Summary: God prepares Israel and Egypt for the Exodus with the promise of the Passover.
We’re back in our study of Exodus, and we return to Egypt just after the plague of darkness. Pharaoh’s land is in ruins and his people are demoralized after losing so many animals and crops and suffering from the bites of insects and from boils. Their only remedy is to release the Israelites from bondage, but God has supernaturally hardened their hearts so that they will not do it. Now we come to chapter eleven which serves as a sort of prelude to the final plague known as the Passover:
And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.
This final plague will bring the prediction from 6:1 to pass. Not only will Pharaoh let them leave, but he will drive them out in fear. This fear characterizes Egypt throughout the rest of this chapter and explains why they do some of the things they do.
2Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.
First, the King James may be a little difficult because the Hebrew word for “borrow” doesn’t necessarily mean what it means in modern English. It simply means to ask or request, and Israel is to ask Egypt for precious metals. It’s a strange request for a group of people about to spend the rest of their lives in the desert, but if we read a couple other verses we’ll learn more. For instance, go over to chapter twelve and read about when this actually happens:
And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. 34And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians (Ex. 12:33-36).
Additionally, one of the Psalmists gives a little commentary: He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. 38Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them (Ps. 105:37-38).
Consider that Egypt had already lost most of its wealth, so spending what remains to get Israel out is really just a continuation of their ruin. It’s also a small dose of poetic justice because in pride Pharaoh had asked, “Who is Yahweh, and why should I obey him?” (5:2). Now they not only want to obey but will even pay for the opportunity to do so; they’ll do whatever it takes to get Israel out of their land and Yahweh off their backs.
3And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.
The word for favor means what we think, but the context allows us to say that it was from fear and not friendship. The once cruel taskmasters are now warm and friendly as they say whatever is necessary to send Israel away. It also says Moses was great in their eyes, and we have to read that from the same context. When he said a plague was coming, it did come, and it was dreadful. He was great in the same way a mighty conqueror is great; he was feared and taken seriously and was not to be refused.
Think of this in light of the New Covenant and the victory God has given us over our enemies. We sit with him at his throne as kings and priests (1 Pt. 2:9) and more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37).
4And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
This is the Passover, and it’s one of the most important passages in the Old Testament. Remember our study of the firstborn, and remember that the firstborn son is a symbol of his father’s strength (Ps. 78:51). Egypt’s strength was to perish all the way from the king’s throne, to the lowest mill worker, and even on down even to the animals. The spiritual application is that God completely destroys the power of the captor so that we are free indeed!