וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן נְטֵה אֶת־יָדְךָ בְּמַטֶּךָ עַל־הַנְּהָרֹת עַל־הַיְאֹרִים וְעַל־ 8:1
הָאֲגַמִּים וְהַעַל אֶת־הַצְפַרְדְּעִים עַל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
Exod. 8:1 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch forth your hand with your staff over the streams, over the canals, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.’”
וַיֵּט אַהֲרֹן אֶת־יָדֹו עַל מֵימֵי מִצְרָיִם וַתַּעַל הַצְּפַרְדֵּעַ וַתְּכַס אֶת־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם 8:2
Exod. 8:2 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frog swarm came up and covered the land of Egypt.
Is something missing from this verse, or did Moses and Aaron disobey the Lord’s instructions? He told Moses that Aaron should stretch forth his hand with his staff in v. 8:1, but in this verse, Aaron apparently stretches forth only his hand. Maybe that’s why the magicians were able to duplicate Aaron’s feat. See v. 8:3, and also v. 8:13.
וַיַּעֲשׂוּ־כֵן הַחֲרְטֻמִּים בְּלָטֵיהֶם וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת־הַצְפַרְדְּעִים עַל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם 8:3
Exod. 8:3 And the magicians did the same with their magic and brought up the frogs upon the land of Egypt.
וַיִּקְרָא פַרְעֹה לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר הַעְתִּירוּ אֶל־יְהוָה וְיָסֵר הַצְפַרְדְּעִים מִמֶּנִּי וּמֵעַמִּי וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה 8:4
אֶת־הָעָם וְיִזְבְּחוּ לַיהוָה
Exod. 8:4 Then Pharoah called for Moses and for Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord so He will remove the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go so that they may sacrifice to the Lord.”
This verse exhibits three verbs prefixed with non-inverting vavs, for both of the reasons I described in About Hebrew.. The first one is וְיָסֵר, translated as so He will remove, the verb being a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding action, Pray [to the Lord]. The second one is וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה, translated as and I will let ... go, the verb being first-person imperfect. The third one is וְיִזְבְּחוּ, translated as so they may sacrifice, the verb being a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding action, and I will let ... go.
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לְפַרְעֹה הִתְפָּאֵר עָלַי לְמָתַי אַעְתִּיר לְךָ וְלַעֲבָדֶיךָ וּלְעַמְּךָ לְהַכְרִית הַצֲפַרְדְּעִים מִמְּךָ 8:5
וּמִבָּתֶּיךָ רַק בַּיְאֹר תִּשָּׁאַרְנָה
Exod. 8:5 And Moses said to Pharoah, “Clarify for me: When shall I intercede for you and for your servants and for your people for the frogs to be cut off from you and from your houses, to remain only in the river?”
וַיֹּאמֶר לְמָחָר וַיֹּאמֶר כִּדְבָרְךָ לְמַעַן תֵּדַע כִּי־אֵין כַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ 8:6
Exod. 8:6 And he said, “Tomorrow.” And he said, “According to your word; so that you shall know that there is none like the Lord, our God.”
I don’t understand why Pharoah didn’t say, “Now!” Why did he decide to wait another day? Hadn’t there yet been enough trouble for him and his people? Perhaps he wanted to give his magicians and wise men more time to rival or surpass God’s “magic.”
וְסָרוּ הַצְפַרְדְּעִים מִמְּךָ וּמִבָּתֶּיךָ וּמֵעֲבָדֶיךָ וּמֵעַמֶּךָ רַק בַּיְאֹר תִּשָּׁאַרְנָה 8:7
Exod. 8:7 “Then the frogs shall depart from you and from your houses and from your servants and from your people. Only in the river shall they remain.”
וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה וַיִּצְעַק מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוָה עַל־דְּבַר הַצְפַרְדְּעִים אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם לְפַרְעֹה 8:8
Exod. 8:8 And Moses went out from Pharoah, with Aaron, and Moses cried out to the Lord concerning the frogs that He had fashioned for Pharoah.
וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוָה כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה וַיָּמֻתוּ הַצְפַרְדְּעִים מִן־הַבָּתִּים מִן־הַחֲצֵרֹת וּמִן־הַשָּׂדֹת 8:9
Exod. 8:9 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses and the frogs died from the houses, from the towns, and from the fields.
