For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2005 James Melough

8:1.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”


God’s continued patient striving with the rebellious king is an example of His desire to see sinners saved, as it is written, “The Lord ... is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9.


This assurance however, is balanced by the solemn warning, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” Genesis 6:3, and again, “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Proverbs 29:1.


8:2.  “And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:”


Punishment is the inevitable concomitant of disobedience, but God sometimes, as here, imposes many warning chastisements before executing His final sentence: death. 


The plague of frogs, like all the others, was meant to break Pharaoh’s stubborn will, and induce him to release the Hebrews, but it was of no avail.  He had hardened his heart against God, and would not repent.


8:3.  “And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:”


Any doubt as to whether the multiplication of the frogs was the result of a divine miracle, was negated by the fact that their behavior would be contrary to that of their kind.  Frogs are always found in close proximity to water: never in any of the places mentioned here.  Not only would their phenomenal proliferation cause consternation, but their very presence in these unlikely places would evoke loathing and horror.


8:4.  “And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.”


“... come up” is also rendered clamber over you: will crawl all over you.  This continues to emphasize that these would be no ordinary frogs, for such behavior is totally foreign to the nature of frogs.


8:5.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.”


8:6.  “And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.”


8:7.  “And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.”


See comments on 7:12 relative to the ability of the magicians to also produce frogs.


8:8.  “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord.”


Sheer desperation had impelled Pharaoh’s promise, for as verse 15 reveals, he reneged as soon as he saw that the frogs had gone.  Nor is he the only one who has thus dissembled with God.  Many another, caught in the vice of adversity, has also promised reformation, only to break his vow as soon as the misfortune ended.


8:9.  “And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?”


“... Glory over me” is also translated You may have this triumph over me: Take this chance to get the better of me: The honor is yours to tell me: Make clear to me: Be pleased to command me: Of your royal favor, appoint me a time.  


8:10.  “And he said, Tomorrow.  And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.”


8:11.  “And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.”


Pharaoh was being given the opportunity to select the time when the frogs would be removed, so that he would know that their departure was by God’s decree, and not just by chance.


8:12.  “And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.”


8:13.  “And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.”


The removal of the frogs at the time selected by Pharaoh ought to have convinced him that the God of Moses and Aaron was omnipotent, and that He was the only God, all others being but the product of men’s deluded minds; but his self-hardened heart had become insensitive to every appeal, and blind to all evidence.  He had crossed the fatal line that separates God’s mercy from His wrath.  Repentance for him had become impossible. His doom was sealed, as is that of every man who resists the striving of the Holy Spirit, and crosses that same invisible deadly line.


8:14.  “And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.”


So many were the dead frogs which the people had piled in mounds in order to clear the ground of them, that the stench of their rotting bodies hung like the pall of death over the whole land.


8:15.  “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”


Repentance produced simply by the desire to escape from an unpleasant situation, but apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, is worthless, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” 2 Corinthians 7:10.


8:16.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”


8:17.  “And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”


“... lice” is also rendered vermin, maggots, mosquitoes, stinging gnats.


8:18.  “And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.”


See comments on 7:12.


8:19.  “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”


This latest miracle compelled even the magicians to admit that God was its Author; but nothing would induce the rebel king to make that same admission.  Having traveled the road to destruction, to the point where God would permit no retreat, the doomed insurgent plunged on headlong in his folly, and it is beyond the power of words to describe the eternal torment awaiting every other such rebel, first in hell, and thereafter for ever in the unquenchable flame of the dreadful lake of fire.


8:20.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”


8:21.  “Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.”


“... the ground whereon they are” means that every place on which they walked would also be covered with the flies, so that every step the people took, whether in their homes or outside, would be accompanied by the revolting squelching sound of the creatures being crushed under their feet.


8:22.  “And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.”


That the swarms of flies were not just an unusual natural phenomenon would be attested by the fact that the plague would not be in the land of Goshen where the Hebrews dwelt.


8:23.  “And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be.”


Further proof that the multiplied swarms of flies were not just a natural aberration, would be supplied by the fact that they would not appear until the time announced by God: the next day.


8:24.  “And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.”


“... corrupted” in the present context means infested: tainted: utterly wasted: ruined.


8:25.  “And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.”


Pharaoh was beginning to break under the increasing pressure being applied by God.  Up to this point he had been adamant in refusing to allow the Israelites to sacrifice to Jehovah anywhere, but now he would permit them to worship, the only condition being that they do so “in the land,” i.e., in Egypt.

See comments on 3:18 relative to their having to go three days’ journey into the desert in order to worship.


8:26.  “And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?”


A further reason why Israel must not sacrifice to God in Egypt is that some of the animals which the Hebrews offered in sacrifice to Jehovah were considered sacred by the Egyptians.


“... the abomination of the Egyptians” doesn’t refer to animals which the Egyptians abominated, but to those they considered sacred, and whose slaughter therefore would be an abominable act in their eyes.


8:27.  “We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he shall command us.”


8:28.  “And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.”


See comments on 3:18 relative to the three days’ journey into the desert.


8:29.  “And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”


This may not be taken to mean that Moses was willing to comply with Pharaoh’s decision to let the Hebrews go into the wilderness a short distance, and not the full three days’ journey commanded by Jehovah.  There could be no compromise relative to what God had commanded.


8:30.  “And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord.”


8:31.  “And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.”


8:32.  “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.”


Were this not the language of Scripture it would be difficult to believe that Pharaoh still hadn’t learnt the futility of rebellion against God; but the sad truth is that man’s deceitful heart is capable of leading him into unbelievable folly, even his own eternal destruction.

[Exodus 9]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough