâbar is found in the Piel much more often than in any other stem. We will see that, although Aaron is enthusiastic and eager to please, he does not have what it takes to stand up to Pharaoh or to lead the Israelites. As Thieme paints this picture, Aaron will be the spokesman for Moses until Moses finally gets tired of listening to him handle it the wrong way so that he finally pushes Aaron aside and speaks directly to Pharaoh.


There is an important shadow here. Aaron becomes a part of God’s plan by virtue of the fact that he is related to Moses. There are a number of greater men in Israel than Aaron—however, only Aaron is the brother of Moses. Aaron will become a High Priest and all those who are descended from him will be priests or high priests. They are so designated because of their relationship to Aaron and he is so placed in God’s plan because of his relationship to Moses. Here’s the deal: we have nothing whatsoever to recommend ourselves to God. We are in absolute opposition to God. We should expect condemnation. However, because we are in Christ—because of our relationship to Christ Jesus, we are accepted in the beloved. In fact, we are a nation of priests. What we have is a parallel situation. Moses is representative of Christ—the Great Prophet Who would come. Aaron has a place in God’s plan, as do all of his descendants, simply because of his relationship to Moses. We have our place in God’s plan simply because of our relationship to Christ Jesus. We have nothing else to recommend us.

 

"Then you will speak to him and will put the words in his mouth, so I will direct you [as to] what you will do. And he will speak for you unto the people; and is shall come to pass that he will become a spokesman [lit., a mouth] on your behalf [lit., for you] and you will become to him as God." [Ex. 4:15–16]

 

V. 16 may not be translated completely correctly. We have the absolute status quo verb to be hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] used twice here. It is first in the Qal perfect with a subject which is not altogether clear; and it immediately follows in the Qal imperfect. We could also translate this as: he has become and he will continue to become a mouth on your behalf and you will be to him as God.


So God will speak to Moses; Moses will tell Aaron what to say, and Aaron will speak to Pharaoh, on behalf of God, to Whom he has never spoken. What Moses says to Aaron will be just as though God is speaking to Aaron—therefore, Moses will become as God to Aaron. Although this is God's second choice as to how things should be done; He does allow Moses his free will. What God would prefer (and it will eventually occur this way) is that there will be one man between Himself and Pharaoh; one mediator speaking God's Word to Pharaoh. That sets up a better shadow image of Jesus Christ revealing God to man and the perfect God-man, the true mediator between God and man. Throughout the Old Testament, God will continually use spiritual men who both act in the process of His plan and also act as a shadow of good things to come.

 

"And this staff, take it in your hand; with this you shall perform the signs." [Ex. 4:17]


When Moses' mother, the queen, told him of his background, she possibly told him about his real family. There is no indicaton that they had ever met prior to this. Very likely, his birth-mother kept in touch with the queen and would inquire as to Moses and his life. Further, his birth mother, when the time was proper, told the rest of the family that they had a brother, God certainly knew Moses' entire background and at this point, we do not know how much about it that Moses knew. As i mentioned earlier, it is my theory (yet, at this point it is just a theory) that Moses did not fully grasp his familial background until a day or so before he went out among the Jews to observe them in slavery. He behaved as if he was seeing them in a new light, although, at forty years old, he could remember Jews being slaves under Egypt and under the palace for his entire life. He just did not realize that was an Israelite. When he went out to observe the Jews, he may have been told more details of his family and perhaps not. Since no intention of meeting his family was mentioned and since he goes out into the Jews twice without a mention of his family, it is my educated guess that he did not know any of the specifics of his birth at that time. However, his first visit out to the Jews in Ex. 2:11 mentions the word brothers twice; indicating that he knew at least at this time that these were his relatives by birth. Ex. 4:14 and the following verse indicates that Moses at this time knew who his family was.



Moses and His Family Begin to Travel to Egypt

 

So Moses went and returned to Jethro, his father-in-law, and said to him, "Let me go, I ask of you, and return to my family who are in Egypt, that I may see whether they are yet alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go and prosper." [Ex. 4:18]


I've taken some liberties with the translation; Moses asks to return and see his brethren. Also, I ask of you is actually I pray thee. It is interesting to note that Moses says nothing of his encounter with the burning bush to his own father-in-law, who is a priest. A guess on my part is that Moses will go half-heartedly to Egypt, first to see his family, and then he might go and speak to Pharaoh. He is still possibly going to play this by ear. Notice that this parting is much better than the one between Labon and Jacob. Jethro recognizes the importance of Moses returning to Egypt to see his family and does not do anything untoward to make him stay.

 

And Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, "Go and return to Egypt, for all the men are dead who were seeking your life." [Ex. 4:19]


How God spoke to Moses this second time, we do not know. This could have been a reference to Mount Horeb because that is in Midian, near the border of Midian and Egypt. If God did come to Moses a second time, then we are given no specifics whether He came in a dream or a vision or as another phenomenah of nature. Moses left because his life was in danger and now he can return since the statute of limitations has run out (which, in this case, those who remembered the crime and intended to prosecute Moses had died).

 

So Moses took his wife and his sons and caused them to ride upon the donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the staff of God in his hand. [Ex. 4:20]


This staff was the staff which Moses had used for years to walk with and to herd his cattle and sheep with. However, when God caused it to change into a serpent and back into a staff, it became the staff of God.

 

And Yahweh said to Moses, "When you go to return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go." [Ex. 4:21]


Moses likely recorded all of this years later. It is possible that he recorded his conversation with God at Mount Horeb, and as he records his steps from Midian to Egypt, he recalls other things which God had said to him. It is also possible that God had again appeared to Moses, possibly several times, reassuring Moses in little steps.


Then we come to the place which most people find confusing. God hardens Pharaoh's heart. The only people not confused by this are the hyper-Calvinists who do not believe that we have the free will to act apart from God's plan. I should rephrase that. When it comes to salvation, there are the chosen and there are the damned. The chosen believe in God because God turned on their positive volition. They see faith as being the gift of God in Eph. 2:8,9 Footnote . We are all corrupt; none of us has enough positive volition to chose God; and if we did, that would be works. That would imply some goodness in us which we do not possess. God foreknew those He would save—those who's voliton He would turn to positive—and therefore, Christ only died for those people. God is glorified in all of this. Therefore, the hyper-Calvinists see nothing unusual about God "hardening Pharaoh's heart."

The problem with their position is this:

 1.    Man is corrupt and totally negative toward God.

 2.    Pharaoh is not only all of those things, but he will die an unbeliever.

 3.    Therefore, why would God have to do anything to Pharaoh's heart? It would be natural for Pharaoh to react negatively toward God's plan in the first place.

 4.    Hyper-Calvinists believe in the total depravity of man.

 5.    It is illogical for God to do inside Pharaoh what he would do out of his own depravity.


When we get further along in this, we will examine God hardening Pharaoh's heart. At some point in time, we will cover the Doctrine of The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart. A problem with the Calvinists, as it is with many theological positions, is this "all or nothing" mindset. On the one hand we have the Armenian way of thinking, which emphasizes man's free will as over ruling God's sovereignty; and the hyper-Calvinists on the other hand seeing God's sovereignty as overruling man's free will. Furthermore, they see man's free will as being illusionary at best when it comes to things spiritual. The result of both positions are dangerous. The Armenian believes that everything depends upon them. However, everything depends upon God. The hyper-Calvinists become fatalistic. However, the Bible asserts our free will throughout the Old and New Testaments. Both positions are theological ones and it may not seem to be that important to the reader, but that theological position seeps into their Christian life and into their way of thinking. Their participation in God's plan is confused and contradictory. Their motivation is confused and their actions are confused. However, when the time is right, we will straighten all of this out.


What might help to allay your troubles temporarily is that the Hebrew sometime shas a verb denoting action which expresses not the doing of the thing, but the permission to do so Footnote . Bullinger points out several passages where this is done: Gen. 31:7 Jer. 4:10 Ezek. 14:9 20:25 etc. God is not forcing Pharaoh to harden his heart, but He is permitting him to do so. More of that later.

 

"Then shall you say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, My Son—my firstborn—is Israel. Therefore, I say to you, let my son go that he may serve me But, if you refuse to let him go, behold, I am going to slay your son, your firstborn.'" [Ex. 4:22-23]


Whether God is appearing to Moses on several different occasions or whether Moses is recalling these things to his mind as he sets off toward Egypt, the implication is clear: Moses, on this trip, is thinking doctrine and is being exposed to doctrine. Doctrine is God's Word and Moses has doctrine now pervading his soul. This is the only way to approach one's spiritual service. God has given Moses the overview of what will occur (the Pharaoh will ot listen to Moses) and what the final ultimatum to the Pharaoh will be. the death of the first born.


Under Egyptian bondage, it is possible that circumcision among the Israelites had been neglected by some (however, not by Moses' parents because his adoptive mother recognized that he was a Hebrew immediately in Ex. 2:6). We do know, however, that Moses did neglect the circumcision of his own children. This is one of the things which sets the Israelites apart from surrounding heathen. Because "sons" is in the plural in v. 20, we know that Moses had two or more sons; and because "son" is in the singular in v. 25 that we have two possible scenarios: (1) Moses had all of his sons circumcised until the last one which his wife overruled; or (2) Moses did not have any of his children circumcised, and when cutting off the foreskin of the last son, his wife threw a tantrum. It is possible that Moses had suggested circumcision before but had been overruled by his wife; or it is possible that he never took this stand. Whatever the case, not all of his children were circumcised. [See the Doctrine of Circumcision--not finished yet!!] What God will expect from Moses is an all or nothing stance. He is about to lead two million malcontents across the desert for forty years. He is about to stand in front of Pharaoh and do what is unprecedented: demand the release of two million slaves because this is God's demand. Not only is it the demand of God, but the Pharaoh will see Him as a local god; peculiar to the Israelites. Therefore, Moses cannot follow God's plan in a half-assed way.



Moses Under the Sin Unto Death

 

And it came to pass on the way, in the resting place for the night that Yahweh fell upon him [Moses] and sought to kill him. [Ex. 4:24]


A son (or sons) of Moses has not been circumcised since birth. Now suddenly Moses is under the sin unto death. The sin unto death is a sin or sins or point of degeneracy when God requires the believer to be removed from this life painfully and under discipline. For the casual reader, the fact that God has come to Moses and has spoken to him on at least one occasion, and the fact that Moses finally decides to go along with God's plan, might become rather disconcerted by this verse. However, whereas Moses, a sheepherder out in the desert, apart from his people, can get by with not circumcising his son(s); Moses, the leader of the Jewish people, the instrument of God, the man to stand before Pharaoh and demand Pharaoh allow the Jews to leave—that Moses does not have the same leniency. As we move higher up in God's plan, we have more rewards, more happiness, more responsibility and the discipline becomes much more strict. We have seen men of great spiritual prominence brought down by a few acts of carnality. These men do not even have to be spiritual giants; but they are perceived by many to have a great ministry and dedication to God. On the other hand, I can think of one man in particular who stands out as a very public person whose reputation is just about unimpeachable—Billy Graham. He has had a tremendous responsibility all of his life and, with God's grace, has been equal to the task. God sees that those who are leaders in the Christian community are disciplined far more than the average Christian would be.

 

So Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son, and it was cast down at his feet [Moses'], and she said, "Surely, a bridegroom of blood are you to me." [Ex. 4:25]


Foreskin, surprisingly enough, is a feminine noun. Cast down is in the Hiphil stem—the passive stem—and it is in the feminine singular. This is how we properly determine the subject of this verb.


Women do not like to see their children suffer any kind of pain, no matter what. Sometimes a child is so protected from pain, that they have no concept of what the real world is like and they have totally unrealistic expectations. Zipporah is practically never mentioned in the Bible, and she is never mentioned with regards to any great spiritual thing. Moses' life was at stake and she was concerned about a small amount of pain. She has no big picture view. She has no concept of Moses' role in history. In order for two people to have a happy life together, they need to both be growing spiritually. We may not know the full implication of what she has said, but it is clear that she is unhappy with the situation and any husband knows that there is hell to pay when the little woman is unhappy (this works both ways).

 

So He withdrew from him. Then that she said, "A bridegroom of blood" with respect to the circumcision. [Ex. 4:26]


God fell upon Moses, or met Moses with the intention of killing him. Because Moses had not circumcised his children, and was off to lead the nation Israel out of Egypt, he found himself under the sin unto death. He delegated the responsibility of circumcising the children to his wife (it is possible that he was too sick to perform this operation—again, God has not given us all the details here). Once she had done that, God allowed Moses to recover (He withdrew from him) and Zipporah was allowed her moment of bitchiness. How embarrassing to have a husband who is the single greatest man in the Old Testament and the only thing that we remember about the wife is how pouted and bitched in the face of God's plan and the possibility of the death of her husband. What a sad memorial. We must understand that this is not an indictment against all women; this is a sad piece of commentary about one woman who did not have the foresight, the spiritual growth, the personal sense of destiny that her husband possessed.


Zipporah was under a lot of pressure here. She was raised with her family out in the desert and for the past forty or so years has lived with Moses in the desert. She certainly assumed they would live out there lives together there, so she is certainly unhappy about this trip to Egypt. Even though it is unlikely that Moses has told anyone as to why he is really going to Egypt, it is certain that she suspects that this is more than just a family reunion. This circumcision is the last straw. She had thought that this issue had been settled. She had raised her children under Dr. Spock, seeing that they experience little or no pain in their lives, therefore, she would not allow circumcision to be done; and now she has found that she has been overruled. All in all, a bad day for Zipporah (which means bird.).


This issue of complete obedience was obviously of utmost importance to God. It was important enough to put Moses under the sin unto death. He was given enough time to deal with this situation properly as the man of the house, and he did. Zipporah, just in case Moses didn't hear her the first time or receive the entire impact of her statement, she calls him a bloody bridegroom twice. Because of Zipporah's failure here, we will never hear about her again. One theologian theorized that she left Moses at this time.



Moses Meets Aaron and the Elders of Israel

 

And Yahweh said to Aaron, "Go your way to meet Moses, towards the desert." So he went his way and he met him in the moutain of God and kissed him. [Ex. 4:27]


Aaron was told of his brother Moses, raised in the palace. Their sister, Miriam, saw with her own eyes what had happened. All of this was kept quiet in order to preserve the life of their brother Moses. However, the time is proper and God reunites this family, speaking to Aaron and guiding both Aaron and Moses. It is not easy for one man to leave Midian with hsi family and another to leave Egypt and to meet one another in the midst of the desert. God had to guide both of them.

 

And Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh, with which He had sent him, and all the signs with which He had entrusted him. [Ex. 4:28]

 

God sent Moses on his way with doctrine in his soul. What God said to Moses was the Word of God—it was doctrine—and we see Moses recounting this throughout this journey. When God sends us to do His work, it is with His Word—His doctrine—in our souls; that is how we are sent. Moses also told Aaron about the signs which were his responsibility. The Hebrew word is tsâvâh (ה ָו ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-VAW or tsaw-WAW] and it means to lay charge [upon], to give charge [to], to command, to order, to place under one's authority or into one's responsibility. Entrusted is a reasonable one-word translation, if one infers duty and responsibility as a part of it. This verb is in the Piel perfect, meaning that God gave this once and for all to Moses and this was an intensive responsibility (meaning, solemn). This signs and wonders were a great responsibility to have. This is one of the reasons that Moses almost died the sin unto death.

 

So Moses and Aaron went their way, and gathered together all the elders of the sons of Israel. [Ex. 4:29]


The way this is written, it sounds as though Aaron did not have as much trouble with God speaking to him as Moses did. God told Aaron to go out to the desert and he did. Moses tells Aaron what God had planned for them and Moses immediately takes Moses to the elders of Israel. We don't know how quickly Aaron consented to all of this, but the text indicates that Aaron went along with all of this almost immediately. Since Moses wrote this, we will find more detail concerning his conversations with God than with Aaron's. Even though Aaron makes some serious mistakes in the future, one should not underestimate his spiritual impact. The entire Levitical priesthood began with Aaron at the head. Also, I believe that it was his influence over Moses that caused Moses to be less difficult about going through with God's plan.


This is likely the first meting between Moses and Aaron and they are about eighty years old. Israel was operating on a family, elder system of rule. We began with a family priesthood and God worked through various family members. When the populaton grew, God chose a particular race to work through. This is called the age of the patriarchs ("fathers") because their primary organization was through the elder members of the tribes. The major change to occur is that God will organize them as a nation and rule over them as their king. They will reject Jesus Christ as their king. They will, in 1Samuel, reject Jesus Christ as their king and ask for a human king to lead them.


If you will recall, Moses did not want to speak and desired for God to chose someone else. God chose Aaron, knowing that Moses was by far the more powerful and dynamic speaker and leader. In speaking to the pharaoh, Moses will soon become frustrated when he listens to Aaron speak (while he ruminates that he should have said it this way and he should have said this or that, etc.). Finalty Moses will push Aaron aside and begin doing his own speaking.

 

And Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and he did the signs before the eyes of the people. [Ex. 4:30]


It is unclear in the English and in the Hebrew as to who performed these signs—whether it was Aaron or Moses. However, it would be most likely that Moses did so that the Jews were able to understand the chain of command (from God to Moses to Aaron). Furthermore, when Moses stopped communicating through Aaron, it would be important that the elders recognized that God had spoken through Moses and had called upon Moses.

 

And the people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had concerned himself with [lit., visited] the sons of Israel, and that He had looked upon their humiliation, they then bent their heads and bowed themselves down. [Ex. 4:31]


When we are in God's plan, He opens up the doors for us. Moses spent more time objecting and asking "what if" than it took for he and Aaron to talk to the elders of Israel and convince them that God had spoken to Moses and that it was time for them to leave Egypt. Prior to this time, the elders, as well as the people, were too happy with their arrangement with Egypt. They apparently had the doctrine and the blessing of God and found their right women (or men) and they had many children and the picture of the Israelites under Egypt was one of peace and prosperity and security. However, when it was time for God to take them out of Egypt, they had suffered enough pain and degradation and humiliation to desire to leave Egypt. This is not an easy thing to do, even as a slave, when you have lived under slavery all of your life. There is a lot of security involved here. People are more than willing to bargain their freedom for a little security.


                                                                    EXODUS 5



Exodus 5:1–23


Outline of Chapter 5:


       Vv. !–3          Moses and Aaron first confront Pharaoh

       Vv. 4–14       Pharaoh increases the workload of the Israelites

       Vv. 15–19     The Israelite foremen complain to Pharaoh

       Vv. 20–23     The foremen complain to Moses and Moses complains to God 


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


                            Natural Consequences of Sin; Discipline from God

God’s Ability to Mix Everything Together for Good


Introduction: In this chapter, Moses and Aaron will go before Pharaoh. God has told Moses already that Pharaoh will not let the Jews go immediately; that signs and wonders will be required. In fact, Yahweh has told Moses that He will have to go so far as to threaten the first-born of Pharaoh (Ex. 4:23). So, as God has promised, Pharaoh does not allow the children of Israel to go (the first request would be to go to the mountains and make sacrifices to God). Chapter 5 ends with Moses complaining to God that He has brought harm to the people and that Pharaoh did not let them go.

 


Moses and Aaron First Confront Pharaoh


Ex. 5:1 marks the first use in the Old Testament of the phrase, "The Lord God of Israel" (literally, "Yahweh, God of Israel"). They are now large enough to be c0nsidered a nation and God is over them. Prior to this, it was "Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Now he is the God of the nation Israel.

 

And afterwards, Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go that they may hold a feast to me in the desert.'" [Ex. 5:1]

 

The fact that Moses and Aaron could get an audience with Pharaoh is unusual enough. They come to him with the straightforward Word of God. That is the very best that we can bring to anyone. What they would like to do is châgag (ג ַג ָח) [pronounced chaw-GAG or khaw-GAG] and it means to make a pilgramage, to keep a feast, to celebrate a feast. For some reason, my remembrance from my unbeliever days emphasized the concepts of fasting but the Old Testament emphasizes feasting and celebration. God asks of Pharaoh what is reasonable: to take a few days off to journey into the desert and hold a celebration-feast on behalf of Jesus Christ.

 

Then Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh that I should hearken to his voice to let Israel go? I do not know Yahweh and I will certainly not let Israel go." [Ex. 5:2]

 

Hearken is a marvelous Old English word for which we do not have an exact one-word equivalent in Modern English. It means to listen and to obey or to listen and to comply. The Hebrew word is the Qal imperfect of shâma‛ (ע ַמ ָש ) [pronounced shaw-MAH] and this word can mean to listen and comply (as in Gen. 3:17 16:2); it can simply mean to hear (Gen. 3:8, 10); or it can mean to hear and sympathize (Gen. 16:11 Ex. 2:24). These six passages Footnote make it clear that we do not have the exact same implication each time.


Israel is the name of the patriarch of the Israelites and we have his name here used in such a way that it stands for all of the Israelites.


Everything is going exactly as God planned it. He told Moses to speak to the elders of Israel and then to go to Pharaoh and speak to him. God gave no indication that there would be trouble with the elders, but indicated the Pharaoh would not be so inclined. Any thinking person understands the reluctance of Pharaoh, however, a stranger coming to the Israelites and telling them theat he was going to lead them out of Egypt; that is pretty phenomenal too. The Pharaoh admits to being an unbeliever. He does not know Who Yahweh is and has no intention of turning the Jews loose. For the past century or so, it has been the practice of Egypt to have the Jews in slavery. It is difficult for anyone to see past that. After all of the years of slavery in the United States, it was difficult for the Blacks to receive proper respect; and when that respect seemed to be forthcoming, they raised a couple of generations of very degenerate blacks. However, that is an entirely different topic.


Notice too that God does not speak directly to Pharaoh. Pharaoh is an unbeliever. Whart fellowship has darkness with light? God works through a mediator, Moses (and Aaron). Moses is a believer so he has fellowship with God. Therefore, he can speak to God and God will speak to him. However, the Pharaoh does not believe in Yahweh, the God of Israel, so he cannot have any sort of fellowship with God. Moses, as a believer, can speak to God, and as a man, can speak to Pharaoh. Therefore, he will act as a mediator between God and Pharaoh. Throughout the next several chapters, God will always communicate with Moses and Moses with Pharaoh. Unbelievers do not have direct communication with God, except in one area and one area only: when God the Holy Spirit reveals the gospel to the unbeliever, the channels between him and God are opened for a short time so that the unbeliever can believe in Jesus Christ. Other than this revealing of the gospel of the unbeliever and the response of the unbeliever, there is no direct communication between God and man. Furthermore, this gospel, although revealed to the unbeliever by the Holy Spirit, is still often presented to the unbeliever by means of a believer, who represents Jesus Christ to this unbeliever.

 

And they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go, we ask of you, a journey of three days into the desert and sacrifice to Yahweh our God, lest He attack us with pestilence or with sword." [Ex. 5:3]


Moses and Aaron understand the issue; they have a job to do; to remove the people of Israel from Egypt. If they do not do this, it means the sin unto death to themselves and to Israel. Moses already knows first hand that if he does not obey God it will mean the sin unto death. What they are requesting is exactly what God told them to request (Ex. 3:18). However, God has made any threats to Israel. His threats are toward Egypt. Here, Aaron is adding to God's Word. He claims that if he does ot round up the Jews and haul them into the desert, then God will attack them with either sickness or with war (sword is a metonymy for war). This sounds better, but it is not what God told them to say. Prior to the exodus, God wanted the Israelites to go out into the desert and worship him and receive divine instructions there.



Pharaoh Increases the Workload of the Israelites

 

And the king of Egypt said to them, "Why, Moses and Aaron, are you causing the people to refrain from their labors? Get [back] to your [own] slave-labors." [Ex. 5:4]

 

V. 4 has the 2nd masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect of pâra‛ (ע ַר ָ) [pronounced paw-RAH] which, generally speaking, means to loose. It more properly means to let go, to let alone and in the causative stem, it means that Moses and Aaron are causing the Jews to let go of their labors. Better English is they are causing them to refrain from their labors. We have two different words for work in this verse. Ma‛ăseh (ה ְַע ַמ) [pronounced mah-as-EH] and it means deed, work. Since it is in the plural and has on the 3rd person masculine singular suffix with the preposition mî (-  ̣מ), which is used with verbs of separation or removal and, in that context, means from, I have translated this phrase from their labors. The 3rd person masculine singular suffix gathers Israel as a whole; we still translate that suffix as their. The second word is çebâlâh (ה ָל ָב  ׃ס) [pronounced seb-aw-LAWH] and it is the word used in Exodus exclusively for their slavery. The masculine form of this is a tyrannical burden and this, in the feminine, is a burden placed upon the Israelites in slavery. Slave-labors or burdens of slavery would both be good translations of çebâlâh.

 

And Pharaoh said, "Listen, many now are the people of the land; and are you to make them rest from their labors?" [Ex. 5:5]

 

In v. 5, some Bible translations use the word "lo" to begin Pharaoh's statement, and others use "behold or look." All of these are acurate, but dated. The word is hên (ן ֵה) [pronounced hane], is a primitive particle which means "lo!" There is a prolongation of this particle, hinnêh (ה ֵ  ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY], which means the same thing. We have seen it continually throughout Exodus (and the rest of the Old Testament). It is a word which grabs the listener's attention. It would be close to the translations "now listen to this" or "look here (now)" or "listen up" or "pay attention to this." The only difference is that it is a particle and not the imperitive of a verb. With this in mind, and to capture the brevity of it, I have translated this "listen." This is a freer, more idiomatic translation than a literal one, however, it sounds more modern, which should be one of the goals of any translator.


Pharaoh is totally amazed that anyone should barge into his palace and ask to let two million of his laborers rest for three days. This catches him completely off guard. God has prepared everyone for their part except Pharoah. God has allowed the pharaoh to act as he would. This is not to dissimilar to someone walking into the office of the president of Compact Computers and asking him to let his workers take a sudden paid three-day vacation. You can tell that Pharaoh doesn't even know exactly what to say. He expresses his surprise twice and says the same thing twice, with different words. If it were a part of his vocabulary, the Pharaoh would have prefaced his remarks by, "You have got to be kidding!"


He is so taken back by this ridiculous (in his eyes) request, that he decides that he needs to exert some authority and make the Israelites pay for making this kind of a request. Unforunately, up to this point in time, the Pharaoh's have added burden upon burden on the Israelites that it would be difficult to make their work any harder.

 

So then, Pharaoh gave command on that day to the taskmasters over the people and to their overseers, saying, "You shall not from this point on give any more straw to the people for making bricks as before. Let them go themselves to gather the straw." [Ex. 5:6–7]


Ancient Egyptian bricks were made of clay mixed with water, some with straw and some without, and then the mixture is put into a mold, 14.5–20" long, 4.5–7" thick and 6.5–8.75" wide. Once they had set, the mold was removed and they were placed in the sun to dry completely. These bricks were used in Egyptian homes, tombs, tower walls, fortresses, various buildings and for the sacred inclosures of temples. Often they would bear the imprint of the name of the king who was in power when they werre made (which helps us to date the buildings found). The Egyptians did use stones, but they were confined to temples, quays (these are docks built out into navigable waters for loading and unloading ships) and reservoirs.


Those who had ruled over the Israelites had become cruel and unrealistic. They expected far too much of the Jews. Each ruler attempted to outdo the previous one when it came to production and increasing the burdens that the Jews bore. The Jews were already under almost unbearable cruelty. This Pharaoh, even hours later, was still taken aback by Moses and Aaron walking into his palace and demanding time off for the Israelites. He decided that the Jews must have too much time on their hands for them to be concerned about having a feast to their God. Prior to this, it was the responsibility of those over them to see that straw was provided for them to make the bricks. Now they would have the added responsibility of gathering this straw themselves.


It is here that we can see how Aaron's addition to divine revelation misled Pharaoh. The Israelites would not be disciplined if they didn't go out to worship God. This was not an option given to the Israelites to decidethey were commanded to go out and worship God and Pharaoh would be under grave discipline if he did not comply. You see how the slightest change or addition to God's Word, and something entirely different is perceived. Aaron made it sound as though the Jews, during their down-time, got together and decided that they had better go worship God or He would discipline them.


There is another issue here. There is this delicate line between natural consequences, man's sinful behavior, discipline and God's ability to mix everything together for good to those who love Him. We tend to get these all mixed up, so we had better take this in points:

Natural Consequences of Sin; Discipline from God

God’s Ability to Mix Everything Together for Good

1.    What the Egyptians did to the Jews was wrong; enslaving Jews in the first place was wrong and increasing their burdens to a point of hourly torture was wrong.

2.    For committing those sins, Egypt will have to be disciplined.

3.    Today, even though we are temporarily out of the Jewish age and in the church age, the Jews are God's people and we are blessed when we treat them with love and respect and we are disciplined (either individually or as a nation) when we commit acts of prejudice against them or carry metnal attitude sins against them.

4.    It was God's plan for the Jews to be under slavery to Egypt and to suffer great suffering; otherwise, the Jews would not leave Egypt and return to their land.

5.    It is God's plan today for the Jews to be scattered throughout the world; and regardless of the status of that little country in the mid-east; the Jews as a whole will remain a separate entity throughout all of the nations wherein they reside; and they will face attacks of prejudice from man and from Satan; this is God's plan for their lives prior to the second advent of Jesus Christ.

6.    Even though these things fall under God's plan, this does not relieve any individual or nation from the discipline that they will receive due to their anti-Semitism.

7.    God is able to take things which are wrong and combine them with motivations which are sinful and work these things into His plan so that it will all result in good. God is perfect and He is able to not only rectify, supercede and nullify the results of the sinfulness of man, but He is able to actually use those results to fulfill His plan.

8.    Even though God is able to work all things together for good, we are not pardoned for our sinful behavior, even if it is used in His plan. We cannot use God's abilities or our personal predilections to pardon us from sin.

9.    For those who want to deal with the what if's: if man did not sin, God's plan would still work all things together for good. God's plan will continue to work all things together for good to those who love Him even in the millennium, under perfect environment; and in eternity, where there will be no sin.

 


Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Now I realize that does not put it all together for everyone, that should at least help to understand God's plan, man's sin, and our responsibilities.

 

"Nevertheless, the fixed number of bricks which they have been making up until now you will continue to expect from them; you will not diminish [the number required] from them; for idle they are since they are crying out, saying, 'We must go our way; we must sacrifice to our God.'" [Ex. 5:8]

 

In this verse we have the negative plus the Qal imperfect, 2nd masculine plural of gâra‛ (ע ַר ָ) [pronounced gaw-RAH] and it means to diminish, to restrain, to withdraw.


It is obvious to Pharaoh that these Jews have far too much time on their hands if they are sending reprsentatives to him to discuss time off for feasting. Moses should have told Pharaoh that God had come to him, Moses, and ordered him to take the people from Egypt to worship; and if Pharaoh didn't, then there would be hell to pay. It may not have had any different affect, but it would hve been more accurate than what Aaron said.

 

"The labor must be made heavy on the men, so that they may labor on it; and let them not pay attention to falsehoods [lit., to words of lying]." [Ex. 5:9]

 

We have yet another word for work in v. 9; the feminine singular of ‛ăbôdâh (ה ָדֹבְַע) [pronounced ab-o-DAWH] and it means labor, service, work. It is very similar to the Hebrew word for slave: ‛ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced eh-bed]. The transliteration and the pronouciation make them sound like very different words; however, the Hebrew was written originally in all consonants and in this way they are exactly the same word except that labor has an ה (he) on the end of it. The result that Pharaoh expects to have when the labor is made heavy upon the Jews is that they may ‛âsâh (ה ָש ָע) [pronounced aw-SAWH] in it. This is a verb which goes way back to Gen. 1:7, 16, 25, 26, 31 2:2, 3, 4. It is a widely applied verb which generally means to do, to make, to make something out of something. They are given the materials to make brick; prior to this, they did not have enough time to fill so Pharaoh has added to their responsibilities. This verb is followed by a preposition with a 3rd feminine singular suffix, meaning at it, on it, in it. It refers back to labor. I did a rather free translation at this point (although many other translators have also).


The point of what Pharaoh is saying is that they have too much time on their hands if they are contemplating going out into the desert to sacrifice to their God. Because of this outrageous demand (which Pharoah sees as having come from the people as a whole; and not as having come from God), he increases their burden. Apparently there were other workers, very possibly paid Egyptians (or possibly other slaves) who provided the straw with which to make bricks. That additional task was given to the Hebrews. What was expected of them was a set number of bricks from each crew; they had apparently decided that it was easier to say, "we will now require you to produce 500 bricks where you must gather the straw for these bricks, instead of 500 bricks" rather than to increase the hours. Very likely they worked from dawn to past dusk as it was.

 

There were two sets of authority over the slaves: the taskmasters (who were Egyptians) and the overseers (who were Jews). Taskmaster is nâgas (ש ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAS], which means to drive [an animal, workman, debtor or army]. By implication, it means to tax, tyrannize or harass. It is a verb, found here in the Qal active participle masculine plural construct. A participle acts as an adjectival noun (that is, it is a noun which often modifies another noun) or as a verbal adjective, and in the construct it is also dependent upon another noun. The noun that this word modifies is the word for people. Taskmasters of the people is a reasonable translation and the people's taskmasters is even closer in meaning. The second word is shôţêr (ר ֵתֹש) [pronounced sho-TARE], which comes from an unused primitive root word which means to write. Therefore, this means writer or scribe. However, in this context it would mean an official, a foreman, a superintendant, an overseer. Egyptian slave service was organized into levels of authority over the slaves; those who were constantly with the slaves while they did their work, seeing that everything was done as expected, and people above them who gave the directives, spot checked the work and the amount of production and reported back to Pharaoh when necessary. It is not clear from "Strong's" which word is which, but v. 10 indicates that the overseerers (or foremen or officers) were out in the field with the Jewish slaves and v. 14 indicates that these overseers were taken from the men of Israel. The Egyptians had found that it was better to set up levels of authority with the Jews themselves; that would possibly set up a buffer between the slave laborers and the taskmasters themselves. The point is that the Egyptian were very organized. They had to be. With two million slaves, they could not be haphazard about this. These were not primitive, two steps away from being cavemen civilization. Egypt was a highly organized, highly civilized nation.

 

Then the taskmasters [Egyptian officials] went forth among the people and their foremen [Jewish overseers] and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus proclaims Pharaoh, I am not going to give you straw, you yourselves get straw for yourselves wherever you can find [it]. Yet there has not been a diminishing of your labor [expectations] a single thing." [Ex. 5:10-11]


The proclamation is the announcement directly to the Jews that they must obtain straw for themselves by themselves. Pharaoh, with his wording of this proclamation, is rubbing it in. In five places, the Pharaoh used the word you or the second masculine plural of the verbs. This verse also tells us who did what. The taskmasters were those who were in charge of the overseers and the slaves both. When proclamations and policies came down from the king, they announced them. The overseers then heard what they were responsible to expect from the Jews. Already, their expectations had been driven to a point where the Jews were no longer content with living in Egypt. In Ex. 1:11-14, we have seen that their labors were increased, but the Jews increased also. However, in 2:23-25, we see that their slavery had become a burden and the security which they received was no longers enough to compensate for the incredible work and degredation that they had to suffer. The Pharaoh, like each preceeding Pharaoh, increased their labors again with this proclamation Having been a teacher, I would dread the beginning of each year after the legislature had met. There would always be aditional duties or changes which would make my job of teaching more and more difficult. Rarely did new legislation come down the pipe and cause us as teachers to exclaim, "This is great news." It was much worse for the Jews. Which each succeeding Pharaoh, more and more labor was imposed upon them.


As is true of all of the details in Exodus, this kind of cruelty is typcial of that inflicted on slaves in Egypt. A French Egyptologist (M. Chabas) discovered some papyrus on which a story of twelve brick-making slaves who had failed to produce what was expected of them and had their work increased as punishment. This was not from this time period nor did it involve Jews; it is just corroborating evidence of the reasonableness of this narrative.


On the walls of one spacious vault there are a series of ancient paintings which depict the life of vizier Rekhmirê of Egypt. One has him overseeing the manufacturing of bricks and the workmen who are involved are light skinned as opposed to the darker skin of the Egyptians. An overseer is saying, by the inscription, "The rod is in my hand; be not idle."

 

So the people dispersed themselves throughout all the land of Egypt, to gather stubble for straw; the taskmasters, meanwhile, were urgent, saying, "Complete your work quota [lit., your works], the task of a day in its day as when the straw was provided [lit., when there was straw]." [Ex. 5:12–13]


The gatherin gof straw was like a second job. These Jews already had a grueling, filled with overtime, schedule to maintain. Now they had to gather the straw and the taskmasters informed their foremen, who informed them that the quotas must remain the same. This is not unlike a factory which has laid off half of its work force, but demands the same production of those who remain. There are times that there is fat to trim; however, with the Jews, they were overworked already. What was given to them was impossible to accomplish.

 

Then the foremen of the sons of Israel were beaten, whom the taskmasters of Pharaoh had set over them, saying, "Wherefore, you have not completed your task for making bricks as before either yesterday or today?" [Ex. 5:14]


Those in charge of production quotas were slaves also, as we see here; and when the production quotas were not met, unlike today where a bonus might be withheld, here, they were beaten. At first, these might have seemed to be the cushiefr jobs, but they took responsibility for the crews that they managed and for the qualitiy and quantiy of their production. When production was down, they were beaten.



The Israelite Foremen Complain to Pharaoh

 

Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came in, saying, "Why are you doing this to your servants? No straw is given to your servants, yet bricks—they keep saying to us—make. And notice, your servants are beaten. You, therefore, a doing wrong to your people." [Ex. 5:15-16]

 

The last phrase of v. 16 is a bit difficult to unravel. The NASB renders it as, "...but it is the fault of your own people." The Emphasized Bible, which tends to be the most literal of all the translations says: "thou dost, therefore, wrong thy people." Owen wrote: "But the fault is in (are wrong) your own people." The difference in meaning is one rendering, The Emphasized Bible, the Pharaoh is doing wrong to his people, and, in the others, the fact that the Jews cannot produce the amount of bricks required is the fault of the Egpytian taskmasters. It is merely a conjunction, a verb and a noun. The verb is the 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect of châţâ’ (א ָט ָח) [pronounced khaw-TAW] and it means to miss the mark, to sin, to do wrong, to go wrong. The problem here is the 3rd person feminine singular. There is no relative noun to which this can refer. The Septuagint and the Syriac text indicate that this is in the 2nd person, masculine singular, which is a pretty strong thing to say. Even though there is no emphasis here on the word you, it takes a lot of courage to go and tell the Pharaoh that he is wrong. The last word is the word for people with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix, meaning your people. Usually, in the ancient world, in polite society, the word for servant or slave would have been used here, even if the person speaking were not a slave (see Gen. 42:10 44:16). The word used is ‛am (ם ַע) [pronounced am] and it means people, tribe, company. They have already called themselve slaves, but they present the Jews in general as the people of Pharaoh and Pharaoh is doing wrong to his own people.


The foremen (or, overseers), even though they were Jews, were given certain privileges. One of these was an audience with the Pharaoh. Even though this is a inhumane practice and it was daily becoming more so, the Egyptian Pharaoh still would hear his slaves out. The foremen were a go between the Jews as a whole and the taskmasters. They were almost like labor union representatives, except that there was no striking and no collective bargaining. What Pharaoh said was the law. However, this had gotten to a point at which the impossible was expected from the Jewish slaves. This group of foremen has come to tell the Pharaoh that the task set before them has reached the point at which it is impossible to perform.