וַיִּצְבְּרוּ אֹתָם חֳמָרִם חֳמָרִם וַתִּבְאַשׁ הָאָרֶץ 8:10
Exod. 8:10 And they piled them up, heaps upon heaps, and the land stunk.
וַיַּרְא פַּרְעֹה כִּי הָיְתָה הָרְוָחָה וְהַכְבֵּד אֶת־לִבֹּו וְלֹא שָׁמַע אֲלֵהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה 8:11
Exod. 8:11 And Pharoah saw that relief had come about, but he hardened his heart and did not hearken to them, as the Lord had spoken.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן נְטֵה אֶת־מַטְּךָ וְהַךְ אֶת־עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וְהָיָה לְכִנִּם בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ 8:12
Exod. 8:12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, and it will become as gnats throughout the land of Egypt.’”
יַּעֲשׂוּ־כֵן וַיֵּט אַהֲרֹן אֶת־יָדֹו בְמַטֵּהוּ וַיַּךְ אֶת־עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וַתְּהִי הַכִּנָּם בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה כָּל־עֲפַר 8:13
הָאָרֶץ הָיָה כִנִּים בְּכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
Exod. 8:13 And they did so. And Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth and there were the gnats among human and among beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats throughout the land of Egypt.
Once more we see the pattern of “And … so,” followed immediately by the elucidation (see the comments accompanying vss. Gene. 1:11, 1:12, 1:15, 1:16, 1:20, 1:21, and 1:24, 1:25). The difference here is that it is all contained in one verse rather than extended over two verses.
Another point is worth making. Note that in v. 8:12 the Lord actually instructs Moses and Aaron to strike the dust, and Moses and Aaron follow those instructions in this verse. And now the magicians failed.
וַיַּעֲשׂוּ־כֵן הַחַרְטֻמִּים בְּלָטֵיהֶם לְהֹוצִיא אֶת־הַכִּנִּים וְלֹא יָכֹלוּ וַתְּהִי הַכִּנָּם בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה 8:14
Exod. 8:14 And the magicians did the same with their magic, to bring forth the gnats, but they could not. And there was the gnat-swarm on human and on beast.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים אֶל־פַּרְעֹה אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִוא וַיֶּחֱזַק לֵב־פַּרְעֹה וְלֹא־שָׁמַע אֲלֵהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר 8:15
Exod. 8:15 Then the magicians said to Pharoah, “This is the finger of God.” But the heart of Pharoah was hardened and he did not hearken to them, as the Lord had spoken.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה הַשְׁכֵּם בַּבֹּקֶר וְהִתְיַצֵּב לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה הִנֵּה יֹוצֵא הַמָּיְמָה וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו כֹּה אָמַר 8:16
יְהוָה שַׁלַּח עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי
Exod. 8:16 And the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and place yourself before Pharoah; behold, he will be coming forth to the water; and you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: ‘Let My people go so they may serve Me.’
The last word in the verse, וְיַעַבְדֻנִי, translated as so they may serve Me, has a non-inverting vav prefix. The verb is a third-person imperfect consequence of the preceding action, Let ... go.
כִּי אִם־אֵינְךָ מְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת־עַמִּי הִנְנִי מַשְׁלִיחַ בְּךָ וּבַעֲבָדֶיךָ וּבְעַמְּךָ וּבְבָתֶּיךָ אֶת־הֶעָרֹב וּמָלְאוּ בָּתֵּי 8:17
מִצְרַיִם אֶת־הֶעָרֹב וְגַם הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר־הֵם עָלֶיהָ
Exod. 8:17 ‘For, if you refrain from letting My people go, behold, I will be sending all sorts of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses, and the houses of Egypt will be filled with the fly swarm, and even the ground on which they are.’
וְהִפְלֵיתִי בַיֹּום הַהוּא אֶת־אֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר עַמִּי עֹמֵד עָלֶיהָ לְבִלְתִּי הֱיֹות־שָׁם עָרֹב לְמַעַן תֵּדַע כִּי אֲנִי 8:18
יְהוָה בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ
Exod. 8:18 ‘And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen on which My people tarry to not let any fly swarm be there, in order that you shall know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.’
