Parashah 15: Bo “Go”
Sh'mot “names” (Exodus) 10:1-13:16 Psalm 77
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 46:13-28 Romans 9:14-29
by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley
1 Adonai said to Moshe, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his servants hardhearted, so that I can demonstrate these signs of mine among them
“hardhearted,” or “hard of heart” – the root word used for “hard” here is כָּבַד [kah-vahd], (in this verse in the hiphil verb form, indicating causation):
Strong's: to be heavy, i.e. in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses)
BDB: (in hiphil) to make heavy, to make dull, to make unresponsive; to cause to be honored
Because of the stance Pharaoh and his servants have already taken, and with the goal of fulfilling His purposes, the LORD caused their hearts to be heavy, dull, unresponsive.
God can use whatever is at His disposal in the working out of His will; even the dull, unresponsive hearts of Pharaoh and his servants.
2 so that you can tell your son and grandson about what I did to Egypt and about my signs that I demonstrated among them, and so that you will all know that I am Adonai.”
I am doing what I am doing not only for your sake, but also for posterity
and so you will all know that I am Adonai
“know” here is יָדַע [yah-dah]
Strong's: to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively, instruction, designation, punishment, etc.)
to know: to know, to learn to know; to perceive; to perceive and to see, to find out and to discern; to discriminate, to distinguish; to know by experience; to recognize, to admit, to acknowledge, to confess; to consider
to know, to be acquainted with
to know (a person carnally)
to know how, to be skillful in
to have knowledge, to be wise
3 Moshe and Aharon went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Here is what Adonai, God of the Hebrews, says: 'How much longer will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so that they can worship me.
God of the Hebrews: Hebrew = עִבְרִי [iv-ri]
BDB brings out that עִבְרִי means “one from beyond,” and as a proper noun is “a designation of the patriarchs and the Israelites.”
Its root is עָבַר [a-var]
Strong's: to cross over; used very widely of any transition (literal or figurative; transitive, intransitive, intensive, causative); specifically, to cover (in copuation)
BDB: to pass over, to cross, to cross over, to pass over, to march over, to overflow, to go over; to pass beyond; to pass through, to traverse; to pass along, to pass by, to overtake and pass, to sweep by; to pass on, go on, to pass on before, to go in advance of, to pass along, to travel, to advance; to pass away – to emigrate, to leave (one's territory), to vanish, to perish, to cease to exist, to become invalid, to become obsolete (used of law, decree), to be alienated, to pass into other hands
Abraham being the father of, and in that sense, the first Hebrew begs the question:
What did Abraham cross over, transition, emigrate from and to?
He crossed over from paganism / heathenism to a living, vital faith in, and relationship with, the One true God, the LORD, Who from that time was the “God of the Hebrews.”
The Hebrew word generally used to refer to a “pagan,” or “heathen,” (to someone who does not believe in the One true God) is גּוֹי [goi] (the plural being גּוֹיִם [goim]) (e.g. Ps. 79:1). Depending on context גּוֹי and גּוֹיִם are translated “nation” and “nations” or “Gentile” and “Gentiles.” Someone is either a pagan / heathen / גּוֹי [goi], or a believer in the One true God, the God of Abraham, and therefore a son or daughter of Abraham.
For in union with the Messiah, you are all children of God through this trusting faithfulness; 27 because as many of you as were immersed into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah, in whom 28 there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah Yeshua, you are all one. 29 Also, if you belong to the Messiah, you are seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29)
How much longer will you refuse to submit to me?
The Hebrew word translated “submit” here is from עָנָה [ah-nah] which has two Strong's and BDB numbers (each word in Scripture is numerically coded to a dictionary definition).
Strong's: properly, to eye or (generally) to heed, i.e. pay attention; by implication, to respond: by extens. to begin to speak; specifically to sing, shout, testify, announce
BDB: to answer, to respond, to testify, to speak, to shout, to respond as a witness; to sing, to utter tunefully; to dwell
Strong's: to depress literally or figuratively, transitive or intransitive
BDB: to afflict, to oppress, to humble, to be afflicted, to be bowed down: here in the Niphal verb form – to humble oneself, to bow down; to be afflicted, to be humbled
So from looking at the various aspects of meaning of עָנָה we can see that Pharaoh was refusing to submit to the LORD, but more than just that, he was refusing to
heed pay attention respond humble himself
A witness is someone who testifies as to what he or she has heard, seen, smelled, tasted, or felt. Pharaoh was also refusing to do this before the All-Mighty.
Again, God was not simply telling Pharaoh to let His people go, but demanding a recognition of true ownership. Pharaoh was considered to be a god; the LORD was challenging that belief as well as pharaoh's ownership of His people.
4 Otherwise, if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 One won't be able to see the ground, so completely will the locusts cover it. They will eat anything you still have that escaped the hail, including every tree you have growing in the field. 6 They will fill your houses and those of your servants and of all the Egyptians. It will be like nothing your fathers or their fathers have ever seen since the day they were born until today.'” Then he turned his back and left.
Locust swarms can cover, inundate, and devastate the land:
7 Pharaoh's servants said to him, “How much longer must the fellow be a snare for us? Let the people go and worship Adonai their God. Don't you understand yet that Egypt is being destroyed?”
Pharaoh's servants were beginning to get the idea.
What we “sow,” or “plant,” in the lives of others determines the type of “crop” we will reap. We need to remember, though, that even a few seeds planted can produce a much larger harvest.
Gal. 6:7 Don't delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of God! A person reaps what he sows. 8 Those who keep sowing in the field of their old nature, in order to meet its demands, will eventually reap ruin; but those who keep sowing in the field of the Spirit will reap from the Spirit everlasting life. 9 So let us not grow weary of doing what is good; for if we don't give up, we will in due time reap the harvest. 10 Therefore, as the opportunity arises, let us do what is good to everyone, and especially to the family of those who are trustingly faithful.
8 So Moshe and Aharon were brought to Pharaoh again, and he said to them, “Go, worship Adonai your God. But who exactly is going?”
With a casual reading it might look like Pharaoh is finally listening and just asking for clarification, but there is more to consider:
Pharaoh had been told a number of times to let the LORD's people go, e.g.
Ex. 5:1 Let my people go, so that they can celebrate a festival in the desert to honor Me
Ex. 7:16 Let my people go, so that they can worship me in the desert
Ex. 8:16 Let my people go, so that they can worship me (also 9:1 and 13)
The word “people” in all of these verses is translated from the Hebrew word עַם [ahm] which is a masculine singular noun.
In English “people” is a gender neutral noun, so we need to determine from its context whether it refers to men, women, or a mixed group.
In Hebrew a group of men will be called just that; and a group of women is a group of women. If, however, the group includes one or more males, then the entire group is called by the masculine: as we see in these verses.
9 Moshe answered, “We will go with our young and our old, our sons and our daughters; and we will go with our flocks and herds; for we must celebrate a feast to Adonai.”
Here is the clarification: everyone goes. More than that, all our flocks and herds will go. Unwritten, but implied, is that much of their “stuff” would be going too (cooking pot, utensils, carts, fodder for the animals, etc.): they would be heading out into the wilderness three days, celebrating and worshipping before the LORD, and then presumably the same three days of travel getting back. This was a major undertaking, and essentially the entire labor force of the empire was going. It's no wonder that Pharaoh was skeptical!
10 Pharaoh said to them, “Adonai certainly will be with you if I ever let you go with your children! It's clear that you are up to no good. 11 Nothing doing! Just the men among you may go and worship Adonai. That's what you want, isn't it?” And they were driven out of Pharaoh's presence.
Leaving the children, and caretakers for them, behind would insure that the men would return.
“It's clear that you are up to no good.” Well, something that would be “no good” for the hard hearted pagan Egyptians.
