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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 8

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



God sends Moses to Pharaoh that he might let the people go, Exodus 8:1.

He threatens his denial with a judgment of frogs, Exodus 8:2-4.

Aaron stretching forth his rod, Egypt is covered with frogs, Exodus 8:6.

The magicians do so, Exodus 8:7.

Pharaoh calls Moses and Aaron to entreat the Lord to remove the frogs, and promises them to let them go, Exodus 8:8.

Moses and Aaron cry to the Lord to take away the frogs, Exodus 8:12; which he did, Exodus 8:13.

Pharaoh’s heart still hardened, Exodus 8:15.

Aaron stretching forth his rod smites the dust, which becomes lice, Exodus 8:17.

The magicians attempt the same, but could not, Exodus 8:18; which extorted a confession from them that this is the finger of God, yet Pharaoh is hardened, Exodus 8:19.

Swarms of flies threatened, Exodus 8:20-23.

God fulfills his word, Exodus 8:24.

Pharaoh sends for Moses and Aaron, and permits a sacrifice in Egypt, Exodus 8:25.

Moses would go three days into the wilderness, Exodus 8:27.

Pharaoh permits that, but not far, Exodus 8:28.

The flies are removed, Exodus 8:29-31.

Pharaoh is hardened, Exodus 8:32.

Verse 2

All thy land which is within thy borders; a synecdoche; so that word is used also Exodus 10:4,Exodus 10:19; 1 Kings 1:3 Psalms 147:14; Jeremiah 15:13. So the gate and the wall are put for the city to which they belong, Genesis 22:17; Amos 1:7,Amos 1:10,Amos 1:14.

Verse 3

The river; under which are comprehended all other rivers, streams, and ponds, as appears from Exodus 8:5. But the river Nilus is mentioned, because God would make that an instrument of their misery in which they most gloried, Ezekiel 29:3, and to which they gave divine honours, and which was the instrument of their cruelty against the Israelites, Exodus 1:22.

Into thy bed-chamber; either because God made the doors and windows to fly open, which it is easy to believe concerning God, seeing that this hath been many times done by evil angels; or because whensoever men entered into any house, or any room of their house, which their occasions would oft force them to do, the frogs, being always at their heels in great numbers, would go in with them. This plague was worse than the former, because it was more constant and more general; for the former was only in the waters, and did only molest them when they went to drink or use the water; but this infected all liquors, and all places, and at all times, and annoyed all their senses with their filthy substance, and shape, and noise, and stink, and mingled themselves with their meats, and sauces, and drinks, and crawling into their beds made them restless. And many of them probably were of a more ugly shape and infectious nature than ordinary.

Verse 4

Not upon the Israelites, whom he hereby exempts from the number of Pharaoh’s people and subjects, and owns them for his peculiar people. The frogs did not only invade their houses, but assault their persons, which is not strange, considering that they were armed with a Divine commission and power.

Verse 5

The Lord spake unto Moses, by inward instinct or suggestion to his mind; for He was now in the king’s presence.

Verse 7

Nor was it hard for the devil to produce them out of their own spawn, and the slime of the river.

Verse 9

Glory over me: as I have gloried over thee in laying first my commands, and then my plagues upon thee, so now lay thy commands upon me for the time of my praying; and if I do not what thou requirest, I am content thou shouldst insult over me, punish me. Or, glory, or boast thyself of, or concerning me, as one that thy God’s power can do that for thee which all thy magicians cannot, of whom therefore thou now seest thou canst not glory nor boast, as thou hast hitherto done.

When shall I entreat for thee? Appoint me what time thou pleasest. Hereby he knew that the hand and glory of God would be more conspicuous in it. And this was no presumption in Moses, because he had a large commission, Exodus 7:1; and also had particular direction from God in all that he said or did in these matters.

Verse 10

Why not presently?

Answ. 1. Because he hoped ere that time they might be removed, either by natural causes or by chance, and so he should not need the favour of Moses or his God.

2. Because he thought it a hard and long work to remove so vast a number of frogs, and that Moses might use divers ceremonies, as the magicians did, in his addresses to God, which would require some considerable time.

Verse 12

Or, as the place is fitly rendered by others, because of the word, or matter of, or about the frogs which he had given or propounded to Pharaoh. Because he had given his word both for the thing and the time of it, he prayed more earnestly lest God should be dishonoured, and Pharaoh have occasion of triumph. The Hebrew verbs to put and to give are frequently exchanged, as appears by comparing 1 Kings 10:9, with 2 Chronicles 9:8; and Isaiah 42:1, with Matthew 12:18.

Moses cried unto the Lord: though he was assured that the frogs would depart at his word, yet he would use the means appointed by God for the accomplishment of it.

Verse 13

A short speech for they died and were removed out of, &c, as appears from the next verse; it being frequent in the Hebrew tongue under one verb expressed to understand another agreeable to it. See examples in the Hebrew, Genesis 43:33,Genesis 43:34; Exodus 18:12; Exodus 25:2; Proverbs 25:22.

