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the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-32

Chapter 8

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. [So the third demand now, actually the fourth demand.] And if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all of your borders with frogs ( Exodus 8:1-2 ):

Now of course the Egyptians worshiped the snakes; and thus, when his rod turned into a serpent, they couldn't kill it because they worshiped snakes. They also worshiped the Nile river as one of their gods, because of it's life sustaining forces. When it turned to blood, God is really striking out at another one of their gods. But another thing they worshiped were frogs, and they couldn't kill them because they were held to be sacred. "So you like frogs? You want to worship frogs? All right, we'll give you frogs."

And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your houses, and into your bedchambers, in your bedrooms, and upon your bed, and into the house of your servants, and upon thy people, and into your ovens, and into your kneadingtroughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all of your servants. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth your hand with thy rod over all the streams, over all the rivers, and over all the ponds, and cause frogs to come upon the land of Egypt ( Exodus 8:3-6 ).

So in all the ponds, rivers and all, just invaded the land at the drawing and the impulses that God sent out to them.

Now God's control over nature is to me always a very interesting thing to observe. Nature itself is so fascinating, so many imponderables of nature. I just love to study the capacities of God's little created beings. Last month, I think it was in National Geographic, what a fascinating article on the birds, upon the homing instinct that are built into birds. And they really don't know exactly how they are able to fly thousands of miles over oceans and all. They feel that maybe they are able to tune in on the magnetic forces for guidance systems. They really don't know exactly how they can navigate so accurately.

The little golden plover, it spends its winters in Hawaii and its summers in Alaska. Now that's not so dumb. It goes up to Alaska in the spring to have its young. Then in the fall before the big storms, it takes off and flies back to Hawaii, several thousand miles non-stop losing about a quarter of its weight in flight. Eats a lot of food before it goes, stores it up, and then takes off. How can it find the Hawaiian Islands, that little dot out in the Pacific? An amazing thing.

You can't say, "Well it just remembered the way it came" because you don't really have any real things to watch. But the interesting thing is that come fall, the parents take off and fly back to Hawaii until the little ones are big enough to fly that far. But in a couple of weeks as they store up their food and get a lot of exercise, two weeks after the parents have left, the kids take off and they fly directly to Hawaii, and they've never been there before. Now tell me how.

So God has homing instincts that He can put in animals, and He has something in a frog. He called all the frogs out of the rivers. Ladies kneading their dough and frogs jumping in, get folded in it. They can't kill them; they're little gods.

"And Aaron stretched out his hand over Egypt; and the frogs came out, and they covered the land of Egypt."

And the magicians did so [About then, I'd kill em'] with their enchantments, and they brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Entreat the Lord, ["Who is the Lord, I don't know him." Now Pharaoh's changing his tune. "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. Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I entreat for thee, [In other words, "You tell me when you want the frogs gone, so that when they're gone at that time, you will know that God did it. You won't just say, Oh well they decided to go back to the river. You tell me when you want them gone."] and I will entreat for you, and for your servants, and for your people, and I will destroy the frogs from thee and from thy houses, that they remain in the river only? And he said, Tomorrow. So he said, All right be it according to your word: that you may know that there [Who is Jehovah? "That you may know that there"] is none like unto Jehovah our God. And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from they servants, and from thy people; and they shall remain in the river only. And Moses and Aaron went out from the Pharoah: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, [He didn't send them back to the river, He just let them die.] out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together in heaps: and the land stank ( Exodus 8:7-14 ).

Stinking gods, God just really rubbing their noses in their gods, really. Just saying, "You want to serve these gods? You don't know who I am? Then here you are."

So when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened [Now the word completely different, "kabed", he stiffened, or heavied his heart,] against God, and hearkened not [heavied is the literal translation, "and hearkened not",] to them as the Lord had said. The Lord said unto Moses, Say to Aaron, Stretch out your rod, [Now He didn't go to Pharaoh this time, He's just gonna bring one on him without any warning, so said to Aaron, "Stretch out your rod",] and smite the dust of the land, that it might become lice throughout all the land of Egypt ( Exodus 8:15-16 ).

Now it's either lice or mosquitoes. We don't seem to know which. It's a word that's only used twice here. In Psalms this plague is referred to; so there are some in the translation of the Greek, in the "Septuagint", seems to be the mosquitoes, really doesn't make any difference, either one would be miserable.

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 men, and in beast; and all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they couldn't ( Exodus 8:17-18 ).

So here the Egyptians came to an end, that is the magicians. They weren't able to duplicate this. Now in this there's sort of a creation of life. This was their limit. They could draw frogs out of the water. They could change the water to blood. They could make serpents out of their rods, but at this point they can't follow it any further. Their powers have been more than matched by now.

So the magicians said to Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not to them; as the Lord had said. The Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he is coming forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. [So the next demand-actually it's the fifth demand that was made upon the Pharaoh.] Else if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and in thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians they'll be full of the swarms, and also the ground where they are. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen ( Exodus 8:19-22 ),

In other words from this point on, God is gonna make a distinction between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. The plagues are gonna come upon the Egyptians, but the children of Israel are going to be spared. So God is going to make a division now.

that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the eaRuth ( Exodus 8:22 ).

Again, "Who is the Lord? I don't know the Lord," the Pharaoh's remark. So God says, "All right, that you might know who I am." God is introducing Himself to Pharaoh.

And I will put a division between thy people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be. And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants; houses, and into the land of Egypt: and the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms. And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and he said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; [or it isn't right to do this] 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? We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he has commanded us ( Exodus 8:23-27 ).

So here the Pharaoh now is offering the first of the compromises. It is interesting to me that Satan so often offers us compromises. When you've determined to commit your life to Jesus Christ and Satan sees that's what you've determined to do, then he begins his compromising. "Okay, if you're gonna have to make a nut of yourself, but don't get-don't get really religious. You know, don't go too far. Oh yeah, go but don't get involved too deeply. You don't want to become a religious nut." So, "Yeah, go to church, you know, once a week, once every other week. Don't get carried away with this thing." Satan offers the compromises. As Satan said, "Hey go, but sacrifice in the land. Don't go very far, stay in the land."

Now Moses knew that if they sacrificed in the land, because the Egyptians worshiped the animals, for them to kill the animals would cause the ire of the Egyptians to be lifted against them, and they would've stoned them. Because the sacrifices unto God were going to involve the sacrificing of animals, Moses wisely said, "No way. We need to go three-days journey out of the land, lest the Egyptians see us sacrificing, will stone us."

So Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: now ask God to get rid of these flies ( Exodus 8:28 ).

So the second compromise. First of all, "Go in the land, now don't go very far."

And Moses said, I go out from thee, and I will pray to the Lord that the swarms may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitful any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. And Moses went out from before the Pharaoh, and he entreated the Lord. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms from the Pharaoh, and from his servants, and from his people; and there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened [kabed] his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go ( Exodus 8:29-32 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Exodus 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/exodus-8.html. 2014.
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