Exodus 11


וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עֹוד נֶגַע אֶחָד אָבִיא עַל־פַּרְעֹה וְעַל־מִצְרַיִם אַחֲרֵי־כֵן יְשַׁלַּח אֶתְכֶם מִזֶּה   11:1

כְּשַׁלְּחֹו כָּלָה גָּרֵשׁ יְגָרֵשׁ אֶתְכֶם מִזֶּה

Exod. 11:1  And the Lord said to Moses, “One more plague will I bring upon Pharoah and on the Egyptians.  Following that, he will let you go from here.  When he finally gives up, he will surely expel you from here.”

This chapter is a short one, only ten verses long.  I wonder if it was meant to be part of Chapter 10, not a separate chapter.  Additionally, something strange is going on here.  The Lord is speaking to Moses in the first two verses; then you will see that in v. 11:4 Moses still appears to be before Pharoah and hasn’t yet left (he does in v. 11:8).  Still more strangeness will be pointed out at the beginning of Chapter 12.

דַּבֶּר־נָא בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וְיִשְׁאֲלוּ אִישׁ מֵאֵת רֵעֵהוּ וְאִשָּׁה מֵאֵת רְעוּתָהּ כְּלֵי־כֶסֶף וּכְלֵי זָהָב  11:2

Exod. 11:2  “Now speak in the ears of the people that they shall ask, each man from his neighbor, and each woman from her neighbor, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.”

The fifth word in this verse, translated as that they shall ask, contains a non-inverting vav prefix.  The verb is a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding action speak.

וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת־חֵן הָעָם בְּעֵינֵי מִצְרָיִם גַּם הָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה גָּדֹול מְאֹד בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּעֵינֵי עַבְדֵי־פַרְעֹה  11:3

 וּבְעֵינֵי הָעָם

Exod. 11:3  And the Lord gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians.  Also the man, Moses, was very distinguished in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharoah’s servants, and in the eyes of the people.

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה אֲנִי יֹוצֵא בְּתֹוךְ מִצְרָיִם  11:4

Exod. 11:4  And Moses said, “Thus says the Lord:  ‘About midnight tonight I will be going forth in the midst of the Egyptians

וּמֵת כָּל־בְּכֹור בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבְּכֹור פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל־כִּסְאֹו עַד בְּכֹור הַשִּׁפְחָה אֲשֶׁר אַחַר  11:5

הָרֵחָיִם וְכֹל בְּכֹור בְּהֵמָה

Exod. 11:5  and every first born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharoah sitting on his throne to the first born of the maidservant who is behind the millstones, and all the first born of beast.’

וְהָיְתָה צְעָקָה גְדֹלָה בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֲשֶׁר כָּמֹהוּ לֹא נִהְיָתָה וְכָמֹהוּ לֹא תֹסִף  11:6

Exod. 11:6  ‘And there shall be a great shriek throughout the land of Egypt such that none like it has been, and that none like it shall be again.’”

וּלְכֹל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יֶחֱרַץ־כֶּלֶב לְשֹׁנֹו לְמֵאִישׁ וְעַד־בְּהֵמָה לְמַעַן תֵּדְעוּן אֲשֶׁר יַפְלֶה יְהוָה בֵּין  11:7

מִצְרַיִם וּבֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל

Exod. 11:7  “But no dog shall move its tongue toward any of the children of Israel, not toward human or beast, so that you will know that the Lord can distinguish between Egypt and Israel.”

What does the opening phrase of this verse mean?  Some sages have translated or interpreted the expression move its tongue as bite or bark, but there is no certainty about this.  A consensus seems to exist, though, that the phrase means that not even a wild dog would threaten any Israelite.

וְיָרְדוּ כָל־עֲבָדֶיךָ אֵלֶּה אֵלַי וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ־לִי לֵאמֹר צֵא אַתָּה וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר־בְּרַגְלֶיךָ וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן אֵצֵא  11:8

וַיֵּצֵא מֵעִם־פַּרְעֹה בָּחֳרִי־אָף

Exod. 11:8  “And all these, your servants, shall come down to me and bow down to me saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’  Then I will go after that.”  And he went out from Pharoah in heated anger.

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֹא־יִשְׁמַע אֲלֵיכֶם פַּרְעֹה לְמַעַן רְבֹות מֹופְתַי בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם  11:9

Exod. 11:9  And the Lord said to Moses, “He will not listen to you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

וּמֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן עָשׂוּ אֶת־כָּל־הַמֹּפְתִים הָאֵלֶּה לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְחַזֵּק יְהוָה אֶת־לֵב פַּרְעֹה וְלֹא־שִׁלַּח  11:10

אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאַרְצֹו

Exod. 11:10   And Moses and Aaron had done all these wonders before Pharoah, but the Lord had hardened the heart of Pharoah, and he did not let the children of Israel go from his land.

Verse 11:10 is the only verse in this chapter mentioning Pharoah’s heart, and this time the Lord hardens his heart.  The scribe has become quite consistent in his description of the hardening.


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