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left in the whole land for the Egyptians to drink (F). This miracle was likewife imitated by the magicians, but whether upon fea-water brought on purpose, or fome fresh water from the land of Goshen, or fome of that which they had drawn out of their new-digged wells, is not eafy to guefs; though it is more probable, that they staid till the waters of the Nile, and other places, were restored to their former colour and taste. However that be, Pha- rash was not one jot the nearer being convincede: where
e Exod. vii.
GOD fuffered them to borrow this power from the devil, to invalidate, if poffible, thofe miracles which his fervant wrought by his divine power, the following reafons may be given for it; namely, first, it was neceffary that these magicians fhould be fuffered to exert the utmost of their power against Mofes, in order to clear him from the imputation of magic or forcery: for, as the notion of fuch an extraordinary art was very rife, not only among the Egyptians, but all other nations, if they had not entered into this ftrenuous competition with him, and been at length overcome by him, both the Hebrews and Egyptians would have been apter to attribute all his mi racles to his skill in magic, than to the divine power. Secondly,it wasneceffary, in order to confirm the faith of the wavering and defponding Ifraelites, by making them fee the difference between Mofes's acting by the power of GOD, and the forcerers by that of Satan. And, laftly, in order to preferve them afterwards from being feduced, by any falfe miracles,
from the true worship of GoD (11).
(F) How long they conti nued fo Mofes has not told us; for what is added afterwards in the last verse of this chapter. that feven days were completed after the turning of the waters into blood, is rather the space between this miracle and that of the frogs, which they are bid to perform in the beginning of the next chapter. For, as the divifion of the Bible into chapters was of later invention, and introduced for the better conveniency of reading it, if we join the laft verfe of the feventh with the be ginning of the eighth, it will run thus; And Jeven days were fulfilled after the turning the waters into blood, and the LORD spake, and so on, which is the fame as if he had faid, And feven days after the turning of the waters into blood, GoD fpoke to Mofes. However, this change continued long enough to kill all the fish, and to oblige the Egyptians to dig round about the river for fresh water to drink, none of the reft being fit for that, or any other ufe... (11) Rupert, Perrer, Simler. Ferus, Villet. Tremel. & al. in loc.
Third mi- fore Mofes was again fent to threaten him, that, if he did racle, of not let Ifrael go, his whole kingdom should be fo filled frogs. with frogs, that their ovens, their beds and tables, fhould fwarm with them; as they accordingly did at the time appointed,whilst the magicians, indeed, went on to perfuade him, that Mofes was only fuch another miracle-monger as they were, by imitating alfo this miracle, and bringing a fresh fwarm of frogs. They might indeed have fhewed their skill to a better purpose, if they had tried to have removed those infects, of which the Egyptians did not want this fresh supply; but it seems they had not power enough to do that. Wherefore Pharaoh was re duced to fend for Mofes, and to promife him, that he would let Ifrael go, if he would but deliver him and his country from that odious vermin. Mofes took him at his word, and, defiring him to name the time when he fhould rid the land of thofe creatures, did precifely perform his part; fo that by the next day there was not one frog left alive in all the land. But whilft his subjects were gathering them up in heaps, in order to carry them off, their french being like to have bred an infection, Pharaoh was thinking how to elude his promife, not confidering that he only made way for another plague.
FOR, when Mofes found himself baffled, he touched, Fourth mi-the duft with his rod, which was immediately turned into racle, of lice, or, as fome think, into gnats; which small infect, the lice. they fay, is more common, and the fting more tormenting, in Egypt, than any-where elfe. But our verfion feems to us more agreeable to the original, and to the generality of antient and modern tranflations and expofitors f Thefe infected man and beaft in fuch quantities, that one would have imagined, that all the duft of Egypt had been turned into lice. Pharaoh fent for his magicians, and bid them try their skill, in vain; for either their power proved too fhort, or was curtailed by a fuperior hand; fo that they were forced to acknowlege, that the finger of God did plainly difplay itself in this miracle (G). However,
Chald. Targ. JOSEPH. ant. 1. ii. c. 14. Rabbin. Mon. TAN. MUNSTER, VATAEL. JUN. BOCHART, & al...
(G) What has been faid under this head in the last note will eafily lead us to an answer to the next queftion, why the
magicians could not now bring forth lice, when they had been able to produce fwarms of frogs, and other infects. For, without
However, Pharaoh not regarding their words, Mofes and Aaron met him the next morning, as he was going down to the river, and told him, that his obftinacy would only bring more and worse plagues upon him, the next of which would be fuch mixed fwarms of flies, as would Fifth midarken the air; that God, however, would put a dif- racle, of ference between his people and the Egyptians, and that farms of 1 there should none be found in all the land of Goshen, tho' flies. the rest of the kingdom fwarmed with them; adding, that the next day fhould bring this new plague upon him. Accordingly, by the next morning the air was filled with 1 thofe infects, whofe bite was fo venomous and painful, that the mischief which they did to Egypt became into→ lerable 8, and forced the king to fend for Mofes and Aaron, 3 and to tell them, that he would give them leave to facrifice to their GOD, provided it was done within his dominions. To this they anfwered, they could not comply with his command, without imminent danger of their
Vid, Pfal. Ixxviii. 45.
