Exodus 11:1-10 About Midnight… 1-25-15

Exodus Studies Pic

Life of Moses
Lesson 19
About Midnight…
Ex 11:1-10
Orig. 4.16.3; Updated: 1.25.15

Looking Back So Far…

Moses Makes 12 Appearances Before Pharaoh.

From Exodus 3-14, at the divine command of Yahweh (I AM), the children of Israel’s God, Moses, not once or twice or even three times, but an exhausting 12 times, will stand before Egypt’s mighty ruler, the pharaoh, whom the Egyptians consider to be divine as well, warning him to release the enslaved children of Israel, including their women, children and livestock, in order that they might travel three days into the desert so that they may hold a pilgrim festival to the God of their forefathers, Yahweh God.

39 Occurrences of “Release” or “Deliverance” are Mentioned.

In addition, in these 12 critical chapters, the writer of Exodus, presumably Moses, will make mention of Egypt’s “release” of Israel a whopping 24 times. Add this to another 15 mentions of Israel being “delivered out of Egypt,” and the reader is told 39 times why Israel’s God, Yahweh, is using these series of divine plagues or curses, to cause the mighty Egypt to “release” its grip of God’s now-enslaved people, Israel.

10 Consecutive, Pervasive and Devastating Curses are Unleashed upon Egypt.

At the same time, in one of the great plot twists of all-time, Yahweh God seems to have little interest in a direct approach that would cause Egypt to release its crushing grip on her enslaved serfs. Instead, using something akin to a modern-day top ten count down, Yahweh, while sparing his enslaved child, Israel, any pain, will inflict ten consecutively, pervasively and devastating curses upon Egypt, with the last being a curse that crushes the once-mighty collective psyche of the nation that had once constructed the great Pyramids.

10x the text clearly says that Yahweh distinguishes between Israel and Egypt with respect to the plagues’ devastating affects.

Neither Pharaoh’s Diviners nor gods are any Match for Yahweh’s Mighty Hand.

And for a brief moment, as society often seems to be able to do, but only for a brief moment, Egypt will appear to keep up with Yahweh’s divine power. Pharaoh’s wise men, astrologers and magicians, along with their pre-curse turning of their own staffs turning into snakes, as Moses’ staff had become (although Moses’ staff/snake was able to devour the magician’s many staffs/snakes), will somehow manage to replicate the appearance of the first two curses. But after that, as far as the magicians’ abilities are concerned, they are done for, and by the 6th plague, when they are woefully inflicted by the plague’s festering boils, they refuse to even make an appearance before Pharaoh due to their hideous condition.

In Delivering Israel from Egypt. Yahweh God Defeats as Many as 118 Egyptian gods and goddesses.

It is also interesting to note that Yahweh’s last and greatest curse against Egypt, the curse of Egypt’s firstborn, is not just directed against the firstborn of man and beast, but also “against all the gods of Egypt” (Ex. 12:12).

In Moses’ Song of Deliverance after the salvific crossing of the Red Sea, he will ask, “Who is like you among the gods, O Yahweh?” (Ex. 15:11). Later, when Moses is met by his father-in-law, Jethro, in the wilderness, where Moses first received his commission by Yahweh to administer Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, Jethro will bless Moses with these words: “Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all the gods” (Ex. 18:11). And beginning with Ex. 20:2ff when Yahweh and Israel ratify their covenant together as God and nation, Yahweh makes it perfectly clear to Israel 9 more times just in the book of Exodus, your worship of me is exclusionary: I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of slavery in Egypt. Unlike, Egypt, you shall have no other gods before me; nor shall you make any idols for yourselves, and you shall certainly not worship them for I am a jealous God, and you have just seen how easily I was able to humble and humiliate the greatest nation. Believe you me, I will not spare your discipline for at least four generations.”

It is interesting to note that in defeating Egypt, Yahweh, not only defeated her seemingly-divine pharaoh and his diviners, but in doing so, he also invalidated the power and strength of her many gods and goddesses, which Wikipedia numbers as many as 118, including Ra, the sun god; Isis, the mother god, also linked with motherhood, protection and magic; Amun, the creator god and preeminent deity during the New Kingdom (c. 1550 BC – c. 1077 BC), Astarte or Ishtar, the warrior goddess; Baal, the sky and storm god (also worshiped during the New Kingdom); Hapi, the personification of the Nile’s annual flooding; Heka, the personification of magic; Heket, the frog goddess said to protect women in childbirth and Hesat and Mehet-Weret, maternal cow goddesses, just to name of few.


Under Intense National Pain and Pressure, Pharaoh Expresses a Momentary Remorse and Contrition on 3 Occasions.

Pharaoh is momentarily contrite (3x) while admitting sin (2x) and asking Moses to prayerfully intercede on behalf of Pharaoh’s disobedience to Y. for not releasing the Israelite as commanded by Y. in order that they may fully serve Y. God in the desert with sacrifices (4x), once even asking for forgiveness.

7x Pharaoh, you can go and sacrifice (2, 4, 7, 8, 9 [2x]; 10); 4x, because of the hardening of his heart, he will change his mind and recant his promise; 4x Pharaoh unsuccessfully attempts to bargain with God or Moses.

