Exodus 12:31
And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
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(31) He called for Moses and Aaron.—This does not mean that Pharaoh summoned them to his presence, but only that he sent a message to them. (See above, Exodus 11:8.) The messengers were undoubtedly chief officials; they “bowed themselves down” before Moses, who was now recognised as “very great” (Exodus 11:3), and delivered their master’s message, which granted in express terms all that Moses had ever demanded. Pharaoh’s spirit was, for the time, thoroughly broken.

Exodus 12:31-32. Rise up, and get you forth — Pharaoh had told Moses he should see his face no more, but now he sent for him; those will seek God in their distress, who before had set him at defiance. Such a fright he was now in that he gave orders by night for their discharge, fearing lest, if he delayed, he himself should fall next. And that he sent them out, not as men hated (as the pagan historians have represented this matter) but as men feared, is plain by his request to them. Bless me also — Let me have your prayers, that I may not be plagued for what is past when you are gone.

12:29-36 The Egyptians had been for three days and nights kept in anxiety and horror by the darkness; now their rest is broken by a far more terrible calamity. The plague struck their first-born, the joy and hope of their families. They had slain the Hebrews' children, now God slew theirs. It reached from the throne to the dungeon: prince and peasant stand upon the same level before God's judgments. The destroying angel entered every dwelling unmarked with blood, as the messenger of woe. He did his dreadful errand, leaving not a house in which there was not one dead. Imagine then the cry that rang through the land of Egypt, the long, loud shriek of agony that burst from every dwelling. It will be thus in that dreadful hour when the Son of man shall visit sinners with the last judgment. God's sons, his first-born, were now released. Men had better come to God's terms at first, for he will never come to theirs. Now Pharaoh's pride is abased, and he yields. God's word will stand; we get nothing by disputing, or delaying to submit. In this terror the Egyptians would purchase the favour and the speedy departure of Israel. Thus the Lord took care that their hard-earned wages should be paid, and the people provided for their journey.This plague is distinctly attributed here and in Exodus 12:23 to the personal intervention of the Lord; but it is to be observed that although the Lord Himself passed through to smite the Egyptians, He employed the agency of "the destroyer" Exodus 12:23, in whom, in accordance with Hebrews 11:28, all the ancient versions, and most critics, recognize an Angel (compare 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Samuel 24:16). 31. called for Moses and Aaron—a striking fulfilment of the words of Moses (Ex 11:8), and showing that they were spoken under divine suggestion. No text from Poole on this verse.

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night,.... Not that Pharaoh went in person, but he sent his servants to call them; for they never saw his face more after he had drove them from his presence; but now was fulfilled what Moses told him, that his servants should come to him in a very suppliant manner, and entreat him and his people to get away in all haste, Exodus 10:28. Where Moses and Aaron now were is not certain, probably in the city, or suburbs of it, where Pharaoh's palace was, for it is not likely that they were gone to Goshen:

and said, rise up; from their beds in which they now were, being midnight:

and get ye forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; even all of them, without any exception of women or children as before; and without limiting them to place or time, where they should go, and how long they should stay, and without obliging them to promise to return:

and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said; as they had entreated they might, and as they had demanded in the name of the Lord that they should; to which now he gave his consent, though he afterwards repented of it.

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
31. as ye have said] Exodus 3:18, Exodus 5:3, Exodus 7:16 (all J). It seems therefore (Di.) that the Pharaoh only gives leave for a temporary absence.

31, 32. The Pharaoh hastily summons Moses and Aaron, and gives permission for the people to go and serve Yahweh with their flocks and herds, as they had requested. ‘The passage has sometimes been deemed inconsistent with Exodus 10:29. But there is a difference between seeking an audience to demand leave to depart or threaten chastisement, and response to the urgent summons of the stricken king’ (C.-H.).

