Exodus 10:8
And Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh: and he said to them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go?
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(8) Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh.—Moses and Aaron had uttered their threat, and had straightway left his presence. The courtiers “brought them again to Pharaoh.” The courtiers, no doubt, supposed that the king would yield; and the king was prepared to yield to a certain extent. But he had conceived of a compromise in his own mind, and this he hoped to impose upon Moses; hence his insidious question—

Who are they that shall go?—Pharaoh had not hitherto raised this question. He had known well enough that the demand extended to all the people (Exodus 8:8); but now he pretends that there had been an ambiguity, and requires that it shall be cleared up. Moses gives him an answer (Exodus 10:9) which takes away all further pretence of doubt.

Exodus 10:8. Who are they that shall go? — I am not willing you should all go: it will degrade me in the sight of my subjects that I should be obliged to submit to him who thus makes himself the very friend of my slaves. When he is compelled to yield, yet it is with extreme reluctance, and as little as possible.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. No text from Poole on this verse. And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh,.... Upon this motion of his ministers, messengers were sent to bring them in again:

and he said, go, serve the Lord your God; as you have often desired:

but who are they that shall go? or, "who and who" (f)? for Pharaoh was unwilling that they should all go, but would have some retained as pledges of their return; for he was jealous of a design to get out of his country, and never return again, which he could not bear the thoughts of, even of losing such a large number of men he had under his power, and from whom he received so much profit and advantage by their labour.

(f) "qui et qui?" Pagninus, Montanus; "quis & quis?" Vatablus.

And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go?
8. again] back, a frequent sense of ‘again’ in Old English.Verse 8. - Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh. Pharaoh did not condescend so far as to send for them, but he allowed his courtiers to bring them to him. And he so far took the advice of his courtiers, that he began by a general permission to the Israelites to take their departure. This concession, however, he almost immediately retracted by a question, which implied that all were not to depart. Who are they that shall go? It seems somewhat strange that the king had not yet clearly understood what the demand made of him was. But perhaps he had not cared to know, since he had had no intention of granting it. 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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