At the Same Time, there are 17 References to the “Hardening” of Pharaoh’s Heart.

Yahweh goes about his indirect and dynamic plot build up via the on again off again “hardening” of Pharaoh and his ministers’ hearts—in other words, although Egypt will be humbled by each plague, after the plague or curse ceases, once again, her heart will be “hardened” towards the “releasing” of Israel in order to celebrate a pilgrim feast to her God, Yahweh.

Moses makes mention of this “hardening” a total of 17 times, with 9 references being attributed directly to Yahweh’s divine intervention, 6 neutral occurrences, which could be inferred to as being attributed to Yahweh and 3 more occurrences in which Pharaoh and his servants are given the credit of “hardening” their hearts.”

7 Times Yahweh Predicts that Pharaoh Will Not Listen.

On 7 more occasions, the Scripture will say that Pharaoh “refused to listen” as God also predicted 7 times.

What’s the Point to all this Protracted Drama? Undisputed Truth…about both a Mighty Creator and his Fickle Creature.

What’s the point to all of this back and forth “repenting” for not releasing Israel and then changing her mind again not to “release” Israel? Perhaps there are several reasons, two of which are: 1) whether influenced by God or not, the obvious fickleness and stubbornness of man’s fallen, sinful will. To one degree or another, don’t we all go back and forth in our thinking, feeling and behaving? We believe pain as taught us, but once the pain has subsided, seemingly, we must make sure that the pain we suffered was a really a consequence of our behavior, and so, we have to repeatedly learn our painful lesson, until we are finally crushed and left with no other conclusions and no other means of escape or rationalization. As fallen, deceitful creatures, we can be very obstinate in our willingness to truly learn who is really in charge and who is really our salvation. So it was with Pharaoh, who, probably blinded by centuries of handed wealth and power, never seemed to get who really was in charge.

2) And secondly, Yahweh tells Moses, before and during the unleashing of the plagues, that “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and when Pharaoh refuses to listen, I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring out…my people the sons of Israel” (7:2-3; 11:9-10). “The Egyptians shall know that I am I AM (Yahweh) and that there is no one like me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth my hand…, you would have been cut off from the earth, but for this reason I have allowed you to remain—to show you my power and in order to proclaim my name through all the earth” (9:14-15). In other words, the greater Egypt’s resistance, the greater her defeat and the greater her overcomer, Yahweh God. Finally, when Pharaoh’s pursuing cavalry is about to be utterly annihilated, Yahweh declares, “I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am I AM..that God, not many gods, exists (14:3, 17).

So with this one protracted drama, God reveals not only the smallness and immaturity of fickle, human man, including one of the world’s great powers and its seemingly divine leader, but God’s true greatness, wisdom, power and his desire to deliver those who truly trust in him.

Your servant,


Read the Passage three times

Ask Questions (no answers)…

Exod. 11:1 Now the LORD had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.

This time not only will Pharaoh let you go, he will drive you out. Why? Because the pain will be so great, Pharaoh will finally and momentarily submit to fury of God’s judgments upon his country. The once great nation will be humbled.

2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”

Don’t go out ashamed or embarrassed. Go out with the full mother load. Go out with wealth because the LORD your God has done this—perhaps a picture of heaven. If the Israelites lived away from the Egyptians, how would they be able to receive gifts from the Egyptians?

3 (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

As opposed to Pharaoh? Did the people see what Pharaoh could not see because his heart was so hardened?At one time Moses ran away. My, my, how things have changed.

Exodus Gold

4 So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: `About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.

Notice: I will go throughout Egypt. Why midnight?

5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

This will be devastating.

6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt –worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.

I could understand. Mankind’s most precious position, their first-born children. It will be a horrible night for Egypt.

7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’ Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.

We have seen this theme before. Not even a barking dog as opposed to weeping that has never been heard in the great tradition of Egypt or will ever be heard again. Quite a contrast. A dog does not even bark at another dog or man—the picture of total peace…another foreshadow of heaven.

8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, `Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

Why was Moses angry? I thought Moses would never see Pharaoh again. Is this from the previous time or another event? If it is another event, it never tells of Moses going to Pharaoh.

9 The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you –so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”

Here is a portion of the reasoning of Pharaoh’s hardness—to multiply God’s majesty. And that he did.

10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

This about summarizes it all.

Who’s? LORD, Moses, Pharaoh, the people, men and women, their neighbors, Egyptians, Pharaoh’s officials, people, every firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn son of Pharaoh, the firstborn son of the slave girl, the Israelites, at any man, all these officials of yours, all the people who follow you, Aaron.

Where’s? Egypt, go from here, throughout Egypt, in Egypt, on the throne, at her hand mill, throughout Egypt, come to me, before me, in Egypt, out of his country.

When’s? Now the Lord, one more plague, after that, when he does, midnight, has ever been or ever will be again, after that, then Moses, hot with anger.


