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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 18 the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their
enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so 19 there were lice upon man and upon beast. Then the magi
cians 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.
third stroke, and apparently after only a short warning with the second. This has a certain weird aspect of a fearfulness, as in the bargaining of the Sibyl about her Books. In man—beast. In this case (see initial note) it may have been literally in them : the torturing enemy piercing through the skin. On a perilous military expedition in India, an advanced guard of British cavalry was routed in utter helpless panic by a charge of wasps, whose tree-dwelling had been playfully pierced by an officer with his spear (Diary of Lieut.-Gen. Sir Hope Grant, then and there in command). Homer describes the wasp as the most valiant of creatures.
But the British army“Albion's boast” —might find a smaller enemy more formidable because more subtly penetrative and as painful to flesh and blood. There is a story of an African lion being driven in helpless torture by the small creatures—as Io was by the gad-fly. The text does not give them wings. What it gives is, the irresistible penetrativeness of their poisonous burning impurity in man and beast : carrying the misery home (Scoticé,“ ben”) into the inmost shrine of animal sensitiveness :—Schoolmaster Law believes in the rod. All them Egypt: All the land over, the dust was completely turned into kinnim. This, to nature-worshippers, must have been awful as well as revolting: 18. They could not. Perhaps their successful imitation of the first two miracles had been the result of a sleight-of-hand, or (other) conjuring “art magic" (born in Egypt), which failed to go farther. The historian does not say what it was, but, that it failed. So-beast. With magicians confessedly nonplussed, and a man-god king sullenly silent, the land lies helpless—like Gulliver tied by Liliputians--in the humiliating torture of this plague; which is not sent away like the others, but allowed to sate itself unto death. 19. This, God. Historically interesting as the first definition of miracle. (Note at the close of this article.) The plural word elohim (under i. 17) is that most commonly employed where we have “God,” in the sense of simply, the Deity : being thus applied as name of the one divine Being, who in His unity has a plenitude in plurality of excellences (not to say of persons). But the word is also put to the use of meaning “gods,” a plurality of deities, as we speak of “the gods” (Ex. xii. 12, xx. 23, etc.). What precisely the magicians meant, we need not inquire beyond the point of the history. The point of the history is, their seeing and confessing in this Plague (1) Miracle, of extraordinary supernaturalism ; (2) The Miracle proving that God was in the work, supernaturally showing to men His otherwise secret mind and will. But presumably there underlay this confession, of the pointed significance of the work as divine, an acknowledgment, that the God who thus had shown Himself as the real God, the living God Almighty, was Jehovah, the deity of the Hebrews, on behalf of whom Moses and Aaron had spoken and acted all along and also now.
20 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh ; lo, he cometh forth to
2 the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my
Exercise 18. 'Finger of God." Explain the use of this expression, along with expressions regarding the “hand and the " of Jehovah, in connexion with
Israel's deliverance. 2. What purpose or purposes might be served by the absence of warning in the
case of this miracle ? 3. (1) Is it presumptuous to pray for preservation “ from sudden death"?
Why? (2) May an event be sudden which is not unexpected ? How? (3) Certainty of event, with uncertainty as to the time : what condition of mind should these produce? Illustrate from the teaching of Christ and of Paul
Progress of the Campaign: SECOND TRIAD OF THE
PLAGUES (Chap. viii. 20—ix. 12). Here, as in the other two Triads, there is first a long warning, then a shorter warning, and finally no warning. Here the strokes begin to touch the property of the Egyptians as well as their persons, and in the last of the three there is an ominous threat against their life. A notable speciality of the Second Triad as compared with the first is, that the rod is no longer employed; as if to show that the works were not owing to any virtue in such an instrument, though it may please God to make use of such. Another speciality is, that now there is visible separation between the two peoples in relation to the Plagues that are in the land, the Egyptians being smitten by them while the Israelites are untouched (this is not said expressly in connection with the sixth). With these two specialities may be connected a third, namely, that now at last the enchanters abandon the field. Their conviction (viii. 19), of a divinity in the movement on Israel's behalf, working against Pharaoh, may have left them uncertain whether the mover would persist in His apparent purpose, or whether, against the natural forces of the world, He would be able to accomplish that purpose. All such doubt is now brought to an end. They abandon the field, as finally convinced that this God is irresistible--and dangerous.
