by Ken Cayce

Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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Exodus Explained

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Exodus relates the story of freedom for God's people from slavery and the beginning of national identity. The book is strategically important to both Old Testament history and a proper understanding of Hebrew customs and institutions. It is a vital connecting link between the age of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph), and the remaining books of the Law (Leviticus and Deuteronomy). It relates how God fulfilled His promise to Abraham by multiplying his descendants into a great nation (Gen. 12:2), and then redeeming them from bondage (Gen. 15:13-14). God then gave them the law (Chapters 20 to 23) and instructions for building the tabernacle, the place from which He would meet with His people in worship. Exodus emphasizes God's covenant faithfulness (2:24; 3:6; 6:4-8; 15:13). The deliverance from bondage was a crucial event in the experience of the Israelites. Centuries later, many authors of the Psalms and prophetic books acclaimed it as the most significant miracle in their history. The deliverance serves as a beautiful type of the sinner's redemption from the bondage of sin. God is presented in several interesting roles in the book:

1. He is the One who controls history;

2. He is pictured as the great "I AM";

3. He is a holy God;

4. He is the God who remembers;

5. He is the God who acts in salvation;

6. He is the God who acts in judgment;

7. He is the God who speaks;

8. He is the God who is transcendent; and

9. He is the God who lives among His people.

Historical Setting: The following is a brief presentation of approximate dates of events in the Book of Exodus. Jacob and his family entered Egypt about 430 years before the Exodus (12:40; Gal. 3:17), which would be about 1877 B.C. During this time, Israel experienced physical prosperity and increase (1:7). Then Joseph died about 1800 B.C. (Gen. 50:26). About 1720 B.C. the Hyksos took over Egypt (1:8; "There arose up a new king over Egypt"), and intense bondage began for the Israelites. The Hyksos were the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and the oppression continued (1:15-22). Moses was born about 1527 B.C. during the reign of Amenhotep I (1545 - 1525 B.C.), and fled into exile about 1487 B.C. (2:15), during Hatshepsut's reign (1504 - 1483 B.C.). Based upon two key scriptural witnesses, the Exodus took place in approximately 1447 B.C. According to (1 Kings 6:1), the temple of Solomon was begun in the fourth year of his reign (967 B.C. or shortly thereafter), which was the 480th year after the Exodus. This would be in the reign of Amenhotep II (1450 - 1423 B.C.). Further confirmation of this "early" date for the Exodus is found (in Judges 11:26), where Jephthah reminds the Ammonite invaders that the Israelites have been too long in possession of the contested land of Gilead for the Ammonites to challenge their legal right to hold it. The time period is given as three hundred years before Jephthah's day, which was about 1100 B.C. A New Testament reference substantiating the "early" date is found in Acts 13:19 and 20, with a reference to 450 years which includes the Exodus itself down to the career of Samuel and even to David's capture of Jerusalem about 1004 B.C.

In spite of the scriptural evidence, many scholars today favor a considerably later date. The most favored one at present being 1290 B.C., which would be about 10 years after Rameses II began his reign. A still later date of about 1225 B.C. is favored by a few scholars.

Title: The Greek Septuagint (LXX), and the Latin Vulgate versions of the Old Testament assigned the title "Exodus" to this second book of Moses, because the departure of Israel from Egypt is the dominant historical fact in the book (19:1). In the Hebrew Bible, the opening words, "And (or Now), these are the names," served as the title of the book. The opening "And" or "Now" in the Hebrew title suggests that this book was to be accepted as the obvious sequel to Genesis, the first book of Moses. (Hebrews 11:22), commends the faith of Joseph, who, while on his deathbed (ca. 1804 B.C.) spoke of the "exodus" of the sons of Israel, looking ahead over 350 years to the Exodus (ca. 1445 B.C.).

Authorship - Date: The evidence that supports the Mosaic authorship of Genesis (see that book's Introduction), also applies to Exodus. There is positive testimony beginning in his day and continuing into modern times through an unbroken chain. Unlike Genesis, which is anonymous as far as internal evidence is concerned, Exodus claims in more than one place that Moses wrote at least substantial portions of the book. In (17:14), he was told to write on a scroll the story of Israel's victory over the Amalekites. Also (24:4), records that "Moses wrote all the words of the Lord," which probably included at least 20:18 - 23:33, the law code known as the "Book of the Covenant." In Joshua's day, Moses' law was still mandatory for the people (Joshua 1:7). In David's day the king referred to God's "commandments ... written in the law of Moses" (1 Kings 2:3). Hilkiah the priest discovered "the book of the law" in the temple (2 Chron. 34:14). During the Babylonian exile, Daniel read of the curse "written in the law of Moses" (Dan. 9:11). Ezra the priest set up Passover observances for the returning remnant, "as it is written in the book of Moses" (Ezra 6:18). And the Old Testament ends with Malachi's exhortation, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant" (Mal. 4:4). Jesus quoted from (Exodus 20:12), using the introduction, "For Moses said" (Mark 7:10; Luke 20:37). The apostle Paul noted, "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law" (Rom. 10:5). The testimony of both the Jewish community and the Christian church throughout history has been that Moses wrote the Book of Exodus.

Mosaic authorship of Exodus is unhesitatingly affirmed. Moses followed God's instructions and "wrote down all the words of the Lord" (24:4), which included at the least the record of the battle with Amalek (17:14), the Ten Commandments (34:4; 27-29), and the Book of the Covenant (20:22 - 23:33). Similar assertions of Mosaic writing occur elsewhere in the Pentateuch: Moses is identified as the one who recorded the "starting places according to their journeys" (Num. 33:2), and who "wrote this law" (Deut. 31:9).

The Old Testament corroborates Mosaic authorship of the portions mentioned above (see Joshua 1:7-8; 8:31-32; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; Neh. 13:1; Dan. 9:11-13; and Mal. 4:4). The New Testament concurs by citing (Exodus 3:6), as part of the "the book of Moses" (Mark 12:26), by assigning (Exodus 13:2), to "the law of Moses," which is also referred to as "the law of the Lord" (Luke 2:22-23), by ascribing (Exodus 20:12 and 21:17), to Moses (Mark 7:10), by attributing the law to Moses (John 7:19; Rom. 10:5), and by Jesus' specifically declaring that Moses had written of Him (John 5:46-47).

At some time during his 40 year tenure as Israel's leader, beginning at 80 years of age and ending at 120 (7:7; Deut. 34:7), Moses wrote down this second of his 5 books. More specifically, it would have been after the Exodus and obviously before his death on Mt. Nebo in the plains of Moab. The date of the Exodus (ca. 1445 B.C.), dictates the date of the writing in the 15th century B.C.

Scripture dates Solomon's fourth year of reign, when he began to build the temple (ca. 966/65 B.C.), as being 480 years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1), establishing the early date of (1445 B.C.). Jephthah noted that, by his day, Israel had possessed Heshbon for 300 years (Judges 11:26). Calculating backward and forward from Jephthah, and taking into account different periods of foreign oppression, judgeships and kingships, the wilderness wandering, and the initial entry and conquest of Canaan under Joshua, this early date is confirmed and amounts to 480 years.

Scripture also dates the entry of Jacob and his extended family into Egypt (ca. 1875 B.C.), as being 430 years before the Exodus (12:40), thus placing Joseph in what archeologists have designated as the 12th Dynasty, the Middle Kingdom period of Egyptian history, and placing Moses and Israel's final years of residence and slavery in what archeologists have designated as the 18th Dynasty, or New Kingdom period. Further, Joseph's stint as vizier over all of Egypt (Gen 45:8) precludes his having served under the Hyksos (ca. 1730 - 1570 B.C.), the foreign invaders who ruled during a period of confusion in Egypt and who never controlled all of the country. They were a mixed Semitic race who introduced the horse and chariot as well as the composite bow. These implements of war made possible their expulsion from Egypt.

Background - Setting: Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt, the setting for Israel's dramatic departure, was not a politically or economically weak and obscure period of Egyptian history. Thutmose III, for example, the Pharaoh of the Oppression has been called the "Napoleon of Ancient Egypt," the sovereign who expanded the boundaries of Egyptian influence far beyond natural borders. This was the dynasty which over a century before, under the leadership of Amose I, had expelled the Hyksos kings from the country and redirected the country's economic, military and diplomatic growth. At the time of the Exodus, Egypt was strong, not weak.

Moses, born in 1525 B.C. (80 years old in 1445 B.C.), became "educated in all the learning of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22), while growing up in the courts of Pharaohs Thutmose I and II and Queen Hatshepsut for his first 40 years (Acts 7:23). He was in self-imposed, Midianite exile during the reign of Thutmose III for another 40 years (Acts 7:30), and returned at God's direction to be Israel's leader early in the reign of Amenhotep II, the pharaoh of the Exodus. God used both the educational system of Egypt and his exile in Midian to prepare Moses to represent his people before a powerful pharaoh and to guide his people through the wilderness of the Sinai peninsula during his final 40 years (Acts 7:36). Moses died on Mt. Nebo when he was 120 years old (Deut. 34:1-6), as God's judgment was on him for his anger and disrespect (Num. 20:1-3). While he looked on from afar, Moses never entered the Promised Land. Centuries later he appeared to the disciples on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3).

Historical - Theological Themes: In God's timing, the Exodus marked the end of a period of oppression for Abraham's descendants (Gen. 15:13), and constituted the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant promise to Abraham that his descendants would not only reside in the Promised Land, but would also multiply and become a great nation (Gen. 1-3, 7). The purpose of the book may be expressed like this: To trace the rapid growth of Jacob's descendants from Egypt to the establishment of the theocratic nation in their Promised Land.

At the appropriate time, on Mt. Sinai and in the plains of Moab, God also gave the Israelites that body of legislation, the law, which they needed for living properly in Israel as the theocratic people of God. By this, they were distinct from all other nations (Deut. 4:7-8; Rom. 9:4-5).

By God's self-revelation, the Israelites were instructed in the sovereignty and majesty, the goodness and holiness, and the grace and mercy of their Lord, the one and only God of heaven and earth (see especially Exodus 3, 6, 33-34). The account of the Exodus and the events that followed are also the subject of other major biblical revelation (compare Psalms 105:25-45; 106:6-27; Acts 7:17-44; 1 Cor. 10:1-13; Heb. 9:1-6; 11:23-29).


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Chapter Selection


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Exodus 1 Exodus 15 Exodus 29
Exodus 2 Exodus 16 Exodus 30
Exodus 3 Exodus 17 Exodus 31
Exodus 4 Exodus 18 Exodus 32
Exodus 5 Exodus 19 Exodus 33
Exodus 6 Exodus 20 Exodus 34
Exodus 7 Exodus 21 Exodus 35
Exodus 8 Exodus 22 Exodus 36
Exodus 9 Exodus 23 Exodus 37
Exodus 10 Exodus 24 Exodus 38
Exodus 11 Exodus 25 Exodus 39
Exodus 12 Exodus 26 Exodus 40
Exodus 13 Exodus 27  
Exodus 14 Exodus 28  

Exodus 1

Exodus Chapter 1

Verses 1-7: The book begins with the very words of (Genesis 46:8), which is in the context of God's promise to Israel (Jacob): "Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee ... and I will also surely bring thee up" (Gen. 46:3-4). These verses relate information contained (in Genesis 35:22-26; 46:27; and 50:26). All of the tribes are represented as going down into Egypt.

The opening verses of Exodus provide context for Moses' like: the "children of Israel" were in "Egypt" because the family of "Jacob" had been led there by the providence of God (Genesis Chapters 37-50).

From 1:1 - 12:36: These scriptures recount Israel's final years in Egypt before the Exodus.

Exodus 1:1 "Now these [are] the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob."

"Egypt" was overrun by the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period (1786-1550 B.C.). Thus, there arose a "new king over Egypt" who not only "knew not Joseph" but viewed the Israelites as "more and mightier that we." By 1550 B.C. the Hyksos were expelled by Ahmose, who ushered in the Eighteenth Dynasty (during which names ending with "mose" became popular), and the New Kingdom Period (1550-1070 B.C.). During the early phase of the New Kingdom Period, Egypt reached its greatest heights of military and political power under Thutmose III while Moses was in exile in Midian. When Moses finally returned to Egypt, Amen-Hotep II was on the throne and became the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

One man's (Jacob), family came into Egypt and grew into the nation of Israel. Joseph and his family were already in Egypt, and his father and eleven brothers and their families fled the famine and came to Egypt where there was food. Because they were of Joseph's family, the then currently reigning Pharaoh treated them royally.

Joseph had led Egypt into a food storage program which not only saved Egypt, but saved his family as well. The Pharaoh had welcomed Joseph's family and gave them land to dwell on. The wealth that Joseph had brought to Egypt was soon forgotten; and when the Pharaoh died, the new Pharaoh became afraid of the Israelites and made slaves of them in Goshen to keep them from overthrowing the Egyptian government.

Exodus 1:2 "Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,"

These are the first sons of Jacob by Leah.

We see Reuben mentioned first, because he was the oldest son. Reuben displeased his father greatly when he practiced incest with his father's concubine, Bilhah. This is a terrible sin, and Reuben was disinherited for this sin (Genesis 35:22).

Exodus 1:3 "Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,"

The sons of the legitimate wives are placed first, then those of the concubines. Leah has precedence over Rachel; Bilhah over Zilpah. The children of each wife and concubine are given in order of seniority. The omission of Joseph from the list is explained in the last part of Exodus 1:5.

"And Benjamin", who, though youngest of all, is placed before Dan, Naphtali, etc., because they were the children of the hand-maidens.

Exodus 1:4 "Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher."

Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, are last mentioned, being sons of the concubine wives.

Exodus 1:5 "And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt [already]."

The number "Seventy" agrees with (Genesis 46:27 and Deut. 10:22; but the Septuagint and Acts 7:14 have 75). The Dead Sea materials also agree with the Septuagint. The number 66 (in Genesis 46:26), do not include Joseph and his two sons, and Moses likely added these later, making 70.

Acts 7:14 reports 75 with the addition of 5 relatives of Joseph included in the LXX, but not the Hebrew text.

This is just speaking of the families of Jacob and his sons and their families in Egypt. We remember from the lessons in Genesis that Joseph realized that his being sold into Egypt was part of God's plan for the provision of the covenant people.

Joseph's name is excluded because he was already in Egypt. You remember from Genesis that his brothers had sold him as a slave. The servant girls' children were listed last. In fact, Leah's children were even named before Rachel's child, because Leah was Jacob's first wife.

Verses 6-8: This summary of a lengthy period of time moves the record from the death of Joseph (1804 B.C.). The last recorded event in Genesis, to the radical change in Israel's history, i.e., from favor before Egypt's pharaoh to disfavor and enslavement (1525-1445 B.C.).

Exodus 1:6 "And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation."

Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation'; but Jesus lives, and therefore His people 'grow and multiply,' and His servants' work is blessed. And at the end they shall be knit together in the common joy of the great harvest, and of the day when the headstone is brought forth with shoutings of "Grace"! Grace unto it.

They were to be 430 years in Egypt, and all of the 12 brothers had died and now a new generation was carrying on in the place of their fathers.

Exodus 1:7 "And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them."

This verse sounds like (Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 12:2; 17:2, 6; 22:17; 26:4; 28:14 and 48:4). This was visible evidence of God's blessing and the fulfilling of His promises.

About 603,550 men of fighting age left Egypt (Num. 1:46). Factoring in older men, women, children and the infirm, the total number of Hebrew people was probably about 2.5 million people by this time. The children of Israel had truly "multiplied" in the 370 years or so since Jacob and his family of 70 had arrived in the land.

The seed of Abraham was no longer an extended family, but a nation. The promise that his descendants would be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 35:11-12), had indeed been fulfilled in Egypt.

God's blessings were not just material in nature. Children are blessings from God. The Hebrews believed that many children meant that God has blessed you abundantly. They believed it was a curse not to have children. They were no threat to the Egyptians when there were just 70 people, but now that they were near 2-1/2 million, it is a totally different story.

Verses 8-11: Nearly 400 years of history are summarized in these verses which represented a line of pharaohs not just one. The "new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph was likely one of the pharaohs during the Hyksos takeover. Even after Egypt's native rulers returned to power, the Hebrew people were no longer honored in memory of Joseph.

Exodus 1:8 "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph."

"Now there arose up a new king over Egypt" has been interpreted various ways. Some take the new king to be a native Egyptian, possibly one of the New Kingdom Pharaohs such as Ahmose (1570-1545 B.C.), who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty and expelled the Hyksos from Egypt. However, the Hebrew verb "qum" followed by the preposition " al" often has the meaning "to rise against," (as in Deut. 19:11; 28:7; Judges 9:18; 20:5; Sam. 18:31; 2 Kings 16:7), and it really never conveys the idea of assuming the throne in a peaceful manner.

This probably was a Hyksos king, since the Hyksos came forcefully into Egypt between 1720 and 1700 B.C., and were expelled about 1570 B.C. This would better fit the time in which Jacob came down to Egypt, 430 years before the Exodus (Exodus 12:40), thus entering Egypt about 1877 B.C. (compare Gen. 15:13 and its four hundred years). Joseph would have served during the reigns of Sesostris II (1897-1878 B.C.), and Sesostris III (1878-1842 B.C.), and died about 1805 B.C.

The Hyksos may well have had reason to hate the descendants of Jacob because of the episode at Shechem (Gen. 34), and Jacob's later conflicting with the Amorites (Gen. 48:22). The Amorites were one of the main elements of the Hyksos people.

The statement that they "Knew not Joseph" indicates their contempt for Joseph's previously privileged status next to Pharaoh and the divine blessings that accrued to the people of Israel as a result of this. Note a similar action on the part of a native Egyptian (in 5:2), directed toward Yahweh and submitting to Him.

As we said, as long as Joseph was alive, the Pharaoh remembered what he (Joseph), had done for Egypt. With the new leader, there was no memory of this. He had not known Joseph, and he had not lived during the famine. And he felt no obligation to this mass of foreigners living in his land.

Verses 9-12: This is another summary of a lengthy period of time, as indicated by the population continuing to grow in spite of increasing hardship imposed on Israel.

Exodus 1:9 "And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel [are] more and mightier than we:"

"His people": An Egyptian pharaoh designated Israel as a nation, marking the first time the term "people" or "nation" is used of them.

It is very unlikely that a native Egyptian king could have said, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we". The Hyksos may well have had reason to hate the descendants of Jacob because of the episode at Shechem (Gen. 34), and Jacob's later conflicting with the Amorites (Gen. 48:22). The Amorites were one of the main elements of the Hyksos people.

Verses 10-11: "Join ... unto our enemies ... set over them taskmasters": Israel was assessed both as a threat to national security and as an economic asset, slavery would therefore control the danger and maximize their usefulness.

Exodus 1:10 "Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and [so] get them up out of the land."

Here we see fear gripping this new ruler. These Israelites were growing in such numbers that he actually feared that they would overthrow the Egyptian government. He believed that they might even join in with Egypt's enemies and turn against Egypt; after all, they were foreigners. He wanted to be sure this will not happen. We will see in the next few verses that this monarch believed if he could work them enough, they would stop multiplying and would be too worn out to mount up against the government.

Verses 11-22: Three unsuccessful methods were used to limit the exploding population growth of the Hebrews: (1) working the Hebrews to exhaustion and even to death; (2) commanding the "Hebrew midwives" to commit infanticide; (3) selective annihilation, with baby boys being cast into the River Nile while baby girls were spared.

Exodus 1:11 "Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses."

"Treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses": These were places where both provisions and military hardware were stored. Archeological identification has not been finally definitive, with some 3 to 5 options being put forward for them. Pithom is usually taken as a center of solar worship in northern Egypt, and Raamses as Qantir in the eastern delta region. In addition, the city might very well have been renamed under the reign of the later, powerful Pharaoh, and that name was better known to Israel later (compare the case of Laish or Leshem, renamed Dan in Genesis 14:14; Joshua 19:47 and Judges 18:29).

This meant that they were forced to labor for the government by cruel overseers. These treasure cities were encampments of war materials handy to be used to squelch any and all attacks that came against Egypt. The word "Pithom" means abode of the sun. Some believe that the miracles of Moses took place in this same Raamses. This forced labor, as we said, was to keep them worn out so they could not fight against Egypt. This ruler in Egypt was also using this free labor to build mighty monuments.

We will see as we go on in this book of Exodus, how we Christians were in bondage to the world of sin before our Deliverer comes and sets us free. This cruel ruler here afflicting these people (physical Israel), shows us of our great affliction by Satan until we receive the free gift of salvation through our Deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Exodus Chapter 1 Questions

1. How many of Jacob's family went in to Egypt?

2. Approximately how many will come out with Moses?

3. Who were the covenant people?

4. What 3 men were the promises to come through?

5. How many sons did Jacob have?

6. Who would they become?

7. What time (events) did Exodus cover?

8. Who is the Lamb?

9. What 2 types of law were introduced in Exodus?

10. The 10 plagues deal with what?

11. God's presence was shown by what 2 things in these travels?

12. Why was Reuben mentioned first in the list of sons?

13. Why was Joseph omitted from this list of sons?

14. Name the 12 sons of Jacob.

15. In what sin was Reuben involved?

16. How many souls came from the loins of Jacob in verse 5?

17. What had Joseph finally discovered was the real reason he was sold into captivity?

18. At what time did the Egyptians turn against Joseph's family?

19. Why did the ruler decide to make the Israelites slaves?

20. What does the word "taskmaster" indicate?

21. "Pithom" means what?

22. What is the message you received in this first lesson?

Exodus Chapter 1 Continued

Exodus 1:12 "But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel."

This result was not natural. It can only be ascribed to God's superintending Providence, whereby "the fierceness of man" was made to "turn to his praise." Naturally, severe and constant labor exhausts a nation, and causes its numbers to diminish.

"They were grieved": This is scarcely strong enough. Translated, the Egyptians "They were sore distressed" as the numbers of the Israelites grew and they feared they would become too strong for them.

This word "grieved" here actually means they greatly feared the Israelites. It is very strange how many times God will send many children to those who are oppressed. It is as if it is to compensate for the lack in their lives. Poor families, even today, have more children than the wealthy.

Exodus 1:13 "And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor:"

"The Egyptians": The nave inhabitants continued to enslave Israel. Between verses 12 and 13 a major change in Egyptian history took place, the Hyksos were driven out (ca. 1570 B.C.).

Possibly these Egyptians here were under the reign of Ahmose I.

Here we see the anger of the Egyptians toward Joseph's family shows up in the degree of hardship they bring to them.

Exodus 1:14 "And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, [was] with rigor."

"Bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick": Archeologists have uncovered reliefs and painting confirming the Egyptian practice of imposing forced labor on prisoners and slaves. These paintings also show foremen and guards watching construction work while scribes registered data on tablets.

We see work beyond the normal. Perhaps instead of working 8 hours a day, the work was probably extended from sunup to sundown, and in Egypt it is very hot. Perhaps they were also required to carry heavy bricks all day in this heat.

Verses 15-22: "Shiphrah" and "Puah" were possibly leaders of the guild of midwives who refused to commit infanticide, fearing the real King more than their earthly ruler (Luke 12:4-5; Acts 5:29). These women were likely Egyptians who came to faith in Yahweh and were included in Israel (He provided households for them).

Exodus 1:15 "And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:"

This Pharaoh would be Amenhotep I (1545-1525 B.C.), who commanded the midwives to kill the Hebrew boys (verses 15-22), being succeeded by Thutmose I (1525-1508 B.C.), who commanded the Hebrew boys to be thrown into the Nile (verse 22).

These Pharaohs, like their spiritual predecessors Cain and Esau, and like their successors Haman and Herod, were tolls of Satan for the attempted destruction of the Seed of the Woman. But God providentially overruled their wicked plans and thus preserved the Messiah's line.

These midwives were like doctors of today. They assisted in the birth of a child. This is an old profession, and many women prefer them over a conventional doctor even today.

"Shiphrah" seems to be a Hebrew name, and it means elegant or beautiful.

"Puah" means one who cries out.

Exodus 1:16 "And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see [them] upon the stools; if it [be] a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it [be] a daughter, then she shall live."

The failure of rigorous bondage to suppress population growth necessitated that different measures were taken; hence, the royal order to the Hebrew midwives to murder male infants at birth.

"Stools": Literally "two stones" on which the women sat to deliver.

Their function was to save lives, but here we see the king ordering them to destroy all the boy babies. The stool mentioned here is a special chair built for the purpose of child birth. We know the midwife would be the first to see the child and would have the opportunity to kill the baby. Here the king gave them a mandate. Disobeying the king could cause them to lose their heads. If these were Hebrew midwives, it is totally opposed to their respect for life. As we have said before, children were believed to be blessings from God and should not be destroyed.

Exodus 1:17 "But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive."

"The midwives feared God": These brave, older women reverenced their God and thus obeyed Him and not man. They obviously understood that children were a gift from God and that murder was wrong. The two midwives mentioned by name were probably the leading representatives of their profession, for it is unlikely that such a burgeoning population had only two midwives to deal with all the births.

"And did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive": If they truly had not made even one Hebrew male delivery during the months of Pharaoh's murderous program, then their response would have been laudable and justified by Old Testament ethics. However, if they were partially truthful and partially lying, they were just as blameworthy as Rahab, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob was where when they lied.

In verse 17, we see a strong statement indicating that these midwives feared God. This almost certainly makes them Hebrew, because Egyptians knew little about the real God. We see numerous Scriptures throughout the Bible telling us to obey those in government, but we see a higher law than the government. We must not break God's law to obey government. We are subject to the law of the land and should be good citizens, but if in so doing we break God's law, we must first obey God.

Exodus 1:18 "And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?"

Perceiving by the increase of the Israelites; that they did not obey his commands.

"And said unto them, why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?" Not only did not kill them, but did everything for them that were necessary for their future preservation and health (see Ezek. 16:4).

The anger of the king had been kindled toward these midwives.

Verses 19-20: Rather than trying to argue for a justifiable lie on the part of midwives seeking to protect God's people, take it as a statement of what was true: God was directly involved in this affair of birth and national growth. That's the key to understanding why no decree of Pharaoh would work out as he intended, and why Hebrew women were so healthy and gave birth with ease.

Exodus 1:19 "And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women [are] not as the Egyptian women; for they [are] lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them."

The statement by the midwives: "Because the Hebrew women [are] not as the Egyptian women; for they [are] lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them" is probably a lie in light of the statement (in verse 17); "and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive".

Here we see midwives facing their death, because they will not kill these boy babies. This is the very thing martyrs are made of. They were unwilling to go against what they believe, even if they know they would be killed for their stand they have taken. They not only were brave, but were smart as well. This was probably the only excuse that Pharaoh would believe.

Exodus 1:20 "Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty."

If they truly had not made even one Hebrew male delivery during the months of Pharaoh's murderous program, then their response would have been laudable and justified by Old Testament ethics. However, if they were partially truthful and partially lying, they were just as blameworthy as Rahab, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob was when they lied.

It appears from this Scriptures above, that God probably softened the heart of the Pharaoh and caused him not to punish the midwives. God controls all people, not just the ones who have decided to follow Him. We see that Pharaoh's plan backfired on him and that multiplying of the people went on without Pharaoh's blessing.

Exodus 1:21 "And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses."

The juxtaposition of the account of their lie to Pharaoh with the statement that God dealt well with them in verse 20 might appear to imply an endorsement of their lie. But this suspicion cannot be sustained in the text, for twice it attributes the reason for God's blessing them the fact that they "feared [believed] "God"

Whether this means physical houses or whether this means God blessed them with a family, we really do not know; but whatever it was, it is a blessing abundantly from God. God overlooked them lying to the Pharaoh because they took no thought for themselves in sparing these babies' lives.

Exodus 1:22 "And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive."

The failure of the extermination program demanded of the midwives finally caused Pharaoh to demand that all his subjects get involved in murdering newborn boys.

This was like human sacrifice. The Nile River was worshipped by the Egyptians. These Egyptian people would see the day when they would regret the murdering of these babies, for the tenth plague would kill their firstborn.

Exodus Chapter 1 Continued Questions

1. In verse 12, the more they afflicted them, the more they ___________ _____ __________.

2. Who was grieved by this?

3. What does "grieved" actually mean?

4. What word describes the severity of their service?

5. What is a midwife?

6. What did he instruct the midwives to do?

7. What does the name "Shiphrah" mean?

8. What does "Puah" mean?

9. What one thing makes us believe these midwives were Hebrews?

10. Why did the midwives not do what the king asked them to?

11. When is the only time to disobey government?

12. When the king called the midwives to explain their action, what did they tell him?

13. What were these midwives willing to do so as not to disobey God?

14. Instead of the Hebrews decreasing, what happened?

15. We read because the midwives feared God, He made them what?

16. What was throwing these babies into the Nile River like?

17. Why?

18. In what area did these Hebrew live?

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Exodus 2

Exodus Chapter 2

Verses 1-2: Since Moses was born soon after the general decree of 1:22 was given (ca 1525 B.C.), the issuer of the decree was Thutmose I.

Exodus 2:1 "And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took [to wife] a daughter of Levi."

This is speaking of the mother and father of Moses.

It was very important to these Hebrews to not marry these worldly Egyptians. We see here that this was an honorable man and woman. They didn't move in and live together, they married. There were so many people in these families that they could marry in the family and still not marry a near kinsman. This marriage would be pleasing to God.

Notice here, that their specific names were not given. Probably, because they could fade into obscurity as Moses, their child, was elevated. These two would be named later, but just as the greatest things we do for God are, many times, not recognized; this is the case here. Their part in bringing the deliverer was paled in importance to the fact God sent the deliverer.

