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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. 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. 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 : 22 and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. And
the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and
Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto 23 them; as the Lord had said. And Pharaoh turned and went 24 into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also. And
all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to
drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. 25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had
smitten the river.
but more probably it is a general expression for what follows in detail. The verse is in substance an exact and exhaustive description of the very peculiar water system of Egypt--wholly different from everything known in Palestine. And that, to historic sense, is a strong presumption of authenticity of this history. That there may be : lit. there shall be. 20. In the sightservants. The “ solemn procession ” of pulpit rhetoric and other “high art," here only obscures the plain point of the history, that at the decisive moment Egypt was there to see. If the water was red (with flood) in natural course, what made the deep impression ? Aaron's action without result? In fact, the red colour is here made the result of his action. What would Moses have to foretell (vers. 16, 17)? The natural here sets off the supernatural by clear demarcation. 21. Throughout Egypt: See in initial note on The First Nine Plagues. 22. Did so : what sort of imitation they achieved, with the driblets of water at their command (ver. 25), does not appear. It would have been more to the purpose-their purpose—if they had restored the water from its unpleasant unwholesomeness :-healing their god. As-said: Here note the miracle of foresight, prediction of the incalculable; predixit quia predestinavit (under viii. 9). 23. Also: after the two warnings. Egypt, artificial processes connected with supply of water are largely in
In Australia, they now bore for artesian wells far from any (visible) river.
Exercise 16. I. As to the well most greatly honoured. (1) What two met there, never to part?
(2) Prove that one of them follows Israel all the way. (3) What did He
say about wells? 2. Quote an O. T. text having a reference to an Egyptian process in watering
the land. 3. Water as Life in God. (1) Quote two N. T. texts referring to this. (2) Also
two O. T. texts.
CHAP. VIII. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pha
raoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people 2 go, that they may serve me. And if thou refuse to let them 3 go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 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: Note on the religious aspect of the Plagues.—The Nile, which was the life of Egypt, was honoured by Egyptians as a god. The miracle of defiling and corrupting it was thus a stroke at the heart of their worldly religion, like the word of Christ in Jn. iv. 10, and troubles that shatter idols. The plagues, ranging so widely over the natural system of the land, necessarily struck the Egyptian nature worship at other points. The scope of the whole became unfolded as being, to expose the foundation of that worship as being "no god,” but “vanity,”-a helpless thing. We here see illustration of the general fact, that the miracles of Bible religion always aim at destruction of Satan's kingdom, deliverance of man's world from the tyranny of evil. It is only from this point of view that the miracles can be rightly seen as always beneficent. The beneficence of the Plagues appears in this light, even under their judicial aspect (cp. Re. xv. 3, etc.).
Second Plague (viii. 1-15)-of frogs. (In the Heb.—not in the Samaritanvers. 1-4 are placed along with chap. vii.) The word here for frogs (tsěphardim) occurs nowhere else in Scripture excepting Psalms, which take it from this place. The animal (perhaps the word) is now represented by the Egyptian dafod, a small frog, very abundant in the river, and at the flood time pervading “the land.” The creature is often a serious nuisance or minor “plague," not only through stinking when dead, but by the disgustingness of its aspect and hideousness of its croaking (which some travellers describe as “shrieking”) when alive. It crawls instead of jumping; and (like "the toad, ugly and venomous”) is coarse-skinned, and repulsive to the eye. When these loathely things crawl over the ground in yelling myriads, human life becomes hard to bear. Ancient secular history has plagues of frogs, one of which actually drove the people out of their country. Such a visitation must have been peculiarly severe upon Egyptians; for they were conspicuously cleanly and dainty in their bodily personal habits ; and to them there would be something of religious horror in the distress, inasmuch as the frog-perhaps as a symbol of affluent vitality-was to them a sacred animal. (They also worshipped the ibis, a destroyer of frogs: but it is not now uncommon for worldly men to hate their god, and worship what they abominate.)