Fourth Plague (viii. 20-31)-of flies. This plague is distinguished from the preceding three in various respects: (1) It is simply announced by Moses, with no symbolical action of Aaron ; (2) Goshen is expressly and formally exempted from it; (3) Pharaoh gives way, to the extent of half measures of compliance, which prove to be hollow; while (4) The magicians are no longer to the front.
21. Swarms. The word here (yarobh) has been supposed to mean natively, mixture (or gathering), so that the plague would be some sort of collection of wild beasts. The Sept. Translators, Egyptian by residence, presumably had means of knowing about especially Egyptian matters of this sort. They make the yarobh to have been a dog-fly (kynomya). This insect is described by ancient writers as audacious and fierce, inflicting torture more serious
21 people go, that they may serve me: 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 22 swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. 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 23 earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy than the midges. Others derive yarobh from a root meaning “sweetness whence sucker, as a fly will suck what is sweet. This would coincide with dog-fly, as an eager hungry fly is impudent (Ulysses, after shipwreck and long fasting, says apologetically, that there is nothing so impudent as the stomach ; and “dog"-faced is a Greek word for impudent). In Ps. lxxviii. 45, the yarobh is described as a devourer. What the Bible sets forth clearly is, an overwhelming force of small fierce animals, not only tormenting men, but apparently blighting vegetation. We read of a missionary family having against such a plague to fight for their house with fire; and even of an army being broken up by such. The elaborate emphasis laid on the details in this history conveys an impression of fell intensity in the plague, like a black cloud of torture pressing heavily close on all the land. To the Egyptians it must have been specially terrible if, as has been supposed, the yarobh was of kin to their sacred scarabæus (beetle). Let go-send. The same word in both places; as if a terrific play upon words, “ If you do not let loose my people, I will let loose the yarobh.” Whereon they are : lit, stand :-Welsh saying, that on the Last Day there will be only Welshmen“ standing” in Wild Wales to answer for it. 22. Sever-Goshen (on the severing, under ix. 4 ; on the land, under i. 7). Here Bruce of Kinnaird (the great explorer) is cited as saying, that there is some mistake about this miracle, because in Goshen there is not the (chemi) black rich land, out of which the yarobh might be made. Travellers have not always explored heaven, and ' found out the Almighty to perfection. And we do not need to go to the sources of the Nile for a matter which is in the Bible. Theologians are childish who quote such rubbish. God was working a miracle, which perhaps the Almighty could do without fat soil as raw material. In the midst of the earth : in the heart of the land (ver. 2). The separation of Goshen in respect of such a visitation was almost a visible presence of the Almighty, fencing the province all round its border. 23. Here again (under ver. 19) the prediction of the incalculable, tested by specification of the time, makes a wonder” (Lat. miraculum) a foresight, and evinces the wonder of power. The suggestion, that Moses here played the conjuror, through his deep insight into natural history, illustrates the credulity of unbelief. Though the Sinai dog-flies had been familiar in intercourse and conspiracy with their Egyptian cousins, how was Moses to know and be assured of their plans for the future, and their unanimous covenanting to keep clear of Goshen? It is wonderful that a man should know the purpose of God. It is inconceivable that any creature should know the settled purpose of a fly,—to say nothing of myriad myriads of them, -and be confidently assured that they will hold by it loyally, and can unfailingly
A division: the word (paduth) has a meaning, deliverance,
carry it out.