 

But he said, "Idle, you are idle on this account [because] you keep saying, 'We must take our journey; we must sacrifice to Yahweh.' Now, therefore, go labor, but straw shall not be given to you; yet the expectation of bricks shall you render." [Ex. 5:17–18]


Although this Pharaoh would allow an audience form the foremen of the Jews, he was not at all reasonable. God knew this and told Moses that Pharaoh would not capitulate easily. It is in this episode that we see how unbending this Pharaoh is.

 

Then the overseers of the sons of Israel saw that they were in an evil [no-win] situation when it was said, "You will not diminish from your bricks, the task of a day in its day!" [Ex. 5:19]


This is not what the overseerers wanted to hear. It was not their idea to go into the desert and worship God. And although things were not great in Egypt, because of Moses and Aaron, things became even more intolerable. Very possibly they thought that they could reason with Pharaoh; explain that it was literally impossible for them to do what was expected of them. However, Pharaoh puts it back on them. Actually, not realizing it, he has put the blame back on Moses and Aaron. The Pharaoh had assumed that the Jews themselves came up with this idea of going out into the desert and worshiping God. He did not realize that this came from Yahweh to Moses and Aaron which brought this to the elders of Israel and then to the Pharaoh. God works through levels of authority.



The Foremen Complain to Moses and Moses Complains to God

 

So they fell upon Moses and upon Aaron, stationing themselves to meet them, as they came forth from Pharaoh [Ex. 5:20]

 

The translations sound quite different for v. 20. NASB reads: When they left Pharaoh's presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them. The Emphasized Bible reads: So they fell upon Moses and upon Aaron, stationing themselves to meet them,—as they came forth from Pharaoh; The verb used, pâga‛ (ע ַג ָ) [pronounced paw-GAW] means to meet, to encounter and it can imply friendly terms, an accidental encounter, or meeting with hostility. They refers to the foremen, as Moses and Aaron are direct objects here. They are described by the Niphal participle of nâtsab (ב ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAB] which means to take a stand, to station oneself. The participle is used as an adjectival noun, describing Moses and Aaron; the Niphal is usually the passive of the Qal, but it can be used to describe an action which is in progress or development. Moses and Aaron are to be speaking to Pharaoh; not these foremen. Moses and Aaron are just standing by waiting to hear what Pharaoh said. This is followed by the Qal infinitive construct of qîr’ah (ה ַא  ׃ר  ̣ק) [pronounced keer-AWH] and it means to meet. The 3rd masculine plural suffix allows us to add the word them. So, instead of going right back to Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron are hiding with their tails between their legs hopong that the foremen will be able to straighten things out. They are waiting for foremen to come out to find out how things went.

 

And they said to them, "Yahweh, look upon you and judge in that you have made us odious [lit., you have caused our odor to be offensive] in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants, putting a sword into their hand to slay us." [Ex. 5:21]


The foremen can hardly wait to run into Moses and Aaron and give them an earful. They are extremely angry at Moses and Aaron because they have taken an intolerable situation and have made it even more intolerable. No one stops to think that God has chosen these things to occur. They are looking to place blame. The last phrase is better understood as you might as well have given them a sword to kill us with.


Very noticeable here is the incongruity of their smell being offensive to Pharaoh's eyes. This is called catachresis [pronounced CAT-a-chreee-sis] or incongruity. One word is changed for another and this is contrary to the ordinary usage and meaning of it. It draws attention to the strength of the statement. On the other hand, these men could have been so upset that they just blurted this out, barely able to think of what they were saying.


This is a shadow of things to come. Moses and Aaron would face an uphill battle with the Jews for the next forty years. The Hebrews under slavery never did quite grasp the full impact of what was occurring. They never did fully understood the importance of their freedom. This is why Moses had so much trouble with them in the desert and why God made them wander the desert until of the first generation He killed them all. These foolish overseers don't see the Pharaoh as being the one out of line, but Moses and Aaron. They are short-sighted.

 

And Moses returned to Yahweh and said, "Oh My Lord, why have you caused harm to this people? Why now did you send me, seeing that since I went to the Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, he has caused harm to this people and in delivering, You have not delivered Your people." [Ex. 5:22–23]


When a verb is used twice in the same breath, it places great emphasis upon the assertion or the expression. In terms of verbs, it is a superlative with respect to magnitude and gravity of the action involved. Moses did not listen carefully to God and now he claims that in God's deliverance of the Jews, he did not deliver them. This is a scathing indictment levied by Moses.


Pharaoh blames the foremen and the Jewish people; the foremen and the Jewish people blame Moses and Aaron. We don't hear from spokesman Aaron, but he certainly blamed Moses, if silently. Now Moses blames God. And gain, this is such a foolish place to end this chapter—God is about to answer Moses. However, that will wait for chapter 6.



                                                                    EXODUS 6



Exodus 6:1–22


Introduction: Chapter 6 continues the conversation between God and Moses; God promises Moses that He will bring Israel out under compulsion and Moses still complains that how will Pharaoh listen to him if the elders of Israel will not listen to him. Then there will be a sudden break in chapter 6 when the families of the patriarchs are mentioned and the conversation between the Lord and Moses will continue.


Outline of Chapter 6:


       Vv. 1–13       Two conversations between God and Moses

       Vv. 14–26     A rather incomplete genealogy is inserted

       Vv. 27–30     The resumption of the conversation between God and Moses


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

The Name of God


Two Conversations Between God and Moses


Ex. 6 God has already told Moses that Pharaoh would not listen to him the first or the second time. All of this is going just as God planned it; just as He told Moses what would happen. Moses has become as short-sighted as those who met him.

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh; by a strong hand he will send them out and by a strong hand he will drive them out from his land." [Ex. 6:1]

 

Moses is speaking to God the Father in prayer. God the Holy Spirit will give Moses his power and strength to produce the miracles. So it will be God the Holy Spirit Who will actually cause Pharaoh to drive the Israelites out of the land. Here, it is Pharaoh who will actually drive the people out of the land; meaning he will desire for them to leave and order Moses to take them out of Egypt at the strong hand of God the Holy Spirit. The NASB translates by a strong arm as under compulsion, which is an excellent rendering of the idea. There is a preposition involved here; one which is ignored by Owen and by Zodhiates; it is the preposition be (׃) which is pronounced as a part of the noun and its basic meaning is in. However, the limited number of prepositions in the Hebrew wear a great many hats. This can mean among, within, into, at, by, touching, with, by means of, through. It is the latter two uses that we have here. Pharaoh will require a little encouragement at the hand of God.

 

And God spoke to Moses, and said to him, "I am Yahweh; I appeared therefore to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty; although by my name Yahweh was I not known to them?" [Ex  6:1-3]


V. 3 has been a source of consternation and oddball theories for a long time. Some have wrongly theorized that because of this statement, the writer of the Exodus had not read certain portions of Genesis (therefore, he did not write it) so he wasn't aware that the name "Yahweh" had been used of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is pure drivel. This, first of all, is God speaking, not the author of Exodus. God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the land of Canaan as an inheritance forever. He was known by several names to them (as well as to all the saints from the book of Genesis) but His identifying name has always been "Yahweh." This is the equivalent name to Jesus Christ for us. That was our Lord's name prior to the incarnation.


We are enjoined to believe in Jesus Christ and they were enjoined to believe in Yahweh.

The Name of God

1)   Moses was the writer of the last 4 books of Moses. He probably assembled the book of Genesis from memory or from existing source material, which he edited under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The five books of Moses are originally presented as one book. The only portion that Moses did not write was the account of his death; this was likely added by Joshua.

2)   To know is not a word which means simple knowledge; it is rarely used in that way in the Old Testament. It can refer to anything between carnal knowledge to intimate knowledge.

3)   Jesus Christ is the only God and He was known to the Jews (and the saints prior to the Jews) in several ways.

4)   V. 3 is rhetorical. "Was I not known to them also as Yahweh?" God is telling Moses that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He has now come to begin to fulfill His covenant to them.

5)   As El Shaddai, God was the One who provided for all of the patriarchs needs; however, as Yahweh, there is a more personal relationship.

6)   God has for the first time in Ex. 5:1 identified Himself as Yahweh Elohim, the God of Israel.

7)   As Yahweh Elohim of Israel, God will now begin to fulfill the promises which He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob some 400 years previous.

8)   Another contrast between El Shaddai and Yahweh Elohim is that the Jews will now see miracles and signs unlike anything witnessed in the past 600 years. In fact, only Noah, his family, and corrupted mankind in the flood had ever seen power which was similar to the power about to be unleashed against Pharaoh of Egypt.

9)   Moses is discouraged (Ex. 5:22), the elders oppose him (5:21) and Pharaoh does not take this demand seriously (5:2-9). Therefore Moses is having second thoughts about this. God is reassuring Moses that He really is who He claims to be.

10) El Shaddai, which is the English transliteration of the Hebrew word for "Almighty God," was the way in which many pre-Abrahamic saints knew Jesus Christ. It occurs thirty-one times in the book of Job (which predates the law), which is as often as the name Yahweh occurs.

11) However, Yahweh is used much more often than El Shaddai in Genesis, indicating (a) it is very likely written by the same person and (b) and "was I not also known to them as Yahweh?"

12) This question, with the negative, demands the answer, yes, You were known to them as Yahweh.

13) The point here is that Jesus Christ is one and the same God and, from this point on, He will be known to them as "Yahweh, God of Israel." The first use of this is found, as previously mentioned, in Ex. 5:1.

14) The problem with situations like this, is that liberal theologians and Biblical critics begin with a certain mindset, get an hypothesis from the barest of evidence, and then try to justify this hypothesis by any and all means possible. The mindset involved here, in one case, is that the Pentateuch was composed by four different authors, woven from tales of old, long after the death of Moses and that this is one of the authors who is unaware of the other three, who has not used Yahweh in his portion of Genesis (I think that I am getting that theory straight).

15) There is nothing wrong with a search for the truth about the interpretation of a passage or a concept. Sometimes hypotheses must be tried and then examined from all angles of Scripture. Every good teacher of God's Word will do this. However, when we come across an interpretation or a translation which is not mainstream, so to speak, then we had better investigate it quite thoroughly before purporting it to be truth.

16) However, here the point is that God was known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as both an All-Powerful God and also as a personal God—not like the personal gods of various nations, but One Who cares about them and One Who keeps His Word.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines



The exodus was the primary method of evangelism for the next several centuries. When people heard of it and believed in that God, this was salvation. Salvation is by faith in the Revealed God. It will be well-known throughout the world that God's power over Pharaoh is absolute. This standoff between the God of Israel and the Pharaoh of Egypt will have some symbolic references as well as literal. By this I mean that the plagues which God uses to glorify Himself all cut deeply into the religion and culture of Egypt. All that which is held sacred by the Egyptians will face God's wrath.

 

"Furthermore, I also established by covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan—even the land of their sojourning wherein they sojourned. [Ex. 6:4]


Moses must take the Jews out of Egypt and return them to the land of Canaan because God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He allowed them to sojourn (a temporary stay) in the land that would be an inheritance to them forever.

 

Furthermore, I also heard the groaning of the sons of Israel whom the Egyptians were holding [lit., holding them] in servitude; and I remember My covenant." [Ex. 6:5]


God had not forgotten His covenant and then suddenly realize that He has some Jews down there and thought, "What are they up to and what can I do?" It would seem as though God had totally forgotten about the Jews. He certainly did not. There is a perfect time table and that is what God is staying with. There is a right time for everything. God tells Moses that He continually remembers His covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

"Furthermore, say to the sons of Israel, 'I am Yahweh. Therefore, I will bring you forth from under the burdens of Egypt, and will deliver you out of their service, and will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements'"; [Ex. 6:6]

 

At the end of this verse we have the word mishpâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mish-PAWT] and it means verdict, whether good ro bad. It can refer to a judgement or to the actual act of deciding a case. It has other possible meanings and ramifications; however, here it is simply judgement or acts of judgment.

 

The Israelites must be continually reminded that God is there to take them out of their bondage to Egypt and take them to a land flowing with milk and honey. In this verse we have that marvelous word redeem: gâ’al (ל ַא ָ)[pronounced gaw-AHL] and it has only been used one time before this in Gen. 48:16. Here it is used in its full and proper sense. This means to purchase something. It is unusual that this word is used here because God is not purchasing anything, per se. With force, He will remove Israel from Egypt; with a strong hand and great judgements, He will redeem His people.. However, this parallels the first advent of our Lord when he paid for our sins. We are sinners on the slave market of sin. There is no way that we can buy ourselves from our master and no way that we can purchase someone else. We are slaves—slaves to our desires, to our sin nature, and to the imputed sin from Adam. A slave cannot purchase himself from the slavery block. He must be purchased by someone outside the slave market of sin. Here, God tells the slaves Israel that he will pay for them to take them out of Egypt. At salvation, God pays for our redemption; He is the one outside the slave market of sin. He is the only one qualified to pay for our sins. Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Paul, Joseph Smith—none of them could pay for our sins; all of them were slaves, caught up in the same slave market as we. It requires someone outside the slave market to make this purchase. This verbage is used because this book is authored by God the Holy Spirit and He desires that everything points toward the future coming of Jesus Christ so that there would be no mistaking His message or His death on the cross. We will later study the Doctrine of Redemption—not finished yet.

 

An interesting note on the word redeem; it has a homonym in the word gâ‛al (ל ַע ָ); Gâ‛al means to reject, to defile an dis found in Ezra 6:6, Neh. 7:64 13:29, etc. Context clearly shows which is being used.

 

"'And I have taken you to myself for a people and I have become your God and you will know that I Yahweh am your God who brought you [or, more accurately, causing you to be brought] forth from under the burdens of Egypt.'" [Ex. 6:7]


Most translations render this verse as: And I will take you to myself for a people and will become your God and you will know that I Yahweh am your God who brought your forth from under the burdens of Egypt. The words take and become are both in the Qal perfect, 1st person singular, meaning that this is looked upon by God has completed action. He chose the Jews and took them as His people in eternity past; we observed it in time when He came to Abraham and presented the Abrahamic covenant to him. Know is in the Qal perfect, 2nd person masculine plural. Moses is to say this to the elders of Israel. This is future from this time, which is why the other verbs are translated in the future by other translators. The Hebrew does not have a past present or future tense as we know it; time must be inferred by the passage. As far as God is concerned, He took the Jews as His people from eternity past and this is a completed action. The Jews know that there was a God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (previous generations have grown and prospered under slavery, meaning they had both doctrine and their right woman). By this generation, that God seems remote and distant—it will appear to them as though God has returned to them and will take them to Himself as His people. This is a language where the past perfect and the future tense can both be expressed by the same verbs and in this situation, depending upon whether you see this verse from the God-ward side or the man-ward side, can mean either.

 

"'And I will bring you into the land which I lifted up my hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob and I will give it to you as an inheritance; I [am] Yahweh.'" [Ex. 6:8]

 

Will bring again is in the Qal perfect; from God's point of view, this is a completed action and from man's, it is still to come. Then we have an odd phrase which begins with the 1st person singular, Qal perfect of nâsâ’ (א ָש ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAW] and it means to lift up. The KJV translates this which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. However, the meaning of this phrase here has a double meaning: (1) God will raise up his hand in power and force and give it to the Israelites; and (2) the lifting of the hand is often seen as the swearing of an oath (see Gen. 14:22 Psalm 106:26 Isa. 3:7). There is no verb in the last phrase, drawing great attention to what is said.


Even though Aaron is supposed to be the spokesman and even though God has already spoken to Aaron, Moses is God's man and God speaks directly to Moses. Most of what is said here is repetitive. God has told Moses thes things already. However, God is not against repetition. Under most conditions, we need to have things repeated. We have indication of this in Deut. 6:6-9: "And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart, and you will teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you will bind them as a sign on your hand and they will be as frontals on your forehead. And you will write them down on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." And this is repeated in Deut. 11:18-20.

 

And Moses spoke this unto the sons of Israel but they hearkened not to Moses through shortness of spirit and through hard service. [Ex. 6:9]


Shortness of spirit means due to discouragement, disillusionment, and despondency; also through short-sightedness. Their spiritual growth was not enough to recognize that God had chosen Moses to lead them out of Israel and that such guidance would not be easy.


Moses himself has to learn from the start that this will not be easy. The Jews, who he is going to deliver, will not listen to him; not just now, but throughout 40 years of wandering in the desert. Even though God is demonstrably with him throughout this entire ordeal, this does not mean that it will be a cakewalk. If will be much easier if Moses chooses to believe God and to do exactly as He says; but there will be continual headaches and pressures. We face the same things in our lives; even though we believe in Jesus Christ and grow in His grace and in His Word, this does not mean that all of life will be easy. There will be difficult times and it will not always appear to us as though things are falling right into line as they should. Moses is finding this out. God has a plan for his life and Moses is to follow this plan. God gives him simple, step-by-step directions and Moses needs to merely follow those directions. Our lives are not much more difficult when it comes to divine guidance. If we spend one or more hours in the Word each and every day, rebound regularly, divine guidance will be automatic rather than esoteric. When it is time for Bible class, we know that we will be in God's geographical will if we are in Bible class. While we are there, we know that we are in His directive will as long as we are in fellowship. Throughout our day, if we avoid sins, and rebound when we do sin; and plan our schedule around Bible class, divine guidance will be a cakewalk.

 

And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Go in, speak to Pharaoh, king of Egypt; that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land." [Ex. 6:10–11]


God knew from eternity past that the sons of Israel would not always listen to Moses. This generation in particular happened to be an extremely obstinate generation. God had to exert a great deal of pressure upon them to get them to follow Moses. God already knows that the elders of Israel did not listen to Moses.

 

And Moses spoke before Yahweh saying, "Look, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen, I also being of uncircumcised lips?" [Ex. 6:12]


Moses certainly went to the elders of Israel and what he said seemed to unreal to them. Shortness of spirit means discouragement, despondency and/or disheartenment. They had been exhausted and beaten down by years of slavery; slavery which had become totally unreasonable and completely tyrannical (not all slavery has to be that way). Moses does have a logical point. If the sons of Israel will not listen to him, how can he expect Pharaoh to listen to him? The word hearken means to listen and believe. I have translated it listen to move away from the King James English (similarly, I translated lo as look). Then Moses makes a remark about having uncircumcised lips. We are all thinking "well, I should hope so." The NASB gives the idiomatic translation to this: "How then will Pharaoh listen to me, seeing that I am unskilled in speech?" The New English Bible reads: "...how will Pharaoh listen to such a halting speaker as I am?" The Amplified Bible calls it "...deficient and impeded speech." That is certainly the problem when translating an idiom: do you translate what it actually says and depend upon someone to dig through the similar uses in this and other literature to arrive at what it means, or do your translate it idiomatically? We are blessed to live in an age where we can find an abundance of both kinds of translations. So you see the literal translation above and the meaning(s) below that.

 

Thus then did Yahweh speak to Moses and to Aaron, in fact, he gave them a mandate with regards to the sons of Israel and with regards to the Pharaoh of Egypt: to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt. [Ex. 6:13]


God has told Moses and Aaron that their path in life is simple: they are to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. That is the responsibility that God has given them. God does not give responsibility without given the means to achieve it.


This is a summary verse. So far there is no mention of God speaking to Aaron except to go and meet Moses in the desert. However, God speaks to Aaron through Moses. This summary verse is essentially a period at the end of this paragraph and this would have been a good place to begin a new chapter, since the topic changes.



A Rather Incomplete Genealogy Is Inserted

 

These are the heads of the ancestral house: The sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These are the families of Reuben. [Ex. 6:14]


In order for Moses to be a deliverer for the house of Israel, he must be of the house of Israel. What Moses does here is he demonstrates his birthright as a true Jew. He lists the first-born of Jacob and Simeon so that we know that this is the same family line; then he lists his own personal lineage.


The Jews, for centuries, were very careful about their genealogies. There are people who study their own genealogies today, but this was a national pastime for the Jews. Their race was separated from all of mankind. They are the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each one of them should be able to trace their line back to one of the twelve tribes (or twelve sons) of Jacob (Israel). Why is this in the Bible? God also remembers these whose names are recorded in His Word forever. There are great kings whose names we do not know; reigns concerning which we know practically nothing. They had their day in the sun.


Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi are found in several genealogy lists: They are mentioned in Gen 46:9, in our present passage, in Num. 26 and 1Chron. 5:3. In the second generation out in the desert, the tribe of Reuben numbered 43,730. This census probably was probably composed of adult males only. Therefore, this is quite a bit less than half of the population to come from Reuben. Num. 26:8-10 singles out Pallu and mentions only one of his ancestors, Eliah, who is the father (or possibly grandfather) of Nemuel, Dathan and Abiram, the latter two being the ones who opposed Aaron and Moses in the desert.

 

And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul, the son of a Canaanitess. These are the families of Simeon. [Ex. 6:15]


Simeon's line is mentioned in basically the same passages. There seem to be the most variations in the names of Simeon's six sons. Most of the variations can be attributed to vowel points (recall that the original Hebrew was in capitals only without any vowels). Simeon's last son, Shaul, is followed more carefully than the rest. Simeon obviously had a wife and a mistress (or a second wife) at least and his last son, Shaul, was born of that woman, who was a Canaanite. The Canaanites were descended, of course, from Canaan, who was one of the sons of Ham (one of Noah's three sons). The Canaanites probably ventured the furthest from Noah (Gen. 10:18). They were a degenerate group which God had to drive out of the land (Ex. 23:28). Simeon took a Canaanite woman as a wife or a mistress and she bore him Shaul. We follow Shaul's line in 1Chron. 4:24-27. Six of the several generations of Shaul are mentioned in this passage until we come to his descendent Shimei, who is mentioned probably because he is one of the most notable of this tribe who found and married his right woman and, unlike most of those in Simeon's line, had a lot of children. He had sixteen sons and six daughters. His unnamed brothers did not have any sons. The number of males in Simeon's line in the desert was only 22,200, half that of Reuben's family.

 

.      And these are the names of the sons of Levites by their generations: [Ex. 6:16]


When Moses adds the words by their generations, we know that this line will be followed in greater detail than the previous two lines. The Levites were the priestly tribe and the tribe from which Aaron and Moses came. This line is followed in more detail in Scripture. Whereas we followed Reuben and Simeon's line for but one generation in this passage (and followed only through a few generations in other passages), the Levites are more carefully followed. They are the priestly tribe; those who represent man to God. If one is to function as a priest, he must show his ancestors to be Levites. "By their generations" indicates that there will be more detail forthcoming about this generation. Why mention Reuben and Simeon in the first place? It is proper protocol. Moses is showing respect toward them in writing this. Furthermore, it identifies him as a true Jew; he traces his heritage back to the Levi, of Israel.

 

Gershon and Kohath and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were 137 years. The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, by their families. And the sons of Kohath: Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel. And the years of the life of Kohath were 133 Footnote years. And the sons of Morari: Hahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites by their generations. And the sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites by their generations. [Ex. 6:17-19]


Note first of all, the ages. I know that some people are confused by the ages of people mentioned in the Old Testament. Those listed prior to the flood lived for centuries. After the flood, there were several changes. Rain became a normal event upon the earth (prior to that, water for vegetation was but a mist from out of the ground—or, more correctly, from springs, rivers and lakes). A major change, which affected the aging process was the reduced gene pool and the infestation of bacteria. Whether bacteria existed prior to the flood, we do not know; but it became more commonplace after the flood (we know this because of Noah drinking fermented grape juice; an unprecedented occurrence in the Bible). What we have seen is reduction in the age of man over the centuries (to a low of age 30 and 40 for men in the dark ages). We think that we have extended life today, but in Solomon's day, the common length of life was 70 (Ecc. ?? three score and ten). Today, although we might have people live into their first century, they are not as vigorous as Moses. Moses, in his eighties and nineties, led the children of Israel through the desert and occasionally had to knock heads together. How many eighty year old’s today could do that to a generation of degenerate thirty and forty-year-old’s?


Levi is mentioned as having three sons. This does not mean that this was the entire line; it is very possible that he had many daughters; these lines generally do not mention women. Gershon is mentioned many times in Numbers. There are not a lot of details about him but of his progeny. Kohath and Merari are also mentioned quite a number of times, primarily in genealogies. The genealogies also make several mentions of the Gershonites and the Kohathites, but rarely do we find the term Merarites (in fact, it is found only once). Numbers would be a better time to examine these lines, as this is where they are mentioned primarily.

 

So, then, Amram took Jochebed, the daughter of his father's brother, to himself to wife, and she bore to him Aaron and Moses Footnote . And the years of the life of Amram were 137 Footnote . [Ex. 6:20]


This is a sudden jump from the beginning of the line to the end of the line. We already know that Moses has an older sister, Miriam, who watched as he was taken from the Nile. We were told earlier that two Levites married and bore Moses. This causes me to think that possibly Moses wrote down Ex. 1:1 through 2:22 when he was younger; before he knew any details concerning his Jewish family. At this point in time, he has met Aaron and certainly the rest of his family and now he knows them by name.


Certainly what catches everyone's eye (for those who actually read the genealogies) in the translations based upon Textus Receptus is that is that Amram marries his aunt. It is actually his paternal cousin or second cousin as per the Septuagint, Syriac and the Latin Vulgate. Furthermore, we find in Num. 26:39 that she is simply a daughter of Levi, making her a Levite. This is not a problem because of the differences in the genetic pool then and now. Seth and Cain both married their sisters. Today, this would ruin the children but then there was no choice. Our genes have degenerated throughout the years, not evolved, and marrying one's relatives tends to bring out the worst in the genetic pools. This would be an incredible area of study for a Christian geneticist.


Moses and Aaron are descended through the line of Kohath (Num. 26:58-59). Jochebed is mentioned again in this reference in Numbers, and we know more about her than we do about Moses' father. There are times when the woman has he dominating influence in a family (and this is not a reference to a change of authority) and the Bible mentions this. The Numbers passage also confirms, as we know, that the Bible does not include every generation in every genealogy. There are several generations which fall between Kohath and Amram. However, I believe what Moses did was give the names of those three in his direct line whose lives bridged the gap between entrance into Israel and that day he first spoke to Pharaoh. Notice that by any version, the years of these three add up to approximately 400 years. Furthermore, this fulfills Gen. 15:16 (and this will be discussed in more detail in Ex. 12:40).


As we see in such passages as Num. 26:28–34, it is common in the Bible to list one's genealogy by naming the tribe (Levi), the clan (Kohath) and the family group (Amram). In Num. 3:27–28, the total of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites was 8600. This would mean that the immediate family of Moses of those his age and younger would be about 2000+. This is highly unlikely (if not impossible). Even if Moses' actual father had the name Amram, this is a different Amram here. In 1Chronicles we will see that the generations of slavery was at least nine or ten and not three. 1Chron. 7:25 gives us at least ten linking generations between Ephraim and Joshua; Bezalel, who designed the tabernacle, was at least seven generations from Jacob (Ex. 31:2–11 1Chron. 2:1, 4–5, 9, 18–20); and Elishama, who is found in Num. 1:10 is at least nine generations removed from Jacob (1Chron. 7:22–27). This fits in rather well with the 400–430 years that the Jews spent in Egypt. It yields generations which are 43 years in length (which is about right for those times; notice that Moses married at age 40); and it squares with the population of Israel at the Exodus. There is another theory which gives us 215 years in slavery to Egypt, which follows the Septuagint reading of Ex. 12:40, but that would give us about 21 years per generation, which is too short, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to squeeze out 2,000,000 adult male Jews in 215 years from 70–75 original Jews.

 

And the sons of Izhar: Korah and Nepheg and Zichri. And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael and Elisheba Footnote and Sithri. [Ex. 6:21-22]


For me, this is the most confusing could verses to be examined so far. In v. 20, we jumped from the beginning of this family to the end of it (the end of it relative to the time of writing) and then we go back to the beginning of the line but instead of examining every sons of Levi, we hone in on Kohath's line (the second born) and mention two of his sons, yet skip his middle born son, Hebron. Hebron would be an interesting study. It is mentioned as a place much more often than as a person. We find it early in Genesis (chapters 13, 23, 35 and 37) long before we have a person named Hebron our context. It is certainly possibly that the same name is a coincidence or that the child was named after the city (or the founder of the city). However, it could have been vice versa. Even though these early chapters of Genesis precede the birth of Hebron (and precede his mention by centuries), recall that the editor of Genesis was Moses, possibly near the end of his life and possibly while he was in the desert did he begin to study some these records from which he wrote or organized Genesis. We do not know; however, we have something similar to language of accommodation which can occur. The land may not have been know in the time of Genesis as the land of Hebron. However, this area is very well known during the time that Moses wrote so he may have referred to it as Hebron so that the reader could get a compass fix, as it were, on the area which he was referring to.


The writer of Chronicles slipped a couple of completely different generations together in 1Chron. 6:1-2. He adds Amram to the sons of Kohath (as we have just seen, his sons were Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel). Moses did the same thing in Num. 3:19. Hebron's family is mentioned only once in 1Chron. 23:19 (there is another Hebron mentioned in 1Chron. 2). Why this is, I do not know exactly, but my guess is that his family were too tied to the world and were a family of failures. It is likely that they founded the city of Hebron and the land of Hebron and their glory was temporal.


Now, Moses the writer, turns to more contemporary matters:

 

And Aaron took Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon to himself to wife; and she bore to him Hadaab and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. [Ex. 6:23]


Again, we have a rare situation; a woman is mentioned, as well as the sons of Aaron. I suspect that this was put in the Bible to rub the noses of people who believe that a priest should remain unmarried. Aaron was the head of the Jewish priesthood and priest in the Old Testament had wives. Priests in the New Testament (which is every believer) had wives. So many groups of believers and church groups are completely mixed up. They cannot distinguish Israel from the church; they presume when Paul states that celibacy is the preferred state of life (because you can dedicate more of your life and time to God) that this should refer to anyone who is high up in the church or high up in spiritual things; they are confused as to what a priest is. The priesthood in the Old Testament was based upon ancestry and that requires marriage and cohabitation. There is no way to mistake this. In the New Testament, priesthood is based upon believing in Jesus Christ; we are all priests, and since the New Testament is filled with mandates concerning wives and children, that means that many of us are getting married and are going to have families.

 

And the sons of Korah: Assir and Elkanhan and Abiasaph Footnote ; these are the families of the Korahites. [Ex. 6:24]


Again, Moses jumps deep into the past. This is logically related to v. 21 but I do not know why Moses, in this writing, checkerboards the old and the new. And Moses will return to his present again:

 

And Eleazar, son of Aaron, took to himself one of the daughters of Putiel to himself to marry and she bore to him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers of the Levites by their families. [Ex. 6:25]


The last statement in v. 25 sums up vv. 23–25; mostly Aaron's line is examined. We will hear much more about Phinehas in Num. 25.


Surprisingly, we hear nothing of Gershom, Moses' son, or of his wife. However, if Moses is having this much trouble with following God's simple commands, then it is very likely that he has lost all support of his wife and women do have the ability to turn children against their fathers. We find out later in Ex. 18 that apparently Moses' wife and children deserted him and returned to her father in Midian. The detail with which the next few chapters of Exodus are written indicates to me that Moses, at some point in time, began to keep a running diary. Part of the reason I would take this viewpoint is the lack of the mention of his wife or children here. They are out of the picture insofar as Moses is concerned and with his wife's attitude, that is just as well.


We know, not by this short genealogy, but from others, how the Levites related to Amram, Moses' father, but we do not know that from this context. At this point in time of the narrative, not of the writing of the narrative, it is very possible that all Moses knew of his progeny was written here. However, by the listing of the ages of certain of those in his line, those who likely bridge the time between Jacob entering the land and this point in time, Moses is setting up bookends which extend throughout the 400 years of captivity of the Jews.

 

This [is] Aaron and Moses to whom Yahweh said, "Bring forth the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, according to their armies." [Ex. 6:26]


This is quite a surprise here—the Jews are slaves. They have no armies. God can see into their future and when they leave Egypt, they will begin to organize themselves into fighting units. God will cause them to be grouped and organized into these military divisions because once they leave Egypt, they still have a part in God's plan which involves the destruction of the Canaanites who now occupy the promised land.



The Resumption of the Conversation Between God and Moses


This appears to be a continuation of the conversation which was begun in Ex. 5:22 and continued through 6:13

 

They who were speaking to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to bring forth the sons of Israel out of Egypt—this same Moses and Aaron. [Ex. 6:27]


Rotherham points out a subtle change which I did not catch at first. In v. 26, this is the line of Aaron and Moses; however, in v. 27 this is the line of Moses and Aaron. Very similar to the change from Barnabas and Paul to Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13.


Moses is pointing out from his very abbreviated and scattered genealogy that the Moses and Aaron descended from the tribe of Levi—this is definitely who this book speaks about. That is, there is no novel or story here that is made up; Moses and Aaron are real people with a real heritage. The latter conclusion is what God the Holy Spirit would expect us to draw.

 

So it came to pass that on a certain day, Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt. And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "I am Yahweh; Speak to the Pharaoh, king of Egypt, all that I am saying to you." And Moses said before [lit. to the face of] Yahweh, "Listen, I am unskilled in public speaking [lit., of uncircumcised lips]; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?" [Ex. 6:28-30]


It was always God's plan for Moses to speak directly to Pharaoh; otherwise, He would have appeared to Aaron continually and given him orders. However, Moses, although he had a royal training forty years ago, has since lived out in the desert as a shepherd and a recluse, as it were, and lacks confidence. Who does he lack confidence in? God.


It is difficult to discern whether this is a summary of what has occurred or whether this is a new meeting between God and Moses. Moses seemed to have the same complaints again and again. This seems to pick up where v. 12 (and 13) left off. The chronology was inserted because Moses is about to deliver his country Israel. He must show that he is genetically a Jew. In the books of Matthew and Luke, a very similar genealogy is followed to show that Jesus Christ also has legal and genetic claim to the throne of David.


Whoever designed the chapter breaks in Exodus was the most confused person on this earth. This is again a time when the chapter breaks right in the middle of a conversation. Whereas we are not completely positive that v. 26 picks up where v. 13 left off, it seems definite that Ex. 7:1 occurs immediately after 6:30. Perhaps this person wasn't reading or perhaps he just had bad clams for lunch. There are also verse breaks which are illogical (between vv. 10 & 11).


                                                                    EXODUS 7



Exodus 7:1–25


Outline of Chapter 7:


       Vv. 1–9         God tells Moses and Aaron to return to Pharaoh

       Vv. 10–13     Moses and Aaron appear before Pharaoh a second time/staff turned into a serpent

       Vv. 14–19     God commands Moses and Aaron to appear before Pharaoh a third time

       Vv. 20–25     Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh by the Nile/water is turned to blood


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

The Doctrine of Magicians

The Secret Arts/Enchantments


Introduction: Moses and Aaron have been to see Pharaoh once before. No signs or wonders were worked before him; they made a simple request which elicited Pharaoh's wrath and Pharaoh increased the workload of the Israelites significantly. In chapter 7, they will return to Pharaoh, already having been warned by God that Pharaoh would not listen to them. They speak to Pharaoh and he is stubborn, as God had promised them.The next time they confront Pharaoh, they wait for him by the bank of the Nile and turn the river to blood; still, Pharaoh will remain hardened.



God Tells Moses and Aaron to Return to Pharaoh


It is rather peculiar where these chapter divisions occur. Obviously less than inspired. A new chapter should have begun at the end of the genealogy or after this conversation with God; but not in the middle of it.

 

Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Observe, I have appointed you to be God unto Pharaoh; and Aaron, your brother, shall be your prophet." [Ex. 7:1]


God has always worked through intermediate sources. He has always worked through man to deal with man. This is the relationship of the prophet and the priest; the priest represents man to God and the prophet represents God to man. God does not work in any other way. Certainly, He could have gone directly to the Pharaoh and caused the Pharaoh to let His people go. However, that just is not the way that God functions in His relatiionship to us. In our generation, he speaks to none of us directly as He did in the Old Testament, but He speaks to us through His Word and we have intermediate agencies involved. For instance, the pastor-teacher today is the one that we look to for instruction and he looks directly to the Word. We both do so under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.


I need to cover the meaning of the word prophet in the Hebrew right here. We will cover the doctrine in Deut. 18:15. Throughout the Old Testament, God has consistently set up types; that is, a person, a series of events, something which is analogous to the person and work of Jesus Christ; something which foreshadows the first advent of our Lord. We have seen that with Abraham taking his only-begotten son to sacrifice to God—the only time God has ever required anyone to present their son to Him as a sacrificial lamb; and then, before Abraham could slit the throat of his young son Isaac, God provided for him a substitute; a scapegoat, to be sacrificed in his stead. God's preference here is to have one man between Himself and Pharaoh—that man Moses to act as a mediator; to act as a prophet. However, since Moses has weenied out on speaking directly to Pharaoh, Aaron has stepped in to speak for Moses, confusing the type. God immediately sets up a type of mediatorship, a position that our Lord Jesus Christ occupies on our behalf; the God-man Who stands between us and God. God sets up the type by appointing Moses to be God unto Pharaoh; and Aaron would act as a prophet—the man who would related God's Will to man, represented by Pharaoh. Aaron would be the Christ figure, the mediator between God and man.


What God has actually said to Moses is a bit tongue in cheek. Moses is God's preferred spokesman to Pharaoh and Moses is hemming and hawing about it. So, instead of God speaking to Moses and sending Moses to the Pharaoh and Moses speaking God's words to the Pharaoh; Moses will speak to Aaron, send Aaron to the Pharaoh, and Aaron will speak to Pharaoh. Moses will be there, just as God will be there; silently. It is actually a fairly humorous thing which God has said to Moses.


One thing whihc is extremely important in this verse (but not to the immediate context) is the use of the word prophet. We continually look back on prophets as being rather unusual men who tell their contemporaries about the future. That is not their primary function. Their primary function is that of a mouthpiece for God. God speaks to man through the prophets. Aaron will speak the words of Moses to Pharaoh. Some of the things which he informs Pharaoh of will come to pass shortly—however, he is a prophet because he is speaking on behalf of Moses.

 

"You will speak all that I command you and Aaron, your brother, will speak to Pharaoh and he will send the sons of Israel out of his land." [Ex. 7:2]

 

God specifies exactly what the duties of Moses and Aaron are. Moses is to tell Aaron each and everything that God tells Moses; then Aaron will speak to Pharaoh. Furthermore, Pharaoh will send Israel depart from Egypt. The verb used here is the Piel perfect of shâlath (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAHK] and it means to send, to send away. In the Piel (intensive) stem we have more of the concept of sending away. Throughout much of Exodus, this has been translated to let go. However, the Pharaoh is in command in his country and what occurs must be as a result of a mandate from Pharaoh. He will order the people to leave the land; the intensive stem carries with it the concept of a royal command or mandate. The perfect tense means completed action; Pharaoh will eventually send the people away for good; not for just a three day feast and worship service out in the desert. However, due to the perfect tense, God has to make it clear to Moses that even though Pharaoh will do this, he will not do it immediately after the next confrontation.

 

"But I will allow the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, and [thereby] I will [cause] to multiply the signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt." [Ex. 7:3]


Most of what I use for a translation is The Emphasized Bible and most of the changes I make are from the old English to something which is is bit more modern and readable. I do this because Rotherham is quite the literalist and it is easier to work from a translation which is accurate. However, I believe that I have found a weak point here. The hardening of Pharaoh's heart is a difficult topic to grasp, so Rotherham side-steps this issue by inserting the words "I will permit" (actually, "I will suffer..."). What he is doing is providing some interpretation here in the context of the Word, which is acceptable if the interpretation is accurate; but it is disastrous when the interpretation is inaccurate (such as the Jehovah Witnesses' translation of John 1:1-3). God says, "I will harden his heart" in the autographs; which means that we had better examine the Doctrine of the Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart. What we have here is the 1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect of harden; the Hiphil is often the causative stem and the stem where the object participates in the action of the verb. In the Hebrew, the causative Hiphil does not necessarily behave like our English causative. It can include the permission to do something Footnote . God has granted Pharaoh the power, the ability to harden his heart continually.


