The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 10

Exo 10:1

Exo 10: "The conflict between Yahweh and Pharaoh continues, as the King of Righteousness and the King of Sin confront each other. The plagues continue as Pharaoh's heart of sin hardens each time. Pharaoh is warned that he should not tamper with the divine purpose, but Sin seeks to elevate the flesh for its own purpose, and he will not be dissuaded from his determination to subject the Israelites to his own power. The record continues: [1] Pharaoh's servants plead in vain: vv 1-11. [2] The eighth plague: locusts darkens the sky: vv 12-15. [3] Moses intercedes: vv 16-20. [4] The ninth plague: darkness is over the land: vv 21-23. [5] Pharaoh pleads, but remains obstinate: vv 24-29.

"There is an important element that became evident as the plagues proceeded. Israel was separated from the drama over Egypt, and thus received a measure of blessing from Yahweh. This brought an objection from Pharaoh, so that Moses and Aaron were 'driven from Pharaoh's presence' (v 11). They were insulted by the way in which they were treated by the King, resulting in the increasing of the intensity of the plagues. Pharaoh's stubbornness gave vent to his anger and fury. All negotiations between the representatives of the Rulers of Heaven and Earth were at an end (v 29). Prior to leaving, however, Moses spoke the words of Exo 11:4-8. The contest between Sin and Righteousness was soon to be judged and determined" (GEM).

Exo 10:2

THAT YOU MAY TELL YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN...: Ct with v 6: the Egyptians "fathers and forefathers". The glory of Israel lies in the future -- as they will see how God's mercy and oversight will work out in their national life. But Egypt's glory, sadly, lies only in the past. This historical self-revelation of Yahweh will from henceforth redefine Israel; but Egypt -- in looking back -- will find no reference points by which to understand what has happened to them.

Exo 10:5

FACE: "Eye" (AV mg). When the "eye" of Egypt was covered, there was complete darkness. A firsthand description of a locust invasion: LB 419. "An area of one square kilometre can contain 50 million locusts; in a single night they can devour as much as 100,000 tons of vegetation. The impact of this plague, both in terms of sentiment and economics, is not to be underestimated" (MV, Tes 73:5).

Exo 10:7

HOW LONG WILL THIS MAN BE A SNARE TO US?: Picking up Moses' own "how long" question in v 3. Ironically, "this man" who was a "snare" to them was not Moses, but Pharaoh himself!

DO YOU NOT YET REALIZE THAT EGYPT IS RUINED?: Perhaps Pharaoh was in seclusion, willingly ignorant of his country's condition. Earlier, he had arrogantly boasted that he KNEW NOT the LORD (Exo 5:2) -- now it is seen that the fact that he KNEW NOT is not something to be proud of: his ignorance will lead to his own destruction, as it has to that of his nation.

Exo 10:10

THE LORD BE WITH YOU -- IF I LET YOU GO...: "I would just as soon wish God's blessing on you as I would let you go..." Yet, in effect, Pharaoh is only confirming Yahweh's own promises (Exo 3:12,14).

Exo 10:11

But this time Pharaoh refuses to allow the women and children to go.

ONLY THE MEN: The use of the Heb "gibbor" (the strong men!) suggests that Pharaoh meant only SOME of the men at that!

DRIVEN OUT: That is, forcibly removed.

Exo 10:13

The east wind diverted the Syrian locusts from their normal north/south flight patterns. (Egypt never feared locusts, for they were separated by the Red Sea from their normal habitat.)

Exo 10:15

ALL THE GROUND: "The eye of the land". "Eye" (AV mg). When the "eye" of Egypt was covered, there was complete darkness. A firsthand description of a locust invasion: LB 419.

Exo 10:16

I HAVE SINNED: There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I have sinned," poss only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13; 24:10; 1Ch 21:8; Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (poss less sincere) instances? Pharaoh in Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa 15:24,30; 26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.

Exo 10:17

FORGIVE MY SIN ONCE MORE: "Only this once" (AV). But is any man, much less a megalomaniac like Pharaoh here, strong enough to ask such a thing -- as though 'I will not be in need of Your forgiveness ever again'?! "The sentiment, 'I won't ever do it again', is a good one in principle and one we must strive to fulfil, but the number of people who have said those words must be far greater than the number who have put them into practice" (MV, Tes 73:5).

Exo 10:21

Directed against Ra, the sun-god: the god of light, warmth, fruitfulness. One of the most significant of Egyptian deities.

DARKNESS THAT CAN BE FELT: A sandstorm... great intensity. Burning of sand striking exposed flesh.

Exo 10:22

TOTAL DARKNESS: "Thick darkness" is a description of the manifestation of Yahweh at different times: Exo 20:21; Deu 4:11; 5:22; 1Ki 8:12; 2Ch 6:1. Used to speak of the day of the LORD: Joel 2:2; Zep 1:15. We see the day of the LORD is a day of His glory being manifest. It is not just mindless punishment. Interestingly His glory is seen in the punishment of Judah. That is, He is justified by His actions.

THREE DAYS: Cp the 3 days of spiritual darkness, when Christ was in tomb. Disciples wait in their place... v 23.

Exo 10:23

ALL THE ISRAELITES HAD LIGHT: As in Creation, a division between light and darkness. True light controlled by God -- given only to His people, through the Word of God.

Israel, like us, had the light, while the rest of the world lay in darkness: John 3:19; 8:12; 12:46; Eph 6:12. God has gone to great pains through the ages to "set apart: a people for himself: Psa 4:3; Eph 2:10; 1Pe 2:9.

Exo 10:26

They were to serve God with everything they had, forever.

Exo 10:29

No more opportunity afforded for repentance. At the last meeting, a simple proclamation of doom: Exo 11:4-8. (Now skip to Exo 11:4 -- Exo 11:1-3 is parenthetical.)

Or, alternatively, Moses is saying, colloquially, 'Yes, you are so right! I won't be seeing you any more. In case you haven't noticed, that's what all these negotiations are all about!'

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