Exodus 10:7
And Pharaoh's servants said to him, How long shall this man be a snare to us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: know you not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
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(7) Let the men go.—Though the heart of Pharaoh remained hard, the plagues had a certain effect on the minds of the Egyptians. First, the magicians were impressed, and said, “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19). Then a certain number of the people “feared the word of the Lord, and made their servants and their cattle flee into the houses” (Exodus 9:20). Now the very officers of the Court, those who were in the closest contact with the king, believed that the words of Moses would come true, and counselled the king to yield, and “let the men go.” It has been supposed that they meant “the men only” (Knobel, Cook); but this is pure conjecture. The word used, which is not that of Exodus 10:11, would cover women and children. The officers of the Court—rich landowners mostly—would dread impending ruin if the wheat and doora crops were destroyed, and would intend to counsel entire submission.

Exodus 10:7. Pharaoh’s servants — His nobles and counsellors; said, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? — That is, lay before us the occasion of our falling into one calamity after another. To the impenitent the punishment of sin, not the sin which is punished, is the cause of their sorrow. Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? — It was so in a great degree by these repeated and very destructive plagues.10:1-11 The plagues of Egypt show the sinfulness of sin. They warn the children of men not to strive with their Maker. Pharaoh had pretended to humble himself; but no account was made of it, for he was not sincere therein. The plague of locusts is threatened. This should be much worse than any of that kind which had ever been known. Pharaoh's attendants persuade him to come to terms with Moses. Hereupon Pharaoh will allow the men to go, falsely pretending that this was all they desired. He swears that they shall not remove their little ones. Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety. Whatever would put us from engaging our children in God's service, we have reason to suspect Satan in it. Nor should the young forget that the Lord's counsel is, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth; but Satan's counsel is, to keep children in a state of slavery to sin and to the world. Mark that the great foe of man wishes to retain him by the ties of affection, as Pharaoh would have taken hostages from the Israelites for their return, by holding their wives and children in captivity. Satan is willing to share our duty and our service with the Saviour, because the Saviour will not accept those terms.For the first time the officers of Pharaoh intervene before the scourge is inflicted, showing at once their belief in the threat, and their special terror of the infliction. Also, for the first time, Pharaoh takes measures to prevent the evil; he does not indeed send for Moses and Aaron, but he permits them to be brought into his presence.

Let the men go - i. e. the men only, not all the people. See Exodus 10:8.

7-11. Pharaoh's servants said—Many of his courtiers must have suffered serious losses from the late visitations, and the prospect of such a calamity as that which was threatened and the magnitude of which former experience enabled them to realize, led them to make a strong remonstrance with the king. Finding himself not seconded by his counsellors in his continued resistance, he recalled Moses and Aaron, and having expressed his consent to their departure, inquired who were to go. The prompt and decisive reply, "all," neither man nor beast shall remain, raised a storm of indignant fury in the breast of the proud king. He would permit the grown-up men to go away; but no other terms would be listened to. How long shall this man be a snare; an occasion of sin and destruction? See Exodus 23:33 Joshua 23:13. And Pharaoh's servants said to him,.... His courtiers and counsellors, such of them as were not so hardened as others, or however now began to relent, and dreaded what would be the consequence of things, even the ruin of the whole country, the good of which they seem to have had at heart:

how long shall this man be a snare unto us? an occasion of ruin and destruction, as birds by a snare; they speak in a contemptuous manner of Moses, calling him "this man", the rather to ingratiate themselves into the good will of Pharaoh, and that their advice might be the better and the easier taken:

let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: that is, Moses and his people, grant them their request, that the land may be preserved from ruin; for if things go on long at this rate, utter destruction must ensue:

knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? as good as ruined, by the plagues that already were come upon it, especially by the last, by the murrain and boils upon the cattle, which destroyed great quantities, and by the hail which had smitten their flax and their barley; or, "must thou first know that Egypt is destroyed?" before thou wilt let the people go; or dost thou first wish, or is it thy pleasure, that it should be first declared to thee that Egypt is destroyed, as Aben Ezra interprets it, before thou wilt grant the dismission of this people? The Targum of Jonathan is,"dost thou not yet know, that by his hands the land of Egypt must perish?''See Gill on Exodus 1:15. See Gill on Exodus 2:15.

And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a {c} snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?

(c) Meaning, the occasion of all these evils: so are the godly ever charged as Elijah was by Ahab.

7. a snare] fig. for an occasion of destruction. See 1 Samuel 18:21; and cf. on ch. Exodus 23:33 Lit. a fowling-instrument; and probably, in fact, not a ‘snare’ (i.e. a noose; Germ. Schnur, a ‘string’) at all, but the trigger of a trap with the bait upon it1[127].

[127] This must be the meaning, if the Mass. text of Amos 3:5 a (‘Will a bird fall into a trap upon the earth, when there is no môkçsh for it?’) is right; but even though ‘into a trap’ be omitted with LXX., it still (in spite of EB. ii. 1561) seems to be a probable meaning of the word.

destroyed] i.e. ruined, viz. through all the calamities that have visited it.

7–11. The Pharaoh’s ministers suggest to him that Moses should no longer be permitted to ruin Egypt. He accordingly makes an attempt to come to terms with Moses; but when Moses declares that the whole people must go to hold the feast to Jehovah, he replies that he can only in the men go. The ministers shew by what they say that they are prompted not by religious fear, but only by solicitude for the welfare of their country, the misfortunes of which they attribute to Moses.Verse 7. - And Pharaoh's servants said unto him. This marks quite a new phase in the proceedings. Hitherto the courtiers generally had been dumb. Once the magicians had ventured to say - "This is the finger of God" (Exodus 8:19); but otherwise the entire court had been passive, and left the king to himself. They are even said to have "hardened their hearts" like him (Exodus 9:34). But now at last they break their silence and interfere. Having lost most of their cattle, and a large part of the year's crops, the great men became alarmed - they were large landed proprietors, and the destruction of the wheat and doora crops would seriously impoverish, if not actually ruin them. Moreover, it is to be noted that they interfere before the plague has begun, when it is simply threatened, which shows that they had come to believe in the power of Moses. Such a belief on the part of some had appeared, when the plague of hail was threatened (Exodus 9:20); now it would seem to have become general. A snare to us - i.e. "a peril" - "a source of danger," the species being put for the genus. The eighth plague; the Locusts. - Exodus 10:1-6. As Pharaoh's pride still refused to bend to the will of God, Moses was directed to announce another, and in some respects a more fearful, plague. At the same time God strengthened Moses' faith, by telling him that the hardening of Pharaoh and his servants was decreed by Him, that these signs might be done among them, and that Israel might perceive by this to all generations that He was Jehovah (cf. Exodus 7:3-5). We may learn from Psalm 78 and 105 in what manner the Israelites narrated these signs to their children and children's children. אתת שׁית, to set or prepare signs (Exodus 10:1), is interchanged with שׂוּם (Exodus 10:2) in the same sense (vid., Exodus 8:12). The suffix in בּקרבּו (Exodus 10:1) refers to Egypt as a country; and that in בּם (Exodus 10:2) to the Egyptians. In the expression, "thou mayest tell," Moses is addressed as the representative of the nation. התעלּל: to have to do with a person, generally in a bad sense, to do him harm (1 Samuel 31:4). "How I have put forth My might" (De Wette).
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