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Exodus 9:13-26

13. And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

13. Et ait Jehova ad Mosen, Surge mane et te siste in conspectu Pharaonis, et dic ei, Sic dicit Jehova Deus Hebraeorum, Dimitte populum meum ut serviant mihi.

14. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.

14. Quoniam hac vice ego mittam omnes plagas meas in cor tuum, et in servos tuos, et in populum tuum: ut scias quod nemo sit similis mei in tota terra.

15. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.

15. Nunc enim extendi manum meam, ut percutiam te et populum tuum peste: et excideris e terra.

16. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

16. Et certe ideo constitui te ut ostenderem tibi potentiam meam, et ut enarrent nomen meum in universa terra.

17. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?

17. Tu adhuc to extollis inpopulum meum, ut non dimittas eos?

18. Behold, tomorrow about this time, I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.

18. Ecce, ego pluam hoc tempore cras grandinem gravissimam, cui non fuit similis in AEgypto ab eo die quo fundata fuit hucusque.

19. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field: for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.

19. Nunc igitur mitte, collige pecus tuum, et quicquid tibi est in agro. Omnes homines et jumentum qui inventi fuerint in agro, et non collecti fuerint intra domum, descendet super eos grando, et morientur.

20. He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:

20. Qui timuit ad sermonem Jehovae ex servis Pharaonis, confugere jussit servos suos et pecora sua domum.

21. And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field.

21. Qui vero non adjecit cor suum ad verbum Jehovae, reliquit servos suos et pecora sua in agro.

22. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.

22. Tunc dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Extende manum tuam versus coelum, et erit grando in tota terra AEgypti, super homines et super jumenta, et super cunctam herbam agri in terra AEgypti.

23. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground: and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.

23. Extendit ergo Moses virgam suam versus coelum, et dedit Jehova tonitrua et grandinem: discurritque ignis per terram, et pluit Jehova grandinem super terram AEgypti.

24. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

24. Et fuit grando atque ignis grandine implicitus gravis valde: cui similis nulla fuit in tota terra AEgypti, ex quo fuit in gentem.

25. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.

25. Et percussit grando in tota terra AEgypti quicquid fuit in agro, ab homine usque ad jumentum. Et percussit grando cunctam herbam agri, atque omnes arbores agri confregit.

26. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

26. Tantum in terra Gosen, ubi erant filii Israel, non fuit grando.

13. And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up. God returns again to threats, to try the mind of the wicked king; not that there is any hope of a cure, but that his obstinacy may be more and more discovered. For it was desirable as an example, that it should be known openly how madly those, who are cast into a reprobate state of feeling, and who are possessed by a spirit of willfulness, rush upon their own destruction. Surely it would be incredible, that any human being should have ever resisted God with such headstrong folly and obstinacy, unless this picture had been presented to us. How often was Pharaoh commanded to send the people away, and on every occasion a ratification of the command107107     The French Version supplies “avec menaces;” with threatenings. was added! So that God no less thundered from heaven than He spoke on earth by the mouth of His servant and ambassador; yet still the mind of the tyrant was not subdued into obedience, because Satan alienates the minds of those, whom by God’s permission he holds in devotion, and bondage, to himself. Meanwhile, they heap up more terrible vengeance against themselves by their impious contempt of warnings.

14. For I will at this time. The unexpressed condition is implied, “unless he should submit himself to God.” The meaning is, that although he had already chastised his pride, yet that this had been done gently and in moderation; but that He now would use a heavier scourge, since the lighter rods had been unavailing. Thus his ingratitude is reproved, because he had not acknowledged that he had been spared, in order that, having suffered only some trifling losses,108108     Dommages temporels. — Fr. he might return to his right mind. Wherefore, because God had proceeded gradually with his punishments, He now threatens that He will inflict many on him at once; as he is wont to act with the rebellious. On which account also David exhorts us not to be