24 people : to-morrow shall this sign be. 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. 25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, 26 Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. 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 27 they not stone us? We will go three days' journey into the
wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he shall 28 command us. And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye
may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only 29 ye shall not go very far away : entreat for me. 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, to-morrow; but let not Pha
raoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to 30 sacrifice to the Lord. And Moses went out from Pharaoh, 31 and entreated the Lord. And the Lord did according to the
which may have a place here, -separation is in order to liberation. But subtleties must not distract our view from the main plain fact here, -that God makes a separation between Israelites and Egyptians, of a nature fitted to make the oppressors believe and tremble. 24. A grievous swarm ; lit. a heavy yarobh :-not, a huge animal as compared with a midge, but a sore, crushing visitation of the yarobh-worse than an army of elephants. Corrupted : devastated, being destroyed, perhaps with the suggestion of loathsomeness in the visitation, as when foul harpies pollute the feast which they devour. 25. Your God; so, Jehovah is now at least known as a Godthough He still is owned only as the national deity of the Hebrews. In the land : that is, of Egypt. 26. Meet : not only in respect of the divine prescription (ver. 27), but also on account of the circumstances to be set forth. Abomination-stone (cp. Ge. xliii. 32). Stoning was not an Egyptian manner of putting to death by law : what Moses points to is thus, outbreaking of unregulated popular passion of prejudice. The abomination here may mean, what is revolting to God (ver. 27). Probably it means, revolting to the Egyptians. The sacrificial victims would be. What are sacred animals in their eyes? And the Israelites would not adopt the ceremonies deemed obligatory by Egyptians. 27. Thus placing Jehovah on the throne : as at the first (ver. 2), so to the end. 28. Not very far: not out of reach-so that I still may hold you chained. At heart he is not really conforming : hence the entreat for me is vain, except for the passing moment. 29. Tomorrow (under to-morrow in ver. 23). The specification of time here shows watchful Omniscience : let not Pharaoh think in his heart he can elude that (Lu. xiii. 32). Any more (cp. vers. 8, 15). 31. Not one (under viii. U, word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from
Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there 32 remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this
time also, neither would he let the people go. CHAP. IX. 1. Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto
Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the 2 Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if
3 thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, Behold, ix. 4). 32. Lit. “But heavy did Pharaoh make his heart on this occasion also, and he did not let the people go.”
Exercise 19. 1. The fly is "untameable." (1) How would this affect the quality of evidence
of a prophecy regarding fies? (2) Mention two miracles connected with
untameable sea things in the ministry of Christ. 2. State reasons for regarding the yarobh visitation in this history as a real
miracle. 3. Compare, in respect of wonderfulness, "stopping the mouths of lions" with
keeping flies out of Goshen. NOTE.—The "restraining” providence of God is brought to view by miracle. There is a certain balance in the system of things, which if it were disturbed life would be miserable or impossible. For instance, the forces which break out in hurricanes and volcanoes; but not only so, the feebleness of microscopic insects has to be restrained. Miracle shows that forces might be let loose, or restraints withdrawn, to the effect of making the world uninhabitable to man. We are aware of nothing in the system of nature to necessitate the requisite stability of equilibrium. The rainbow reminds us of what miracle here demonstrates ; that there is Omnipotence regulative in ordinary providence.
Fifth Plague (ix, 1-7)-cattle murrain. The punishment now reaches the Egyptians in a destruction of their property in live-stock. In relation to that species of property, a number of things in this narrative, which by infidels were said to be impossible, are now, by the ancient Egyptians themselves in their monuments, shown to have been a fact ; so that Moses would probably have made mistakes if he, like the infidels, had been speaking about what he did not know.
Our word “murrain" is from the Latin mori (to die). It has been appropriated for description of cattle-plague. A very destructive cattle-plague visited Britain within our memory. There have been in Egypt as many as four within our century. The sort of thing is not very rare, as it is not very rare to catch 153 fishes at one haul. Here, too, the miraculousness is evinced by circumstances of the event, which in itself is naturally possible : such as (1) the peculiar severity of the plague; (2) the connection of this detail with that campaign of supernaturalism as a whole ; (3) the prediction of its coming and its departure, with specification of time; and (4) the exemption of Israel's cattle from the plague which was so utterly fatal to those of the Egyptians.
Notable specialities of this miracle are-(1) Peculiar emphasis laid on the specification of time ; (2) more impressively marked exemption of Israel ; (3) more fully manifested anticipation on God's part, justified by the event, that Pharaoh shall resist this further appeal ; and (4) the circumstance that now, for the first time, the plague extends directly to destruction of life,—that is, the cattle's, – as well as of property of vast importance to an agricultural and pastoral community.
2. Wilt hold them still: wilt further still go on holding them fast.