Exodus 2:2 "And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he [was a] goodly [child], she hid him three months."

"Goodly" (beautiful) means "favored". For Moses' parents to hide him for "three months" until he was in safe hands was an act of faith lauded (in Hebrews 11:23).

This mother is proud of this healthy, handsome child that she bare. She stands against the powers of Egypt to keep him. She, as well as all the other mothers, was told to kill their boy children when they were born. Here we can look at these 3 months that he was hidden as if he were dead to symbolize the three days that the body of Jesus lay in the tomb as dead. She could look on this son and see his strength and his character. We do not read that she knew at this time that he was sent of God to deliver his people from great bondage.

Verses 3-4: The careful actions of Moses' mother to construct the ark of bulrushes, to set Moses afloat close to the royal bathing place and to have his sister watch to see what would happen, indicate a hope that something would work out for the child.

Exodus 2:3 "And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid [it] in the flags by the river's brink."

The word "Ark" in this case, a floating basket), alludes to Noah and, as in his day, served here as a vessel of divine deliverance. The basket was placed securely "in the flags" by the bank of the Nile where the current was slight, so it would not wash out to sea. It was also placed where the women of the palace would see it when they came to dip in the waters of the Nile as part of their religious ritual.

This mother's great love for her child brought her to the point of being willing to give him up, just so that he might live. She was aware of the bathing of the Egyptian maidens there. This was no accident she placed her son there. We can see similarities in this ark of safety made for Moses to the ark of safety of Noah. This mother put the baby in the ark. God sealed Noah in the ark for his safety. Here we see God's handiwork. He (God), puts the thought in this mother to do this special thing to save Moses for His purpose.

God even softens the heart of this Egyptian ruler so that he will allow the baby to live. Moses would not only live, but would get an education and would learn about Egypt and the Egyptians from the inside out. We see in all of this, that sometimes God uses wicked people to bring about His will. Pharaoh and his daughter accepted this baby as if it was a gift from the god of the Nile (their false god).

Exodus 2:4 "And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him."

Presumably Miriam, the only sister of Moses mentioned elsewhere (Exodus 15:20-21; Numbers 26:59). To have taken the part that was assigned her in this chapter, and possessed of much quickness and intelligence.

Here again we are not told the sister's name, but this was Miriam. She was actually guarding this ark to see that no harm comes to her brother. A child would be inconspicuous. She would carry the message back to her mother of the fate of Moses.

Exodus 2:5″And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash [herself] at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it."

"The daughter of Pharaoh": Has been interpreted by many to refer to the famous Hatshepsut (1504-1483 B.C.). Considering an early date for the Exodus, since Moses would have been born about 1527 B.C.). This would be during the reign of her father, Thutmose I (1525-1508 B.C.). She was his only daughter and when her father died she became queen, having been married to a half-brother, Thutmose II (1508-1504 B.C.). After his death, she had herself crowned king with full pharaonic powers, regalia and titular, refusing for nearly 20 years to allow her stepson Thutmose III (1504-1450 B.C.) to rule. But there is a good possibility that Moses was reared in one of the royal harems which was common in the New Kingdom period (1570-1085 B.C.).

The Egyptian kings maintained residences and harems not only in the great capital of Thebes, Memphis, and Rameses, but also in other parts of Egypt. The harem supervised a great deal of domestic industry, spinning and weaving done by servants. The children of harem-women would be educated (Acts 7:22), by the overseer of the harem.

Identified possibly as Hatshepsut or another princess; in either case a princess whom God providentially used to override Pharaoh's death decree and protect the life of His chosen leader for the Israelites.

She knew immediately that this child was a Hebrew because he was circumcised (Gen. 17:9-14). Her adoption of Moses as her son, along with the selection of Moses' own "mother" as his wet "nurse (verse 9), are two ways that God preserved the infant.

It was not unusual for the Pharaoh's daughter to go and bathe in the Nile. The Egyptians thought this river had special powers. They felt bathing in the river brought back their youth. Actually, water was not plentiful in Egypt. When the rains filled the Nile, they had good crops; and during drought periods, there were very bad crops. They were so dependent on the Nile that they began to worship it.

She probably had 4 to 5 girls in attendance to her because of her prominence as a princess. Her maid spoken of here was probably the one who helped her dress and was very close to her. These flags mentioned here were just weeds that grew near the bank in the water. They were probably very similar to water lilies.

Exodus 2:6 "And when she had opened [it], she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This [is one] of the Hebrews' children."

The princess opened the ark herself; perhaps suspecting what was inside, perhaps out of mere curiosity.

"The babe wept": Through hunger, or cold, or perhaps general discomfort. An ark of bulrushes could not have been a very pleasant cradle.

"She had compassion on him": The babe's tears moved her to pity; and her pity prompted her to save it. She must have shown some sign of her intention, perhaps by taking the child from the ark and fondling it before Miriam could have ventured to make her suggestion.

"This is one of the Hebrews' children": The circumstances spoke for themselves. No mother would have exposed such a "goodly child" (Exodus 2:2), to so sad a death but one with whom it was a necessity.

We can easily see that Pharaoh's daughter did know that this child was a Hebrew. Here we see the instinct that God has given women to love babies. This daughter of Pharaoh was moved by the tears of the baby. We can see God's hand in all this; Pharaoh's daughter being at the river at the precise time, Moses' mother floating the babe in the ark at the exact time, and the baby crying at just the right moment to touch the daughter's heart. This was part of God's plan to save Moses for the work God had ordained him for.

Exodus 2:7 "Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?"

His sister, Miriam, had bided her time. She had still kept in the background, but had approached within hearing distance; and when the princess observed that the babe must be "one of the Hebrews' children," was prompt with the rejoinder, "Shall I not fetch thee then a Hebrew mother to nurse him?" If the child was to be nursed at all, if he was to be brought up; a Hebrew nurse would be the fittest.

This was Miriam who spoke to Pharaoh's daughter. Don't you think that Pharaoh's daughter had some indication that this was a relative of the baby? Of course, Hebrew women had many children, so it would not be terribly hard to find one who could nurse this baby. This "nurse", I believe, meant to breast feed him, as well as take care of him.

Exodus 2:8 "And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother."

Jochebed must have been waiting near, eagerly expecting perhaps; while concealed from sight, watching the result, and ready to appear the moment that she was summoned. Miriam knew where to find her, and brought her quickly to the princess.

Exodus 2:9 "And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give [thee] thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it."

The princess adopts Miriam's suggestion; the child is to be nursed for her and is to be hers. She will place it out to nurse, and pay the customary wages.

Here we see the miraculous hand of God. Not only did the mother save the baby's life, but she now had her baby back. Even more amazing was that the mother would now be paid to raise her own baby. God always has the perfect plan, if we will just stand back and let Him do it. Remember, all the Hebrews were now slaves and just barely have enough to get by on, but Moses' mother was earning wages raising her own child.

It helped the entire family. It appears that in the early part of Moses life, he was at home with his natural parents; and yet, Pharaoh's daughter had adopted him as her very own. Moses was probably just brought into her house and given all the privileges of a son.

Exodus 2:10 "And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water."

"Became her son": The position of "son" undoubtedly granted Moses special privileges belonging to nobility, but none of these persuaded Moses to relinquish his nave origin. Rather, as the New Testament advises, his spiritual maturity was such that when he came of age, he "refused to be called the son of pharaoh's daughter" (Heb. 11:24). The formal education in the court of that time meant that Moses would have learned reading, writing, arithmetic, and perhaps one or more of the languages of Canaan. He would also have participated in various outdoor sports, such as archery and horseback riding, two favorites of the 18th Dynasty court.

"Moses" was from the tribe of Levi. He was saved from Pharaoh's edict to destroy the Hebrew male infants by his mother's cleverness and by the intercession of Pharaoh's daughter. He was raised at court and trained in the "wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). He later fled Egypt for the land of Midian in the Sinai wilderness (Exodus 2:15). There he married Zipporah the daughter of Jethro (Reuel). After meeting God at the burning bush on Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1-12), Moses returned to Egypt to lead the great Exodus of Israel back to the Promised Land.

In the wilderness of Sinai, he received the Law directly from God and oversaw the building of the tabernacle and the institution of Israel's feasts and offerings. He finally viewed the Promised Land from Mount Nebo and was buried by God in the land of Moab at age 120 (Deut. 32:48-52; 34:1-8). He was a prophet of God (Deut. 18:18), and the author of the Pentateuch. He later appeared, representing the Law, at the transfiguration of Christ (Matt. 17:3-6).

In due time, princes (he was called "her son"), were given a tutor who was usually a high official at court, or maybe a retired military officer close to the king. The fact that he "became her son" may merely indicate he had rejoined the royal court. Having done so, he was in a position to receive all the privileges and opportunities of a member of that court.

"Moses" in Egyptian most likely means "born," but the Hebrew equivalent means "to be drawn out." God would later use him to draw His people "from the water.

Amram, Jochebed, and their daughter, Miriam (with God's help), had saved Moses' life. When Moses was approximately two years old, he was weaned; and now his mother brought him to Pharaoh's daughter. He would have all the advantages of a prince, including the best education. "Moses" means drawing out.

Verses 11-15: This Pharaoh (likely Thutmose III), had been raised with Moses. The murder of a slave master by a privileged member of the royal family would not have warranted a death sentence, so Pharaoh's desire was to "kill Moses" was about removing him as a potential successor to the throne. The "land of Midian" is in present-day Saudi Arabia, the land east of the Gulf of Aqaba.

In (verses 11-12 and 16-21), we see two injustices aroused Moses' indignation with different consequences: one resulted in his leaving home, having killed an Egyptian who beat an Israelite; the other resulting in his finding a new home as an Egyptian who helped the Midianite daughters of Reuel, and in his finding a wife. Undoubtedly, Reuel and his family soon discovered Moses was not really an Egyptian.

Exodus 2:11″And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren."

"When Moses was grown": The narrative skips over all details of Moses' life as the adopted son of a princess prior to the event which led to his flight into Midian.

Moses lived through all his pre-teen and teen years in Pharaoh's temple training to be a prince. From (verse 11), we may assume that Moses knew he was a Hebrew. We see him, here, going out to see his brethren. He saw an Egyptian taking advantage of his Hebrew brethren.

Exodus 2:12 "And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that [there was] no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand."

This act of Moses may seem and indeed by some has been condemned as rash and unjustifiable; in plain terms, a deed of assassination. But we must not judge of his action in such a country and age by the standard of law and the notions of right which prevail in our Christian land; besides, not only is it not spoken of as a crime in Scripture or as distressing the perpetrator with remorse, but according to existing customs among nomadic tribes, he was bound to avenge the blood of a brother. The person he slew, however, being a government officer, he had rendered himself amenable to the laws of Egypt. And therefore he endeavored to screen himself from the consequences by concealment of the corpse.

Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. This was a hasty act upon Moses' part. He was not careful in that respect. This act, I believe, was in defense of the Hebrew brother. Whether justifiable or not, God would use this to further His plan for Moses.

Exodus 2:13 "And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?"

"The next day": The reproof was that of a legislator who established moral obligations on a recognized principle. Hence, in the following verse, the offender is represented as feeling that the position claimed by Moses was that of a Judge. The act could only have been made known by the Hebrew on whose behalf Moses had committed it.

It seems as though Moses loved his Hebrew brethren. He appears here to me, he was trying to make peace to keep these brethren from getting into further problems with the Egyptians.

Exodus 2:14 "And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known."

"He said, Who made thee a prince?" He challenged his authority. A man needs no great authority for giving a friendly reproof; it is an act of kindness. Yet this man who needs to interpret it as an act of dominion, and represents his reprover as imperious and assuming. Thus, when people are sick of good discourse, or a seasonable admonition, they will call it preaching, as if a man could not speak a word for God, and against sin, but he took too much upon him.

Yet Moses was indeed a prince and a judge, and knew it, and thought the Hebrews would have understood it; but they stood in their own light, and thrust him away (Acts 7:25-27).

"Intendest thou to kill me?" See what base constructions malice puts upon the best words and actions (see Acts 7:27-28, 35).

It seems to me here, that this Hebrew knew that Moses was a Hebrew as well. It also appears that he was jealous. He seems to have very little respect for Moses even though Moses was a prince. Moses had perhaps been good to them, and they probably did not fear him as they did the taskmasters.

Be sure your sins will find you out. Moses intended for no one to see him kill the Egyptian, and now even the lowly Hebrew knew. Moses would certainly have to run to escape judgment. Even though he was a prince, there was already bad blood between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. Moses was afraid. He, being a Hebrew, had little chance for a fair trial.

We need to take note of the fact here that God uses imperfect people to serve Him. Moses was no exception.

Exodus Chapter 2 Questions

1. What tribe were Moses' mother and dad from?

2. What tells us that Moses' parents were honorable?

3. Why do you suppose the parents' names are not specifically given here?

4. How long did Moses' mother hide him?

5. What act of rebellion, against authorities, did she take in this?

6. What do the 3 months symbolize?

7. What did his mother do when she could hide him no longer?

8. How can we compare this to Noah?

9. What good thing can come from Moses living in Pharaoh's daughter's house, besides saving Moses' life?

10. Does God ever use evil people?

11. Why did Pharaoh and his daughter readily accept this child?

12. Who watched to make sure Moses didn't drown?

13. What was her name?

14. Why did she wait by the water?

15. Why was Pharaoh's daughter at the water site?

16. Who was with her?

17. Who fetched the ark for her?

18. What was believed about bathing in the Nile?

19. What caused the Egyptians to worship the Nile?

20. When Pharaoh's daughter opened the ark, what was Moses doing?

21. What emotion did this stir in Pharaoh's daughter?

22. Was Pharaoh's daughter aware that this was a Hebrew?

23. What did Miriam suggest to Pharaoh's daughter?

24. Do you feel that Pharaoh's daughter knew that the woman who came was the baby's natural mother?

25. What two things does the word "nurse" cover here?

26. How can we see the miraculous hand of God in this?(3 things)

27. What immediate good fortune came to Moses when he became the Pharaoh's daughter's son by adoption?

28. Who gave Moses his name?

29. What does it mean?

30. How old was Moses when he came to live with Pharaoh's daughter?

31. What did Moses look upon happening to his Hebrew brethren?

32. Was Moses careful not to be seen? Explain.

33. What did Moses do to the cruel Egyptian?

34. What did he do with the body?

35. In what way would God use this?

36. Had anyone seen what Moses did?

37. What did the statement "who made thee a prince and judge" tell us about this Hebrew?

38. What important fact do we need to take note of here regarding God

Exodus Chapter 2 Continued

Exodus 2:15 "Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well."

"Midian": The Midianites, who were descendants of Abraham and Keturah (Gen. 25:1-4), settle in the Arabian Peninsula along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqabah.

Midian was the desert region between Sinai and the Arabian Desert, south of Edom. Its exact location is unknown due to its seminomadic population. Midian is listed as one of Abraham's sons by his wife Keturah, who was sent into the "land of Qedem" (Gen. 25:1-6). In the Joseph story (Gen. 37:25-36), the designations "Midianites" and "Ishmaelites" are used virtually interchangeably.

During the wilderness journey of the Israelites, the Midianites appear in confederation with the Moabites and Amorites. By the time of Gideon (Judges 6:1-5), the Midianites appear as desert bandits in alliance with the Amalekites. Their recorded devastation by Gideon's forces may well account for the fact that they disappear from the biblical record thereafter. No substantial archaeological evidence has ever been found of the nomadic Midianites.

We need to take a very long, hard look at this Scripture. How soon the Pharaoh's heart changed when Moses (a Hebrew), killed an Egyptian. There was really bad blood between the Hebrews and Egyptians at this point. The Hebrews were treated as sub-humanity with no rights at all, at the mercy of the cruel Egyptians. Pharaoh approves of this cruel treatment. Even though Moses was raised as his grandson, he wants him killed. Moses' fear of the Pharaoh now came into focus.

The word "Midian" means brawling or contention. This "Midian" was a place of refuge for Moses. In this part of the world, the well was also the gathering place, because there was such a shortage of water.

Verses 16-22: Moses spent most of his first 40 years in Pharaoh's palace, learning to be a student, a statesman, and a solider. He then spent the next 40 years of his life in the desert, taking care of his father-in-law's sheep. From prince to shepherd was a demotion, yet Moses learned the qualities he would need as Israel's future emancipator, including humility and patience. In the desert, God teaches people who He really is. It is only when we are totally yielded to Him that our gifting become graces.

Exodus 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew [water], and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.

Reuel may have been both "priest" and "prince," like Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18); but there is no reason to doubt that he is here called "priest." In Exodus 18:12, Jethro is represented as exercising priestly functions. The Midianites, descendants of Abraham by Keturah, worshipped the true God, and seem to have been at this time, a religious people. The name Reuel, or Raguel, means "friend of God." Jethro's sacrifices were "for God," and Aaron and the elders eat bread with him "before God."

The custom of these people of the east was for the daughters to care for the flock. Possibly he had no sons; just the 7 daughters were mentioned. This word "priest" here does mean that he was of a priestly order. As I said before, the watering well was a good place to meet, because at least once a day the sheep must be watered. Moses would certainly meet someone here at the well.

Exodus 2:17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

The rule of the desert is that those who come to a well take their turns in the use of the water in the order of their arrival. But these rude shepherds declined to wait for their turn. It appears later on, by the question of Reuel, "How is it that ye are come so soon today?" that this rude and unfair conduct of the shepherds was habitual.

Moses stood up and helped them. Here again Moses is the champion of the oppressed, but has learnt wisdom by the past, and uses no unnecessary violence. His air and manner intimidated the wrong-doers, and they allowed the maidens sheep to be watered first.

Here, we see the shepherds forcing these shepherdesses away. Remember, Moses has been trained in fighting as well as being educated in the Egyptian schools. Many Scriptures indicate that he was a healthy man. These men of Midian didn't have as easy a task as they usually did with this strong man to help. Moses helped them water their flock.

Exodus 2:18 "And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How [is it that] ye are come so soon today?"

"Reuel": He was also known as Jethro (3:1), who may very well have been a worshiper of the true God (18:12-23), notwithstanding his being also the priest of Midian.

We see from this Scripture that probably these daughters had trouble every day with the shepherds, because their dad was used to them being much later coming home. "Reuel" means friend of God. It appears that Reuel and Jethro was the same person. Reuel was probably his name and Jethro showed his rank or title. "Jethro" means his excellence.

Exodus "2:19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew [water] enough for us, and watered the flock."

So they concluded from his dress and appearance, perhaps even from his speech. It would be natural for them to make the mistake, and for Moses to remember it. Any other author would probably have said, "a man," or "a stranger."

"And also drew water enough": The shepherds had consumed some of the maidens' water before Moses's interference, so that he had to draw more for them; another "little trait," which speaks for the Mosaic authorship.

These daughters assumed that Moses was an Egyptian because of his attire and because he came from Egypt. Moses had made himself useful, and now is here at the father's home with the seven daughters.

Exodus 2:20 "And he said unto his daughters, And where [is] he? why [is] it [that] ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread."

By the account Reuel's daughters gave of Moses, of his courage and humanity, he was very desirous of seeing him.

"Why is it that ye have left the man?" Behind them at the well, and had not brought him along with them. He seemed to be displeased, and chides them, and tacitly suggests that they were rude and ungrateful not to ask a stranger, and one that had been so kind to them, to come with them and refresh himself.

"Call him, that he may eat bread": Take meat with them, bread being put for all provisions.

The father reprimanded his daughters for not bringing this man so he could show his appreciation for his helping his daughters. He sent them back after Moses so he could show him hospitality for his good deeds.

Exodus 2:21 "And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter."

Much like Jacob with Laban (see Gen. 29), the runaway Moses was not financially able to enter into an independent marriage, so he became Jethro's adopted son. He then became his son-in-law upon marrying "Zipporah" (4:18). After 40 years of service, the flocks he tended would still belong to Jethro (3:1).

Here we see Moses fled to an uncertain future from Egypt and Pharaoh. If he ever thought of his call to lead his people out of bondage, it had not been mentioned. At any rate, Moses had probably gone to work for Reuel and now had become part of Reuel's family. "Zipporah" means sparrow.

Exodus 2:22 "And she bare [him] a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land."

Which signifies a "desolate stranger"; partly on his own account, he being in a foreign country, a stranger and sojourner. But not by way of complaint, but rather of thankfulness to God for providing so well for him in it. And partly on his son's account, that when he came to years of maturity and knowledge, he might learn, and in which Moses no doubt instructed him. That he was not to look upon Midian as his proper country, but that he was to be heir of the land of Canaan, and which he might be reminded of by his name.

"For he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land": So Midian was to him, who was born in Egypt, and being a Hebrew, was entitled to the land of Canaan; this looks as if he had been at this time some years in Midian.

The name "Gershom" means refugee. Moses had settled in Midian and now had a family.

Verses 23-25: "Heard" and "remembered" indicate that the Lord's time had come: He would return Moses to Egypt and send him as the answer to the people's prayers (3:7-10). God always has someone ready when His people cry out to Him in their need. More importantly, Yahweh revealed Himself as the One who hears, remembers, sees (looked upon), and knows (had respect), on His children.

The hardship imposed upon Israel finally brought forth a collective cry for relief. The response of God is presented in 4 words: "heard," "remembered," "saw," and "took notice." This signaled that a response was forthcoming.

Exodus 2:23 "And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage."

"The king of Egypt died": This would have been Thutmose III (1483-1450 B.C.), the Pharaoh of the oppression.

Why do we wait until things are so terribly bad before we cry out to God for help? We see 400 years of misery coming to a climax. The cruelty of the king had caused the Israelites to be pleased when he died. They were hoping for better things. In their need, they cried out to God. God always listens, and this time was no exception. God felt pity toward them.

He hurt too, for their bondage. We Christians too, had been a slave to sin before we cried out for mercy and God heard and sent us a Savior (Jesus). This wicked king had ruled even before Moses left Egypt and now about 40 years later he dies. Moses is now 80 years old. He was 40 when he left Egypt, and he lived 40 years in Midian; and now at 80 had a family and felt that he had settled in to stay.

Exodus 2:24 "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob."

"Remembered his covenant": The unilateral covenant God made with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-22), and confirmed with Isaac (Gen. 26:2-5), and with Jacob (Gen. 28:10-15; 35:9-15), specifically promised a geographically recognizable territory to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Through them too, the world would be blessed.

Jacob (Israel), was called by this name "Jacob", because he was a family head when the covenant was made. He was called "Israel" when the nation was meant. These were the three patriarchs that God had made the covenant with. Their descendants were these 12 tribes of Israel and their families. God had promised to bless them and make them into such a large group that they would be like the sand of the sea. And also, that all nations would be blessed through them.

These last 400 years, and most especially the last 60 to 70 years, they did not feel blessed at all. Even though they had grown from 70 to nearly 3 million people, they were still not an innumerable group. God's Word is good. What He promises, He will do. God remembers His covenant and these promises. Help is on the way.

Exodus 2:25 "And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto [them]."

With an eye of pity and compassion, and saw all the hardships they labored under, and all the injuries that were done unto them.

"And God had respect unto them": Had a favorable regard to them; or "knew" not only them, the Israelites, and loved them, and approved of them. And He owned them as his own, all which words of knowledge sometimes signify; but He knew their sorrows and sufferings, and took notice of what was done to them secretly (see Exodus 3:7).

Probably, the word "respect" here means that God keeps His covenant. We know just as surely as He sent a deliverer to these Israelites, He sent us a Deliverer (one Jesus Christ, our Lord). Just as these Israelites were freed from bondage, so are we. We shall not always suffer, but will truly inherit our eternal life in heaven with Jesus, if we do not faint but hold firm to our faith. We must know that God is the rewarder of those who stay true to the faith.

Exodus Chapter 2 Continued Questions

1. When the Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, what did he want to do to Moses?

2. What did Moses do?

3. Where did he go?

4. When did Pharaoh's heart turn against Moses?

5. What rights did the Israelites have in Egypt?

6. What had Pharaoh's feelings been all the time about this Hebrew child his daughter raised?

7. What does "Midian" mean?

8. How many daughters did the priest of Midian have?

9. Why had they come to the well?

10. Who came and drove the 7 daughters away?

11. Did Moses allow this? Explain?

12. What was the priest's name?

13. What question did he ask his daughters?

14. What does "Reuel" mean?

15. What does "Jethro" mean?

16. Why were both names used for the 7 daughters' father?

17. What did the daughters call Moses?

18. What did the father say to the daughters when they told how Moses helped them?

19. Who did Moses take to wife?

20. What does "Zipporah" mean?

21. What did Moses name his son?

22. What does his name mean?

23. After Moses left Egypt, about how long did this evil king reign?

24. What did God feel toward these Israelites?

25. In what do we see a shadow of Jesus in Moses?

26. How old was Moses when the king died?

27. What covenant did God remember?

28. Why was Israel called "Jacob" here?

29. What had God promised in the covenant?

30. What did respect probably mean in Scripture verse 25?

31. What one thing must we realize in this?

32. Who is God the rewarder of?

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Exodus 3

Exodus Chapter 3

Verses 1-6: "The angel of the Lord" who appeared to Moses is identified as "the God of thy father, the God of Abraham ... Isaac ... Jacob." This is apparently the continuation of the manifestations of "the angel of the Lord" begun in Genesis 16:7. This one is more than just an angelic messenger from God. Frequently He received the respect, worship and honor reserved only for God; yet He was consistently distinguished from God (note the references in Genesis 16:7-11; 21:17; 22:11-18; 24:7, 40; 31:11; 32:24-30; 48:15-16). He carried an identity with God; yet He was also sent from Him! The patriarchs may not have regarded Him as equivalent to a Christophany, but it is sure that He was not the invisible God. And He acted and talked as the Lord.

Exodus 3:1 "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb."

"Moses kept the flock of Jethro": Moses worked as a shepherd while living with his father-in-law, a life and occupation quite different from the privilege and prestige associated with his life in Pharaoh's court.

"Horeb": An alternative name for Mt. Sinai (19:11; Deut. 4:10). Traditionally, this mountain has been identified with Jebel Musa, "the mountain of Moses." "Horeb" is the Hebrew for the non-Semitic place/name, Sinai, located in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula.

"The mountain of God": This is known as such because of what took place there later in Israel's history. This name for the mountain suggests that the book of Exodus was written by Moses after the events at Sinai. Others suggest that it was already known as a sacred mountain prior to the call of Moses; but it seems best to relate the name to what God did for Israel there.

It appears that Moses, after forty years, was still working for his father-in-law. Jethro and Reuel, as we said in the last lesson, was probably the same person. Jethro means "his excellence", which is a title and Reuel was his name. Here we see Moses leading this flock away from so many of the neighbor's flock, to a place where probably, very few came.

The Mount of God, called Horeb here, was probably Sinai. At least they were in the same range. This flock mentioned here, are probably sheep. We see Moses for the last forty years living a very peaceful life, settling down and having a family and actually changing from a youthful forty to an old man of eighty years. At any rate, he has had plenty of time to think about his life.

Exodus 3:2 "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed."

"The angel of the Lord": Literally "messenger of Yahweh" who, in context, turns out to be the Lord Himself talking to Moses (Acts 7:30).

This appearance of the "Angle of the Lord" is the first instance of direct revelation to Moses. After 80 years, Moses was now ready to fulfill the Lord's calling. No other leader in biblical times had such a lengthy training period. Times of preparation are never wasted; God knows that, properly prepared, His servants can do more in 40 years that they could do in 120 unprepared.

This appearance here, in my opinion, was actually the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that the baptism that Jesus brings is the baptism of fire, and also Jesus is the Lord. This was not a regular fire but the fire of the Spirit, because a regular fire would have burned this bush up. This had to be the fire of the Spirit.

Matthew 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:"

This fire I believe is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus.

Exodus 3:3 "And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."

Moses' attention was drawn to a most unusual sight, that of a burning bush which was not being consumed by the fire within. A supernatural event is the only viable explanation. Natural explanations of certain types of flowers with gaseous pods or oil glands fail, in that, after 40 years of work in the desert, Moses would surely have ignored something normal.

For this shepherd, it would not have been unusual to see a bush catch on fire and burn up. But to see one on fire that did not burn up had caught Moses' attention and he went to investigate this phenomenon.

Exodus 3:4 "And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I."

This was so different that it aroused his curiosity and demanded further examination. God was in the bush speaking, clearly a miraculous event.

Mount "Horeb" (Sinai) is not only where Moses received his divine commission at the burning bush, but it is also the place where Yahweh would give Israel His gracious gift of the Law.

Here we see the call of Moses to a very great task. God calls to each of us but some of us do not answer, "Here am I". Notice here, that the Spirit of God can appear in any form. God is a Spirit, We see in John 4:24 in Jesus' own words, because it is printed red in the Bible.

John 4:24 "God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth."

You see, God does not have to conform to what we believe. We believe when He does it His way. We see here, the Spirit of God speaking to Moses from the bush.

Verses 5-10: See Acts 7:33-34.

Exodus 3:5 "And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground."

For these divine moments, the area near the bush was the Lord's house because of the Lord's presence ("holy ground"). The resulting command to "take your shoes off thy feet" reflects this. In Afro-Asian culture, people do not wear shoes inside a home.

This to me is something that we all forget from time to time. In the presence of God is holy ground. I feel that our place of worship is a holy place and should be approached with great respect. The actual room in the church where the preaching takes place I believe, should be treated with great respect. There should be no eating or drinking, or even really loud talking. This one place I believe, should be set aside as a special place to come and talk with God. Our society has gotten far too casual with God. God deserves our respect and worship.

