Exodus 6 Commentary

Forecast of coming judgment (6:28-7:13)

Before Moses approached Pharaoh to give him a final opportunity to release Israel, God reminded Moses that not just Pharaoh but the whole Egyptian nation was under the threat of judgment. People and king alike were stubbornly opposed to Yahweh and were devoted followers of Yahweh’s enemies, the Egyptian gods (6:28-7:7; cf. 9:27; 12:12).

These were gods of nature and were therefore connected with the river Nile, on which Egypt depended entirely for its water and for the fertile soil washed down at flood time each year. According to the Egyptians’ belief, their gods brought them fruitfulness and prosperity. The plagues that God sent were therefore a judgment on these gods, bringing devastation to the Nile valley and creating widespread ruin and disease. Because these plagues had a religious significance, the Bible calls them ‘signs’ (see 10:2).

God gave Pharaoh one last chance to release the Israelites before the plagues began. But when his magicians used their skills to imitate the miracle performed by Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh arrogantly dismissed the Israelite leaders (8-13).

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