1. My people-serve me : observe still the personal reference (v. 2). 2. Thou refuse-I will smite : antithesis, thy refusing-my smiting. Borders : natural trope for territories. Thine : that is, because of thee. The smite (nagaph) here is the appropriate word for “plague," a stroke : the specific meaning, of divine stroke of judgment, coming in from the connexion, as “the sword” in an executioner's hand is “ death.” 3, 4. The River : their Father Nile, made to send home their punishment. Bring forth abundantly: swarm (under i. 7-same word). Go up: like an invading army: not only swarming in the waters, but pervasive crawling through the homes. In bedchamber and even bed. Of all houses, in country and town, farm-station and village. Reaching every individual of bis servants, all through this people which is his. (From all quarters, ver. 5, cp. under vii. 19.) Oven : a large pot, heated by a fire of wood inside : bread was baked by patching
4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy
people, and upon all thy servants. 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 6 of Egypt. And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters
of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of 7 Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments,
and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 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 9 sacrifice unto the Lord. 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 10 thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? And he
said, To-morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word;
that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord II our God. And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from
thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they 12 shall remain in the river only. And Moses and Aaron went
out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried unto the Lord because 13 of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. And
the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs
the dough on the outer surface thus prepared (a hollow "girdle”). Kneadingtroughs : where dough was made, and kept for baking. Everywhere, even there, that loathsome shrieking thing! (Sailors, bringing from the Mediterranean a cargo of bones, were thus afflicted with loathsome reptiles that overran the vessel, and even crawled into the men's ears when they slept (so they told the present writer, A.D. 1853). 5, 6. The plague came from all the Egyptian waters (under vers. 3, 4) to all the land. 7. They did not stop the plague; but produced an imitation. 8. Pharaoh is beginning to bend the stiff neck : (but it is elastic as glass). Me—my people : they and I are one: a kingly king, though ungodly in his idolatry. (So Saul, at Endor and Gilboa, touching the heart of a sweet king of song.") 9. Glory over me : a peculiar expression, meaning, “I am at your service : name the time : I am at your bidding, to keep that time. This on Moses' part is a wager of battle, and brings into distinctness the miracle of prophecy, prediction of the incalculable : prophecy evinces Providence--"prediction shows predestination” (under vii. 22). 10. That thou mayest : in order that. For that end the event will keep time with Moses' word (any one might have foretold that the frogs would disappear some time); so Pharaoh fixes on to-morrow-according to thy word : “done !” Yet he may be terrified at the thought of the thing happening, as when one has invoked a fiend. II. A complete riddance (ver. 29, and under ix. 4): Moses burns his ships
died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the 14 fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps; and 15 the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite,
he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.
13. Died out of : off from, The word for villages (chatz6th) is connected with fencing. Ruins of fencing, three feet high, of immemorial antiquity, have recently been discovered in the Sinaitic Peninsula. That may have protected a tribe for a season, perhaps visited by Jethro's flock
Low fencing, topped with prickly shrubs (cp. dwarf - wall and railing), is now in African use against robbers and (other) beasts of prey. The village in our text might be a rural " township,” enclosed in a fenced courtyard. The houses, (perhaps) mansions, "station” or “steading," distinguished (not by the frogs, nor by "pale death, with equal foot”) from clustering “hovels of the poor.” 14. Heaps: lit. heaps, heaps, as if like “sand-hills ” on the coast. Stank : even of the natural plague of frogs, the offensive smell has been found a dangerous nuisance. Egypt—though in general very healthy—is historically a sort of mother - country of the plague;" and it has been suggested that the custom of embalming may have originated in desire to prevent corruption of death from mingling with the pure atmosphere of the idolized land. Respite : the Heb. word is suggestive of a breathing time : abused relief and opportunity (Prov. xxvii. 22). Still, he at least has seen, through the miracle of prediction, that the infliction was miraculous.
