Page images

lakes, pools, pit, and the water contained in vessels of every description.

What are the circumstances related in the remaining verses of the chapter ? * And the river stark;' not so much from the putrefaction of the waters as from the dying of the fish. The magicians did so with their enchantments. Here it will be observed also that nothing is said of the effect of the magicians' attempt to imitate this miracle. Whether they succeeded in multiplying the bloody fluid is not affirmed.


V.1. The Most High may clothe his humblest servants

with a kind of divinity when he would make them oracles to his people, or instruments of wrath to his ene

mies. V. 2. When men speak by God's command they are to

keep back no part of his message. V. 3. The obstinacy of men may be sometimes previously

made known to the Lord's messengers that they may not be utterly offended or discouraged in the outset of

their labors. V. 3. God's words and works may become the occasion of

the hardening of men's hearts, but not the cause. V. 4. Great judgments are resorted to where great mer

cies have failed of producing their intended effect. V. 5. The great end at which God aims by his afflictive judgments upon the world is to make himseif known to

the children of men. V. 9. Those who profess to speak to men in the name of

God may expect to have their authority sifted, and though they may not now be able to silence cavils by the exhibition of miraculous power, yet they may, by a pure doctrine and a blameless life, leave objectors

without excuse. V. 16. There are occasions on which it is the duty of

God's servants in their demands of their fellow-men to rise from the tone of entreaty to that of command.

V. 22. The devil is prompt through his instruments to

counteract the miracles of God by his delusions. V. 22. Wicked men will harden themselves, though God

may have given forewarning of it. V. 25. In all judicial plagues, whatever may be done by

agents employed, it is God himself who produces the effect.


What was the second plague which Moses was commanded to denounce, and how is it described ? v. 1-4.

Shall bring forth frogs abundantly ;' or Heb. shall crawl with frogs.'— Shall come into thine house, &c.' intimating that no doors, locks, or bolts; no walls, gates, or fences, shouid preclude their entrance. The circumstance of their coming up into the bed.chambers,' and into the ovens,' and kneading-troughs,' needs explanation to those whose domestic economy is so different from that of the ancient nations. Their lodgings were not in upper stories, but recesses on the ground floor; and their ovens were not like ours built on the side of a chimney, and adjacent to a fire-place, where the glowing heat would fright away the frogs ; but they dug a hole in the ground, in which they placed an earthen pot, which hav. ing sufficiently heated ihey put their cakes upon the inside to be baked. To find such places full of frogs when they came to heat them in order to bake their bread, and to find these loathsome creatures in their beds when they sought repose, must have been disgusting and distressing in the extreme.- Kneading-troughs ;' or, as the Gr. renders it, masses of dough,' which is probably the import of the word, Ex. 12. 34.--'Upon thee, and upon thy people, &c.' By this specification of persons, it would appear that the Israelites were exempted from this plague. This is confirmed, perhaps, by Ps. 78, 12. “Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan;' as this Zoan was a region of Egypt distinct from Goshen where Israel dwelt.

What is said of the execution of this order, and of the rival attempts of the magicians ? v. 6-9. "The frogs came up ;' Heb. the frog came up;' col. sing. Ps. 78. He sent frogs which destroyed ihem;' Heb.

which corrupted them.'--' And the magicians did so—and brought up ;' rather, we iroagine, the magicians attempted to do so, that they might bring up.' See note on chap. 7. 11, 12.

What was Pharaoh induced to do under the grievous plague of the frogs, and what was Moses' reply? v. 8, 9. 'Entreat the Lord that he may take away; Heb.'entreat the Lord, and let him take away.' The conjunction that,' is used repeatedly throughout this narrative where the original is 'and,' which strikingly confirms our rendering of the passages where the attempts of the magicians are mentioned. Thus where one Evangelist, Mark, 12. 17. has, ' And the inheritance shall be ours;' another, Luke, 20. 4. has, that the inheritance may be ours.' So in the latter clause of this verse, that they may do sacritice;' Heb. " and they shall do sacrifice. Glory over me;' or, Heb. "have the honor over me.' Moses by these words seems to indicate so much satisfaction and joy at the least sign of relenting on the part of Pharaoh, that he is ready to humble himself in his presence, disclaiming, as it were, and foregoing the honor and pre-eminence which naturally accrued to him from the performance of such mighty works, and laying them at the feet of Pharaoh. So obsequious indeed does he profess himself in view of the hopeful change which had taken place in the king's mind, ihat he willingly gives him the honor of appointing a time when he should entreat the Lord for the removal of the plague. Gr. 'Appoint unto me when I shall pray' Chal. • Ask for thee a powerful work, and give thou the time.'

