Exodus 11, death to come

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    Warning about the last Plague – Death

    This is a very short chapter before the long description of the first Passover which follows. But it has some very interesting points in it. Because it is only ten verses long, let’s look at each of them:

    Now the LORD had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.

    The first verse here indicates that the Moses is reminding the reader of what the Lord had said before; it does not appear that He is repeating Himself at this time. But Moses also tells us that the Lord mentioned that not only would the Pharaoh let the people go, but that he would DRIVE them out. This definitely indicates that something must happen to change the Pharaoh’s mind, and that something is going to be drastic.

    Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”

    In the many Jewish commentaries I read for the previous plagues, I was surprised at how many times the indication was that the Israelites has taken the silver and gold through some kind of deception. I don’t see that indicated at all here, as the following verse, which is a parenthetic, emphasizes:

    (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

    The fact that Moses was highly regarded even by Pharaoh’s officials indicates a real problem in the palace! The Pharaoh is essentially standing alone on this. Nevertheless his entire kingdom is going to suffer because of it – and HAS suffered because of it. This is an interesting picture of the effect of an authority upon a group. The authority may be the father in a family, the president of an organization, the king of a country, or whatever – those under him are going to feel the effects of his decisions regardless of their innocence or guilt in matters. Is this unjust? I would submit that no, it is not – it is, rather, an excellent lesson regarding the effects of sin. “No man is an island” is never more true than when spoken of concerning a leader of others. And yet, on an eternal basis, God judges the individual, and we can all be very thankful for that!

    So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.

    About midnight….as the new day is starting, even though it is dark still. Even when we can’t feel the difference, the new day is starting.

    Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

    Although “firstborn” often did mean the one born first, it was applied only to males unless there were no males born in a family. However it also had another meaning: the preeminent one, or the one receiving the birthright. In this sense, Jacob was the firstborn although Esau was born first. Their father, Isaac, was also considered the firstborn even though his father’s first son, Ishmael, was a teenager when he was born. At the end of Genesis we saw the same thing when Jacob switched the blessing of the eldest from Manasseh to Ephraim, thus proclaiming Ephraim the ‘firstborn.’ King David, also, later, would be preeminent among all his brothers, although he was the youngest. So we need to understand that the firstborn was the one who got the birthright, regardless of birth order, even though the vast majority of the time the one who got the birthright was also the one who was born first.

    The second point about this verse is that it shows that God indeed does not show a preference for social standing or any of the other things the world sees as important. Not only was the firstborn of the Pharaoh going to die, but also the firstborn of the slave girl and even of the cattle!

    WHAT cattle??? Didn’t they all die during the plague earlier? Yes, the Egyptian cattle did. The Israelite cattle did not. We then have the interesting implication that the Egyptians went and took the Israelite cattle for themselves…at least some of them – presumably the ones they thought were the best.

    OR… the Israelites GAVE some of their best to the Egyptians. If this is the case, then we can certainly understand one good reason the Egyptians were more than willing to share their silver and gold with the Israelites.

    There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.

    What is there to say here? I cannot imagine the pain and anguish of so many parents and others.

    But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’ Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.

    This indicates that possibly whatever happened in Egypt that night DID cause dogs to bark. And yes, the Lord certainly does make a distinction between those who are His and those who are not! Universalism is really not a biblical option!

    All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you! After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

    I was interested here that this is the only indication that Moses is still speaking to Pharaoh here! It is not evident from the context at the beginning of the chapter. Two points to notice: first the officials come to Moses to tell him to go – and we don’t know if the order actually will come from Pharaoh or not at this point! Second, Moses is ‘hot with anger.’ The most obvious cause is the Pharaoh himself, but perhaps the thought of all the death that would soon be coming because of this man was another cause for his anger.

    The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you – so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”

    The Lord knew Pharaoh from the beginning. He knew his heart. And as God had indicated before, He had raised this man up to this position of leadership for the very purpose of showing these wonders to the world. If there were natural causes involved, then God was showing that He was in charge of nature. If the plagues were only miracles straight from God, then God was still showing he was in charge. In either case, the gods of the Egyptians were shown to be completely impotent and the God of Israel to be all-powerful.

    Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his county.

    There is a doctrinal argument over whether Pharaoh at any time had the choice to harden his own heart, since the Lord had predicted the outcome ahead of time. I think the text indicates that during the first plagues Pharaoh indeed chose to ignore the Lord and in so doing hardened his own heart. But others say, “no, the Lord was responsible for hardening Pharaoh’s heart the entire time,”

    Whichever is true, the fact is the Lord knew the outcome ahead of time. He truly is all-knowing and all-powerful.

    And the coming Passover would show that in ways that would never be forgotten.

    [ August 13, 2002, 02:30 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  2. tyndale1946

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    Aug 30, 2001
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    Helen a very good post indeed... All I have to say is everything is in Gods hands and that is all his children need to know. HIS WILL and PURPOSE WILL be carried out according to HIS PLEASURE and to OUR BENEFIT!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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