without having recourfe to the common folution, that this was a creation of a new kind of vermin, which therefore could not be imitated by the devil, for which we have no warrant from the text, which exprefly calls them lice, it will be fufficient to fay, that herein Mofes fhewed his fuperior power in tying their hands from working a miracle in all refpects as eafy as any they had done till then. For this was more than fufficient to extort this confef fion from them, that he acted by a fuperior power, and that the finger of GOD was in it -(15).
juft inference; which is, that
And accordingly we find, that Pharaoh was fo fully convinced of the truth of it, that we do not read of his making any farther use of them and this will lead us to another
(15) Exod. vii. 19. Vid. Lefley's eafy method with the deifts.
lives, fecing they fhould be obliged to facrifice fuch creatures as the Egyptians worshiped, who would therefore be ready to ftone them, as guilty of the most horrid and abominable facrilege. They therefore infifted upon going three days journey out of the land, that they might fafely perform their GoD's command. This anfwer, which gave him juft reafon to fufpect that they had a mind to go away for good, put him to a terrible nonplus; but at length he confented that they fhould go, provided it was at no great diftance from Egypt, and they promifed him faithfully to return again in a little time. Mofes affured him, that he would immediately go out, and intreat the LORD' for him, and defired him to keep his word; but no fooner had his prayer obtained a reprieve, and delivered the kingdom from thofe venomous infects, than the king drew on another plague by his obftinacy and breach of promise h Sixth miTHIS next judgment fell, according to Mofes's word, racle, the cattle of on all the cattle of the Egyptians, the greatest part of the Egypwhich died by the next day, whilft that of the Ifraelites tians killed remained unhurt. But this not touching the king near by murrain enough, the next that followed was more effectually felt Seventh by him. It was a violent and painful boyl which broke miracle, out upon man and beaft. Pharaoh, according to cuftom, boyls upon had recourfe to his magicians, who, being themselves men and fmitten with the boyls, dared not appear before Mofes, beafts. and Pharaoh continuing ftill obftinate, it was not long before Mofes was fent to threaten him with a more terrible one, in which the voice of the GoD of Ifrael fhould be Eighthmi-heard in thunder, and his vengeance felt in fuch dreadful racle,bail-ftorms of hail, as had not been known fince the foundaftorms and tion of Egypt. He gave him but one day to confider of thunders. it, affuring him, that the next day would prove a difmal one to the Egyptians, unless he confented to difmifs the Ifraelites before that time, between whom and the Egy ptians GOD would put fuch a difference, that the land of Gofhen fhould be intirely free from the terrible punifhment with which Egypt would be half undone. Mofes accordingly lifted up his rod towards heaven on the next morning whereupon the thunders, lightnings and hail, followed one another fo thick, that Egypt was half deftroyed by them. The hail that then fell was of fuch prodigious bignefs, that it killed man and beast, broke all the trees, and deftroyed all the barley and flax it chanced to fall upon. The wheat only and the rye efcaped, be
cause they were not fufficiently grown; for the barleyharvest in Egypt begins about the middle or latter end of March; whereas that of the wheat and rye doth not begin till fix or feven weeks after. As for the land of Gofben, it was found, upon inquiry, to have been as free from this, as it had been from all the former plagues.
THESE thunders, lightnings, and especially the hail, which were the more extraordinary, because it feldom or never rains in that part of Egypt, fo frighted the proud king, that he sent immediately for Mofes and Aaron, and expreffed himself in fuch terms to them, as might have paffed for fure tokens of a real converfion; and only begged to be delivered from the noife of those dreadful. thunders; after which he promised not to detain them one moment longer. Mofes, though he gave no credit to this promife, did yet engage to obtain a speedy ceffation of them, which he accordingly did, and gave the Egyptians an opportunity to examine the mischief that had The great been done by the hail, which they found to be muchmischief greater than they had imagined. This infpired many of done by it. them with a real fear of the GOD of Ifrael; but Pharach and his council no fooner perceived that the storm was over, but they returned to their old way i. Whereupon Mofes was fent to threaten them with a worfe judg ment; viz. with fuch an infinite number of locufts as fhould cover the face of the earth, and eat up what the hail had left undestroyed. There were fome about the king then, who took the liberty to reprefent to him the unconceivable damage which his kingdom had already received; that Egypt was already deftroyed, and that it was high time the Hebrews were fent away to ferve their Gon. Pharaoh was now perfuaded to let them go, but having fent for Mofes and Aaron back, to inquire who of them were to go, and who to ftay, he was fo highly provoked at their infifting upon taking with them their wives, children, cattle, and all that they had, that he could not forbear upbraiding them with their ill intentions, which, though concealed with fo much art, and cloaked with the fpecious pretence of religion, did yet but too plainly fhew, that they had no mind ever to return into Egypt again. He warned them of the danger they ran themselves into, and advised them to content themselves with taking only the men with them, and leaving their wives and children behind; and having threatened them feverely, caused them to be thruft from his prefence.