What was the time fixed by Pharaoh, and what assurance did Moses give him ? v. 10, 11. * To-morrow;' Heb. against tomorrow.'— They shall remain in the river only. This implies not the total remo

[ocr errors]

val, but the confined operation, of the plague. Some remainders of it were left more effectually to induce Pharaok to keep his promise.

What is said of the actual withdrawment of the plague, and of its effect upon Pharaoh? v. 12. 15. • Because of the frogs ;' Heb. upon the word (matter) of the frogs.'-'Gathered them together upon heaps ;' Heb.

gathered them together heaps, heaps. See note on Gen. 14. 10—Saw that there was respite;' Heb.'a breathing;' Gr. 'a refreshing ;' the same word as that which occursActs, 3. 19. “When times of refreshing shall come from

the presence of the Lord.'—'Hardened his heart;' Heb. e made heavy.' Thus, Isa. 26. 10. ' Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness.'

What plague was Moses next commanded to bring upon Egypt, and what is said of the accomplishment, and of the efforts and acknowledgments of the magicians ? v. 16-19. It will be observed, that of this third plague no previous warning was given to Pharaoh. On the other hand, the fourth and fifth were preceded by a warning, while the sixth was not; again, the seventh and eighth were announced, but not so ihe ninth ; under the tenth the people were sent away.--"Lice, Heb. ‘louse, col. sing. Some have contended that the insects here mentioned were 'gnats, but it is more probable thatógnats' would be included under the “flies of the next plague.- But they could not.' We do not know that it is necessarily to be inferred from this, that they either could or did effect the foregoing prodigies, which we have endeavored to show they merely aimed and attempted to effect. In like manner, it is not to be positively inferred from a division being put, v. 28. under the fourth plague, between Goshen and the rest of Egypt, that no such discrimination had taken place before, the present assertion was true in itself, without reference to any thing before mentioned. As this was the last attempt which they made, it seemed proper, as it had not been expressly done before, that the abortiveness of their efforts should here be stated. This is the finger of God ;' i. e..

[ocr errors]

the work and power of God, who is said after the manner of men to do things by his hand or 'finger;' Ps. 8. 4.--102. 26.–109. 27.-Sam. 6. 9. To this phraseology Christ had reference when he refuted those who withstood his miracles, as these magicians did Moses ; Luke, 11. 20. 'If I with the finger of God cast out devils ;' which another Evangelist expresses thus; 'If I cast 'out devils by the Spirit of God? We doubt whether the magicians intended by this acknowledgment to award any bonor to Moses and taron, or even to the true God. On the other hand, they probably had reference to the divinities worshipped in Egypt, and designed to say, that were it not for the invisible agency of the gods, Moses and Aaron were no better than themselves, but in some way unaccountable the fates were against them. We incline also to the opinion that the magicians did not, by this language, refer exclusively to the plague of the lice, but to all the miracles which they had seen wrought, and which they had vainly endeavored to imitate. They are now forced to confess that the whole was a display of supernatural power which mocked the impotency of all human craft. We bey the reader, however, who is not satisfied with the vicw we have given of what is usually termed the magicians' miracles,' by no means to yield assent to it, if he find the evidence to preponderate in favor of any other interpretation. We are not at all strenuous in maintaining it.

What was Moses commanded to do and to say early on the ensuing morning ? v. 20-23. *He cometh forth to the water;' i. e. either to bathe or to pay his morning devotions to the god of the Nile.• Swarms of flies;' Heb. 'a mixed swarm;' i. e. of flies, wasps, hornets, and other biting and stinging insects. The original term, ' Arob,' applied in Ex. 1. 2. 38. to men, and rendered, “a mixed maltitude," comes from Arab', to mingle, and is understood by most of the Jewish interpreters to imply a mixed multitude of noisome beasts ; Thus, Targ. Jer. a mixed swarm of wild beasts.' Chal.

a mixed swarm of wild beasts of the field ;' Josephus, 6 various sorts of pestilential creatures.' Rab. Solomo; 'all kinds of venoinous animals, as serpents and scorpions.' Aben Ezra ; "all the wild beasts intermingled together, as

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »