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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 11

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 7


‘That ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’

Exodus 11:7

I. There is no difference by nature ( Romans 3:22-23).—All have sinned, all have come short, all are under the curse of a broken law. But by grace the difference is vast as the abyss of space, and is ever widening. There is a difference by grace, for whereas the Egyptians are at the best children of the fallen family of man, the Israelites, who are Israelites indeed, have been born again, the incorruptible seed has been sown in their hearts, and they have become partakers of the Divine nature.

II. There is a difference in their attitude.—The Egyptian says, ‘I know not the Lord, neither will I obey His voice.’ If he shows signs of relenting, and cries, ‘I have sinned,’ it is only under the pressure of some sudden and terrible calamity, because as soon as it is removed he returns again to the old courses, with even additional hardness of heart. But the Israelite, who is one in the inner man, knows God as Father and Friend. If he falls into sin he is filled with the most bitter compunction, not because of the penalties of sin, but because it causes sorrow to an Infinite Love. He goes softly and carefully, that he may not grieve the Holy Spirit of God; and is conscious that, in spite of all his unworthiness, God has made a covenant with him of life and peace. He is accepted in the Beloved, sees the face of God, knows Him and is known by Him.

III. This difference will, some day, become even more apparent, as one of destiny.—Even now it is clear that God makes a difference, not in outward circumstances always, but in peace and rest of soul; but ultimately the wicked shall be severed from among the just, as chaff from wheat; the Egyptians will be whelmed in the sea, whilst the Israel-host shall stand on its margin, with the harps of God. ‘They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels, and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked.’


(1) ‘In some senses there is no difference between Israel and Egypt. There is none as to sinnership, for all have sinned and come short, and none in inclusion in the love of God, Who is rich unto all them that call upon Him. But there is one, and a very deep one, between those who are included in the terms of the covenant, because of their faith in the God-appointed lamb, and those who are enemies in their mind by wicked works. That difference is ordained by God, and lies in the very nature of things. God is their strength and shield. He builds around them a strong wall of defence. He becomes to them a place of broad rivers and streams, on which goes no galley with oars, neither does gallant ship pass thereby. All is helpful and favourable, with as few disadvantages as possible. And when God thus becomes the Deliverer of His people, how absolutely does all opposition break down and give way.’

(2) ‘That there are diversities in human character and conduct, in human fortune and destiny, no one questions. The atheist sees in such diversities the result of circumstances and, since in his view there is no controlling mind in the universe, of inexplicable caprice. The Christian, on the contrary, believes that in these diversities there exists, though it is not always discoverable, the operation of Divine wisdom, and even of Divine benevolence. The providence of God and the moral nature of man are sufficient, if both were fully understood, to account for all.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Exodus 11". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/exodus-11.html. 1876.
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