Chapter 11

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2020-07-12 21:42.

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It appears that the initial three verses interrupt what Moses continued to say to Pharaoh after the end of the ninth plague (the three days of deep darkness), for the words of verse 4 are simply introduced (“Moses said”) without any indication that YHWH had sent him. Accordingly, at the end of the ninth plague, Moses knew that there would only be one more plague, after which Pharaoh would drive all of the Israelites out of Egypt. Prior to their departure from Egypt, the men and the women were to ask their Egyptian neighbors for objects of gold and silver (“and clothing” [LXX]). In view of what had developed through Moses in relation to the plagues, he became much esteemed among Pharaoh’s servants or officials and the Egyptians generally. (11:1-3; see the Notes section.)

Apparently after saying that he would not see Pharaoh’s face again (10:29), Moses continued to speak, announcing to him the word of YHWH. Around midnight, YHWH would bring about the death of the firstborn in every household. This included the firstborn of Pharaoh and even the firstborn of a slave woman grinding grain with a millstone. Moreover, the firstborn of all livestock would die. This would result in a loud mournful cry in all of Egypt, a cry of such greatness as had never occurred before and as would never take place again. No harm, however, would come to the Israelites. Against them and their animals, no dog would “sharpen its tongue.” This could mean that dogs would not bark or snarl at them. “But not even a dog will bark at the Israelites or their animals.” (TEV) According to another view, nothing like the outcry in Egypt would be occurring among the Israelites. “Things will be so quiet that not even a dog will be heard barking.” (CEV) “But throughout all Israel no sound will be heard from man or beast, not even a dog’s bark.” (REB) “But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark.” (NLT) Pharaoh and his subjects would then “know” or be forced to recognize that YHWH had made a distinction between the Egyptians and the “sons [or people] of Israel.” Thereafter all the “servants” or officials of Pharaoh would go to meet Moses and bow down to him, saying, “Get out, you and all the people who follow you [literally, people at your feet”].” After this would take place, Moses would depart from Egypt. Having finished speaking to Pharaoh, Moses left his presence in “hot anger.” (11:4-8)

YHWH had revealed to Moses that Pharaoh would not listen and that his stubborn attitude provided the opportunities for YHWH to increase his “[signs and (LXX)] wonders in the land of Egypt.” These wonders included the devastating plagues. During the time Pharaoh continued to be defiant, Moses and Aaron performed all the signs that YHWH had empowered them to do before Pharaoh. YHWH, however, “hardened the heart of Pharaoh” or permitted him to remain stubbornly resistant to letting the “sons [or people] of Israel” depart from Egypt. (11:9, 10)


According to verse 2 in the Septuagint, Moses was to speak “secretly into the ears of the people” (of Israel), telling them to make request of their neighbors for gold and silver items and clothing. Their neighbors would comply, for God had granted favor for his people among the Egyptians. (11:3)

The Septuagint rendering of verse 3 indicates that Moses became “exceedingly great before the Egyptians and before Pharaoh and before all his servants.”

In his Antiquities (II, xiv, 5), Josephus indicated that Moses would not return to see Pharaoh but that Pharaoh himself and his “principal men” would want the Israelites to leave. “When the darkness, after three days and as many nights, had dissipated, and when Pharaoh still had not repented and let the Hebrews leave, Moses came to him and said, ‘How long will you be disobedient to the command of God? for he enjoins you to let the Hebrews go. There is no other way to be freed from the calamities you are under, unless you do so.’ But the king was angry at what he said and threatened to cut off his head if he came anymore to trouble him about these matters. Thereupon Moses said he would not speak to him anymore about them, for that he himself, together with the principal men among the Egyptians, should desire the Hebrews to go away. So when Moses had said this, he went his way.” (Compare Exodus 10:29; 11:8.)