Bible Commentaries
Exodus 8

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-32



Again God gives the opportunity to Pharaoh to respond to His demand to let Israel go (v.1). But Moses was to accompany this with the warnings that, if Pharaoh refused, their land would be inundated with a plague of frogs which would not remain outside, but would come into their homes, into their bedrooms and beds, into their food and kitchen utensils (vs.2-3).

Since Pharaoh did not heed the warning, the Lord gave the order to Moses that Aaron was to stretch out his hand with his rod over the streams, rivers and ponds, with the result that frogs came up to cover the land of Egypt. The first plague taught the serious lesson of death, now the second signifies uncleanness (Revelation 16:13-14). It is a picture of the far more revolting moral and spiritual pollution that infects all levels of society when the Word of God is refused. Unclean spirits take advantage of this refusal, and God allows them to work their evil designs, just as today every area of life is badly affected and corrupted by the uncleanness that people choose in preference to the Word of God. The magicians too could introduce such uncleanness, but could not reverse it. God had done this in discipline toward Egypt, to expose to them the actual condition of moral uncleanness that permeated their nation. The magicians did it to show off their magic skills, but they only increased the scourge, just as cunning impostors, trying to imitate spiritual power, only add their own uncleanness to the wickedness in the world. Pharaoh may have seen through this, for he did not appeal to the magicians to take the frogs away.

He did call for Moses and Aaron and asked them to entreat the Lord that the frogs should be taken away, and promised to let the Israelites go in return for this favor. Moses responded by asking Pharaoh to decide for him what time he should ask that the frogs should be banished (v.9). Pharaoh told him, "Tomorrow." (Perhaps he thought that God could not be expected to do it so quickly as "today"!) Moses let him know immediately that his prayer will be answered at the precise time so that Pharaoh may have the clear evidence that there is no other like the Lord God of Israel (v.10).

As it was declared, in answer to Moses' prayer, the Lord reduced the frogs to nothing. They died and were gathered in heaps so that their stench only remained, a reminder of the bad odor of Egypt's uncleanness. But when Pharaoh was relieved of this scourge, he only hardened his heart in determination to keep Israel in captivity (v.15).



Aaron was told by Moses to stretch out his rod and strike the dust of the land, so that it might become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. The lice however did not remain on the ground, but in accordance with the character of dust, it settled on people and animals. This was a personal contamination that would be virtually intolerable. The magicians attempted to imitate this with their enchantments, but could not do so. They had to admit that "this is the finger of God" (v.19). They had before brought up frogs, but the frogs were already there to bring up. Now when dust was actually turned to lice, they recognize that this was bringing life from a lifeless source. They could not do this, even in the case of the lowest form of life. But in spite of this, Pharaoh blindly hardened his heart, as so many do today in spite of being faced with God's clear testimony to the gospel of His Son.



On this occasion Moses is to again give warning to Pharaoh. He repeats God's previous command to let His people go, and warns that otherwise God will send swarms of flies to fill the houses of the Egyptians and to plague the people themselves, as well as covering the ground. The word "swarms" is evidently properly translated "a mixture ," indicating a mixture of small insects. In this case it is announced that the Israelites would be entirely free from the plague: only Egypt would suffer (vs.22-23).

The warning again meant nothing to Pharaoh, so the land was devastated by the swarms of insects. Then Pharaoh was worried enough to call Moses and Aaron, telling them they could go and sacrifice to God, but within Egypt (v.25). But Moses could not accept this. God's order was that they should go three days' journey before sacrificing. More than that, the Egyptians considered the sacrifice of sheep and oxen as an abomination, and would respond violently if done in Egypt (v.26). The world does not understand the true worship of the people of God, and it is not to be mixed with worldly principles. The three days' journey is typical of the fact that true Christian worship is on the ground of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Pharaoh agrees that he will let them go, but with some reservation, saying they should not go very far, and asking that they supplicate the Lord to take away this scourge. Moses was plainly skeptical of Pharaoh's sincerity, but told him nevertheless that he would pray for this release, which he did (vs.29-30). The answer was given immediately, but Pharaoh deceitfully returned to his state of stubborn resistance (vs.31-32).

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Exodus 8". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.