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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Exodus 11

Introduction

CHAP. XI.

The Lord informs Moses that after one plague more Pharaoh will let the Israelites go: and he commands them to ask of the Egyptians jewels of silver and gold. Moses denounces to Pharaoh the death of all the first-born in Egypt.

Before Christ 1491.

Verse 1

Exodus 11:1. And the Lord said unto Moses This would be rendered much more properly, now the Lord had said unto Moses: for it is evident, that the fourth verse is a continuation of Moses's conference with Pharaoh, mentioned in the last chapter; where, having said, I will see thy face again no more, Exo 10:29 it is here added, Exo 11:8 and he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger. The first three verses, therefore, should be read as in a parenthesis, as well as in the past tense; as, what is mentioned in the second verse, had been revealed to Moses in the very first vision he had at Horeb. See ch. Exodus 3:20; Exo 3:22 and Exodus 4:23.

Verse 2

Exodus 11:2. Let every man borrow, &c.— See note on ch. Exodus 12:35.

Verse 3

Exodus 11:3. And the Lord gave This, perhaps, might be better rendered, the Lord will give. The Vulgate, Samaritan, Houbigant, &c. render it in the future. Some imagine that the clause following was mentioned as the reason why Pharaoh did not attempt any thing against the person of Moses; whom all his people now considered as the immediate messenger of GOD, and, consequently, held in most high veneration.

REFLECTIONS.—They who despised Moses at first, begin to fear and honour him at last. God gives him his last directions. Israel had served for no wages long enough; God will now repay them in the jewels of Egypt. Some way or other, they who suffer for him shall obtain their reward. God has a short work to do: one stroke more, and then they shall be as earnest to thrust them out, as before to hold them prisoners. Note; There is one judgment yet to come after this life against sinners, which shall humble them, in a bad sense, if nothing else does.

Verse 4

Exodus 11:4. And Moses said, &c.— The whole context proves, that Moses said this to Pharaoh before he left his presence. The Samaritan text adds here what we read in the 22nd and 23rd verses of the 4th chapter: and it is most probable, that these words were now used by Moses; as otherwise we read not of their having been delivered at all to Pharaoh, according to God's denunciation. When God says, I will go out into the midst of Egypt, it is generally understood, that he would do so by the ministry of a destroying angel. See 2 Samuel 24:16. Exo 12:23 comp. with Exo 12:12 and Amos 5:17.

Verse 5

Exodus 11:5. From the first-born—unto—the maid-servant that is behind the mill That is, from the highest to the lowest. It was usual for the lowest slaves to be employed in the drudgery of the mill; and, therefore, the prophet Isaiah uses this idea, to express the abject state of slavery to which Babylon should be reduced: Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon: sit on the ground, take the millstones and grind meal, Isaiah 47:1-2. Dr. Shaw observes, that most families in those countries still grind their wheat and barley at home, having two portable mill-stones for that purpose; the uppermost whereof is turned round by a small handle of wood or iron, which is placed in the rim. When this stone is large, or expedition is required, then a second person is called in to assist; and as it is usual for the women alone to be concerned in this employment, who seat themselves over-against each other, with the mill-stones between them; we may see not only the propriety of the expression in this verse, of sitting behind the mill, but the force of another, Mat 24:41 that two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Travels, p. 231.

All the first-born of beasts The beasts were involved in this common calamity, most probably, for the reason we have assigned upon another occasion; namely, their subserviency to the cause of idolatry.

Verse 7

Exodus 11:7. Against any of the children of Israel, &c.— Observe here, again, the Lord's distinction of the Israelites. The phrase, a dog shall not move his tongue, is proverbial; and imports, that they should depart with the utmost peace and quietness. See Jdt 11:19.

Verse 8

Exodus 11:8. All these thy servants shall come down unto me Shall come by thy order and immediate appointment: sent, humbly to sue to me, by thee, when in the greatest consternation. This was fulfilled, ch. Exo 12:31 and confirms our interpretation of ch. Exodus 10:29.

Verse 9

Exodus 11:9. And the Lord said unto Moses These verses, being added as a kind of close to the foregoing chapters, we should certainly read (as the original will allow us) the Lord had said unto Moses, &c.

REFLECTIONS.—The blow was long suspended. Now it descends. God tries lesser chastisements first, to bring men to repentance; but when they are found incorrigible, then vengeance overtakes them to the uttermost.

1. The judgment is denounced; the time fixed, at dead of night; the extent of it, from the prince to the slave: Israel alone is exempted. In their dwellings there shall be life and joy, while death and mourning shall fill the houses of the Egyptians. Note; Death, as the wages of sin, can never hurt those who are passed from death unto life, and live by faith on the Son of God.

2. It is foretold how suppliant the proud prosecutors would grow; and hereupon Moses with indignation leaves the devoted palace. Note; (1.) The hardness of sinners' hearts is a bitter grief to the ministers of Christ (2.) When sin is the object of our indignation, we may be angry, and not sin.

3. The determined hardness of Pharaoh's heart, as foretold, continues. Note; We are not to wonder at the general rejection of God's truth: it was foretold long ago.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Exodus 11". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/exodus-11.html. 1801-1803.