Exercise 17. 1. Natural "order" and "beauty" (cosmos and mundus) are two names for the
world :-(1) How does this bear upon the question of the being and attributes of God? (2) Disregard of personal cleanliness, and of order about houses and grounds,-what does that indicate as to the spiritual character of a man? (3) Write a short essay on the proposition, that a slatternly
woman is like a plague of frogs. 2. Supernatural revelation as to cleanliness. (1) Direct : give Bible laws for
maintenance of a clean person and house. (2) Give a Pauline argument against moral impurity, upon the ground that God's temple ought not to
be dirty. 3. Statute law for sanitation. (1) Show precedent, in sanitary laws of God
through nature. (2) What right have the community to pull down unwholesome private residences in a city? (3) What if a man, who makes money by letting houses not fit to live in, should say, " Have I not a right
to do what I will with my own ?" Note on physical phariseeism.-An extreme in rigour as to cleanness of all outside things, such as the outside of sepulchres, may accompany an extreme impurity of heart and soul, so thorough as to be unconscious like death. Hypocrisy, the masked condition, may in unconsciousness of blackness be as perfect as (1 Co. xiii. 4; Ex. xxxiv. 29) true morality is in unconsciousness of shining. The Egyptians appear to have gone to the extreme of the unconscious baseness of the "sniffy.”. Pharaoh, revolting from the contact of an innocent creature, whose “shrieking" is compassionated by Him who feeds the young ravens, is no more conscious of the dirtiness of keeping Israel in bondage than a cannibal chief, who has got arrayed in shining garments of civilisation, is aware of the filth and rags of a savage, appearing through those garments which he does
16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch
out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may 17 become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And they
did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and not know how to put on him. The dirtiness was the essence of the essence of the Egyptian religion, Pantheistic or Polytheistic, in worship of a thing in place of the Living God. Perhaps it is most quintessential in a thoroughly cultivated Christian gentlewoman who is at heart ungodly. Still, the honest old maxim holds true, that 'cleanliness is next to godliness." In this relation, too, hypocrisy is a tribute paid by vice to virtue. There are districts where the transition to an evangelical country-side is marked by an aspect of superior cleanliness. The new creation has in it a Platonism of making the true, the beautiful, and the good," to be really one.
The Third Plague (Ex. viii. 16–19)-of lice. Here we see the "third wave,' the trikumia ; in that the plague, which they saw in the blood, and which in the frogs invaded their homes, now reaches, and wounds, and torments them, in their persons. Here, at the close of the first Triad, the ministry of Aaron in the strokes of God is discontinued ; and the opposition miracles of the magicians are produced no longer, though personally they are not driven off the held until (ix, 11) the closing stroke of the second Triad. And here, as in the two other Triads, the last Plague comes without warning.
The word for lice (kinnim) is found only in connection with this Plague (Sept. has skniphes). There is no assuring consent of interpreters as to the species of animal that is meant—in fact, they do not know ;-though some take it upon them to be "prophets" where Moses has not "put the word in their mouth.' Many would render it simply lice. A recent traveller speaks of an occasion in Egypt on which the very dust of the earth seemed to have turned into lice. Others have suggested, mosquito, or midge,-bred in stagnant water (which might be physically connected with the preceding plagues). In Scotland even, North temperate zone, a band of masons have been driven away by midges from their valued employment on a building in a Highland glen (so the minister told the present writer). In Egypt, after the Nile flood, such insects become extremely troublesome. There is onemidge-like-which enters the eyes, ears, and nostrils, piercing the skin, so as to add a stinging pain to the disgust. The miraculousness in this case, owned by the magicians, may have been evinced by the unparalleled amount of the nuisance in this case, coming at the command of Aaron with his rod.
We covenanted with Moses, as the source of our information, to allow the duration of the campaign to disclose itself in its facts. We now begin to perceive in the facts, that those whose judgment is coloured by the naturalistic red of the Nile's flood are not to be trusted as guides in a campaign of supernaturalism, but may lead into the wrong camp. The three plagues which we now have considered do not wear the aspect of occurring when the Nile is in full flood. On the contrary, they all have a look of, land from which the flood is gone. Those who have not seen Egypt may realize the situation if they have been, as anglers or otherwise, beside an estuarial river behind the ebbing tide, on a hot sweltering day. Fugitive crabs and flounders are to be seen there in the place of frogs, and other feelings are touched by some dead fish and many living flies. Puddles, lagoons, marshes; dying frogs in heaps on heaps; midges bred in swamp ;--all these appear to speak—though perhaps not " shriek”-to a man whose ears are stuffed with a "theory"-of a land from which the flood is now departed, not of a Nile inland "sea" (Nah. iii. 8). However, we will allow the matter to disclose itself in further facts.
16. Dust :- -" the combat deepens"--first, the water; second, the halfwater animal; now, the soil. 17. They did so : without any warning of this