My exegesis of this book goes back to 1996, when I was first beginning to work out my strategy and approach. What I have done over the past 5 years is far superior to this particular work. I have covered a great many things with more depth as I have moved forward in examining the Word of God. So, in the next few chapters, we have an exegetical study of the plagues which God brought against Egypt. I did a fair but incomplete job here. What I highly recommend is, sometime during your study of these chapters that you also take a look at Psalm 105, where I take another stab at the history of Israel, which includes a more in depth analysis of these plagues and of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.


The multiplication of the signs and wonders is also in the Hiphil stem, meaning that God will cause these signs and wonders through Moses and Aaron. The perfect tense means that God is seeing this as a whole; I have inserted thereby because God is explaining to Moses that (1) Pharaoh will send the people out of Egypt; (2) Pharaoh will not do that immediately; and (3) this is the reason why—so that God can multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.

 

"And Pharaoh will not listen to you, so I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring forth my armies, my people, the sons of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, with great judgements." [Ex. 7:4]


God is giving Moses and Aaron a careful run through of just exactly what will happen. They will have no reason to suddenly act surprised and be perturbed because Pharaoh does not immediately acquiesce to their wishes.

 

And the Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have stretched forth my hand over Egypt and brought forth the sons of Israel out of their midst." [Ex. 7:5]


This is at least the sixth time that God has told Moses that He would bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt; God has told Moses almost as many times that Pharaoh would not let the people go at first. This would indicate that repetition is called for at times. In this context alone, Yahweh has told Moses that He will bring thesons of Israel out of Egypt three times. Moses was also all upset because he went to the Pharaoh and things just got worse. God has already made it clear to Moses that the Pharaoh would not listen to him. God tells Moses this again in this passage. It is a passage like this that makes me think about divine guidance. People with the least need for divine guidance, those who lack God's Word in their soul, who are immature and whose production falls somewhere between very small and nonexistent, are often concerned with divine guidance. It is a mystical experience to them or they want someone else to tell them what to do so they can pick and chose from those directives so that they can do the things that they would most like to do. If you know God's Word, you will get enough specifics to handle 90-100% of the things in your life. What Moses had to do here was clear. God spoke to him directly and repeated it three times and told him what would happen as a result of him speaking to Pharaoh. There were no surprises; no glitches.


Ao what about divine guidance when God is not right there telling you what to do? For the young or immature believer, the beginning is simple: (1) you rebound (silently name your sins to God) when you sin; (2) you attend Bible class whenever the doors are open (preferably 7 days a week) and you study your notes for an hour on the off days; and (3) you do not make any drastic changes in your life (i.e., quit your job because you don't like it there, leave your mate because he/she is an unbeliever, get married, get divorced, etc.) These are not tough directions. The worst people to explain these things to are those who have been saved for one year or ten years and they haven't grown at all. They have been out of fellowship all that time because they never knew how to regain the filling of the Spirit; or those who have been involved in self-study, most of it out of fellowship, for the past several years, and are experts in all things theological. Furthermore, they want this justified to them; particularly the last point. "Where does my Bible say that?" Paul, in writing to the carnal and immature Corinthians (I Cor. 7:26-29), told them to stay wherever they were because that would spare them a lot of trouble. Too many of us make major decisions as immature believers, the consequences of which we have to live with for the rest of our lives. Our lives would be simpllified and eased greatly if we postponed all major decisions until we experienced some growth and our course of action is crystal clear. Moses and Aaron's course in life is crystal clear.

 

And Moses and Aaron did as Yahweh commanded them; thus they did. Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh. [Ex. 7:6]


This gives us part of the time table in Moses life. Of all places, we find the timetable for Moses' life in Acts 5:19-53 spoken by Stephen, immediately prior to his death. In fact, Stephen gives us more detail about Moses's early life than Moses does. He was nursed for three months by his birth mother, raised in the palace of the Pharaoh by the Pharaoh's daughter for his youth, receiving his education there. He, up until the age of forty, had been educated in all things and he had, during this time period, accomplished a great deal as a prince ("he was mighty in word and deed"). It was at age forty, possibly because his mother, the queen, had told him of his origins, that he went out among the Jews to see the people from whence he came. Because of the genetic differences, a man of eighty in those days was as powerful as a man of thirty today. Moses, if anything, was in his prime at this age. He had recevied invaluable training in the palace for forty years, some spritual training for forty years in the desert at the hand of his father-in-law, and now it was time for him to act. What a refreshing change from those who are saved one day and two days later giving their testimony and doing great things for God. There is nothing wrong with Christian service at an early age; just herein note that our examples from the Bible all had a great deal of training before they did anything of any true spritual consequence. Moses is eighty and he is now, for the first time, actually beginning to do "great things for God." Immature Christians do not understand this. They are excitied, pumped up, and everyone around them is telling them to get out there and witness; pray your brains out; and study your Bible at home when you have a chance. This is the prevailing wisdom and it is wrong. If you are going to witness, make certain that you are accurate. People are saved by believing in Jesus Christ, not by asking Him into their hearts and lives. This act of praying for Jesus to come into your life or heart MIGHT indiciate positive volition, but it is not salvation; it is not saving grace. Enjoining others to do so does not necessarily bring them any closer to God. And then when you tell them to repent of their sins in order to be saved, you are giving them a list of works to do. How many new Christians think that this is the gospel (and perhaps the spiritual life): (1) ask Jesus into their hearts and (2) repent of their sins, and (3) promise God not to sin anymore. How many young Christians think that this is the spiritual life: (1) repent of the sins that they do; (2) promise God not to sin anymore; (3) try not to sin; (4) read their Bible; and (5) go to church. For how many new Christians is this their concept of salvation and the psiritual life? We don't need them out there confusing everyone else in their enthusiasm. People think that by telling someone to do these things that they are witnessing and doing great things for Jesus. And just in case there is any confusion to you: you could do each and every one of those things every day for the rest of your life on list #1 and spend eternity in the lake of fire; and, as a Chistian you do do each and everyone of the things on the second list and spend eternity in heaven picking cotten on my plantation. However, this is what happens when people who do not know God's Word get out and witness. Many of them are out there witnesing as unbelievers because that is all they have ever done. Many have never believed in Jesus Christ; they have never depended upon Him alone for their salvation and their relatioinship with God. Maybe if you could undersand that there are a lot of wonderful and very religious Catholics and Mormans who lead good and moral lives, attend church regularly and believe that Jesus is an important person in their lives. They aren't necessarily saved (or unsaved, for that matter). No one has ever bothered to tell them how to become saved and they have become too religious to listen to God speaking to them in His Word. Moses was eighty years old when he spoke before Pharaoh (and he didn't even think that he was ready then). Would that we could wait on God's plan and purpose for our lives and spend some time in preparation for it.

 

And Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, "When Pharaoh shall speak to you saying, 'Show for yourselves a wonder,' then you will say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh; let it become a sea-serpent.'" [Ex. 7:8-9]

 

What the Pharaoh will say is the 2nd person plural, Qal imperitive of our old friend nâthan (ן ַת ָנ) [pronounced naw-THAN], which means to give, put, set, grant. This is followed by a preposition ל [pronounced LAW-med] and the 2nd person, masculine plural suffix; meaning to, for, in regard to, with reference to yourselves.


There are some who maintain, wit good reason, that the "sea-serpent" is a crocodile. The words in the book of Moses are so ancient, that certain of them are translated by reasonable, eduacated guesses. The crocodile was common in Egypt, a deadly symbol of power and strength and was very likely worshipped as a diety of sorts. Since there is no indication that the kind of animal that they saw was unusal, we should assume that it would be an animal common to that area; something which is reptilian (serpentine) from the sea would likely be a crocodile.


What God is doing is slowly getting Moses involved in speaking before the Pharaoh. Furthermore, God wants Pharaoh to see who has the authority. Even though it is Aaron speaking to Pharaoh, God wants Pharaoh to see that Moses is telling aaron what to do. Moses is refusing to speak before the Pharaoh because he feels as though he does not have the power and ability. He has more public speaking ability Aaron; in fact, more than almost anyone in the land of Egypt. Also, notice that the younger brother Moses will be telling older brother Aaron what to do. It is possible that Moses and Aaron understood this; but it is also possible that they were just so dumbfounded by the entire scenario that they did not realize what God was doing through them.



Moses and Aaron Appear Before Pharaoh a Second Time/Staff Turned into a Serpent

 

So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and did just as Yahweh had commanded; and Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a sea-serpent. [Ex. 7:10]


The literal Hebrew reads before the faces of Pharaoh. Face is in the plural, referring to the various features of the face (similar to using eyes in the plural). To us, the use here seems to be redundant, but this use is a matter of emphasis. It is similar to a magician stating I'm going to perform this illusion right before your very eyes. The sentence stands without the addition of the extra words, but it loses the great emphasis upon the fact that Pharaoh was right there, with a ring-side seat, and he observed exactly what occurred.


Notice that Aaron is performing the signs and wonders. Shy and retiring Moses wasn't quite ready for the spotlight. What is being done here at their second meeting is just to warm Pharaoh up to God's power. God moves in small steps with us prior to salvation and in spiritual growth. Prior to our believing in Jesus Christ, if we happen to be the kind of hard-heads who require a bit of encouragement, we will notice in our previous lives as unbelievers that we faced a little pressure, then we heard the gospel; we faced a little more pressure, and we heard (or thought about) the gospel again; and God would continue to raise the stakes. Being the kind of person that I was, I had to come to a point of great emotional pain before I to turn toward God. I wasn't saved right at that point in time, but God got my attention. Here, God is attempting to get Pharaoh's attention.


When raising our children, we often do the same thing. When they do something wrong, we sometimes only counsel with them; explain what they did was wrong and why and enjoin them not to do it again. The second time might bring another lecture and a scolding. The third and forth times might result in discipline, which would intensify on the fifth or sixth offense. If we can achieve favorable results in our children without beating the daylights out of them; that is the preferred method.

 

The Pharaoh called for the wise men and for the sorcerer-magicians. Now they too, the sacred scribes [the religious illusionists] of Egypt, with their flash [of fire], did in like manner; in fact, they cast down each man his staff and they became sea-serpents; but Aaron's staff swallowed up their staves. [Ex. 7:11-12]

 

The wise men are those in the Pharaoh's kingdom whose opinion he respects; who he calls upon when he runs into a problem that he is struggling with. The word translated secret arts in The Emphasized Bible and enchantments in the KJV in this passage is the Hebrew word lahaţ (ט ַה ַל) [pronounced LAH-hat] Footnote and it actually means a flash or a bit of fire. This word is found in only one other place in the Bible: Gen. 3:24, where the angels guard the garden of Eden with lahaţ. See the Doctrine of Magicians for more information on this.


The term magicians is used in three passages in the Bible. When Joseph is in Egypt interpreting the dreams of the Pharaoh; when Moses is bring the plagues upon Egypt, and in Daniel, again where dreams are being interpreted.

The Doctrine of Magicians

 1.   The Hebrew word is chartôm ( ם ט ר ח ) and the Chaldean word used in Daniel is the same.

 2.    Strong points out that this has the same root word as cheret, which means "engraving tool or writing instrument." The root word means "to engrave or to write."

 3.    Strong translates this as a "horoscopist;" one who draws magical lines or circles.

 4.    Wilson tells us that these were mean in the early ages who pretended to be of profound learning. He also mentions the possible same root as does Strong, but only as a possibility and not as a fact engraved in stone.

 5.    The word is translated variously: magicians (KJV, RSV, ASV, NEB), sacred scribes (The Emphasized Bible), magicians or soothsayer priests (The New American Standard Bible).

 6.    The best place to go to understand the meaning of this term is the Bible. It is found in Gen. 41 where the Pharaoh has some disturbing dreams and he calls upon his "magicians" and his wise men to interpret the dreams (Gen. 41:8). This indicates that they were learned in interpreting dreams. They were not always able to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh (vv. 8, 24).

 7.    We again see these "magicians" in Pharaoh's court when Moses and Aaron bring plagues upon Egypt. They attempt to duplicate the miracles of God and come close on three occasions and fail the fourth time (Ex. 7:9-12, 19-22 8:5-7, 16-18).

 8.    They are a subset of the "wise men and sorcerers" which the Pharaoh calls to his side when first speaking to Moses and Aaron. They stepped forward out of this group and performed a miracle similar to what Moses and Aaron did (Ex. 7:9-12). Subsequently, they were the only ones called in when Moses brought on a new plague to Egypt.

 9.    In order to perform these miracles, they employ their "secret arts or enchantments" (Ex. 7:11, 22 8:7, 18—see below).

10.  They finally gave up and admitted that the miracles done by Moses and Aaron were the work of God (Ex. 8:19).

11.  The magicians were hit by a plague which kept them from appearing before Pharaoh (Ex. 9:11) which likely indicates that they did not believe in Yahweh, although they recognized that the miracles done were the handiwork of God.

12.  The magicians of Daniel's time gave their advice on matters of wisdom and understanding (and Daniel's advice was ten times better). Dan. 1:20

13.  The magicians are grouped with the conjurers, sorcerers and master astrologers in Dan. 2:2. This means that they do not have equivalent functions or equivalent meanings.

(a) The conjurers (or, in the KJV, astrologers) should be translated "conjurers or a magicians." The unused root from which the word comes most likely means "to lisp or to practice enchantment." We might consider these to be practitioners of black magic today. They might cast spells or put curses upon people or perform acts of magic through verbally communicating with the demons.

(b) The sorcerers are those who practice magic arts, sorcery and charms with the intent to do mischief to man (as Wilson puts it). The root word means "to whisper or mumble a spell." They do not appear to be radically different from the conjurers, except that they speak in tongues (or in a language which is not understood by the hearers).

(c) The "Chaldeans" actually means "someone from Chaldea." The meaning behind this word in this context is variously given as "wise men, master astrologer, astrologer or magician." In the context of Daniel, I would not necessarily group them with the practitioners of the Satanic arts as we know them, but would consider them likely the wise men of the kingdom; the philosophers or even the religious types.

(d) The contrast here is simple based upon the difference of the root words. The magicians are more closely associated with writing or engraving and the others are more closely associated with speaking. We might associate them today with the authors of Satanic religion. All of these people were thought to be wise and associated with predicting the future, reading dreams and interpreting dreams, and with magic spells and incantations.

14.  Daniel was able to answer questions and interpret the king's dreams that all these others could not (Dan. 2:28 4:6-8 5:11).

15.  In the context of the Exodus, a reasonable translation would be "religious illusionists" or "religious miracle-workers." This takes into account what they did in the presence of Pharaoh more than what the root meaning of the original word is (which meaning is not clear-cut, anyway).

16.  Unregenerate man turns to a lot of different kinds of people today for advice: friends, psychologists, palm readers, self-help authors, and basically anyone who has their hand out for money claiming to know more about life than the seeker does. Certainly, some believers in the ministry imitate this. These were the people who kings turned to for questions which they themselves could not answer. The magicians were a part of this group. In the time of Moses, we do not have the Pharaoh bringing in several types of advisors but just the magicians. By Daniel's time, there had developed a larger group of religious advisors. In our time, this field has expanded a great deal. There is but one way to truth and many deviations which are Satanically inspired. Jesus Christ told us "Narrow is the way and few that are that find it" and "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me."

Chapter Outline

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The magicians (or sacred scribes or religious illusionists) were said to have practiced secret arts or incantations. Very likely this was simply some magic done to impress the king "to prove" that they were of God. Therefore, we should also examine:

The Secret Arts/Enchantments

 1.   The magicians of Pharaoh's court used enchantments or secret arts to duplicate the miracles of Moses. There are two words used in Exodus which are translated "enchantments" in the KJV.

 2.    Lahat ( ט ה ל ) is used only once in this context (Ex. 7:11). Its root word is flaming. If you have ever seen a magician cause a sudden blaze or flash of fire or a spark, this is the root meaning. At first, when the magicians learned that they had a little competition from Moses in the realm of magic arts, they brought a little flash or a visual display in order to impress Pharaoh. When they realized that this was less theatrical and more difficult to imitate, they dispensed with the flash and tried just to duplicate Moses' miracles (after all, Moses did not use any props other than the staff of Aaron). The same word is found in Gen 3:24, where the flaming sword to the entrance to the garden of Eden is turning every way to guard the garden.

 3.    The second word used is lât ( ט ל ) and it means secret or covered. By implication, it is a secret enchantment used by the magicians prior to performing some act of magic. It is the magician mumbo-jumbo which is a prelude to the act, not unlike a drum roll. It is a set of words, or a spell, which sounds good and mysterious to the hearer, which sounds as though it is part of what makes the wonder come to pass. Elsewhere in the KJV, this is translated "softly, secretly and privily."

 4.    The words are obviously very different and, unfortunately, translated exactly the same Exodus seems to have the problem throughout. People have been stumped by the "hardening" of Pharaoh's heart due to three different words being all translated exactly the same in the KJV.

I originally presented these as separate doctrines; however, they are so short, I decided to include them in the text of Exodus.

Chapter Outline

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The use of the word staff in v. 12 is called an ampliatio [pronounced AM-pli-A-ti-o] which means it is an old name given to a new thing. It is a rare figure of speech found less than a half-dozen times in the Old Testament and slightly more often in the New. Aaron's staff is no longer a staff, but it is a serpent; however, God the Holy Spirit still refers to it as a staff. We have seen this one time before in Gen. 2:23 where the woman is called bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh, although she had been transformed into a woman.


The religious people in Pharaoh's court were either demon-possessed or had demonic affiliations. It has been suggested that these were small, rigid crocodiles (or other serpentine creatures), which, when cast to the ground, came to life. Others have suggested that the Egyptian cobra can be rendered immobile by applying pressure to its muscles at the nape of the neck, after it has been charmed. That has been done in Egypt in 1954 and pictures were taken of the event, according to the New Bible Dictionary. Both are reasonable possibilies, the latter more so than the former. God gave demons a certain amount of latitude in their dealings with men; at one time, enough latitude to where the demons actually cohabited with human females, forming the basis for all mythology and causing God to send a storm upon the earth and floods to wipe out this half-human, half-angelic race. It is also clear that God allowed more demon possessions during the time of our Lord walking the earth than we appear to have now (and it is possible that they were less inhibited and demonstrative in this possession). But what we have here is very likely a divine miracle followed by a demonic wonder. Compared to what will occur, this is small potatos. What we should understand from all this is that God's power if greater than demonic power. As it is expressed in the New Testament, "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world."

 

Yet Pharaoh's heart was strengthened and he did not listen to them; [just] as Yahweh had said. [Ex. 7:13]


In this part of Moses' life, there are no surprises. God has told him what to expect and Pharaoh has done exactly what God told Moses that he would do. The Pharaoh saw a miracle and then saw his own religious scribes perform a similar miracle. The fact that the serpent of Moses ate the serpents of the scribes was unimportant to Pharaoh. He made his heart strong; obstinate against God. He took courage in what he was doing and in saying "no" to Moses and Aaron.



God Commands Moses and Aaron to Appear Before Pharaoh a Third Time

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Heavy and stubborn is the heart of Pharaoh; he has refused to let the people go." [Ex. 7:14]


God does not even wait for Moses this time to give him a report as to what is going on. God tells Moses what is going on and then tells Moses what he is going to do about it. As you have seen the the doctrine of the hardness of Pharaoh's heard, the words usually translated harden are different words in vv. 13 and 14.

 

"Get yourself [back] to Pharaoh in the morning; in fact [lit., behold], he is coming out to the waters; therefore, you will be standing to meet him on the bank [lit. "lip"] of the river, and the staff which was turned into a serpent you will take in your hand." [Ex. 7:15]

 

It is possible that Moses went to God and complained that Pharaoh did not listen to them again. We don't hear from Moses. His take on things is not as important as God's viewpoint. God knew in eternity past just exactly what Pharaoh's reaction would be. Pharaoh is not so quickly going to be interestesting in meeting Moses and Aaron again (although this appears to just be Moses this time). This talk between God and Moses takes place shortly before Moses goes to meet Pharaoh, as Pharaoh is just now heading toward the Nile River. God tells Moses to nâtsab (ב ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAB or nah-TSAV] and it means to stand, to take one's stand. It is in the Niphal perfect, 2nd masculine singular. This is a command not put in the imperative mood; the 2nd masculine singular does that for us. The Niphal perfect is the passive stem of the Qal. Moses is to walk to the NIle and God will placate them both at the right place at the right time. God has the ability to do that. This has been translated station yourself; which is a reasonable translation; it just is not literal. Moses is to continually carry this staff, which represents power and authority.

 

"You will say to him, 'Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you saying "Let My people go that they may serve me in th desert; and, point in face [lit., behold], you have not listened [to me] up until now."'" [Ex. 7:16]


Notice that Aaron is not a part of this visit. This does not mean that God does not have a plan for Aaron's life or that Aaron is just in the way. It is just that Moses is God's point man and God's authortiy. Most of this should have been done by Moses alone, but God knew that Moses would object and He chose Aaron to guide Moses to his place of leadership. Luckily (as if there were any luck in God's plan), Aaron is not the kind to try to steal the spotlight or to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. And God does have a part for Aaron in this visit to the Pharaoh; his chief ttrue purpose is the hold the hand of Moses.

 

"Now says Yahweh, 'Hereby you will know that I am Yahweh: Observe! I am smiting with the staff that is in my hand upon the waters that are in the river and they shall be turned to blood;'" [Ex. 7:17]

 

One word which is undoubtedly an Egyptian loan word to the Hebrew is ye’ôr (רֹא  ׃י) [pronounced yeh-ORE] an dit means river, channel, water, and is specifically used for the Nile and any of its trenches. It is also used for the Tigrs River in Assyria. When I lived in Sacramento, we often spoke of San Francisco as the city; here, the Egyptians speak of the Nile as the river. In this, the second miracle, the ante has been upped a little.

 

There is a marvelous figure of speech in vv. 16 & 17 lost in most English translations. The word kôh (הֹ) [pronounced ko] means thus, here. Its meaning is slightly modified when it is found twice in the same passage, as it is here. It is found twice in Ex. 2:12 (and translated and he turned this way and that way), Num. 11:31 (...on this side...on that side), Josh. 17:14 (...till now and till then); and in this passage: "Look, you have not listened until now"; now says the Lord, "By this you will know that I [am] the Lord..."

 

"'Furthermore, the fish that is in the river will die and the river shall be loathsome and the Egyptians will disdain to drink water out of the river.'" [Ex. 7:18]


This is to be the first plague, but the second wonder that Moses performs before Pharaoh. What God knows will happen is that this showdown between Moses and Pharaoh will be broadcast all over the earth and people from every land on the earth will believe in Jesus Christ because of this confrontation.

 

And Yahweh said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch forth your hand over the waters of Egypt; over their streams, over their rivers and over their pools, and over all the collections of water—that they might become blood—so shall there be blood in all the land or Egypt, both in [storage areas of] wood and in [storage areas of] stone.'" [Ex. 7:19]


The term collections of water is a description of the Egyptian irrigation system. The Egyptians receive precious little rain each year and when even an inch of rain occurs, it can create havok in Egypt. In fact, it would overflow almost annually during the rainy season. What the Egyptians did was to dig a large number of canals out from the Nile to (1) irrigate their crops and (2) lead to various man-made ponds and low areas to handle the run off when the Nile overflows.

 

We find the word vessel in the KJV, the NASB, the NRSV, and in Owen's translation; the word containers is found in the Amplified Bible; the translation wooden bowls and jars of stone is found in the NEB. A vessel is a container, which includes but is not limited to pottery containers. For instance, the poor were provided water in stone reservoirs found at the corners of the streets and elsewhere. In an area where I once lived, a neighboring community did not have a sewage system or plumbing provided for them by the city; their water for decades was delivered to these large barrels. They received substandard services due to their poverty. This is a similar situation here. Because the Egyptians did survive seven days, I believe that the vessels (or containers) spoken of were those which received their water directly from the Nile and that everything in direct contact with the Nile water turned to blood. This would exclude the carton of water sitting in the Pharaoh's refrigerator, as well as the water gotten from deep wells. Furthermore, the word for vessel kelîy (י  ̣ל  ׃) [pronounced kel-EE] is not even found in this passage. There is no word for vessel in this passage; this is why it is in italics in the KJV. It is at best implied here; and storage areas for water would be a better implication.


This verse tells us that this was clearly a miracle, not a natural event of the water leeching the red dirt from the banks of the Nile or some other natural phenomenah. Not only are all the bodies of water to be turned to blood, but water which is stored anywhere which was connected to the Nile was to be turned to blood. Water is the most necessary ingredient for our survival, besides air. Remove that, and we are in a countdown to death. It is one of the rarest forms of H2O in the universe and yet we have it in terrific abundance on this planet. How any evolutionist could realize what a rarity water is and then think that this all just happened by chance is an act of faith much greater than I have ever been able to conjure up. The command of Moses to Aaron to perform this miracle means that Moses is actively involved; just as God's command to Moses means that God is actively involved in this miracle. This is why is acceptable for God to speak of Moses in terms of performing tis miracle, as He did in v. 17.



Moses and Aaron Meet Pharaoh by the Nile/Water Is Turned to Blood

 

And Moses and Aaron did so as Yahweh commanded and he lifted high the staff and smote the waters which were in the river, before the eyes of Pharaoh, and before the eyes of his servants, and all the waters which were in river were turned to blood; [Ex. 7:20]


The Egyptians, ever dependant upon the Nile river, had great reverence for it and even worshipped and deified it. It was called the father of life and the father of the gods. The Egyptians were also a very clean people who likely bathed more often than other groups in the ancient world. Their temple sacrifices were gnerally bloodless, so that the sight of the river being turned to blood and the various containers throughout the land being filled with blood was a very disgusting and unpleasant sight. However, for our God, the God of the Universe, there is no redemption without the shedding of blood.


Moses and Aaron must appear before Pharaoh and do these miracles in his sight to reveal to him the wrath of God for not agreeing to allow the people of Israel to go into the desert to worship God for three days. I know that someone is thinking that Israel left Egypt altogether; yet in this context and previous passages, the request is to go out to the desert for a few days and worship God. What if Pharaoh would have let the people do that at the very beginning? God asked of Pharaoh what was entirely reasonable; knowing full well that Pharaoh would refuse. Things will be taken to a point where the Jews become odious in the sight of the Egyptians and there would be no way that they could leave for a few days and then return to Egypt. God is forcing Pharaoh's hand, so to speak, to achieve His ultimate purpose: returning the Jews back to the land of Canaan. Wondering what would have happened if is not really an important point here. The Bible gives us enough of what really happened for us to study to not take too much time being concerned about all of the alternative things which could have occurred.

 

And the fish that were in the river died and the river became loathsome so that they Egyptians could not drink water out of the river. Thus it came to pass that blood was in all the land of Egypt. [Ex. 7:21]


According to my sources, the Egyptians do not collect rain water because it rains so infrequently; their spring water is hard and distasteful and wells were generally rare (why dig a well when the water is right there?). However, the Nile river is said to contain some of the sweetest water in the world. Although it is at first muddy and thick, it can be easily filtered (the Egyptians had filtering pots of white earth designed for this purpose) to yield a water as sweet as honey and sugar, as the Egyptians put it Footnote .


Blood is the word given to us because we do not know exactly what happened to the river; it was not a coincidence or any work of hocus pocus; the water really did turn to blood, or some very similar chemical composition. We do not know the exact composition of the water after God changed it. Certainly, "It says blood right here" and it does; however, the Jewish language uses several words pertaining to the body which actually stand for other things; the most notably in v. 22 heart, which stands for the will and emotions and the thinking abilities of Pharaoh. Similarly, the blood need not be literal; but its smell and foul character are certain. Furthermore, because it was found in all the vessels of wood and stone, it was a miracle. The Nile river was the lifeblood of Egypt; without it, all of Egypt would die; similarly, water to the human race is our lifeblood; not only do we require it, we require it in very large amounts as a race and as individuals. One of the greatest problems that we will face when we attempt to colonize the moon (if such a thing is ever attempted) will be the lack of water and the human body's absolute need for water).

 

And the religious illusionists of Egypt did in like manner with their incantations, so the heart of Pharaoh was strengthened and he did not listen to them, as Yahweh spoke. [Ex. 7:22]


Both Moses and God the Holy Spirit are emphasizing that everytime that Pharaoh exhibits negative volition, God has already told us that would happen in advance. God's Word is fulfilled. Moses, either at this time or at least by the time he wrote this down, bean to realize that God would perform what he has told us He would do and what He predicts will come to pass. What the court magicians did is not explained, except that their "miracle" was similar. I recall in my chemistry class in high school that the teacher took a several beakers of clear liquids, mixed them, and by the adding of additional liquids, the clear liquids would turn different colors. I specifically recall a white fluid; one which began to turn white and immediately returned to clear, during the pouring of one solution into another; and one which was very blue. This was a matter of various precipitates forming due to chemically bonding; and these precipitates remaining suspended in the fluid. My guess is that these magicians did something in a similar vein to show Pharaoh that this could be done by their own power. Even though it sounds like they imitated Moses' miracle immediately (since this is the next verse) that is not necessarily the case.


To help you see what is going on in the palace of the king. For some of these plagues, the priest-magicians of the court were able to duplicate, to some degree, what Moses did. That gave the Pharaoh of Egypt a reason to doubt the power of the God of Moses. Now, what God did on a large scale, these magicians were able to duplicate on a small scale. Now, I have seen some magic tricks and I can occasionally make some guesses as to how this or that is done; however, some of it baffles me completely. What appears to be the case is, these court magicians were able to score a gig in the palace of the pharaoh by being religious and performing magic tricks. Now, it really did not matter if they were religious or not; this gig got them great living conditions, as Pharaoh apparently believed their powers to be from God, even though they were simple parlor tricks (okay, maybe they were complex parlor tricks). This was actually a very clever approach, as they did more than entertain the King of Egypt; they dispensed with whatever religious norms and standards fit with their culture or they made up some of their own. The reason this was clever is, they did more than entertain Pharaoh. If they were simply entertainers and nothing else, then they could be booted out of the palace by Pharaoh at any time on a whim. If they presented themselves as men of God, that was a whole different story. It is much more difficult for Pharaoh to dismiss them if they are men of God.

 

Pharaoh turned and went into his house and did not lay to heart even this. [Ex. 7:23]


We do not know the exact sequence of events here. It sounds as though the religious illusionists did this immediately after Moses and Aaron turned the water to blood, but that would have meant rounding up some water first. My guess is that Pharaoh, his heart still hardened, returned to the palace and soon thereafter, the magicians performed for him a similar miracle.

 

When this verse speaks of Pharaoh not laying his heart to even this; we have the negative plus the Qal perfect of shîyth (תי  ̣ש ) [pronounced sheeth], which means to set, to place, to put. This use is obviously an idiom, as are all the places in the Hebrew where some type of action involves one's interior body parts. Pharaoh strengthened his heart and did not listen to them (v. 22). Water was found by digging wells near the river. Some people, when a situation occurs, think and overthink about the situation; Pharaoh was just the opposite. He gave this little or no thought. His servants saw to it that water was provided for him from these wells; he did not become introspective, he did not wonder whether this was really God speaking to him; he did not consider that he perhaps had made a mistake in this judgement. So even to this [great miracle], he did not place his heart. Most Bibles translate this idiomatically. NASB: Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. The Emphasized Bible is close with Neither appied he his heart even to this. The Amplified Bible reads: neither did he take even this to heart. One of the very best translations which is partially idiomatic and translates itinto a modern idiom is the NRSV: and he did not even take this to heart. Although we find this verb used in a number of different ways, this particular idiom is only found a couple of times in the Bible: 1Sam. 4:20 II Sam. 13:20 Psalm 48:13 62:10 Prov. 22:17 27:23. Only the first reference is in the Qal perfect; the first Psalm and second Proverb references are in the Qal imperative, and the others are in the Qal imperfect.

 

And all the Egyptians digged all around the Nile for water to drink; for they could not drink the water in the river. And seven days were fulfilled, after Yahweh had struck the river. [Ex. 7:24–25]


On the symbolic level—which should be examined because this is a showdown between the Pharaoh and his gods and between Yahweh, the true God, not only of the Jews, but of the universe—the Nile was the lifeblood of Egypt. Egypt would not even exist if there were not the Nile running through it. It provided transportation for goods and people; it provided water for the country and crops and people. It was a life force that if removed, the country of Egypt would shrivel and die.


The end of v. 24 indicates that there was probably some water somewhere; the people had to dig wells, or some distance into the ground to locate some unpolluted water. God is not killing the Egyptians but He is making it as unpleasant as possible for them to live out their daily lives. God gave Pharaoh a lot of time to think over this crisis and then devised a plague which was even worse.


Here is where the English Bible ends chapter 7. In the Hebrew, the chapter goes along for another two verses. Whoever split the chapters up in the Hebrew had even a poorer concept of chapter division than did those who did that in the English—if that were possible.



                                                                    EXODUS 8



Exodus 8:1–32


Outline of Chapter 8:


       Vv. 1–15       The plague of the frogs

       Vv. 16–18     The plague of the gnats

       Vv. 19–32     Plague of the [blood-sucking] gadfly


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:


Introduction: In chapter 8 God present Pharaoh with two more plagues: He fills the land of Egypt with frogs and insects.



The Plague of the Frogs


What should have happened is that chapter 7 should have concluded with v. 24; between vv. 24 and 25, seven days pass; a wonderful opportunity to insert a chapter break. Seven days pass, God comes to Moses and speaks. It seems simple to know when to stop and to pick up again, but then the chapter divisions are not divinely inspired but come from the hand of man. These chapter blessings have been at once a blessing and a cursing. It is easy for us to refer back to particular verses and passages because the parameters for these have been set; this allows us to look up things quickly, to identify particular verses in lexicons, concordances, etc. On the negative side, we have hundreds of cults and thousands of misconceptions which have cropped up because verse are more commonly quoted out of context. Pastors and evangelists who have come from marvelous seminaries and Bible colleges hold to the party line, having had Biblical theology laid out for them as a series of verses. This means that they often do not take the time to evaluate these issues for themselves, which would give them a much better overall view of God's Word. Furthermore, there tends to be less verse by verse teaching from entire books in favor of topical teaching which either jumps from verse to verse or springs out (sometimes rather unnaturally) from a particular verse or passage.

 

The Yahweh said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus speaks Yahweh, "Release my people that they may serve me."'" [Ex. 8:1 (7:26 in the Hebrew)]

 

God gives Pharaoh an unconditional demand. He used the Piel imperative of shâlach (ח ַל ָש ) [pronounced shaw-LAHK] and it means to send, to send forth, to drive, to send a messenger, etc. Here, it means to release. God has not yet required Pharaoh to let the Jews go permanently, which we see in Ex. 8:27.

 

"'"But if you refuse to release [them], [then] watch [lit., behold], and I will strike all your country with frogs."'" [Ex. 8:2 (7:27 in the Hebrew)]

 

The word often trnaslated plague is the Hebrew word nâgaph (פ ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAF] and it means to strike, to hit, to smite, to gore, to defeat. This verb is in the Qal active participle, meaning that God is, or will be, striking their country.


The plagues which were to come upon Egypt were a direct atack upon the country and religion of Egypt. Each plague would pit the God of the Israelites against the gods of Egypt. This would be a battle which would increase in intensity and all the surrounding countries would know that the gods of Egypt were being attacked by the God of the Jews. This battle would be so one-sided and devastating, that news about it would travel throughout the entire world. The first plague is that of the frogs.

 

"'"The Nile will be swarmed with frogs and they shall come up and enter into your house and into your bedroom [lit., your room of lying down] and upon your bed ; and into the homes of your servants and among your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls"'" [Ex. 8:3 (7:28)]


When God restored the earth, he chose for the waters to swarm with fish; the same verb is used here when it comes to frogs. The proper subject of this sentence is the Nile, as it is in the masculine singular, as is the verb (frogs is in the feminine plural). The verb, also in the Qal perfect, indicates a completed action. Here, although it has not yet occurred, it is something which is so certain of fulfillment that it is expressed in the perfect (completed) tense.

 

Some translations go further to say that these frogs will be found in their couches; however, the word is miţţâh (ה ָ  ̣מ) [pronounced mit-TAW] and this is a place of reclining, meaning it can be translated bed or couch. Contextually speaking, it should be bed. Notice there is a parallelism here: the frogs come into their houses, into their bedrooms, into their beds; the frogs also go into the houses of their servants, and swarm among the servants and into their ovens and kneading bowls (in the Hebrew, your is used because all of this belongs to the aristocracy, who is being addressed here).

 

"'"And against you and against your people and against all your servants shall climb up the frogs."'" [Ex. 8:4 (7:29)]


As in the previous verse, frogs are not the subject of this sentence; the Pharaoh and the land of Egypt are being attacked and they are the subject of both verses. The Egyptians worshipped several kinds of deities, which are found in the heavens, on the earth and in the earth. Almost any judgement at all would be easy to connect with an attack on one or more of these deities. Among these gods is a frog-headed goddess named Heka. It was offensive to her to kill frogs, putting the Egyptians in a bad spot here. This invasion of frogs is going to be not unlike a horrible invasion of cockroaches. I owned a two-bedroom, one bath apartment which was occupied by six males (I purchased this apartment intact with these tenants). After they moved out, I went over to clean up the place and to assess the damage. In the kitchen was probably the most horrible sight that I had ever seen. Not only was it filthy beyond belief, but it was covered in cockroaches. I could bring my hand down in any one area and kill 5-20 cockroaches. In any direction that I looked, I saw hundreds upon hundreds of cockroaches, in the oven and in the mixing bowls. It was one of the most grotesque things which I have ever seen in my life. This is what the Egyptians would be faced with, except this would be with frogs. A few is not so bad; and frogs are not quite as gruesome as cockroaches. However, these frogs will be everywhere they look, swarming, to where the inhabitants will not be able to so much as move without killing several frogs with each step.


Some authors, particularly those who despise a God of miracles and supernatural powers, try to rationalize that this is a natural phenomenah (the frogs were unable to live in the Nile anymore, so they invaded the land). Whereas, this does have some merit; and it is possible that God prepared the frogs prior to the plague of the water being turned to blood; the narrative makes it clear that there were a greater preponderance of frogs than a natural occurance would precipitate. The population of frogs that the Egyptians will face will be beyond your imagination.


Notice that God is very clear in speaking with Pharaoh to explain what He wants and what the consequences are if Pharaoh does not comply. We face the same thing in our life all the time. I have mentioned divine guidance; it is very clear in the Bible what is right and wrong and what the consequences are. We often conveniently ignore these directives and pay the price; then ask why did God let this happen to me.


Two phenomenah which saw their origins in the sixties in the United States and their growth over the next several decades are premarital sex and living together. Certainly, these things occurred prior to sixties but, by the eighties and nineties, it became almost a given that people who became romantically invovled also had sex prior to marriage. In fact, it was not unusual to have sex before becoming romantically involved. This is entirely outside of God's plan. When it comes to lving together, I cannot tell you how many Christians that I know of who are living with their lovers, often not a Christian, without being married. The Bible is crystal clear on this topic: marriage is sacred and, as it reads, "Let the marriage bed be undefiled." If Christians totally ignore this, why should God provide them with additional divine guidance. They have ignored perhaps the most important directives in their lives; appart from salvation, rebound and doctrine; why should God give them any more direction than that? If you are living in sin right now; this is akin to marriage. Follow what it says in I Cor. "Do not seek to get married and do not seek to get divorced." Don't make any major decisions until o\you have got the a great deal of doctrine under your belt.