“as the horse and mule — whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle when they are restive,” (Psalm 32:9;)

whence he concludes, that “many sorrows shall be to the wicked” and rebellious. But Moses here denounces plagues, which shall not only affect the head and arms, but which shall reach to the heart itself, and inflict a deadly wound in his very bowels; for Pharaoh was so obstinate that it was not enough to batter his sides. In flue, he is enjoined to make haste and provide against the awful judgement which impended, unless he chose rather to perish with all his (servants.) The expression, “all my plagues,” embraces whatever chastisement we shall hereafter see inflicted on him; and therefore the word, דבר, deber, designates every kind of death; as much as to say, that He would heap punishment upon punishment, until He had destroyed the tyrant together with his whole nation. What is afterwards added, “that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth,” implies that Pharaoh had hitherto struggled against Him, because he had never really and seriously apprehended the extent of the divine power; for wherever it is really felt, it is impossible but that pride must be humbled before it. And, doubtless, the reprobate, although in some measure they recognize the power of God, still rush on with a kind of frenzied impulse, and their wickedness is combined with blindness of heart, so that seeing, they do not see. Meantime we are reminded, that the reprobate only gain this by their stupidity, that God should proceed against them with all His forces, and drag and compel them against their will to understand His power, from which they fly. But that he may expect no longer truce, God affirms in the next verse that He is advancing with an outstretched hand. For God is not here commending His patience in the slowness of His procedure, as some prefer to explain it; but He rather admonishes him that the execution was nigh at hand, since He had armed Himself, and prepared His forces before He had spoken a word.

16. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up. The word, העמדתי, hagnemadthi, is variously explained; it properly signifies “to appoint;” some, therefore, refer it to his eminent position, as if God had placed Pharaoh on the throne, for the purpose of better manifesting His glory.109109     העמדתיך. By the Greek interpreter we should generally understand the LXX. to be meant, but it has διετηρήθης, which is obviously a less close rendering than ἐξήγειρά σε, the version adopted by Paul. As the root עמד, means to stand up, it is perfectly regular that the Hiphil, or causal preterite, I have made thee to stand up, should be held equivalent to I have raised thee up, as in our A.V. S. M., I have preserved thee. W.
   Calvin’s Latin is “excitavi te.” See Rev. J. Owen’s note on Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 9:17. Cal. Soc. Transl., p. 360.
The Greek interpreter extends the meaning, translating it ἐξήγειρά σε, “I have stirred thee up, as much as to say, that Pharaoh had been chosen by the secret counsel and providence of God that His power might be exercised upon him; as He is constantly said to stir up those whom He brings forward, to apply them to those objects for which he has destined them. Others think that this sentence depends on what has gone before, and interpret it “I have preserved thee,” or “chosen that thou shouldest survive.” For the Hebrew verb, which is transitive in Hiphil, is derived from עמד, gnamod, which means “to stand up.” Since, therefore, God had restrained Himself, He now assigns the cause of His moderation, because if Pharaoh had fallen in one trifling engagement, the glory of His victory would have been less illustrious. In fine, lest Pharaoh should flatter himself, or harden himself by vain confidence, God affirms that He does not want strength to destroy him immediately, but that He had delayed his ultimate punishment for another purpose, viz., that Pharaoh might slowly learn that he strove in vain against His incomparable power; and that thus this remarkable history should be celebrated in all ages. But although Paul follows the Greek interpreter, there is no reason why we should not embrace this latter sense; for we know that the Apostles were not so particular in quoting the words, but that they rather considered the substance. But, although we admit that by God’s long-suffering Pharaoh continued to hold out, until he became a clear and notorious proof of the madness and folly of all those who resist God, yet this also has reference to the eternal prescience of God; for therefore did God spare Pharaoh to stand for a time, because, before he was born, he had been predestinated for this purpose. Wherefore, also, Paul rightly concludes, that

“it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth.”
(Romans 9:16.)

For whether God raises up or upholds the reprobate, He wonderfully manifests His glory by their perverseness. Thus is their ignorance refuted, who, by this cavil, endeavor to overturn the eternal predestination of God; because it is not said, that He created Pharaoh with this intention, but that he suspended His judgment for a. time. For this intermediate and progressive course of proceeding arose from this source, that Pharaoh was the organ or instrument of God’s wrath.

17. As yet exaltest thou thyself. The expression which Moses uses110110     מסתולל. Part. Hithp. Raising up thyself like a rampart. C. found in S. M. that Kimchi had followed Aben-Ezra in interpreting the root סלל, to trample, a meaning not acknowledged by recent Lexicographers. — W denotes the pride of Pharaoh; because he too insolently exalted himself by trampling on the people. God therefore inquires, as if in astonishment, what this blinded fury meant, that the tyrant should hope that the injuries whereby he undeservedly afflicted God’s people, would be permitted with impunity? For he was already taught, by many miracles, that God had, as their protector, undertaken the cause of His people, so that He would be the avenger of all their unjust treatment. At the same time He ironically reproves the tyrant’s folly, in that he was not humbled by so many chastisements; as if He had said, that although, when intoxicated by prosperity, he might have raged against the wretched people with tyrannical and persevering arbitrariness, yet, after undergoing so many plagues, it was surely time to cease.

