Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Exodus 11

This chapter is a transitional chapter. It begins on an oddly jarring note, that the Hebrews are to ask their neighbors for items of silver and gold, and their neighbors will comply. Then the scene returns to Moses before Pharaoh, and Moses tells Pharaoh of the massive death that is to transpire. The goal of this plague, we are told, is to show the Egyptians that God distinguishes between Hebrews and Egyptians.

The one interesting point is that Moses leaves, "hot with anger." It seems so incongruous, not only because Moses is such a self-effacing person, but also because he knows that the Lord is responsible for Pharaoh's intransigence. The Hebrew for anger, 'aph, is the word used for the nostrils through which God breathed life into Adam.

Another interesting point is that Egypt receives 10 plagues as its instructions, while Israel later receives 10 commandments. In Deuteronomy 27, the parallel between plagues and unkept commandments is made clearer, as Israel calls down curses on those who do not keep the commandments. While the parallel between plagues and commandments is clearly inexact, an interesting study would examine this point more closely.


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