To digress even further; it is these two things, along with the parental neglect of our children, which has destroyed our stability in the United States. We depend upon the stable family unit in a client nation and that we do not have. That is why our children are totally out of control and why marriages cannot remain solvent—including Christian marriages.

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch forth you hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals, and over the pools and [cause to] bring up the frogs upon the land of Egypt.'" [Ex. 8:5 (8:1)]


There is an interesting literary quirk here: we go directly from God speaking to Moses and God telling Moses what to tell Aaron to do, to Aaron doing that before the Pharaoh. Many movies are spliced this way to avoid repetition of dialogue. This means that Moses did exactly as God told him and...

 

So Aaron stretched forth his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs [lit., frog] came up and covered [or, inundated] the land of Egypt. [Ex. 8:6 (8:2)]


The water was turned to blood seven days ago. The frogs, had they teemed the waters before, would have covered the land of Egypt also seven days ago if this were a natural phenomena. Also, what is implied, but never actually stated is that the plague of the water being turned to blood very likely lasted but seven days (see Ex. 7:25). Therefore, these frogs would not have left a Nile whose waters had been restored.

 

The word for covered is the Piel imperfect of kâçâh (ה ָס ָ) [pronounced kaw-SAW] and it properly means to plump, to fill up as well as to cover. It is used in one passage to mean conceal (Psalm 12:16) or to cover or to clothe in Judges 4:19 and Ezek. 16:10. The Piel stem is intensive and the imperfect tense means that they kept coming up and coming up. The sense here is to cover, to overwhelm, to inundate.

 

And the religious illusionists did in like manner with their incantations and brought up frogs over the land of Egypt. [Ex. 8:7 (8:3)]


Again, God has left it to our speculations as to the means by which the religious magicians accomplished this miracle. They certainly had the frogs at their disposal so they had a great deal to work with. However, as with the water being turned into blood; Pharaoh was less interested in seeing the miracles of Moses and Aaron being duplicated than he was with the removal of the effects of that miracle. In other words, Pharaoh would have been a damn sight happier had these religious magicians magically caused the frogs to disappear as opposed to causing more frogs to appear.

 

Then called Pharaoh for Moses and for Aaron and said, "Appeal to [or, intercede with] Yahweh, that He take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go that they may sacrifice [lit., and they will sacrifice] to Yahweh." [Ex. 8:8 (8:4)]

 

The Hiphil imperative of ‛âthar (ר ַת ָע) comes from a primative root to burn incense in worship; this word means to pray, to intercede, to entreat. It is the causative stem; they are to be caused to speak to Yahweh because they have been ordered to by Pharaoh (imperative mood).


There are a couple of things to notice here. First, this time Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron. They do not have to go to him. He knows that, even though his court magicians/scribes can do a similar feat, that they cannot take it away and what they can do is in no way along the same magnitude as what Moses and Aaron did. He also refers to the Lord as Yahweh—God's name is glorified here by the Pharaoh. Furthermore, he has not sought to kill Moses or Aaron yet. The Pharaoh seems to recognize that they are spokesmen for our Lord and not the true cause of these plagues. Finally, this is the first time the Pharaoh gives in to Moses and Aaron. It is important to remind ourselves that Pharaoh does not want to let the Jews go nor does he respect Yahweh. He is a beaten man. He has no further inner resources and he has been backed into a corner. He wants to say "no" and defy the living God, but he no longer has the strength to do so. He is at his wit's end.

 

In v. 9, we have quite a difference of opinions when it comes to the translation, so I will cover the Hebrew firstr and then give a final translation. This will be the first thing that Moses says to Pharaoh, and since that would be important, we will spend a little time with the translation. NASB: "The honor is yours to tell me; when shall I entreat for you...?" (in the margin it reads: "Glory over me; when shall I entreat for you...?") Owen reads: "Be pleased to command me when I am to entreat for you..." The Emphasized Bible: "Explain thyself to me; for what time shall I make entreat for thee...?" The Amplified Bible: "Glory over me in this; dictate when I shall pray [to the Lord] for you..." NRSV: "Kindly tell me when I am to pray for you..." The Septuagint: "Appoint me a time when I shall pray for you..." (the words a time were supplied by the English translators of the Septuagint). Without even looking at the Hebrew, I can tell this is going to be tough. The word in question is the 2nd masculine sngular, Hithpael imperative of pâ’ar (ר ַא ָ) [pronounced paw-AR] and in the Qal it means to beautify, to glorify, to gleam, to boast, to embellish. The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel (intensive) stem. The 2nd person singular means that the subject of this verb is Pharaoh and the imperative means that this is a command. BDB points out that this is a polite address to the king, as in assume the honor. Since Moses has not spoken yet directly to Pharaoh, it would be reasonable to assume that he would not be overbearing but solicitous.

 

This is followed by the preposition ‛al (ל ַע) [pronounced al] which means upon, and, by application, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, on, to (towards), to (against). With the 1st person singular suffix, we will translate this, please give to (or place upon) me the honor. You see, Moses has not yet spoken to Pharaoh, so he has asked for the honor of praying to God on Pharaoh's behalf.

 

This is followed by the interrogative adverb of time, mâthay (י ַת ָמ) [pronounced maw-THAH-ee], which means when and it is affixed to the preposition le (׃ל) which is ignored by Strong's concordance, and only alluded to without a reference in Owen's. However, BDB takes up the slack providing us with almost ten pages of explanation. This preposition denotes direction, but not motion and with verbs it is often translated to, for, towards. It can denote locality; i.e., at, near. In relation to time (which is what we find here), it expresses concurrence (at) and not duration (in). Together, they mean at when, which explains how the translator of the Septuagint came up with the translation appoint for me a time. Sparingly, we would write, Place upon me (or give to me) the honor at when. Since Moses is being tactful and deferential, we will insert the word please. Had this been inserted by Moses, it would have been too much; it would have sounded more like sarcasm than genuine honor. However, this is a rhetorical question as Moses will answer it himself in the next verse.

 

In relation to the frogs, we have the preposition le (׃ל) and the Hiphil infinitive construct of kârath (ת ַר ָ) [pronounced kaw-RATH], which means to cut off, to cut down. This word has been apocopated, which is somewhat humorous—apocopated means to be cut off. That is, this is an abbreviated form of this word. The Hiphil infinitive construct is similar to out infinitive or gerund. It is a causative verbal noun. The preposition from is found twice, allowing us to translate this the causing of the cutting off of the frogs from you and from your homes. The easier route is the English word removal. Although this verb can mean to destroy and to kill and even though that will be the outcome of all this, Moses is not using this verb in that sense, because he includes the phrases from you and from your houses. We should not confuse results with what is said. Sometimes the results better inform us of what is being said; but we rely on them only when the immediate context is unclear. Here, it is clear.

 

And Moses said to Pharaoh, "Please place upon me [or, give to me] the honor: at what time [lit, at when] should I intercede (or, make supplication) for you and for your servants and for your people, to cause the removal of the frogs from you and from your houses; [so that] only in the river shall they remain?" [Ex. 8:9 (8:5)]


Notice what else has happened here. Moses is no longer speaking through Aaron; Moses has had direct contact with God. God has told him what to tell Aaron to do before the Pharaoh; and now Moses is speaking directly to the Pharaoh giving him directives. Moses is the dynamic speaker and he can no longer bear to speak through Aaron. Aaron still has a part to play in God's plan; and it is a place of leadership, it just is not as a spokesman for God to Pharaoh. We will later see the weakness of Aaron in the desert when Moses is on Mount Sinai. God has chosen certain people to do certain things. It was best for Moses just to go along with it from the beginning., but God foreknew what would occur and made provision for it, as He does in all of our lives.


Moses is suddenly excited by this turn of events. He did not really believe that God would cause all of this to come to pass; on the other hand, God did not give him a way to weasel out of this, so he required Aaron to go with him and to hold his hand. He did not go to God in prayer prior to this meeting—when Pharaoh called, they both rushed on over. Moses is so excited by all of this, not having a firm belief in God's power and prophecy. Moses thought about this on the way over to Pharaoh's palace. Some people just go and do things without much thought; Moses is a genius and he certainly had been ruminating about this for some time. I don't think that he gave as much thought to Pharaoh caving in like this, but when Pharaoh called for him, he certainly thought things through on the way there. This causes me to believe that his first question was given in sincere earnestness and that he laready had the answer to to answer of Pharaoh prepared. This is not a rhetorical question, per se, but it is a question to which Moses already has an answer ready for whatever Pharaoh will say; but it is phrased in such a way that it does not sound to Pharaoh like Moses already has an answer, but it sounds to Pharaoh like a simple, polite entreaty. This reveals Moses' genius in the field of public speaking. It is almost second nature to him. Translators have a difficult time with this passage because it is so steeped in inuendo and verbal parlance. Can it be a coincidence that two of the greatest men of the Bible, Paul and Moses, were both absolute geniuses in the field of language and discourse?

 

And he said, "By [lit., at] tomorrow." And he (Moses) said, "According to your word! That you may know that there is no one like Yahweh, our God." [Ex. 8:10 (8:6)]


At this point in man's history, each and every nation that was religious had a god or, more often than not, a pantheon of gods that they worshipped. There is only one God of the universe Who exists in three persons. God, for His own reasons, chose Israel as the nation through which He would work. Therefore, it was not enough to be sincere, to worship the god that you had been brought up with. There is one true God and that is Yahweh, God of Israel. So that Pharaoh could learn to appreciate this exclusivity, Moses will have the mess of frogs cleaned up precisely on the day that Pharaoh requested.

 

"So the frogs shall depart from [or, cease to obstruct or get out of the way of] you and from your houses and from your servants and from your people; only in the river shall they remain." [Ex. 8:11 (8:7)]

 

What the frogs will do is the Qal perfect of çûwr (ר ס) [pronounced soor] and it has three basic meanings in the Qal stem: (1) to turn aside, to revolt, to degenerate; (2) to depart, to cease to obstruct, to get out of the way; (3) to be removed (used of lifeless things). Our second definition is the one which applies here. The perfect tense means that come tomorrow, this will be a completed action and the frogs will no longer be an issue to the Egyptians. All three substantives are prefixed with the preposition min (ן  ̣מ ) [pronounced min] (although we only have the  ̣מ ) and this preposition carries with it the concept of separation here and is variously translated as out of, from, on account of, off, on the side of since, about, than, so that not (this is obviously the highly edited version from over 6 pages of explanation in BDB).


This is the trick that the court magicians were unable to perform; they could get a few frogs to wander out of the river onto the banks of the river, but they could not get them to advance in the great numbers as Moses did. And, more importantly, they could not get the frogs to retreat.

 

V. 12: Too many translations have the prophets crying. Moses did not cry to God; what he did was the Qal imperfect of the verb tsâ‛aq (ק ַע ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-AK] and it means, in the King James English, to cry out, to make an outcry; however, in modern English, it means to call out; and since it means to be summoned in the Niphal (Judges 7:23–24 10:17 12:1 2Kings 3:21), this would indicate that it could mean to summon in the Qal. The imperfect tense means that Moses prayed for a period of time and then God spoke to him. The substantive preceding the word frogs is the often used word dâbâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced daw-BAWR] and it simply means speech, word, sentence, matter, decision. Then we have quite the interesting Hebrew concept: the word ’ăsher (ר שְַא) [pronounced ash-ER] and it is a particle of relation or a connecting link. It is similar to, but not synonymous with out words which, , whom, wherever, but it is better translated as him who, those who, like him, to that which, you whom, we whose, from the place, that belonging to. It is similar to a relative pronoun in our English, but it is not quite the same thing. The final verb is the Qal perfect of sûwm (ם ) [pronounced soom] and it has a variety of meanings which include to set, to place, to appoint; when God is the subject, it is a part of God's perfect plan, a part of His divine decrees made in eternity past. I prefer the translation decreed, particularly when this is in the perfect tense—this is something which God had decided to do in eternity past as a part of His perfect immutable decrees.

 

Then Moses and Aaron went forth from Pharaoh, and Moses called out to Yahweh concerning the matter [or, the sentence] of the frogs, those which He had decreed for [lit., on or upon] Pharaoh. [Ex. 8:12 (8:8)]


Notice that both Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, but Moses did all of the talking. When they leave, it is Moses who calls upon God. This does not mean that Aaron didn't think to do that; it is just that God had called upon Moses and not upon Aaron for this job—Aaron was only there on Moses' request.

 

And Yahweh did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died, out of the houses and out of the courtyards and out of the fields; [Ex. 8:13 (8:9)]

 

One of the places where the frogs died was in the châtsêr (ר ֵצ ָח ) [pronounced khaw-TSARE] and it means courtyard, enclosure, which is the area surrounding the house. Therefore, I have translated this with the word courtyard rather than with the word yard.


Prayer is sometimes a difficult concept; most people only know the prayer, God help, I am in a jam (usually one entirely of their own making), followed by a vow or a promise to do something for God or to do something they view as painful, but spiritual (like attend church for a month). Of the prayers in the Bible, damn few of them are God help me prayers, and those which offer God some kind of a deal are usually uttered by those in apostasy. Here Moses calls out to God and God does what He had planned in eternity past—he destroys the frogs. But notice how the Bible puts it: And Yahweh did according to the word of Moses. This is real praying; this is effective prayer. This is prayer which reveals knowledge of God's will and purpose; this is prayer which reveals orientation to the plan of God. This is the kind of prayer that glorifies God; not some sniveling help me; please make it stop hurting because you got yourself into a jam. Here we have answered prayer.

 

To get a feel for the Hebrew and the nuances in this language, we have the substantive dâbâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced daw-BAWR] again, and it reveals that God has answered Moses prayer and He has done what Moses promised to Pharaoh. Dâbâr refers both to what Mose said in prayer to God but also what he said to Pharaoh. He told Pharaoh when the frogs would cease to over-populate the land of Egypt and God did according to that word.

 

And they piled them up [in] heaps heaps [or, large heaps]; and the land had become loathesome [stank]. [Ex. 8:14 (8:9)]


God did not have the frogs retreat nor did they simply return to the river. Those which were underfoot in numbers unimaginable all died. God's purpose here is that all the people of Egypt, including Pharaoh, would have an aromatic reminder of God's power. Pharaoh, as he refuses to stand by his word to Moses, can smell the horrible smell of millions of dead frogs.


We have two analogous situations here (1) The Egyptians are under God's wrath because of the the Pharaoh's decision not to let the Jews go. The Pharaoh as leader is under discipline for not allowing the Jews to go. His decision is very similar to the one that Adam made as the federal head of the human race. Adam's decision to sin filled the entire world with sin and we bear an old sin nature because of his choice to sin. Pharaoh, as the federal head of Egypt, due to his choices, subjected his entire country to plagues and discomfort. His decisions affected the entire nation of Egypt, from the least to the greatest. (2) The second analogy which may be drawn here is the act of sinning, remaining out of fellowship, receiving discipline and getting back into fellowship. There are times that we commit a sin or a series of sins and rebound, but there is still a mess there to clean up. While we are out of fellowship, we are under discipline. So long as the Pharaoh chose not to let the Jews leave, he subjected his nation and himself to discipline; so far in the form of the water being turned to blood and the invasion of the frogs. When we rebound, or name our sins, we are restored to fellowship and the discipline is removed. When the Pharaoh said that he would allow the Jews to leave, is was analogous to rebound and being restored to fellowship. The discipline was removed. However, there was still a mess to clean up. This is often the case in our lives following rebound. Depending upon the circumstances, we can make utter ruin of our lives through being out of fellowship. Some of what we face is discipline and some of it is natural consequences. However, once we rebound, the discipline is removed. What remains is natural consequences and blessing from God. This blessing from God and the natural consequences serves as a constant reminder of the the repercussions of our sins. This is not discipline but it helps us to realize how serious the effect of sin is in our lives. God has removed the plague of the frogs from the Egyptians, but the effects of that plague will remain with them for a few days in the form of huge heaps of frogs (literally, "heaps heaps," which is an Hebrewistic way of emphasizing a word; they repeat it, rather than use an adjective to describe it).

 

But, when the Pharaoh saw that there had come a respite then he caused his heart to be heavy and he would not listen to them [Moses and Aaron]—as God had said. [Ex. 8:15 (8:11)]


Here, to harden or, more properly, to make his heart heavy is in the infinitive but it is, in most translations, rendered as an indicative. There are a number of times when one mood is used when another is implied. This is the Hiphil infinitive absolute, which, as Zodhiates puts it, presents in the active voice, causative action in the form of a verbal noun, usually as a complement of affirmation. Footnote


God's word (or guarantee) is good and God stands by His word. Even though God knew in eternity past that Pharaoh would go back on his word, God did not go back on His, nor did He leave Moses there holding the bag, having given Pharaoh a promise. Moses promised Pharaoh that the frogs would no longer harass them and God fulfilled that promise. We learn about character here. Someone who can give you his word and then will stand by his word is a man of honor; a man whose character imitates the character of God. Too often, a man will give his word concerning a business deal, but then something more advantageous to him comes along and he goes back on his word and does the smart thing insofar as his business is concerned. This is why we have contracts because man is not as good as his word. This is like the woman who agrees to go out on a date, but then someone better comes along and she stands up the first guy; or the man or the woman who profess love one day, but then someone better comes along and the love they professed means nothing. This is Pharaoh—he promised to let the people go, but then reneged. The southern expression I learned is he never said nothing he couldn't take back. It does not matter that these things occurred over thre milleniums ago a half a world away; the Bible is applicable to today. However, you do not get this out of reading your Bible. You get this from a pastor-teacher who might spend one hour just translating a verse, picking up a few of its nuances and implications, and then giving it to you in ten minutes. This is God's plan for this dispensation.



Summary of the Plague of the Gnats

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch forth your staff and smite the dust of the land; so shall it become gnats to al the land of Egypt.'" [Ex. 8:16 (8:12)]


This is somewhat humorous. Moses begged God in every way that he knew how to be dismissed from this project; and, if he couldn't get out of it, could he stand behind Aaron. However, with the last plague and with Pharaoh's temporary capitulation, Moses was so excited, he went right to Pharaoh and spoke to him directly; he probably got Aaron to go with him as almost an afterthought. God tells Moses what he is to have Aaron do. Moses is ready to take over; he is beginning to believe and to appreciate the power of God. God still has Moses work through Aaron.


We are not certain whether these are lice or gnats—and it could be two stages of the same insect. These were very small, irritating insects in huge numbers.

 

And they did so, and Aaron stretched forth his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the land, and there came to be gnats, among men and among beasts, all the dust of the land had become gnats in all the land of Egypt. [Ex. 8:17 (8:13)]


The end of v. 17 is both written and read and all the dust of the land became gnats; although the Septuagint gives it a slightly different slant with the rendering and in all the dust of the land there came to be gnats. This is called an hyperbole (or exaggeration). The number of gnats was so unbelievable that they are compared to the dust in Egypt. This does not mean there is a one-to-one relationship between the dust and the gnats. We have studied similar hyperboles in Gen. 2:24 41:47 and will find several more to come (Judges 20:16 is a good example).


There is some confusion as to exactly what this particular plague was. Some translators use the term lice, and others gnats. The New American Standard Bible uses both. BDB mentions that this could likely include maggots. The Amplified Bible uses biting gnats or mosquitos, which I like because it conveys the horrible intrusion of these insects upon the lives of the Egyptians.


Can you imagine not being able to even lay down to sleep without being swarmed by hundreds of small, crawling, flying, biting insects? The gnats were so thick that it was if the dust had turned into gnats. Here is where I must admit that it seems as though this could be a natural phenomena. With the polluted water and the huge piles of dead frogs, it is very possible that we have an incredible invasion of very small insects which feed off these dead frogs. However, the numbers of insects implied by this passage and the short amount of time that it takes for them to make their appearance in the land of Egypt still indicates that this is a miracle.

 

And the religious illusionists did in like manner, with their incantations, to bring forth the gnats, but they could not. So there came to be gnats among men and among beasts. [Ex. 8:18 (8:14)]


What the religious illusionists attempted to do was to strike the ground with their rods and staffs to make the dust rise as gnats, but this particular plague was one that they could not imitate (the word duplicate would not be apropos because they never duplicated a miracle of God; they only imitated God's power). The active voice of the Hebrew reads that the religious illusionists did in like manner, but this is an idiom where an agent's attempt or design to do something is what is meant, although the thing was not actually done. This is not a common idiom, found only here, Deut. 28:68 and Ezek. 24:13 in the Old Testament. It is possible here that Pharaoh did not want them to put too much effort into this endeavor.

 

Then the sacred scribes said to Pharaoh, "It is the finger of God." But the heart of Pharaoh became stronger and he did not listen to them, as God had said. [Ex. 8:19 (8:15)]


The finger of God is obviously an anthropopathism standing for God's formative power and an immediate and direct act of God. That is, this is not God's causative will involved here where what He chooses to happen does occur because it falls within His plan—God Himself is acknowledged by the scribes to have directly intervened with human history at this point. Here they have judged rightly.


The religious illusionists finally could not duplicate one of the miracles and they realized that this was God's work. They realized before that what Moses did was superior to their "magic." They could do miracles similar to what Moses did, but they could not match the scope and intensity of what Moses did. When they told Pharaoh that this was truly of God, the Pharaoh no longer called for them. He was negative against this entire situation and very negative toward God. Most people can be beaten down when facing these kinds of pressures; but not Pharaoh. He fought against God's will with every bit of human strength that he had. And when he came to the end of his own human strength, God provided him with more. Several leaders who have come to the end of their rope and abilities have committed suicide, have gone insane, have left office, etc. Pharaoh of Egypt was in that situation. He was fully negative toward God but he was running out of his own human resources and strength to resist Him. When it says that God strengthened Pharaoh's heart; God simply gave Pharaoh the will, the persistance and the fortitude to go on. This is not a doctrine to worry about. In a similar fashion, when we as Christains are at the end of our rope and beaten down, God often gives us strength to go on. God, by giving Pharaoh the will and strength to go on, used Pharaoh's negative volition to evangelize the world.




Plague of the [blood-sucking] Gadflies

 

Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and station yourself before Pharaoh; behold, his coming forth to the waters; there you will say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh; "Let my people go that they may serve me."'" [Ex. 8:20 (8:16)]


The previous plague was covered in a very short amount of space. We do not know when Moses wrote this down and it is possible that the plague of the gnats (or lice) either did not stand out in his mind or, if he were writting this as a journal, then he may have recorded both of these plagues at the same time, his memory being fresher for this following plague.


In this verse, as often has been the case, God has told Moses what to say to Aaron and they are now stationing themselves as Pharaoh goes out presumably to bathe.

 

"'"But if you do not let my people go, notice [what I will do]; I am sending forth against you and against your servants and against your people and against your houses swarms of the [blood-sucking] gad-fly. And the houses of the Egyptians will be filled with swarms of the [blood-sucking] gad-ly; moreoever, also the ground whereon they [are] [or, concerning the area where they are found]; [Ex. 8:21 (8:17)]


We do not know the exact nature of this insect of ths insect either. Thieme interprets these as golden scarabs; beetles which are often found in the tombs of the Egyptians. They would go through several disgusting stages, as most insects do. Wilson pictures these insects as the dog fly, which penetrates the skin and draws blood. I personally would not be surprised if this turned out to be a generic term and Egypt was invaded by several types of insects. The term gnat itself is a very imprecise term, which takes under its wing, so to speak, several species of insects. It could have been a hoard of insects. This one is obviously capable of flying and some dwell on the ground (meaning either a different species or the same species at a different stage of growth).

 

"Then I will make to differ [lit., set appart] on that day, the land of Goshen, wherein my people do dwell [lit., are standing or are taking a stand]; so that there will not be a gadfly there in order that you will know that I, Yahweh, am in the midst of the land [this could also be read: I, Yahweh, am in the midst of the earth];" [Ex. 8:22 (8:18)]

 

In the first, sentence, the verb is not the verb for live or dwell as we find in most translations, but it is the Qal active participle of ‛âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced aw-MAD], which means to stand, to take a stand. In the Qal active participle, it can act as a verbal noun, modifying people with the word standing.


Suddenly we have a break in routine. This time, the Jews are not subjected to the plague. God, in showing His power and control, did not inflict the land of Goshen with this insect. Whereas one could think that the advent of this insect is a purely natural consequence of having a great many great stinking piles of dead frogs, it is unquestionably miraculous that the Jews, living almost side-by-side they Egyptians, were not inflicted with this plague. They enjoyed a wall of fire; an invisible wall of protection which all Christians have. We have no clue as to how many are the ills that God protects us from. Also, such speculations must take into consideration our spiritual worth and spiritual growth—Satan desired to sift Peter like wheat and he would have, had God allowed it. However, God provided Peter with protection that, apart from that particular quote of our Lord's, he (and we) may not have been cognizant. We are God's children as believers and God, when He is not forced by our actions and deeds to discipline us, does what every loving parent would do—He protects us; He isolates us from those who would do us harm. This is why a believer can exist in the midst of an economic depression and be rich; he can live during severe oppression, and be spiritually provided for; he can exist during severe natural disasters and receive God's personal protection. We saw this kind of protection in Noah in the ark and we see it here with God's people, the Jews.

 

"So I will put a separation between my people and your people. By tomorrow, these things shall come to pass.'" [Ex. 8:23 (8:19)]

 

Most Bibles read "I will place a separation between My people and your people" (or words to that effect) in this verse. However, this is not how it reads in the Hebrew. The word found there is ransom, pedûwth (תד  ׃) [pronounced ped-OOTH] but, according to BDB, p. 804, this text is probably dubious. In this passage, it is actually written as ת ֻד  ׃ and the word for divide is written ד ַד ָ . Since the vowel points are not found in the original, a slip of then pen can turn a d (ד) into a th (ת). The Septuagint uses the word for separation in this passage rather than the word for ransom, so we are likely safe in going with majority of the translations Footnote .


On the other hand, Bullinger asserts the opinion that this is a simple metonymy, where one word stand sfor another. Here, what is signified (redemption) is used instead of the sign of the redemption (which would be the act of judgement). That is, instead of saying that "I will place a judgement (which is the sign of redemption) between My people and your people", Yahweh says, "I will place a redemption (the judgement signifies that God has redeemed His people or is a sign that He has redeemed His people) between My people and your people." He also cites similar metonymies in Num. 6:7 Deut. 16:3 22:15, 17 2Kings 13:17, etc. These examples do not use the word redemption but they do use various words which stand in for the sign of their existance, as was done here. Sice there are not an overwhelming number of manuscripts which support a textual error, Bullinger's opinion here seems to me to be the most likely.


There are actually two major changes with these plagues: (1) not only is this the first time the notion of separation is mentioned; and (2) whereas the first three plagues were extreme inconveniences and quite offensive to all the senses, but this begins a series of plagues which are painful.

 

And Yahweh did so and brought a grievous [blood-sucking] gad fly into the house of Pharaoh and the house of his servants and in all the land of Egypt; and Footnote the land was laid waste by reason of the gad fly. [Ex. 8:24 (8:20)]

 

This was far more than an inconvenience. Shâchath (ת ַח ָש ) [pronounced shaw-KHATH] means to go to ruin, to destory, to corrupt. We saw this verb used in Gen. 6 when it spoke of all flesh becoming corrupted. This verb is in the Niphil imperfect, 3rd feminine singular; meaning the subject is the word land and the Niphal stem is the passive stem, meaning that this corruption was done to the land. The imperfect tense means that this destruction is viewed as an ongoing process. When it says that the land was laid waste by this gad fly, this means that this totally disrupted all production of any kind. They could not farm, build, sell, buy. Egypt was shut down as a thriving nation in one day due to the vicious attack of this blood sucking insect.

 

Then Pharaoh cried out to Moses and to Aaron, and said, "Go your way; sacrifice to your God within the land." [Ex. 8:25 (8:21)]


When Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and submitted to God, this does not mean that Pharaoh has recognized God as the God of the universe; he still calls Yahweh "your God." He does not realize that Yahweh is his God also; the God who could damn him to a living hell. Furthermore, what Pharaoh is not offering total capitulation. He will allow the Jews to make sacrifices to God in the land of Egypt. God is expecting the Jews to separate themselves from Egypt and the Pharaoh will not allow that. Scofield points out that this is a postion of compromise. He is not allowing the Jews to separate from Egypt. God has told them to break this bond with Egypt and Pharaoh is maintaining this bond. God has told Moses to lead the Jews out of the land and Pharaoh is trying to modify this command. Our two basic problems are compromise and separation. The first is illustrated in I Sam. 15:3,9,13-15,19-23, the second by II Cor. 6:14-18.

 

And Moses said "It is not right to do this, for [it is] an abomination to the Egyptians that we should sacrifice to Yahweh our God. If we sacrifice that which is an abomination to the Egyptians [literally, the abomination of Egypt] before their eyes, will they then not stone us?" [Ex. 8:26 (8:22)]


Notice again who is doing the talking. Moses knows some doctrine. He sees clearly that the issue is one of separation. The Jews must be completely removed from Egyptians. The Egyptians look upon the sacrificial system demanded by God—the blood sacrifices—as pagan and an abomination. If the Jews communed with God and offered animal sacrifices, it would totally offend the sensibilities of the Egyptians.

 

We must go [for] a journey of three days into the desert; then we will sacrifice to Yahweh our God as He has said to us." [Ex. 8:27 (8:23)]


Moses has learned from the short experience in the desert with the circumcision of his son that there is to be no compromise. It is either God's way or it is not done. He does not jump on the chance to do what is similar to God's command. Moses tries to explain on the Pharaoh's level why this would not work. This is not an explanation given Moses by God. The Egyptians had a lot of deities and there were a lot of animals that they would not sacrifice. Seeing the Hebrews making all thes animal sacrifices would have disturbed them. However, this is not why God told Moses to take a three day journey into the desert with the Israelites. Pharaoh mistakenly thinks that there may be some room in here to arbitrate. He thinks that he and Moses are now negociating the terms. He is unaware that there is no give and take here. The Jews have been mandated by God to go into the desert and worship and there is no half-way ground whereupon Moses can settle.

 

Then said Pharaoh, "I will let you go; that you may sacrifice to Yahweh your God in the desert, only you will not go a very long journey. [Also,] make an appeal for me." [Ex. 8:28 (8:24)]


Pharaoh doesn't quite get it; he thinks that Yahweh is a localized God out in the desert. Moses has given him correct information but it cannot penetrate his negative volition. This is how some people can hear the gospel manyh times and it never quite sinks in; or they forget it easily. Their negative volition blocks their minds from receiving spritual information.


Pharaoh recognizes that he is in a tight spot. His country is being destroyed by these plagues. On the other hand, he cannot let the two million slaves just walk away from Egypt. They have made Egypt what it is that day due to their massive production. Pharaoh does not know God and does not realize that God's demands to him are non-negociable. He is trying to set up some sort of middle ground. Moses implied that was a possibility when he gave Pharaoh his explanation as to why the Jews had to sacrifice away from the Egyptians. Therefore, Pharaoh offers the compromise: if the Jews cannnot sacrifice to Yahweh out in front of the Egyptians, then they can do it in private; but not too far away. This certainly sounds very reasonable, but God does not allow separation to be halfway. Years later, in the desert, the degenerate Jews will cry for the leeks and onions of Egypt. Had they not been fully separate, many Jews might have returned to Egypt, resuming a life of oppressive slavery.


Pharaoh does recognize God's power and Moses' ties to the living God and does ask, before what he assumes is the end of this conversation, for Moses to make entreaty on his behalf. That is, he is requesting Moses to ask God to remove these plagues. He certainly does not want these Jews and Moses to go into the desert and leave him hanging with the plague of the gnats still in full effect.

 

And Moses said , "Behold, I am going out from here [lit., you] and will make a request to Yahweh so will He remove the [blood-sucking] gad fly from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people tomorrow; only, only let not Pharaoh again deceive in not letting the people go, to sacrifice to Yahweh." [Ex. 8:29 (8:25)]


Moses fully understands why Pharaoh wants him to pray to God. This is not someone who leads a mediocre life and, in spotting someone they think might be spiritual, suddenly request that they say a little prayer for them. Pharaoh wants to be rid of the insects and Moses acknowledges that. Moses does not addresss the compromise suggested by Pharaoh. He will go to God in prayer and request the removal of the gad fly. He warns Pharaoh not to change his mind again as he did with the frogs (Ex. 8:8-15). It is just possible that Moses knows, because of what God has told him, that the Pharaoh will resist God when the plague is withdrawn. After all, God has told Moses this time and time again. Moses is a genius so it is possible that he now understands and believes what God has told him.


There is another application that we can receive out of all this. I have seen parents and adults throw up their hands when dealing with kids. They give up on showing them the right direction because they say that kids are going to do what they are going to do anyway. Moses doesn't treat Pharaoh this way. He already knows that Pharaoh will go back on his word. Still, he warns Pharaoh not to. When dealing with children and matters of right and wrong, regardless of how negative they might be; if their guidance is your responsibility, then they must be continually pointed in the right direction, even if we are certain that they will turn around and run the other way. Children learn by repetition and by having their hands burned when they touch the hot stove. Even if we know they will touch the stove anyway, we still tell them that it's hot and not to. Even though Moses knows that Pharaoh will go back on his word; he still warns Pharaoh not to.

 

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to Yahweh. And Yahweh did according to the word of Moses and took away the gad fly from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. [Ex. 8:30–31 (8:26–27)]


Again, Moses goes to God in prayer and God answers this prayer. God answered it in eternity past but God is glorified because Moses asked God to do what was His will. The removal of this blookd-sucking gad fly was no less than miraculous. Every area of Egypt, other than the land of Goshen was heavily infested with this insect and suddenly there remains not even one fly. This is not a natural phenomenon.

 

And Pharaoh made his heart dull [and heavy] and he did not let the people go. [Ex. 8:32 (8:28)]


God knew that Phharaoh would renig on his vow, yet God keeps His word even when man does not keep his. There is no compromising perfect integrity. We should emulate that (we are commanded to be immitators of Christ and of God). Our word should be our bond; what we say should be enough to commit us. It does not matter if those around us are dishonest or do not keep their word; we are to maintian our integrity. The failures of people around us should not affect our reflection of Jesus Christ in our lives. The Pharaoh's word to Moses and to God, as the ruler of his country, means nothing.


Pharaoh, degenerate as he is, finds the strength when the pressure is off and changes his own mind. With the removal of the insect, he feels empowered and strengthened.


                                                                    EXODUS 9



Exodus 9:1–35


Outline of Chapter 9:


       Vv. 1–7         The plague of the dying livestock

       Vv. 8–12       The plague of the boils

       Vv. 13–35     The plague of the hail


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

The Heart


Introduction: Chapter 9 continues the plagues brought upon Egypt by God. Herein we have the plague of the livestock, of the boils and of the hail.



The Plague of the Dying Livestock

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and then you will say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, "Release My people go that they may serve me." [Ex. 9:1]


Just as Moses no longer tells Aaron what to speak; God no longer tells Moses what to tell Aaron to say. This was God's preferred plan and it looks as though Moses is finally coming along. He is seeing some results of God's great power–he is seeing that God knows exactly how Pharaoh is going to react, and he is beginning to feel comfortable in his role. No longer is he concerned about his ability or lack of ability when it comes to public speaking. This is not an issue to Moses. What God tells him to do and what God does—these are the true issues in his life. When it comes to things spiritual, we do not need to dwell upon our weaknesses or upon our strengths. Even people with very low I.Q.'s can teach God's Word, can evangelize, can give, can visit the sick, can give words of comfort and encouragement. When it comes to our secular place in life, certainly we have to be cognizant of our abilities and our short comings. However, when it comes to our spiritual service, how we feel about ourselves is not an issue. How God feels about us and what God has in store for us—that is the issue. Moses is no longer trapped by his lack of speaking ability, as he said (he was a fantastic public speaker). Now God's plan for his life and move at full speed. This does not eliminate Aaron from Goid's plan; it allows Aaron the opportunity to delve into what God had planned specifically for him.

 

"However, if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them, [then] see the hand of Yahweh is coming [lit., will be] on your cattle, which are in the field, on the horses, on the asses, on the camels, on the herds and on the flocks—a very grievous pestilence." [Ex. 9:2–3]

 

One of the words translated plague is deber (ר ב ) [pronounced deh-BER] and it means pestilence, illness, plague; it is actually only found in this one passage of Exodus in this particular context, yet is found in several other places throughout the Bible (Num. 14:12 1Kings 8:37 Ezek. 5:12). The vowel points, though not coming into play in the manuscripts until centuries after the first advent are key. Right next door we have the word dâbâr (ר ָב ָ), which we examined in the last chapter—it means word, speech, command, matter, affair, etc. Next door to those two words is the verb to speak, with again the same consonants and different vowel points. It is these vowel points which separate for us the noun from the verb from other words which mean entirely different things.


God has set up for Pharaoh another very clear-cut choice: either he lets the Israelites go or He will send to Pharaoh and all of his livestock a horrible, deadly virus which will wipe out his cattle. If you ar wondering why God has chosen to destroy much of the livestock of Egypt, it is simple. The Egyptians worshipped cattle and the idea that the Jews would take these same cattle and sacrifice to Yahweh would have been an abomination to the Egyptians. We have no indication that the Jews sacrificed any cattle in recent history (perhaps the past century prior to this, if not longer); but their worship would require the slaughter of various beasts to illustrate Jesus Christ coming to earth and dying for our sins; the innocent dying on behalf of the guilty. Secondarily, this was an economic attack upon Egypt. In the ancient world, one measure of wealth was the amount of food that a culture had access to. That it, great production in the fields and a large livestock population indicated that a country was very wealthy and prosperous. God has begun to decimate that wealth to discipline Egypt. The use of the anthropopathism here (the hand of God) infers judgement and punishment.

 

And Yahweh will make a distinction between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of the Egyptians; so that nothing shall die from among all that belongs to the sons of Israel.'" [Ex. 9:4]

 

Again, we have separation between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The word used to denote this is pâlâh (ה ָל ָ) [pronounced paw-LAW] and it appears to have two distinct meanings. When two things are involved, then a distincition is being made between those two things (Ex. 8:22 9:4 11:7 33:16 Psalm 4:3); however, it seems to mean something entirely different in other contexts (Psalm 17:7 139:14). Furthermore, this distincition is not in the tense or the stem but in the context—a very unusual word.

 

And Yahweh appointed a set time, saying, "Tomorrow, Yahweh will do this thing in the land." [Ex. 9:5]


We seamlessly move from Yahweh speaking directly to Moses to Moses speaking with Pharaoh. Actually, nothing is said of Pharaoh here, but the same conversation took place between God and Moses as did between Moses and Pharaoh. In this verse, God the Father is speaking to Moses and He is not speaking of Himself in the 3rd person but of Yahweh Elohim, the Son of God. God throughout this ordeal always gave Pharaoh more than a fair chance. Pharaoh was warned a full day in advance—he had one day to consider what had happened and to allow the Israelites to leave for three days to worship.

 

And Yahweh did this thing the next day and all of the cattle of the Egyptians kept dying but of the cattle of the sons of Israel not one died. [Ex. 9:6]


The same word for dying is found twice in this verse, but I have translated them somewhat differently because the first one is found in the Qal imperfect (which is often continuous action) and the second use of this word is in the Qal perfect, for completed action.


