King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 8

The plague of frogs. (1-15) The plague of lice. (16-19) The plague of flies. (20-32)

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The plague of frogs

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.

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

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:

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

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.

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

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

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.

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?

10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

The plague of lice

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.

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.

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.

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.

The plague of flies

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.

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.

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.

23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.

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.

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

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?

27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.

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.

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, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.

30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.

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.

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

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 3. Frogs, not by a new creation; but the spawn was miraculously brought to maturity. C. — Angels, or a divine instinct, brought them to infest all places; and thus they became a more grievous plague than that of blood. M.

Ver. 4. Servants. The Abderites and Dardanians were formerly obliged to abandon their country by such a plague. Orosius iii. 23. Plin. viii. 29. C. — Here the Samaritan copy adds, that Moses delivered this message to Pharao. H.

Ver. 7. Frogs, few in number, and brought by the ministry of devils. M.

Ver. 8. Pray ye to the Lord, &c. By this it appears, that though the magicians, by the help of the devil, could bring frogs, yet they could not take these away: God being pleased to abridge in this the power of Satan. So we see they could not afterwards produce the lesser insects; and in this restraint of the power of the devil, were forced to acknowledge the finger of God.

Ver. 9. A time. Moses thus prevents the king from attributing their departure to natural causes. Pharao was perhaps inclined to suspect this would be the case, and therefore had a mind to wait till the morrow. M.

Ver. 14. Corrupted. This helped to produce the ensuing plague of flies, &c. C. — The Egyptians might then recollect the putrid carcasses of the children, whom they had drowned. H.

Ver. 15. Pharao hardened his own heart. By this we see that Pharao was himself the efficient cause of his heart being hardened, and not God. See the same repeated in ver. 32. Pharao hardened his heart at this time also; likewise chap. ix. 7. 35, and chap. xiii. 15. Ch. — This is the constant doctrine of the holy fathers. S. Aug. ser. 88. de temp. q. 18. 28. 36. S. Basil, orat. “that god is not the author of evil.” S. Chrys. hom. 67. in Jo. &c. Hence Origen, periar. 3. says, “The Scripture sheweth manifestly that Pharao was hardened by his own will; for God said to him, thou wouldst not: if thou wilt not dismiss Israel.” Even the priests of the Philistines were so well convinced of this, that they said, (1 K. vi. 6,) Why do you harden your hearts? God therefore hardened them only by not absolutely hindering their wickedness, and by punishing them with less severity, as they did not deserve to be corrected like dear children, Hebrews xii. — Perdition is from thyself. Ose. xii. 9. Thus God cast Pharao into the sea, by permitting, not by forcing, him to enter. Ex. xv. 4. How shocking must then the blasphemous doctrine of Zuinglius, (ser. de provid. 5,) Calvin, (Instit. 8. 17,) &c. appear, who attribute every wicked deed to God, though they pretend at the same time that he is not unjust, even when he commands and impels a man to commit murder or adultery! Idem facinus puta adulterium…quantum Dei est auctoris, motoris, impulsoris opus est, crimen non est; quantum hominis est, crimen ac scelus est. Zuing. sup. The light of reason may suffice to confute such absurdity. W.

Ver. 16. Sciniphs, or Cinifs, Hebrew Cinnim, small flying insects, very troublesome both to men and beasts. Ch. — Like midges. Origen, hom. 4. Others think they were lice. Bochart. Pharao is not forewarned of this plague.

Ver. 18. Practiced, fecerunt; the same expression as v. 7: whence some argue, that the former were delusions, not real changes. H. — God was pleased to shew here the vanity of their attempts, and the imbecility of the devil, who could not even bring a single animalcule or insect, though he had before appeared to work great wonders. T.

Ver. 19. Finger, the spirit, (Lu. xi. 20. comp. Matt. xii. 28,) or power of God. Is. xl. 12. The magicians here confess, that Moses is something more than themselves. C. — Thus God interferes, whenever a contest of miracles, real or apparent, might lead any sincere seeker astray. He caused the priests of Baal to be confounded; (3 K. xix,) and Simon Magus, flying in the air, was hurled down at the prayer of S. Peter. Hegesip. Cyrola, the Arian patriarch, attempting to deceive the people, by giving sight to a man whom he bribed to feign himself blind; and Calvin, who wished to have the honour of raising a man to life, at Geneva, by the like imposition, were both deservedly covered with confusion; while, of those unhappy men who joined in the collusion, one lost his sight, and the other his life. Greg. of Tours ii. Hist. 3. Bolsec. On such occasions, we are admonished to be on our guard, and to adhere to the old religion. Deut. xiii. Matt. xxiv. W. — The magicians, though fully convinced, were not still converted.

Ver. 21. Flies. Heb. earob. Sept. “dog-flies.” Some include under this plague all sorts of wild beasts. Josep. ii. 13. Wisd. xi. 9. 16. 18. Insects are very troublesome, and the pagans honoured Jupiter with the title of Apomuios, because he delivered them from flies. Beelzebub, “the god-fly,” got his name for the same reason. 4 K. i. 1. C.

Ver. 22. Gessen, where the Hebrews dwelt. The Egyptians who lived among them would not, however, escape this plague.

Ver. 23. Be. Here again the Sam. copy observes, that Moses told this to Pharao. H.

Ver. 24. The Lord, without the intervention of the rod, lest any inherent power might be supposed to rest in it. M. — Corrupted, ravaged; men and beasts being destroyed by their bite or sting. Ps. lxxvii. 45. Wisd. xvi. 9.

Ver. 26. The abominations, &c. That is, the things they worship for gods: oxen, rams, &c. It is the usual style of the Scriptures to call all idols and false gods, abominations; to signify how much the people of God ought to detest and abhor them. Ch. — The Egyptians adored the stars, and even the vilest creatures, on account of some advantage which they derived from them. Cicero, N. Deor. i. They sometimes sacrificed animals; though, at first, “they offered only prayer and incense.” Macrob. Satur. i. 7. Gen. xliii. 16. Their belief in the transmigration of souls, perhaps, induced them to abstain from the immolation of beasts. C.

Ver. 32. Hardened. Heb. and Sept. “Pharao hardened his heart for this time also.” M.