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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
Exodus 8



Verse 3

Frogs, not by a new creation; but the spawn was miraculously brought to maturity. (Calmet) --- Angels, or a divine instinct, brought them to infest all places; and thus they became a more grievous plague than that of blood. (Menochius)

Verse 4

Servants. The Abderites and Dardanians were formerly obliged to abandon their country by such a plague. (Orosius iii. 23; Pliny, Natural History viii. 29.) (Calmet) --- Here the Samaritan copy adds, that Moses delivered this message to Pharao. (Haydock)

Verse 7

Frogs, few in number, and brought by the ministry of devils. (Menochius)

Verse 8

Pray ye to the Lord, &c. By this it appears, that though the magicians, by the help of the devil, could bring frogs, yet they could not take these away: God being pleased to abridge in this the power of Satan. So we see they could not afterwards produce the lesser insects; and in this restraint of the power of the devil, were forced to acknowledge the finger of God.

Verse 9

A time. Moses thus prevents the king from attributing their departure to natural causes. Pharao was perhaps inclined to suspect this would be the case, and therefore had a mind to wait till the morrow. (Menochius)

Verse 14

Corrupted. This helped to produce the ensuing plague of flies, &c. (Calmet) --- The Egyptians might then recollect the putrid carcasses of the children, whom they had drowned. (Haydock)

Verse 15

Pharao hardened his own heart. By this we see that Pharao was himself the efficient cause of his heart being hardened, and not God. See the same repeated in ver. 32, Pharao hardened his heart at this time also; likewise chap. ix. 7, 35, and chap. xiii. 15. (Challoner) --- This is the constant doctrine of the holy fathers, St. Augustine, ser. 88, de Temp. q. 18, 28, 36; St. Basil, orat., "that god is not the author of evil;" St. Chrysostom, hom. 67, in John; &c. Hence Origen, periar. 3, says, "The Scripture sheweth manifestly that Pharao was hardened by his own will; for God said to him, thou wouldst not: if thou wilt not dismiss Israel." Even the priests of the Philistines were so well convinced of this, that they said, (1 Kings vi. 6,) Why do you harden your hearts? God therefore hardened them only by not absolutely hindering their wickedness, and by punishing them with less severity, as they did not deserve to be corrected like dear children, Hebrews xii. --- Perdition is from thyself, Osee xii. 9. Thus God cast Pharao into the sea, by permitting, not by forcing, him to enter, Exodus xv. 4. How shocking must then the blasphemous doctrine of Zuinglius, (Ser. de Provid. 5,) Calvin, (Instit. viii. 17,) &c., appear, who attribute every wicked deed to God, though they pretend at the same time that he is not unjust, even when he commands and impels a man to commit murder or adultery! Idem facinus puta adulterium....quantum Dei est auctoris, motoris, impulsoris opus est, crimen non est; quantum hominis est, crimen ac scelus est. (Zuinglius, sup.) The light of reason may suffice to confute such absurdity. (Worthington)

Verse 16

Sciniphs, or Cinifs, Hebrew Cinnim, small flying insects, very troublesome both to men and beasts. (Challoner) --- Like midges. (Origen, hom. 4.) Others think they were lice. (Bochart.) Pharao is not forewarned of this plague.

Verse 18

Practiced, fecerunt; the same expression as ver. 7: whence some argue, that the former were delusions, not real changes. (Haydock) --- God was pleased to shew here the vanity of their attempts, and the imbecility of the devil, who could not even bring a single animalcule or insect, though he had before appeared to work great wonders. (Tirinus)

Verse 19

Finger, the spirit, (Luke xi. 20; compare Matthew xii. 28,) or power of God, Isaias xl. 12. The magicians here confess, that Moses is something more than themselves. (Calmet) --- Thus God interferes, whenever a contest of miracles, real or apparent, might lead any sincere seeker astray. He caused the priests of Baal to be confounded; (3 Kings xix,) and Simon Magus, flying in the air, was hurled down at the prayer of St. Peter. (Hegesip.) Cyrola, the Arian patriarch, attempting to deceive the people, by giving sight to a man whom he bribed to feign himself blind; and Calvin, who wished to have the honour of raising a man to life, at Geneva, by the like imposition, were both deservedly covered with confusion; while, of those unhappy men who joined in the collusion, one lost his sight, and the other his life. (Gregory of Tours, ii. Hist. 3; Bolsec.) On such occasions, we are admonished to be on our guard, and to adhere to the old religion. (Deuteronomy xiii.; Matthew xxiv.) (Worthington) --- The magicians, though fully convinced, were not still converted.

Verse 21

Flies. Hebrew earob. Septuagint, "dog-flies." Some include under this plague all sorts of wild beasts. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] ii. 13; Wisdom xi. 9, 16, 18.) Insects are very troublesome, and the pagans honoured Jupiter with the title of Apomuios, because he delivered them from flies. Beelzebub, "the god-fly," got his name for the same reason, 4 Kings i. 1. (Calmet)

Verse 22


Gessen, where the Hebrews dwelt. The Egyptians who lived among them would not, however, escape this plague.

Verse 23

Be. Here again the Samaritan copy observes, that Moses told this to Pharao. (Haydock)

Verse 24

The Lord, without the intervention of the rod, lest any inherent power might be supposed to rest in it. (Menochius) --- Corrupted, ravaged; men and beasts being destroyed by their bite or sting. (Psalm lxxvii. 45; Wisdom xvi. 9.)

Verse 26

The abominations, &c. That is, the things they worship for gods: oxen, rams, &c. It is the usual style of the Scriptures to call all idols and false gods, abominations; to signify how much the people of God ought to detest and abhor them. (Challoner) --- The Egyptians adored the stars, and even the vilest creatures, on account of some advantage which they derived from them. (Cicero, N. Deor. i.) They sometimes sacrificed animals; though, at first, "they offered only prayer and incense." (Macrobius, Satur. i. 7; Genesis xliii. 16.) Their belief in the transmigration of souls, perhaps, induced them to abstain from the immolation of beasts. (Calmet)

Verse 32

Hardened. Hebrew and Septuagint, "Pharao hardened his heart for this time also." (Menochius)


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Exodus 8:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

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