Exodus 3:6 "Moreover he said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."

"I am the God of thy father": God's opening words, although important for Moses to hear, point the reader back to 2:24, showing that the God of Israel has remembered His people and has begun to take action (Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32).

"Moses hid his face": A fitting reaction of reverent fear in the presence of the Divine was modeled by Moses.

Here again, we see that this was probably the one we know as Jesus because He is the God of the faithful. Abraham was the father of the faithful, as we see in Galatians.

Galatians 3:6-7 "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."

Probably Moses had been taught by his Hebrew mother to reverence God. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

Verses 7-22: The significance of the name of God given in verse 14, "I AM THAT I AM," constitutes the idea that the "I AM" (in Exodus 3), reveals God as the Being who is absolutely self-existent, and who, in Himself, possesses essential life and permanent existence. To the Hebrew, "to be" doesn't just mean to exist, but to be active, to express oneself in active being. God is the One who acts. The imperfect tense of the verb becomes clear. God's manifestation to Israel is yet future at the time of the burning bush incident. The "I AM" or "I will be" is God's promise that He will redeem the children of Israel.

The people wanted to be reassured that this God would meet them in their time of need, proving His character and promises. The phrase "no, not by a mighty hand" may best be understood as "not by a strong hand [of man] but by a divine agency" as expressed (in 6:1): "Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for ... with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land." Several other translations have "unless a mighty hand compels him" and "except under compulsion."

Exodus 3:7 "And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which [are] in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;"

"I have surely seen ... have heard their cry": An emphasis on God's having been aware of the desperate situation of Israel.

The Lord was telling Moses that He was aware of the terrible cruelty these taskmasters had shown the Israelites. God is not unaware of our problems. He not only knows, but cares. If we cry out to Him for help, He is always there to answer. In the case of these Israelites, they were a long time asking but now God had heard them and was about to free them.

Exodus 3:8 "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites."

The result of God's hearing them (in verse 7). Here He promised to deliver them from Egyptian oppression. Here, and in the next two verses, the repetitive manner in describing what God saw and would do, served to underscore all the more, His personal involvement in the history of His people whom He had sent into Egypt.

"I am come down to deliver them" were words for Israel, but they also point to the future incarnation of Jesus (John 1:14).

"Unto a good land...large, unto a land ... unto the place": Three descriptions of the land to which Israel was going to be taken emphatically underscored the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant.

"Flowing with milk and honey": This was a formal and graphic way of describing a fertile and of bounteous provision.

"The Canaanites and the Hittites": A specific identification of the territory to which Israel was going; her Promised Land was currently inhabited by other peoples.

Notice here, that it was God who would deliver them. Moses was the instrument God used, but it was God who delivered. This desert land of Egypt had become a real heartache. By this time, they had cultivated the land around Goshen to the extent that the land was not producing like it first did. God was promising these descendants of Abraham a better life. This Promised Land that God was promising is about 11,000 square miles, and would be large enough to handle this approximately three million people.

However, it is a very small area compared to other countries. It is approximately the size of one of the smaller states here in the U.S. This land, when God was speaking to Moses, was already occupied by ungodly people. This was however, the land that God promised Abraham a few hundred years before. God had given these people who were in the land, a space to repent of their evil ways; and they had not and now the Israelites were to claim their inheritance.

Exodus 3:9 "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them."

God notices the afflictions of Israel. Their sorrows; even the secret sorrows of God's people are known to him. Their cry; God hears the cries of his afflicted people. The oppression they endured; the highest and greatest of their oppressors are not above him. God promises speedy deliverance by methods out of the common ways of providence. Those whom God, by his grace, delivers out of a spiritual Egypt, he will bring to a heavenly Canaan.

Exodus 3:10 "Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt."

I will send thee": The divine summons made Moses both leader/deliverer of Israel and ambassador of God before Pharaoh.

God is always in sympathy with the oppressed. He was even more in sympathy with the Israelites, for they were His covenant people. God is always against those who are cruel to others, and that certainly was the case here. These Egyptian taskmasters had been very cruel. Here we see God telling Moses exactly what his (Moses'), call was. He was to go to Pharaoh and represent all the Israelites. Moses was commanded of God to bring them out of Egypt.

Sometimes the things that God calls us to do seems very near impossible to carry out; but we must remember that when God calls us to do a task, He will see to it that it is possible for us to do it.

Exodus 3:11 "And Moses said unto God, Who [am] I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"

Moses typified human response when God calls someone to what seems beyond them ("Who am I), yet the success of any divine mission is never dependent on human abilities.

The first response is an objection from Moses to the divine summons, an expression of inadequacy for such a serious mission. It sounded reasonable, for after 40 years of absence from Egypt, what could he, a mere shepherd in Midian, do upon return?

Here, we see Moses, humble, believing that he was not capable of doing this job that God had called him to do. Some have called Moses the humblest man who ever lived, except for Jesus. One of the reasons God calls anyone to service for Him, is because He realizes that within themselves they cannot do the job. God doesn't call someone to work for Him, because he can already do whatever He has called him for. God wants to work through us. The only thing we need to do is be willing to be used of God.

God just wants a willing vessel. He will furnish the ability and power (from Him), to accomplish the task. All He wants us to say is "Here am I, send me". A willing, humble heart is what God is looking for. If we are proud of ourselves and self-sufficient, He can't use us. The nearer we are to God, the more we feel capable of doing the things He has called us to. In our weakness, God is strong. Our sufficiency is of God, and not ourselves. I cannot say it enough. We are not capable within ourselves to do anything for God. We must allow the Holy Spirit of God to work in us and through us. The power is God's power, not our own.

Exodus Chapter 3 Questions

1. Whose flock did Moses keep?

2. Who was Jethro?

3. Where did Moses take the flock?

4. How many years had Moses worked in Midian?

5. What was another name for Jethro?

6. Why had Moses gone here?

7. What Mount was the same as Horeb?

8. How old was Moses in chapter 3?

9. Who appeared to Moses in the flame of fire in the bush?

10. What was unusual about this burning bush?

11. Who does the author believe the angel appearance was?

12. What was different about Jesus' baptism from John the Baptist's baptism?

13. Why did Moses go to see the bush?

14. When God called Moses, what did Moses answer?

15. What does John 4:24 tell us about God?

16. Why was Moses told to remove his shoes?

17. What two things does God deserve from us?

18. Whose God did this voice say He was?

19. Why did Moses hide his face?

20. What does Galatians 3:6-7 tell us about Abraham?

21. Why had God come to Moses at this time?

22. When we cry out to God for help, what can we expect?

23. Where was God going to send the Israelites?

24. Who was in Canaan at this time?

25. Who would deliver them?

26. What was Moses in all this?

27. What part of Egypt had these Israelites lived in?

28. The Promised Land was about how many square miles?

29. Who had God promised this Canaan to, many years before?

30. Whose cry had come up to God?

31. Who was God sending Moses to?

32. What was Moses to do with the Israelites?

33. Who is God always in sympathy with?

34. When we feel the task God has called us to do seems very near to impossible, what must we remember?

35. What humble remark did Moses make to God?

36. What is one reason God calls certain people to work for Him?

37. What power do we have within ourselves?

38. What power must we draw upon to successfully work for God?

39. What is the only thing we furnish?

40. When God calls us, what should we answer?

Exodus Chapter 3 Continued

Exodus 3:12 "And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this [shall be] a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain."

"Certainly I will be with thee": The divine promise, one given also to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, should have been sufficient to quell all the chosen agent's fears and sense of inadequacy for the task.

"Ye shall serve God upon this mountain": A second divine promise signified the future success of the mission, suggesting that Israel would not be delivered simply out of bondage and oppression, but rescued to worship (Acts 7:7).

The Lord's words "I will be with thee" were intended to focus Moses on the true Source of his future success.

Here we see God's encouraging reply to Moses. God promised that He would be with Moses. God gave even more encouragement to Moses when He spoke of Moses bringing the children out, as if it had already happened. He even let Moses know that he would live through all of this, in the fact, that Moses would worship on this very mountain. There are no "ifs" at all in any of these statements God made to Moses. This alone should fire Moses up to go. This was God (not man), making this promise and that made it a fact.

Exodus 3:13 "And Moses said unto God, Behold, [when] I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What [is] his name? what shall I say unto them?"

"And Moses said": Was Moses at this point crossing the line from reasonable inquiry to unreasonable doubt? God's patient replies instructing Moses on what He would do and what the results would be. Including Israel's being viewed with favor by the Egyptians (3:21), ought to caution the reader from hastily classifying Moses' attitude as altogether wrong from the very beginning of the interaction between him and the Lord. A response of divine anger comes only (in 4:14), at the very end of Moses' questions and objections (see note on 4:1).

"What is his name": Moses raised a second objection. Israel might ask for God's name in validation of Moses' declaration that he had been sent by the God of their fathers. Significantly, the question was not "Who is this God?" The Hebrews understood the name Yahweh had been known to the patriarchs (which Genesis well indicates). Asking "what", meant they sought for the relevancy of the name to their circumstances. Asking "Who", sought after title, name and identity. Whereas "What?", inquired into the character, quality or essence of a person.

There are three primary names of God: Elohim (God), Jehovah or Yahweh (usually printed as Lord in the KJV), and Adonai (Lord). Each of these names emphasizes a different aspect of the nature of God. The name Elohim occurs 31 times (in Genesis 1), where it emphasizes His strength and creative power. The name Yahweh is most often used to express God's self-existence, particularly in relation to humanity. Adonai means "master" and underscores the authority of God.

When Moses objected to returning to Egypt, one of his excuses was that he did not know God's name. By that he meant that he did not understand enough about God's authority. God solved this problem by revealing Himself as the "I AM", that is, Yahweh. Because God reveals Himself in His names, Christians should understand them to better serve Him.

Here we see Moses, in effect, accepting this awesome job. He was trying to convince himself that they might even believe him, if he only could give them a name that would explain who this God was who had sent him. Why Moses was asking this name is a big question. Perhaps, it was because the Egyptians had many false gods, and they each had a specific name. Up until this time the subject of a specific name for God had not come up.

"El" was one of the names used for God. "Jehovah" was another. Actually, there are 98 or more names for God in the Bible. Each seems to be used according to the working of God at that specific time. Moses wanted to be prepared, and also, wanted to bring them something that they could not deny. In explaining who God was, Moses would probably already know Him as Jehovah, which encompasses so much. He (Jehovah), is self-existent, eternal, separate and independent from His creation, changeless, truthful and faithful to keep His promises

It is interesting that Moses would have to go to the Israelites first. They would have to be willing to be delivered, before he could deal with the Pharaoh to free them. Can you see the symbolism here? We must be willing to give up the world (Egypt), before the Lord Jesus will deliver us. We must repent and turn from this old life of bondage before Jesus can deliver us. The Israelites, just like us the believers, have to want Moses to deliver them.

Pharaoh, in this, was symbolic of Satan. Jesus had to deal with Satan, and defeat him to save us. Moses would have to deal with Pharaoh and defeat him to free the Israelites. Mankind, then or now, cannot be saved without their willingness to be saved. We are a free moral agent. We must "will" to be saved.

Exodus 3:14 "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

"I AM WHO I AM": This name for God points to His self-existence and eternality; it denotes "I am the One who is/will be," which is decidedly the best and most contextually suitable option from a number of theories about its meaning and etymological source. The significance in relation to "God of your fathers" is immediately discernible: He's the same God throughout the ages!

The consonants from the Hebrew word Yhwh, combined with the vowels from the divine name Adonai (Master or Lord), gave rise to the name "Jehovah" in English. Since the name Yahweh was considered so sacred that it should not be pronounced, the Massoretes inserted the vowels from Adonai to remind themselves to pronounce it when reading instead of saying Yahweh. Technically, this combination of consonants is known as the "tetragrammaton."

When God said, "I AM WHO I AM", he declared His eternal, unchanging, uncreated self-existence.

This is probably, the most powerful statement in the Bible. It is a fact that God exists. There is nothing before and nothing after. There is absolute presence. The word "AM" translated is Hayah. This verb means to exist, to breathe, and to be. The key to the name Jehovah/Yahweh is found in this verb. This tells us of the timelessness of God; the eternity of God. In Hebrews, we see that we all must believe this:

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

My translation of "I AM" is, the One who eternally exists, in the present tense.

Verses 15-22: Having provided Moses with His name in response to his second inquiry, God then furnished him with two speeches, one for Israel's elders (verses 16-17), and one for Pharaoh (verse 18b). Also included was notification of the elders' positive response to Moses' report (verse 18a), of Pharaoh's refusal to grant them their request (verse 19), of God's miraculous, judgmental reaction (verse 20), and of Israel's plundering of the Egyptians, who found themselves responding favorably to the departing nation's request for silver, gold, and clothing (verses 21-22). The last of these harkens back to God's promise to Abraham that his descendants would come out of the land of their affliction with great possessions (Gen. 15:14).

Exodus 3:15 "And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations."

The identification of the Lord as "God of your fathers" is enormously important. Moses and the Hebrew people needed to know that this was no "new god", the Deliverer of Israel ever is and ever will be (6:2-3; 34:5-7; Gen. 12:1; John 8:58).

Compare (Matt. 22:23; Mark 12:26; Acts 3:13).

In the original manuscript, Jehovah Elohim is the name used for God. This means Jehovah, God of your fathers. What this Scripture above was saying, was that God is the God of the present. It speaks of His eternity again. This God will never die. To obtain life everlasting we must obtain Him which is life eternal.

Exodus 3:16 "Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and [seen] that which is done to you in Egypt:"

Literally "bearded ones," which indicated the age and wisdom needed to lead.

When Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were mentioned to these elders, they were being reminded that God had made covenant with this people; and that God keeps His covenant. These elders here, was not elders of a church, but elder in age. This possibly was a group of older people chosen to represent the group.

Exodus 3:17 "And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey."

The Lord's plan was to deliver His children from bondage so they could worship Him and be established as His chosen people.

"Land of" (see notes on 3:8).

Here, Moses must convince them to leave and go to a better land. As bad as Egypt had been, at least they had survived here; and to go for the unknown was a big step. This was especially hard to believe, in that the land is already occupied. Here again, we can easily see symbolism of the Christian walk. There is a world out there for the believer to overcome.

So many times people are reluctant to start a new life in Christ, because they do not want to give up old friends and the worldly pleasure they had together. The believer must believe there is a Promised Land, and must be willing to turn his back on that old life, and go searching for the new. There will be hardships along the way, because we must be tried. The first step is to decide to leave the world (Egypt), behind.

Exodus 3:18 "And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God."

God also equipped Moses with the words for the "elders of Israel" as well as Pharaoh (the king of Egypt). God provides all that is needed to serve Him (2 Pet. 1:3).

"Three days' journey": The request for a 3 day journey to worship, in the light of: (1) direct promises of deliverance from Egypt, (2) worship at Horeb, and (3) entrance into Canaan, was not a ruse to get out and then not return, but an initial, moderate request to highlight the intransigence of Pharaoh. He just would not let these slaves leave under any conditions (verse 19).

Here, God reassured Moses that these people would accept this message of His. You see, as we said before, these Hebrews (Israelites), have to first of all be willing to follow Moses and then the next step was to convince the king of Egypt to let them go. They would go at this slowly. Now, Moses was to gain reinforcement, and take these elders with him when he appeared before the king. These Hebrews really had dropped the sacrifice while they were in Egypt, but God was saying, go out of Egypt and worship again. Here again, we see a symbol of the believers. We cannot serve God while we are caught up in the world (Egypt). We must come out of worldliness to go and worship God.

Exodus 3:19 "And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand."

I know, which is more suitable, since it is God who speaks, and to Him the future is known with as absolute a certainty as the past.

"No, not by a mighty hand": Rather, not even under a mighty hand Pharaoh, even when chastised by My mighty hand, will not voluntarily permit of your departure (see Exodus 14:5-23).

Here, He was telling Moses, it was going to be a battle. Christians too, are in warfare. Satan fights hard to keep us in worldliness, but if we persevere we can overcome Satan and the world and follow God. This king, symbolic of Satan, would fight to keep them (these Hebrews), under subjection to him.

Exodus 3:20 "And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go."

Hands are stretched out to help and save. God promises here more than He had promised before (Exodus 3:12). He shows how He will "be with" Moses. He will lend him miraculous aid, performing in his behalf "all his wonders," and with them "smiting the Egyptians."

"And after that he will let you go": This is said for their encouragement, that their faith and patience might hold out, who otherwise seeing him so obstinate and inflexible, might be ready to despair of ever succeeding.

Here, we see God fighting for these Hebrews. God does the very same thing for us if we will allow Him to. Signs and wonders have been the convincing factors throughout the Bible. This time would be no exception.

Exodus 3:21 "And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:"

That is, give the Israelites favor in their sight, a little before their departure, who should be ready to do anything for them, or bestow anything upon them. Or lend them what they would desire, being glad to be at peace with them, or to get rid of them. For whose sakes they would perceive all those sore calamities came upon them, that they were distressed with.

"And it shall come to pass, that when ye go, ye shall not go empty": Destitute of what was necessary for them, but even with great substance, as was foretold by Abraham they should, and which prophecy was now about to be fulfilled (Genesis 15:14).

It is not our place to judge God or the commands He gives. Many people believe that deception takes place in this, but let us take a really good look at what it is saying. The very first line says that God Himself had put it into the hearts of the Egyptians to give freely to these Hebrews. After 100's of years of servitude this was justice being done. Probably, some of the people of Egypt had grown fond of these Hebrews. The fight was not with the people; it was with the king. You see, we Christians are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities.

Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

These Hebrews were not really fighting against the Egyptian people in general, but against the hard rulership which made them slaves. In many cases, God had given them favor with some.

Exodus 3:22 "But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put [them] upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."

Because the Hebrews were slaves with no resources, the "jewels of silver" and "gold" were necessary to finance the building of a tabernacle (see note on 12:36).

When we see the results of the tenth plague and the loss of the first born, we will also understand better why these Egyptians would give anything the Hebrews asked, and even want them to leave with whatever they asked for. It is not a natural thing for people to give away their jewelry, but remember God put it in the hearts of the Egyptians to do just that.

Exodus Chapter 3 Continued Questions

1. What token of assurance did God give Moses, that he would be able to accomplish this job?

2. What would make it possible for Moses to do this?

3. Why should Moses believe this?

4. What did Moses ask God for?

5. Moses was trying to convince himself, that they might even believe him, if he gave them his __________.

6. Why did Moses believe this to be important?

7. By what name did Moses, probably, already know God?

8. Why would he have known anything about God?

9. Describe Jehovah.

10. Who would Moses speak to first?

11. Why?

12. What must the Hebrews decide?

13. Who was Pharaoh symbolic of in this?

14. Why must we be willing to be saved, before we can be saved?

15. By what name did God call Himself in reply to Moses?

16. Why was this name so powerful?

17. In Hebrews 11:6, what are we told we must believe?

18. Which three Patriarchs did God say He was the God of?

19. Who did God call Himself in verse 15?

20. To obtain life eternal, what must we do?

21. What was Moses to tell the elders?

22. What was God reminding these elders of by using Abraham's, Isaac's and Jacob's names?

23. What land would God, through Moses, bring them to?

24. What was this Promised Land flowing with?

25. What must Moses convince these people to do?

26. Why is it especially hard for this people to believe God will give them this land?

27. Why do Christians, sometimes, find it difficult to begin a new life?

28. Who would go with Moses to speak to the king?

29. What was Moses to say to the king?

30. What symbolism of Christians do we see in the Hebrews going out of Egypt to worship?

31. What attitude would the king of Egypt have?

32. Satan fights to keep us in ______________.

33. What would God do?

34. What had been the convincing factors throughout the Bible?

35. God would give the Hebrews favor with whom?

36. Why was it justice for the Hebrews to spoil the Egyptians?

37. In Ephesians 6:12 we read, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against what?

38. "_____every _________ shall borrow of her _____________".

39. What shall she borrow?

40. What shall she do with them?

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Exodus 4

Exodus Chapter 4

Exodus 4:1 "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee."

"Moses answered and said": In a third objection, Moses gave an unworthy response, after the lengthy explanation by God to Moses (in 3:14-22). At this point, the hypothetical situation proposed became more objection than reasonable inquiry.

Here we see again, that feeling of inability on Moses' part to carry out the task that God had called him to do. He suddenly felt panic that they would not believe him even though God had already promised him success and favor with Pharaoh. In a way, Moses was feeling sorry for himself and said they (the people), won't believe him.

Verses 2-9: In response to the hypothetical situation of Israel's rejecting God as having appeared to him, Moses was given 3 signs to accredit him as the chosen spokesman and leader. Note the purpose stated: "That they may believe that the LORD God ... appeared unto thee" (verse 5). Two of these signs personally involved Moses right then and there, the rod to snake and back, the hand leprous and healed. No matter what the situation Moses could envision himself facing, God had sufficient resources to authenticate His man and Moses was not to think otherwise.

Exodus 4:2 "And the LORD said unto him, What [is] that in thine hand? And he said, A rod."

Moses' "rod" was probably nothing more than a long walking stick. Although it had no supernatural properties, the Lord would include it in the many miracles pertaining to the delivery of His people.

Notice here, God uses whatever is at hand. We are not told for sure whether this was a shepherd's staff, or whether this was a rod the elderly use. We do know that it doesn't matter with God what it is, He can use it. Egyptians loathed shepherds and a shepherd's staff would have been an offense to them. As I said, whatever this piece of wood was, God would make use of it.

Exodus 4:3 "And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it."

The rod was really changed into a serpent. There was a significance in this sign: it intimated what and how pernicious his rod would be to the Egyptians. It became a rod in his hand. When stretched forth by the hand of Moses or Aaron, it became a token to Israel of guidance, encouragement, and protection. But to Egypt, like the bite of the most poisonous serpent, it betokened desolating judgments.

The "He" that said this, was God of course. All of this was to build Moses' faith. Probably God used this particular sign, because the magicians of Egypt would bring this very sign against Moses. The difference being that Moses' or God's serpent would swallow the Egyptian serpents. This would be a show that God's power was greater than Satan's power.

Exodus 4:4 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:"

Those who venture to handle poisonous snakes, like the modern Egyptians and the inhabitants of the coast of Barbary, generally take hold of them by the neck, in which case they are unable to bite. To test the faith and courage of Moses, the command is given him to lay hold of this serpent "by the tail."

"He put forth his hand": Faith triumphed over instinct. Moses had "fled from" the snake when first he saw it (Exodus 4:3). Now he is daring enough to stoop down, put his hand on the creature's tail, and so lift it up.

"It became a rod": Its real nature returned to it. Once more it was, not a stiffened serpent, but an actual staff, or walking-stick.

Here we see that God was showing Moses to have no fear, God had given Moses power to overcome. Moses overcame the fear he felt in the last verse and on instructions from God, had picked up this serpent by the tail and God had transformed it into a rod. I believe God had chosen this sign to use, because the Egyptians had such a fascination with snakes.

Exodus 4:5 "That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee."

These are God's words to Moses, in continuation of those which form the first portion of the preceding verse. The clause describing the action of Moses (in Exodus 4:4), is parenthetic. The words give divine sanction to the view, so strangely combatted of late, that the power of working miracles is given to men. Primarily and mainly, for its evidential value to accredit them as God's messengers. Without the gift of miracles neither would Moses have persuaded the Israelites, nor would the Apostles have converted the world.

Here we see that God gave this to Moses as a sign, not only for the Egyptians, but for the Hebrews as well. They probably had seen these Egyptian magicians demonstrate this very thing many times. The clincher that Moses was actually from God was when his serpent swallowed up the magician's serpents. This just says one more time, that God was more powerful than the Egyptian false gods.

Exodus 4:6 "And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand [was] leprous as snow."

"Leprous": The instantaneous production and cure of the most malignant and subtle disease known to the Israelites was a sign of their danger if they resisted the command, and of their deliverance if they obeyed it. The infliction and cure were always regarded as special proofs of a divine intervention.

Leprosy was a very dreaded disease, and was thought to be incurable. The whiteness spoken of here meant the disease had progressed to a very bad stage. This would strike terror in the hearts of not only the Egyptians, but in the Hebrews as well.

Exodus 4:7 "And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his [other] flesh."

The inflicting of this disease, and curing it again in an instant, was so much the greater miracle, as the leprosy is a disease generally reckoned incurable by human art, especially the white leprosy. So called, because it overspreads the skin with white spots like snow.

This verse right here, is what would convince them that this was God's power, because there was no cure at this time for leprosy. Here Egyptians and Hebrews alike could plainly see God at work. To the leper, it also held out some hope; that hope being Jesus.

Exodus 4:8 "And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign."

Will not give credit to the commission he had from God, but question the truth of it.

"Neither hearken to the voice of the first sign": Which miracle when brought, spoke plain enough that he that brought it, or for whose sake it was brought, must be one come from God, or such a miracle would never be brought by him or for him. But if any of the Israelites be still incredulous:

"That they will believe the voice of the latter sign": Which had a voice in it commanding belief that he was a messenger of God. The first sign respects his rod, the other his hand.

Miracles do have a voice, not a literal voice, but a speaking. You see signs and wonders have been the voice of God throughout the Bible. Even Jesus said to believe Him for the very works' sake.

John 14:11 "Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."

The people who followed Jesus believed because of the signs and wonders.

Exodus 4:9 "And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour [it] upon the dry [land]: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry [land]."

The last of the "signs" God gave Moses foreshadowed the first plague: "water ... shall become blood".

It was almost unbelievable that they would doubt both of these miracles, but God would not have mentioned it if it wouldn't happen. Water was very important in Egypt because it is such a dry land. The Egyptians depended so much on the Nile River for water to keep the crops going, that they worshipped the Nile as one of their false gods. This, miracle then, was a personal attack on their false god. This would destroy their way of life. Turning the water from the Nile into blood should convince them that God was greater than any or all of their gods.

In the first miracle, the ones who wanted to believe would, fear might drive some to believe in the second. In the third, those who were really indoctrinated in worshipping false gods should surely be convinced that God was greater than their false gods.

Exodus 4:10 "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I [am] not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I [am] slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."

"I am not eloquent": With his fourth argument, Moses focused on his speech disability, describing himself literally as not being "a man of words," as being "heavy in mouth and heavy in tongue," i.e., unable to articulate his thoughts in fluent, flowing speech.

Moses' objection that he was "slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" likely means he was not eloquent (Jer. 1:6). Among the Egyptians, eloquence in speech was not only a desirable quality, but could bring about social justice and positive decision. However (Acts 7:22), say he "was mighty in words and in deeds."

He did not need an oratory refresher course; he needed to trust the Lord. If God could speak from a burning bush, He could speak through Moses in front of Pharaoh.

"Neither heretofore, nor since": This is a pointed and inappropriate, if not impolite, criticism that somehow in all the discussion God had overlooked Moses' speech disability. Unless this disability changed, Moses believed that he could not undertake the assigned task (6:12).

Frankly I do not believe that God calls those who are eloquent of speech to speak for Him. God does not want us to speak in our own ability. God wants to speak through us. Most ministers will tell you that they were very shy before the Lord moved upon them. God is not interested in our ability, just our willingness. It appears to me, that Moses was just looking for excuses.

Exodus 4:11 "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"

Moses' reticence led to the Lord's anger and a change of direction.

"Who hath made man's mouth?" Three rhetorical questions from God shut the door on any complaints or criticisms about being clumsy of speech. The follow-up command, "Now then go!" (in verse 12), including its promise of divine help in speech forbade all such objections.

It appears to me here, that God was getting a little bit annoyed with Moses. If God had called Moses to do a job He could certainly loose his tongue and make him an eloquent speaker, if that was what it took. God was reminding Moses that God was the power, not Moses. He is the Creator of it all. Nothing is impossible to God. This is a lesson we all need to learn. If God calls you to do a job, don't worry about whether you can do it or not, God will make you able.

Exodus 4:12 "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say."

Moses would continue to the leader of the people, but Aaron would be Moses' "mouth".

Here again, we see Moses would be anointed of God to do this job. God would empower him. Moses just had to open his mouth and God would speak through him. There are too many ministers today who rely too much on worldly training and not on God. God really doesn't care how much education you have. God just needs you to have a willing heart and He provides everything else.

Exodus 4:13 "And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand [of him whom] thou wilt send."

Rather, pray send by whom thou wilt. A curt, impatient and scarcely reverent speech by Moses means that he will undertake the task if God insists; but that God would do far better to send another. Hence the "anger of the Lord" against him (Exodus 4:14), leading to Aaron's association with him as joint leader of the people.

Moses' fifth and final statement, notwithstanding the opening supplication, "O my Lord," was a polite way of bluntly saying "Choose someone else, not me!" The anger of God toward this overt expression of reluctance was appropriate, yet the Lord still provided another way for His plan to move forward unhindered. Providentially (verse 27), Aaron would meet his brother Moses, and positively respond to being the spokesman.

Moses had gone too far.

Exodus 4:14 "And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, [Is] not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart."

"Aaron" was the brother of Moses and a descendant of Levi. He was commissioned by God to serve as Moses' spokesman to Pharaoh (7:1-2). He held up Moses' hands, with Hur's assistance, as Israel prevailed over the Amalekites (17:8-12) In spite of his sinful lapse in making the golden calf (32:5), he was later consecrated and anointed as high priest (Lev. 8). A position he served throughout the remainder of his life. Later, the budding of his rod was a testimony against those who rebelled against his authority, and the rod was kept in the ark of the covenant. Aaron eventually died at age 123 on Mount Hor, near Petra (Num. 33:38-39; Deut. 10:6).