This verse leads to an interesting question. Had the Hebrews been subjected also to the first three plagues? Or is God now informing Pharoah of the fact that they had not suffered as the Egyptians had? This verse makes it seem as if the Hebrews had been affected by the first three plagues. But as another demonstration of God’s power, and that it is indeed God acting here, He was now setting the Hebrews apart for Pharoah to see.
וְשַׂמְתִּי פְדֻת בֵּין עַמִּי וּבֵין עַמֶּךָ לְמָחָר יִהְיֶה הָאֹת הַזֶּה 8:19
Exod. 8:19 ‘And I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.’”
וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוָה כֵּן וַיָּבֹא עָרֹב כָּבֵד בֵּיתָה פַרְעֹה וּבֵית עֲבָדָיו וּבְכָל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם תִּשָּׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵי 8:20
Exod. 8:20 And the Lord did so, and a grievous fly swarm came to the house of Pharoah and the houses of his servants, and throughout the land of Egypt the land was ruined because of the fly swarm.
It’s interesting to note that no where does it say the Lord removed the gnats before bringing the flies.
וַיִּקְרָא פַרְעֹה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר לְכוּ זִבְחוּ לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם בָּאָרֶץ 8:21
Exod. 8:21 Then Pharoah called to Moses and to Aaron and said, “Go sacrifice to your God in the land.”
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לֹא נָכֹון לַעֲשֹׂות כֵּן כִּי תֹּועֲבַת מִצְרַיִם נִזְבַּח לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ הֵן נִזְבַּח אֶת־תֹּועֲבַת 8:22
מִצְרַיִם לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְלֹא יִסְקְלֻנוּ
Exod. 8:22 But Moses said, “It would not be proper to do so, for we would sacrifice an abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord, our God. If we would sacrifice an abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then would they not stone us?”
דֶּרֶךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים נֵלֵךְ בַּמִּדְבָּר וְזָבַחְנוּ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר אֵלֵינוּ 8:23
Exod. 8:23 “We will go a journey of three days into the wilderness and we will sacrifice to the Lord, our God, as He will say to us.”
וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה אָנֹכִי אֲשַׁלַּח אֶתְכֶם וּזְבַחְתֶּם לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בַּמִּדְבָּר רַק הַרְחֵק לֹא־תַרְחִיקוּ לָלֶכֶת 8:24
Exod. 8:24 And Pharoah said, “I will let you go, and you may sacrifice to the Lord, your God, in the wilderness. Only you are not to go very far away. Intercede on my behalf!”
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי יֹוצֵא מֵעִמָּךְ וְהַעְתַּרְתִּי אֶל־יְהוָה וְסָר הֶעָרֹב מִפַּרְעֹה מֵעֲבָדָיו וּמֵעַמֹּו מָחָר 8:25
רַק אַל־יֹסֵף פַּרְעֹה הָתֵל לְבִלְתִּי שַׁלַּח אֶת־הָעָם לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהוָה
Exod. 8:25 And Moses said, “Behold, I am going from you and I will pray to the Lord that the fly swarm will depart from Pharoah, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow. Only let not Pharoah deal deceitfully any more by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”
וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה וַיֶּעְתַּר אֶל־יְהוָה 8:26
Exod. 8:26 And Moses went out from Pharoah and prayed to the Lord.
וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוָה כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה וַיָּסַר הֶעָרֹב מִפַּרְעֹה מֵעֲבָדָיו וּמֵעַמֹּו לֹא נִשְׁאַר אֶחָד 8:27
Exod. 8:27 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses and He removed the fly swarm from Pharoah, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained.
וַיַּכְבֵּד פַּרְעֹה אֶת־לִבֹּו גַּם בַּפַּעַם הַזֹּאת וְלֹא שִׁלַּח אֶת־הָעָם 8:28
Exod. 8:28 But Pharoah hardened his heart again at this time, and he did not let the people go.
Apparently the scribe might not have been sure who was hardening Pharoah’s heart. So far the hardening of Pharoah’s heart is mentioned in eight verses since Exod. 4:21, including this one. In the first two (4:21 and 7:3) God says “I will harden [his heart],“ in three verses (7:13, 7:14, and 8:15) “[Pharoah’s heart] was” or “is hardened,” in two verses (8:11 and 8:28) “[Pharoah] hardened his heart,” and in one verse (7:22) “[Pharoah’s] heart would be hardened” by the magicians. We’ll see how this progresses.
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