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Ex 11:1-10. DEATH OF THE FIRST-BORN THREATENED.
1. the Lord said--rather, "had said unto Moses." It may be inferred, therefore, that he had been apprised that the crisis had now arrived, that the next plague would so effectually humble and alarm the mind of Pharaoh, that he would "thrust them out thence altogether"; and thus the word of Moses (Ex 10:29), must be regarded as a prediction.
4. Thus saith the Lord, About midnight--Here is recorded the
announcement of the last plague made in the most solemn manner to the
king, on whose hardened heart all his painful experience had hitherto
produced no softening, at least no permanently good effect.
5. And all the first-born in the land . . . shall
die--The time, the suddenness, the dreadful severity of this coming
calamity, and the peculiar description of victims, among both men and
beasts, on whom it was to fall, would all contribute to aggravate its
6. shall be a great cry throughout all the land--In the case of a death, people in the East set up loud wailings, and imagination may conceive what "a great cry" would be raised when death would invade every family in the kingdom.
7. against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue--No town or village in Egypt or in the East generally is free from the nuisance of dogs, who prowl about the streets and make the most hideous noise at any passers-by at night. What an emphatic significance does the knowledge of this circumstance give to this fact in the sacred record, that on the awful night that was coming, when the air should be rent with the piercing shrieks of mourners, so great and universal would be the panic inspired by the hand of God, that not a dog would move his tongue against the children of Israel!
8. all these thy servants shall . . . bow down themselves
unto me--This would be the effect of the universal terror; the
hearts of the proudest would be humbled and do reverential homage to
God, in the person of His representative.