The word all in the Hebrew is sometimes misunderstood. To the simple reader, it clearly says that all of the cattle in Egypt have died, so how can future judgements have any affect upon the cattle? However, partially because there is no definite article which accompanies the word cattel (or, livestock), all here does not refer to the entirety of the population but refers back to the ennumeration of types of livestock listed in v. 3. All of the groupings therein listed were affected by this plague—this allows the writer to not have to list all the various types of cattle again.


Again, God separates that which belongs to the Israelites from that which belongs to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. One of the reasons that Pharaoh is determined to hold onto the Jews is economic. For two centuries, the Jews have been willing slaves who have built up the Egyptian empire. The Pharaoh certainly believed that the prosperity of his empire was dependent upon the Jews. In one the respect, this was true, but not in the way that he thought. Egypt could have been prospered greatly had they cultivated a good relationship with God's people. However, they were not prospered because the Jews were their slaves. This would be their economic downfall.


The previous plague and this one were painful, both physically and economically. God is systematically destroying their economy; as the Eyptian economy is one of the reasons Pharaoh refuses to allow the Jews to depart. The first three plagues, as Scofield put it, were loathsome: blood-stained water, frogs and lice (or gnats). The next group were painful and/or economically destructive: the blood-sucking gad flies, the death of the cattle, the boils, the hail and the locusts. The final two will strike the very heart and soul of the Egyptians: the thick darkness that cannot be penetrated by light (a foreshadowing of the cross) and the death of the first-born of all the Egyptians (also a foreshadowing of the cross). This mimics the discipline that we are under when we are out of fellowship. God begins with warning discipline, proceeds with more intensive discipline and culminates with dyng discipline if we do not back off from the evil in our lives. Furthermore, these plagues attacked the religion in Egypt. It was the God of the Jews versus the gods of the Egyptians. They worshipped a frog-like deity; God sent the Egyptians millions of frogs. The Egyptians would not sacrifice their cattle to God (in fact, some cattle were worshipped; we know this because they even mummified some of their bulls); God takes their cattle from them. They worshiped Ra, the sun-god; God removes light from them.

 

And Pharaoh sent [men to investigate the cattle in Goshen], and, behold, there had not died even one of the cattle of Israel. But Pharaoh's heart became dull and heavy and he did not let the people go. [Ex. 9:7]


Pharaoh knows what God has told him and he sends out his men to determine if those things came to pass or not. Even though their reports again vindicate the Word of God, Pharaoh continues his negative volition toward God. The word here used refers to the negative volition in Pharaoh's soul; as opposed to the strengthening of Pharaoh's heart so that he could express his negative volition. To remind you, there are two different words being translated hardening of Pharaoh's heart. One is a word which expresses negative volition. God tells Pharaoh to release the people of Israel and Pharaoh stubbornly says no. That is the use found here. The other word which is used expresses that Pharaoh's ability to continue to oppose God is waning. That is, a man in his position with his responsibilities with the decisions that he must make, is under enough pressure at this time to cause him to lose his mind, to turn into a babbling emotional wreck, to commit suicide. Even if he is the most heartless ruler on earth, the pain and discomfort that he must bear, besides the hatred of his own people because he as Pharaoh cannot seem to do anything correct, is pressure beyond what any of us could face. God allowed him to continue; God gave him the strength to persist and resist. God strengthened or fortified his heart. God in no wise planted negative volition inside of Pharaoh—Pharaoh did that himself.



The Plague of the Boils

 

The Yahweh said to Moses and to Aaron, "Take your hands full of the ashes of an oven and Moses shall scatter them towards the heavens before the eyes of Pharaoh." [Ex. 9:8]


Aaron was brought into this by Moses. God, when Moses began to do what God had told him to do in the first place, was not discarded. Pharaoh was used to both men coming to him and presenting God's Word, so God has allowed Aaron to continue to take part in this assault upon Pharaoh. Moses still did all of the talking and most of the action, but God does find a place for Aaron.


According to Freeman, East Indian magicians would take the ashes of cow-dung or those from a fire and cast them into the air while pronouncing a curse upon some object of their displeasure. I do not know which came first.

 

"Then they will become fine dust, over all the land of Egypt. And then shall they land [lit., become] upon man and beast, a burning sore, breaking out in ulcers upon man and beast, in all the land of Egypt." [Ex. 9:9]


The destruction of the cattle and livestock in the previous plague was not absolute. There remained, as this verse indicates, some of the Egyptian livestock (and all of the Hebrew livestock). It is even possible that just the first-born of the livestock was killed. The Bible is not specific as to how many were killed or what per centage. It was enough to cause the Egyptians severe economic problems, however.

 

So they took the ashes of a kiln and stood before Pharaoh and Moses scattered them towards the heavens; and it came to pass that there was [lit, it became] a burning sore breaking out in boils among men and among beasts. [Ex. 9:10]


Nothing has been said about the systems of communication in Egypt. However, there would be a growing dissention against Pharaoh within the palace. These men, being subjected to economic ruin and pain and suffering would talk to their families; they would be stopped in the street and asked what was going on by others who knew their position in the Egyptian government. The Egyptians would have nothing more important to talk about. They faced economic collapse and great physical pains and discomforts due to these plagues. The story of what was occurring would get out and circulate throughout all of Egypt. People who came to Egypt to trade would leave quickly after being subjected to one or two plagues. In the week they might stay and endure, they would find out what was occurring and noise this information abroad. Most, if not all, of the plagues went on for a week. These kinds of things were so significant, so devastating, so painful, that the news of them could not help but spread throughout the land as to their cause, as to the power and severity of Yahweh, the God of the Jews. And this news would easily, by now, find itself being voiced abroad, possibly by even some Egyptians who left Egypt themselves, no longer able to endure the pain and suffering that they faced each day.

 

And the religious illusionists could not stand before Pharaoh because of the burning sore had come on the religious illusionists, as well as on all the Egyptians. [Ex. 9:11]


These religious illusionists have not been mentioned since the invasion of the gnats or the locusts. They have still been involved in the court decisions, in strengthening or bolstering Pharaoh. There are two views here as to whay they were unable to appear before Pharaoh: (1) the priests were supposed to be spotless and without blemish; these boils defiled them; or, (2) they were in too much physical pain to even come to Pharaoh. Their bodies are covered with painful, cancerous sores. These are beyond discomfort. I guess that you could say that they are in too much physical pain to show up to work, so to speak, and their uniforms are dirty.

 

But Yahweh strengthened Pharaoh's heart and he did not listen to them [reference to Moses and Aaron, not to the religious illusionists], just as the Lord had spoken to Moses. [Ex. 9:12]


Very little is said about this particular plague. We are not given Pharaoh's reaction, his change of mind, or anything about Pharaoh, other than God strengthened his heart. To some this is confusing, but God uses the wrath of man to praise Him. We are not even told that this bypassed the Jews, although certainly it did.


You might have asked yourself throughout this ordeal, why are the Egyptians suffering when it is Pharaoh's negative volition? Everyone has free will and these Egyptians were with Jews day after day. Some people and nations accept the Jew and treat them fairly. Others take advantage of them and other nations and peoples persecute them. Any Egyptian could have at any time joined in with the Jews. In fact, it is possible that some of them did (Ex. 12:38 Num. 11:4). This sort of infliction of pain combined with the source evangelized the Egyptians. They all had free will and they could have thrown themselves at God's mercy, begging for forgiveness for their ghastly treatment of the Jews (either their direct actions or the consent to what Pharaoh did to the Jews). Many of them had become very anti-Semitic and God judges anti-Semites. Furthermore, some people can only be evangelized under great pain and stress. This is my own personal experience.


What occurred here evangelized the entire world for centuries, so it is highly likely that a few Egyptians also believed in Jesus Christ and joined the Jews. However, most of them, mirroring Pharaoh's scarred heart and negative volition, based upon prejudice, did not. Most continued to hate the Jews and they continued to receive the discipline due to them. Actually, discipline is a misnomer—unbelievers, in general, are not disciplined by God, but they are judged by God in their unbelief.



The Plague of the Hail

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and station yourself before Pharaoh; then you will say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, "Let my people go that they may serve me."'" [Ex. 9:13]


The message to Pharaoh is simple and concise. There are no negotiations to be done. God has given Pharaoh a straightforward mandate of what is expected of him. At each plague, God goes to Pharaoh, using the voice of Moses and Aaron, and tells Pharaoh quite simply to release His people, the Jews. Then God allows Pharaoh his free will to react in whatever way he chooses.

 

"For this time I will send all My plagues upon you [lit., to your heart] and among your servants and among your people with the intent that you will [eventually] come to know that there is none like Me in all the earth." [Ex. 9:14]


Now God states His intentions to Pharaoh; these plagues are sent throughout the entire land of Egypt upon all of the Pharaoh's subjects, as well as all of those under his direct command in the palace ro reveal that Yahweh, the God of the Jewish people, is a God like none other. He is the true God, the only God; the God Who created the universe; the God with power beyond imagination. The other gods worshipped by the Egyptians and other heathen are fronts for demons. Demons, in their strength and emotional needs, desire our worship and allegiance and were heavily involved with the Egyptians. Men have assumed that their gods were superior or at least equal to the gods in other lands; much like today some in the United States feel that Krishna or Buddha are equivalent to the God that we worship here in America. Nothing could be further from the truth. Krishna and Buddha are demon-fronts. Satan is the author of religion and doing good to impress God. He is behind these gods which are associated with certain nations and cultures. It does not matter how widespread the religion is or how many adherents it has. There is but one God and He came to earth and took His place beside us in the form of a man and he took upon Himself the punishment for all of the sins that we have ever committed and that we ever will commit. Krishna did not die on behalf of our sins—Krishna is not our savior and is not our mediator. He is not qualified to be this. Same deal with Buddha. These are men fronting for Satan. They are not different or localized names for the same God.

 

"For now I might have put forth my hand and stricken you and your people with pestilence; and you would have quietly disappeared from the earth." [Ex. 9:15]


God could have chosen to simply kill all of the Egyptians and the Jews would have been able to simply leave Egypt without a fight. God is certainly able to do that. In fact, that requires less than what He has done so far. However, his purpose was not solely to move the Jews from point A to point B. They were to be His representatives and God had to let the world know that. God evangelized the world; God revealed Himself to the world. God showed the world that He alone is God and beside Him there is no other. There are no localized gods and there is no other God but the God of the Jews.

 

"But in very deed for this purpose have I allowed you to remain [lit., I have caused you to stand]; for the purpose of showing My might and that My name may be celebrate in all the earth."'" [Ex. 9:16]

 

Pharaoh was not created by God to do evil that God might be glorified. In some translations, it sounds as though God raised up Pharaoh for this purpose. God allows Pharaoh the use of his free will and God's plan functions even using Pharaoh's free will. However, the verb used here is not one for raised up but it is the 1st person singular, Hiphil perfect with a 2nd masculine singular suffix of ‛âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced aw-MAD], which means to take ones stand, to stand. The Hiphil stem is causative and the perfect tense means that this is a completed action insofar as God is concerned. The causative stem and also be used in a permissive way, and that is how it is used here. God has permitted Pharaoh to take a stand. Not only has He permitted Pharaoh to do this, but God has given him the strength to oppose Him when his own strength was lacking. Sometimes, when I cover these verses one at a time, we lose the forest through the trees. There is a contrast which was set up here by this particular verb. This verse is in contrast to v. 15. God has allowed Pharaoh to remain, as opposed to causing him and Egypt to disappear quietly from the earth.


Here, God plainly states His purpose. It is not to free the Hebrews, because that could have been done quietly by inflicting the Egyptians and the Pharaoh with disease and let them die. The Jews would not even have to leave Egypt; Egypt would have been theirs. However, this was not God's plan or purpose. This is why God had to continually give Pharaoh the strength to oppose him. In the doctrine, the hardness of Pharaoh's heart, I gave the analogy of the boxer. Pharaoh has been sent to the canvas several times and, although he wants to fight back; he despises his opponent, his own strength will not allow him to go on. Therefore, God has given him the strength to stand up again and to fight.


Another point, which is made in several places throughout Scripture: there is a certain exclusivity when it comes to God. There is no such thing as worshiping just any God. There was not an equivalent god among the gods of the Egyptians. There is but one God, and during this period of time, it was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is not some choice of deities and one cannot find enough similarities between the God of the universe and some other God worshipped by a particular nation to say that they are the same God. "There is none other name unders heaven given among men by which we must be saved." There is one mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus. "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Me." These are quotes from the New Testament. Here it reads, "There is none like me in all the earth." There is clearly a universality of God; however, this is not just any God—this is the God of the universe, Christ Jesus. It does not matter if you are brought up Roman Catholic, Mormon, Hindu or Orthodox Jew; there is but one God in the universe and you do not have a choice to worship whoever you feel like or whoever your parents taught you to worship. We are not given the freedom or the tolerance to worship a god that we have made in our own image or a god which just happens to suit us best. When you worship the god who is made in your image or the god that is most convenient, and you are worshiping yourself. Who we worship is not an option when it comes to eternal salvation. Even sincerity is not an excuse: there is but one God in this universe, the God of all mankind, our Creator, Jesus Christ, the God of Israel.

 

"'"Even yet, you are exalting yourself over my people even in not releasing them. [Ex. 9:17]


Pharaoh himself, in opposing God, was making himself out to be God, exalting himself over the Jews.

 

"Listen carefully {lit., behold] I will cause to rain down about this time tomorrow an exceedingly heavy hail; in fact [lit., such as] nothing like it has ever been in Egypt, from the day it was founded even unto the present time. [Ex. 9:18]


Isis was the god of the atmosphere in Egypt, who sent rain down to Egypt's crops, whom the Egyptians prayed to that the Nile not be flooded (yet it needed to have enough water for them to use in their crops). The God of the Universe controls the weather and at best, Isis is a demon-front; at worst, a figment of the Egyptian mentality.


We do not have God's orders to Moses, Moses and Aaron going to see Pharaoh, and then Moses repeating to Pharaoh what God told him to say. We begin by God telling Moses what God expects from Pharaoh and essentially cut to Moses' visit with Pharaoh, without any intervening verbage. It reminds me of the way some movies are cut. God in the opening says to Moses, "And this is what I want you to say to Pharaoh..." and there is an immediate cut to Moses and Pharaoh and Moses is saying these exact words to God.


We are never given percentages, but we could guess that it might be a tenth part of what everyone owns and it could be as much as half of what they own, is affected by each plague. Here, there are still cattle left, even after the loss in general to the loss of those who developed boils on their skin.

 

Now, therefore, send [and] bring into safety your cattle and all that you have in the field. Concerning all men and beasts which shall be found in the field and shall not be withdrawn into shelter, the hail will come down upon them and they will die. [Ex. 9:19]


The men and beasts are both described as those who are found in the field and those who are not withdrawn into shelter. This is a pleonasm (or, a redundancy)—it is used to call attention to the subject under discussion. When the same thing is described with a positive and a negative, yet, for all intents a purposes, the author has just said the same thing twice, then he is intensifying what is said or repeating for emphasis. As a teacher, I often have to repeat the same concept. So that I don't get too bored and so that my kids can understand things from a different viewpoint, I will often state the same concept two or three times in a row, but in different words. This helps them to fix what I am saying in their minds.


This is a marvelous test. God has just caused the Egyptian people to suffer a great many losses, which affected a lot of the populace and now he is going to give them a chance to make a choice—will they listen to God or will they remain hard-hearted.


You may wonder, weren’t all of the animals killed off in the 5th plague? Specifically, the 5th plague, which was against the livestock of Egypt in particular, was directed against the livestock in the field--the horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and flocks. So, there may have been animals which were kept in shelters which were not affected by the first plague against them. Secondly, sometimes when we find the word all, it refers to the vast majority of something—in this case, the plague killed off the vast majority of the livestock in the field. Thirdly, there may be some groups of animals which were not affected by the 5th plague: wild animals (which would be used as food); cattle and, possibly, sheep and goats (although they may have been included in the phrase herds and flocks. In other words, there were additional animals to be killed, both domesticated and wild, which God did kill with the hail and lightning. Footnote

 

"Those fearing the Word of Yahweh, among the servants of Pharaoh, made his slaves and cattle flee under shelter [lit., into houses];" [Ex. 9:20]


God's Word has always had a double meaning. God is the embodiment of truth and, as such, the Son of God, the visible member of the trinity, Jesus Christ, is called the living Word (John 1:1–3, 12). The written Word of God is that which was spoken by God to man from which we are to learn from and be guided by forever. The word for fear means fear/respect. This allows for the fact that some Egyptians were evangelized by what had happened. So now God will make a difference between those who fear and respect God's living and written Word and those who do not; in other words, we have Gentile salvation here at the outset of the Jewish nation. In fact, because of the relationship between God and His people the Jews, we have Gentile salvation. This was the intention of God in raising up a nation of His own people. The Jews were responsible to represent God on earth to man, just as Moses represented God to Pharaoh on earth. This is all a shadow of things to come where the Son of God will represent to man His Father in the heavens.

 

The last phrase in this verse is ’el (ל א) [pronounced el] and it is a preposition of direction and it means into. This is followed by a definite article and the nominative masculine plural of bayith (ת  ̣י ַ ) [pronounced bay-YITH] and it means houses. So the Egyptians, having seen the power of God, are not mercilessly crushed due to Pharaoh's obstinance—they are offerred salvation through believing in Jesus Christ and deliverance through obeying Jesus Christ.

 

"But whoever does not apply his heart unto the Word of Yahweh, left his servants and cattle in the field."'" [Ex. 9:21]

 

In this verse and the previous we have a common grammatical difference between those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who do not. This is all but lost to us in the translations, even though the translations often make an attempt to translate this difference. We have two kinds of Egypians, those who are fearing the Word of Yahweh (the Qal active participle of yârê’) and those who are not setting their heart upon the Word of God (the Qal active participle of sûwm and the direct object lâbêb). Therein is not the contrast; the contrast is in their actions which follow. In v. 20, those who keep fearing God's Word cause their slaves to flee; the verb is the Hiphil perfect of nûwç (סנ) [pronounced noos] and their slaves are caused (Hiphil stem) to flee, perfect tense, completed action. Salvation and the results of salvation are a completed process. Once we believe in Jesus Christ, no matter what we do, we cannot lose the salvation which God provided for us on the cross by judging His Son our stead. The one who does not apply is heart to God's Word (whihc is a different set of words, but the same stem and tense) follows his unbelief up with action: the Qal imperfect of ‛âzab (ב ַז ָע) [pronounced aw-ZAB] and it means to leave, to forsake, to desert; the imperfect voice means that they continued to forsake their slaves and cattle out in the field. When we oppose God's Word, when we do not apply God's Word, when we do not set our hearts upon God's Word, our actions are continuous and despicable. Certainly it was cruel to desert their slaves and their cattle out in the field, thereby causing them to be killed by being hailed upon Their negative volition results in a continuous action (imperfect tense) of cruelty and sin. It is not that they had no regard for their slaves—at the very worst, their slaves were valuable property to them. But negative volition toward God's Word automatically causes people to do things which are elusively cruel. What I mean is, they did not leave their slaves and cattle out in the field with the intention of killing them; that was simply the promised result of not heeding God's Word. It had the exact same affect upon the slaves and the cattle had they done this with the intention of having them be killed. The exact same thing happens today. Let me give you a clear example. An unbelieving parent will not take his child to church or he will take his child to an apostate church. This unbelieving parent might love this child with a love as pure as can be, but the result of this unbelief, the child will never hear God's Word at an early age that he might ever have the chance to believe unto salvation and spend eternity in the lake of fire. This parent has deserted his child out in the field before a horrible hail storm. It is not intentional cruelty—no parent when they realize that absolute horror of the lake of fire would ever want their children to spend eternity there, but their actions have that same result.


These signs and wonders have evangelized the entire world, and there were some in Egypt who were also evangelized. It will be easy to spot those who have trusted in Yahweh and fear Yahweh; they will be the ones who still have live servants and cattle. This does require a great deal of trust also. Egypt is known for having very little rainfall. The coast of Egypt receives the most rain, which averages approximately eight inches a year; and you don't have to go very far inland before that drops to less than two inches per year. Not only is God telling them that there will be a storm, but it will be a deadly hail storm; a highly rare event. This is such an unusual event, so out of the ordinary (as some perhaps have never even seen a hail storm in their entire lives), that it requires continual trust in God's Word to perform the action which protects their slaves and their cattle.


If you are an unbeliever and are somehow exposed to this, you might be thinking well, if I would just see a miracle, a sign; then I would believe all this. This is not so. These Egyptians had seen sign after sign of God's tremendous power over the earth and some still did not believe. Even as a precaution, they could have thought to themselves, well, I just am not sure about this, but what can it hurt to bring my slaves and livestock in for a couple days. What can that really cost me except a little embarrassment if there is no hail storm and I will have had the chance to save my most valuable possessions. Listen: all you have to do to secure eternal salvation for yourself is to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins; to place your trust in Jesus Christ as your only means of salvation, the only bridge between you and God. This act only takes a few seconds and this short few seconds out of your life, believing in Jesus Christ, has the final result of providing eternal salvation for you forever. How can you lose? There is no embarrassment even; and if you choose to renig on this faith, don't worry; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2Tim. 2:13) So maybe you are thinking, well, if God would just come down to earth and talk to me directly; then I would believe. There are two answers to that: (1) God is speaking to you directly right now and you know it; (2) God did come down to earth, presented every astonishing miracle and sign imaginable, and yet there were those who not only did they not believe in Jesus Christ, but, in their hatred and negative voltion toward God (and I am speaking of very religious men here), they persecuted our Lord, lying about him in illegal trials and taking turns punching Him. This is how some unbelievers react when they have the opportunity to see God in human form in their midst. Others just chose to ignore Him. You have no excuse. If we want to pursue this further into the philisophical realm, you might object saying, I don't want to believe in anything that I cannot see or touch. 70–99% of everything that you know is based upon faith; we are told certain things and we believe them. Just seeing pictures of England or even getting into a plane and flying to a place that you are told is England does not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that such a place as England, our mother country, exists. It can be effectively argued that you are assuming those who took the photos are telling you the truth about what they photographed and those connected with the airline who know are actually delivering to a place which is really England. All the things that you know to be true, as reasonable as they seem, are still based upon things that someone has told you and you decided to believe. Even if God Himself manifested Himself to you in some form and spoke to you, would that prove that He was indeed God? It would not! There must be some faith from you; not much faith, just a little more than none at all. That faith must be directed toward Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh, and toward His saving work for you on the cross, where he took upon his own body the punishment that we deserved for all of our sins against God. We divide all of human history, believers and unbelievers alike, by the first advent of Jesus Christ. If you are concerned with intellectual integrity and reasonableness, I can guarantee you, (and I know that you will take offense at this, but I will say it anyway) as someone who is very likely smarter than you are—having been born that way, having had no choice in the matter—that there is no sacrifice in intellectual integrity to believe in Jesus Christ. There is no sacrifice of intellectual integrity to believe God's Word. If you have even a spark of interest, then merely say to God, if You are there, reveal yourself to me—I will then believe in Jesus Christ, your Son.

 

And Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand toward the heavens that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt; on man and on beast and on every plant of the field in the land of Egypt." [Ex. 9:22]


Notice that Aaron is not wielding the staff this time, but Moses. This is very demonstrative, which was the way to convey what was going on in the ancient world. God wants as many as are within eyeshot to see Moses stretching his staff toward the heavens to precede a hail storm unlike any hail storm in the history of Egypt.

 

So Moses stretched forth his his staff over the heavens and Yahweh gave forth thunderings and hail and there came fire [i.e., lightning] towards the earth, and Yahweh rained down hail on the land of Egypt. [Ex. 9:23]


The wording here is interesting. Moses was one of the most intelligent men who has ever lived; and one who had the proper training in all fields to develop this intelligence. However, it is possible that he did have a word for lightning. The word which is used here is the common word for fire, found several times throughout the Bible. This hail storm with lightning was such a rare occurrence in Egypt that it is possible that they did not have a special word for it. Moses, being raised Egyptian and then living out in the desert, had no reason to know a word for lightning.

 

Likewise, the Hebrew word which I have translated thunderings is the nominative masculine plural of qôl (לֹק) [pronounced kole], which means a voice, a sound. It is used of the human voice, of human speaking, of praises and outcries to God. There was not a specific word in the Hebrew for thunderings, as this was not an occurrence which was described very often. Therefore, Moses borrowed this word and used it in context to mean thunder.

 

So there came to be hail and fire [lightning] flashing continually in the midst of the hail; exceedingly heavy, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt from the very time it became a nation. [Ex. 9:24]


Moses was privy to the historical records in the land of Egypt—his studies in the palace as a young man likely included some meteorological matters. He was being groomed to rule over the land of Egypt. His duties as the king over Egypt would deal day in and out with crop production, animal husbandry, flood control and building projects.. All of these areas are dependent upon the weather. So Moses knew something about the weather in Egypt—he knew, for instance, how many inches per years it rained in the various areas; he knew how often storms and rains. He knew the worst that could be expected; he knew the likely length of the average storm; he knew how often storms caused the Nile to overflow. And he knew in particular that in the entire time that Egypt had been a nation, keeping copious records of all things including the weather patterns—that there had never been a storm like this in Egypt before.

 

The second verb is a bit more difficult than most. It is the Hithpael participle, feminine singular construct of the verb lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHK] generally means to take. However, it is only found twice in the Hithpael—here and Ezek. 1:4, both in connection with lightning during a storm. Many translators opt for a meaning far removed from the root word and believe it to mean flashing continually, or words to that effect. Some have been able to construct a meaning true to its original meaning. Many translators translate this words as catching a hold of itself; that is, the lightening flashes and it is immediately followed by another burst of lightning; as though one came down, but on the way, grabbed another bolt of lightning, which in turn grabbed another bolt of lightning before it completely left heaven.


This, which is possibly the most natural miracle of all the plagues, receives a lot of literary attention from Moses. Having lived in Texas for quite a number of years, we take terrible storms for granted, although our hail storms are certainly not this destructive. But just as we will gab about a tremendous storm for hours with our co-workers; similarly, Moses cannot get over it and keeps repeating that this was an incredible storm with great bolts of lightning; one which followed another, one right after the other. Even though this is God's inspired Word, it is still written by the man Moses and the ferocity of this storm was one of the most incredible sights that he had ever seen.


Some people are deathly frightened by storms. One of this magnitude would be an awesome spectacle. Moses is thoroughly enjoying this storm. He knows why the storm has been conjured up by God; he knows that God is in complete control of the storm—so Moses has the opportunity to sit back and watch it like fireworks on the 4th of July. There are a great many events which, if we were not related to the God of the universe, would be frightening an difficult to endure. However, with little more than normal precautions, a Christian can derive a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment from an intense storm.

 

And the hail smote, in all the land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast, and every plant of the field did the hail strike down and every tree of the field did it shatter [Ex. 9:25]


In the area in California that I grew up in, pea-sized hail was perhaps the largest that we had. In Texas, I have heard of, but luckily have never seen, golf ball sized hail to larger, which is extremely destructive. Here we are very likely talking about grapefruit-sized hail, one or two of which would knock down and possibly kill a large animal. In terms fo plants, the hail was so heavy and so continual that it that it destroyed entire trees. The use of the word all here means that the greater part is referred to. This figure of speech is called synecdoche [pronounced syn-EK-do-kee] of the genus. A synechdoche is very similar to a metonymy. A metonymy refers to the exchanging of two similar nouns, a synecdoche refers to the exchanging of two similar ideas. There are four basic types of synecdoches: the synecdoche of the genus (where the genus is put in for a species—Ex. 9:25 23:3, 26); the synecdoche of the species (where the species is put in for the genus—Isa. 53:12 Dan. 12:2); the synecdoche of the whole (where the whole is put in for the part—Ex. 20:12 Deut. 29:5 Zech. 5:3); and the synecdoche of the part (where the part is put in for the whole—Gen. 6:12 1Sam. 19:24). Each of these is further subdivided into a half a dozen sub-categories each. The verses quoted will be covered in exegesis as we come to them.

 

Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, was there no hail. [Ex. 9:26]


Some people might have a hard time with this, particularly those from huge valleys. In the California area, if it is raining relatively hard in Sacramento, then it will be raining up and down the entire valley for hundreds of miles in both directions. However, in Houston, the storms can be quite specific. During a half hour drive to work, I have driven from good weather into a severe storm, back into good weather and then into a severe storm again, all within 15 miles of one another. I have observed one stretch of freeway for approximately a half a mile where it rained on one side of the freeway and it was clear on the other. Here we have a storm which surrounds Goshen, yet does not penetrate God's protection in Goshen. We as Christians are under the same wall of fire as Israel enjoyed. We are God's chosen people and God protects us and often those around us during the most horrendous of crises.

 

Then Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and for Aaron and said to them, "I have sinned this time; Yahweh is the righteous one and I and my people are the wrong-doers. [Ex. 9:27]


Pharaoh is a sincere man. For several days he has observed the destruction of a storm as he has never seen before. He has been told time after time that such and such a plague will occur and then the plague occurs. When the Jews are specifically singled out as being protected from the plague, he sends his men to verify that. He is sincere, he is repentant, and he is confessing his sins to Moses. He is probably in hell right now. What he has not done yet is to put his faith in Yahweh, the God of Israel. He recognizes that Yahweh is righteous. There are millions of people, if pressed, would agree that Jesus Christ is (and they would say was) a good man, possibly even a prophet of God. Most of these people will spend eternity in the lake of fire, where the worm does not die (Mark 9:44, 46, 48).

 

"Make a request to Yahweh and it shall be enough, without there being anymore thunderings of God and hail; and I must release you and you will no longer remain [lit., stand]." [Ex. 9:28]


This was an intermittent storm, as many are. It would storm horrendously for several hours, then there would be respite. It would storm again, then an hour of quiet. During a period of quiet, Pharaoh sends for Moses and Aaron and pours out his soul to them. He confesses that he has been wrong and I think that we could safely conclude that he feels bad because he continually backs the wrong horse.


The word release has a cohortative conjunction, although in some contexts expresses a wish or a desire, here its meaning is that this is being done under compulsion. Pharaoh is saying that he realizes that he has no other choice.


Notice the contrast between this verse and v. 16. In v. 16, God has allowed Pharaoh to take a stand; to remain on earth, rather than to be quietly cut off (the word used, recall, was the Hiphil perfect of ‛âmad; here, Pharaoh used the Qal infinitive construct of the same word. This construction means that this action would be simultaneous with or soon after the action of the main verb (release) and the infinitive, with the lamed prefixed preposition denotes purpose, result, explanation, or (as in this case) an imminent event. If Pharaoh releases the people, then they no longer stand in Egypt.


To summarize the past few verses: we see the clear delineation between the sons of Israel and the Egyptians and it sounds as though the Pharaoh is truly repentant and has regretted his sins. He is using holy language and he is using it out of fear. He is trying to strap it on Moses and he is trying to strap it on God. The boxing analogy is so apt here. He has been stunned, but he's not out. So the Pharaoh will need to try another tact. This tact will be to act as though he is going to go along with what Moses has requested. Pharaoh is frightened, perhaps, and he has been sent reeling by the terrific thunder and lightning and hail storm. Few things can be a frightening as a storm of this magnitude; particularly to those who have never seen such a storm before. In California we experienced 7-12 inches of rain per year where a storm was a steady day or two of rain; when I later moved to Houston, 50-60 inches of rain each year was the norm and a storm lasting for four hours, would not only deliver the same number of inches of rain as a two-day California storm, but it would be devastating and violent. After one storm in Houston, replete with downburst and wind shear, I recall one street in particular where every other house had a tree on it or in it. Around the corner from where I lived, there was a completely uprooted tree, approximately fifty foot long, laying from end to end on top of a neighbor's house. It is easy for me to understand how such a storm could frighten the Pharaoh of Egypt and fascinate Moses to the point where he repeats over and over again the drama of this storm.

 

And Moses said to him, "As soon as I have left the city, I will spread out my hand to Yahweh and the thunders will cease and the hail will be no more; that you may know that the earth is Yahweh's. [Ex. 9:29]


No where does Moses seem discouraged, nor does he seem taken in by Pharaoh's continual change of mind. A few weeks previous, Pharaoh promising to allow the Jews to leave and then renigging on that promise might have been a problem. Moses recognizes that God is in control of the universe and that Moses and the Jews are under His protection and guidance. Moses has developed a great faith in God during these experiences. You may think that you would too, if you were faced with signs and wonders as this. Not necessarily true. Aaron was with Moses the entire time, yet we will see him fail big time in the desert. He will participate in idolatry—this is the same Aaron who is a witness to all of these miracles and likely still accompanies Moses to the palace to speak to Pharaoh. The Jews themselves will be a grumbling, faithless generation that God will have to kill. Their sons and daughters, many of whom did not witness these events, will have the spiritual wherewithal to take the land.

 

"But, concerning you and your servants, I know that not yet will you stand in fear [and awe] of Yahweh Elohim." [Ex. 9:30]


Moses has become people-smart. When he was younger, he possibly had it, but remember, he has lived in the desert for forty years with people whom he knew quite well. He has gotten to know Pharaoh well enough and he knows God's Word well enough to realize that he is being placated. The Pharaoh is strapping him on. Pharaoh had not really changed his mind about God, Moses and the Jews; he was merely trying a new tact. Moses can see right through him and he tells the Pharaoh as much. Visualize that this conversation is taking place in the midst of the storm.

 

Now the flax and the barley were destroyed; for the barley [was] in the ear and the flax [was] in flower; however, the wheat and the spelt were not destroyed because they were not ripe. [Ex. 9:31-32]


Here is an interesting side light. This reveals the extent of Moses knowledge. I know that corn is in the field and it is planted, it grows, and then it is picked. I also suspect that there are different kinds of corn which mature more slowly. Bu that is all that I know about corn or any other vegetable that I eat. Moses can distinguish the vegetables from their plants, he knows when they ripen, when one is in ear and the others are in flower and when some are just beginning to grow. Moses did not have to even go out to a field to observe this. As training to become the king of Egypt, Moses had an exceptionally wide range of understanding. He has spent years at the University of Egypt under the very best of private tutors and occasionally in classes learning every aspect of the nation Israel. Knowledge of the crops was central to his study as this was a major part of the economic backbone of Egypt's economy. Furthermore, this is just one branch of knowledge that he possessed. He was very well-educated in many different fields. However, in case you are interested, it says right here, in Zodhiates Old Testament, that spelt (or rye) was a wild wheat which, on the one hand was more edible than barley; but on the other, inferior to wheat. Its harvest came after the harvest of the barley and it was difficult to separate it from its chaff. It was from this grain that the Egyptians made their basic bread.

 

So Moses went away from Pharaoh, out of the city, and spread out his hands to Yahweh; then did the thunderings and the hail cease and rain was not poured out on the land. [Ex. 9:33]


Moses knows the drill. He simply appeals to Yahweh and God removes the plague of the storm forever from the land of Egypt. Although we are not told this here, angels are also observing every move that Moses makes and watching this incredible drama of God's deliverance of the Jews. In like fashion, they also watch the unfolding of the drama of our lives; our spiritual successes and our failures.

 

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunderings had ceased, he again sinned, and made his heart dull [and heavy], he and his servants. [Ex. 9:34]


Ceased is in the perfect tense. The storms have stopped pretty much for good in Egypt. Pharaoh also sees a pattern. He notices that when he talks to Moses, the plague is removed and it is never reinstated. He was upset and sincere at first, but now, in retrospect, he realizes that Moses had requested that God stop the storm forever and Yahweh has. Pharaoh has no personal character; he does not stand by his word. He sins and hardens his heart; he servants follow suit. Likely there was even a discussion among themselves after the storm had abated and they decided to go back on their word.


Let’s just take a moment and examine the heart:


This is a brief doctrine of the heart in order to ready ourselves to study the Hardness of Pharaoh's heart prior to the Exodus.

The Heart

 1.   The Greek word is καρδία and the Hebrew word is lêb בל or lêbâb בבל. They both literally mean heart, the organ inside of us; however, they are never used that way.

 2.    The heart can have a negative attitude toward God. Psalm 101:5 uses the phrase "...arrogant heart."

 3.    The heart can feel emotion. "My heart has become smitten like grass (or, herbage) and has withered away." (Psalm 102:4a) "Wine, which makes my heart glad." (Psalm 104:15). In Acts 14:17b, we have the phrase, "...satisfy your heart with food and gladness." Therefore, our hearts an be satisfied with food and emotional stimulation.

 4.    God knows our hearts (Psalm 44:21 Luke 16:15); examines our hearts (1Thess. 2:4 Jer. 12:3); tries or tests our hearts (1Chron. 29:17); He prepares our heart (1Chron. 29:18), opens our heart (Acts 16:14), enlightens (???) and finally creates a new heart within us (Psalm 51:10 Ezek. 36:26).

 5.    Our hearts are capable of thinking or of thoughts (Heb. 4:12).

 6.    Our hearts can be strengthened and we can take courage in our hearts (this is a command, in fact—Psalm 27:14).

 7.    We are fools to trust our own heart (Prov. 28:26).

 8.    Without going into a full blown examination of the doctrine of the heart, suffice it to say that the heart is immaterial; it does our thinking, it emotes, it has a relationship to God (that is, God is most interested in what occurs in our hearts and has a direct affect upon our heart); it has volition or will; it can operate in a moral sphere (positive or negative); it can grieve and it can be broken. It appears to be the entire unseen function of our lives, directly related to our body and physical needs, but outside the realm of the physical.

And Pharaoh's heart was strengthened; [so] neither would he let the children of Israel go, as Yahwheh spoke by the hand of Moses. [Ex. 9:35]

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Here we see the actual mechanics of the "hardening" of Pharaoh's heart. When Pharaoh's heart is made dull [and heavy}, this is what we understand as the hardening of his heart. This is a synonym for scar tissue. This is a build-up of negative volition toward God and God's plan. The strengthening of his heart is the power and fortitude to carry out its desires and wishes. It is Pharaoh who has sinned and has made himself negative toward God. God has both provided him the opportunity to express this negative volition and, on occasion, the strength when necessry to express this negative voliton.


This chapter ends on an interesting Hebrewism: ...as Yahweh spoke by the hand of Moses. The Pharaoh was not deaf and Moses had to give him hand signals. We use our hands to work and to express ourselves. There are some people who could not talk if you tied their hands behind their back. God worked through Moses and expressed Himself through Moses. That is the significance of this phrase.


                                                                  EXODUS 10



Exodus 10:1–29


Introduction: Chapter 10 contains the eighth and nineth plagues: the plague of the locusts, which receives a great deal of space; and the far more interesting darkness covering the land, which received less attention in terms of length.


Outline of Chapter 10:


       Vv. 1–20       The plague of the locusts

       Vv. 21–29     Darkness covers the land


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:


                            God and the Negative Volition of Pharaoh

Did God Lie to Pharaoh About the Permanence of the Exodus


The Plague of the Locusts


Chapter 10 begins with what could have been a problem for some. However, we have covered the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, so we can breeze through this translation. It begins by God saying that "I have hardened [made heavy or dull] Pharaoh's heart." and this corresponds to our concept of scar tissue. However, what has occurred is that God has given Pharaoh the opportunity to express his negative volition, the strength to do so, and God has allowed Pharaoh to do so. Therefore, it appears that God has caused Pharaoh to be negative toward His plan; that Pharaoh is nothing but a pawn which God will sacrifice for the benefit of many others who would believe in Him. However, we know that God is not the author of sin; He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to the point of a changed mental attitude (2Peter 3:9b). So we cannot misinterpret what is being said here. Let's take this in points, because this cannot be overemphasized:


 

God and the Negative Volition of Pharaoh

     God is not the author of sin (Rom. 6:1,15 7:7 I Cor. 6:18-20 Gal. 2:17).