Verse 14

Doubtless they cast them into their rivers, or pits, &c., though that be not here mentioned. God would not instantly and wholly take them away, both to convince them of the truth of the miracle, and to make them more sensible of this judgment, and more fearful of bringing another upon themselves.

Verse 16

God, it seems, gave him no warning, because he showed himself in the very last plague to be both perfidious and incorrigible. Others think he was forewarned, though that be not here expressed.

Lice, so the Hebrew word is rendered by all the Jewish and most other interpreters. But it is probable that what is said of the locusts, Exodus 10:14, was true of these, that they were much more loathsome and troublesome than ordinary.

Verse 17

The dust was not fit matter to produce lice, and therefore shows this work to be Divine and miraculous.

All the dust of the land, i.e. a great part of it, the word all being commonly so understood in Scripture.

Verse 18

Did so, i.e. endeavoured to do so. Thus to enter, Matthew 7:13, is put for striving to enter, Luke 13:24. Thus men are said to deliver, Genesis 37:21; to fight, Joshua 24:9; to return, Joshua 10:15; when they only attempted or endeavoured to do so. And therefore when it is said in any of the plagues that the magicians did so, it is not to be understood that they really did the same thing, but that they endeavoured to do so, and that they did something which looked like it.

It was as easy for them to produce lice as frogs, but God hindered them, partly to confound them and their devilish arts, and to show that what they did before was only by his permission; and partly to convince Pharaoh and the Egyptians of their vanity in trusting to such impotent magicians, and in opposing that God who could control and confound them when he pleased.

Verse 19

The finger is put either synecdochically for the hand, as it is Exodus 31:18; Psalms 8:3; Psalms 144:1; or metaphorically for the power or virtue, as Luke 11:20, compared with Matthew 12:28.

Of God; of that supreme God, whom both the Egyptians and other heathen idolaters acknowledged as superior to all men, and idols, and devils. This they said, lest they should be thought inferior to Moses and Aaron in magical art. But hereby they own the sovereign God to be on Israel’s side; and yet, like the devils, they proceed to fight against him.

He hearkened not unto them; either to his magicians, of whom he last spake; or rather to Moses and Aaron, as the following words show. For relatives oft belong to the remoter antecedents, as Genesis 9:13; 1 Samuel 7:17; Mark 2:13.

Verse 21

Swarms of flies; Heb. a mixture of insects or flies, as appears from Psalms 78:45, which were of various kinds, as bees, wasps, gnats, hornets, &c, infinite in their numbers, and doubtless larger and more venomous and pernicious than the common ones were.

Verse 22


1. Of the whole earth, and consequently of Egypt, that I am not only the Lord of Israel, but of thee and thy dominions too. God is here spoken of after the manner of earthly princes, who use to reside in the midst of their kingdoms, that they may more conveniently rule and influence them. Or rather,

2. Of Goshen; the words being properly thus rendered, that I the Lord am in the midst of that land, to wit, the land of Goshen now spoken of, to defend and preserve it. For God is said to be in the midst of them whom he protects, Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 23:14; Joshua 3:10; Psalms 46:5; and not to be in the midst of others whom he forsakes, and designs or threatens to destroy, Numbers 14:42; Deuteronomy 1:42; Deuteronomy 31:17. Compare Exodus 33:3, with Exodus 34:9.

Verse 23

A division; Heb. a redemption or deliverance, i.e. a token or mean of deliverance, by a metonomy; a wall of partition, by which I will preserve the Israelites, whilst I destroy the Egyptians.

Tomorrow shall this sign be. This he saith, partly to gain the more belief to himself in what he now did or should timber speak in God’s name to them; and partly to warn them of their danger, and make their disobedience more inexcusable.

Verse 24

The Lord did so, immediately by his own word, and not by Moses’s rod, lest the Egyptians should think it was a magician’s wand, and. that all Moses’s works were done by the power of the devil.

A grievous swarm of flies; Heb. a heavy mixture of flies. Heavy, i.e. either great, as this Hebrew word is used, Genesis 41:31; Isaiah 32:2, or mischievous and troublesome; or rather, numerous, as it is taken, Genesis 1:9; Numbers 11:14; 1 Kings 3:9, compared with 2 Chronicles 1:10.

The land, i.e. either the fruits or products of the land; or rather, the inhabitants of the land, as the word land is taken, Genesis 41:36; 1 Samuel 27:9 many of the people were poisoned or stung to death by them, as appears from Psa 78:45. See also Wis 16:9.

Verse 26

It is not meet, Heb. not right, neither in God’s eyes, who hath appointed us the place as well as the thing; nor in the Egyptians’ eyes, as it follows.

The abomination of the Egyptians; that which the Egyptians abhor to kill, or to see killed; as not only Scripture, but profane authors, as Diodorus, and Tully, and Juvenal, witness, because they worshipped them as gods, as is notoriously known. Their fear was just; for when once a Roman had but killed a cat, though imprudently, the people tumultuously met together, and beset his house, and killed him in spite of the king and his princes, who used their utmost power and diligence to prevent it.

Verse 27

For we know not what kind or number of sacrifices to offer to him till we come thither.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 8". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/exodus-8.html. 1685.
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