King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 11

God’s last instructions to Moses respecting Pharaoh and the Egyptians. (1-3) The death of the first-born threatened. (4-10)

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God’s last instructions to Moses respecting Pharaoh and the Egyptians

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.

2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.

3 And the LORD gave the people favour 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.

The death of the first-born threatened

4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:

5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born 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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. To Moses, before he was gone out from Pharao. M. — This revelation had been made at Mount Horeb. Calmet places the three first verses within a parenthesis; and the fourth, &c. he supposes that Moses addressed to the king a the last interview. C. x. 29. Kennicott maintains, that the Samaritan copy preserves the unity of this awful transaction almost in its original perfection, by preserving the speech of God to Moses, part of which the Hebrew seems to address to Pharao.

Ver. 2. Ask; “not borrow,” as the Protestants translate; nor “jewels of silver,” but vessels, such as the princes offered at the dedication of the tabernacle, Num. vii. The Sam. and Sept. add “and raiment,” which they also asked for, (C. xii. 35,) according to God’s command. C. iii. 22. Kenn. 1. Dis. p. 391.

Ver. 3. The Lord. The Sam. makes this a continuation of God’s speech, “and I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they shall give them what they ask. — 4. For, about midnight, I will go forth into the midst of the land of Egypt. — 5. And every first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, &c. (as in our fifth verse. — 6. And there, &c. — 7. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue against man, nor even against beast, that thou mayest know that Jehovah doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. — 8. And thou also shall be greatly honoured in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharao’s servants, and in the sight of the people. — 9. Then said Moses unto Pharao, Thus sayeth Jehovah: Israel is my son, my first-born; and I said unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me. — 10. But thou hast refused to let him go; behold! therefore Jehovah slayeth thy son, thy first-born.” — 11. And Moses said, (as above, v. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.) The Jews have retained the parts of the 3d and 8th verses, which were honourable to their nation, but they have given them as an historical narration. The 9th and 10th verses in the Sam. copy, record what God had before commanded Moses to declare. C. iv. 22. 33. As, therefore, all had been once written in the Heb. text, the transcribers might probably think themselves dispensed from repeating the same things; and thus they might change some passages, and still repel the accusation of any wilful corruption, which seems to be the meaning of Ben Chaim’s preface to Bromberg’s Heb. Bible; where he acknowledges 13 such alterations made in the copies which were presented to King Ptolemy, and translated by the Sept. Ken. Dis. 2. p. 310. — Moses. This exaltation of Moses and the people took place only after the slaughter of the first-born. C. xii. 36. Hence the Sept. observes here, the Egyptians gave or lent to them (echresan) all. H. — The greatness and dignity of Moses, impressed the king with awe, and made the people more willing to assist the Hebrews. M.

Ver. 4. I will enter, by means of a good angel, (Wisd. xviii. 14. S. Chrys.) or by evil angels. Ps. lxxvii. 49. S. Aug. ibid. C. — Moses spoke this on the morning of the 14th Nisan; and that same night, after the paschal lamb had been eaten, the dreadful carnage commenced. M.

Ver. 5. Mill. The vilest slaves were thus employed in a sort of prison. C. xii. 21. God makes no distinction between the king and the beggar. Death levels all.

Ver. 7. Dog. They shall enjoy a profound peace, (Judith xi. 5,) while Egypt is in tears. Calmet here inserts the speech from the Samaritan copy, “And the man Moses;” &c. (v. 3. and seq.) deeming it essential to the context, and very agreeable to the spirit of Moses, who has many repetitions. H.

Ver. 9. Angry, at such obstinacy. M.

Ver. 10. The Lord hardened, &c. See the annotations above, chap. iv. 21. and chap. vii. 3.