     God is not the author of negative volition, nor will He change our positive volition into negative volition under any circumstance (II Pet. 3:9).

     God has continually given Pharaoh the opportunity to change his mind (Ex. 8:10,29 9:5,18).

     Pharaoh has, at best, tried to act as though he had changed his mind about God's plan; or he sincerely was upset over what transpired (Ex. 9:27, 28); however, as the characterizing proverb goes, he never said anything that he couldn't take back. I once knew a woman like that, but I digress.

     Pharaoh's attitude did not change and Moses recognized that (Ex. 9:29,30)

     God gave Pharaoh the opportunity to express his negative volition (Ex. 9:15-16).

     God gave Pharaoh the strength to express his negative volition (Ex. 9:12 10:20, 27).

     God permitted Pharaoh to express his negative volition (Ex. 9:29-30).

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

The Hebrew word used here is the Hiphil perfect of kâbad (ד ַב ָ) [pronounced kaw-BAD] and it means to make heavy, to burden, to weigh down. The Hiphil is the causative stem; however, in the Hebrew, the Hiphil does not necessarily refer to compulsion but also is a permissive stem Footnote . The perfect tense refers to God's decrees from eternity past to allow Pharaoh to make these choices against Himself; and to bolster Pharaoh up when his strength begins to wain. God also gave a similar strength of conviction to those under Pharaoh. What Pharaoh needs in his time of trouble to give him the strength to continue to defy God is some yes-men who will agree with Pharaoh's opposition to the Lord. In eternity past, so that the lands throughout the mid-eastern and eastern world could be evangelized, God saw to it that Pharaoh would surround himself with loyal yes-men, who would agree heartily with his every decision and applaud, when necessary, these decisions.

 

This verb is followed by the lamed preposition and the substantive ma‛an (ן ַע ַמ) [pronounced MAH-an], a word denoting purpose or intent. With the lamed preposition, this could be translated for the sake of, on account of, to the intent of, or in order that. It is also quite reasonable to render this word and its preposition with a simple that. The following verb reveals God's purpose here: the 1st person singular suffix, Qal passive participle of shîyth (חי  ̣ש ) [pronounced sheeth] which normally means to set, to place, to put. God, although translated this way, it not the subject of this verb. Signs is the subject of this verb, and God, spoken of in the 1st person singular suffix, is the cause of these signs, which is why the verb is in the passive.

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have allowed his heart to become dull [lit., I have caused his heart to become hardened (or made dull and heavy)], and the heart of his servants, that My signs might be placed in their midst. [Ex. 10:1]


In eternity past, God did a vast number of things in order to evangelize the earth. He saw to it that a Pharaoh would ascend to the throne of Egypt who was particularly negative toward God's plan. He surrounded that Pharaoh with yes-men. When Pharaoh became weak from opposing God, God gave him more strength to continue in his opposition to God. Finally, an important point often left out of a study of these chapters of Exodus: any time that God drastically changes his program (that is, a new dispensation is begun or a new portion of a dispensation is begun); God accompanies this change with a great many signs and wonders. Because our knowledge of things Biblical is sorely lacking, many people think that there are great and tremendous miracles found on every page of God's Word because they know a few stories about Moses, David and the first advent of our Lord. When it comes to great signs and wonders and miracles, there have been damn few of them in the past several thousand years; most of them came to introduce a new wrinkle on God's plan. Here, God was beginning nation Israel wand was identifying the Jews as His people. Therefore, He needed to do something spectacular to the entire world would know that God's hand was with the Jews. As a result of this, men from all over the world realized that God was with the Jews, that God had given them the land of Palestine, and that anyone who opposed the Jews would find themselves up against unsurmountable odds.

 

V.2 continues with the prepositional purpose clause from v. 1 (lamed + ma‛an). And I was expecting the same construction and the same verb used in v. 1 repeated here, but there is another word which means to place, to set and it is the word sûwm (ם  ) [pronounced soom]. This time the verb is in the Qal perfect, 1st person singular, meaning that God is the subject of this verb. Ths is followed by the 2nd person singular, Qal perfect of yâda‛ (ע ַד ָי) [pronounced yaw-DAH], a verb which means to know by seeing. As we read the translation, keep in mind that God is speaking to Moses here:

 

And that you may recount in the ears of your son and your son's son what I did in derision of the Egyptians; and my signs which I placed among them, so you will know that I am Yahweh." [Ex. 10:2]


God clearly points out His purpose here, as He did previously in 9:15-16; these signs will evangelize the world and they evangelize Israel. They are to be told to the next generation and the generation after that. At that point in time, there was no widely distributed Bible; at best, Moses had documents whihc had been added to over the years at the writing of Exodus, which could have occurred at this time and could have occurred during the 40 years wandering in the desert. Moses wrote the first books of the Bible (with the possible exceptions of Job and Genesis; and we do not know where the former book was at this time, and the latter was probably one of a very few copies). Therefore, the primary method of passing on spiritual information is the oral tradition of a father teaching his son about Yahweh, the God of Israel and he in turn will teach his son. There were various events which took place to act as training aids, such as the bones of Joseph, to give parents the opportunity to express to their children what has occurred up until their slavery in Egypt. We as parents should do the same; we should teach our children about Who Jesus Christ is and why He came to earth in the form of a man. There is no substitute for parental training.


One of the few advantages of the KJV, besides being an excellent but dated translation, is that they distinguish between the singular and plural second person. We simply use the word you to represent the singular or the plural. The south has tried to clear up this little problem, adding the descriptor all to the plural sense of you, however, this has never caught on outside of the south. V. 2 begins with you in the singular. Each individual Jew (represented here by Moses, as God is speaking directly to Moses) will tell his son in the future about the exodus and the great signs and wonders which God performed. However, at the end of v. 2, when God says "...that you may know...", you is in the plural—speaking to all of Israel. The significance of this is emphasis. When we move from the singular to the plural, it is a way of the speaker, in this case our Lord, grabbing us by the collar and shaking us. It is a way to grab one's attention linguistically.

 

And Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, 'How long have you refused to humble yourself before Me? Release my people that they may serve Me.'" [Ex. 10:3]


In the midst of all these signs, God is very careful to let Pharaoh know that He is the God of the Hebrews. Since so many countries had their own pantheon of gods, God has to distinguish Himself from them and show that He is the true God of the Universe.

 

But if you are refusing to let them go, watch [lit. behold]! I will bring in tomorrow a locust within your boundaries; [Ex. 10:4]


The locust was known to Egypt, however, never in such huge numbers have they been seen.

 

In v. 5, there is some figurative language which is rarely translated literally yet the figure of speech is easily understood. The locust will cover the ‛ayin (ן  ̣י ַע) [pronounced AH-yim] of the land. ‛Ayim means eyes. Too often this is ignored or translated face. At the end of the verse, some translations have the locust eating up the trees which grow in the field. This leaves us with some confusion—locusts do not generally eat entire trees, to the best of my knowledge (which is limited in the locust realm); plus we have just seen a devasting hail storm which likely destroyed the trees of the field. The word we find here is tsâmach (ח ַמ ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-MAKH], and this means to sprout up.

 

Furthermore, it [the locust] shall cover the eye of the land so that one shall not be able to see the land.; and it shall eat the remainder that has escaped, that is left you from the hail, and it shall eat up all the trees that sprout for you out of the field. [Ex. 10:5]


God treats the locust as though they were in the singular. It is one miracle and they act in one accord; to destroy and ravage the land of Egypt. The language is beautiful; the eye of the land is covered so that the one in the land cannot see out and those out of the land cannot see in; the locusts will be this thick.


What remains in the land after the hail is sprouts of plants returning from the ground; some of them seedlings, some of them the same plants which had been beaten down by the hail.

 

And they will fill your house and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians, such as your fathers and your father's fathers have never seen, from the day they came to be on thie land, until this day.'" And he turned away and came out from the presence of Pharaoh. [Ex. 10:6]


We are now using the plural of locust. Out in the field, as they observe, it will look as one great locust; eating the eentire field. However, when these locust move in doors, there will be thousands upon thousands of locusts, everywhere the inhabitants look.


Note this is Moses, again, who is speaking to Pharaoh, and Aaron is there almost as nothing but window dressing. Although we began with Moses and Aaron in v. 3, here, God does not say that they both walked out; but that Moses walked out. Aaron did not remain there—he didn't stick around to have coffee and donuts with Pharaoh—it is just that his presence was superfluous. He was not God's chosen man for the job of going to speak to Pharaoh and he never was. He just happened to be there to hold Moses' hand throughout the proceedings, which was not God's original intention. God has a plan for Aaron's life; but speaking to Pharaoh in His behalf is not it; that is God's plan for Moses. This is analogous to our spiritual gifts in the church age; we all have spiritual gifts and we cannot behave as though our spiritual gifts are different than those which we have received. There are some people who are pastor-teachers who ought not be (I sound like J. Vernon McGee). Thieme once related the story of Billy Graham who originally pastored a church and in a meeting with the deacons said that his gift was one of evangelism, not pastoring a church and they agreed and that was the direction that he took. It retrospect, it is obvious that is his place in God's plan. Isn't it amazing the various types of application that we can get from the Old Testament? Just the use of a singular here instead of a plural introduces a New Testament concept.

 

Then said the servants of Pharaoh to him, "How long shall this man become a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve Yahweh, their God. Don't you realize even yet that Egypt is ruined?" [Ex. 10:7]


All of a sudden there is some dissension among Pharaoh's yes-men. This does not mean that Pharaoh's entire court was in favor of letting the Jews go; however, it is more than just one man's opinion. The speaker obviously believes God because the plague has not yet come; the plague of the locusts is not until the next day. But they have come to realize that what Moses says God will do, He does. Whether they have believed in Yahweh or not is another matter; but they have come to accept the power and Word of Yahweh. There is no doubt in their minds that this plague will occur as Moses has told them and that Egypt is in veritable economic ruin already. Furthermore, after suffering the lice and the frogs and the stinging flies, these men do not want their households invaded by locusts.

 

So Moses and Aaron were brought back into Pharaoh and he said to them, "Go, serve Yahweh, your God. Just exactly who [lit., "who and who"] are going?" [Ex. 10:8]


This is the first time that Pharaoh has capitulated prior to the occurrence of the plague. He is weakening. His court of yes-men has begun to hold a variety of opinions, the majority this time favoring to skip this plague and to let the children of Israel go. After an hour's conference, Moses and Aaron are sent for and are brought back before Pharaoh. They were not originally placed in the waiting room to allow for discussion—the discussion was spontaneous, beginning immediately at their leaving. The servants of Pharaoh are no longer interested in bolstering up Pharaoh's opinion and standing by him; they are sick of the destruction and personal pain and discomfort that they have had to endure.


None of Pharaoh's servants have gone so far as to realize that if the God of the Jews can do what He has done, then He is the true God of the Universe and that they ought to believe in Him and to join the Jews in this trek into the desert to worship God. We have the exact same thing occurring today. We have unbelievers refusing to believe in Jesus Christ because they are worried that it might disrupt their puny lives; in their frantic search for happiness, they are worried that they might not eek as much of it out if they turn toward God. Believers have a similar problem. Believers tend to attend church once or twice a week and never lead a life the rest of the time which is honoring to God. To be fair, this is sometimes not their fault; if their church does not teach them how to rebound (confess their sins to God), then they are out of fellowship from ten minutes after they were first saved to the end of their lives. Once and awhile, during a re-dedication service (which is bogus), they, among other things, confess their sins. They have been outside of the power of the Holy Spirit for so long that it is an emotional uplifting and for sometimes as long as 30 minutes, they stay in fellowship. However, when they fall out of it, they behave, at best, like self-righteous, religious unbelievers now. Pharaoh's servants needed to follow through; they needed to gather their families and join with the Jews. We need to lead our lives as though God has a true impact on them. We are not going to miss anything worthwhile by doing so.

 

And Moses said, "With our young and with our old will we go; with our sons and with our daughters; with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for the festival of Yahweh is ours [lit., to us]." [Ex. 10:9]


Moses now lays down the law; he tells Pharaoh exactly who will go and how they will travel. As of this point in time, they are still only to go out to the desert and have a feast to God. Nothing is said about them leaving Egypt for good. That is on the agenda, but not yet. Pharaoh had earlier expressed his opinions as to these matters (Ex. 8:25–29) but his conditions were not acceptable. Moses will tell him what is acceptable.

 

Then he said to them, "Let Yahweh so be with you when I release you and your little ones. Look [out], for harm [is] before you faces." [Ex. 10:10]


V. 10 is not readily understood. I've given a literal translation. Look is the 2nd masculine plural, Qal imperative of the simple verb to see. As we have seen, there is the masculine and the feminine of the word evil; the feminine is not as intense and often means harm. So just exactly what is Pharaoh saying? Let's see if I can paraphrase this: God better be with you if I think that I will release you and your little ones. You are in serious trouble to even suggest these things. The NASB gives a better idea of what Pharaoh has said: "Thus may the Lord be with you if I ever let you and your little ones go. Take heed, for evil is in your mind [lit., before your face]." It is idiomatic. Today, we might say, It will be a cold day in hell before I let you and your little ones go. You had better be careful with foolish thoughts like that. As you see, translators have a very difficult time of it. If translated word for word, this verse makes little sense (apart from context, which helps to guide us here); yet when the idiom is translated freely, then it is not a translation, per se, but an interpretation. We are fortunate to live in a time when God's Word has been translatd by fifty different individuals and groups. We learn which translations are literal and which interprest the idioms and can guide ourselves and our studies accordingly. Pharaoh already had it in his mind that the men only would go out to make this feast (or whatever they were going to do); and it would be nearby; and the children and wives would remain to guarantee the return of the Jews. Pharaoh feels that he is like the company president who has been beaten down by a strike, is prepared to listen to some reasonable demands, and is faced with a dozen totally unreasonable demands. The main difference here is that Pharaoh is in the wrong.

 

"This is not going to happen [or, no way is this going to happen; lit., not so]! Go, I pray you, you grown men, and serve Yahweh, for that is what you were seeking." And they were driven from the presence of Pharaoh. [Ex. 10:11]


Pharaoh cannot let the Jews go. He has to hold the children hostage. Moses anticipated Pharaoh's objections and began by saying "With our young..."


What Pharaoh does not want to do is (1) lose the upper hand and (2) lose the Jews as slaves. He is the ruler of Egypt and he is willing to make certain allowances for Moses and Aaron; but these allowances are going to be temporary. I do have a question which bothered me for some time: why did God originally tell Moses to take the people out temporarily, when this was to be a permanent status? God would not lie and He would not act as though He was going to do one thing and then do another. He didn't need to do that. So let's take this in points:

Did God Lie to Pharaoh About the Permanence of the Exodus

1)   God offers us reasonable demands

2)   When it comes to eternal salvation, we may at any time in our lives simply believe in Jesus Christ and we are saved forever

3)   Sometimes God has to make our lives difficult so that we will turn to him

4)   What God offered Pharaoh at first was a reasonable demand—allow the Jews to go out to the desert and worship Him for a period of three days

5)   Had Pharaoh at any time during the first eight plagues, allowed the Jews to go to the desert without any conditions, then God would have only required the Jews to go out to the desert to worship Him and then they would have voluntarily returned to slavery

6)   Just because God knows the outcome, does not mean that His early offers are not valid

7)   Sometimes the police will pull a sting operation on someone they know to be a felon, but cannot prove. This alleged felon can at any time get out easy by walking away from the criminal activity. The police generally know in advance that he will react to the sting by joining into criminal activity, but the ability to walk away from the crime in the first place is there.

8)   There was (and probably still is) an investigative service for husbands and wives—they would set up one of the two with an opportunity for infidelity and photographically record the results. The husband is subjected to this because the wife believes that he will fail a test of fidelity; however, he can walk away from this at any time and he has passed the test.

9)   God has offered Pharaoh a simple demand, that, had he accepted Yahweh's conditions, then he would have been able to retain his slave population

10) Since he did not allow the Jews to leave temporarily to worship God, he will place himself in a position where they will have no choice but to exodus from the country—he will personally see to that.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses; stretch forth your hand over the land of Egypt for the locust that it may come up over the land of Egypt; and may eat up every plant of the land; all that the hail has left." [Ex. 10:12]


Notice that no longer is God having Moses to tell Aaron to stretch his staff over the land but now Moses is doing that. This was God's original plan; Moses just wasn't ready for it; so they went to plan B. However, Moses just slowly assumed a position of complete leadership and Aaron tagged along.

 

I've noticed a slight variation in renditions of v. 13. The verb attached to Yahweh is the 3rd masculine singular, Piel perfect of nâhag (ג ַה ָנ) [pronounced naw-HAG] and it means to lead, to guide. The piel is the intensive stem because this was a strong, concentrated wind—a very particular wind in fact; driven with a purpose. The perfect voice indicates completed action. God gathered up all of the locusts and, in the space of a few hours, deposited them all upon the land of Egypt.

 

And Moses stretched forth his staff over the land of Egypt and Yahweh led an east wind upon the land, all that day and all the night; when the morning had come to pass, the east wind had brought the locusts. [Ex. 10:13]

 

The second sentence is interesting. Wind is in the construct, so it is more of a modifier of east than the other way around. However, I don't know of a way to translate that. East is the subject of the second sentence and the verb is the Qal perfect of nâsâ’ (א ָ ַנ) [pronounced naw-SAW]. Nâsâ’ means to lift, to carry, to take. The perfect tense is that of completed action, so I have translated this had brought.


It is interesting how God performs these miracles. He did not create these locusts out of nothing. They were all elsewhere at this time, possibly scattered, possibly altogether. God picks them all up from wherever they happen to be in the orient and captures them in the wind and blows them all over into Egypt. There is no doubt that this is supernatural and there is no doubt that God could have, in an instant, created the locusts, but He chose not to. He obviously prepared the locusts elsewhere and brought them to Egypt when the time was right.

 

And the locust came up over all the land of Egypt and settled within all the territory [or, boundaries] of Egypt; [They were] extremely numerous! Before this had not been such a locust as that and neither after this should there be one like it. [Ex. 10:14]

 

An adjective and a pronoun are used to describe the locusts in v. 14. The adverb is actually the masculine noun me’ôd (דֹא  ׃מ ) [pronounced meh-ODE] and it means muchness, force, abundance, however, it can act as a superlative, acting as an adverb meaning exceedingly, very. I would not be surprised if these were not different words with similar meanings, both pronounced and written alike, but context determines whether the word is the noun or the adverb. The adjective it modifies is kâbêd (ד ֵב ָ) [pronounced kaw-BADE] and it generally means heavy, but it can also mean numerous, which is the sense in which it is used here. There is no noun or a verb to go with this, meaning that there is great emphasis placed upon these two words. They are standing out in the middle of two sentences screaming at us. Throughout this verse, locust is in the singular. If you have a difficult time with that, then translate this swarm [of locusts], and you have an English equivalent when it comes to number.

 

When describing that this has never occurred before and would never occur again, we have two negatives and the same verb, modified by the same adverb. The verb is our old friend, hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] which is likely the most commonly used verb in the Old Testament. The New Englishman's Hebrew Concordance only lists a few of the passages in which it occurs, by way of illustration. It means to be, to come to pass. Hâyâh first occurs in the Qal perfect and then in the Qal imperfect. The modifying adverb is the very commonly used kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced ken] and its basic meaning is so. However, that meaning is somewhat amplified by nearly four columns in BDB. It can mean rightly, just, afterwards, depending upon its context. It refers mostly to manner, but it also refers to degree, quantity, or quality. Literally, this verse is: Before it [the locust swarm] so there has never been a swarm [of locusts] like it and after it, so [such a swarm] will never come to pass. In throwing in those bracketed words, obviously, they are not a part of the literal translation, but thrown in to smooth out and convey the meaning of the literal translation.

 

So it covered the eye of all the land and the land was darkened and it did eat every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left; not a green thing, nor a tree, nor a plant of the field remained in all the land of Egypt. [Ex. 10:15]


Again, the locusts are treated as one as they act with one accord, ravaging the land of Egypt. Only a very small portion of Egypt is fertile; that which receives its water from the Nile, Egypt's lifeblood, and this is where the locusts settled and decimated the land. Here is where all their farms were and every bit of shrubery was eaten; at least all the new growth (the green portions). What is left is barren land and barren trees. Every bit of new growth has been stripped off of it. The way Moses speaks of this in retrospect indicates that the concentration of these locusts was far greater than the concentration of the gnats or the blood-sucking gad flies.

 

Then hastened Pharaoh to call fror Moses and Aaron and said, "I have sinned against Yahweh, your God, and against you." [Ex. 10:16]


I do not doubt that the Pharaoh is very sincere with this plea. A criminal, when faced with a great deal of time in jail or with the death sentence can become very sincerely sorry that they have done what they've done. I heard a news show where a drug dealer found that he was going into jail for a mandatory 15 years and he said he learned his lesson and really thought that he could have learned it in 5 years. This was prior to going into jail. You could tell by his voice that he was very sorry that he did what he did. He did not feel that what he did was all that wrong, but he was certainly unhappy about the consequences, and he was very sorry about that. People who are wrong, when faced with the consequences are suddenly very sorry for what has happened; but they are mostly sorry about the consequences.

 

"Now, therefore, forgive, I pray you, my sin only this one time, and make supplication to Yahweh, your God, that He may take away from me at least this death." [Ex. 10:17]

 

The word for "forgive" in this verse is nâsâw (א ָש ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAW], in the Kal imperative. The root meaning is "to lift up." and it means "to bear, to take, to take away guilt." "Take" if the Hiphil future (causative future) of çûwr (ר  ס) (pronounced soor), and it means to depart, turn aside or away. The causative means that Pharaoh wants God to cause his sin to depart from him. Pharaoh is not as concerned with the guilt or the wrongness of what he has done, as he is with the result. This is the only way to control criminals. They may be beyond the point at which they realize their crime is morally wrong; but they do understand negative consequences applied to their life. Pharaoh understands not so much that he is wrong, but that their are some very unpleasant results; he wants God to lift away his sin or remove the guilt (or in this case, the judgement) for his sin, and then God is to cause to depart from Pharaoh, this death, referring to the wholesale destruction of the land. This is a metonymy where the word death stands for plague; death is the result of the plague of the locust. This is not the result of the pangs of conscience but it is the result of the discipline under which the Pharaoh finds himself.


This is why we discipline children. They do not come to us with a blank slate, as some maintain, but they have genetic predispositions, they have learned behavior and they have an old sin nature which is full blown at birth. Discipline connects pain and discomfort with incorrect behavior. This helps to develop a conscience. Actually, so there is no misunderstanding, the discipline coupled with an explanation as to why they are being disciplined develops a conscience. A child needs to know what is right and wrong and needs to have this taught to him, even if it requires spanking (which is different from physical and emotional abuse). It is a parent's duty to discipline a child and if you are unable to discipline a child or would want to spank them for every infraction that they commit, then you have no business bringing a child into the world. A child will develop true self esteem and have the best possible peer interaction if he is brought up to be polite, considerate and well-behaved. A child needs to learn respect for his elders, his peers, for the property of others; a child needs to know the value of hard work and achievement. Self-esteem for its own sake is worthless and does nothing but spoil the child.

 

So he [Moses] came out from Pharaoh and made supplication to Yahweh and Yahweh turned back an exceedingly strong west wind and carried away the locust [swarm] and cast it into the Red Sea; so that there was not left a single locust in all the boundaries of Egypt. [Ex. 10:18–19]


God directed the movement of millions upon millions of locusts as if they were one, therefore we have the use of the singular when referring to the locusts. This is an unusual result; usually when God removed a plague, there were some residual effects. Here, although all of the greenery had been eaten, there are no dead locusts to deal with. God picked them up with the wind, the same way that He brought them, and deposited them this time into the Red Sea.

 

But Yahweh strengthened the Pharaoh's heart and he did not let the sons of Israel go. [Ex. 10:20]


Only Moses is mentioned when it comes to leaving Pharaoh and making supplication to God, but certainly Aaron was there. Finally, even though he was devastated because God just economically destroyed Egypt for several more decades, God gives Pharaoh the strength to express the contents of his soul. Pharaoh is not a man who recognizes his sin and desires that God forgive him; he recognizes the consequences or the discipline because he has sinned and that is the only thing which bothers him. Having sinned once or twice myself in the past and then getting tremendous deserved discipline for it, I can assure you that I also have been very interested in the removal of the discipline. In some areas, it is the discipline which has helped me to recognize the depravity of my actions. However, Pharaoh only sees the discipline and has not moved from there to the correction of his behavior. God has given him enough strength to express that which is in his soul, and he does.



Darkness Covers the Land

 

Then said Yahweh to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand over the heavens that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt; and that one may feel the darkenss." [Ex. 10:21]


Egypt was under severe judgement for their attitude toward the Jews. Darkness is often associated with judgement. When our Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins in His body on the tree, a thick darkness covered the land so that we could not see Him bearing our sins. With darkness, there would be some who would just sleep in and they might sleep in an extra hour; and, in some unusaly cases, an extra five hours. But at some point in time, it would be obvious that the night went on too long.

 

So Moses stretched forth his hand over the heavesn and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. [Ex. 10:22]


We do not know when this occurred. The implication is that Moses, when he stretched his hand out over the land, then the darkness covered the land. The notion of being in darkness for three days must have some kind of significance. Jonah was inside the whale (actually, the great fish) for three days and nights; our Lord was in the heart of the earth for three days and nights, and here Egypt is plunged into darkness for the same amount of time. I don't know what the connection is exactly yet, other than all of them involve God's judgment.

 

They saw not one another, neither did they arise from his place in which he stood for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings. [Ex. 10:23]


Certainly the same scenario as has occurred in the past was repeated. Moses went to Pharaoh, gave him a warning, and, when Pharaoh did not heed the warning, Moses brought on the plague. This darkness is a thick darkness which you can feel; a darkness which cannot be penetrated by light; just like the darkness which hung over the cross. This gave each and every Egyptian, living in a land which has been economically ruined, having suffered pain and misery due to the plagues brought on by Jesus Christ by the hand of Moses, the time to reflect upon their lives. The darkness was thick and eerie, not allowing any kind of normal function in life. Most Egyptians just cowered in their homes, steeped in their negative volition, refusing to rise above it.

 

A portion of v. 23 is difficult to understand, making it difficult to interpret. We begin with the negative and the 3rd person plural, Qal perfect of qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom] and this means to stand, to rise up, to take a stand. This is followed by the preposition min (ן  ̣מ) [pronounced min] which means from. Then we have the very unusual word tachath (ת ַח ַ) [pronounced TAHK-ath], which means, as a substantive, the under part, beneath, the place in which one stands, in one's place. We are not talking about a physical movement. The Egyptians, as well as Pharaoh, have taken a stand and they are not rising above that stand. Because of the plagues and their negative volition, the Egyptians occupy a very low place. They have chosen that which is against God, which is their stand and they will not arise from that stand. We do not have the simply Hebrew phrase saying that they did not leave their homes nor do we have the simple phrase saying that they did not arise from their beds (the Hebrew words are very different). This is idiomatic; it can refer to not getting up from the under part, but it really means that they had all this time to contemplate in the dark where they stood, what their values were, Who and What God is and they would not arise from this lowly place where their negative volition had put them. Even though the verb is in the 3rd masculine plural, indicating that the population of Egypt in general did not arise, place (or, place in which he stood) has a 3rd person, singular suffix, indicating individual volition.


The Egyptians did have a god; their sun-god, Ra. However, he was not able to do much on their behalf. God here is giving the entire population of Egypt time to reconsider the thoughts of their hearts, the prejudices that they might carry; and, particularly, their negative volition toward God. Some already had made a choice to stand with the sons of Israel and this allowed them to firm up this decision; others could go in either direction and this gave them time to make their choice. This is their last chance before God places over Egypt the most terrible plague.


This passage gives us two analogies. The unbelievers, the Egyptians, are walking and living in darkness. Believers, the sons of Israel, are walking in light. The Israelites have light in their dwellings. The Egyptians cannot penetrate this darkness with light. They should go to the light, to the Israelites, and ultimately to God, Who is judging them. They have three days to reconsider their position. A few did, which we will see later. However, most did not.


Man sometimes comes close to apprehending the truth as an unbeliever. Plato once gave us the analogy of the cave; he pointed out that there is a great unseen world—which is, in face, the real world that we live in. He deduced this simply because his soul was far greater than his body and he recognized this invisible existence. He deduced that what was invisible was far more important and far more real than the physical plane that we live in. Plato set up his analogy of the cave; that we live on this earth in a cave and the real world is outside the cave. All that we see are the shadows on the cave wall; shadows of reality, and we attempt to deduce from the shadows what reality is. For an unbeliever living in darkness, this is very close to reality. The unbeliever leads a life in darkness; God must be revealed to him. The, if he's interested, Jesus Christ must be revealed to him. Until that time, there is no light, no reality for the unbeliever, just the shadows on the cave wall; the shadows which are a poor representation of reality. So Plato comes close in his analogy to the truth and much of his philosophy comes close, considering that he is an unbeliever. However, since he did come so close to the truth, the Catholic church absorbed much of his thinking and it is reflected in their early doctrine.


The second analogy is even more solemn: Jesus Christ, when He was judged for our sins, was given the privacy of darkness as he took each and every one of our sins on Himself and suffered the pain and discipline for these sins. As God's "first-born," He would die on our behalf, for our deliverance, just as the deaths of the first-born of Egypt would allow for the deliverance of the Hebrews out from the land of Egypt and the hand of Pharaoh.

 

Then Pharaoh called out to Moses and said, "Go serve Yahweh; only your flocks and your herds shall be left; even your little ones will go with you." [Ex. 10:24]


Pharaoh has not changed his tact nor is he concerned that he has sinned against the living God. He still expects to keep these slaves. You must realize that his country is in terrific economic chaos and Egypt will suffer for several decades after this; and Pharaoh realizes that he will require labor to clean up the mess and to begin anew. This will be the function of his Jewish slaves. Therefore, he is not going to let them go entirely. He must hold something for ransom. And if they do go, then he will need food stuffs for his own people. Pharaoh does not yet recognize that there is only one way that this will be done; it will be done in God's way in God's time. He can fight Yahweh as much as he wants, but God will prevail. Greater is He Who is in us and he who is in the world.

 

And Moses said, "Even you yourself will give into our hands sacrifices and ascending offerings; so shall we present offerings to Yahweh, our God. [Ex. 10:25]


The Jews will require animals to sacrifice to God and the Egyptians will give these animals to them.

 

Furthermore, our own cattle will also go with us; there shall not be a hoof left behind for that we must take to serve Yahweh our God; even we ourselves cannot know exactly what we will serve Yahweh until we actually arrive there." [Ex. 10:26]


Moses must take the cattle because there will be blood sacrifices to Yahweh. At that point in time, there were no set sacrifices delineated as they will be in the Law. The Jews have not sacrificed to God for perhaps a couple or more centuries, so Moses knows that they must take a lot of cattle and a lot of animals to sacrifice to Yahweh when it is necessary; he just does not know how many cattle will be sacrificed.

 

And Yahweh strengthened Pharaoh's heart and he was not willing to let them go. [Ex. 10:27]


There is not a lot of detail concerning the darkness; not the original confrontation between Pharaoh and Moses nor the promise to remove the darkness, nor the prayer to God to remove this darkness. All of these things occurred and once the darkness had lifted, Pharaoh went back on his promise, as God gave him enough strength to be negative. God did not cause Pharaoh to be negative; God gave Pharaoh enough strength to take his stand against God. This is not unusual. Madelyn Murray O'Hair, the famous atheist, fought God all of her life; God still gave her the ability to breath, to walk, to take a stand against Him. Her very existence required that God provide for her needs and He did. God allows for those who oppose Him the strength to do so—he does not strike them down. In the case of Ms. O'Hair, her son came to the Lord out of darkness. We will see that some, not many, of these Egyptians will come to God out of Darkness.

 

So Pharaoh said to him, "Get away from me; and listen to this warning: do not appear before my face anymore because the day that you see my face, [in that day] you will die." [Ex. 10:28]


I have given v. 28 a freer translation to clarify its meaning. Threats do not translate well, if thery involve the use of idiom or convoluted sentence structure. It is a threat. A more literal translation would be less literal. That is, a strong threat such as this can get lost in the language. Word-for-word, this might be translated then Pharaoh said to him, "Get away from me. Take heed to yourself—never again see my face for in the day you see my face, [in that day] you will die." Pharaoh is constantly running into Moses and Moses is constantly giving him warnings and promises of plagues. Pharaoh could have attempted to kill Moses right then and there. What he is doing is making a threat which he may or may not intend to keep. It is made in the heat of his discussion with Moses. Pharaoh is looking to make a compromise and does not fully realize that there is no compromise to be made with God. The Pharaoh does not have a choice one way or the other. He either rides the wave of God's plan or he is drown by it. Pharaoh only feigns positive volition, but that is, at best, a weak moment in his life.

 

And Moses said, "You have spoken well; for I will never again see your face." [Ex. 10:28]


Instead of saying, you have spoken well, today we might say this is true.


                                                                  EXODUS 11



Exodus 11:1–10


Outline of Chapter 11:


       vv. 1–10        The Final Plague


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

       v.     2          The Judgment of Egypt is a Shadow of Salvation by Jesus Christ

       v.     6          Was God’s Treatment of Egypt too Harsh?

       v.     7          The Events of the Plague of Darkness Presented Chronologically

       v.    10          The Plagues God Brought Against Egypt


Introduction: Chapter 11 presents the greatest and most vicious plague (from the perspective of human viewpoint) is about to occur. God will kill the firstborn of all the Egyptians.



The Final Plague


God by taking the lives of the firstborn actually provides a large number of Egyptian infants with the equivalence of eternal salvation in heaven. These are children who would otherwise be raised as heathen, anti-God and anti-Jew, and then spend eternity burning in hell. God will be saving those of this group who are very young, because when a child is unable to make a choice for or against God in the angelic conflict due to age, and dies, there is no issue here to be resolved and God keeps him. When an unbelieving couple loses a child, we generally see this as a devastating tragedy—however, that child will spend eternity with God because his volition is not an issue. This is not to say (I am now addressing the 1/100th of 1%) that Christians should have anything to do with the deaths of the children of unbelievers. Some unbelievers have children who grow up the be phenomenal Christians. Paul's parents were probably unbelievers.

 

And Yahweh had said to Moses [literally, then said Yahweh to Moses], "Yet one plague will I bring in upon Pharaoh and to Egypt; after that, he will let you go from here. When he does let you go, he will altogether drive you out from there. [Ex. 11:1]


The firstborn of the Egyptians were dedicated to their gods. This plague, like the previous plagues, will be directed against Pharaoh and against the gods (demons) of Egypt (Ex. 12:12)

 

Speak, I ask you, in the ears of the people and let them ask every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold." [Ex. 11:2]


God again tells Moses exactly what will occur. There have been no surprises in God's plan for Moses, once he has accepted his place in it. Moses will adapt to the fact that God is always right and that he will have to trust him. This is important because he is going to lead the most whiny, reversionistic group of people for forty years; people who will malign him and rebell against him; who will express remorse because they are no longer under tyrannical slavery; and Moses has to keep his bearings under these pressures. A lessor man (almost anyone else) would have left the people to die in the desert. God will essentially offer Moses that opportunity and Moses will, as a result of trusting God and His long-term plan, pray on behalf of the degenerate Jews and preserve them. But that is a preview of coming attractions. The point is that Moses has found his place in God's plan and he is learning, step by step, to trust God in this decision. As one of the most important Old Testament saints with responsibilities almost unheard of, this is absolutely necessary.


The Jews have been slaves for 200 years in the land of Egypt. Although, even under slavery, their original life was god and they prospered and multiplied and were even allowed their own homes, cattle and places to live in most instances, they were still slaves, which meant that they were not properly recompensed for their work. What is asked for here are much less than reasonable wages for two hundred years of servitude.


You might wonder why the Egyptians do not despise Moses because of all the plagues and pain he has brought them. Many of them recognize his power under God's hand and, if they do not believe in Yahweh is the only God of the universe, they have come to respect Him as the most powerful God of the universe, and therefore, they also have come to respect Moses as His servant. They know what is occurring. God threatens to bring a plague on Egypt and the Pharaoh is given the chance to submit to God's will, but he does not. The Egyptins recognize that if Pharaoh allows the Jews to leave Egypt, then they will no longer suffer these plagues. So many of them see Pharaoh as being the source of these plagues. This is not the same thing which occurs in a hostage situtation, but it is akin to it. Some hostages will come to respect those who have taken them hostage and look upon those on the outside as enemies. No analogy is being drawn here, becuase, in case this is not clear, there is nothing right about taking a hostage ever in a revolutionary or criminal act; I just give this illustration to help you to understand why the Egyptians respected Moses rather than loathed him. It is also important to recognize that this is not each and every Egyptian. Certainly, the Egyptians were strongly divided as to how they felt concerning Moses, Pharaoh and these horrible plagues. Certainly, it would set family member at odds with family member, neighbor against neighbor. However, God has a plan for the Jews and they have some cognizance of who is sympathetic and who is not. They know who to go to. ask for proper remuneration. They are not begging for money nor is their hand out like a man on the street alleging that he will work for food. They are asking for far less than what is rightfully theirs.


The analogy drawn here to the cross is incredible.

The Judgment of Egypt is a Shadow of Salvation by Jesus Christ

Moses, the Jews and Egypt

Jesus Christ, Believers and the World

God's people, the Jews, are trapped in the Egypt (Ex. 1:8-14).

Mankind is trapped in the world as unbelievers (John 18:36)

God called the Jews out of Egypt (Ex. 3:15–17).

God calls believers out of the world (John 15:19).

The Jews had an identify separate from the Egyptians, even though they lived in Egypt (Ex. 1:7).

We have an identity which is separate from the world, even though we live in the world (Acts 13:17 John 15:19 Rom. 12:2).

The Egyptians hated the Jews (Ex. 1:8–14).

The world hates the believer (John 17:14).

Moses, a savior, is sent by God to deliver His people (Ex. 3:9–10).

Jesus Christ, our Savior, is sent by God to deliver us (Heb. 3:16 John 4:42 1Tim. 1:15).

Moses was not a slave and qualified to deliver His people and to lead them out of Egypt (7:22–23, 25, 34).

Jesus Christ is not a slave to sin, He is not of this world, and He has come to deliver us out of this world (John 8:23 17:11, 14).

Moses performed signs and miracles to show that he was from God (Acts 7:36).

Jesus Christ performed signs and miracles to show that He was from God (John 7:36).

Moses was a servant of God (2Kings 18:12 I1Chron. 24:6 Neh. 9:14).

Jesus Christ is a servant of God (Matt. 12:18).

The only way that the Jews (and the Egyptians who joined them) could be delivered was to trus in Jehovah Elohim (Ex. 1:17–21).

The only way that we can be delivered is to trust in Jesus Christ (John 8:24).

Moses, because of the notoriety of the exodus, became a light to the world (Ex. 9:16).

Jesus Christ, due to His own notoriety, is a light to the world (John 8:12 9:5).

The Jews, because of this, are also a light to the world (Ex. 10:23 Isa. 10:17).

We are a light to the world ourselves (John 9:5 Phililp. 2:15).

Egypt was judged for her sins (Ex. 11:1 12:12).

The world is judge for its works (John 12:31 16:8).

Egypt was covered with a thick, eerie darkness in one of its judgments (Ex. 10:21–22).