18. Behold, tomorrow about this time. God now indicates the kind of punishment which He was prepared to inflict, viz., that He would smite with hail both man and beast, and a part of the crops. It sometimes, indeed, happens that the corn is destroyed by hail, and occasionally that great injury is thus inflicted even on men and beasts; nay, it is regarded as an unusual blessing if ten or fifteen years pass by without such a calamity. But God makes it apparent by certain signs in the judgment, which he has determined to execute, that the hail did not arise from natural causes, but that the atmosphere was manifestly armed by Him for the battle. First, the morrow is fixed; nor is this enough, the hour also is added. But what astronomer or philosopher could thus measure the moments for storms and tempests? Then again, its unusual violence, such as had never been seen before, is appointed. Fourthly, its extent, from the extreme boundaries of Egypt, from the one side to the other, as well as its expansion over its whole breadth. Scarcely once in twenty years will a storm so widely prevail, flying, as this did, like an arrow; but, restrained within narrow limits, it; will not thus diffuse itself far and wide. Lastly, the distinction is added between Goshen and the rest of Egypt. Hence it is plain, that this hail was not produced by an accidental impulse, but made to fall by God’s hand; in a word, that it was not the drops of moisture frozen in mid air, but a portent which transcended the bounds of nature.

19. Sealed therefore now. He does not give this counsel as if he would spare His professed enemy, but he insults his mad confidence, because hitherto in his supine security he had despised whatever punishments had been denounced against him. He indirectly hints, therefore, that now is the time for fear. Secondly, that when God contends, the event is not a doubtful one; because He not only openly challenges him to the combat, but assures him that He shall have no difficulty in putting him to the rout. Finally, he shows him, that He has no need of deceit, or of any stratagems to overtake His enemy, but that, although he grants him a way of escape, still He should be victorious.

20. He that feared the word of the Lord. In these words Moses shows that there were some who were so far taught by experience as not altogether to despise what he had denounced; for hence arose their fear from the denunciation of the punishment, because they were persuaded that Moses was the servant of God, and a Prophet, as well as the herald of the Divine judgment. Although it likewise appears that they had not seriously repented so as to obey God, but were impelled to take these precautions by immediate and momentary terror. Thus, particular fear often makes the reprobate anxious either to deprecate or fly from the vengeance of God. Still Moses says, that their fear profited them, for they did not experience the same calamity as others, who were more insensible. In this way God bore witness, that in proportion as each one more obstinately despises His judgments, the more grievously and heavily is he afflicted; but that some unbelievers are in some degree spared from inconveniences, and more gently chastised, because they at least do not proudly exalt themselves to despise His power. Moreover, by this destruction the judgment of God more clearly shone forth, when among the Egyptians themselves, whosoever was most hardened received the sure reward of his contempt. Yet are we taught by this example, that it does not greatly profit unbelievers, though God may pardon them for a while when they are alarmed and humbled; because they ever remain under condemnation to eternal death.

22. And the Lord said. The rod of Moses is again employed to bring on the storm, not so much for Pharaoh’s sake, as that Moses may be the more encouraged to the remaining contests, when he sees the proof of his vocation renewed. In the meanwhile, we may observe the trial of his faith, since before he had received the command to stretch forth his rod toward heaven, he had not hesitated to predict to Pharaoh the grievous and miraculous hall. But if any one thinks that this is an ὕστερον πρότερον, and that what was first in order of time is related last, I will not debate it; but this seems more probable to me, and also to be rightly gathered from the text, that when the day had elapsed, Moses was commanded to execute that of which the means was before unknown to him. Hence, also, both Moses himself learnt, and we also ought now to learn, that all the elements, although without sense, are still ready to render any kind of obedience to their Maker; since, at the stretching forth of the rod the air was troubled in an incredible manner, so that it hurled down an abundance of hail for the destruction of beasts and men.

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