Verses 31-36. - THE DISMISSAL The first action seems to have been taken by Pharaoh. The "cry" of the people had no doubt been heard in the palace, and he was aware that the blow had not fallen on himself alone, and may have anticipated what the people's feelings would be; but he did not wait for any direct pressure to be put upon him before yielding. He sent his chief officers (Exodus 11:8) while it was still night (Exodus 12:31), to inform Moses and Aaron, not only that they might, but that they must take their departure immediately, with all the people, and added that they might take with them their flocks and herds. The surrender was thus complete; and it was accompanied by a request which we should scarcely have expected. Pharaoh craved at the hands of the two brothers a blessing! We are not told how his request was received; but that it should have been made is a striking indication of how his pride was humbled. The overture from Pharaoh was followed rapidly by a popular movement, which was universal and irresistible. The Egyptians "rose up" everywhere, and "were urgent upon the people," to "send them out of the land in haste" (ver. 33); and to expedite their departure readily supplied them at their request with gold and silver and raiment (ver. 35), thus voluntarily spoiling themselves for the benefit of the foreigners. The Israelites, long previously prepared for the moment which had now arrived, made their final arrangements, and before the day was over a lengthy column was set in motion, and proceeded from Rameses, which seems to have been a suburb of Tunis (Brugsch, Hist. of Egypt, vol. 2. pp. 96-99), to an unknown place called Succoth, which must have lain towards the south-east, and was probably not very remote from the capital Verse 31. - And he called for Moses and Aaron. Kalisch understands this as a summons to the King's presence (Commentary, p. 130), and even supposes that the two brothers complied, notwithstanding what Moses had said (Exodus 10:29). But perhaps no more is meant than at Pharaoh's instance Moses and Aaron were summoned to an interview with some of the Court officials (see Exodus 11:8). As ye have said. Literally, "according to your words." The reference is to such passages as Exodus 8:1, 20; Exodus 9:1, 13. Exodus 12:31The very same night Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and gave them permission to depart with their people, their children, and their cattle. The statement that Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron is not at variance with Exodus 10:28-29; and there is no necessity to resort to Calvin's explanation, "Pharaoh himself is said to have sent for those whom he urged to depart through the medium of messengers from the palace." The command never to appear in his sight again did not preclude his sending for them under totally different circumstances. The permission to depart was given unconditionally, i.e., without involving an obligation to return. This is evident from the words, "Get you forth from among my people," compared with Exodus 10:8, Exodus 10:24, "Go ye, serve Jehovah," and Exodus 8:25, "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land." If in addition to this we bear in mind, that although at first, and even after the fourth plague (Exodus 8:27), Moses only asked for a three days' journey to hold a festival, yet Pharaoh suspected that they would depart altogether, and even gave utterance to this suspicion, without being contradicted by Moses (Exodus 8:28, and Exodus 10:10); the words "Get you forth from among my people" cannot mean anything else than "depart altogether." Moreover, in Exodus 11:1 it was foretold to Moses that the result of the last blow would be, that Pharaoh would let them go, or rather drive them away; so that the effect of this blow, as here described, cannot be understood in any other way. And this is really implied in Pharaoh's last words, "Go, and bless me also;" whereas on former occasions he had only asked them to intercede for the removal of the plagues (Exodus 8:8, Exodus 8:28; Exodus 9:28; Exodus 10:17). בּרך, to bless, indicates a final leave-taking, and was equivalent to a request that on their departure they would secure or leave behind the blessing of their God, in order that henceforth no such plague might ever befall him and his people. This view of the words of the king is not at variance either with the expression "as ye have said" in Exodus 12:31, which refers to the words "serve the Lord," or with the same words in Exodus 12:32, for there they refer to the flock and herds, or lastly, with the circumstance that Pharaoh pursued the Israelites after they had gone, with the evident intention of bringing them back by force (Exodus 14:5.), because this resolution is expressly described as a change of mind consequent upon renewed hardening (Exodus 14:4-5).
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