Golgotha was covered with a thick, impenetrable darkness when Jesus was on the cross.

The Jews were called by God out of slavery.

We are slaves of sin, called out of that slavery by God.

The Jews would be delivered from the bondage of slavery after the death of the firstborn.

We are delivered from the bondage of slavery by the death of God’s firstborn.

 


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For hundreds of years, there will be no cross, no death on our behalf to deliver us from our bondage to sin. In order for man to recognize this and apprehend it, God has directed many events in history to illustrate what would occur. Noah's ark illustrates God's provision and deliverance. The exodus from Egypt illustrates Jesus Christ's sufferring on the cross on our behalf. The animal sacrifices illustrate the death of the innocent and unblemished to take away our sins. God allowed certain events in history to occur so that those who lived prior to the cross would be allowed to see the cross and to believe in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation.

 

And Yahweh gave grace to the people in the eyes of the Egyptians—even the man Moses, himself was highly esteemed [or, exceedingly great] in the land of Egypt—both in the eyes of Pharaoh's servants and in the eyes of the people. [Ex. 11:3]

 

The word describing Moses in v. 3 is the adjective gâdôwl (לד ָ) [pronounced gaw-DOLE] and it means great. It is used for great in number, great in wealth or magnitude, obviously not applicable, here; and it is used of particular men, such as David, Mordecai and Moses, to indicate greatness. This means that the people recognized their greatness, their power, and their position. A modern equivalent would be esteemed. Note this is Moses and not Aaron who we are talking about. The adverb me’ûd (דֹא  ׃מ) [pronounced meh-ODE] acts as an intensifier; in the old English, we would use the word exceedingly and today we might simply use the word very. The two together in modern English are best rendered highly esteemed or highly respected.


For those who have been reading ahead, or know the story of the Exodus, you realize that Pharaoh will pursue Moses with his army. There were certainly Egyptians who respected Moses and were gracious to the Jews. There were also those who despised and even feared the Jews as Pharaoh did. God had already told Moses that the Jews would ask for various necesities and provisions and they would be provided for them by the Egyptians.

 

And Moses said, "Thus says Yahweh; about midnight I am going forth in the midst of Egypt and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die—from the firstborn of Pharaoh who is sitting on his throne even to the firstborn of the female slave who is behind the two millstones, and all the firstborn of the livestock. [Ex. 11:4–5]


This is a serious judgement to an unbeliever; however, God will give them a way out. It will be a simple, nonmeritorious way for them to save their children. All they have to do is to believe Yahweh.

 

Then shall there be a great outcry in all the land of Egypt such as never was and such as never shall be again. [Ex. 11:6]


For believers and unbelievers alike, regardless of doctrinal truth, the loss of a child is one of the most tragic things which could ever occur on a personal level.


We might feel that considering all that has been done to Egypt thus far, that this might be too harsh. Therefore, we should cover this in points:

Was God’s Treatment of Egypt too Harsh?

1)   Pharaoh has been given many chances to allow the Jews to go into the desert for a feast to Yahweh and he still refuses to allow them to go (Ex. 10:27)

2)   Both Pharaoh and the people of Egypt have been subject to many plagues, the last being thre days of darkness during which they could contemplate what has happened to them (Ex. 1021–23)

3)   There were some of Pharaoh's cabinet who were strongly in favor of letting the Jews go (Ex. 10:7)

4)   There were Egyptians to whom Moses was highly respected (Ex. 11:3)

5)   There were Egyptians who feared the Word of the Lord and there were those who did not; they conducted their lives accordingly, the unbelievers in spite of the mighty signs that they had witnessed (Ex. 9:20–21)

6)   Pharaoh will be able to must up an entire army to attack the Jews, made up of his servants, the armed forces and angry Egyptians (Ex. 14:5–9)

7)   A simple ritual was all that was required to cause the Lord to pass over a home and not kill the firstborn inside (Ex. 12:22–23)

8)   Those who were so negative, despite seeing all of these plagues and signs close up and personal, to not take steps to protect their firstborn would have caused their firstborn to remain unbelievers all of their lives, embittering them toward the Jew, and causing their eternal damnation. In this way, those who are killed prior to reaching the age of accountability will spend eternity with God (2Sam. 12:23).

9)   It is no different than salvation—all you have to do is to believe in Jesus Christ. Those who don’t will spend eternity apart from God; those who believe, will spend eternity with God.


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On the one hand, we might present the argument, was God too harsh? However, the flip side of that argument is, why didn’t God just destroy all of the Egyptians and be done with it? It is quite simple: there were some hearts and minds among the Egyptians who could be swayed—a mixed multitude will go out of Egypt with the Jews. This mixed multitude are non-Jews out from the land of Egypt who believed in the God of the Jews. Furthermore, the Egyptians had not reached a point of degeneracy to where God called for them to be destroyed in total (unlike some of the peoples of Canaan). How do we know this? God called upon the Jews to destroys degenerates in the land of Canaan because they would, among other things, offer up their own children to be sacrificed. All I know is, there was this statue of Molech with its arms stretched out. these arms would be heated by fire, and then a baby would be placed upon these arms to die—this is the degeneracy that we know about. There is no telling what the extent was of their degeneracy. On the other hand, here we have the Egyptians, and when their firstborn die, it is the worst tragedy which could befall them; so there is some remaining humanity within them.


Application: God knows just exactly what to do and how much pressure to apply. God does not condemn every degenerate group of people to immediate death. Therefore, when we see tragedy play out in the world, regardless of its depth, we need to realize that God knows exactly what He is doing and that He applies the perfect amount of pressure.


There was another reason that God applied consistent, but restrained pressure on Egypt, apart from the salvation of some of them: God needed to make a statement which would be understood world wide. He needed all of the nations to know of His power and strength, so that, through this knowledge, some might be saved.

 

But against the sons of Israel shall a dog sharpen his tongue Footnote ; neither against man nor beast that you may know that Yahweh has established a difference between Egypt and Israel." [Ex. 11:7]


For some of you who are having this exegeted for you, there is a logistical problem. In the past, Moses has always given Pharaoh fair warning concerning the plagues which God would subject Egypt to. Moses would go to Pharaoh, even if it was to catch him before his morning shower and declare "Thus says Yahweh..." However, Moses just told Pharaoh that they would not see each other face to face again, so just exactly what is going on? In Ex. 10:29, Moses makes a pretty stern statement and then nothing is said really about Moses and Pharaoh speaking to one another again. However, in Ex. 11:8, all of a sudden, Moses stormed out of Pharaoh's palace in a heat of anger. This indicates that chapter 11 just continues this same meeting which was concluded in Ex. 10:29. Ex. 11: 1–3 are parenthetical to set us up for the rest of the chapter. Both plagues and their results were already given to Moses. However, these events are presented separately—but not necessarily chronologically—as that is easier to comprehend.


However, just in case this is still confusing, let me give this to you in points, chronologically:

The Events of the Plague of Darkness Presented Chronologically

1.    God speaks to Moses concerning the plague of darkness (Ex. 10:21)

2.    Then God speaks to Moses concerning the last plague (Ex. 11:1)

3.    Moses probably speaks to Pharaoh of the first plague (not recorded)

4.    Moses stretches out his hand toward the heavens and darkness falls upon the land of Egypt (Ex. 10:22), possibly in the sight of Pharaoh, the Egyptians and/or the Israelites (Ex. 10:22)

5.    Pharaoh calls for Moses to tell him to go and serve God; only they are to leave their livestock behind (Ex. 10:24)

6.    Moses tells him that will not fly (Ex. 10:25)

7.    Pharaoh is given the strength to say no one more time (Ex. 10:27)

8.    Moses pronounces the judgement of the last plague upon Pharaoh and all of Egypt (Ex. 11:4–7)

9.    Pharaoh angrily tells Moses to get out of the palace (Ex. 10:28)

10.  Moses responds (Ex. 10:29 11:8a) and then storms out of the palace (Ex. 11:8b)

11.  When the firstborn have died, Pharaoh sends his servants to Moses and tells him through his servants to leave Egypt unconditionally (Ex. 8:8 12:31–32)


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Vv. 3‒7 present an interesting juxtaposition. In v. 3 we see the Egyptians as sympathetic and possibly even affectionate toward the Jews and in the following verse we have God's judgment against them. In case some of you are worried about that, God will provide an option to those who are postive toward His Word.

 

"So shall all these, your servants, come down to me and bow themselves down to me, saying, 'Go forth, you and all the people who are at your feet,' and after that I will go forth." And he went forth from Pharaoh in a heat of anger. [Ex. 11:8]


Moses is quite upset that Pharaoh has threatened his life and he is reacting to that threat. It is possible that Moses is out of fellowship at this time; we do not know. However, what he points out is true and would certainly upset Pharaoh; after the next plague, Pharaoh's own men will bow down to Moses and request that he leave with Israel and there will be no conditions upon their departure. This was likely the man that Moses was raised with; a man who possibly was intensely jealous of Moses when they were growing up together. As siblings, they could have had a relationship which was good or not; however, seeing that Moses is a genius in many fields and seeing how negative this Pharaoh is toward God, it is likely that their relationship was strained and competitive at best. After all, being raised at the same time in the royal family would give them equal opportunity of ascension to the throne. Moses, with all of his natural abilities and drive would have been the odds-on favorite and this would have caused an incredible amount of jealousy in the Pharaoh, the natural son, and biological heir to the throne. He would consider it his birthright and be quite upset with an adopted son, a Jew Footnote , no less, as competition to the throne. What would further upset him, is that he would recognize that Moses was better in all respects and deserved to rule Egypt; that would cause a deep bitterness and resentment. This remark of Moses was not very well received.

 

And Yahweh had kept saying to Moses, "Pharaoh will not listen [and give heed] to you; [the purpose being] that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt." [Ex. 11:9]


Vv. 9–10 are summary verses to these plagues. Pharaoh has said no for the last time. Saying and listen are imperfect tenses, meaning continuous action.

 

So then Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; however, Yahweh strengthened the heart of Pharaoh and he did not let the sons of Israel go, out of his land. [Ex. 11:10]


There is a great Old English word which I would use, if it didn't sound so archaic: "hearken." Most older translations use this word in v. 9. It conveys more than to just "listen" (which is the more modern translation). It means to listen, consider and obey. I wish we had an equivalent English word which didn't sound that archaic. There is a false theory of translation that every language can be translated word-for-word into any other language because all language is the product of man; and all men are the same, and therefore will develop the same language concepts and the same vocabulary for the universal experience of mankind. This is false, and the more you know about two languages, the more you realize that man with all his similarities, still can have fundamental differences in language structure and vocabulary (although there is certainly a lot of similarities). My personal view is that God gave man his first language (at the tower of Babel) and man took it from there and modified what God had given him.


This passage represents a pause in this narrative. Moses is summing up to that point in time what has transpired. From Ex. 5:1 to 11:8, we have had a relatively seamless narrative of the interaction of God, Moses and Pharaoh (although we do have the involvement of Aaron and the Jewish elders). These two verses indicate that we are at a temporary stopping point. What has transpired has been summed up in a couple of sentences. It is all nicely sandwiched between Ex. 4:21–22 and 11:9–10.


What I need at this point is a chart which covers the miracles/plagues of God upon Egypt:

The Plagues God Brought Against Egypt

Scripture

The Request and/or the Plague

Who did the talking and the miracles

What happened

Possible Significance

Pharaoh’s Reaction

Ex. 5

No plague but a request for Israel to celebrate a feast to God in the desert-wilderness.

Although it reads they said, what we find in Ex. 4:10–17 6:28–30 seems to indicate that Aaron did all the talking this time.

The Pharaoh asks “Who is Jehovah that I should obey His voice?” Pharaoh then does not allow the Jews to use straw when making bricks without reducing their work quota.

God gives the Pharaoh a chance to obey without threats of a negative consequence.

The Pharaoh is negative of his own volition.

Ex. 6:1–7:13

A request for Israel to go out of the land and no plague against Egypt was levied

Aaron did the talking and he threw down the staff which became a snake.

Pharaoh’s magicians also came in with staffs and they threw them down and the staffs became serpents as well.

 

Pharaoh’s heart is hardened (whether by himself or by God is not clear)

Ex. 7:14–25

Pharaoh is asked to let the Jews go so that they may serve God in the desert-wilderness. The Nile water is turned to blood—the first plague.

Aaron strikes the bank of the Nile with his staff and the water turns to blood. Aaron probably did the talking.

The fish in the Nile die and the water becomes putrid. The water could not be drunk. The Egyptians apparently dug wells in order to fetch water to drink.

God first must judge and blood speaks of judgement. This is why Jesus’ first public miracle was turning water into wine. That speaks of blessing.

Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, but it is not clear by whom.

Ex. 8:1–15

Same request; the smiting of frogs—second plague.

Aaron stretches his hand over the waters of Egypt and frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. Moses, however, speaks directly to Pharaoh.

Moses tells Pharaoh that the timing is up to him; whenever he wants the frogs to be destroyed who are among the people, God would do that. Moses called upon God, and the frogs died. The dead frogs were piled into great heaps all over Egypt and became foul.

 

Pharaoh hardens his heart. He does not listen to Moses and Aaron.

Ex. 8:16–19

The plague of the gnats (or, lice)—the third plague.

God tells Moses to tell Aaron to strike the ground.

The dust of the earth becomes gnats (or, lice); gnats are on every man and beast.

Magicians of Pharaoh admit they cannot duplicate this miracle and say it is from God.

Pharaoh’s heart is hardened.

I must admit being uncertain about separating these two plagues. If they are the same plague, then there are nine plagues; if they are separate, then there are ten plagues. Most separate these plagues. Also, there is a fair amount of repetition in these events. This particular event stands out because Pharaoh’s magicians say that this miracle is of God; little else is said about this plague.

Ex. 8:16–32

Moses requests a 3-day journey into the desert-wilderness; the plague of the insects—fourth plague.

God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Thus said Jehovah: ‘Let My people go...or I will send...swarms of insects.’ ”

God sent swarms of insects to the Egyptians, but He did not so inflict the Jews. Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron and tells them to sacrifice to God within the land; Moses says, “No, we must go a 3-day journey away from Egypt.” Pharaoh initially agrees and asks Moses to make supplication for him.

These are possibly the gold scarabs (or beetles) that are often found in Egyptian tombs.

God removed the insects as per Moses’ request and Pharaoh hardened his heart again.

Note two things: Moses does the talking this time and God differentiates between the Jews and the Egyptians.

Ex. 9:1–7

The fifth plague: The Egyptian livestock die.

God tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh.

All of the Egyptian livestock in the field died; none of Israel’s livestock died.

 

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

Ex. 9:8–12

The sixth plague: boils.

God speaks to Moses and Aaron and tells Moses to throw handfuls of soot into the air.

This soot becomes boils which break out on man and beast.

The magician could not even stand before Pharaoh because of the boils.

Jehovah hardens Pharaoh’s heart this time.

Ex. 9:13–35

The seventh plague of hail.

God tells Moses to speak to speak to pharaoh and warns them to keep all men and cattle inside, or the hail will kill them.

Hail struck down everything in the field—men, animals and plants. No hail fell upon Goshen, the land of the Jews. Moses, at the request of Pharaoh, went out of the city, spread his hands, and the severe weather stopped

Egypt is a land of very little precipitation. A storm as described here is unheard of.

Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he does not let the Jews go, despite his promises to Moses.

Ex. 10:1–20

The eighth plague: the locusts.

Jehovah tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron go together.

Pharaoh is warned to let the Jews go, or the next day his land would be hit by locusts, which would eat everything the hail missed. Moses says that all of the Jews, children and cattle included, would go to a feast out in the wilderness. Pharaoh refuses (he won’t let the children go). Locusts come over the land and eat all of the plants. Pharaoh repents, the locusts are removed, and he changes his mind.

 

God hardens the heart of Pharaoh.

Ex. 10:21–29

Darkness over the land—the ninth plague.

God tells Moses to stretch his hand toward the sky.

A thick darkness is over the land for three days. However, the Israelites had light in their dwellings.

God is the light of the world.

Jehovah hardens Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh warns Moses not to come back

Ex. 11 :1–12:33

The tenth plague: death of the firstborn.

God tells Moses what to do.

Silver and gold is asked for from the Egyptian people by the Jews and they show favor to the Jews. The Passover is instituted and all those who observe the Passover are passed over.

Those who are under the blood of Jesus Christ are not killed.

The Pharaoh calls for Aaron and Moses and tells them to take the people out of Egypt.

It is very possible that each plague was identical in pattern; God speaks to Moses and Aaron; Moses and/or Aaron warn Pharaoh of what is to come. Pharaoh refuses to let Israel go. God brings the plague upon Egypt through the hand of Moses (or Aaron). Pharaoh agrees to let Israel go if God removes the plague. God removes the plague and Pharaoh’s heart is hardened once more against God. Some of these plagues have few details (e.g., the plague of the lice); however, the lack of detail does not mean that historically the pattern of events suggested are those which came to pass.

I may need to spend some time dealing with the significance of some of these plagues.


Chapter Outline

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EXODUS 12


Exodus 12:1–51


Introduction: Chapter 12 should have possibly been organized into a couple different chapters and I would have personally put it together differently; however, I am not Moses guided by God the Holy Spirit. The overall picture here is the Passover feast and its regulations. Also included in this chapter are the preparations for and the actual exodus of Israel from Egypt.


Outline of Chapter 12:

 

       Vv.  1–13    God's protection of Israel in the first Passover

       Vv. 14–20    Feast of the Unleavened Bread: a memorial to the Passover

       Vv. 21–28    Moses speaks to the elders of Israel concerning these new rituals

       Vv. 29–30    The final plague is executed

       Vv. 31–33    Israel is ordered to exodus

       Vv. 34–41    Preparation to leave and exodus from Egypt

       Vv. 42–49    The Passover and non-Jews

       Vv. 50–51    Conclusion


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

       v.                  Christ is our Passover Lamb

       v.                  The Doctrine of Leaven

       v.                  HYSSOP



God's Protection of Israel in the First Passover


The time frame here is different than the time frame given in the previous chapter. At the end of the three days of darkness, when Moses (and presumably Aaron) had been summoned by Pharaoh (Ex. 10:24), Moses delivered to Pharaoh the final Plague, the death of all the first-born (Ex. 11:4–6). That had been promised for that very night at midnight (Ex. 11:4). However, here Moses is given instructions concerning Israel four (and possibly fourteen) days in advance. Therefore, this was told to Moses prior to the plague of the three days of darkness and Moses relays these instructions to the people of Israel prior to these three days. This is how Moses knew that he would never see Pharaoh's face again because he got the instructions concerning Passover (Ex. 12:1–23), the promise to kill the first-born of those who are not protected by the blood (Ex. 11:1–6 12:23) and the warning of the plague of darkness (Ex. 10:21–22) all at the same time. They were just separated because it is easier to mentally organize if we think of these things plague by plague and think of the Passover as a separate ordinance altogether, but tied in meaning to the last plague.

 

Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, "This month [is] to you a beginning of months; it [is] for you the first month of the year." [Ex. 12:1–2]


A synonymia [pronounced syn-o-NYM-i-a] is the repetition of a synonymous phrase. Twice in this verse we are told that this is the beginning of a new year; that the calender system of the Jews was being changed. This is a pretty big event, so it is repeated here for emphasis. This is essentially the beginning of Israel as a nation, so they will begin their new year with this month. This introduces the Jewish calender, which is based upon lunar months. The first month was called Abib (Ex. 13:4) until the Babylon captivity, after which it was called Nisan (Neh. 2:1 Esther 3:7). As most of us know, this corresponds to the later portion of March and early April on our calendars.


Because of Ex. 11:4–5 and 12:23, I believe that these instructions—or the bulk of these instructions—were given at the ninth day of the month. The beginning of this month, when God said this verse to Moses was likely when He spoke to Moses about the plague of the locusts (Ex. 10:1–2). In retrospect, Moses organizes the plagues as ten separate events, each preceded by instructions concerning the plague from God. He sees the Passover and the instructions for Passover as one event. However, the information given by God to Moses was not separated in exactly this way into 11 conversations. It was actually nine conversations wherein Moses received the information concerning the plagues and the Passover (more if God spoke to Moses twice on the same day). However, it is easier for us to understand the events topically and Moses remembers the events topically as opposed to entirely in a chronological manner.

 

"Speak to the assembly of Israel Footnote , saying 'On the tenth of this month, they will take to themselves each man a lamb to his ancestral household [lit., father's house of fathers]; a lamb for each house.'" [Ex. 12:3]


Every sacrifice in the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who bore our sins in His body on the tree (John 1:29 1Peter 1:19 2:24). Even though there is only one Lamb of God who removes sin from us, this salvation must be obtained individually. Therefore, each household had a lamb so that everyone could observe this ritual. This was the way the gospel was presented to the Israelites. Jesus Christ had not come yet in the flesh, so God made certain that every child saw animal sacrifice after animal sacrifice performed to cover their sins. At some point in time, they were to trust in God that He would remove their sins and the penalty of their sins from them and that this removal had nothing to do with individual merit.

 

"'And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he shall take [a lamb], [even] he and his neighbor, to his nearest [lit., next] house according to the number of souls, each one according to his appetite [lit., mouth] shall you number with reference to the lamb.'" [Ex. 12:4]

 

The translations vary on this verse because it is a difficult one to translate. He shall take is a conjunction and the Qal imperfect 3rd masculine singular of lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHK] and it means to take, to bring, to carry; it is a very widely applied and often used verb. Most translations render this as those it has a plural subject, but it does not. Furthermore, ellipsis is involved. It does not have a direct object for take nor does it even have a suffix (which would mean he would take it). However, we can easily ascertain from context that this is a lamb which is being taken.


Although the word-for-word translation of this verse is difficult, its meaning is fairly simple, so I will not dwell on a word by word rendering; some households might have 3 or 4 people and a lamb might be excessive for that household. They are to go next door and participate with that family. There is to be a national bonding of all Israelites and an interdependence. God is expecting that each household completely devour their lamb.


Our Lord died for all mankind Footnote and it is the desire of God the Father that all come to a knowledge of repentance (1Tim. 2:4 2Peter 3:9). Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the world (1John 2:2) and God wants every man to obtain that which was provided for him. Therefore, God does not want there to be any lamb left over. He desires for the entire lamb to be consumed; which means that every man has consumed the portion designed by God for him. When there is leftover lamb, that means there was another person for whom Christ died who did not personally appropriate salvation for himself.


A minor point: as is often found in Hebrew, a part of the body means much more than the part of the body. Here we find the word mouth but it is used for the amount of food one is able to place into the mouth at the dinner table. This is usually translated eating; but a good modern translation for this context would be appetite.

 

"'A lamb without defect, a male, a year old is yours from the sheep or from the goats, will you obtain.'" [Ex. 12:5]


The lamb without defect is certainly a picture of Jesus Christ, perfect in His humanity (Heb. 9:14 2Cor. 5:21 1Peter 1:19). Believers are not judged for our sins; Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, was judged in our stead (John 1:29 1Cor. 5:7b). Jesus Christ did not begin His formal ministry until He was a young adult of about 30. We know very little of His life as a child except that He grew by means of God's Word as a youth (and, therefore, as a young man) (Luke 2:46–49, 52). Therefore, a lamb was chosen in young adulthood. The younger the lamb, the easier it would be to find one which did not have any scarring, injury or blemish of any kind.

 

"'So it [the male lamb] shall be for your to observe [or, to guard or keep] until the fourteenth day of this month; then shall all the convocation of the assembly of Israel slay it between the two evenings'" [Ex. 12:6]

 

The first phrase of this verse is not easy to give a good word-for-word English rendering to. It begins with a conjunction and the Qal perfect 3rd masculine singular of the ultimate status quo verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] and it means to be, to become, to come to pass. This is followed by the lâmed preposition, which means to, for, in regard to, near, into, with reference to. So far, this gives us: and it [the male lamb] shall be for you (or to you). The again we have the lâmed preposition followed by one of the longer Hebrew words: mishemereth (ח ר מ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mish-MAH-reth] and it means watch, custody, sentry, observance, guard, charge. We end up translating this preposition and noun like an infinitive to watch, to guard, to observe.


Notice that the lamb was not obtained and killed immediately. The lamb remaining in the house for three days prior to its slaughter was analogous to Jesus Christ coming to earth and living among us, His public ministry lasting approximately three years. The lamb was observed and tested (the Israelites kept it in the house for three days and were to be certain that it had no defects; the three days gave them more than enough time within which to carefully check the animal out). Jesus Christ was similarly studied during his three years of ministry for defect (Luke 11:53–54 John 8:46 18:38)


The chilling portion of this verse is: then shall the entire assembly of the congregation of Israel kill it. The God of Israel, who loved and chose Israel from the foundation of the world, came to Israel in the flesh, as a man, and Israel killed Him. Do not mistake this for anti-Semitism. God chose Israel in eternity past, knowing full well that they would deny the Lord Who bought them, and slay Him when the opportunity arose. However, this lamb must be slain (Matt. 16:21–23 Heb. 9:22) When the lamb is slain, that is Jesus Christ dying on the cross on our behalf, paying the penalty for our sins (Heb. 10:10–14 1John 1:7).


Since the destroyer was going to come through and kill the first-born at midnight (Ex. 12:29) and because the Israelites were not to go outside until morning (Ex. 12:22), this means that between the two evenings is probably immediately at sunset. Compare Ex. 16:12, where they have a meal of quail between the two evenings; yet in the morning they go out and ather manna; this would be dinner and breakfast. See also Num. 28:4 where morning and between the two evenings are in contrast with one another.

 

"'And they shall take of the blood and put it on the two door posts and upon the upper beam, on the houses wherein they are to eat it.'" [Ex. 12:7]


The blood dripping from above on the upper beam and the blood on the two door posts looks like a cross with our Lord's hands and feet nailed and bleeding, and the blood from his head due to the beatings and the crown of thorns. The word to place is in the Qal perfect; placing the blood on the door post is a completed action which insures salvation forever (the act of placing the blood there does not; the faith in Yahweh is what insures their salvation). Eating is often a metaphor for obtaining salvation and it can be expanded into a metaphor for spiritual growth. Eating is a nonmeritorious action which everyone is capable of—immoral, amoral, moral, sinful, self-righteous, and men of all descriptors eat—and eating is analogous to believing in Jesus Christ. It is something which can be done without attributing any merit to the eater. However, once this activity is begun (right at birth) it must be continued in order to experience growth; we, as new born Christians must continue to feed upon the word—an activity which is also lacking in personal merit—and through eating His Word we grow. God has given protection to those who have taken refuge in His blood, who partake of spiritual food, whether it be by believing in Him initially or belieiving in His word as time goes by.

 

"'And shall they eat the flesh in the same night; roasted with fire and with unleavened cakes, upon bitter herbs they will eat it.'" [Ex. 12:8]

 

The roasting with fire is judgement by God of Jesus Christ; the unleavened bread speaks of no intermingling of yeast, or false doctrine to the gospel. When it comes to false doctrine, the yeast is primarily works—trusting in ourselves to provide salvation. The bitter herbs speaks of the repugnance of our sins to Jesus Christ and how difficult it was for God the Father to judge His Son for our sins. The preposition which accompanies bitter herbs is ׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced al] and it means upon, over, against. This is rarely translated correctly because most people when they add bitter herbs, the herbs are put on top rather than the other way around. This is symbolic. What we see as newly saved people is apprehending salvation through the judgement of Jesus Christ in the flesh; however, we do not see the bitter herbs that go with it at first. It is later when we learn some of God's Word when we realize how horrible this was for God the Father and God the Son.

 

"'Please, do not eat of it underdone nor cooked by boiling in water, but roasted with fire, its head upon its legs and upon its inward parts [or, midst].'" [Ex. 12:9]


There are no two ways of salvation. Christians and Old Testament Jews are saved by believing in Jesus Christ but Buddhists are not saved by following Buddha. Christian Scientists are not saved by following the teachings of Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy. We are saved just one way; there is no watered-down (boiled) gospel which saves us. God the Son must be judged; therefore, the lamb must be roasted by fire. There are not two ways of doing this. There is none other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Even the positioning of the lamb's head upon its feet and midst represents the cowered head of our Lord struck with the judgement for our sins.

 

"'And you will let nothing of it remain until morning, but that which is left remaining until morning in the fire shall you consume.'" [Ex. 12:10]


We place our trust in the entire person of Jesus Christ, just as they ate the entire animal. God the Son paid the full penalty for the sins of the world; He did not just die for a few sins, nor did He die for most of our sins, so that if we keep sinning, we will lose our salvation. His death for our sins was absolute. He does not have to return to the cross to die again for our faults; there is no other savior who will come along later. Note that every little thing that they did was analogous to the salvation that we have presented from the retrospective cross. Their gospel looked forward to the cross. What if they did not fully comprehend it? God the Holy Spirit made enough of the gospel understandable to them that if they exercised positive volition by believing in Jesus Christ, Yahweh, the God of Israel, they were eternally saved even as we.

 

"'And in this manner you will eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand; so shall you eat it in haste; it is Yahweh's passing over.'" [Ex. 12:11]


Eating quickly means we are to apprehend Christ as quickly as possible and to make maximum use of divine operating assets. It is important that we take this salvation when it is offered to us. It was not normal to eat wearing shoes. Most people in the ancient eastern world took their shoes (or, sandals) off their feet as they entered into a home (see Ex. 3:5). The loins girded, the sandals on your feet and staff in your hand speaks of us being involved in our daily routine in the outside world; it is our daily life and God has presented to gospel to us. No matter what, we reach out and we apprehend His so great salvation.


The Passover, or the Passover lamb, is called a type of Christ.

1.    John the Baptizer saw Jesus coming to him and exclaimed, "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" (John 1:29).

2.    Paul called Christ our Passover in I Cor. 5:7.

3.    The lamb as with the family for a few days in part to scrutinize the lamb for any blemishes and also so that they might grow some attachment for the lamb. Jesus Christ, as Scofield points out, was under hostile public scrutiny for a period of three years during His earthly ministry and was found to be blameless in all things. Read Luke 11:53–54 John 8:46 18:38 1Peter 1:18–19 2:22 3:18.

4.    The lamb, having been tested (inspected for defects), must be slain (Ex. 12:6 Matt. 16:21 John 12:24 Heb. 9:22). The blood of the lamb must be used in order for God to Passover; there is no other way for any family of Jews (or Egyptians) to be passed over; including invoking a deity of Egypt. God sees the blood of the lamb, representing the blood of Jesus Christ, and He does not take the life of their first-born. The only tragedy to the unbeliever which is as horrible as this is to spend eternity in hell, burning in judgment, separated from God.

5.    As Scofield put it, this "refutes universalism" (Ex. 12:7, 12b John 3:36 Acts 4:12). For the Jew (and any Egyptians who followed suit), applying the blood indicated their faith in Yahweh and God's Word. It was a sign of their faith but not the means of their salvation (Ex. 12:13 Heb. 9:11-14, 22, 28).

6.     Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone (thus bypassing judgement for us) is illustrated by the application of the blood only caused Yahweh to Passover their household and to refrain from executing judgement upon them (Ex. 12:13 Heb. 9:14 10:10 1John 1:7).

7.    I want you to notice where the blood is: for the first Passover, the blood was put on the top of the door sill (which would drip to the threshold) and on both sides of the door. This is like a cross, where we would find the feet, the hands and the bleeding head of Jesus—it is at these four points where Jesus would bleed, and this is foreshadowed in the first Passover. Ex. 12:22

8.    The feast afterwards was a foreshadowing of our memorial supper, the Eucharist. The eating of the flesh of the slain lamb is analogous to believing in Jesus Christ, as eating is the non-meritorious function which all humans are able to do. Today, we eat the bread as Christ's body, to illustrate our faith in Jesus Christ, Who is the bread of life (Matt. 26:26-28 John 6:31-35, 46–58, 19:18 I Cor. 11:23–26).

9.    To quote Scofield again, "To observe the feast was a duty and a privilege but not of condition of safety" or of salvation (1Cor. 10:16 11:25 Rev. 13:8).

10.  I think one of the most chilling phrases found in Exodus is Ex. 12:6b, when speaking of the Passover lamb: Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it. Can’t you just hear the Jews calling for Jesus to be crucified?


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Prior to this point in time, there were animal sacrificers, but they were not as common or as systematic as they will become from this point on. Animal sacrifices date back to when Adam and Eve first sinned. The animal skins that they wore were a covering which came from a slain animal. These sacrifices spoke of Jesus Christ coming and dying on the cross and in this way conveyed the gospel to people who lived historically prior to the cross. God passed over these people who believed in Jesus Christ through the animal sacrifices. However, the blood of bulls and goats did not remove sin; it was a temporary measure, a sign and a promise of things to come. See The Levitical Offerings (HTML) (PDF).

 

"'I will pass along, therefore, throughout the land of Egypt, this night and will kill every first-born in the land of Egypt, from man even to beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements; I [am] Yahweh.'" [Ex. 12:12]


Each judgment that we have seen was against one or more of the heathen gods of Egypt. We must realize that these gods are made in the image of man or they represents demon (or both). Some religious Egyptians sincerely believed in their gods and believed their gods to be every bits as valid as the God of Israel. People today look at other gods and prophets and believe them to be every bit as valid as the God of the Universe. These gods are made in man's own image and when we worship them, we are worshiping ourselves. The other option is that they represent the demons behind them and when we worship them, we worship these demons. All religions provide a bloodless gospel of works and personal human merit. The average person on the street, the average movie or television show, when it comes to having anything to do with the concept of salvation, human merit is at the forefront. God is weighing our good deeds against our bad deeds and this, to most people, determines our salavation. Even some Christian religions, although they mention the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, still reason that if we do not behave in at least a mediocre manner and try to be good, then what our Lord did on the cross was not good enough and that we will burn in hell with the unbelievers. We are saved totally appart from any personal merit whatsoever. No matter how awful we are by any standard, if we have believed in Jesus Christ, we are eternally saved. We have expressed that three seconds of positive volition toward Who and What God really is and have believed in His Son, then by the merit of our Lord and not by any personal merit, we have been saved forever.


Each plague was an execution of judgement against the gods of Egypt. We have noted some of them. In this context, it should be noted that the firstborn in Egypt were dedicated to their gods. God, by taking their firstborn from them, the child dedicated toe the Egyptian gods, has made war against those gods in this plague. It must be understood that there are no gods which compare to Yahweh, yet these are not imaginary beings. God would not declare war against something that did not exist. The gods of Egypt are demons; as are anyone's false god or gods. Satan's original sin of arrogant pride included "I will be like the Most-High." This is just another facet of the spiritual war in which we find ourselves.

 

"'Then the blood will serve you for a sign on the houses wherein you are; and I see the blood and I will pass over you; and among you there shall be no plague to destroy [lit., for destruction], when I strike the land of Egypt.'" [Ex. 12:13]


The blood of the sacrificial lamb is sufficient to protect the occupants of the home from the wrath of God, just as the blood of our slain lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, is sufficient to protect us from the wrath of God. By this we will have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10:10). The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin (1John 1:7b).


The word plague is used today to refer to all of the catastrophes which God brought upon the people of Egypt; however, it seems to refer primarily to this last incident. In Ex. 9:14, we have the first use of this term when applied to what God did to Egypt: God tells Moses that He is about to send all of His plagues into the heart of Pharaoh. It is only used two other times in this context (11:1 and 12:13) and both times for this final sign However, the verb is found earlier with the inundation of the frogs, so this is not a hard and fast rule.


Prior to this point in time, there were animal sacrifices (see the doctrine of animal sacrifices), but they were not as common or as systematic as they will become from this point on. The purpose of the animal sacrifices was to reveal Jesus Christ prior to His death and resurrection. The Law, which systematized many things including animal sacrifices, was a freedom code for a new nation, a document which condemned us for our sins a revealer of Jesus Christ who would come and pay for our sins. It was twisted by the Jew into a legalistic maze to be followed to the letter for salvation disregarding its real purpose.


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Feast of the Unleavened Bread: a Memorial to the Passover

 

"'So this day shall serve you as a memorial and you will celebrate it as a festival to Yahweh to your generations as an eternal statute will you celebrate it.'" [Ex. 12:14]

 

I want you to listen to a couple of other translations: Owen: This day shall be for you a memorial day an dyou shall keep (a feast) it. A feast to Yahweh throughout your generations, an ordinance forever—you shall observe it Footnote . The KJV: And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it as a feast by an ordinance forever. The Amplified Bible is very similar. Now the NASB: Now this day will be a memorial to you, and yo shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. Notice the difference. As an unbeliever, my clearest understanding of the Old Testament were all of these fasts which they had all of the time which were of some spiritual significance. Later I found out that the Old Testament is more famous for feasting and celebration, as per the Word of Yahweh, than it is for fasting. Notice the key differences between the various translations are the words keep or observe as versus celebrate. The word is châgag (ג ַג ָח) [pronounced khaw-GAG] and it means to celebrate a feast, to attend a festival-gathering. Strong's points out that by implication is means giddy; I Sam 30:16 has it used in a very similar way. Even though this is a solemn time and the reasons for the celebration are extremely important and serious, this day is a celebration. When you have become born-again into God's kingdom, with the rights and privileges thereto, it is a grand celebration. It is found first in the Qal perfect, indicating that this is established forever, and then in the Qal imperfect indicating the continued celebration year after year.


The Passover also caused the Jews in later generations to look backward into time to Egypt and their slavery in Egypt and their miraculous deliverance by Yahweh, the true God. All of this is illustrative of salvation. By looking backward into time, they look forward to the cross, to Jesus Christ, the lamb of God being slain for our salvation, His blood (ie, His spiritual death) being offered for our sins, redeeming us from the slave market of sin.

 

"'[For] seven days, you will eat unleavened cakes. You will certainly remove leaven from your homes on the first day; for whoever eats that which is leavened that soul shall be cut off from Israel, from the first day to the seventh day.'" [Ex. 12:15]


The original Passover spoke of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given on our behalf and the blood, which speaks of the judgment that He took upon Himself—the judgement which we deserve. This feast, which looked forward to the first advent of our Lord was replaced by the Eucharist which looks backward toward the cross. And while they were eating, Jesus took bread, and, after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood fo the covenant, which is shed on behalf of many for forgiveness of sins" (Matt. 26:26–28; see also 1Cor. 11:23–26). Only the most hard-hearted fails to see how carefully God tied these two rituals together, one a reflection of the other, both speaking of the cross. Otherwise, all that we have here in this passage is some heathen ritual involving the sloshing of blood around the door and eating flat bread. God, however, knew the end from the beginning and the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8b); that is, in His divine decrees, in eternity past (from the foundation of the world) God planned the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.


Leaven speaks of a corruption in the Scripture. Jesus Christ, when He came to us in human form, was uncorrupted by an old sin nature and by personal sin. It would be best to go over the doctrine of leaven at this time to see how it is actually used in the Bible. The most vicious attack on God's Word is the attack from corruption from within. The most evil of the religions often imitate Christianity and many so-called Christian religions (such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) are merely Satanic fronts.

The Doctrine of Leaven

 1.   Surprisingly enough, there are three or four words in the Old Testament which are rendered by "leaven" in the English. However there is but one equivalent OT word for "unleavened." To most people, I would think that "leaven" has very little meaning; however, the Hebrew word

       a)   Châmêtz (צ ם ח ), pronounced khaw-mates' (S#2557), means to ferment, to be sharp or sour. Strong points out that it figuratively means "extortion," but it is not ever translated that way.

       d)   Matstsâh (ה צ ם ), pronounced mats-tsaw', (S#4682), means sweet or sweetness, not made bitter with yeast.

