Exodus 9:20
He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
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(20, 21) He that feared . . . —Some impression, we see, had been made by the preceding plagues, and the warning was taken to some extent; but it was otherwise with many. So in Gospel times, “Some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not” (Acts 28:24). The result was death, both to the cattle and their keepers (Exodus 9:19). (Comp. Joshua 10:11.)

Exodus 9:20. He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh — By this time it appears that these terrible judgments had not been executed entirely in vain. A few, at least, were hereby brought to stand in awe of God and perhaps truly to turn to him. Such persons, believing the discoveries which he had given of his displeasure at the slavery and oppression of his people, and not concurring in this part of the national crimes, regarded the notice God had given, and saved their servants and the remnant of their cattle.9:13-21 Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message to Pharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man of such a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with; and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power of God has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies. When God's justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same time shows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguished between Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians and others. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgment itself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Some believed the things which were spoken, and they feared, and housed their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Even among the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God's word; and shall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not, and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deaf to the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leaves the blood of those that perish upon their own heads.The word of the Lord - This gives the first indication that the warnings had a salutary effect upon the Egyptians.20, 21. He that feared the word of the Lord … regarded not, &c.—Due premonition, it appears, had been publicly given of the impending tempest—the cattle seem to have been sent out to graze, which is from January to April, when alone pasturage can be obtained, and accordingly the cattle were in the fields. This storm occurring at that season, not only struck universal terror into the minds of the people, but occasioned the destruction of all—people and cattle—which, in neglect of the warning, had been left in the fields, as well as of all vegetation [Ex 9:25]. It was the more appalling because hailstones in Egypt are small and of little force; lightning also is scarcely ever known to produce fatal effects; and to enhance the wonder, not a trace of any storm was found in Goshen [Ex 9:26]. No text from Poole on this verse. He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh,.... Who, if they had not the true fear of God, and were not sincere proselytes, yet had a servile fear of him, and dreaded his word, his threatening, his denunciations of judgments and predictions of future punishments; of which they had had many instances wherein they were fulfilled, and therefore had reason to fear that this also would, even the word that had been just now spoken:

made his servants and cattle flee into the houses; called home his servants, and drove his cattle in great haste out of the fields, and brought them home as fast as he could, and housed them; in which he acted the wise and prudent part, and showed a concern for his servants and his cattle, as well as believed the word of the Lord.

He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
20, 21. How the Pharaoh’s servants—i.e. his courtiers and minister—act in consequence.

22, 23a (E). The hail comes at the signal given by Moses with his rod. The rod in Moses’ hand is a mark of E: see on Exodus 4:17.

23a. sent thunder] lit. gave voices. ‘Voices’ is a common expression in Heb. for ‘thunder’ (vv. 29, 33, 34, Exodus 19:16, Exodus 20:18, 1 Samuel 12:17-18 [with ‘gave,’ as here], Job 28:26; Job 38:25; cf. Revelation 4:5; Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:15, &c.): in a thunderstorm the Hebrews imagined Jehovah, enveloped in light, to be borne along in the dark thunder cloud; the flashes of lightning were glimpses of the brilliancy within, caused by the clouds parting; and the thunder was His voice. See especially Psalm 18:10-13; Psalm 29:3-9 (where ‘the voice of Jehovah’ means the thunder), Job 36:29; Job 37:2. With ‘gave voices’ here, cf. ‘gave (i.e. uttered) his voice’ (in thunder), Psalm 18:13; Psalm 46:6; Psalm 68:33 al.

23b (J). The sequel of v. 18 [vv. 19–21 being parenthetic) in J.Verse 20. - He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh. It is a new fact that any of the Egyptians had been brought to "fear the word of Jehovah." Probably, the effect of the plagues had been gradually to convince a considerable number, not so much that Jehovah was the one True God as that he was a great and powerful god, whose chastisements were to be feared. Consequently there were now a certain number among the "servants of Pharaoh" who pro-fired by the warning given (ver. 19), and housed their cattle and herdsmen, in anticipation of the coming storm. As the plagues had thus far entirely failed to bend the unyielding heart of Pharaoh under the will of the Almighty God, the terrors of that judgment, which would infallibly come upon him, were set before him in three more plagues, which were far more terrible than any that had preceded them. That these were to be preparatory to the last decisive blow, is proved by the great solemnity with which they were announced to the hardened king (Exodus 9:13-16). This time Jehovah was about to "send all His strokes at the heart of Pharaoh, and against his servants and his people" (Exodus 9:14). אל־לבּך does not signify "against thy person," for לב is not used for נפשׁ, and even the latter is not a periphrasis for "person;" but the strokes were to go to the king's heart, "It announces that they will be plagues that will not only strike the head and arms, but penetrate the very heart, and inflict a mortal wound" (Calvin). From the plural "strokes," it is evident that this threat referred not only to the seventh plague, viz., the hail, but to all the other plagues, through which Jehovah was about to make known to the king that "there was none like Him in all the earth,;" i.e., that not one of the gods whom the heathen worshipped was like Him, the only true God. For, in order to show this, Jehovah had not smitten Pharaoh and his people at once with pestilence and cut them off from the earth, but had set him up to make him see, i.e., discern or feel His power, and to glorify His name in all the earth (Exodus 9:15, Exodus 9:16). In Exodus 9:15 וגו שׁלחתּי (I have stretched out, etc.) is to be taken as the conditional clause: "If I had now stretched out My hand and smitten thee...thou wouldest have been cut off." העמדתּיך forms the antithesis to תּכּהד, and means to cause to stand or continue, as in 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Chronicles 9:8 (διετηρήθης lxx). Causing to stand presupposes setting up. In this first sense the Apostle Paul has rendered it ἐξήγειρα in Romans 9:17, in accordance with the purport of his argument, because "God thereby appeared still more decidedly as absolutely determining all that was done by Pharaoh" (Philippi on Romans 9:17). The reason why God had not destroyed Pharaoh at once was twofold: (1) that Pharaoh himself might experience (הראת to cause to see, i.e., to experience) the might of Jehovah, by which he was compelled more than once to give glory to Jehovah (Exodus 9:27; Exodus 10:16-17; Exodus 12:31); and (2) that the name of Jehovah might be declared throughout all the earth. As both the rebellion of the natural man against the word and will of God, and the hostility of the world-power to the Lord and His people, were concentrated in Pharaoh, so there were manifested in the judgments suspended over him the patience and grace of the living God, quite as much as His holiness, justice, and omnipotence, as a warning to impenitent sinners, and a support to the faith of the godly, in a manner that should by typical for all times and circumstances of the kingdom of God in conflict with the ungodly world. The report of this glorious manifestation of Jehovah spread at once among all the surrounding nations (cf. Exodus 15:14.), and travelled not only to the Arabians, but to the Greeks and Romans also, and eventually with the Gospel of Christ to all the nations of the earth (vid., Tholuck on Romans 9:17).
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