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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Exodus 11

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God Announces the Death of the Firstborn

A. God's instructions to Moses concerning the final calamity.

1. (Exo 11:1-3) Israel plunders the Egyptians.

And the LORD said to Moses, "I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold." And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people.

a. He will surely drive you out of here altogether: After the final plague - which Moses knew had to do with the death of the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 4:21-23) - Pharaoh wouldn't merely allow Israel to leave, he would compel them to go.

b. The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: Pharaoh was still not quite convinced, but the people of Egypt were willing to see Israel go right away - and were more than willing to give them gifts of silver and gold to persuade them to leave. This was how the slaves of Israel received their "back wages" from their time of slavery, and how they did not leave Egypt empty-handed.

c. The man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people: Though Pharaoh's heart was not yet persuaded, all of Egypt - including Pharaoh's servants - knew the LORD God was greater than the gods of Egypt and that Moses was a servant of this great God.

2. (Exo 11:4-8) The death of the firstborn is announced to Pharaoh.

Then Moses said, "Thus says the LORD: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.' And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, 'Get out, and all the people who follow you!' After that I will go out." Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

a. Then Moses said: Moses is still in the presence of Pharaoh; and for the first time, God lead him to specifically say what will happen to the firstborn of Egypt - they shall die, all of them, because the Egyptians would not let God's firstborn (Israel) go.

b. Against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue: Despite the great calamity to come, God will grant the Egyptians the ability to see the situation as it really is - the fault of their own Pharaoh, not of Moses or the children of Israel.

i. This was even worse news to Pharaoh. A politician doesn't mind calamity if he can blame it on someone else. Here, God promised that Pharaoh himself will bear the blame.

c. All these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, 'Get out, and all the people who follow you!' Moses' final words to Pharaoh let him know that he and the rest of the Egyptians will command the people of Israel to go.

3. (Exo 11:9-10) God tells Moses that Pharaoh will still not heed.

But the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt." So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

a. Pharaoh will not heed you: If nine plagues had come from the hand of God, one might expect that the warning about a tenth plague would be believed; but Pharaoh's heart remains hard, and God strengthens Pharaoh in his hardness of heart.

b. He did not let the children of Israel go out of his land: Again, Pharaoh is more typical than unusual; how many warnings from God have we ignored?

©2004 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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