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Exodus 10-12 Listen
1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.
In Exodus 7-9 (see notes) we see that "God hardened Pharaoh's heart." So one might wonder: Why perform the miracles of bringing the plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians if God was going to cause Pharaoh to dig in his heals each time and refuse compliance? Here's your answer in verses Exodus 10:1-2, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD." Have you been thinking all this time that the miracles were for Pharaoh's benefit? If you're going to lead approximately two million people out of the only life they have ever known, you had better demonstrate to the people how awesome their God is. That's what God is allowing Moses to do before the Hebrews. The miracles of the plagues were for the Hebrews' benefit.
This is a good time to get an overview of how Pharaoh came by his stubborn streak:
You must agree, based upon these passages, the plagues were not about convincing Pharaoh; they were about convincing the Hebrews.
Plague #8: Locusts...everywhere (Exodus 10:3-20)
3 And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.
4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:
5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:
6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.
7 And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go?
9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.
10 And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.
11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.
17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.
19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
Has anyone seen those Egyptian magicians lately? Looks like they could use a few more locusts! Verse 7 indicates some movement in the Egyptian/Hebrew contract negotiations, "And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?" Pharaoh wanted some hostages to make certain Moses and the men would return. You see, up to this point, Moses had only requested from Pharaoh that they be permitted to go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to God. Obviously Pharaoh suspects that Moses and company have no intention of returning from this outing. But Moses drives a hard bargain, "When we go to worship, we'll take our women, children and cattle." I can't imagine why Pharaoh was suspicious of their intentions, can you?
All right, Pharaoh, hang on for the locusts. Finally, Pharaoh cries "uncle!" Well, maybe not those words exactly, but he does come to another of those breaking points in verse 16 where he says, "...I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you." So Moses rids the land of the locusts; he does a better job here than he did with the frogs, You will recall that they just died in place and stank up the land (perhaps to make a nice breeding ground for the flies that followed). God actually causes a wind to blow the locusts into the sea. BREACH OF CONTRACT! There it is in verse 20, "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go." Incidentally, a locust infestation like this happens in that region from time to time, just as it did in November, 2004. Another happened in Egypt just three weeks before Passover in 2013. That would be about the same time as the one here in the Book of Exodus. The notable miracle here is that Moses was able to orchestrate their arrival and departure with his supernatural control of the wind.
21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.
26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.
27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.
Here's the last plague before the big one - darkness. This is some heavy-duty darkness; it was so dark that the Egyptians could not even move outside. It would appear that not even artificial light penetrated the darkness outside. Each of the plagues to this point have been caused by God's supernatural influence over nature at the command of Moses as a consequence to Pharaoh's refusal to submit. There is no reason to believe this one to be different. These three days of darkness were likely the phenomenon in that region known as "Khamsin" or sometimes "Chamsin." This is a wind that moves eastward along the southern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, and it happens generally in the March/April time period. It is unusual for it to last as long as three days, but the dust that is stirred up in the air is truly "darkness which may be felt." In its severest activity, light is blocked, darkness prevails, and folks generally avoid going outside if at all possible. This phenomenon still occurs today.
Of course, the Hebrews had light. Pharaoh calls for Moses and he fires up negotiations again: Take your women and children to the wilderness to worship, but leave your cattle." In the world of contract negotiations (give a little, take a little), that seems like a pretty attractive offer. Nope! No compromises. Let's get real here for a moment. If you go into the wilderness to worship with all of your wives, children and cattle, how likely are you to return a few days later and serve again as slaves? We see in verse 27 that God hardens his heart again. But this time Pharaoh adds to his harsh words when he says in verse 28, "Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die." Uh...Pharaoh...I don't really think it's going to turn out like that.
God outlines the exit strategy with Moses (Exodus 11)
1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.
2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.
3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.
4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
8 And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.
9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.
10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Keep in mind that Moses has never asked Pharaoh for anything more than a vacation...three days into the wilderness to offer a sacrifice to God. The sticky point in the negotiations has been that Moses was not willing to leave anything behind to indicate that they would return after they made their sacrifices. Pharaoh has always seen that as a deal breaker. Well...here in verse 1, God tells Moses that Pharaoh will "thrust" him out of Egypt after they lose their firstborn sons.
If there's one thing we've learned about Pharaoh, it is that he bristles up at a challenge...as he does here. God instructs Moses to get the Hebrews to take up a collection before they go. While the KJV uses the word "borrow" in verse 2, trust me when I say that the Hebrew word (shaw-al´) holds no implication whatsoever that the Egyptians will be receiving their contributions back again at a future date. Moses begins speaking in verse 4, but it is not apparent that he is speaking to Pharaoh until we get to verse 8. Moses warns Pharaoh about the death of Egypt's firstborn in this chapter; it's the last big confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh. Note verses 9-10, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaohs heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land." Well...I guess it's time for the big plague #10.