Here, Moses had made a terrible mistake. Aaron was not as close to God. Aaron was the very same one who would make the golden calf. Even though God was angry with Moses, He was not angry enough to punish him severely. The only punishment was that God withholds the loosing of Moses' tongue to speak because of Moses' lack of faith to receive it.

God foreknew what Moses would do and had Aaron already on his way. We also see here a look into the future when Aaron would be a high priest. A priestly family to take care of the temple and the spiritual needs of the people would be taken care of in the separation of the Levites for that purpose on the way to the Promised Land.

Exodus 4:15 "And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do."

"And will teach you": The plural pronoun "you", means that God had promised to assist both of them in their newly appointed duties.

Here, we see that God would not speak directly to Aaron. God would speak to Moses, and Moses would convey the message to Aaron. God would guard Aaron's mouth to make sure truth came forth.

Exodus 4:16 "And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, [even] he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God."

"And thou shalt be to him instead of God": Aaron would speak to the people for Moses, even as Moses would speak to Aaron for the Lord.

In this section, we learn the biblical meaning of the word prophet: a "spokesman" for the Lord (6:28-7:6).

Here again, we just see the line of command. God spoke to Moses and Moses spoke to Aaron, and Aaron spoke to the king. What a shame that Moses didn't believe God for the ability to speak himself.

Exodus 4:17 "And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs."

"This rod ... wherewith thou shalt do signs": Moses, despite God's anger at his unwillingness, retained superiority in that he had the instrument by which miracles would be done so that it was identified as "the staff of God (verse 20).

These signs were for Moses to do, not Aaron. The power was given to Moses to do these miracles, not Aaron. Aaron was just the mouth.

Exodus Chapter 4 Questions

1. Moses said, the people would not believe him, and would say what?

2. What was Moses forgetting?

3. God asked Moses, what was in thine hand, and Moses answered what?

4. What should we notice in this?

5. Why was this, probably, not a shepherd's staff?

6. What did God tell Moses to do with the rod?

7. What happened when Moses did it?

8. What did Moses feel, when he saw it?

9. What did God tell Moses to do the second time?

10. What did the serpent become?

11. What is this symbolic of to the believers?

12. Why did God, probably choose this sign?

13. In verse 5, God called Himself the God of 3. Who were they?

14. What was the clincher that Moses' God was more powerful than the Egyptian false gods?

15. What was the second sign God told Moses to use?

16. Why was white mentioned?

17. Why would they believe more on the second miracle than the first?

18. What was the 3rd thing God would have Moses do?

19. In John 14:11, Jesus told them to believe Him for what?

20. What shall the water turn into?

21. What false god does this attack?

22. Even after all this, Moses had another excuse. What is it?

23. Why does God call people, who are not eloquent to speak, to work for Him?

24. In verse 11, what questions did God ask Moses?

25. If God calls us to do a job, should we give excuses?

26. Who would empower Moses?

27. What angered God at Moses?

28. Who did God send to help Moses?

29. What relation was he of Moses?

30. What did God prophetically call him?

31. Moses would be to Aaron as what?

32. What was Moses to do with the rod?

Exodus Chapter 4 Continued

Exodus 4:18 "And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which [are] in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace."

After 40 years Moses was still bound to his "father in law" and adoptive father, Jethro (3:1).

For Moses to "return to Egypt" and freely accomplish God's purpose, he needed to be released from has familial responsibilities.

Jethro's kindness was seen in the words "Go in peace". This was also a confirmation of the Lord's will to Moses.

"Let me go, I pray thee": Courtesy toward the father-in-law for which he worked was not overlooked because of the divine call to service as national leader. Exactly how much was explained of the encounter at the burning bush remains unknown. But the purpose for the return, "and see whether they be yet alive," suggests that specific details of the call for him to be leader/deliverer were left unsaid. In contrast to the full explanation given to Aaron (verse 28).

You see, Moses should have realized that God would go before him and make the way clear for him, just as he did with Jethro. Jethro gave no argument. It was the custom in Midian to ask the priest of the family permission to leave and go elsewhere and that is just what Moses did here. Moses did not mean just his immediate family in the statement above, but all the Hebrews. God had called him to deliver all of them.

I am sure however, that Moses was concerned after 40 years, if his mother, sister, and brother were still alive. Of course, God told him in the last lesson that his brother Aaron was still alive and was on his way to meet Moses.

Exodus 4:19 "And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life."

Moses appears to have delayed his departure after he obtained permission to go from Jethro. Hence the address "Go, return," which is peremptory.

"All the men are dead which sought thy life": Not only the Pharaoh (Exodus 2:23), but the kindred of the murdered man, and the officials empowered by the Pharaoh to arrest Moses. As forty years had elapsed since the homicide, this is readily conceivable.

Here the apprehension that Moses had about returning could have partly come from fear of reprisal from Egypt's king. God reassured him that there would be no king waiting to kill him.

Exodus 4:20 "And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand."

"Sons": Gershom (2:22), and Eliezer (18:4).

Moses' shepherding stick became the "rod of God". When we serve God, whatever is ours may become His to use for His glory.

Notice the unusualness of there being no opposition to him taking Jethro's daughter and grandsons away from Jethro. This in itself shows God's hand in all this, bringing harmony to the outcome. We know that God had sent Moses on a mission. He had a specific place to go and a specific job to do. Notice also that this rod was not a shepherd's staff, but a special rod that God had furnished for His purposes. God Himself had placed power in Moses' hand.

Exodus 4:21 "And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. "

"I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go": The Lord's personal and direct involvement in the affairs of men so that His purposes might be done is revealed as God informed Moses what would take place. Pharaoh was also warned that his own refusal would bring judgment on him (verse 23).

The apostle Paul used this hardening as an example of God's inscrutable will and absolute power to intervene as He chooses, yet obviously never without loss of personal responsibility for actions taken (Rom. 9:16-18). The theological conundrum posed by such interplay of God's acting and Pharaoh's acting can only be resolved by accepting the record as it stands and by taking refuge in the omniscience and omnipotence of the God who planned and brought about His deliverance of Israel from Egypt. And in so doing also judged Pharaoh's sinfulness (see note at 9:12).

God's statement has produced much discussion because it gives the appearance of the kind of sovereign action that prevents the operation of human choice. The book of Exodus attributes the hardening process ten times to God (verse 21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17), and nine times to the Pharaoh himself (7:13-14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34-35). The first two references (verse 21 and 7:3), state that God "will harden" the Pharaoh's heart without specifying when that will be. The next ten references (the only exception is in 9:12), indicate that the Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

He refused to acknowledge the power of Yahweh, the God of Israel, and at times, did not even listen to the statements of the magicians themselves (8:19). There is a sense in which Pharaoh blinded himself and in so doing incurred the wrath and judgment of God. Pharaoh viewed himself as a god and expressed disdain for Yahweh from the very beginning (in 5:2), "Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice ... I know not the Lord." One must remember that God deserves the right to judge sin and the sinner whenever He desires. The sinner is subject to the wrath of God at any point in his life. God has the right to judge sin in any way He so desires the first time one commits sin. It is really the mercy of God that allows the sinner to continue to live.

Pharaoh sinned knowingly, willfully and continually (9:34): "And when Pharaoh saw that the rain ... ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart." Paul reasoned that God hardened the Pharaoh's heart in a free and sovereign manner, but not in a capricious or arbitrary way (Rom. 9:14-18). He always acts justly (Rom. 9:14), and in sovereign freedom (Rom. 9:18). He displays "much longsuffering" toward "the vessels of wrath" (Rom. 9:22). He gave Pharaoh numerous opportunities to free the people of Israel, but He knew in advance that the Pharaoh would choose to do otherwise. The Pharaoh would therefore be compelled to bear full responsibility for that willful and sinful choice (10:7).

This hardening of men's hearts is one way God judges men who resist His will. Thus, He also accomplished His purposes for the people of Israel as noted (in Joshua 11:20): "It was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly." For the cup of the iniquity of the Amorites was full (compare Gen. 15:16), and the time for judgment had come.

This is an interesting statement that we must take notice of. God will harden Pharaoh's heart. We will read later on that Pharaoh hardens his own heart and in another place, where Pharaoh's heart was hardened. It is difficult to understand why God did not just soften Pharaoh's heart and immediately take the Hebrews out.

We can quickly see that the main purpose for the delay was so that God can go through these ten worldly gods that Egypt had put so much faith in, and show one by one that they are no match for the real God. God explained to Moses ahead of time that he would run into opposition, but Moses was still to do great wonders to show up these Egyptian's false gods. We notice that God had placed the power in Moses' hand to do these wonders.

Exodus 4:22 "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel [is] my son, [even] my firstborn:"

"Israel ... my son, even my firstborn": To the ancient Egyptians, the firstborn son was special and sacred, and the Pharaoh considered himself the only son of the gods. Now he heard a whole nation designated as God's firstborn son, meaning "declared and treated as first in rank, preeminent, with the rights, privileges and responsibilities of being actually the firstborn." The Lord pointedly referred to the nation collectively in the singular, in order to show that He was a father in what He would do. I.e., bring a nation into existence, then nurture and lead him (Deut. 14:1-2). Divine Sonship, as in the pagan world's perverted concept of a sexual union between the gods and women, was never so much as hinted at in the way God used the term to express His relationship with Israel. Who were His people, a treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (6:7; 19:4-6).

For the Lord to call "Israel ... my son, even my firstborn" (Hosea 11:1; Jer. 31:9), would have offended Pharaoh (likely Amenhotep II). Who viewed himself as the favored son of the Egyptian gods.

We see that God specifically told Moses what to say. You see Moses was an oracle of God. It was as if God was speaking. And He was through Moses. God wanted Pharaoh to know that this same Israel nation that Pharaoh had doing forced labor was actually the covenant people of God. This was the first family through which God had chosen to reveal Himself.

Exodus 4:23 "And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, [even] thy firstborn."

The threat was not made until immediately before the tenth plague (Exodus 11:5). It is not recorded in the words which Moses is here directed to use; but the speech of Moses (in Exodus 11), is no doubt much abbreviated.

"Firstborn": The expression would be perfectly intelligible to Pharaoh, whose official designation was "son of Ra." In numberless inscriptions, the Pharaohs are styled "own sons" or "beloved sons" of the deity. It is here applied for the first time to Israel; and as we learn from this scripture, emphatically in antithesis to Pharaoh's own firstborn.

You see God looks on each of us as His son. A Christian is God's son one at a time. To me the Scripture above, even though it is speaking of a large group of people, is singular in nature; because God deals with us one at a time. We see here, prophetically speaking, of the tenth plague. Which truly did take the firstborn of Pharaoh, as the firstborn of all in Egypt, except the Hebrews. God explained here, His reason for wanting them to leave Egypt (the world), was so they could serve Him. We see here a type and shadow of how the believer must leave the world behind and go and serve God.

Exodus 4:24 "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him."

Moses was attacked by a sudden and dangerous illness, which he knew was inflicted by God. The word "sought to kill" implies that the sickness, whatever might be its nature, was one which threatened death had it not been averted by a timely act.

Zipporah believed that the illness of Moses was due to his having neglected the duty of an Israelite, by not having circumcised his own son. The delay was probably owing to her own not unnatural repugnance to a rite, which though practiced by the Egyptians, was not adopted generally in the East, even by the descendants of Abraham and Keturah. Moses appears to have been utterly prostrate and unable to perform the rite himself.

It appears that God's anger at Moses was for a very serious offense and the Lord was to bring swift punishment. Probably God struck him very sick. It appears from the next few verses that Moses had listened to his heathen wife and had not circumcised his 2nd son on the 8th day, as Abraham had agreed to do in Genesis. God keeps covenant with His people, but expects His people to keep covenant with Him. This child was probably, born after God's conversation on the holy mountain and just before this trip was begun, because this anger seems to be suddenly kindled against Moses.

Moses' wife, as you can easily see in the following Scriptures did not approve of this Hebrew practice. She thought it to be barbarian. Moses should not have listened to his wife. He was the head of the house, and he knew very well the importance of keeping the Abrahamic covenant with God. Many a man's downfall is when he listens to bad advice from his wife. It is a very sad thing in our society today that not many men come to church. They leave the spiritual obligations to their wives.

God is not pleased with this. I am happy though, that the women are keeping it going. We see (in verse 25), that Zipporah knows what the problem was and to save Moses' life, she performed the circumcision herself. If the man does not fulfill his duty to God, the wife must do it to save their family.

Exodus 4:25 "Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast [it] at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband [art] thou to me."

The presence of Zipporah's name indicates that the personal pronouns refer to Moses. She, judging by her action of suddenly and swiftly circumcising her son, understood that the danger to her husband's life was intimately connected to the family's not bearing the sign of the covenant given to Abraham for all his descendants (Gen. 17:10-14). Her evaluation, "Surely a bloody husband art thou to me", suggests her own revulsion with this rite of circumcision, which Moses should have performed.

When a person says yes to God's service, the Lord will often begin to reveal neglected areas of obedience. Moses' failure to circumcise his second son Eliezer according to the lord's covenant with Abraham, forced a disgusted "Zipporah" to save her husband's life by circumcising the baby herself.

Here we see Zipporah performing the actual circumcision to save Moses' life, while all the time she was angry with him for this blood covenant with God. She actually threw the cut off skin at Moses' feet in contempt. It was as if she disapproved of Moses as a husband, because of his belief in God. This knife blade was made of stone, instead of metal to keep down infection.

Exodus 4:26 "So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband [thou art], because of the circumcision."

The result of Zipporah's actions (in verse 25), was God's foregoing the threat and letting Moses go. The reaction of God at this point dramatically underscored the seriousness of the sign He had prescribed (see note on Jer. 4:4).

At first here she was speaking to God, asking him to let Moses go. She expressed her dislike again for the practice of circumcision.

Exodus 4:27 "And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him."

During their reunion on the "mount of God" (Mount Horeb), the same location where the Lord first called Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, the biological brothers became brothers in the ministry.

God sent Moses help through his brother Aaron. The Scripture here does not explain why Moses went back to the mountain of God. Perhaps it was because of his sin in neglecting to circumcise his son. He might have wanted to make sure that God would still be with him. The whole mountain range there could have been also known as the mount of God. This was probably, Horeb. The custom of men in greeting in that part of the world was to kiss, instead of handshake. By the way, this kiss was on the cheek and not on the mouth. It certainly was not the type of kiss between a man and woman.

Exodus 4:28 "And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him."

He declared his mission and commission from God, and gave him the particulars of what was to be said both to the people of Israel and to the king of Egypt. And this he did, because Aaron was to be his spokesman unto them.

"And all the signs which he had commanded him": To do, first before the children of Israel, and then before Pharaoh. Before the one to obtain credit of them, as being sent of God, and before the other to get leave of him for the departure of Israel out of Egypt.

Aaron knew that God sent him to Moses, so he was very receptive to the words of Moses. I am sure that Moses demonstrated the miracles with the rod to further assure Aaron, as he had been assured by God. We are not told anything about the trip to Egypt.

Exodus 4:29-30 "And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:" "And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people".

The "leadership team" functioned as instructed: Aaron told all and Moses performed all the signs given to him (verse 2-9).

Aaron knew these elders, and it was not difficult for him to get them together.

This did not mean that Aaron did the signs; the miracles were in Moses' hand. It just means that Aaron, as the mouthpiece, spoke and Moses demonstrated the signs, building the confidence of the people so they would believe enough to follow Moses and Aaron. Aaron's only contact with God was through Moses, just as our only contact with God the Father is through Jesus.

Exodus 4:31 "And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped."

"And the people believed ... bowed ... worshipped": Just as God predicted, they responded in belief at the signs and in worship at the explanation of God's awareness of their misery.

Here, we see these Israelites doing the very thing that pleases God. They humbled themselves (bowed their heads), and worshipped God. This worship had to do with praising Him for hearing their cry.

Exodus Chapter 4 Continued Questions

1. When Moses returned to Jethro, what did Moses ask of him?

2. What reason did Moses give Jethro for wanting to go?

3. What was Jethro's reply?

4. Who was it a custom to get permission from to leave a tribe?

5. What family was Moses really speaking of?

6. What member of Moses' physical family did God tell Moses was still living?

7. When God told Moses it was time to go to Egypt, what did He reassure Moses of?

8. Who went with Moses?

9. What did Moses have in his hand?

10. What shows God's hand at work in Moses' departure?

11. What does the rod of God indicate?

12. What was Moses to do in front of Pharaoh?

13. Why would Pharaoh not believe?

14. What were 3 different hardenings of the heart we will run into in this study?

15. What was the main purpose in the delay?

16. How many plagues will there be?

17. What did God tell Moses to call these Israelites?

18. What was God telling Pharaoh in this?

19. Where was the first mention of the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt?

20. Why was a singular noun used in meaning many?

21. Why did God want them to leave Egypt?

22. What is this a type and shadow of?

23. Suddenly in verse 24, God tried to do what to Moses?

24. Why? What was the sin?

25. Moses knew the importance of keeping what covenant?

26. Who performed the rite?

27. Was she pleased with the covenant sign?

28. Explain.

29. Why was the knife blade made of stone?

30. What did Zipporah ask of God, after she had circumcised their second son?

31. What kind of husband did she call Moses?

32. What did the Lord tell Aaron to do?

33. Where did Moses meet him?

34. What affection did the brothers show each other?

35. What did Moses tell Aaron?

36. Where did Moses and Aaron go first?

37. Why did the people believe them?

38. What similarity do we see in the relationship of Aaron to God and Christians' relationship to the Father God?

39. When the people heard that God had heard their cry, what 2 things did they do?

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Exodus 5

Exodus Chapter 5

Exodus "5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness."

"Let my people go": With this command from Israel's Lord, the confrontation between Pharaoh and Moses and between Pharaoh and God, commenced. It was a command Pharaoh would hear often in the days leading up to the Exodus.

Pharaoh's response to Moses and Aaron's entreaty should be read as contempt, not ignorance.

Pharaoh's response to Moses and Aaron is very illuminating and sets the tone for the whole Exodus account.

Here we see Moses and Aaron going before the Pharaoh of Egypt boldly. We could take a lesson from this. We must be bold in the Lord. We must not back down from telling the truth, because of a person's station in life. We must learn to be bold in bringing the message of God. When Moses and Aaron gave the message to Pharaoh, they were explicit with him about what God this was.

In a land where there are so many false gods, this would be an important thing to do. God was specific in this request about what He wanted from Pharaoh (let my people go). This next verse lets you know how little Pharaoh really knew about the real God.

Exodus 5:2 "And Pharaoh said, Who [is] the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go."

"Who is the Lord": In all likelihood Pharaoh knew of Israel's God, but his interrogative retort insolently and arrogantly rejected Him as having any power to make demands of Egypt's superior ruler.

Pharaoh was probably not completely ignorant of the name of the God of the Israelites. His name certainly had been used by the Israelites in the presence of the Egyptians for more than four hundred years in the land of Egypt. More likely, he refused to recognize the name of Yahweh, or the request brought in that name, because he did not recognize Yahweh's authority for such a demand and therefore he says he would not obey. Thus, this was really a confrontation between gods: Yahweh versus Pharaoh. The word "know" was used in the ancient Near East in a technical sense to indicate international treaties as binding or not. And to relate the binding relationship between the suzerain (the great king), and his vassal.

The essence of Pharaoh's statement indicates he did not recognize Yahweh's authority, and as a result, needless to say, he was not saved (Isa. 45:4-5). (Isaiah 19), may preserve the technical sense when it refers to Egypt's future conversion:

Isaiah 19:21 "And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it.".

Someday the Egyptians will submit to Yahweh and His authority and obey Him. It became Yahweh's sole purpose throughout the rest of the encounter with Pharaoh that he and his people would know Yahweh, at least in the sense of submitting and letting His people go.

You can see that Pharaoh did not know the Lord God. He not only does not know Him, but had never heard of Him. It was a good question, why should he obey His voice. This Lord God was spoken of as Jehovah when Moses came back to Egypt after his encounter with God at the burning bush. The pharaohs thought of themselves as gods and really didn't obey even their false gods, so why should they worship these Hebrews' God? Even if Pharaoh was sure this was the real God, he probably wouldn't let them go because he was so proud of his own power that it would be highly unlikely that he would bow to the real God's demands.

Exodus 5:3 "And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword."

As a follow-up to Pharaoh's rejection, the spokesmen rephrase, more specifically their request, together with a warning of possible divine judgment upon Israel from their failure to obey their God. Pharaoh saw this simply as a ruse to reduce the hours put in by his slave work force.

In the ruler's disregard for the Lord's commands, The Lord would "fall ... with pestilence", and death, "sword", on the Egyptians so that there would be no doubt regarding the answer.

Moses knew all too well what could happen to you if you did not obey the Lord's commands. Probably, the reason these plagues were mentioned here, is that the Pharaoh would be aware that these plagues, if they came upon the Hebrews, would fall upon the Egyptians, as well.

Exodus 5:4 "And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens."

These words were not addressed to Moses and Aaron, but to the Israelites, the elders of whom went with Moses, several others also probably following him, when he went in unto Pharaoh, impatient to see what the end would be.

We see here, one of the reasons why the Pharaoh would not do this was because he would lose three days' work from this vast forced laborer crew of the Hebrews. Then he told Moses and Aaron to get on back to work themselves.

Exodus 5:5 "And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now [are] many, and ye make them rest from their burdens."

So that if some were taken off, as suggested, there were enough of them to do business and so he cared not; but if allowed to go, they might mutiny and rebel, and give a great deal of trouble to quell them. Or it may be, the sense is, they were very numerous, and too numerous already, and if they were taken off of their work, and allowed to go a feasting, they would be more so, which agrees with the next clause:

"And ye make them rest from their burdens": Which was the way to make them more numerous still and frustrate the design of laying burdens upon them, which was originally intended to hinder the multiplication of them (Exodus 1:9).

Pharaoh was aggravated because this great amount of people wanted to take three days off from their labors. We see many times in history, how great men (by the world's standards), come against the people of God and make it very difficult for the ministers of God to perform the tasks God has given them. Moses and Aaron might as well be talking to the wind, Pharaoh was not about to let these people go at this point.

Exodus 5:6-7 "And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying," "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves."

Showing his authority to give orders to Israel, Pharaoh immediately increased their workload and the severity of their bondage, by adding, "and let them not regard vain words". ((n verse 9), he showed his negative evaluation of God's words.

Pharaoh's decree meant the Hebrews had to "gather straw" to make brick during the evening and early-morning hours and then still put in a full day's work, oppressive conditions. In ancient times, straw was added to the clay-and-mud mixture to give greater strength and cohesion to the sun-dried brick.

Here we see cruelty to the utmost. The Pharaoh wanted the people to know that he did not appreciate this request of Moses and Aaron, so exacted this extra work load as immediate punishment. These taskmasters here were from a different root word than the ones earlier mentioned, and probably were talking about officers close to the Pharaoh who would carry out the Pharaoh's orders. Straw was chopped up and used as bulk in the making of the brick. The job of getting enough straw to make bricks for a full day's work would require several extra hours of work each day. This punishment inflicted by Pharaoh was to deter any future requests from Moses and Aaron on behalf of the Hebrews.

Exodus 5:8 "And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish [ought] thereof: for they [be] idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go [and] sacrifice to our God."

Oblige them to make and bring in the same number of bricks they used to do, when straw was brought to them and given them; by which it appears that their daily task was such a number of bricks.

"You shall not diminish ought thereof": Not make any abatement of the number of bricks, in consideration of their loss of time and their labor in going to fetch straw from other places.

"For they be idle": And want to be indulged in a lazy disposition, which by no means to be connived at.

"Therefore they cry, let us go and sacrifice to our God": Suggesting, that this request and cry of theirs did not proceed from a religious principle, or the great veneration they had for their God, but from the sloth and idleness they were addicted to.

Pharaoh's idea was that they wanted to go to meet with God, because they have idle time. He thought if he wore them completely out with hard work, they would be too tired to plan a trip to meet with their God. Pharaoh made it very clear that they were to make just as many bricks as they did before, but they would have to furnish all of their own straw as well. His theory was to keep them too worn out to protest.

Exodus 5:9 "Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard vain words."

Those of Moses and Aaron, which he said were vain or false; that is, that they falsely pretended that their God had commanded them to go and worship when it was only a crafty design of their own to advance themselves by raising sedition.

Here, we see that Pharaoh had no regard at all for the feeling of others. He was saying in this, that regardless of what they said or did, he would not let them go.

Exodus 5:10 "And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw."

"Taskmasters ... and their officers": When combined with "the officers of the children of Israel" (in verse 15), a 3-level command structure is seen to have been in place, Egyptian section leaders and labor gang bosses, and Israelite foremen.

Exodus 5:11 "Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished."

"Straw": Ancient documents for Egypt show that straw was used as a necessary component of bricks, it helped bind the clay together.

Exodus 5:12 "So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw."

Because straw was not readily available, the Hebrew slaves had to gather "stubble", small pieces of straw, and their production of bricks slowed while their quota remained.

These overseers were cruel as well. They spoke to the people about furnishing their own straw, and the straw close by had already been used; so they picked stubble instead of straw. As I said before, this caused them several extra hours of work every day.

Exodus 5:13 "And the taskmasters hasted [them], saying, Fulfil your works, [your] daily tasks, as when there was straw."

Kept them close to their work, and were urgent for them to make a quick dispatch of it.

"Saying, fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw": They insisted upon it, that they did the same business at the brick kilns, made the same number of bricks every day, as they used to do when they had straw at hand (see Exodus 5:11).

Exodus 5:14 "And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, [and] demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as heretofore?"

The "Officers of the children of Israel" were their own work foremen.

We see here, that this was an impossible task to fulfill. This ended in beatings and accusations. These beatings were done to the Hebrews who were actually overseers themselves, under the Egyptians. Even working from sunup to sundown, there was no way to do this terrible task. Frequent beatings of the workers made it worse because sore bodies could not work as hard.

Exodus 5:15 "Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants?"

The formal labor complaint at the highest level was rejected with an emphatic evaluation of laziness on the part of Israel and a demand that production not slack.

Exodus 5:16 "There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants [are] beaten; but the fault [is] in thine own people."

The Egyptian task-masters, who, by sending us abroad to gather straw, they hinder us from doing the work which they require; and so they are both unjust and unreasonable. They charge the task-masters, not the king, either in civility and duty, casting his fault upon the people. Or because they did not know, or at best not believe, that this was the king's act. Others, thy people, i.e. the Egyptians, make their selves guilty, and will bring down the vengeance of God upon them for their cruelty.

This was an appeal directly to the Pharaoh, to not require more than they could possibly do.

Exodus 5:17 "But he said, Ye [are] idle, [ye are] idle: therefore ye say, Let us go [and] do sacrifice to the LORD."

Instead of expressing indignation at the taskmasters, and relieving the officers and the people, he insults them in a flouting sarcastic way, charging them with sloth and idleness; and which, for the certainty of it, or, however, to show how strongly persuaded and fully assured he was of the truth of it, repeats it, and gives the following as a proof of it.

"Therefore ye say, let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord": Suggesting that it was not so much the service and honor of God they regarded, as that they might have a leisure day from work and labor.

Exodus 5:18 "Go therefore now, [and] work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks."

Go about your business and attend to your work, even you officers, as well as your people. Work yourselves, as well as see that your people do theirs, and do not trouble me with such impertinent applications.

"For there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks": The usual number of bricks that is it was expected and insisted on that they delivered the full number of bricks they used to make.

Exodus 5:19 "And the officers of the children of Israel did see [that] they [were] in evil [case], after it was said, Ye shall not minish [ought] from your bricks of your daily task."

In a bad condition and circumstances, and that there was no likelihood of their getting out of them. Since Pharaoh treated them after this manner; they saw not only that the common people were in a bad condition and in great bondage, misery and distress. To be obliged to get straw to make brick, and carry in their full requirement as before. But that they themselves were in a bad situation, since for the deficiency in their people they were like to be beaten from time to time.

"After it was said, ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task": After this had been said and confirmed by Pharaoh, they had no hope of things being better with them, but looked upon their unhappy lot as irretrievable.

We see that, these Israelite officers got nowhere with Pharaoh. Pharaoh reminded them, that this punishment was because of the request of Moses and Aaron that they go in the desert to worship. These officers knew that they were in for a rough time and they blamed Moses and Aaron for this hardship placed on them.

Exodus 5:20-21 "And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:" "And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us."

The leadership team evidently knew of the lodging of the formal labor complaint and waited outside the royal hall in order to meet Israel's representatives. The meeting was definitely not a cordial one, with accusations raised both about the propriety of and the authority of the words and actions of Aaron and Moses toward Pharaoh.

"Abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh" literally means, "You have made us a stench in his presence." Moses was accused of making the people's situation worse.

Here these overseers were really upset with Moses and Aaron and told them that they were trying to get them killed. The Pharaoh and his men were blaming the Hebrew overseers and the Hebrew workers were blaming them too. They were caught in the middle and were beaten every day.

Verses 5:22 - 6:9: Four times here, the Lord reminds Moses of His sovereignty, identity and promises: "I am the Lord." This is the same Yahweh of the patriarchs, the same Lord of the Abrahamic covenant, but in the events of the Exodus, His name would be fully "known". With successive "I will" statements, God promised to: (1) rescue and redeem His people from Egypt; (2) make them His people; (3) be their God; and (4) bring them to the Promised Land.

Exodus 5:22 "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou [so] evil entreated this people? why [is] it [that] thou hast sent me?"

"Moses returned unto the Lord": Whether Moses and his brother remonstrated with the foremen about their strong and wrong evaluation remains a moot point. Rather, the focus is upon Moses, who remonstrated with the Lord in prayer.

Moses was very disturbed about what he heard. Moses was blaming God. Then he got brash enough to ask God why did he even send him? Moses and Aaron had been so confused by all of this, that they didn't even answer the Hebrew overseers. They probably, didn't know what to say. They knew that they had said exactly what God had told them to, but they had not gotten the expected results. Many times, when we do exactly what God tells us to, it seems we have failed for a good while. Perhaps, had not all these terrible things happened to the Hebrews, they might be reluctant to leave Egypt in search for the Promised Land. It was very difficult to figure God out.

Here, we see a bold Moses who cried out to God, "Why?" Trials come to all believers and we are told they come to make us strong. God has a purpose for sure and He really does not have to share that purpose with us. As Job withstood in the face of terrible happenings, these Israelites must stand for what was right too. Christians are no exceptions either. Sometimes we do not understand the hardships we must face either. Only God knows these answers. When the going gets rough, go in prayer to God, as Moses did here.

Exodus 5:23 "For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all."

Evidently, Moses did not anticipate what effect Pharaoh's refusal and reaction would have upon his own people. Confrontation with Pharaoh so far had provoked both the angry resentment of Israel by the Egyptians and of Moses by Israel. This was not the expected scenario!

Every minister who has spoken for God throughout all time has felt this frustration that Moses felt here. He felt that he had been a failure not only to these people, but to God as well. He was almost accusingly pointing a finger at God here. It is as if he was saying you told me you would deliver them, now why haven't you? We are an impatient people. God can see the end and knows they would be delivered. He doesn't count a few weeks as anything.

Exodus Chapter 5 Questions

1. Who did Moses and Aaron go to see to speak for the children of Israel?

2. What message did they bring from God?

3. For what purpose were they to go to the wilderness?

4. Why was it important for Moses and Aaron to be specific about what God this was?

5. What did Pharaoh ask them about God?

6. What did Pharaoh call God?

7. When did Moses begin to call God. Jehovah?

8. Why would it be highly unlikely that Pharaoh would bow to the demands of God?

9. They told Pharaoh, if they didn't go and sacrifice, what 2 things would happen:

10. Why were these 2 plagues mentioned to Pharaoh?

11. What did Pharaoh tell Aaron and Moses to get about?

12. What was one of the main reasons Pharaoh would not do this?

13. What did Pharaoh tell the taskmasters to do to the people in punishment?

14. When?

15. What was used for bulk in making brick?

16. What would this do to the Hebrews?

17. Why did Pharaoh use "vain" words when they were speaking to him?

18. What did they gather, instead of straw?

19. Who did the taskmasters beat?

20. Who came to Pharaoh, and cried out to him?

21. Who did they blame?

22. How did Pharaoh respond to their pleas?

23. Who did the Israelite officers blame?

24. Where did they find them?

25. What did the officers say was about to happen to them?

26. When Moses heard of this, what did he do?

27. What did he say to God?

28. What 2 complaints did Moses make to God?

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Exodus 6

Exodus Chapter 6

Exodus 6:1 "Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land."

"Now shalt thou see" The Lord announced in response to Moses' prayer that finally the stage had been set for dealing with Pharaoh, who, in consequence, would only be able to urge Israel to leave.

Here we see that God was not angry with Moses for his outcry of when was God going to free these people. The word "now" indicated there would be no further delay. God reassured Moses that he would punish Pharaoh. God's strong hand would force Pharaoh not only to let them go, but Pharaoh would insist on their going when God got through with him.

Verses 2-5: God spoke to Moses and reminded him of His promises to the patriarchs. Once again, the focal point of the covenant was the land of Canaan deeded to their descendants by divine decree. The fact that this covenant was remembered meant obvious removal from Egypt!

Exodus 6:2 "And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I [am] the LORD:"

"I am the Lord": The same self-existent, eternal God, Yahweh, had been there in the past with the patriarchs. No change had occurred in Him, either in His covenant or promises.

We see Jehovah here, the Eternal One. God reassured Moses of His power and eternity. When He said "I am the LORD", it also means I am Jehovah, the Eternal One.

Exodus 6:3 "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them."

"God Almighty ... JEHOVAH ... was I not known to them": Since the name Yahweh was spoken before the Flood (Gen. 4:26), and later by the patriarchs (Gen. 9:26; 12:8; 22:14; 24:12). The special significance of Yahweh, unknown to them, but to be known by their descendants, must arise from what God would reveal of Himself in keeping the covenant and in redeeming Israel (see notes on 3:13-14).

The statement "but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them" is filled with meaning and has been one of the focal points of debate tween the liberal critic and the conservative scholar for several centuries. There are three basic views:

(1) In the early patriarchal period the tribal name of God was El Shaddai, but Moses was now about to reveal for the first time the name Yahweh as the God of Israel (yet note Genesis 4:26; 12:1, 4; 13:4).

(2) The phrase should be expressed as a question: "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai]; but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them!"

(3) There is a special revelation of the name Yahweh, not its first introduction. Cowles says, "The meaning is, not that the name [Yahweh] was never used by them or given of God to them: but that its special significance had not been manifested to them as He was now about to make it manifest," (see the previous comments on 3:7-22 for the import of the divine name).

The name "God Almighty" conveys the concept of power and might, whereas "Yahweh" emphasizes God's revealing Himself in His actions through history and in a unique way now of redeeming them from bondage and meeting their needs as they enter into a covenant with Him in chapter 19.

We see God Almighty in Genesis.

Genesis 17:1 "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."

This was His name with Abraham (in Genesis 35).

Genesis 35:11 "And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.

Genesis 28:3 "And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;"

We understand from all this, that God was first revealed to Moses and these Israelites as I AM and Jehovah. This is a new working of God toward His covenant people and therefore another name. Jehovah is the Jewish national name of God. God had been called by Jehovah before (Genesis 15-7), but it appears the perfect revealing of what this name means had not been clear before Moses.

Exodus 6:4 "And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers."

"My covenant": The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15:1-21; 17:1-8).

This covenant was an unbreakable covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants forever. They lived in Canaan before they went to Egypt; but the land was controlled by others and these Hebrews were strangers there. However, God promised Abraham this land and now was the time to receive it.

Exodus 6:5 "And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant."

He means their groaning on occasion of the late hardships put upon them. God takes notice of the increase of his people's calamities, and observes how their enemies grow upon them. I will bring you out: I will redeem you: I will bring you into the land of Canaan; and I will give it to you.

God told Moses all over again, that He had heard their cry of misery, and He remembered His covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This statement just meant that in the very near future, God would deliver them.

Exodus 6:6 "Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I [am] the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:"

God instructed Moses to remind Israel of what they had previously been told: of God's remembering the covenant with Abraham, of His seeing their misery, of His delivering them from it. Of His granting to them the land of Canaan, and thus taking them there. The repetitive "I will" (7 times), marked God's personal, direct involvement in Israel's affairs. Bracketed, as they were, by the declaration, "I am Yahweh," denoted certainty of fulfillment.

We see that God reminded the Israelites that it would not be by their efforts that they will be redeemed. The intervention of God was what would redeem them. Just as salvation is a free gift and no works of ours get us saved, so they (the children of Israel), could do nothing to redeem themselves either. God was going to judge Egypt for the cruelty to His people and God would punish Egypt.

Exodus 6:7 "And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."

There are four key expressions relating to God's design for the people of Israel in this portion of Scripture:

(1) Initially, His design is deliverance as expressed in verse 6;

(2) His desire to form a godly community in 7a: "And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God": then He expresses His intention that:

(3) There should be an ongoing relationship with His people: "And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians", and finally;

(4) His intention for His people is that they enjoy the good life: "An I will bring you in unto the land ... and I will give it you for an heritage" (verse 8).

These Hebrews, while in Egypt, had wandered away from God. One of the reasons God did not just run in there and immediately change the situation was because He wanted these Israelites to know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that it was God who brought them out.

Exodus 6:8 "And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I [am] the LORD."

The whole is one sentence, and implies that, as being Immutable and Eternal, He would assuredly give it them.

We see from this, that God was again telling Moses that He was a God of covenant. God was not angry at Moses because He felt that there was no progress made. To look at this from a Christian point of view, we see the minister who goes and builds a church in a place God has told him to go and where God has told him thousands will be saved. The church instead of growing seems to be completely stalemated. It is very difficult while you are in the flesh, to believe that God is still going to build this church to a mighty working.

From time to time God has to reassure this minister that this will be a success story someday. This was the same thing on a different level here. God was going to establish the Holy Land for His people Israel. Even this speaking of Moses and Aaron to the Pharaoh was the first step. Even though the first meeting seemed to take them backwards, this was still the first step to success. God would give them the land as he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Exodus 6:9 "And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage."

"For anguish of spirit": The bondage was so great that it blocked out even the stirring words Moses had just delivered to them (verses 6-8).

The children of Israel were so caught up in the middle of the problem that they could not see beyond this immediate hardship.

Exodus 6:10 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,"

At another time, and renewed His orders to him to go again to Pharaoh, and require their release.

Exodus 6:11 "Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land."

The second message was an advance upon the first. The first asked only for permission to enter the wilderness, much of which was within the limits of Egypt; the second was a demand that the Israelites should be allowed "to go out of the land." Such is the way of Providence generally. If we refuse a light cross, a heavier cross is laid on us.

Here God gave Moses his second mission. Moses was speaking directly to God. There was no question in Moses' mind who God was and what God was capable of doing, but Moses was disappointed in the outcome so far.

Exodus 6:12 "And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who [am] of uncircumcised lips?"

They gave no heed to what I have said; so how then shall Pharaoh hear me? If the anguish of their spirit makes them deaf to that which would compose and comfort them, how much more will his pride and insolence make him deaf to that which will but exasperate him?

"Who am of uncircumcised lips": He was conscious to himself that he had not the gift of utterance. The Lord gave them a charge to the children of Israel and to Pharaoh. God's authority is sufficient to answer all objections, and binds us to obedience without murmuring or disputing (see notes on 4:10).

It is so plain to me the similarity here to a minister who is preaching, and he feels no one is listening. And then the Lord commissions him to go out and win total strangers to the church. He was saying, my own little flock won't even hear me, what makes you think people I don't even know and who do not believe in God, would receive me? Now Moses said his lips were worldly and not dedicated as they should be to the Lord. Moses and this example of a minister were both having a pity party. They were saying, "I am a failure. Get someone more capable for the job."

Exodus 6:13 "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt."

The faith of Moses was so feeble that he could scarcely be kept to his work. Ready obedience is always according to the strength of our faith. Though our weaknesses ought to humble us, yet they ought not to discourage us from doing our best in any service we have to do for God. When Moses repeats his baffled arguments, he is argued with no longer, but God gives him and Aaron a charge, both to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh. God's authority is sufficient to answer all objections, and binds all to obey, without murmuring or disputing (Phil. 2:14).

God didn't even listen to all of this. He told Moses and Aaron all over again, what the job was He had called them to do and told them to get on with it. Moses and Aaron were capable of doing this or God would not have called them. This is the same with ministers today. When God calls you for a job you are capable of doing it or God would not have called you.

Let us look back just a little bit at this lesson, and see what was really happening here. At the very beginning, we saw a servant of God, who had done what God told him to do and who felt that he had failed, because it brought results opposite than those planned. His friends and family had turned on him and told him, if you were truly sent of God why didn't this work? Why are we in worse shape now than when you began? You're not a man of God or else this wouldn't have happened.

The first thing Moses did, and we should do in similar circumstances, was go to God with this problem. If you or Moses have done exactly what God told you to do, you have done your job. You are not responsible for the outcome. Our job is to do exactly what God tells us to do. God is responsible for the results. We see here, when Moses went to God, that God totally reassured him that He was still I AM; and that Moses would surely lead these rebellious Israelites to the Promised Land.

God reminded Moses that His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was that they would receive the Promised Land and God (who cannot lie), swore upon Himself that it would happen. Now God sent Moses again to these people. They had lost confidence in Moses because the first effort did not free them. Then God gave them all over again, the commission to go to Pharaoh and win the release of these Israelites.

Exodus Chapter 6 Questions

1. When Moses complained to God of Moses' proposed failure, what did God tell him?

2. What did the word "now" indicate?

3. Whose strong hand would let them go?

4. In verse 2 God says I ___ ____ ______.

5. Who do we see in this?

6. "I am the LORD" means what?

7. God was known to Abraham by what name?

8. When was God first revealed as "I AM"

9. What is the Jewish national name of God?

10. In the covenant God made with the Israelites, what land were they promised?

11. Who had the Israelites in bondage?

12. God heard what from the Israelites?

13. Who would bring the Israelites out from under the burdens of the Egyptians?

14. How would He redeem them?

15. What actually would redeem them?

16. Who would judge Egypt?

17. God took them as His people, and He would be their ______.

18. Why didn't God just rush in there, and redeem them immediately?

19. How can we relate this that had happened to Moses, to our modern ministers?

20. When Moses conveyed God's message, why did the children of Israel not listen? Two reasons?

21. Why could they not see beyond this immediate hardship?

22. What was Moses to do next?

23. What reply did Moses give God?

24. How did Moses describe his lips?

25. What does that mean?

26. Compare this second mission of Moses with some modern minister.

27. What charge did God give Moses and Aaron?

28. Will God call you to do something, that you are not capable of doing?

29. When a minister seems to fail, who usually turns on them and begins to question their call?

30. When we seem to fail, what is the first thing we must do?

31. Who is responsible for the outcome?

Exodus Chapter 6 Continued

Verses 14-27: The immediate context of (verses 14-25), is surrounded by two sections (verses 10-12 and 28-30), that contain essentially the same material expressed as "Go in, speak unto Pharaoh ... And Moses spake ... how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? This expresses Moses' feeling of inadequacy for the task at hand. The function of the genealogy is to encourage Moses.

It lists only three of Jacobs sons (Reuben, Simeon and Levi), instead of the usual 12 sons, because the object is to go only as far as needed to get to Moses' and Aaron's appearance on the list. Each of the three men had committed grievous sin, and yet they had also received God's forgiving grace and so had Moses. He had murdered a man and fled. Thus, when Moses balks at further confrontations with Pharaoh, God gently reminds the reader not to think as highly about the channels (Moses and Aaron), as about the God who calls and equips men.

Exodus 6:14 "These [be] the heads of their fathers' houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these [be] the families of Reuben."

The genealogy presented from here down to verse 27 (which is probably a shortened one), follows that of (Genesis 46:8-15), and Lists "Aaron and Moses" in the line of "Levi". Levi's descendants were especially important, because from them came the true priests in Israel.

The genealogy information formally identified Moses and Aaron as descendants of Levi, third son of Jacob by Leah. It also listed Aaron's son, Eleazar, and grandson, Phinehas, both of whom would become Israel's High-Priests. Mention of Levi in company with Reuben and Simeon recalled, perhaps the unsavory background belonging to these three tribal fathers (Gen. 49:3-7), and emphasized that the choice of Moses and Aaron was not due to an exemplary lineage. This is intended to be a representative genealogy, not a complete one.

Reuben was listed first because he was the first child of Jacob and Leah, not because he was a wholesome person. Reuben in fact, had a very bad record. He had lain with his father's concubine, Bilhah. The best thing we can remember about him was that he saved Joseph's life when the brothers wanted to kill him. Reuben's sons were a mixed lot.

"Hanoch" means initiated, "Pallu" means distinguished, and "Carmi" means vine dresser.

Exodus 6:15 "And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these [are] the families of Simeon."

These are the heads. We have in the following verses, not a complete genealogy, but a summary account of the family of the two brothers. Moses records for the satisfaction of Hebrew readers, to whom genealogical questions were always interesting. The descent and position of the designated leaders of the nation (see Exodus 6:26-27).

Simeon along with his brother Levi, in trying to avenge the rape of their sister, had done cruel things which brought shame to their father, Jacob. He was known as a cruel, fierce man. "Jemuel" means day of God. "Jamin" means right hand, "Ohad" means unity. "Jachin" means He (God) establishes. "Zohar" means whiteness, and "Shaul" means asked of God. Simeon married a non-Hebrew woman as we see above.

Exodus 6:16 "And these [are] the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi [were] a hundred thirty and seven years."

The age of Levi, Kohath, and Amram, the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather of Moses, is here recorded. And they all lived to a great age; Levi to one hundred thirty-seven, Kohath to one hundred thirty- three, and Amram to one hundred thirty-seven (verse 18). Moses himself came much short of them, and fixed seventy or eighty for the ordinary stretch of human life (Psalm 90:10). For now Israel was multiplied, and become a great nation, and divine revelation was by the hand of Moses committed to writing, and no longer trusted to tradition. Therefore the two great reasons for the long lives of the patriarchs were ceased, and from henceforward fewer years to serve men.

We see here in the family of Levi, that this was the first to mention the years of the son of Israel. We will see more of this family as we go along, because of the large part they play in God's work. This tribe of Levi was the family Moses and Aaron were born into. The Levitical tribe (descendants of Levi), would not inherit land, because they were set aside for duties in the temple. Even though Levi disappointed Jacob in the cruel act of revenge on the family of the rapist of his sister, Dinah, God called this family to care and administer the Holy things in the temple (Num. 3:5).

These Levites were consecrated to Jehovah as His peculiar property, instead of the firstborn of each family. The lineage was from Levi to Kohath, to Amram, to Aaron and Moses. We read that Jochebed, the mother of Aaron and Moses, was a Levite as well. So Moses and Aaron were both Levites. We need especially to look at Kohath, because he was the grandfather of Aaron and Moses. Kohath's descendants through Aaron were a priestly family. This priestly family's duties were to bear the ark and the sacred vessels (Num. 4:15 and 7:9). We must watch carefully the family of Levi. They were like ministers who should not be worldly, but consecrated to God.

Exodus 6:17 "The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families."

From this point the genealogy is no longer a recapitulation, but an original historical document of first-rate importance, which is confirmed by Numbers (Numbers 3:18-33), and Chronicles (1 Chron. 6:17-19). It is remarkable that Gershon had but two sons, Kohath but four, and Merari but two. Yet the Levites in the year after the Exodus numbered 22,300 males (Numbers 3:22; 3:28; 3:34). This increase could only have taken place, at the rate indicated, in the course of some ten or eleven generations.

Here we see this family of Levi specifically went on to the children and grandchildren, because of their special role they played with God.

Exodus 6:18 "And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath [were] a hundred thirty and three years."

So they are reckoned (in 1 Chronicles 6:18), though only the family of the Hebronites are mentioned (in Numbers 26:58).

"And the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred and thirty three years": The same names are given (in 1 Chronicles 6:2 and 15). The years of the life of Kohath, who was probably about twenty at the time of the descent into Egypt, must have considerably outlived Joseph, who died about seventy years after the descent. His eldest son, Amram, is not likely to have been born much later than his father's thirtieth year (see Genesis 11:12-24.) Amram would thus have been contemporary with Joseph for above fifty years.

In this verse, we see Amram, the father of Moses. We also see that Kohath lived to be 133 years old. "Izhar" means anointing and "Uzziel" means God is strength.

Exodus 6:19 "And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these [are] the families of Levi according to their generations."

From whence sprung the families of the Mahalites, and Mushites (Num. 3:33).

"These are the families of Levi, according to their generations": The families that descended from him and his sons, according to the order of their birth.

This family did not have much written about them.

Exodus 6:20 "And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram [were] a hundred and thirty and seven years."

Marriages with aunts and nieces were not unlawful before the giving of the Law.

"The years of the life of Amram": The long lives of Levi, Kohath, and Amram, the father of Moses, are not recorded for any chronological purpose, but to show that the blessing of God rested in an especial way on the house of Levi, even before it became the priestly tribe. Life in Egypt at the time not unfrequently reached 120 years. But the 137 of Levi, the 133 of Kohath, and the 137 of Amram, the father of Moses, would, even in Egypt, have been abnormal.

We see here that Amram, the father of Aaron and Moses, married his aunt on His father's side. Both Amram and Jochebed were from the tribe of Levi. Aaron and Moses then had a rich heritage with God through their parents.

Exodus 6:21 "And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri."

These seem to be mentioned for the sake of Korah, concerning who has a remarkable history in the following book; for the other two are nowhere else spoken of.

Here again, for our study, this family was not followed closely.

Exodus 6:22 "And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri."

The two first of these were the men that were ordered by Moses to carry out of the camp the two sons of Aaron, who were killed by lightning for offering strange fire (Lev. 10:4).

Exodus 6:23 "And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar."

Amminadab and Naashon were among the ancestors of David (Ruth 4:19-20; 1 Chron. 2:10-15), and their names are consequently found in the genealogies of our Lord (Matt. 1:4; Luke 3:32-33). Naashon was "prince of Judah" at the time of the Exodus (Num. 1:7; 1:16).

"And she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar": The two first of these died by fire from heaven in their father's lifetime, for offering strange fire to the Lord (Lev. 10:1). Eleazar succeeded his father in the priesthood (Num. 20:26), and of the sons of Ithamar executing the priest's office (see 1 Chron. 24:2).

This Amminadab was prince of the tribe of Judah. His daughter, Elisheba, would be mother of the priestly tribe of Aaron. This Naashon, brother of Elisheba, must be taken note of. He was a prince of Judah, and was the father-in-law of Rahab. Naashon's son, Salmon, married Rahab. This Naashon was captain of Judah's host, and was given the first place in encampment in the order of the march, when dealing with the tabernacle. You can read further Scriptures about him (in Num. 1:7, 1 Chron. 2:10-11; Matt. 1:4, and Num. 2:3). He probably died in the wilderness since there was no mention of him after the wilderness wanderings.

Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, along with Aaron were anointed to be priests of the temple. We read about this (in Exodus 28:1). We will read (in Leviticus 10:1), where Nadab and Abihu (probably drunk), brought strange fire in the temple and were killed for this. Eleazar became high priest at the death of his two brothers. The priesthood went down through his family. Ithamar was a priest, also. He took an additional part of the place of the priesthood when his brothers died. His duty was the property of the tabernacle, such as the curtains, hangings, pillars, cords, and boards. You may find this (in Exodus 38:21). Ithamar and his descendants were common priests, until the high priesthood passed to his family in Eli.

Exodus 6:24 "And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these [are] the families of the Korhites."

The eldest son of Izhar, who, though he proved a bad man, yet many of his posterity were good men, and are often mentioned in general in the titles of some of the psalms of David: the immediate sons of Korah were:

"Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph": Aben Ezra says that Samuel the prophet was of the sons of Korah; perhaps what might lead him to it was, because his father's name was Elkanah, the name of one of these sons of Korah, but cannot be this Elkanah.

"These are the families of the Korhites": The heads of them, or from whom they descended.

This Korah was jealous of Aaron and his priesthood and lost his life for this jealousy. We will read about him more in Numbers. He was swallowed up when God opened the earth in punishment of him.

Exodus 6:25 "And Eleazar Aaron's son took him [one] of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these [are] the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families."

This was Aaron's eldest son. Putiel is not elsewhere mentioned. The name is thought to be half Egyptian (compare Poti-phar) and means "dedicated to God."

She bare him Phinehas. This Phinehas became high priest on the death of Eleazar (Judges 20:28).

"These are the heads of the Levites, according to their families": From whence the Levites sprung, and their several families. It may be observed, that Moses says nothing of his own offspring, only that of his brother Aaron. This was partly out of modesty and humility, but partly because the priesthood was successive in the family of Aaron and not the civil government in the family of Moses.

And that he proceeds no further to give the genealogy of the remaining tribes, his chief view being to show the descent of Aaron and himself, that it might be with certainty known in after times who they were that were instruments of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt, which would be matter of inquiry, and very desirable to be known.

This was just showing the lineage of this priestly tribe. I would like to mention just one thing in passing, these priests and high priests were married. It seemed God was not offended by them being married. Remember that the Levites, through Aaron's family, were the priestly tribe.

Exodus 6:26 "These [are] that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies."

This expression is here used of the Israelites for the first time. It seems to refer to that organization of a quasi-military character, which was given to the people by the order of Moses during the long struggle with Pharaoh. Thus enabling them to at last quit Egypt, not as a disorderly mob, but "harnessed," or "in military array" (Exodus 13:18). The expression is repeated (in Exodus 7:4; 12:17; 12:51).

This has wandered a bit from where Moses was talking to God about this deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, so now we are told again, that this Moses and Aaron were the same ones. It is also stated as fact that they would bring them out.

Exodus 6:27 "These [are] they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these [are] that Moses and Aaron."

Verse 27 is very similar to (verse 26), above. It is a statement of the fact that Moses and Aaron would lead Israel out of bondage.

Verses 28-30: This expresses Moses' feeling of inadequacy for the task at hand. The function of the genealogy is to encourage Moses.

From 6:28 to 7:5: A summary of the mission to Egypt resumes the narrative after the genealogical aside on Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 6:28 "And it came to pass on the day [when] the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt,"

These next three verses are most closely connected with (Exodus 7). They are a recapitulation of main points (in Exodus 6), rendered necessary by the long parenthesis (Exodus 6:14-27), and serve to unite (Exodus 7), with the previous narrative. They contain no new information.

Exodus 6:29 "That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I [am] the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee."

This and the following verses belong to the next chapter. They mark distinctly the beginning of a subdivision of the narrative.

God (in verse 28 and 29), was reminding Moses that He told him from the beginning, even out in the wilderness, who He was. He also never promised Moses that this task was going to be easy. The God of all eternity, the I AM, is sufficient to carry through any plans that He has. He even promised Moses that He would tell him exactly what to say. As we said before, Moses was not responsible for the outcome, but He was responsible to say every word that God told him to say to the Pharaoh on the behalf of these people in the name of God.

Exodus 6:30 "And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I [am] of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?"

As he had done (Exodus 6:13), and this is only a repetition of what is there said, in order to lead on to what is related in the following chapter.

"How shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?" So mean a person, and so poor a speaker, and he a mighty king, surrounded with wise counsellors and eloquent orators.

Perhaps, God told Moses each time over again who He was to build Moses' faith. Moses was full of excuses, as many of us are when we are called to the ministry. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. Moses and all ministers who are really called of God must remember that God did not choose us for our great abilities. God wants us to love Him more than we love anything, or anyone. He wants us to totally submit ourselves to Him. He will fill us with Himself to the point that it will not be us speaking, but will rather be "Thus saith the Lord".

God will give us the place to go, and the words to say once we get there. The Holy Spirit woos the prospects; and when we preach the words God gives, these words convict them, and they are saved. We are not the one who saves (delivers), them; we are just the mouthpiece for God. All the rest of the work is His. We are only responsible to say the words He gives us.

Exodus Chapter 6 Continued Questions

1. What was Reuben to Jacob and Leah?

2. Name Reuben's sons.

3. What terrible sin had Reuben committed?

4. What good thing can we remember about Reuben?

5. What does "Pallu" mean?

6. What does "Carmi" mean?

7. What terrible thing can we remember about Reuben?

8. Simeon was known as a _________ _____________Man.

9. "Jemuel" means what?

10. "Shaul" means what?

11. "Zohar" means what?

12. Who did Simeon marry?

13. Who were Levi's sons?

14. How long did Levi live?

15. Moses' mother and dad were from what tribe?

16. What was Levi's sister's name?

17. What did God call the family of Levi to do?

18. Which tribe's own family all belong to God in place of the firstborn in each family?

19. What were Moses' parent's names?

20. Who was Kohath to Moses and Aaron?

21. The priestly family was through whom?

22. "Izhar" means what?

23. "Uzziel" means what?

24. What relation was Jochebed to Amram before she married him?

25. Who was Aaron's wife?

26. Who was her father?

27. Amminadab was _______of the tribe of ____________.

28. What would Elisheba be known as?

29. Naashon was the brother of whom?

30. Who was his daughter-in-law?

31. Name Aaron's four sons that were anointed to be priests with him.

32. Which two carried strange fire into the temple?

33. What did God do to them?

34. Which one of Aaron's sons became high priest?

35. How did Korah lose his life?

36. What was one thing to take note of about these priests and high priests?

37. Why does God choose someone for the ministry?

38. What are preachers responsible for?

39. What are we for God?

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Exodus 7

Exodus Chapter 7

Verses 1-13: (Verse 3), says "I will harden Pharaoh's heart," but (verse 4), says "Pharaoh shall not hearken unto" [obey, listen to] "you". Then (verse 13), is to be translated "and Pharaoh's heart was hardened" meaning by the setting of his own will against God. The miracle worked in verse 12 gains additional significance through the fact that the word of "serpent" (tanim) is used in later prophecies as a symbol of Pharaoh (the monster of Isaiah 30:6; 51:9; Ezek. 29:3; 32:2). The names of the two sorcerers here (Jannes and Jambres), were preserved in a Targum (an Aramaic paraphrase of a portion of the Hebrew Old Testament), and mentioned by Paul (2 Tim. 3:8). The tremendous miracles God performed through Moses in Egypt called forth the fullest display of Satan's "lying wonders," even as it shall be at the end of this age (Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9).

Exodus 7:1 "And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet."

"A god to Pharaoh": Moses, as the spokesman and ambassador for God, would speak with authority and power. "Thy prophet": Aaron, as the divinely appointed spokesman for Moses, would forthrightly deliver the message given to him (Acts 14:11-13), where Barnabas and Paul were so perceived in a similar situation.

This simply means that Moses would represent the One who sent him to Pharaoh, not that Moses would be God to him.

