Chapter 11

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

    • The Lord told Moses that He would strike Egypt with one more plague and after that Pharaoh would drive them all away. God told Moses to have the Israelites to ask their neighbors for gold and silver jewelry.

      • “Pharaoh was still not quite convinced, but the people of Egypt were willing to see the people of Israel immediately leave. They were more than willing to give them gifts of silver and gold to persuade them to leave. This was how the slaves of Israel received their past wages from their time of slavery, and how they did not leave Egypt empty-handed.” (Guzik)

    • God had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites and even though Pharaoh was not moved, the Egyptian officials and the people feared Moses.

    • Moses then gave Pharaoh this message from the Lord, “At midnight tonight I will pass through Egypt and the firstborn male from every single family will die, even the firstborn male livestock will die. Anguished cries will rise from Egypt such as there has never been before and never will be again. However, among the Israelites it will be so peaceful, not even a dog will bark. Then all your officials will bow down to me and tell Me and all My people to leave. Then, I will leave.” Then, very angry, Moses left Pharaoh.

      • In much of the world, the issue of survival is addressed through children, and it is through the firstborn sons that the family line is carried on. If we have a child, there is a sense of satisfaction that even when we are dead, we will live on through our children. In the death of the Egyptian firstborn, God was showing that humans can do nothing by themselves to guarantee survival. Life is a gift, and that gift is in the hand of the one Lord, the ‘I AM.’” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

      • Guzik explains the significance of the Lord revealing to Pharaoh that the Israelites would be untouched by this plague, “Despite the great calamity to come, God would grant the Egyptians the ability to see the situation as it really was: the fault of their own Pharaoh, not the fault of Moses or the children of Israel… This was even worse news to Pharaoh. Perhaps a politician doesn’t mind calamity if he can blame it on someone else. Here, God promised that Pharaoh himself would bear the blame.”

    • The Lord had told Moses that the Pharaoh would not listen and that He would perform mighty miracles in Egypt. Moses and Aaron had performed these miracles, but the Lord had hardened Pharaoh’s heart and refused to allow the Israelites to leave.