 2.    We find "unleavened" occurring only one time prior to Exodus, and that is in Gen. 19:3. When two angels visit Lot, he serves them unleavened bread.

 3.    It would help if we had a clue as to why leaven is forbidden during certain religious feasts and unleavened bread is required. The majority of the passages in the Old Testament deal with the prohibitions but not the rationale behind them. We can certainly get a better understanding from the New Testament as to the meaning of leaven and unleavened, figuratively speaking, but how were the Jews to grasp their meaning? Prior to the flood, there was no active bacteria found in close proximity to man. Whether it was deeply buried or how it came into being after the flood, we do not know, but there was no wine or leavened bread prior to the flood. Sometime after the flood, Noah planted a vineyard, harvested a few grapes and drank the wine which fermented from it (some things just happen by accident; Noah certainly did not know what he was making the first time). During one binge, he was so drunk that he ran around naked in his tent. Where his wife was, we don't know, but most women do not find a drunken husband to be too entertaining, so she probably stepped out. This could have been after Noah made some amorous moves on his wife which repulsed her. Ham, his son, walked in afterwards; very possibly he was listening or saw the commotion and found his father naked (there is likely more to it than that). Rather than give him the respect he should have as a son and covered him up and walk out, he made light of the situation and told his brothers about it. As a result, Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan. So fermentation was associated with drunkenness and cursing. Gen. 9:20-26. Later, Lot, Abraham's nephew, was given enough wine to be seduced by his own daughters at the end of Gen. 19. Lot, although a believer in Jesus Christ, led pretty much a worthless life as a Christian and spent the last few years of his life hiding n a cave with his two daughters. When they seduced him, they produced two sons, Moab and Benammin, both of whom fathered tribes which gave Israel trouble for centuries. It was God's will for his seed to die out. So here we find fermentation, or leavening, associated with incest and drunkenness. These are the only two recorded incidents of fermentation, but this, in addition to what we have come to associate with drinking, gave a strong negative connotation to fermentation. It was a corruption of the grape juice which led to poor judgement, lack of self-control and errant behavior.

 4.    For our own understanding, we should turn to the New Testament, where many Old Testament symbols are properly interpreted.

       a)   Jesus warned several times of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matt. 16:6,12 Mark 8:15 Luke 12:1). The Pharisees were the religious establishment of that time. They were the conservative theologians. They believed in the Holy Scriptures; or at least gave lip service to them. However, they did not understand God's Word and they were at best, actors (hypocrites) when it came to following God's direction (Matt. 23). They were whitewashed tombstones; a clean appearance from the outside but filled with dead men's bones (they were unregenerate). Jesus associated leaven with the corruption of the Scriptures by and the false teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

       b)   The second area where we find leaven mentioned in the New Testament is in I Cor. 5. Here, a Christian is living in incest with his mother (or step-mother). The Corinthians, living in a city of debauchery, boasted about this. We may not understand this, but it was a source of pride to them to be associated with such a person; to be able to say so-and-so was a Christian. Paul corrects them on their false concept of separation (you separate from believers who are involved in overt, immoral behavior; not unbelievers). Paul points out that this kind of overt immoral behavior would corrupt, or leaven, the entire church if left unchecked and this person must be excommunicated. Paul lists the kinds of believers with whom we are not to associate: immoral, covetous, swindlers, idolaters, revilers and drunkards.

       c)    The problem with the Galatians is that after salvation, they were infiltrated with the legalists who enjoined them to keep the law for spirituality. All the Judaizers had to do was to get the Galatians to concede to them in one point; to follow the Sabbath or to get circumcised in order to maintain their salvation or to further their spirituality, and this would corrupt the Galatian church. Paul points out in Gal. 5:9, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." To make this simple for someone who does not cook; it only takes a small amount of yeast to cause a large loaf of bread to rise. In this situation, it only takes a small amount of legalism to corrupt the entire church.

 5.    In Lev. 7:13, we have the introduction of leaven into one of the offerings. This instance of leaven (or yeast) in the bread did not violate the prohibitions found in Ex. 23:18 or Lev. 2:11 because this was not an offering which was burned at the brazen altar; in other words, it did not represent Christ's death upon the cross. Jesus Christ had no old sin nature, so anything offered in conjunction with the brazen altar had to be without leaven. However, when the offering speaks of us and our fellowship with God, we do carry an old sin nature within us and therefore should be offering up bread with leaven.

 6.    Our conclusion is simple: leaven is associated with corruption of true doctrine with false; of proper behavior with immorality; of a congregation dedicated to God by those who are not; or leaven is associated with the old sin nature, which is why it is never found in burnt offerings (signifying the death of our Lord) but it is found in other offerings.

This doctrine was short enough to include it within the text of Exodus.


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"'Both Footnote on the first day [you shall have] a holy convocation and on the seventh day a holy convocation shall there be to you. You will not do any work during that time, except only that which must be eaten by every soul; that alone shall be prepared by you." [Ex. 12:16]

 

The Hebrew word for convocation is miqerâ (א ָר  ׃ק  ̣ם ) [pronounced mik-RAW] and it means assembly, a callling together for worship or for sacred rites. So that this is not misinterpreted, God recognizes that the children of Israel must eat and it would be allowable to prepare meals during this time. The bizarre statutes and rules which later characterized the Sabbath were not a part of the Law but added by legalistic religious fanatics who were trying to be saved by works Footnote . It is not clear what they have in terms of divine revelation or just how much the Jews have in oral tradition. A week is a long time without some structure. Therefore, God will give some structure to this time period.

 

"'So then you will observe the [feasts of the] unleavened cakes because on this same day I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt; so then you will observe this day to your generations as an eternal statute." [Ex. 12:17]


God will, in the law, set up the feast days, but he is also doing it in time; which is a part of the principle of unfolding or progressive revelation. It took awhile before we got to the point to where all necessary revelation had been given to us. In fact, we are the first dispensation where that was true. We are one of the few nations where the Scripture is not only available but it is available in great abundance. Even though decent Bible teaching is difficult to find, God has promised us if we desire to know the doctrine, God will reveal it to us. At this point in time in this Exodus generation, we are taking it a step at a time.

 

The unleavened cakes speaks of pure, unadulterated, uncorrupted doctrine and relationship with God. The word "hosts" is the Hebrew word tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ ) [pronounced tsaw-BAW] and means a mass of persons, usually organized for war. Wilson adds that everyone is appointed to their proper duty stations and is expected to perform their proper function. At this point in time, Israel had no army; they were slaves. God was going to change all that. God expected them to trust Him and ths would involve marshaling an army and taking the land which He gave to them. We may question this, but God knows much better than we do what He is doing. Men who are willing to sacrifice their lives and to fight for their country are much more selfless and less arrogant and pompous than those who would refuse to stand up for their country or those who must be emotionally stimulated before they are willing to fight. Furthermore, the land was filled with a cancer which needed to be cut out. God will achieve His ends through the armies of Israel.

 

"'In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening you will eat unleavened cakes until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening.'" [Ex. 12:18]


This is a repetition of what God has said. He is making it very clear that during this third week of this first month—the Passover week—there would be no spiritual corruption. God is summarizing portions of this week. However, we learn from this verse that it will be the Jewish custom to determine days from evening to evening. We technically observe a new day at midnight. Unofficially, a new day for most of us begins somewhere between 4 am and 7 am.

 

"'For seven days, leaven shall not be found in your houses for whoever eats what is leavened then shall that soul be cut off out of the assembly of Israel whether an immigrant or a native of the land.'" [Ex. 12:19]


Notice here that God is calling the Israelites natives of the land. They have not even left Egypt yet, but God is outside of time and recognizes that they will possess the land and they will for the rest of history be tied to this land (although they may not possess it as God has intended until the end of human history). The Jews are spoken of as being in the land with immigrants. The way that the Jews would be a witness to other countries would cause those in other countries to come to Israel for spiritual food. Sometimes God would cause people to wander through Israel that He could evangelize them through Israel. Part of the evangelization process which was done on those who are the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and on those who had recently immigrated to the country, or were passing through.


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Moses Speaks to the Elders of Israel Concerning These New Rituals

 

"'Nothing leavened will you eat; in all your dwellings you will eat unleavened cakes.'" [Ex. 12:20]


We have examined the concept of leaven as being corruption and infiltration of false doctrine. What is abundantly clear is that God will not tolerate corruption of His Word. Here, the same thing is being said in the negative and in the positive sense to emphasize the importance of this portion of God's ritual.

 

So then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Drag and take for yourselves a lamb, according to your families and kill the Passover [lamb or goat]." [Ex. 12:21]

 

God has told the Jews to mâshake (׃ך ַש ָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAK] which means sow, prolong, develop, march, draw, drag; obviously it is a verb with many applications. Too often, the translations downplay this language. It sounds too much like the Jews are going out a selecting a Christmas tree. They are going to go into the flock and grab a lamb; they were to drag a lamb out of the flock and kill it, just as Jesus was dragged from His place of prayer to trial and to His crucifixion. It sounded incongruous to the Jews at that time (and to some more recent translators) to choose a lamb without spot and blemish, but then to drag it out of the flock; but this is a perfect picture of our Lord at the crucifixion.


Furthermore: what is it that they are killing? Obviously they are killing the Passover lamb, but it does not say that. On the one hand, it is a metonymy where Passover stands for the Passover lamb—that is fairly obvious. However, the One Who is passing over is God the Son; He is taking the lives of the first-born; and right here the Israelites are told to kill the Passover—they are told to kill Jesus Christ, their Passover lamb, the One passing over them that night. You might say that this is a double-metonymy; literally and in the past, they are killing the Passover lamb. However, typically and in the future, they will kill the true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, Whom God the Father will see slain in our stead and Passover us. Even though this is the vocabulary and the literary style of Moses, God the Holy Spirit, Who knows the end from the beginning, speaks through Moses in such a way that we can see that the entire Bible is the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16), perceived of as a whole in eternity past, yet written down in various times for our growth, our edification today.


Now Moses passes these instructions onto the elders of Israel. There has always been a heirarchy of authority, even in the spiritual realm. God speaks to Moses and Moses to the elders and the elders to the heads of the families and they to their families. Part of it is logistical—there is no way that Moses can effectively address all of the people, lacking a newspaper and a public address system. Part of it is that in God's plan; God speaks to most of us through His Word and not directly.

 

"Then you will take a bunch of hyssop and dip it into the blood which is in the basin and strike [lit., cause to touch] the upper beam and the two door posts with the blood which is in the basin; and you will not go forth any man out of the entrance of his house until morning." [Ex. 12:22]


The Jews must remain in the house protected by God. This speaks of our fellowship with Him. We always have a wall of fire, a wall of protection; however, when we fall out of fellowship, we do not lose this wall, but we are subject to discipline, which can be quite harsh.


Although Hyssop is found several times throughout the Old and New Testaments, we do not know what plant the Old Testament referred to by hyssop. However, the type of plant is not as important as its significance. It is used here at the first Passover and in several other places (the purification rites for lepers and the red heifer sacrifice).

HYSSOP

1.    Sources disagree as to what the hyssop is and some claim that the NT hyssop and the OT hyssop are different plants. Some claim to know what the New Testament plant was but not the Old Testament plant. Some believe that a different plant is used throughout the OT, even though it is called by the same name.

2.    When the Bible was translated into the KJV, they certainly did not know what the hyssop was, so they transliterated the word out of the Greek. The Greek word is ὕσσοπος (hus'-sō-pos) and it is found in only two New Testament passages, John 19:29 and Heb. 9:19, and it is found in the Septuagint. This would indicate that the translators of the Septuagint in 300 b.c knew what the hyssop was. It was, after all, used in the various purification rites as set down by the OT during that period of time. It is possible that over the centuries, because God's Word had been misplaced and because the Jews were in reversionism many times, that a different plant could have come to be used by the Jews and that would account for the NT hyssop and the OT hyssop being different. Therefore, this change, if it occurred, would have taken place prior to the translation of the Septuagint.

3.    The opinions: Dr. William Smith in Smith's Bible Dictionary defers Dr. Royle, who claims that the hyssop is not marjoram or some similar aromatic plant, but, after considerable research, claims that it is the caper-plant of Linnæus. He also points out that the Arabic word is quite similar to the Hebrew word translated hyssop. The New Bible Dictionary asserts that the hyssop is not the plant presently called Hyssopus officialis L., which is found growing in Southern Europe but is not native to Palestine, but very likely the marjoram in the Old Testament and the Sorghum vulgare in the New Testament (at least at the crucifixion). Other possibilities are listed there. Although what the plant was exactly is unimportant, it is reasonable to expect that the two references in the New Testament are the same plant and very likely refer to the same plant in the OT (since the Septuagint uses the same word—however, it is found therein in both the male and female gender, which is why, I suspect, that The New Bible Dictionary said that the OT references did not always seem to be for the same species). Zodhiates groups the hyssop to a group fo plants such as the Egyptian marjoram and thyme. Their hairy stems would serve well as a brush, he points out.1

4.    Whatever the plant, no previous non-ceremonial, Biblical references exist and it is closely associated with various purification rites in the Old Testament:

       a)   It is used in Ex. 12:22 in conjunction with the first Passover. It was dipped into the blood of the lamb (or goat) and the blood was brushed on the top and sides of the doorposts throughout the houses of the Jewish believers. This also helps to explain why God brought so many plagues upon Egypt prior to this plague. We have seen that the Jews did not receive Moses warmly; especially after his first meeting with Pharaoh (where he increased the workload of the Jewish slaves). They had to see continual signs and wonders to become (11) believers and to (2) have the sense to follow Moses. Had God given only or two plagues, then many Jews would not have participated in the Passover and their firstborn would have died. It will be their sons and daughters who will enter the land; not the Jewish slaves of that time period.

       b)   We do not find hyssop mentioned again until Lev. 14:4,6,49,51 and 52. Here, it is used in the purification rites of a leper (and the house where leprosy was). A leper on the outside has the same appearance as we do on the inside. A leper being cured of leprosy is analogous to an unbeliever believing in Jesus Christ and being cleansed and purified. A leper is considered to be unclean and only the healed lepers were a part of this ritual. This ritual made them ceremonially clean. This ceremony, like most of the OT rites, speaks of Christ dying for our sins on the cross, the just for the unjust and His blood (spiritual death) cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

       c)    The hyssop is used in the red heifer sacrifice in Num. 19:6,18

       d)   1Kings 4:33 tells us that the hyssop plant grows on the wall (the context is Solomon's wisdom and academic excellence in all areas).

       e)   David alludes to the hyssop in one of his Psalms (51:7) and relates it to purification.

5.    What is interesting is that Hebrews adds information to what the OT tells us about what occurred in the OT. Since God's Word is accurate, we must accept this additional information as true. In Ex. 24, Moses has just finished reading the Words of the Law to the people in the desert and vv. 6–7- read And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people and they said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do and we will be obedient!" So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people and said, "Behold, the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words." Heb. 9:19 tells us For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people. That is, Hebrews tells us that the blood was also sprinkled on the book of the Law and that water, scarlet wool and hyssop was involved.

6.     John 19:29 is the final reference to hyssop in the Bible. Jesus, after He had died spiritually for our sins, was given a small amount of sour wine on a hyssop. How appropriate that the lamb without spot and blemish would be associated with this plant after our sins had been paid for and that God the Holy Spirit could see down the centuries of time to this when He included the use of the hyssop in the various OT purification rituals.

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"And Yahweh will pass through to kill the Egyptians and when He sees the blood on the upper beam and on the two door posts, then Yahweh will pass over the entrance and not allow the destroyer to enter into your houses to strike [you]." [Ex. 12:23]


Although Bullinger lists this as an anthropopathism, it is and it isn't. God is omnipresent; He cannot confine Himself to a point in space. Therefore, it is impossible for Him to pass through any area, per se. However, the Lord Jesus Christ took on angelic form, human form, the form of a burning bush, etc. He is the revealed member of the Godhead and when one is said to see God, that one sees a manifestation of God; not God Himself for God is a Spirit. He no more sees God than we see our family or friends; we see the bodies that they inhabit, but we do not see their souls, their immaterial part, which makes up the greater portion of what is them. We generally like and dislike people for what they are inside and not for the outer covering. I personally have seen many beautiful women that once you began to unwrap them (that is, you get to know them well enough to peer into their souls) they suddenly lose a great deal of their attractiveness. You can have two people who are in physically the same package—that is, who appear to be twins—but inside they are so totally different that you could love one and hate the other. So, even though God is a Spirit, as God the Son, He manifests Himself in many ways. We do not know whether there was any kind of a physical manifestation here or not (none seems to be indicated), however there was a certain personal touch in the visiting of each Egyptian household as the first-born is taken from them in death.


When we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, God does not see us; His righteousness does not examine our unrighteousness. Instead of seeing us, His righteousness sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are covered by Christ's blood. This is all symbolic of that. God passed over these people wherever He saw the blood, since that looked forward to the blood of Christ; i.e., His death on our behalf on the cross. I have come to despise some of the Christian sayings because they are made to sound trite and trivialized, but this is what covered by the blood means.

 

"And you will observe this rite [or, what I have charged you with] as a statute to yourselves and to your sons until eternity." [Ex. 12:24]

 

What I have translated as rite is the word dâbâr (ר ָב ָ) [pronounced daw-BAWR] which essentially means speech, word, discourse, saying, charge, utterance, matter, affair, cause, way, manner. It is a reference to what is spoken; a one word consistent translation is difficult and it is found translated in almost as many different ways as it is found in the Old Testament. Like the Eucharist, the Jews were to observe this forever. This would always call them bak to the time that they were spared because God saw the blood of the sacrificial lamb on their doorways and did not strike them. For the many Jews who believe in Jesus Christ, this is one of the many passages which will suddenly have meaning that it did not before.

 

"And so it will come to pass when you enter into the land which Yahweh will give you, as He has spoken; and you shall observe this service." [Ex. 12:25]

 

Service is the word ׳ăbôdâh (ה ָדֹבְַע) [pronounced ab-o-DAW] and it can mean labor, service and work which is related to servitude or to the temple.

 

"And it shall come to pass that your sons shall say to you, 'What does this service mean to you [lit., what is this service to you]?'" [Ex. 12:26]


The service being spoken of is, of course, the Passover rite. It was designed to be a teaching aide. This verse makes that clear. While participating in this rite, years hence, certainly the younger persons who were not on the Exodus will wonder why their fathers have a custom or a ritual such as this. That is to allow an opening to explain their relationship to the living God. Ritual without reality is meaningless. This is to help the young person get the gospel revealed to him and the older person to speak of Yahweh God to his sons and daughters.

 

"Then you will say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to Yahweh because He passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt, when He killed the Egyptians; but over our houses He spared [lit., delivered].'" Then the people bent their heads and bowed themselves down [Ex. 12:27]

 

One of the most important words in the New Testament is the word saved and its many variations and cognates. The corresponding Hebrew word is found in this verse: nâtsal (ל ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAL] and it means deliver, snatch away, save, escape from, rescue, recover. Found several hundred times in the Old Testament, it is used primarily for temporal deliverance as a shadow of eternal deliverance.

 

And the sons of Israel went their way and did; as Yahweh commanded Moses and Aaron so they did. [Ex. 12:28]


A month prior to this, Moses and Aaron could have come to the people with these instructions and they would not have listened. The Plagues opened them up to God's direction and Moses' leadership. Every now and again, the passage mentions Aaron so that we know he is still there.


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The Final Plague Is Executed

 

And it came to pass at midnight that Yahweh struck down every first-born in the land of Egypt from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat upon his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the pit of his prison; even every first-born of beasts. [Ex. 12:29]


This plague of plagues affected every man and beast in Egypt, from the least to the greatest. This was to be the devastating plague, the one which caused despair beyond belief throughout the land of Egypt.


There is a reasonable possibility Footnote that we have historical evidence that the son of the Pharaoh of Egypt was slain in this judgement. On the timetable for Israel, the Exodus occurred 480 years prior to the laying of the cornerstone for Solomon's temple (1Kings 6:1), which occurred four years after Solomon began his reign. If Solomon began his reign in 970 b.c. then this cornerstone would have been laid in 966 b.c. This places the date of the Exodus in 1446–1445 b.c. With regards to the Egyptian time frame: Thutmose III of the Eighteenth dynasty was likely the Pharaoh of oppression from whom Moses fled in Ex. 2:11–15. He died in 1447 b.c. His son, Amenhotep II became the Pharaoh of the Exodus. He was succeeded by his son, Thutmose IV, who ruled from 1421–1410 b.c. We have either a stone or a pillar which was discovered in the shrine that is connected to the great Sphinx at Gizeh, where Thutmose IV recorded a dream that he had. In this dream, he meets the god Harmakhis-Khepri-Re-Atum, who promises him his kingdom on earth (that is, the rulership of Egypt). There are conditions placed upon this, such as he needed to grab a shovel and remove the sand which stood in the way of the chapel door between the huge paws of the Sphinx. However, this would seem foolish for a crown prince, the person next in line for the throne to dream and then record. He is going to be the next in line for the throne anyway, so this would be superfluous unless he was not the crown prince, but the next in line after the crown prince. Then a dream like this would be meaningful enough to remember and later to record. This would imply that his older brother met with an untimely death, allowing him to assume the throne over Egypt.

 

Then the Pharaoh rose up by night, and and all of his servants and all of the Egyptians; and there arose a great outcry throughout Egypt, because there was not a house where there was not one dead. [Ex. 12:30]


Even though the Egyptians, for the most part, did not believe yet, they still could not sleep. Whether there was any noise to accompany these deaths or not, we are not told. However, there are two reasons that many of these Egyptians would awaken in the middle of the night to find their first-born dead. (1) Even though these are unbelievers who refused to acquire God's mercy, they still have seen plague after plague of God's power. Many of them perhaps believed the scientist of their day who ascribed all of the plagues to natural phenomena and who asserted that Moses was a lucky prophet who called all the shots right. (2) Secondly, there is often an unexplained almost ethereal bond between parents and their children and certainly when the first-born in many households died, the parents suddenly found themselves awakened. Whatever sound may have occurred in the deaths of the first-born, this was nothing compared to the sad cry of each Egyptian who had lost a son or daughter.


To many, this will seem even beyond cruel. Recall, however, that these Egyptians have seen the hand of God in their lives for the past month doing things that have never been seen before throughout the history of Egypt; some since the foundation of the world. They viewed all of this firsthand. All any Egyptian had to do was go and inquire of the Jews how to avoid this plague. Certainly, with what had been occurring, every time Moses spoke to Pharaoh, word of this spread throughout this area as quickly as a modern-day newscast. All they needed to do is to believe Yahweh enough to slaughter a lamb without spot or blemish and to put the blood on the door posts of their home. Certainly, you would think that the life of their son or daughter would be worth that much. At the very worst, they faced the ostracism of their neighbors, friends and relatives. This is no different than salvation; an unbeliever need only believe in Jesus Christ. He does not need to do anything else and he will be spared eternity in the lake of fire. Very little is required of us by God in order to apprehend salvation other than a small amount of positive volition toward God. What the unbeliever faces is far worse than the death of their first-born and what is required of them is far less. If you are personally concerned about an unbeliever, then tell them about God's grace and how little is required to save them from a burning hell.


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Israel Is Ordered to Exodus

 

So he [Pharaoh] called for Moses and for Aaron by night and said, "Rise up and get out of the midst of my people, both you and the sons of Israel, and go serve Yahweh according to your word." [Ex. 12:31]


Pharaoh has finally given in to the pressures. He is allowing them to go into the desert to celebrate their relationship to Yahweh, but he will later put forth a series of actions which will make it impossible for the Jews to return to Egypt. Being Pharaoh, all three verbs are in the Qal imperative—as though he has some control over this matter.

 

"[Also], take your flocks and your herds, as you have required [lit., spoke] and go. [In doing all of this] so you shall bless even me." [Ex. 12:32]


This verse has two Qal imperatives. Bless is in the Piel perfect; an intensive stem which views the action as a completed result. Although this is not the end of Pharaoh hardening his heart, at this point in time he has unconditionally surrendered. There are no clauses or incentives to return to Egypt once the Jews leave. In fact, Pharaoh has told them in these two verses, three times to go (two different words, all in the Qal imperative). He is not requiring them to leave their firstborn, their animals or anything else. Pharaoh does not believe in Yahweh at this time, but he is at his wit's end. He has been beaten and Yahweh has allowed him to yield. In the exodus of the Jews, Pharaoh says that this would bless even him. What would have been more of a blessing to him would have been to believe in Yahweh and to go with them. However, he has chosen to remain an unbeliever.

 

And the Egyptians became urgent with the people to send them in haste out of the land, for they said, "We all are dying." [Ex. 12: 33]


The free labor of the Jews was no longer important enough to retain them. The Egyptians who sent them out were not believers. They were not all dying. God specifically struck down the first-born as He said He would do. The Jews in the land was not in of itself a curse to them. However, like most people, they perceived what they wanted to perceive. What God had intended to do was clear and specific. Their solution was also clear and specific. What God was not doing was killing them all. However, they had no idea what other plagues might come next.


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Preparation to Leave and Exodus from Egypt

 

So the people took up their dough, before it was leavened, along with their kneading bowls, bound up in their clothing, [and placed all of this] on their shoulders. [Ex. 12:34]


Here we cover the preparations for departure. The idea behind the unleavened bread, which we hear about over and over again is, the Jews were in such a hurry to leave that they did not have time let their bread rise. However, taking the bread before it was leavened was as much symbolic as it was real. This was leaving in a pure state without corruption. It did, in all actuality, occur; however, God the Holy Spirit points this out to indicate that the Jews who left Egypt were saved.


 

And the sons of Israel did according to the word of Moses and asked of the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold and clothing. [Ex. 12:35]


This verse fulfills Gen. 15:14, wherein God promises to Moses: "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward, they will come out with many possessions." There are a combination of two things occurring here. When friends part or when a servant leaves, a gift is in order; however, in some cases, the Egyptian owners were willing to give anything to cause the Jews to leave. We certainly had both groups, although after the death of their first-born, those who did not follow the Passover procedure were certainly more embittered toward the Jews, even though the loss of their first-born was their own fault.


As had been mentioned, not all Egyptians despised the Jews. As in any group of peoples, there were pro-Semitics and anti-Semitics. God nowhere ordered the execution of the Egyptians. They had not, as a people, reached a point of no-return degeneracy. Some followed the instructions of Yahweh and many did not. After having slaves of these people for a long time, there were certainly those who looked down upon them and others who looked upon the Jews with true affection and respect (we had the same thing when the United States had the institution of slavery; it is just that the latter aspect receives very little attention).

 

And Yahweh gave the people grace in the eyes of the Egyptians and they gave them gladly; so they retrieved (despoiled) [from] the Egyptians. [Ex. 12:36]

 

The final verb, nâtsal ( ל ַצ ָנ ) [pronounced naw-TSAL], requires some explanation. In the Niphal, it means to deliver oneself or to be delivered; in the Hiphil, it means to snatch away or to deliver. However, here, it is in the Piel imperfect and it means to strip off or to spoil. The imperfect views only a portion of an event, without reference to its completed action, and the Piel is an accomplished act, often expressing intensity. Our concept of spoiling is taking wealth by force. This is not what occurred. For 400 years, the Jews have served the Egyptians as slaves and this is what is due them. They are not being compensated for 400 years of slave labor, but they were requesting back pay and remuneration for themselves, the ones who actually were slaves during that generation from those who, in that generation, benefitted economically from the slavery. They Jews were not blackmailing the Egyptians; they had worked for hundreds of years for the Egyptians and they were requesting a small amount of remuneration as opposed to years of back pay;.


Their enslavement earned this. Furthermore, this is a fulfillment of Gen. 15:14 (and, of course, of Ex. 3:22). Even though the final, divine recording of Genesis possibly occurred after the Exodus, this was written in the original records hundreds of years prior to this point in time and it had certainly been preserved in historical documents which the Jews had kept. As a further digression, given Moses' previous life in the palace as an Egyptian, and then leaving Egypt quickly and marrying a Midianite, it was unlikely that Moses had access to these documents from which to write Genesis until his wanderings with this generation through the desert. Some family or families apparently preserved the documents from which Moses wrote Genesis. For a further examination of this, see the authorship of Moses in the introduction to Genesis.

 

Then did the sons of Israel journeyed up from Rameses towards Succoth; about six hundred thousand grown men on foot, besides little ones. [Ex. 12:37]


The number of Jews to exodus Egypt were determined in a variety of ways. This listed just the adult males themselves; there would have been an equal number of females and a large number of children; and there would have been some Egyptians who believed in Yahweh. Altogether, this would be approximately 2,000,000.


This is misinterpreted by some as meaning 600 families, leaving in small, scattered groups. Manfred Barthel the author of What the Bible Really Says, has a good idea once in a great while. However, he reads the Bible lightly and then, remembering one or two small portions of it, jots down a few ideas that might sound reasonable to the very casual reader. He, like many of those of the liberal Christian persuasion, has tried to tone down the Scriptures, remove anything which might be supernatural, miraculous or exclusive. Once and awhile, he hits upon a good idea not pursued by others, but most of what he has to offer is not in keeping with the actual text and the related texts. This idea is a prime example. His thought of the exodus is a few families left Egypt, a few at a time; in small groups, with very little fanfare, and this explains why we do not hear much about them in Egyptian history. If one believes that the archeological records unearthed as they pertain to Egypt reign in the area of truth, and that the Bible is but a religious book filled with a great deal of mythology and legend, the his approach is rational. However, in Genesis, we pursued the Bible, its purpose, the reality of it in our study of the Scriptures, and have found it to be nothing short of God's Word to man, unadulterated with myth or fiction. Therefore, the idea that the exodus was a few families leaving in scattered shifts hardly accounts for the repeated incredible growth which the Bible speaks of so frequently and does not jive whatsoever with numbers given at later times for those who did leave Egypt.


Rameses (or, Ra'amses) was once the residence of Rameses II, (c. 1290–1234 b.c.). However, some scholars put this date for the Exodus at 1447 b.c. and some believe that Rameses II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Out of the eleven Pharaohs named Rameses, not one is mentioned by name in the Bible. This city was very likely known as Rameses as far back as 500 years prior to the Exodus (Gen. 47:11 50:26 Ex. 12:41); it is possible, however, that this is the area where Joseph's family was settled and it was later called Rameses (yet identified by Moses as Rameses so that the reader of that time would know what area that he was speaking of).

 

Moreover, a mixed multitude came up with them; and flocks and herds—a very large number of livestock. [Ex. 12:38]


There seem to be two differing viewpoints on these dates. The fourth year of Solomon's reign is said to be 480 years after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt. I have two dates in my notes at this point: 960 b.c. or 870 b.c., taking the Exodus back to 1440 b.c. at the end of the 40 year wanderings to as late as 1350 b.c. as the beginning of the Exodus; depending upon whether departing from Egypt was the initial leaving of Egypt or the final wandering in the desert prior to entering into the promised land. Those scholars placing Moses flight at 1482 b.c. see him as fleeing Thuthmosis III (1482 b.c), whose death is mentioned in Ex. 2:23, making Amenhotep II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. However, we have the Jews, in Ex. 1:11, building the cities of Pithom and Rameses, the latter capitol a project continued by Rameses after having been begun by his father, Seti I.and likely named after Rameses II (as Rameses I only reigned for a year). This would place the Exodus after 1300 b.c., and since the Jews are spoken of as being in the land around 1220 b.c., the Exodus, by this viewpoint, is ikely between 1290-1260 b.c. (see Chronology of the NASB for more details). At the point of this writing, I personally have no real preference. I have further notes from Thieme on this in Acts 13. The explanation given to the 1Kings 6:1 passage is that each set of 40 years is approximate, referring to roughly a generation, and twelve generations from Moses to Solomon are spoken of in this dating. I don't know that I buy that yet.


We will hear about this mixed multitude later. These are likely Egyptians and others (inducing Egyptian slaves who were not Jews) who also believed in Jesus Christ and chose to go with the Jews. Such an accompaniment should be viewed as a positive thing; however, Scofield believes that the mixed multitude caused trouble (Num. 11:4–6). He is not the only one. A significant number of commentators give these people a bad rap. The mixed multitude are often made the scapegoat for Israel's apostasy in the desert. The commentators who hold this view are absolutely wrong. It is like they never read the rest of the Pentateuch. Every time rebellions are recorded and men are disciplined, those men are Jews. The problem was not with those who had been evangelized and chose to cast their lot with the Jews—the problem was with those who did not believe God's Word and rebelled against God's elected leaders. Their ethnic origins were not an issue. Those in rebellion are the entire generation of Jews who are twenty years or older at the time of the first census (which means we are talking about everyone who is in this exodus generation who is roughly eighteen or nineteen or older—let me repeat that, everyone!) Like the Jews, there were certainly those who were positive toward God's Word and those who were not; the latter causing many of the problems. This mixed multitude will include a younger generation and the adults. Everyone from that mixed multitude who are eighteen or above will die the sin unto death in the desert. Everyone who is a Jew who is eighteen or above will die the sin unto death. There are only four or six exceptions. So it is not the problem of the mixed multitude. They will never be mentioned as a separate entity again. In fact, if anything, these of the mixed multitude are to be commended. These are Egyptians who have forsaken their homeland, have gone against their culture, and have departed to be with God's people. This mixed multitude is not any more a problem to Israel than the Israelites themselves. What appears to be the case is, these people seemed to completely integrate into the Jewish society. Since they are never spoken of separately again, I believe that they became as Jewish as anyone with the actual genes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They probably intermarried and had sons and daughters who were therefore Jewish.


The exact route is unknown at this time; however, Rameses was certainly going to be near the Great Sea (the Meditterranean Sea), off the Nile. Goshen is South-east of there and the Jews seemed to go in a Southeasterly direction toward the Gulf of Suez, called the Red (Reed) Sea. There are several areas where they may have crossed the Red Sea (or, actually, a tributary thereof).

 

They then baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into round unleavened cakes, for it had not yet become leavened, for they had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay, and they certainly had not made any provisions [in advance] for themselves. [Ex. 12:39]


God has told Moses what will occur and Moses has certainly told the elders of Israel. This is an indication that their faith in Yahweh still left something to be desired. They were not ready at all for a march across the desert. At the darkness or shortly before, the Jews should have been involved in preparing their foodstuffs and packing their things for a trip out of Egypt. However, their faith was not quite that strong. When the first-born died, the Egyptians could not get rid of the Israelites quick enough. they were given whatever they asked for and implored to leave immediately. There's nothing wrong with making up a sandwich when God tells you that you are going on a long trip.


It is interesting that we find a reason here for unleavened bread: they did not have time to hang around and let the bread rise. Now, the reason for unleavened bread would later become, the leaven represented the infiltration of false doctrine, but these two reasons are intermingled. The Jews had to separate from Egypt; they could not have simply established their independence there in Goshen—God was taking them into their land, and, in part, to separate them from the leaven of the Egyptian culture and religion. Had they remained for any amount of time, they might have been persuaded to remain in slavery, so they baked bread without leaven so that they could bake it, take it and go.

 

Now the time during which the sons of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. [Ex. 12:40]


This is not the best translation, but what we have is good enough to relay what it is that we need to know—the amount of time that the Jews were in Egypt. This is emphasized in the next verse. When you see it twice like this, you know that this is the exact time period. Bullinger has something to say about this verse which I do not quite understand. It appears to be his claim that this verse does not say that the sons of Israel dwelt in Egypt for 430 years; however, He, like a few other commentators, reckon this sojourning of 430 years as beginning with Abraham's temporary move to Egypt. However, when one takes the four generations, the 430 years (both of which are discussed below) along with the 400 years of enslavement) there is no way that this jives with Bullinger's interpretation. I respect Bullinger in the extreme, but I just won't dance with his daughter here.

 

And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years—in fact, it was on this very same day, all the armies of Yahweh had come forth out of the land of Egypt [and into the land of Canaan] Footnote . [Ex. 13:41]


God gives us this time frame in His Word so we should work with it. This is an exact, literal 430 years. Two things should be examined here: the time period and the population. Exodus begins by telling us that there were seventy Israelites who came to Egypt at that point in time, seventy-five in all, including Joseph and his entire family—which would have had to include one daughter (Gen. 41:50 46:26–27 Ex. 1:5 Acts 7:14). Ex. 12:37 38:26 and Num. 2:32 tell us that this population grew to 603,550 adult males. It was predicted in Gen. 15:13 that "Know for certain that your [Abraham's} descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. In modern measuring systems, when we say something measures 14.8 inches, this means that it is closer to 14.8 inches than it is to 14.7 or 14.9 inches. That is, it falls between 14.75 and 14.85 inches. This is how accuracy, precision and significant digits works. When dealing in the hundreds, this would mean that this is closer to 400 than it is to 300 or 500 years. It is an approximation. That is, this falls between 350 and 450 years. This would indicate that Israel was enslaved between 30 and 80 years after Joseph brought his family into the land. In the same context, we read, "Then, in the fourth generation, they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete" (Gen. 15:16). We already have the time frame here (and from other passages) so this allows us to understand the four generations as it is used here. We might picture these four generations as those four men who bridged the gap between Joseph and Moses. Those four generations are spoken of in Ex. 6:16–26. We begin with the son of Jacob, Levi (v. 16), who is the ancestor of Kohath (v. 16), who is the ancestor of Amram (v. 18), who is the father of Moses (v. 20). As was mentioned back in Ex. 6:20, these four men are the four generations who bridge the gap between Jacob and Moses; whose ages add up to be approximately 400 years. It is their lives that are spoken of in Gen. 15:16, which bridge the gap from rulership to citizenship to slavery to the exodus. Although we are never told this, who knows but that maybe it was these particular men who kept the records which wer later organized or copied into the book that we call Genesis, and passed down to the descendant best qualified to guard and protect these Scriptures. I am continually in awe when I compare Scripture with Scripture to see the complete accuracy with which each verse is recorded, when it is taken in context and compared with passages which modify and explain it. This is a prime example.


Gal. 3:16 reads; Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed, He does not say, And to seeds, as referring to many, but rather to one, And to your seed, that is Christ. What I am saying is this: the Law, which came 430 years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. This tells us that the beginning of this 430 years began with Joseph Footnote . Jacob, the last person to whom the promises were made prior to the Jews' bondage to Egypt. Stephen tells us, in Acts 7:6. "But God spoke to this effect, that his offspring would be aliens in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years." (See also Gen. 15:13). Because of the phrasing, we may take the 430 years as exact and the 400 years as approximate (the slight difference in the population figures indicates that sometimes numbers are rounded as approximate). God made promises to Abraham and his heirs; specifically to Jacob in Gen. 46:2–4 (see also 48:2–4). The Pharaoh, in Joseph's day, gave the land of Goshen to the Jews in Gen. 47:1–6. Therefore, I would place the beginning point of the 430 years at Gen. 47:11 and 27. Joseph would have died approximately 25–50 years after Jacob's death (who died almost immediately after bringing his family to the land of Egypt; Gen. 49:33 50:15–21). During this 25–50 years, the sons of Israel were very prosperous and prolific. Joseph had even been around to see three generations of his son's sons (Gen. 50:33). Shortly after Joseph's death, very possibly less than a decade later, there arose a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph or the history of the Jews, other than they were quite numerous and they wre not Egyptians. My impression is that this would be a young and arrogant Pharaoh who believes that he has all the answers and this Pharaoh enslaved the people of Israel. This would have been 70–200 years after the settling of the Jews in Egypt (enough time for at least two or three generations of Jews) and would give us the number of years that they were in slavery between 370 and 400 years (which is approximately 400 years). Maybe I should have done this in points!