We see an unusual statement here. God was not annoyed with Moses and his lack of faith in his ability to do enough to get Pharaoh to let them go. God encouraged Moses by telling him that Pharaoh would believe he was a god. Moses would be allowed of God to do such fantastic miracles in the sight of Pharaoh. At some point Pharaoh would realize he was no match with Moses' God.

Moses was a little bit in awe of Pharaoh because of his worldly power, but now God had reassured Moses that through the power of the Spirit, Pharaoh can't win. Aaron would be Moses' spokesman. Moses would receive the message from God and Aaron would speak it to Pharaoh in the presence of Moses.

Exodus 7:2 "Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land."

That is, to Aaron his prophet, whatever the Lord made known to him in a private manner as his will to be done.

"And Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh": Whatsoever should be told him by Moses, as from the Lord:

"That he send the children of Israel out of his land": This was the principal thing to be insisted upon; and all that was said or done to him was to bring about this end, the dismissal of the children of Israel out of Egypt.

We can easily see the chain of command here. God commanded Moses, Moses gives the message to Aaron and Aaron spoke to the Pharaoh. Every message and every miracle done would be to cause Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go.

Exodus 7:3 "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt."

"Signs" were miracles done as credentials, to prove a mission (Exodus 4:8-9; 4:30).

"Wonders" were miracles generally; niphle'oth, also translated "wonders". (Exodus 3:20), were miracles, brought in the way of punishment. These are called also "judgments" (see Exodus 7:4).

In a previous lesson, we discussed why God would harden Pharaoh's heart. I personally believe that these ten plagues had to come so that God could show these Egyptians that their gods were false gods, and were no match for the real God. "Ten" has to do with world government. God was dealing against the world system here and that is why we will see ten plagues. The ten plagues that come would each be in direct attack of one of Egypt's false gods.

Exodus 7:4 "But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, [and] my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments."

"Mine armies ... my people": The first term in this double-barreled designation of Israel occurred originally (in 6:26). The nation was seen as organized like an army with its different divisions (its tribes), and also as God's military instrument upon the Canaanites. The second term with its possessive pronoun revealed the incongruity of Pharaoh's acting as though these people belonged to him.

You see, this could not be done quietly and unnoticed. This was to be done in judgment and by force to discredit the worldly ways of the Egyptians. This force of God was to show not only Egypt, but all of the surrounding countries, the power of Almighty God (JEHOVAH). Pharaoh was allowed to set his will against God, to show the overwhelming power of God.

Exodus 7:5 "And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them."

"Know that I am the Lord": This purpose of the Exodus finds repeated mention in God's messages to Pharaoh and in God's descriptions of what He was doing (7:16; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16, 29; 14:4, 18). Some of the Egyptians did come to understand the meaning of the name Yahweh, for they responded appropriately to the warning of the seventh plague (9:20), and others accompanied Israel into the wilderness (12:38). In the final analysis, Egypt would not be able to deny the direct involvement of the God of Israel in their rescue from bondage and the destruction of Egypt's army.

Here again, this was a show of power so great that it discredited all the false gods of Egypt, and all the false gods forever. The Lord is a translation here of JEHOVAH. This is JEHOVAH the Lord. He proclaimed by this, that He is the only God who truly exists.

Exodus 7:6 "And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they."

The reluctance and resistance of Moses from this time ceased. He subdued his own will to God's, and gained the praise of being "faithful as a servant in all his house" (Hebrews 3:5). Aaron's obedience continued until Sinai was reached, but there failed before the frenzy of the people (Exodus 32:1-6).

Here, we see that there was no more doubt, or regret, on Moses' and Aaron's part. From this moment on, they never wavered. The power of God had come and done away with all their fears.

Exodus 7:7 "And Moses [was] fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh."

Joseph, who was to be only a servant to Pharaoh, was preferred at thirty years old; but Moses, who was to be a god to Pharaoh, was not so dignified till he was eighty years old. It was fit he should long wait for such an honor, and be long in preparing for such a service.

Here we see two brothers, 80 and 83 years old, who had been called into service of the Lord. You ministers take note. You are never too old to carry the truth to a dying world.

Exodus 7:8 "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,"

This is the first time we read of the Lord speaking to both brothers. When the Lord defied the gods of Egypt and the power of Pharaoh, it was a message to Egypt's ruler and to the Hebrew people that the Egyptian gods were incomparable to Him.

Exodus 7:9 "When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent."

"Shew a miracle": Pharaoh's desire for accreditation would not go unanswered. That which God had done for Moses with the staff (4:2-9), and Moses had copied for Israel (4:30-31), also became the sign of authority before pharaoh (7:10).

God had paved the way for this interview with Pharaoh. When Moses and Aaron said that they were from the only true God, it would be necessary to prove it. Pharaoh was used to magicians who had power from Satan doing miracles and wonders; so it was not unlikely that Pharaoh would check out Moses and Aaron by the miracles they performed. Miracles many times, speak much louder than words for a man of God. Jesus Himself said (in John 14).

John 14:11 "Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."

You see, most people believed Jesus because of the miracles He did. It must be correct to believe miracles or else Jesus would not tell them to believe for that reason. The disciples performed miracles in Jesus' name. Men and women of God, who God has endowed with Power, even now can pray in Jesus' name and have a miracle. So miracles are, many times, signs from God that He is with the person the miracle comes through. God had already demonstrated the miracle of the rod turning to a serpent in the wilderness. Moses knew this miracle would work, so God told them to use this miracle first.

Exodus 7:10 "And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent."

This was proper, not only to affect Pharaoh with wonder, but to strike a terror upon him. This first miracle, though it was not a plague, yet amounted to the threatening of a plague; if it made not Pharaoh feel, it made him fear; and this is God's method of dealing with sinners; he comes upon them gradually.

Moses and Aaron did no miracle the first time they saw Pharaoh, because he didn't ask for one; but this time he would ask. God was good for His word. When Aaron cast the rod down, it truly became a serpent. Now we will see the power of evil against good.

Exodus 7:11 "Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments."

"Magicians": Magic and sorcery played a major role in the pantheistic religion of Egypt. Its ancient documents recorded the activities of the magicians, one of the most prominent being the charming of serpents. These men were also styled "wise men" and "sorcerers," i.e., the learned men of the day and the religious as well (the word for sorcery being derived from a word meaning "to offer prayers"). Two of these men were name Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:8). Any supernatural power came from Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

"Enchantments": By means of their "witchcraft," the wise men, sorcerers, and magicians demonstrated their abilities to perform a similar feat. Whether by optical illusion, sleight of hand, or learned physical manipulation of a snake, all sufficiently skillful enough to totally fool Pharaoh and his servants, or by evil supernaturalism, the evaluation given in the inspired record is simply "they also ... did the same". However, the turning of rods into snakes, and later turning water into blood (7:22), and calling forth frogs (8:7), were not the same as trying to create gnats from inanimate dust (8:18-19). At that point, the magicians had no option but to confess their failure.

We see here, that Pharaoh had called in the representatives of their false gods. Satan himself, furnishes the power for these false gods. No one denies that Satan has power, as we see here, when the magicians throw their rods down. Note these wise men above, are not wise in the ways of God, but were worldly wise. There are many sorcerers and magicians in our world today and they still have power, but their power is from Satan.

Exodus 7:12 "For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."

"Aaron's rod": The loss of the magicians' staffs in this fashion gave evidence of the superiority of God's power when Aaron's staff gulped down theirs.

You see here that these false gods truly did have power, but notice also that their power was no match for God. There was more than one of these serpents from Satan, but it just took the one serpent from God to swallow up all these other serpents.

There is one thing that Christians must always remember, in fact, two things. Satan has worldly power, but the most important thing to remember is that God has much more power than Satan, as we read (in 1 John).

1 John 4:4-6 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

You see in all of this, that truly Satan has power in this world but God's power is greater in this world than Satan's; and God's power is not limited to this earth, but is the greatest power in the universe. One other thing that we need to see in this, God defeats the enemy at the enemy's level. Pharaoh trapped himself in all of this when he asked Moses for a miracle. Here was the first battle between Pharaoh's false gods and the one true God, and God won.

Exodus Chapter 7 Questions

1. What had God made Moses to Pharaoh in verse 1?

2. Aaron shall be thy ________.

3. What was God trying to do in telling Moses this?

4. When Moses did these fantastic miracles in front of Pharaoh, what will Pharaoh finally do?

5. Why was Moses a little bit in awe of Pharaoh?

6. In verse 2 when God speaks to Moses, who speaks to Pharaoh?

7. Why would the miracles be done?

8. Who hardens Pharaoh's heart in verse 3?

9. What was the purpose of this, and the miracles, and wonders God would do through Moses and Aaron?

10. How many plagues would there be?

11. Why that number?

12. How would God bring them out?

13. Why was this to be done openly and by force?

14. Pharaoh was allowed to set his will against God for what purpose?

15. In verse 5, the word translated "Lord" is what?

16. In this name, God was proclaiming what?

17. When did Moses decide to do just as God has commanded, and not fear anymore?

18. How old was Moses, when he spoke to Pharaoh?

19. How old was Aaron?

20. What would be the signal from Pharaoh to Moses that it was time to turn the rod into a serpent?

21. Where was Aaron to cast the rod?

22. Where did Pharaoh's magicians receive their power from?

23. What speaks louder than words, sometimes?

24. In John 14:11, Jesus said believe Him for what?

25. Miracles are, many times, ________ from God that He is with a person.

26. When was the first time Moses turned the rod to a serpent?

27. Who actually cast the rod before Pharaoh?

28. What did the magicians do in response?

29. What happened to the magicians' serpents?

30. What does this show us about God and Satan?

31. In First John chapter 4, we read "... greater is he that is in you, than He _____ ___ ___ ____ ________".

32. In this first battle between the real God and Pharaoh's false gods who won?

Exodus Chapter 7 Continued

Verses 7:14 - 10:29: The obvious miraculous nature of the 10 plagues; cannot be explained by identifying them with natural occurrences to which Moses then applied a theological interpretation. The specific prediction of, as well as the intensity of, each plague moved it beyond being normal, natural phenomena. The notification of the specific discriminatory nature of some of the plagues, distinguishing between Hebrew and Egyptian (8:23; 9:4, 6; 10:23); or Goshen and the rest of the land (8:22; 9:26), as they did; also marks the supernatural nature of these events.

Exodus 7:13 "And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said."

This is a miss-translation. The verb is intransitive, and "Pharaoh's heart" is its nominative case. Translate, "Pharaoh's heart hardened itself." It is essential to the idea of a final penal hardening that in the earlier stages Pharaoh should have been left to himself.

Or, "notwithstanding the heart of Pharaoh was hardened"; though he saw the rods of his magicians devoured by Moses rod; or "therefore" his heart was hardened, because he saw that the rods of his magicians became serpents as well as Aaron's; in which there was a deception of sight. And which was suffered for the hardening of his heart, there being other wonders and miracles to be wrought, for showing forth the divine power, before Israel must be let go:

"That he hearkened not unto them": To Moses and Aaron, and comply with their demand, to dismiss the people of Israel.

"As the LORD had said": or foretold he would not.

Verses 14-25: Notice in verse 14 God's omniscience as He says that the heart of Pharaoh is hardened and also Pharaoh's personal response: "he refuseth to let the people go": Although there were 10 plagues in all, the tenth is climactic and is described at greater length in 11:1-12:30.

The 10 plagues, which would each include natural phenomena out of natural order, would destroy the emotional and economic stability of Egypt and devastate the land. ultimately pointing to Israel's God as the true Sustainer and Lord of creation.

There were several purposes of the plagues:

(1) The Lord sent the plagues to judge Egypt and her gods (Exodus 7:4; 10:2; 12:12; 18:11), and many plagues seem to be directed against specific Egyptian deities.

(2) They were also used by God to compel the Pharaoh to free the Israelites (7:4; 18:10).

(3) They were sent to prove once and for all that God Himself is the only sovereign Lord of nature and history (7:5; 9:14-15; 10:2; 18:11).

(4) The plagues struck the land of Goshen selectively, making a distinction between Egypt and Israel and demonstrating that the Israelites were God's chosen people, who come under His protective care (8:22-23; 11:7; 12:27).

(5) Finally, the plagues displayed God's almighty power and proclaimed His holy name (9:16).

The effects of the first miracle (verse 21), seem to prove that the blood was real, as it shall be also under the second trumpet and their drinking water. The Egyptians suffered the extreme indignity of seeing the gods of the Nile made loathsome before their very eyes.

Exodus 7:14 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart [is] hardened, he refuseth to let the people go."

Or "heavy", dull and stupid, stiff and inflexible, cannot lift up his heart, or find in his heart to obey the will of God.

"He refuseth to let the people go": Which was an instance and proof of the hardness and heaviness of his heart. On which the above miracle had made no impression, to regard what God by his ambassadors had required of him.

Here we see, even though Moses' serpent had swallowed up all the other serpents, Pharaoh did not really take notice of this being a special miracle. He saw that his magicians had turned their rods into serpents, not even realizing that the miracle shown, was that God can easily overcome the devil and his crowd. God was more powerful than all the magicians in Egypt.

Verses 15-25: Pharaoh would go the "river's bank" (8:20), not to drink but to pay homage, for the Nile River was worshiped as a god. So it is no coincidence that the first plague on the Egyptians was direct against the false god of the Nile.

Exodus 7:15 "Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand."

"In the morning": Apparently, Pharaoh habitually went to the river for washing or, more likely, for the performance of some religious rite. Three times Moses would meet him at this early morning rendezvous to warn of plagues, i.e., the first, fourth, and seventh (8:20; 9:13).

"By the river's brink": the first confrontation of the plague cycle took place on the banks of the Nile, the sacred waterway of the land, whose annual ebb and flow contributed strategically and vitally to the agricultural richness of Egypt. Hymns of thanksgiving were often sung for the blessings brought by the Nile, the country's greatest, single economic resource.

We should understand that in Egypt, the water of the Nile was god to these people. It seems as though this was some sort of ceremonial thing that the Pharaoh did every morning, or at least at some specified time. He could have been there just to bathe, but I believe this Scripture implied some ceremony took place. God was aware of just when he (Pharaoh), would be there and God saw to it that that would be the very time Moses would be there as well.

Exodus 7:16 "And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear."

What they shall say upon meeting him.

"The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee": Still appearing in the character of the ambassador of Jehovah, the God of the children of Israel.

"Saying, let my people go": That they may serve me in the wilderness; the demand is once more renewed, before any punishment is inflicted for refusal, that the patience and forbearance of God might be the more visible. And his judgments appear the more righteous when inflicted, as well as Pharaoh be left more inexcusable. The reason of the demand is observed.

"That they may serve me": Keep a feast, and sacrifice to him, as is before expressed and the place where is pointed at.

"In the wilderness": At Sinai, in Arabia, where the mountains of Sinai and Horeb were. But the time of their service is not here expressed, as elsewhere, namely, three days.

"And, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear": And obey the voice of the Lord, upbraiding him with his disobedience, and the hardness of his heart. But signifying it was not now too late, though it was advisable to be quick, or the blow would be given, and the plagues inflicted.

Moses had to approach the Pharaoh again. This time it appeared that Moses had cooled his fears of Pharaoh and was just willing to please God. God told him (Moses), to walk right up to Pharaoh and say "you didn't listen last time, but you must listen now. Let my people go."

Exodus 7:17 "Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that [is] in mine hand upon the waters which [are] in the river, and they shall be turned to blood."

"Blood": The Hebrew word does not denote red coloring such as might be seen when red clay is washed downstream, but denotes actual substance, i.e., blood.

You see, the blood defeats the enemy. The shed blood of Jesus defeats the enemy every time. This was a battle between Egypt's god and the true God. The true God applied the blood to discredit the false god of the Nile. We see here, in the physical, the putrid Nile. This was real blood, it was not just discolored but was undrinkable; and as we see in the next Scripture, actually killed the fish. Since fish from the Nile were one of the main items of the Egyptian's diet, this brought a double curse. Remember this was the hand of God bringing this curse.

Exodus 7:18 "And the fish that [is] in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river."

Their elements being so radically changed and they were not able to live in any other but water.

"And the river shall stink": With the blood, into which it should be congealed, and with the putrefied bodies of fishes floating in it.

The water of the Nile has always been regarded by the Egyptians as a blessing unique to their land. It is the only pure and wholesome water in their country, since the water in wells and cisterns is unwholesome, while rain water seldom falls, and fountains are extremely rare.

We will read (in verse 24), that the water was so bad, they could not drink it. This was not just red, muddy water; this was BLOOD.

Exodus 7:19 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and [that] there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in [vessels of] wood, and in [vessels of] stone."

The use of different words, "waters, streams, rivers, pools and reservoirs," indicates graphically the extent of the plague. Even buckets of wood and stone filled with water and kept inside the homes could not escape the curse of their contents being turned into blood.

This miracle of God was so vast. I do not believe that Moses or Aaron went and stretched the rod over each of these things mentioned. I believe the miracle occurred when Moses handed Aaron his rod and the rod was stretched over the Nile River.

It was certainly appropriate that this first judgment would be against the Nile, since the Hebrew boys were thrown into the Nile to die. We see God's punishment was terrible. There would be no water at all to drink, until this terrible punishment had ended. This punishment not only touched the Pharaoh but all of his people. We see from this Nile being turned to blood, that the real God had struck out at this false god and Jehovah (The existing everlasting One), had overcome.

Exodus 7:20 "And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that [were] in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that [were] in the river were turned to blood."

Moses delivered the rod to Aaron, who took it and went to the water side.

"And he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river": Or "in that river", the river Nile, on the bank of which Pharaoh then stood:

If the occasion was one of a Nile festival, Pharaoh would have "gone out to the water" (Exodus 7:15), accompanied by all the great officers of the Court, and by a large body of the priests and vast numbers of the people. If it was a mere occasion of bodily ablution, he would have had with him a pretty numerous train of attendants. In either case, considerable publicity was given to the miracle, which was certainly not "done in a corner."

It did not just look like blood, it was blood. We see that there was no argument from Moses and Aaron. They did just as God had commanded them. This was Moses' rod that God had given him in the wilderness. It was very important that they did this in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he would know where this was coming from. It was also, important that Pharaoh was not the only one present, so that Pharaoh could not deny this was the hand of God. There were witnesses, so Pharaoh could not say this blood was from any other cause. Just as God had said, it turned to blood.

Exodus 7:21 "And the fish that [was] in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt."

The Egyptians subsisted to a great extent on the fish of the Nile, though salt-water fish were regarded as impure. The mortality among the fish was a plague that was much dreaded.

Previously they had "loathed to drink" (Exodus 7:18), but apparently had drunk. Now they could do so no longer as the draught was too nauseous.

Which was a full proof that the conversion of it into blood was real; for had it been only in appearance, or the water of the river had only the color of blood, and looked like it, but was not really so, it would not have affected the fishes, they would have lived as well as before.

This plague was a greater affliction to the Egyptians, not as it affected their drink but their food, the fish (Num. 11:5), being what the common people chiefly lived upon. "And the river stank"; the blood into which it was turned being corrupted through the heat of the sun, and the dead fishes floating upon it being putrefied.

This was just saying that exactly what God had said would happen, did happen.

Exodus 7:22 "And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said."

"The magicians ... did so with their enchantments": How ludicrous and revealing that the magicians resorted to copycat methodology instead of reversing the plague. What they did, bringing just more blood, did serve, however, to bolster Pharaoh's stubbornness.

We see here, that the lying, deceit of Satan was even at work here. There was no way these magicians could do what God had already done, because all the water was already blood. The only possibility was that some of the water we read about in verse 24 was turned into something appearing to be blood. The Pharaoh did not want to believe in the true God so he turned his back on this miracle as well.

Exodus 7:23 "And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also."

Turned away from Moses and Aaron, and turned back from the river to which he came, and went to his palace in the city. It being perhaps now about dinner time, when all before related had passed.

"Neither did he set his heart to this also": Had no regard to this miracle of turning the waters into blood, as well as he had no regard to the rod being turned into a serpent, and devouring the rods of the magicians; he neither considered the one nor the other, or seriously and closely thought of this, any more than of the other.

He was as stubborn as a mule and even this water being turned into blood, did not change his heart and mind. He believed this was some kind of trick, and he wouldn't fall for it. A person who had sinned over and over would have a hardened heart, not capable of receiving the things of God. This was the case of Pharaoh, here.

Exodus 7:24 "And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river."

"Digged round about the river": The only recourse was to tap into the natural water table, the subterranean water supply. Evidently this was the water which was available to the magicians to use (verse 22).

We see here how they lived. From the look of this Scripture above there was no supply of water for anything except drinking water. They just had to do without water for other uses. We do not see the Hebrews mentioned. It appears; they had clear water to drink.

Exodus 7:25 "And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river."

"Seven days": An interval of time occurred before another warning was delivered, indicating that the plagues did not occur rapidly in uninterrupted succession.

We see here "seven" which means spiritually complete. This blood instead of water lasted seven days. Had this lasted longer than seven days, everything and everyone would have died. Notice here also that this curse or plaque or whatever you would care to call it, came from God, Himself.

Exodus Chapter 7 Continued Questions

1. What was spoken of the condition of Pharaoh's heart?

2. Would he let the Hebrews go?

3. The miracle of Moses' serpent swallowing the magicians' serpents showed what?

4. Had it affected Pharaoh's thinking?

5. Where were Moses and Aaron to see Pharaoh?

6. What were Moses and Aaron to take with them?

7. Why was Pharaoh at the water?

8. Who were Moses and Aaron to tell Pharaoh had sent them?

9. What were they to say to Pharaoh?

10. In what shall Pharaoh know that "He is God"?

11. What did God say would happen, when the rod was extended over the river?

12. Who was this battle between?

13. What makes us know this was real blood?

14. What was one of the main foods of Egypt affected by this plague?

15. What would happen to the fish in this water?

16. What would the water be like?

17. What was Moses and Aaron to do to cause this to happen?

18. Where did this rod come from?

19. What were two of the most unusual places the blood would be?

20. What specific place was the rod stretched out?

21. Why did you suppose the Nile was where the first plague was carried out?

22. Who does this blood in the water affect?

23. Who was this miracle plague done in front of?

24. Who did Pharaoh call to do the same miracle?

25. Was Pharaoh impressed by this plague?

26. Where did Pharaoh go?

27. What will repeated sin do to your heart?

28. Where did the Egyptians get water to drink?

29. How many days did the plague last?

30. Who sent the plague?

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Exodus 8

Exodus Chapter 8

Verses 1-15: Note the concept of Pharaoh's response (in verse 2), as God says: "It thou refuse to let them go". The fact the "the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs" certainly would not have been a blessing to the Egyptians. The goddess Heket (the spouse of the god Khnum), who is depicted in the form of a woman with a frog's head, was held to blow the breath of life into the nostrils of the bodies that her husband fashioned (Gen. 2:7), on the potter's wheel from the dust of the earth. Genesis intends to convey that Israel's God alone rules the world, and that He alone bestows on His creatures, according to His will, the power of fertility.

These frogs, considered by the Egyptians a symbol of fertility, could be transformed, if God so desired, from a token of blessing to one of blight. Moses allowed Pharaoh to pick the time when the frogs should be removed as he said: "Glory over me: when shall I entreat for thee." The sense of this language is that Moses allowed Pharaoh the choice of the time when Moses would intercede for him. The God would remove the frogs. But notice Pharaoh's response: "When Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them" (8:32; 9:34). All of this was "as the Lord had said (4:21; 7:4).

Exodus 8:1 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

"Go unto Pharaoh": The warning for the second plague was delivered to Pharaoh, presumably at his palace. Warnings for the fifth (9:1), and eighth (10:1), plagues also occurred at the palace.

Exodus 8:2 "And if thou refuse to let [them] go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:"

"Smite": The verb God used also meant "to plague". Various terms (literally from the Hebrew), namely "plagues" (9:14), "strike" (12:13), and "pestilence" (9:3, 15), were employed to impress them with the severity of what was happening in Egypt.

"Frogs": That Egyptians favored frogs was seen in the wearing of amulets in the shape of a frog and in the prohibition against intentionally killing frogs, which were considered sacred animals. The croaking of frogs from the river and pools of water signaled to farmers that the gods who controlled the Nile's flooding and receding had once again made the land fertile. The god Hapi was venerated on this occasion because he had caused rich soil deposits to come downstream.

Further, the frog was the representation, the image, of the goddess Heket, the wife of the god Khnum, and the symbol of resurrection and fertility. The presence of frogs in such abundance, all over everywhere outside and inside the houses (verse 3, 13), however, brought only frustration, dismay and much discomfort, rather than the normal signal that the fields were ready for cultivating and harvesting.

One of the false gods of Egypt was a frog-headed goddess called Heket. This frog-headed deity was worshipped, because they believe it had creative power. We will see in this massive overabundance of frogs, the tearing down of the worship of frogs. Animals of all kinds were worshipped in Egypt, and even though there were so many frogs, they were forbidden to kill them.

Here, we see the request of Moses and Aaron for Pharaoh to let the people go; and the threat of this great plague of frogs, if he didn't. These plagues God brought upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians were to discredit their false gods, as we said before. In (verse 3), we see just how severe this abundance of frogs was.

Exodus 8:3 "And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs:"

The river Nile; and though water, and watery places, naturally produce these creatures, yet not in such vast quantities as to cover a whole country, and one so large as Egypt, and this done at once, immediately. For they were all produced instantaneously, and in one day were spread all over the nation, and removed the next: and besides what follows is equally miraculous.

"Which shall go up and come into thine house": Which though they may come up out of rivers, and be upon the banks and the meadows adjacent, yet are never known to come into houses, and especially into bedchambers and other places mentioned. Being not a bold but timorous creature, and shuns the sight and company of men. But these came even into the royal palace, nor could his guards keep them out.

"And into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed": and by their leaping upon him, and croaking in his ears, disturb his rest.

And into the house of thy servants": And upon thy people both nobles and common people, and not only get into their houses, but upon their persons. On their hands when they about their business, and on their laps, and into their bosoms, as they sat. This must have been very offensive and troublesome to them, what with their ugly shape, croaking noise and filthy smell, and the disagreeable touch of them, leaping on them. And even upon their food, and all vessels used for the same, which must make it very nauseous and distasteful to them.

"And into thy ovens": Where they baked their bread, and would be now hindered from the use of them:

"And into thy kneading troughs": Where they kneaded their dough, and made it into loaves, and prepared it for the oven. Or the "dough" itself, which they leaped upon and licked, and made it loathsome for use.

Exodus 8:4 "And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants."

They did not only invade their houses, but their persons, armed as they were with a divine commission and power.

"And upon thy people": Not upon the Israelites, whom God here exempts from the number of Pharaoh's people and subjects, including all of their servants.

The Pharaoh had full warning about how bad this plague would be before it happened. There would be frogs everywhere, even in the food. He could repent, but he would not.

Exodus 8:5 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt."

By a secret impulse upon his mind, for he was now in the presence of Pharaoh, who had refused to let Israel go.

"Say unto Aaron, stretch forth thy hand with thy rod": For Aaron carried the rod, and he was the minister of Moses, who was appointed a god to him. And he was to speak and to do whatever he ordered him from the Lord.

"Over the streams, over the rivers and over the ponds": The seven streams of the river of Nile, and over the canals cut out of it, and over all places where there was a collection of water for any use for man or beast.

"And cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt": Out of the streams, rivers, and ponds, immediately.

Here again, we see this rod that God had given Moses, used to bring this plague of frogs. Some of the writers try to explain where the frogs came from, but they came from God. This again, was a miracle that God brought. Moses, Aaron and the rod were all used of God to bring this about.

Exodus 8:6 "And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt."

That is, towards the waters of the Nile, and towards all places where any water was; for it was not possible he could stretch out his hand over all the waters that were in every place.

"And the frogs came and covered the land of Egypt: they came up at once, and in such multitudes everywhere, that the whole land was full of them. This was done on the twenty fifth of Adar, or February, the same day the former plague ceased; that Moses by his rod produced frogs, locusts, and lice.

At first the inhabitants killed them, and keeping their houses shut, bore it patiently some time. But when it signified nothing, and their household goods were covered with them, and they found them boiled and roasted with their food, and lay in such heaps that they could not tread for them. They were so distressed with the smell of the dead ones, they forsook their country.

We see here that just as God had warned, the frogs came when Aaron stretched out Moses' rod over the rivers.

Exodus 8:7 "And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt."

"The magicians did so": Once again, instead of reversing the plague, the magicians in demonstrating the power of their secret arts only appeared to increase the frog population to the added discomfort of the people. Their power was not sufficient enough to do more than play "copycat." That the magicians could duplicate but not eradicate the problem was, however, sufficient to solidify royal stubbornness.

Here again we see Pharaoh's magicians brought frogs as well.

Verses 8-15: Here, a common pattern begins: the pestilence comes; the pain is felt; Pharaoh seeks "relief" and promises to "let the people go"; the plague is dismissed; and Pharaoh resists God's grace once again (see 3:19; 4:21; 5:2; 7:3, 13-14).

Exodus 8:8 "Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Entreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD."

"Entreat the LORD": Using the Lord's name and begging for relief through His intervention was more a point in negotiation and not a personal or official recognition of Israel's Lord.

This unbelievable overflow of frogs had gotten to the Pharaoh, and he said that he would let the Hebrews go and worship. Here was the first weakening of Pharaoh and he had gone so far as to promise to let the people go. This was a terrible predicament the Egyptians were in. They could not kill these frogs because they were objects of worship to them.

Exodus 8:9 "And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I entreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, [that] they may remain in the river only?"