• The LORD tells Moses that with one final plague, Pharaoh will not only let Israel go, but also he will drive her out of Egypt. 1

• And when he does they are not to go empty-handed, but are to ask their neighbors for gold and silver because the Egyptians will be favorably disposed towards the Israelites. 2-3

• Now Moses speaks. He tells Pharaoh that the Lord will go through Egypt about midnight claiming the lives of all the firstborn of Egypt, from Pharaoh’s to the slave girl to even the cattle. 4-5

• Because of this horrible curse, Egypt will grieve deeply, as it has never before or ever will again. But within Israel not even a dog will be heard barking, so that all will know that God treated Israel with distinction. 6-7

• Then all the officials will come to Moses, bow down before him and beg him to leave in order to avoid any more curses. 8a

• When Moses finishes telling Pharaoh this, he leaves hot with anger. 8b

• Then we are told that the LORD had told Moses that the reason Pharaoh would not listen was because he wanted to multiply his power and miracles, and that God was responsible for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. 9-10


God will bring about one last plague upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian people so that they will beg/drive out the Israelites from their land—they will lose their firstborn offspring. God did this to multiply his power before the world.

Why’s? Why did God include this passage in his timeless word? Or What do I learn about God? Life? People? Myself?

• God is in control. He can do whatever he wants whenever he wants to accomplish his purposes.

• God is not afraid to painfully and righteously judge nor destroy a portion of his broken, sinful creation.

• God does make a distinction between those who worship him and those who have refused to.

• Ultimately God always wins.

• Ultimately Man without God, loses.

• God desires to and does provide richly for his children. It may not always be the gold and silver of the Egyptians, and in fact, it may not always be the manna, water or quail in the wilderness, as he will for Israel. Sometimes his children will and are promised suffering, but he will provide, and in the end, he has richly provided us with his Fatherly love, his Son and our forgiveness from sin through his atonement for sin and his Spirit to comfort, teach, guide and convict us until we are reunited with him forever. In God, we are richly supplied with all we need for the journey ahead.

• God uses man’s sin, hardness of heart and his refusal to listen to multiply his glory, power and victory.

So What’s? How does this truth personally apply to one of my life’s struggles?

2003 Application…

Struggle…Trying to figure out how to teach, apply Revelation 10. It is kind of a hinge passage from the first half of Revelation and the first telling of the story from heaven’s point of view to the second half of the story as told from earth’s point of view. They key line seems to be near the end of the chapter when John eats the little scroll or book. At first it seems sweet, but just as the angel which took the book from had warned him, the book soon becomes sour in his stomach (so IBS is in the Bible! I live this almost every day). But I am struggling with what to do with this passage (and this after showing the youth team on Sunday, how one can take just about anything and turn it into a meaningful lesson). So here I am—stuck…blocked, and I don’t like. I have other things I need to do—that is why I shifted to this lesson.

(Note: as a part of post-911 aftermath, we were studying the Book of Revelation. Apparently by the spring of 2003, we were half way through it. In fact, as I just looked it up, we began our study of Revelation a year after 911 in October 2002 and finished one year later in the fall of 2003. It seemed with the passing of the crisis, over time, the resurgence in church attendance that began after 911 began to wane as well. But for a moment, God had people’s attention. This was also just after we had completed our new church and had moved in during July of 2002.)

Principle or Truth…When God does provide or deliver his children, he does it in a rich, satisfying manner. Before that there may be pain and resistance, perhaps lots of pain…tenfold pain and resistance, but ultimately our God reigns.

Application… I will trust God that he will show me a way through my bind. God is a God of salvation, and he honors those who honor him. I will trust him that he will unblock my thoughts or show me the way through my confusion. I am also trusting him for how he will provide with respect to many other difficult situations we all encounter. And that he will do it richly and with distinction. God will provide!

2015 Application…

Thanksgiving… A wonderful past 6 days of seemingly productive ministry, ranging from significant counseling and small group interaction to intensive study and teaching to administration and planning to facility and grounds maintenance. And I say, 6 days because that is as far back and I can remember on the spot. I mean, it’s been the full breadth of ministry opportunity and blessing. Thank you, God. Thank you.

Struggle… Many little foxes in the vineyard…mainly people whom I love, worry about and am concerned for. In addition, there are still financial concerns that I am trusting God for, as well as, getting back to SLove, and that is just a few. The work is never done, but that is okay. I understand that now. All one can do, while being aware of some of it, is to trust the Spirit’s leadership on what and how to do it on a daily basis.

Truth… The moment of God’s deliverance can be a mighty fearful experience to witness. As his sword of truth falls, it painfully devours evil as it delivers trust.

Application… Wait. Serve and wait. Serve, pray and wait upon and for the deliverance of God’s mighty hand. In the mean time, as he delivers and cares for the sparrows and lilies, he has promised to deliver and provide for me. My daily renewable passion will be and is to seek his kingdom and its righteousness, and in doing so, he will add to me what is in my best overall Spiritual interest. If he does not give or provide it, I do not need it. Bottom line. If he does provide it, steward it for his glory and righteousness (Matt. 6:25ff).

What about you? Struggle? Truth? Application?

Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.

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