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

11:1.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.”


God does nothing by half measure.  His judgments would secure not just the release of His people Israel, but their urgent dismissal by a Pharaoh brought to his knees by the plagues with which God had sought to lead him to repentant obedience.


11:2.  “Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.”


“Borrow” is used here, not in the usual sense of requesting a loan which was to be paid back: it means demand what was right.  The Israelites had been compelled to serve the Egyptians as bond slaves without wages, but now the day of reckoning had come, and God saw to it that the long overdue wages were paid.


And again, in keeping with what is represented scripturally by silver and gold, the silver is mentioned before the gold because, as we have noted already, silver represents redemption; and gold, glory; and one must by faith accept God’s priceless gift of redemption before he can become an heir of eternal glory.


11:3.  “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.”


“... favor” is also translated grace, prestige; and “very great” means was highly esteemed: well honored: feared.


11:4.  “And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:”


11:5.  “And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.”


That fateful midnight - not of the day God spoke to Moses, but a later date appointed by God - ended the day of grace, and began the day of judgment for Pharaoh and his people; and so is it with every man who refuses to bow before God and accept His gift of eternal life, by confessing himself a sinner, and by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.


In scripture the firstborn is a type of man in his natural state, and in the death of the Egyptian firstborn we have the symbolic warning that a man must be born again spiritually by confessing himself a sinner, and by trusting in Christ as Savior and Lord, for it is written, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” 1 Corinthians 15:50, “You must be born again,” John 3:7.


That “midnight hour” however, isn’t always the moment that brings a man to the end of his earthly life.  It may also be that instant when he unknowingly crosses the invisible line that separates God’s mercy from His wrath; when He withdraws the offer of pardon and salvation, and abandons the rebel to eternal doom, permitting him to live sometimes for many more years, but without any possibility of his ever being saved.  Note again God’s solemn warning relative to that dreadful possibility.  “My spirit shall not always strive with man ...” Genesis 6:3, “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Proverbs 29:1.


The maidservant behind the mill was the lowly servant whose work was to grind by hand the grain in the container behind which she sat.


11:6.  “And there was a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.”


That hopeless bitter lament will be continued eternally by all who refuse to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It foreshadows also the dreadful horrors that will evoke worldwide wailing in the now imminent Great Tribulation.


11:7.  “But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”


Some scholars understand this to mean not that no dog will bark against the Israelites, but that not even a dog belonging to them will be harmed.  They and their animals will be spared, while the firstborn of the Egyptians’ animals will die as well as the firstborn of their children.


11:8.  “And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out.  And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.”


Proud Pharaoh, refusing to acknowledge the supremacy of God, was about to be brought low, as will be every other rebel.  Under the judgments of Jehovah the proud king who had refused to release Israel, would not only permit them to go: he would urge them to depart.


11:9.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”


The omniscient Creator foreknew that Egypt’s rebel king would never abandon the path of folly upon which he had embarked to his own unperceived destruction.  He who could have glorified God by obedience would be compelled to glorify Him even by continued rebellion.  And so is it still.  God will be glorified as much by the eternal punishment of the unrepentant sinner, as by the eternal blessing of the saint.


11:10.  “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.”


Pharaoh, having chosen to harden his heart against Jehovah, was thus delivered to eternal destruction.  His self-chosen hardening of heart was made irreversible, as will be that of every man who persists in rejecting the striving of the Holy Spirit, as it is written, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” Genesis 6:3; “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Proverbs 29:1.

[Exodus 12]


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