"May remain in the river only": A specific detail like this in Moses' question indicates that the Nile and the waters had returned to normal and again continued to support life.

Here we see Moses asking Pharaoh, how soon he would let the children go? Then Moses could go back and speak to God to kill the frogs in the houses and get the rest to congregate in the rivers. It seems Pharaoh had more than one house and the frogs were in all of them.

Exodus 8:10 "And he said, Tomorrow. And he said, [Be it] according to thy word: that thou mayest know that [there is] none like unto the LORD our God."

"Tomorrow": Having been granted the privilege to set the time when the Lord would answer Moses' prayer for relief, Pharaoh requested a cessation only on the next day. Presumably he hoped something else would happen before then so that he would not have to acknowledge the Lord's power in halting the plague, nor be obligated to Moses and his God. But God answered the prayer of Moses, and Pharaoh remained obstinate (verse 15).

This first "he" here was Pharaoh answering Moses' question from verse 9, and he said "tomorrow". The second "he" was Moses. Moses was, in essence, telling Pharaoh to recognize the supremacy of Almighty God. Moses accepted the date that the Pharaoh had set.

Exodus 8:11 "And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only."

Signifying there should be a full and clear riddance of them.

"They shall remain in the river only": The River Nile.

This was Moses speaking here, telling Pharaoh that as he wished, it would be done. God's desire in this punishment, as in all punishment, was to cause men to repent. It seemed as though this was the case here that Pharaoh had repented.

Exodus 8:12 "And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh."

To the place where they used to pray to the Lord, and meet with him, and receive messages from him; this they did the same day the plague was inflicted, the day before the morrow came when the frogs were to be removed.

"And Moses cried unto the Lord": Prayed unto him with great fervency, and with a loud voice, most fervently entreating that the frogs might be removed on the morrow, as he had promised, that so he might not be covered with shame and confusion before Pharaoh. His faith of the miracle being wrought did not hinder the use of prayer to God for it.

"Because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh": As an army: or "put upon" him, as a judgment on him. Or rather the sense is, as it may be rendered, "because of the business of the frogs, which he had proposed or promised to Pharaoh". That is, for the taking of them away, he had proposed to Pharaoh to fix the time when he should entreat the Lord for the removal of them; and he having fixed on the next day. Moses promised it should be done according to his word; and now he is persistent with the Lord, that it may be done as he had promised.

Note here, that Moses promised Pharaoh that the plague of the frogs would be over, even before he prayed to God. Moses knew the purpose of the frogs and knew that God had accomplished what He set out to do with them. Moses knew in his heart that God would do this.

Exodus 8:13 "And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields."

God, who knew the heart of Pharaoh, and its insincerity, or at any rate its changefulness, took the plague of frogs away in a manner that made its removal almost as bad as its continuance. The frogs did not return into the river; neither were they devoured by flights of cranes or large wading birds, they simply died. God could as easily have dissolved them into dust, but he would have them to lie dead before their eyes, as a token that they were real frogs and no illusion, and as a testimony of his wonderful power.

Exodus 8:14 "And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank."

Swept them up, and laid them in heaps out of the way. They died where they were in thousands and tens of thousands, so that they had to be "gathered upon heaps".

"And the land stank": With the stench of the dead frogs, which was another proof and evidence of the reality of the miracle; and that dead frogs will cause such an ill smell appears from the above account of what befell the inhabitants of Paeonia and Dardania, unless that should be the same with this, only the names of places and some circumstances altered (see Exodus 8:16).

In the great plague of frogs mentioned by Eustathius (see the comment on Exodus 8:1-4), it was the stench of the frogs after they were dead which caused the people to quit their country.

Probably this was a drastic understatement. I am sure the odor from that many dead frogs was overwhelming. The Lord did not let Moses down; He did exactly as Moses promised Pharaoh. The relief from the frogs was just in part, because this terrible odor remained for a while.

Exodus 8:15 "But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said."

Hitherto Pharaoh's nature had not been impressed; his heart had remained dull, callous, and hard. Now an impression had been made (Exodus 8:8), and he must have yielded, if he had not called in his own will to remove it. Herein was his great guilt. (See the comment on Exodus 4:21).

"And hearkened not unto them": To Moses and Aaron, to let the children of Israel go, as they had required, and he had promised.

"As the Lord had said": Had foretold that he would not hearken to them, nor let Israel go as yet.

Here we see a liar or a double-minded man in Pharaoh. He had no intention of letting them go. This Pharaoh was a false god himself. He didn't believe in God. Therefore, he had no morals; so a lie was nothing to him. It is terribly dangerous to play games with God. A man like Pharaoh was wishy-washy. He was unstable in all his ways. He lied when he said he had chosen God. Woe be to Pharaoh and his people.

Verses 16-19: For "dust" to be turned to "lice" or gnats (the Hebrew word describes either one), was particularly awful for the scrupulously clean Egyptians. With this plague, Pharaoh's magicians could no longer duplicate the Lord's signs, and finally they acknowledge what Pharaoh would not: "This is the finger of God".

Exodus 8:16 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt."

The third plague, like the sixth and ninth, concludes a cycle and comes unannounced as a special judgment for failing to heed the others. This was the first plague that the magicians could not reproduce, and they were forced to admit that "This is the finger of God," an expression conveying the miraculous power of God (as in Exodus 31:18; Deut. 9:10; Psalm 8:3), and a comparison of (Luke 11:20 with Matthew 12:28).

"Lice": The Hebrew term is preferably taken to designate tiny, stinging insects barely visible to the naked eye. Those priests, who fastidiously kept themselves religiously pure by frequent washing and by shaving off body hair, were afflicted and rendered impure in their duties.

The word that was translated from "ken", some believe means mosquitoes. But it really doesn't matter whether this was an overwhelming attack of mosquitoes or lice. The results were the same. They brought disease and great discomfort. It was interesting that God made them of the sand as he made man from the dust of the earth. God can turn any type of matter into any form He desires. He is God. Here we see that God gave no warning to Pharaoh. It was automatic punishment for Pharaoh's lies.

Exodus 8:17 "And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt."

"All the dust of the land ... throughout all the land": The record stresses by its repetition of "all" and "land" the tremendous extent and severity of this pestilence.

We see literally billions of these pests. God could have brought these lice, or mosquitoes, whichever one they were, without Aaron stretching the rod over the sand. This was a show for Pharaoh, so that he would know for sure that this plague came from the one true God. There is nothing worse for man or beast than either of these pests. These pests have been known to drive livestock mad, and even cause their death. With this many, there would be total torment for the people as well. When it said "all the dust of the land became lice", you can see the horribly terrifying amount of pests turned lose all over Egypt.

Exodus 8:18 "And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast."

These lice were produced out of the dust of the earth; out of any part of the creation God can fetch a scourge, with which to correct those who rebel against him. Even the dust of the earth obeys him. These lice were very troublesome, as well as disgraceful to the Egyptians, whose priests were obliged to take many pains that no vermin ever should be found about them.

All the plagues inflicted on the Egyptians, had reference to their national crimes, or were rendered particularly severe by their customs. The magicians attempted to imitate it, but they could not. It forced them to confess, "This is the finger of God"! The check and restraint put upon us needs be from a Divine power. Sooner or later God will force even his enemies to acknowledge his own power. Pharaoh, notwithstanding this, was more and more obstinate.

Here we see the magicians were stumped, they could not do this. Magicians are really sleight of hand people. As in the blood, they probably had some pill they put in the water to make it appear to be blood. Magicians really have very little power and the power they do have comes from Satan, not God.

Throughout these two plagues we have read about in these lessons, God was trying to get the attention of Pharaoh and his people, and make them realize who He was and that they must obey Him. So far it seemed to have caused Pharaoh to get more and more calloused. Tragedy does one of two things. It will either cause you to come closer to God or it will drive you from Him. Here, Pharaoh was further away. The more he ran from God the harder his heart became. As I said before, it was not important whether this was literal lice or whether, as some believe, it was mosquitos, the end result was the same. This was a terrible pestilence on Pharaoh, his people, his livestock and his land. Notice Pharaoh brought this upon himself when he lied to God.

Exodus Chapter 8 Questions

1. In verse 2, God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the people go, and if they would not, God would bring a plague of what?

2. What did the frog have to do with false gods in Egypt?

3. What power did they believe this goddess had?

4. Why could not the Egyptians destroy the frogs?

5. What was the purpose of the plagues?

6. Where were the frogs to be?

7. How did this affect the food?

8. What was Aaron to do to bring the plague?

9. What and whom did God use to bring the plague about?

10. What did the magicians do?

11. When the frogs came, what did Pharaoh do?

12. What did he promise?

13. When did Pharaoh promise?

14. What did Moses do in behalf of Pharaoh?

15. What had Moses already promised Pharaoh?

16. Did God honor Moses' promise?

17. Moses told Pharaoh to do what?

18. What was this punishment for?

19. What happened to the frogs in the houses?

20. What did the people do with them?

21. What did this cause in the land?

22. What did Pharaoh do, when the plague of frogs was over?

23. What two things do we see in Pharaoh?

24. Who was Pharaoh, that made him think he could get away with this?

25. Did God give warning of the next plague?

26. What was the next plague?

27. What two things did this pestilence bring?

28. What did God make them of?

29. What shows the magnitude of them?

30. Why did God use Aaron and Moses, when He could bring the plague without their assistance?

31. Were the magicians able to do this?

32. Who are magicians?

33. Do they really have power? Explain.

34. Tragedy will either _______ you closer to God, or _______ you ______ _____.

35. Who actually caused this plague of lice?

36. How?

Exodus Chapter 8 Continued

Exodus 8:19 "Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This [is] the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said."

"This is the finger of God": The failure of the magicians to duplicate this plague elicited from them this amazing evaluation, not only among themselves, but publicly before Pharaoh. Who nevertheless remained defiant, unwilling to acknowledge the power of God.

We see here, that these magicians were wiser than the Pharaoh. They finally recognized this as the finger of God. These magicians actually started the process of unbelief of the Pharaoh, when they turned their rods into serpents and when they did something to compete, with the water turning to blood. Pharaoh did not take the magicians warning. Pharaoh further hardened his heart as he would not listen as the Lord had predicted.

Verses 20-32: Each of the plagues in a new cycle (the first, the fourth, and the seventh) proceeds with a warning from Moses as he stands before Pharaoh early in the morning as "he cometh forth to the water". The second plague in each cycle (the second, fifth and the eighth), has only a warning from Moses; and the last ones do not receive a warning, but the come unannounced.

Moses conveyed to Pharaoh the additional distinction that "the land of Goshen," the area where Israel lived, would be unaffected by the plague "to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth."

"Division" (in verse 23), actually means a "ransom, redemption" in the Hebrew text, but the Septuagint, Syriac Peshitta and Vulgate (notable ancient versions of the Old Testament), have a different root, meaning "distinction, difference." The word "distinction, difference" does appear (in 9:4; 11:7 and 33:16), and is a significant concept in that God does "distinguish" between His people and the heathen when judgment comes. And (in 33:16), it is His very presence with Israel, His people, that sets them apart from all other peoples.

The act of sacrificing ("the abomination of the Egyptians"), seems to be related to the sacrifice of sheep. This is supported by the warning of Joseph (in Genesis 46:34). Some have suggested it was the sacrifice of heifers, the cow being the animal sacred to the goddess Hathor. Another view is that the Israelites would not carry out the rigid regulations with regard to the cleanness of the sacrificial animals. Pharaoh's response, "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land," is the first of four compromises he proposed, which may be paraphrased as follows:

(1) "Stay in the land" (verse 25).

(2) "Do not go very far away" (verse 28)

(3) "Leave your families with me" (10:11).

(4) Leave your possessions with me" (10:24).

Satan makes the same basic appeals to Christians today. The text carefully notes that "Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also." Moses had plainly told Pharaoh (in verse 29), not to "deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord (Gen. 3:1), and Satan's tactics). Satan has been a murderer and liar from the beginning (John 8:44).

Exodus 8:20 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me."

Of the day following, the twenty eight of Adar, or February, according to Bishop Usher. This was the best time to meet with Pharaoh, and the most likely to make impressions on him.

"And stand before Pharaoh": Meet him as he comes along and stop him, stand before him as having something to say to him. This was using great boldness and freedom with a king. But as Moses was ordered to do it by the King of kings, it became him to obey him.

"Lo, he cometh forth to the water" (see Exodus 7:15).

"And say unto him, thus saith the Lord, let my people go, that they may serve me": Which had often been required before, but to no purpose, and in case of refusal he is threatened as follows (in verse 21).

Here again we see Moses being instructed to catch the Pharaoh at the edge of the water early in the morning when Pharaoh took his daily trip to the water. Over and over they told Pharaoh to let the people go.

Exodus 8:21 "Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms [of flies] upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms [of flies], and also the ground whereon they [are]."

"Swarms": The LXX translates "swarms" as "dog-fly", a blood-sucking insect. The ichneumon fly, which deposited its eggs on other living things so the larvae could feast upon it, was considered the manifestation of the god Uatchit. "The land was laid waste because of the swarms" (verse 24), is hardly an evaluation propitious for any insect-god! Whatever the specific type of fly might have been, the effect of the plague was intense and distressful.

"Flies" were common pests in arid Egypt, but now they were an affliction of unprecedented magnitude (Psalm 78:45). Except where God's people lived ("Goshen").

These plagues just got worse and worse. This, like the frogs, was a plague inside the house even more than outside. This particular species of flies had a terrible bite. Flies by the millions were more than a nuisance; they were a health hazard as well.

Exodus 8:22 "And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms [of flies] shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I [am] the LORD in the midst of the earth."

"In that day the land of Goshen": For the first time in connection with the plagues, God specifically noted the discrimination to be made, Israel would be untouched! The term "sign" (verse 23), describes the distinction which was being drawn and which was also specifically noted for the fifth, seventh, ninth, and tenth plagues. Coupled with the repeated emphasis on "My people" in God's pronouncements. The specific distinguishing between Israel in Goshen and Egypt itself highlighted both God's personal and powerful oversight of His people.

This is the first plague in which God singled out the Egyptians and protected the Hebrew people (see note on 7:14).

The first plagues all came on Hebrew and Egyptian alike, but suddenly here the Hebrews were separated from the Egyptians. This is another point to be made about the first 3-1/2 years of the tribulation being endured by the world and Christendom and the last 3 1/2 years (wrath of God), being just on the worldly. The Hebrews were in Egypt, but not of Egypt; just as we Christians are in the world, but not of the world. God was telling Pharaoh: I am making a separation between the saved and the unsaved. God was showing Pharaoh that He was the God of the Hebrews.

Exodus 8:23 "And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be."

"Tomorrow": The plague-warning on this occasion stated exactly when it would strike, giving Pharaoh and his people opportunity to repent or yield. "Tomorrow" was also the due time for the fifth, seventh, and eighth plagues (9:5, 18; 10:4). And "about midnight" was the stated time for the ninth plague to commence (see note on 11:4).

God, for that matter, has always had a division between His people and the world. God will build a hedge around His people and protect them from the enemy. The hedge is the shed blood of Jesus. When the plagues came on all the people with no separation, the legalist tried to analyze it away by saying it was just a natural phenomenon. When the separation was distinct, there was no way they could justify this logically, as this was spiritual all the way.

Exodus 8:24 "And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm [of flies] into the house of Pharaoh, and [into] his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm [of flies]."

And this he did immediately of himself without any means. Not by the rod of Aaron, to let the Egyptians see that there was nothing in that rod, that it had no magic virtue in it, and what was done by it was from the Lord himself. Who could as well inflict plagues without it as with it (see Psalm 105:31). And there came a grievous swarm of flies; or a "heavy" swarm, which was both very numerous, and very troublesome and distressing.

"Into the house of Pharaoh, and into the houses of his servants, and into all the land of Egypt": Into the palace of Pharaoh, and into the palaces of his nobles, ministers, and courtiers, and into the dwelling places of all his subjects, throughout the whole land, excepting the land of Goshen.

"The land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies": Josephus says, the land lay neglected and uncultivated by the husbandmen; it may be, the air was infected by the flies, which produced a pestilence that took many of the inhabitants. So, among the Eleans, as Pliny reports, a multitude of flies produced a pestilence. However, it is certain many of the inhabitants of Egypt perished by them. They might sting them to death, suck their blood, and poison them with their venomous stings (see Psalm 78:45).

There is nothing nastier or more aggravating than flies in the house. One fly can nearly drive you crazy, but to have literally millions in one house would be revolting. The noise would be deafening and there would be no way you could eat. This would be a terrible predicament to be in.

Exodus 8:25 "And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land."

Moses rejected the ploy to let the Hebrew people make sacrifices "in the land" of Egypt (verse 26). Citing the "abomination" that Israel's sacrificial sheep would be to the Egyptians. Because the Egyptians considered these animals unclean, such sacrifices came with the risk of the Hebrews being stoned (Gen. 43:32; 46:34). Pharaoh's offer of a short trek into the "wilderness" was similarly refused. God will not accept compromise when He has issued a command.

Here Pharaoh is suggesting that these Hebrews go ahead and sacrifice to their God but do it in Egypt. Even though he would do almost anything to get rid of these flies, he still wants to run everything. He wants God to do it his way.

Exodus 8:26 "And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: Lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?"

"Sacrifice ... we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians": An attempt at appeasement by compromise on the part of Pharaoh. "Sacrifice ... before their eyes" was countered by Moses' pointing out that Israel's sacrifices would not be totally acceptable to the Egyptians, who might even react violently, "will they not stone us?" This evaluation Pharaoh immediately understood. Either their strong dislike of shepherds and sheep (Gen. 46:34), or Israel's sacrificial animals being sacred ones in their religion brought about Egyptian aversion to Israel's sacrifices.

The very animals that the Egyptians worshipped were some of the animals that the Hebrews sacrificed to God. We see here an offer of Pharaoh wanting to give these Hebrews a time off from their labors, but he wants them not to leave Egypt. As I said, this will never work. If these Hebrews (Israelites), were to sacrifice to God, the Egyptians would be greatly offended in their religious practices. The Israelite people and the Egyptian people would probably wind up fighting a religious war. You can easily see why this wouldn't work. Moses' statement (will they not stone us), has to do with the sacrificing of cows by the Hebrews, which the Egyptians forbid, because they worshipped the cow. You can see what a mess this would be. Pharaoh should be able to see this too.

Verses 27-29: We will go ... I will let you go": The first declaration showed the decision to travel no less than 3 days beyond Egyptian borders was a non-negotiable item. The second declaration showed Pharaoh trying to keep that decision to travel and sacrifice strictly under his authority and not as a response to the Lord's request for His people.

Exodus 8:27 "We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us."

Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. Between impatient anxiety to be freed from this scourge and reluctance on the part of the Hebrew bondsmen, the king followed the course of expediency; he proposed to let them free to engage in their religious rites within any part of the kingdom. But true to his instructions, Moses would accede to no such arrangement; he stated a most valid reason to show the danger of it.

And the king having yielded so far as to allow them a brief holiday across the border, annexed to this concession a request that Moses would entreat with Jehovah for the removal of the plague. He promised to do so, and it was removed the following day. But no sooner was the pressure over than the spirit of Pharaoh, like a bent bow, sprang back to its usual hard heartedness, and, regardless of his promise, he refused to let the people depart.

Here we see the original request repeated again. God will direct the sacrifice. This will be a safe distance from Egypt.

Exodus 8:28 "And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me."

"Intreat for me": An abbreviated request, applying not only to himself but also for the removal of the plague as previously asked in connection with the second plague (8:8).

Now, we see the real reason Pharaoh did not want the Israelites to go into the wilderness. They were almost free labor and he did not want them to escape to freedom. These flies were so bad, he would agree to almost anything to get them stopped. He asked Moses to speak to God for him, and get the flies stopped (intreat for me). Intreat and Entreat means the same; earnest request: beg, plead or implore.

Exodus 8:29 "And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the LORD that the swarms [of flies] may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD."

"But let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully": Moses' closing exhortation underscored the deceptive nature of the king's words.

We see here, that Moses set the next day for the removal of the flies but he warned Pharaoh that he had better carry through with his promises and not renege on them as he did before. God would punish Pharaoh severely, if he didn't do what he said he would do. He told Pharaoh: If you promise, I will go and talk to God for you.

Exodus 8:30 "And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the LORD."

He did as he promised he would, and prayed to the Lord to remove the flies from Pharaoh and his people.

Exodus 8:31 "And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms [of flies] from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one."

"Remained not one": This declaration of the total divine removal of the flies, a demonstration of God's answering Moses' entreaty, did not persuade Pharaoh at all. Once again, removed from the humiliating effects of a plague, his stubborn resistance resurfaced (verse 32).

Moses spoke to God for Pharaoh believing that Pharaoh would follow through with his promise. God did exactly what Moses had promised. God did not leave even one fly in Pharaoh's houses. God is always true to His Word. God always tells the truth. Pharaoh (a type of Satan), seldom ever told the truth, because he had no moral character. You could not trust him. He had no conscience.

Exodus 8:32 "And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go."

As he did before, when he found the plague was removed, and the flies were gone.

"Neither would he let the people go": Through pride and covetousness, being loath to have the number of those under his dominion so much diminished, and to lose so large a branch of his revenues arising from the labor of these people.

We see here, the same as the time before. The minute the plague stopped, Pharaoh would not keep his promises. He hardened his heart and would not let the people go.

Exodus Chapter 8 Continued Questions

1. What did the magicians say to Pharaoh?

2. What did Pharaoh do on their advice?

3. Where was Moses to go and speak to Pharaoh?

4. What was Moses to tell Pharaoh would happen to him, if he did not let the people go?

5. To what extent would this plague reach?

6. This was not just a nuisance, but a _________ ___________ ___ _____.

7. What was the exception to the plague?

8. Why?

9. These Hebrews are in Egypt but not ___ _________.

10. What can we Christians see in this?

11. The legalist tried to analyze the plagues by saying they were __ __________ _____________.

12. How was the land corrupted?

13. What 2 specific problems would this many flies bring?

14. When Pharaoh could stand the flies no longer, what did he do?

15. What was Pharaoh's plan?

16. Why would it not work?

17. What did Moses call the animals that the Egyptians worship, to God?

18. What would probably happen, if the Israelites were to sacrifice to God in Egypt?

19. What was the main animal in question?

20. What did Moses tell Pharaoh was the only acceptable plan?

21. What was the real reason Pharaoh did not want them to go into the wilderness?

22. He wanted Moses to immediately do what?

23. When did Moses say this would happen?

24. What did Moses warn Pharaoh about?

25. What did the Lord do?

26. How many flies were left?

27. Compare Satan (Pharaoh), and God.

28. What foolish thing did Pharaoh do?

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Exodus 9

Exodus Chapter 9

Verses 1-7: Once again Egypt's religion was rebuked and ridiculed, because it included the worship of various animals (such as the bull-gods Apis and Mnevis; the cow-god Hathor; and the ram-god Khnum), as well as animal-headed deities. Again, God made a "distinction" between the Egyptians and the Israelites: "the cattle of the children of Israel died not one". All of these various animals would have affected transportation, agriculture and worship.

Exodus 9:1 "Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me."

The same day the plague of the flies was removed.

"Go in unto Pharaoh": Boldly, without any fear of him or his court.

"And tell him, thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews": Speak in the name of Jehovah, the God whom the Hebrews worship, and who owns them for his people, and has a special love for them, and takes a special care of them, and is not ashamed to be called their God, as poor and as oppressed as they be.

"Let my people go, that they may serve me": This demand had been often made, and, though so reasonable, was refused.

Exodus 9:2 "For if thou refuse to let [them] go, and wilt hold them still,"

Continue to refuse, as he had done.

"And wilt hold them still": In the land, and under his dominion and oppression.

Exodus 9:3 "Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which [is] in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: [there shall be] a very grievous murrain."

"In the field": Apparently stabled livestock did not succumb to the pestilence. Although incredibly severe, some animals were still alive afterwards for Egypt to continue without total loss to an economy which depended upon domesticated animals. A few months later, when the seventh plague struck, there were still some cattle, which, if left in the field, would have died (9:19).

"Horses ... camels": Horses, which were common in the period, had been brought into military service by the Hyksos. Camels were a domesticated animal by this time in the 15 th century B.C.

"Very grievous murrain" (plague). In listing the different kinds of livestock, the severe nature of the plague was emphatically underscored as one which would for the first time target personal property. Egyptian literature and paintings substantiate how valuable livestock was to them. Whatever the exact nature of this pestilence, anthrax, murrain, or other livestock disease, it was clearly contagious and fatal. Religious implications were obvious: Egypt prized the bull as a sacred animal with special attention and worship being given to the Apis bull, the sacred animal of the god Ptah. Heliopolis venerated the bull, Mnevis. Further, the goddess Hathor, represented by a cow, or a cow-woman image, was worshiped in several cities.

"Cattle" were often worshiped in Egypt as representatives of various deities.

This was the fifth plague and the thing that amazes me the most in all of this is the patience of the Lord. In the last four plagues, we have seen the problems coming to the people themselves, and to Pharaoh's house. These pests and the water turning to blood had not really destroyed the wealth of Egypt, but had rather been an aggravation. This murrain was an epidemic disease among the animals that would kill a great portion of them. Notice here again, each plague got a little worse; and again, here we see the plague affects one of their false gods, the cow.

This would deeply hurt the economy of this land as well. It would hurt their transportation in the horses, asses, and camels. We can see this was a grievous plague. Just as God gives us chance after chance, He gave Pharaoh plenty of chances to repent and do what was right. There is a day of reckoning and God will not always wait.

Exodus 9:4 "And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all [that is] the children's of Israel."

"There shall nothing die": The additional declaration on the safety of Israel's livestock graphically underscored the miraculous nature of what God was about to do as He declared for the second time the distinction being made between Israel and Egypt. It underscored Israel's protection and to whom she really belonged.

We see here again, that God was making a difference between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. Nothing would be hurt in Goshen where the Hebrews lived.

Exodus 9:5 "And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land."

"Appointed a set time": The prophetic and miraculous nature of this plague is highlighted by stating "morrow" and, by noting "on the next day," it happened as predicted (verse 6).

Pharaoh a few verses back, set the first time on the morrow. Moses set the next time, on the morrow. Here God sets the time tomorrow. God is just in all His dealings with man. He gives time to repent. Man must respond by repenting; when he doesn't, trouble comes.

Exodus 9:6 "And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one."

"Cattle ... died not one": The distinction being made received added emphasis with this double declaration that Israelites suffered absolutely no loss in livestock.

Agriculture was and remains Egypt's premier economic resource, with wealth measured in cattle and other livestock that the Egyptians possessed for work and for war. When God struck their animals with murrain (plague), He was beginning to single out the Egyptians and destroy their economy. Earlier plagues caused irritation and pain but not the widespread loss of personal property.

As in the case of the flies (8:22), all of Israel's livestock was spared.

As I said before, these plagues were getting worse and worse. God had specifically spared His own children in the midst of this plague. Just as Noah was saved in the flood, these cattle of the Hebrews had been saved in the midst of the plague.

Exodus 9:7 "And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go."

"Pharaoh sent": This time the king had to check on the veracity of the protection afforded Israel. Whatever his own rationalizations or theories about it might have been, they only confirmed him in his resistance and disobedience, despite finding out that there was "not one ... dead.

This is all too similar to what is going on in our world today. The sins are getting worse and worse. The people's hearts are getting harder and harder. Few are heeding the warnings of God. There is a day of wrath coming, which is punishment for not repenting. Just as Pharaoh was headed to a terrible punishment; so are the people who are living away from God who are not heeding any of the signs that are all around us.

Pharaoh couldn't believe that the Israelite cattle were spared, so he sent to be sure. When he found it was true, he still didn't listen and would not let the people go. Look all around us today at the problems (plagues): Aids, bad water, ozone layer leaving causing skin cancer, etc. I could go on and on. We had better not be like Pharaoh. There is very little time left. Repent before the wrath of God falls.

Verses 8-12: The sixth plague came with no warning, and even "the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils." The boils are referred to again (in Deut. 28:35). They were very painful and seriously affected the knees, legs and soles of the feet, which may explain why they could not stand before Moses. (In 8:18), the "magicians" could not "bring forth lice"; now they cannot even stand in Moses' presence.

Exodus 9:8 "And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh."

Furnaces in Egypt were either for the melting of metal, the preparing of lime, or the baking of bricks. It was probably from a furnace of this last kind that the ashes were now taken. Much of Goshen had been converted into a brick-field (Exodus 1:14; 5:7-13); and though most of the bricks made would be simply dried in the sun, a portion would be subjected to artificial heat in brick-kilns. When ashes from one of these kilns were made the germs of a disease that was a sore infliction, their own wrongdoing became to the Egyptians a whip wherewith God scourged them.

"And let Moses sprinkle it towards the heaven, in the sight of Pharaoh": This was to be done before Pharaoh, that he might be an eyewitness of the miracle, he himself seeing with his own eyes that nothing else were cast up into the air but a few light ashes; and this was to be done towards heaven, to show that the plague or judgment came down from heaven.

From the God of heaven, whose wrath was now revealed from thence; and Moses he was to do this; he alone, as Philo thinks, or rather both he and Aaron, since they were both spoken to, and both filled their hands with ashes; it is most likely that both cast them up into the air, though Moses, being the principal person, is only mentioned.

Exodus 9:9 "And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth [with] blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt."

"Boil breaking forth ... upon man ... upon beast": For the first time, human health was targeted.

The "boils" came with no warning on "man and beast (verse 10). This is similar to the affliction suffered by Job (Job 2).

These ashes were made with fire. These "ashes" and "dust" probably, just show that God can take things common to our everyday lives and turn them into plagues. This "sprinkling toward heaven" just shows that this plague was not one created by man but sent from God in heaven as punishment. These boils seemed to be of a terrible nature. The description here was of sores that were runny and incurable, accompanied with great pain. This was so widespread that all of Egypt was affected by it, except the Hebrews. This could be similar to radiation sores.

Exodus 9:10 "And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth [with] blains upon man, and upon beast."

"Ashes of the furnace": Aaron and Moses took two handfuls of soot, not just from any furnace, but from a lime-kiln or brick-making furnace. That which participated so largely in their oppressive labor became the source of a painful health hazard for the oppressors!

This sixth plague could be a warning of the impending danger of death in the final tenth plague. Here in the verse above, we see this terrible plague brought just as God said it would be.

Exodus 9:11 "And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians."

"Magicians could not stand": A side comment indicates that these men (who in Egyptian eyes were men of power) had been so sorely afflicted that they could not stand, either physically or vocationally, before God's spokesmen. Although they are not mentioned after the third plague, they apparently had continued to serve before Pharaoh and were undoubtedly there when plagues 4 and 5 were announced. Their powerlessness had not been sufficient as yet for Pharaoh to dispense with their service, an outward symbol perhaps, of Pharaoh's unwillingness to grant the God of Israel total sovereignty.

Here we see sudden judgment fell on these false prophets (magicians). These boils were hurting so badly that they could not stay in the presence of Pharaoh, Moses or Aaron. These wonders, as we said before, were in the presence of Pharaoh so that he could not deny they came from God.

Exodus 9:12 "And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses."

After this sixth plague, "the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh." Previously, either "Pharaoh had hardened his own heart" means, only the Pharaoh was given over to his own will; just as the Lord had spoken to Moses (4:21; 7:3). God is never one to coerce someone to do evil.

"The Lord hardened": For the first time, apart from the words to Moses before the plagues began (Exodus 4:21; 7:3), the statement is made that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. In the other instances, the record observes that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Each instance records "as the Lord commanded," so what happened did so from two closely related perspectives:

(1) God was carrying out His purpose through Pharaoh, and

(2) Pharaoh was personally responsible for his actions as the command of (verse 13) implies.

(See note on 4:21).

One other place in the Bible, where we see similar happenings and the people not repenting, is in the Book of Revelation when the wrath of God falls. This is the first time there was a direct statement that God Himself, had hardened Pharaoh's heart. It seemed God was very angry with Pharaoh and these followers of false gods, the Egyptians (world). This, like all the other plagues, attacked false worship in Egypt. The Egyptians had practiced human sacrifices in the high places and had grabbed foreigners for their sacrifices.

Hebrews had sometimes, been their victims. They would take the ashes of these people and throw them in the wind. Whether this plague was in repayment for this or not, I am not sure. The furnace could be symbolic of the slavery of the Hebrews. At any rate, this was a terrible plague. The Pharaoh seemed to not be afflicted by the boils. He was a cruel king who did not have sympathy for his people, and he did not let the Hebrews go. So far Pharaoh had gotten off with no personal pain to his body, but he had better prepare for the worst.

Verses 13-35: The exceptionally "heavy hail" would destroy agriculture as well as harm people and livestock. That these plagues were sent "to" Pharaoh's "very heart" means they were intended to have a deep impact.

Exodus 9:13 "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."

"Who it seems used to rise early in the morning, and so was a fit time to meet with him, and converse with him; it might be one of the mornings in which he used to go to the water early, though not mentioned, unless that was every morning.

"And say unto him, thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, let my people go, that they may serve me; thus, had he line upon line, and precept upon precept, so that he was the more inexcusable (see Exodus 9:1).

We see here, that the message of God never changes. God never changes either.

Verses 14-19: After sounding again the customary demand to release God's people for worship (verse 13), and after delivering a warning of how His plagues would really have an impact (verse 14), God provided more information and issued certain preliminary instruction:

(1) A 3-fold purpose pertained to the plagues, namely, the Egyptians would recognize that Yahweh was incomparable, that His power would be demonstrated through them, and that His name, character, attributes and power would be known everywhere. Egypt could not keep from other nations her humiliation by the plagues of Israel's Lord.

(2) A declaration that whatever total authority Pharaoh had, it had been because of God's sovereign and providential control of world affairs, which included putting Pharaoh on his throne. This was a telling reminder that He was what He declared Himself to be, the one and only true and immanent Lord.

(3) A reminder of the worst scenario for Egypt if Yahweh had chosen, in lieu of the preceding plagues, to strike the people first, they would have perished. In others words, God had been gracious and longsuffering in the progression of the plagues.

(4) A declaration that the weather about to be unleashed by the incomparable God was unlike anything previously recorded in Egypt's entire history, or "since its founding" or "since it became a nation."

(5) An instruction as to how the Egyptians could avoid severe storm damage and loss of property.

Grace again was afforded them!

Exodus 9:14 "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."

"My plagues": God's use of the possessive pronoun specified what should have become abundantly clear to Pharaoh by then, namely, that these were God's own workings.

Here we see that God was not going to play around with Pharaoh any longer. This was not for a later time. God would bring these plagues right now in rapid succession. We have no way of knowing the intervals between the other plagues, but we do know that these last plagues were to happen in a short period of time. These plagues would break Pharaoh down. He would not be able to stand against the power of Almighty God. Pharaoh would have to humble himself and admit that God was far superior to all of Egypt's gods. Not only would Pharaoh admit that Egypt's gods were nothing to compare to Jehovah God, but Pharaoh would insist on the Israelites leaving Egypt.

Exodus 9:15 "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."

Hail was the seventh plague. It was the first one in the last cycle. This is best translated "For by now I could have stretched out My hand and struck you." But He had not, for verse 16 says, "And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up" and two reasons are then given in verse 16.

Here we see that God could have totally destroyed Pharaoh and his people at any moment He wanted to. God had been more than patient but He was going to show Pharaoh, and all of these Egyptians and all the people around Egypt, that God with a mighty hand would bring His people out of Egypt. God would show all of that part of the world, that He was the true God and that all the world was subject to Him.

Exodus 9:16 "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."

The two reasons mentioned in verse 16 are:

"And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up" and two, "that my name may be declared throughout all the earth." Paul quoted the verse almost verbatim as an outstanding illustration of God's sovereignty (Rom. 9:17). The resulting declaration of God's name "throughout all the earth" is incorporated into the Song of Moses (in 15:14-16), and is graphically illustrated (in Joshua 2:9-11).

Even with his hardened heart, Pharaoh served the Lord's greater "purpose." Everyone accomplishes God's will in the end. Those who conform to His will accomplish it willingly; those who do not conform accomplish it inadvertently, as an unwitting tool in His hands.

See (Romans 9:17), where Paul indicates God's sovereignty over Pharaoh.

God here told Pharaoh (through Moses and Aaron), that He was the one who made him Pharaoh. God was going to use this very evil world leader to show His supreme power. The world surrounding Egypt would know this in a few days, but the whole world would know of God's power shown to Pharaoh because of it being written in the Bible. So truly, the whole world does know of God's greatness.

Exodus Chapter 9 Questions

1. This plague that would come upon the animals, was what?

2. Name the specific animals listed.

3. What was this murrain?

4. What would be some side effects of this plague?

5. What difference would be shown between Egypt and these Hebrews?

6. Where did the Hebrews live?

7. What 3 appointed the morrow as a time element?

8. What was the ultimate end of the cattle?

9. Where did Pharaoh check to see, if their cattle were killed?

10. What are some plagues in our day?

11. What was Moses to do with the ashes?

12. Who was to be present, when they did this?

13. What plague would this bring?

14. What false teaching did this plague attack?

15. Who had the boils?

16. Who could not stand before Moses, because of their boils?

17. Where is another book in the Bible that speaks of horrors such as these, where the people repented not?

18. These plagues attacked what?

19. The furnace could be symbolic of what?

20. Why did God keep giving Moses the same message to give Pharaoh?

21. Whose heart would all of the plagues fall on?

22. Why?

23. What would these last plagues do to Pharaoh?

24. Would Pharaoh let them go?

25. How would God bring His people out?

26. Why did God make Pharaoh ruler of Egypt?

27. God was going to use this evil ruler to do what?

Exodus Chapter 9 Continued

Exodus 9:17 "As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?"

The real issue was pride as Pharaoh continued to exalt himself against the Lords' people. He would not humble himself and "obey" God as (in 5:2). There were some Egyptians (in verse 20), that feared the word of the Lord and who had made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses (see 8:19 for a positive response to God's working).

Exodus 9:18 "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."

The seventh plague which Pharaoh's hardened heart provoked was that of hail, a phenomenon which must have produced the greatest astonishment and consternation in Egypt as rain and hailstones, accompanied by thunder and lightning, were very rare occurrences.

"Such as hath not been in Egypt": In the Delta, or lower Egypt, where the scene unfolds, rain occasionally falls between January and March. Hail is not unknown, and thunder sometimes heard. But a storm, not only exhibiting all these elements, but so terrific that hailstones of immense size fell, thunder pealed in awful volleys, and lightning swept the ground like fire, was an unexampled calamity.

We see here, that Pharaoh thought too highly of himself and God was about to bring him down. We see Pharaoh being told that he thought he was better than these Hebrews (who are God's chosen). Pharaoh has made himself ruler over them. There will be no playing around. Within 24 hours God was going to rain hail like they had never seen before. There would be damaging hail to anything or anyone out in it. This was not just ordinary hail, but would be more severe than Egypt had ever witnessed.

Verses 19-25: After six plagues, some of Pharaoh's servants believed the message about the coming hail and had their servants and livestock "flee" for cover. Others, however, did not "regard the word of the Lord" and the consequences were devastating.

Exodus 9:19 "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."

The peculiar circumstances of Egypt, where the whole country was overflowed by the Nile during some months of each year, caused the provision of shelter for cattle to be abnormally great. Every year, at the time of the inundation, all the cattle had to be "gathered" into sheds and cattle-yards in the immediate vicinity of the villages and towns, which were protected from the inundation by high mounds. Thus, it would have been easy to house all the cattle that remained to the Egyptians after the murrain, if the warning here given had been attended to generally.

This was a grave warning from God. It seemed as though by now, many would be listening and heeding these warnings. Every time God had spoken through Moses and Aaron, whatever they had vowed, happened. God is truth. Pharaoh could not be trusted, because he did not tell the truth. His word meant nothing. We will see in the next verse that some had begun to believe and heed the warnings from God.

Exodus 9:20 "He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:"

"He that feared the word of the LORD": Some heard the instruction and obeyed; others, like their national leader, "regarded not" (verse 21), a graphic refusal to heed divine instruction.

We see from this that some of Pharaoh's servants had seen the wonders done with the rod that God had given Moses. They believed and did just as they were warned to do. They stayed in the house and brought their animals in too, to keep them from being killed by the hail.

Exodus 9:21 "And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field."

Or "set not his heart" "unto it", took no notice of it, but treated it with the utmost contempt. And of this sort it may be thought there was the far greatest number: everyone of this group.

"Left his servants and cattle in the field": Let them remain there, and took no care of them, or thought about them, and so took no effort to preserve them. In which he acted a foolish part, to his own detriment and loss.

We can surely see again, our society today in this. We who are reading and heeding, the Word of the Lord are in the ark of safety waiting to go to our promised land (heaven), with our Deliverer (Jesus). Those who are not reading and heeding the Word of the Lord are living worldly lives, much like these Egyptians. The day of reckoning is here, just as the next 24 hours will bring these careless Egyptians to death. The similarities are overwhelming.

Exodus 9:22 "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."

Regarded not, etc.; due premonition, it appears, had been publicly given of the impending tempest. The cattle seem to have been sent out to graze, which is from January to April, when alone pasturage can be obtained, and accordingly the cattle were in the fields. This storm occurring at that season, not only struck universal terror into the minds of the people, but occasioned the destruction of all, people and cattle. Which in neglect of the warning, had been left in the fields, as well as of all vegetation (Exodus 9:25). It was the more appalling because hailstones in Egypt are small and of little force; lightning also is scarcely ever known to produce fatal effects. And to enhance the wonder, not a trace of any storm was found in Goshen (Exodus 9:26).

We can quickly see that what God says He will do, He does. Also, we must note the peculiarity of this hail. Regular hail is not accompanied by fire. Many times, God is associated with fire; and I believe that is the reason we see fire with this hail. It is to prove to the Pharaoh, where it came from. Take note, one more time; this was not Satan doing this, it was God.

Exodus 9:23-24 "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." "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."

"Fire ran along upon the ground ... grievous": The violent, electrical thunderstorm brought with it unusual lightning, or "fire-balls," which zigzagged (literally "fire taking hold of itself"), to and fro on the ground with the hail.

This we see was an exact happening of what God had promised. I have made the statement many times that it is bad to be under attack of the devil, but it is much worse to be under attack by God. There is nowhere to go for help when you have angered God to this terrible point.

Exodus 9:25 "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."

It was in all the land and it smote and did mischief in all parts of it.

"All that was in the field, both man and beast": Which they that neglected the word of the Lord took no care to fetch home, these were all smitten and destroyed by the hail.

"And the hail smote every herb of the field": That is, the greatest part of them, for some were left, which the locusts afterwards ate (Exodus 10:15).

"And brake every tree of the field": And the vines and fig trees (Psalm 78:47).

You reap what you sow. The Pharaoh had been very cruel to the children of Israel without cause. God didn't overlook it. This was partially in payment for his cruelty to them. In (Revelation 8), we read of this same hail mingled with fire.

Rev. 8:7 "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."

Both the hail in Exodus and in Revelation were punishment from God on evil men.

Exodus 9:26 "Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel [were], was there no hail."

"Only in the land of Goshen": The discriminatory nature of this plague was unannounced beforehand, but the national distinction previously declared and observed again prevailed. Although unstated, those who were in the strife-torn regions and who obeyed instructions obviously found their livestock equally safe and sound.

You see here, that God protected His own.

Pharaoh's principal concern was for relief, and Moses knew Pharaoh's heart as he said,

Verses 27-30: Pharaoh's confession was accurate but insincere; as he admitted only what he thought he must in order to relieve the pressure. He had not yet come to "fear the LORD God".

Exodus 9:27 "And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD [is] righteous, and I and my people [are] wicked."

Notice Pharaoh's testimony and confession: "I have sinned this time". The phrase this time means "now at length" or "this once," which might reflect some of the arrogance and the shallowness of his confession. Interesting, he says, "the LORD is righteous", and I and my people are wicked," when only a few months before had refused to even acknowledge the existence of Yahweh (5:2). "Righteous" may refer only to this particular event.

Any improvement in Pharaoh's theological understanding, notwithstanding the following confession of a righteous Lord and of a wicked people, was rendered suspect by the face-saving caveat "this time." Lacking repentance, it brushed aside all previous reaction and disobedience as having no significance.

The first step toward repentance and getting help from God is to admit you have sinned, and that the terrible things that are happening to you, done by God, are justified because of that sin. Here it appears for the moment, that Pharaoh truly wanted to repent and start anew.

Exodus 9:28 "Intreat the LORD (for [it is] enough) that there be no [more] mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer."

"For it is enough": Moses' reply (verse 30), indicated that such an evaluation was not one of repentance or one of fearing the Lord and acknowledging His power.

Here we see Pharaoh almost begging Moses to go and talk with God for him. You would think that he was sincere as bad as this hail was. It was obviously from God, because the Hebrews were not experiencing this horrible hail. We must remember how evil Pharaoh was. It really surprises me that Moses believed him.

Exodus 9:29 "And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; [and] the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth [is] the LORD'S."

That is the whole world, the heavens and the earth. This is one great point that the Scriptures are intended to establish, that the whole universe, and all creatures therein, belong to the Lord, and are under his government. This truth, the foundation of all religion, ought to be established in our hearts, that we may put our trust in him and be resigned to his will. Whatever the dispensations of his adorable providence may be; however mysterious and unsearchable, as to the reasons of them, persuaded that they are as wise as they are powerful, and as gracious as they are just and holy. And will assuredly all work for good to those that love him.

Exodus 9:30 "But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God."

Pharaoh's principal concern was for relief, and Moses knew Pharaoh's heart as he said, "I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God." Moses was certainly right, for after the respite, Pharaoh continued to sin more (in verse 34).

We see here, that Moses and Aaron would leave the city and, probably go into Goshen, where the other Hebrews were. The complaining of the Hebrews had long since stopped. Probably the one thing that convinced them more than anything else, was because these last few judgments had fallen on the Egyptians and spared the Hebrews, who lived in the same country. We see in the first part of (verse 29), that Moses prayed with his hands lifted in the sky. God loves for us to praise Him as we pray. We know that the world, and everything in it belongs to God.

In (Revelation 4), we read that God created all things, and that they were created for His good pleasure.

Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

We read another Scripture (in Psalms 24), that makes us know for sure that the earth and everything in it and on it, is God's.

Psalms 24:1 "The earth [is] the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."

Moses knew in his heart, that even this hail had not really affected Pharaoh and these people.

Exodus 9:31-32 "And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley [was] in the ear, and the flax [was] bolled." "But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they [were] not grown up."

"Flax and the barley was smitten ... wheat and the rie were not smitten": A very brief bulletin on which crops were damaged and which were to place this plague in February. All 4 crops mentioned were important economic resources. Wheat would be harvested only a month later than flax and barley together with the after crop "spelt" or "rye." God's timing of the disaster to two crops left room for Pharaoh to repent before the other crops might be destroyed.

(Verses 31 and 32), were describing the damage done to the fields. The flax was used in clothing (making linen), and the barley was used to make beer. So you see these were not primary food sources. The wheat and rye were food substances, and they were not really damaged.

Exodus 9:33 "And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth."

Moses did not fear the storm. Though it still raged, he left the shelter of the city, and went out into the midst of it, and spread out his hands to God, when lo! At once the rain, and hail, and thunder ceased at his bidding, and soon "there was a great calm." As Millington observes, "Moses knew that he was safe, though all around might be destroyed. The very hairs of his head were all numbered, not one of them could perish. Standing there under the tempestuous canopy of heaven, bareheaded, in the attitude of prayer, he spread abroad his hands unto the Lord, and the thunder and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth".

Moses did just as he promised, and God did just as He promised also. We see in the next verse, that Pharaoh (a symbol of evil), lied. He did not do what he promised.

Exodus 9:34 "And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants."

The reference to servants is intriguing, since most of the discussion centers around the hardening of Pharaoh's heart only, but the text expands the discussion to the servants in the next chapter.

"Sinned yet more": Pharaoh's culpability increased because when he saw God answer Moses' prayer, an entreaty he had requested (verse 28); still all his admissions and promises were promptly swept aside.

"He and his servants": For the first time, mention is made of the stubborn resistance of Pharaoh's entourage, all of whom had hardened their hearts. The striking contrast emerges in God's directions to Moses for the next plague: He had hardened their hearts for a purpose (10:1).

Exodus 9:35 "And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses."

"Who it seems used to rise early in th e morning, and so was a fit time to meet with him, and converse with him. It might be one of the mornings in which he used to go to the water early, though not mentioned, unless that was every morning.

"And say unto him, thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, let my people go, that they may serve me. Thus had he line upon line, and precept upon precept, so that he was the more inexcusable (see Exodus 9:1).

We see the actions of a very evil man. The instant the pressure was removed from him and his people, he and the people went right back into sin. This is the same thing in our world today. We see sin everywhere getting worse every day. It is because we have an easy life. I believe God allows wars, depressions, famines, earthquakes and other things that we have no control over, to happen to make us aware of how badly we need Him.

Exodus Chapter 9 Continued Questions

1. What question did this lesson begin with?

2. What terrible plague came upon Egypt?

3. Who made Pharaoh ruler of the Hebrews?

4. Who was their true ruler?

5. What did Moses and Aaron tell the people to do, before this terrible plague strikes?

6. If they did not heed this warning, what would happen to them?

7. God is ________.

8. Pharaoh was a _______.

9. Were there a few believers, even in Pharaoh's servants?

10. What similarity can we see in our society today?

11. What was Moses to do, to start the plague?

12. What was unusual about this hail?

13. What did this fire, probably, indicate?

14. Was it Satan, or God that brought the plague?

15. What is worse than Satan attacking us?

16. Why?

17. Where is there another mention of hail with fire?

18. What lesson is taught in both?

19. Where was the only exclusion of this plague?

20. What was Pharaoh's first statement to Moses and Aaron after the hail?

21. What is the first step in getting help from God?

22. What did Pharaoh ask Moses to do?

23. Why was this plague obviously from God?

24. When Moses prayed and God answered and stops the hail, what message was Pharaoh to get out of this?

25. How did Moses feel about Pharaoh's repentance?

26. What was the one thing that convinced the Hebrews that Moses was truly the deliverer?

27. What was Moses doing, when he raised his hands in prayer?

28. In Revelation 4:11, we read what?

29. What did Psalms 24:1 tell us?

30. What two farm products were destroyed?

31. Which two were spared?

32. Explain why these differences were made?

33. What did Pharaoh do, when the hail stopped?

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Exodus 10

Exodus Chapter 10

Exodus 10:1 "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 show these my signs before him:"

They too, had first hardened their own hearts (Exodus 9:34), and so deserved a penal hardening. A certain amount of responsibility rested on them. Had they allowed the miracles to have their full natural effect upon their minds, they would have been convinced that resistance was useless, and would have impressed their views upon the Pharaoh. Even in the most absolute governments, public opinion has weight. And the general sentiment of the Court almost always carries the sovereign with it.

"That I might shew these my signs": There is nothing derogatory to the Divine Nature in a penal hardening being, as it were. Utilized to increase the glory of God, and affect for good future generations of His people. The accumulation of plague upon plague, which the unyielding of Pharaoh and his subjects brought about, was of vast importance in presenting to Israel, and even to the surrounding nations, a manifestation of the tremendous power of God, calculated to impress them as nothing else would have done.

Everything that God does has a purpose and this was certainly no exception. God had hardened Pharaoh's heart so that through these great signs, God could reveal to Pharaoh the futility of worshipping his false gods. They have no power strong enough to come against God. God wanted Pharaoh to realize that Jehovah is the true God. Jehovah, Lord, God Almighty, the Everlasting One, or whatever you call Him, He is the God that does exist.

Exodus 10:2 "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."

"That thou mayest tell ... that ye may know": The release from Egypt, accompanied by these great acts of God, was designed to become an important and indelible part in recounting the history of Israel to succeeding generations. It would tell just who their God was and what He had done.

"My signs which I have done": Literally "to deal harshly with" or "to make sport of," and describing an action by which shame and disgrace is brought upon its object.

Telling our children of God's miraculous deeds is an important means of keeping the memory of these deeds alive for future generations (12:26-27; 13:8, 14-15; Deut. 4:9; Psalms 77:11-20; 78:43-53; 105:26-38; 106:7-12; 114:1-3; 135:8-9; 136:10-15). Actually, the content of the message relates to the parent leading the child into a "belief" in the God of Israel.

Not only was this message for Pharaoh, but for all of humanity. God wants us to recognize who He is and also, to recognize that He is the only power that truly exists. He has total control of the universe. Not one star twinkles without permission from God. Not only would this struggle between the one true God and the false gods of Egypt be remembered by Pharaoh, but would be forever remembered by the Israelites and also by the true believers in Jesus Christ.

This great struggle that took place here (with the world trying to hang on to its slaves and the Deliverer overcoming the world and taking those who were willing to be freed, to the Promised Land), is the story of the Christian's lives too. Jesus came to the world in the form of a man and after so great a struggle and the persecution of the cross, delivered whosoever will. He is going to come and take us to that eternal Promised Land (heaven).

Exodus 10:3 "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."

"How long wilt thou refuse": the question asked of Pharaoh stuck a contrast with the opening words of God to Moses (verse 1), "I have hardened his heart." What God did cannot erase personal responsibility from Pharaoh to hear, repent, and submit. Under the cumulative weight of 7 plagues, the time had come to deliver a challenge to reconsider and obey. This is God's grace operating parallel with His own sovereign purposes.

The real issue is expressed again by the Lord through Moses and Aaron as "How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?" "Else, if thou refuse ... tomorrow will I bring the locusts (verse 14; see verse 9:17 for the same idea).

Verses 4-6: The extent and intensity of the locust plague was such that it would be unique in Egyptian history. Nothing like any locust problem during the previous two generations, nor like any locust swarm in the future (verse 14). Locust invasions were feared in Egypt, to the point that the farmers often prayed to the locust god to ensure the safety of their crops. The humiliation of their god was total, as was the damage: "Nothing green was left" (verse 15).

Exodus 10:4 "Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:"

The hail and locust combination was an unprecedented and utterly catastrophic attack on Egypt's famed agriculture, with the "locusts eating the "residue" from the hail damage. Yahweh resists the proud (Psalms 18:27; 31:23; 101:5; 119:21; Prov. 6:12-19; 16:5; 1 Pet. 5:5); therefore, He denounced the pride of Pharaoh.

Exodus 10:5 "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:"

Moses was commissioned to renew the request, so often made and denied, with an assurance that an unfavorable answer would be followed on the morrow by an invasion of locusts. This species of insect resembles a large, spotted, red and black, double-winged grasshopper, about three inches or less in length, with the two hind legs working like hinged springs of immense strength and elasticity.

Perhaps no more terrible scourge was ever brought on a land than those voracious insects. Which fly in such countless numbers as to darken the land which they infest. And on whatever place they alight, they convert it into a waste and barren desert, stripping the ground of its lush green vegetation. The trees of their leaves and bark, and producing in a few hours a degree of desolation which requires years to repair.

Exodus 10:6 "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."

"They shall run to and fro in the city," says the prophet Joel; "they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows, like a thief." Modern travelers bear abundant witness to the same effect.

"Which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen": Only one notice of locusts has been found in the native records.

"He turned himself, and went out": It seems to be meant that Moses did not on this occasion wait to see what effect his menace would have on Pharaoh. He "knew that Pharaoh would not yet fear the Lord" (Exodus 9:30).

The problem with Pharaoh, as with many other people, was that he was proud, self-centered, arrogant, and refused to humble himself before God. In Revelation, there is a punishment of locust very similar to this here. God was very kind during the punishment of the hail not to destroy the food these Egyptians had to have to live on. As we said earlier, every time Pharaoh refused to listen to God, the next punishment was more severe than the last.

These locusts were about the worst thing that could happen to a farmer. There were so many of these locusts that they made a locust blanket which completely covered the fields. In a matter of minutes they destroyed all the crops. If this were not enough, we read that they even went into the houses and ate all the food there. The Egyptians were going to be in terrible trouble without food.

Exodus 10:7 "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?"

"How long shall this man": The first "How long?" question in this encounter dealt with the desired response from Pharaoh (verse 3), whereas this second "How long?" question pointed out their impatience at Pharaoh's unwillingness to change and listen. Their advice to give in was the best choice.

"Egypt is destroyed": The advisers negatively evaluated the state of the country after 7 plagues, and suggested that Pharaoh was refusing to acknowledge how desperate the situation really was even before the agriculture was completely destroyed. Stubborn resistance did not necessarily rob them of all reason, and the better part of wisdom this time demanded acquiescence to Moses' request.

The response of some of his servants indicates that all of this was due to the Pharaoh's persistent and willful disobedience. His confession in verse 16 ("I have sinned"), again seems to come out of practical expediency, since he was interested in an immediate deliverance from a plague that was about to destroy his land.

We see here, the servants of Pharaoh who had been in total agreement with Pharaoh up until this time and even hardened their own hearts at one point. Now they were in fear of losing everything they had; their crops. These servants of Pharaoh had suddenly realized that Moses was activating God's power and they were afraid of him and what God might do because of his prayers. They were almost pleading with Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go before God totally destroyed the Egyptians. They had to be really frightened to come against Pharaoh.

Exodus 10:8 "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?"

"Who are they that shall go": For the first time, Pharaoh tried to negotiate a deal before the threatened plague struck. Adroitly, he suggested in his question that only representatives of Israel, perhaps only the men (verse 11), need go out to worship.

Pharaoh was shrewd enough to understand that if only the "men" (verse 11), went to worship, they surely would return to their families and he would not risk losing his slave labor.

Here we see that Pharaoh had never even bothered to find out who wanted to go and worship, until now. He never had any intention of allowing them to go so it wasn't important to know who this exodus involved. Pharaoh could not fight all of his cabinet, his magicians (who had quit a long time ago), Moses and Aaron and more; so he told them they could go. Remember you could not trust him as he had no morals.

Exodus 10:9 "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."

The latter were necessary to guide, direct, and instruct in the business of sacrifice, and to perform it as heads of their respective families; and the former were to be present, that they might be trained up and accustomed to such religious services.

"With our sons and with our daughters": As with persons of every age, so of every sex, who had all a concern herein, especially as it was a solemn feast, which all were to partake of.

"With our flocks and with our herds will we go": Which were requisite for the sacrifices, not knowing which they were to sacrifice, and with which to serve God, till they came to the place where they were to sacrifice (see Exodus 10:26).

"For we must hold a feast unto the Lord": That required the presence of old and young, men, women and children, to join in it, and their flocks and their herds, out of which it was to be made.

Moses left no doubt who would go. All of the Hebrews would go, from the babies to the very old. They would also take their flocks with them. Some of the animals would be required for sacrifice. The national celebrations were attended by everyone. Even the Egyptians took children to celebrations.

Exodus 10:10 "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." <