The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 8

Exo 8:2

FROGS: Egyptians worshiped the frog-headed goddess Hica.

"The goddess of midwifery took the rather bizarre form of a frog" (M Vincent, Tes 72:252).

Exo 8:3

THE NILE WILL TEEM WITH FROGS: This borrows language from the Genesis creation account. The waters will "bring forth" (AV) all manner of fish and water creatures, as in Gen 1:3. But this time it is only one species of creation which is to be brought forth, and in ridiculous quantities. God is showing that He is not obliged to keep the wonderful processes of nature in check, with all their diversity and order. Other processes, abhorrent to man, are quite within His power -- but by His grace mankind is generally spared such spectacles.

Exo 8:6

AND COVERED THE LAND: Cp description of the flood of Noah's day (Gen 7:19,20).

Exo 8:9

I LEAVE TO YOU THE HONOR OF SETTING THE TIME: The KJV has "Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee?" -- which is difficult. The NIV is much better: ' there will be no thought that the miracle occurred only by chance!'

Exo 8:11

THEY WILL REMAIN ONLY IN THE NILE: The frogs are out of place, but they can be returned to their rightful place (in the river) if Pharaoh behaves in the appropriate way. Israel too is out of place (in Egypt), and Pharaoh must do the right thing by sending them on their way to a place where they do belong!

Exo 8:14

AND THE LAND REEKED OF THEM: As it did from the dead fish of the first plague (Exo 7:18,21).

Exo 8:18

BUT WHEN THE MAGICIANS TRIED... THEY COULD NOT: The magicians attempt to keep up with God by copying this miracle, as (seemingly) they have done before! We sometimes behave like the magicians, thinking we can keep up with God, or match Him or beat Him in some way, and sometimes He may let us deceive ourselves for a time. But in the end that is all we shall be doing -- deceiving ourselves.

Exo 8:19

THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD: Even the magicians admit God's superiority. They cannot create life. "This is obviously the power of God."

As if to say, 'If this is what God can do with His finger, just imagine what He can do with His hand or arm! Just think what the use of the totality of God's power might portend!'

Exo 8:21

IF YOU DO NOT LET MY PEOPLE GO, I WILL SEND...: There is a play on words here. Both "let" and "send" come from the same Heb rt: "shalach", to send. 'Send my people out of Egypt,' God tells Pharaoh, 'or I will do some "sending" of My own!'

SWARMS: Heb "arob" = a great mixed multitude (cp "Arab") of... perhaps flies, but perhaps also beasts of all kinds (see AV mg).

FLIES: Directed against Beelzebub -- the lord of flies, dunghill. (Cleanliness vital to Egyptian religion.) See Mat 12:24-27: Beelzebub = prince of demons.

What kind of flies? Different possibilities are suggested: (1) LXX has the "dog fly" or "stable fly" -- a vicious blood-sucking insect known to transmit anthrax and other animal diseases; (2) the Egyptian beetle; (3) Stomoxys calcitrans, another disease-bearing fly that preys on animals.

The sw occurs in Psa 78:45; 105:31.

Exo 8:22

I WILL DEAL DIFFERENTLY: "I will sever". The rt "palah" occurs twice more in the plague narratives: Exo 9:4; 11:7. Its two other occurrences in the OT are also interesting: Exo 33:16 ('separated'), and Psa 4:3 ('set apart'). In every instance it is God who does the distinguishing, separating those are His for Himself.

GOSHEN: The territory in Egypt in which Jacob and his family were granted royal permission to settle. It is called either "the land of Goshen" or simply "Goshen," and is related to "the land of Rameses" (Gen 47:11) and the store cities of Exo 1:11. It was in northern Egypt, east of the Nile River.

Exo 8:23

I WILL MAKE A DISTINCTION...: Heb "peduth". The Jews had in the first place to suffer along with the Egyptians, for a while, BEFORE God would begin to set them apart. "Distinction" = "deliverance" in NIV mg. Sw Psa 111:9 (where the whole psa describes the Jews' deliverance out of Egypt).

Exo 8:24

RUINED: Heb "shachath" -- sw is used 4 times regarding the judgments of Noah's flood: Gen 6:11,12,13,17.

Exo 8:25

Pharaoh's first compromise: 3 days' journey (Exo 5:3) took them into the land of promise: ie across the Nile River.

Exo 8:26

SACRIFICES THAT ARE DETESTABLE IN THEIR EYES: All the Jews' sacrificial animals were sacred, untouchable, to the Egyptians.

Exo 8:28

Pharaoh is like "King Sin": "Go away and serve your other 'god', but be sure not to go too far away, and come back to me!"

Exo 8:29

THE FLIES WILL LEAVE: God removed the flies; they were not left to putrefy and contaminate the earth.

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