Bible Commentaries
Exodus 11

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-10

Exodus 11:1. The Lord said to Moses. The 29th verse of the last chapter and this verse ought to be thrown into a parenthesis, then the scope of the history assumes a regular form.

Exodus 11:2. Borrow or ask of his neighbour jewels of silver. It was a law of the gentiles, as well as of the Jews, that a servant must not go out empty. The vulgate reads here, vessels of silver and gold; and the LXX add, raiment, which seems to be founded on the law of custom to give a good servant suitable clothing. See note, Exodus 3:22.

Exodus 11:5. All the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die. Here was a blow at the heart; and their crying under the stroke of God, and the echo of conscience would remind them of the cries of the Hebrew mothers, bereft of their tender offspring. In the ten plagues of Egypt the bloody waters, the frogs, the lice, the flies, the murrain on their cattle, the boils and blains, the hail, the locusts, the darkness, and now the death of the most hopeful branches of their houses we see that God touched them nearer and nearer at every stroke. He did not cut them off in total ignorance. The conscience of the king spake for the nation; “I and my people are wicked.” Can we not see that the same God is now doing the same thing with many hardened infidels and haughty families. Oh what strokes he sometimes inflicts on their persons, on their reputation, on their fortunes, on their children! It is that they may hear the voice of the rod, and prepare to meet their God. Behind the mill. Female servants had to grind at the hand-mill all the corn for the family. Our Saviour alludes to this economical custom when he says, two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken and the other left.


God having long threatened and long afflicted Pharaoh and his guilty people, comes now to a full issue with his enemies. If good men, as we have hitherto seen in the chain of sacred history, may rely on the promises of God, bad men may assure themselves that one day, all he has threatened will come upon them.

We mark in this last communication to Pharaoh the characters of divine justice. The Egyptians had destroyed many of the male infants of the Israelites: now the Lord, though forty years had elapsed, requires blood for blood, and life for life. Who would not fear the power of a righteous God? Who would not stand in awe of his justice, and abstain from sin; for every evil work shall be brought into judgment.

The Lord having given them long warning, and warning of an extraordinary kind, determines to strike at midnight, when they were in profound repose. Let us learn hence to lie down in our beds as in our graves, in peace with God, and in charity with all mankind, that being holy and happy, we may be ready whensoever the Lord shall come.

But seeing all truth and miracles rejected by a hardened and impenitent court, Moses departed in great anger, having first delivered his own soul. And so it becomes the ministers of the gospel to do with men who despise mercy, and all the riches of grace. They should address characters so audacious and hardened with a zeal becoming the majesty of their mission: they should, on these occasions, make the temple of God resound with the thunder and terror of his word. Who can tell but the Lord may yet save a remnant, even in the last stages of corruption; let us never appear weak and confounded before the enemies of God.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 11". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.