Let's once again emphasize that Moses had only requested a temporary leave to go sacrifice in the wilderness, but we see in verse 1, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether." It is also interesting that only Pharaoh was the big holdout here. Look at verse 3, "And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaohs servants, and in the sight of the people." God wasn't hardening their hearts - just that of Pharaoh.
I guess we should point out that the jewelry taken by the Hebrews would later be used to construct a tabernacle in the wilderness. Well...and that's the jewelry they used to also construct the golden calf.
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
14 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 a feast by an ordinance for ever.
15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
Nine plagues down and one really big plague to go - but first there must be some preparation. The calendars were based upon the new moon. For a more thorough understanding of the Jewish calendar and the positioning of the Festivals (feasts) of Israel, click here. You'll see from the calendar of Feasts that the Passover Feast and Feast of Unleavened Bread were two different Jewish Feasts, on successive days.
Israel will forever modify their calendars for the following sequence of events:
Incidentally, you'll notice from verse 5 that a goat could be used for the meal if no lamb was available.
Notice the specific instructions on the meal in verse 8, "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." This meal is symbolic of the hurry they're in to get out of Egypt - no time to wait for the leaven to cause the bread to rise. The blood on the door is important here. When the angel of death shows up, only those with the blood sprinkled on the door will have their firstborn sons spared from death. And this is to be a very significant day for Israel forever; look at verse 14, "And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever."
Hey! Why the blood on the door? Doesn't God know who are Israelites and who are Egyptians. Of course, but it was a FAITH THING! You see, the blood here is the key. As a matter of fact, any Hebrew who refused to sprinkle the blood on his door was in for a long night. Conversely, some non Hebrews who did sprinkle the blood would, by faith, presumably be spared as well, as we'll see in verse 38; that assumes that they had been previously circumcised as the Hebrews were (verses 43-45). According to verse 48, perhaps some non Hebrews were circumcised that very night.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
This is the big one. Pharaoh summons Moses in the middle of the night and tells him to leave with his people, cattle and everything; JUST GO! Look at verses 31-32, "And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also." Whoa! Did you see that? Pharaoh, who was thought by the Egyptians to be divine, asks Moses to bless him. One more thing should be noticed here. Pharaoh is still not granting a permanent move of residence to Moses and the Hebrews...just the vacation requested to go sacrifice.
We see in verse 37 the number of Hebrews at 600,000 men. When you count women and children into that number, a conservative estimate for the whole nation of Hebrews here is something greater than 2,000,000 people. Notice again in verse 35 the silver, gold and clothing taken by the Hebrews from the Egyptians. It's sort of ironic to think that some of this gold will go to make an Egyptian-like golden calf in Exodus 32 (see notes). However, Moses will later take up a gold collection from among the Hebrews for the construction of the tabernacle that will follow as God specifies in Exodus 25:1-9 (see notes).
What about this "mixed multitude" of verse 38. Who are they? They are not Hebrews; that's all we know for certain. They get another mention in Number 11:14 (see notes). So, it was not only Jews who left Egypt that night. However, we see the specific instructions regarding the passover meal in verses 43-45 which specifically indicates that in order to partake of the passover meal, one must have been circumcised as were the Jews. Or...perhaps this "mixed multitude" who left with the Hebrews had lost their first born as well, but now chose to leave with Hebrews.
The institution of the Passover (Exodus 12:43-51)
43 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
This is Israel's banner day. In verse 43 we see that this event and day are to be observed by Israel forever as a reminder of God's deliverance, and some general instructions for its future observance are given here. More is written in Leviticus 23 (see notes).
Worth noting here regarding the treatment of the passover lamb is the specification in verse 46 that "neither shall ye break a bone thereof." Jesus, as our passover lamb, was likewise spared the broken bones which commonly accompanied a Roman crucifixion according to John 19:33 (see notes).
There's an interesting deduction that might be made regarding circumcision and Passover. In the initial instructions given to the Hebrews regarding observance of Passover in Exodus 12:48, they were adamantly instructed, "no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof." That is reinforced in Numbers 9 (see notes) prior to the observance of their first Passover out of Egypt. We are not told in scripture that the Hebrews observed another Passover during the 38 years of wilderness wandering, but it appears that perhaps they did not based upon Joshua 5:1-9 (see notes). In that passage Joshua is instructed to have a mass circumcision prior to entering Canaan. We are told in that passage that they did not circumcise for those 38 years of wilderness wandering. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that they did not observe Passover during that time either, because to do so would have been a violation of Exodus 12:48 along with the instructions in Numbers 9 at their observance of the first Passover out of Egypt.