Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DEATH OF THE
1. the Lord said--rather, "had said unto Moses." It may
be inferred, therefore, that he had been apprised that the crisis had
now arrived, that the next plague would so effectually humble and alarm
the mind of Pharaoh, that he would "thrust them out thence altogether";
and thus the word of Moses
must be regarded as a prediction.
2, 3. Speak now in the ears of the people--These verses,
describing the communication which had been made in private to Moses,
are inserted here as a parenthesis, and will be considered
4. Thus saith the Lord, About midnight--Here is recorded the
announcement of the last plague made in the most solemn manner to the
king, on whose hardened heart all his painful experience had hitherto
produced no softening, at least no permanently good effect.
will I go out into the midst of Egypt--language used after the
manner of men.
5. And all the first-born in the land . . . shall
die--The time, the suddenness, the dreadful severity of this coming
calamity, and the peculiar description of victims, among both men and
beasts, on whom it was to fall, would all contribute to aggravate its
the maid-servant that is behind the mill--The grinding of the
meal for daily use in every household is commonly done by female slaves
and is considered the lowest employment. Two portable millstones are
used for the purpose, of which the uppermost is turned by a small
wooden handle, and during the operation the maid sits behind the
6. shall be a great cry throughout all the land--In the case of
a death, people in the East set up loud wailings, and imagination may
conceive what "a great cry" would be raised when death would invade
every family in the kingdom.
7. against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his
tongue--No town or village in Egypt or in the East generally is
free from the nuisance of dogs, who prowl about the streets and make
the most hideous noise at any passers-by at night. What an emphatic
significance does the knowledge of this circumstance give to this fact
in the sacred record, that on the awful night that was coming, when the
air should be rent with the piercing shrieks of mourners, so great and
universal would be the panic inspired by the hand of God, that not a
dog would move his tongue against the children of Israel!
8. all these thy servants shall . . . bow down themselves
unto me--This would be the effect of the universal terror; the
hearts of the proudest would be humbled and do reverential homage to
God, in the person of His representative.
went out . . . in a great anger--Holy and righteous
indignation at the duplicity, repeated falsehood, and hardened
impenitence of the king; and this strong emotion was stirred in the
bosom of Moses, not at the ill reception given to himself, but the
dishonor done to God