To all who are themselves pure, everything is pure. But to those who are defiled and without trust, nothing is pure – even their minds and consciences have been defiled. 16 They [may] claim to know God, but with their actions they deny Him. They are detestable and disobedient; they have proved themselves unfit to do anything good. (Titus 1:15-16)
With the merciful, You are merciful; with a man who is sincere, you are sincere; 27 with the pure, You are pure; but with the crooked You are cunning. 28 People afflicted, You save; but haughty eyes, You humble. 29 For You, Adonai, light my lamp; Adonai, my God, lights up my darkness. 30 With You I can run through a whole troop of men, with my God I can leap a wall. (Ps 18:26-30)
“Just the men among you may go … that's what you want, isn't it?”
Pharaoh may have thought that Moshe was asking all along about only the men going, or
he may have known that Moshe meant all the people and tried to use the two ways that עַם [ahm] may be understood in Hebrew cultural and language (mentioned above with verse 8) to his own advantage
We had to wonder about the translation here. The Hebrew is לֹא כֵן [lo ken]:
לֹא is generally translated “no,” or “not” and is a simple negation:
not (with verb, absolute prohibition [as seen in the 10 Commandments])
not (with modifier, negation)
without (with particle)
before (used of time)
as an adverb: so, therefore, thus
so … as (paired with adv)
forasmuch as (in phrase)
therefore, this being so (specific)
therefore, on this ground (general)
in such case
as an adjective: right, just, honest, true, veritable
True! Right! Correct! (said in assent [and so it is sometimes simply used for “yes”])
Although the words are often translated “not so,” the more informal sounding “nothing doing” seems to be a viable option.
12 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach out your hand over the land of Egypt, so that locusts will invade the land and eat every plant that the hail has left.” 13 Moshe reached out with his staff over the land of Egypt, and Adonai caused an east wind to blow on the land all day and all night; and in the morning the east wind brought the locusts. 14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled throughout Egypt's territory. It was an invasion more severe than there had ever been before or will ever be again.
Some might try to explain this as a natural occurring phenomena, and locust swarms are, however the timing and intensity are still miraculous.
Throughout Scripture the Creator uses elements of His creation to accomplish His purposes.
16 Pharaoh hurried to summon Moshe and Aharon and said, “I have sinned against Adonai your God and against you. 17 Now, therefore, please forgive my sin just this once; and intercede with Adonai your God, so that he will at least take away from me this deadly plague!”
We have heard this type of thing from Pharaoh before (see 9:27); yet, as before, once the urgency of the situation abates his heart is hardened … again.
18 He went out from Pharaoh and interceded with Adonai. 19 Adonai reversed the wind and made it blow very strongly from the west. It took up the locusts and drove them into the Sea of Suf; not one locust remained on Egyptian soil.
Again, and again, the LORD answers even Pharaoh's request …
20 But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he didn't let the people of Isra'el go.
The LORD חָזַק [khah-zahk] – He strengthened / fortified Pharaoh's heart
21 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach out your hand toward the sky, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness so thick it can be felt!” 22 Moshe reached out his hand toward the sky, and there was a thick darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days. 23 People couldn't see each other, and no one went anywhere for three days. But all the people of Isra'el had light in their homes.
darkness = חֹשֶׁךְ [kho-shek]
Strong's: the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively, misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness
BDB: darkness, obscurity; a secret place
Is darkness simply brought about by removing light, or is it a separate creation (see Isa. 45:7) that is the antithesis of light, held in reserve to do God's bidding? This was not simply the absence of light, but a darkness that could literally be felt, groped: מָשַׁשׁ [mah-shahsh] in the Hebrew.
“But all the people of Isra'el had light in their homes.”
Light is a manifestation of the character, and therefore, the presence of the LORD.
In the beginning of creation God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good. As a candle loses nothing of its own brilliance in lighting another, the LORD of Light took of Himself and infused light into His creation.
And God created lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and to serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years, and to give light on the earth. God made lights to govern the day and to govern the night. (See Gen 1:14-19)
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it. … 14 The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh'khinah, the Sh'khinah of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.
Vs 1 καὶ θεός ͡ἠν ὁ λόγος “… and God was the Word” = a more literal word-for-word translation of the phrase which helps remove any possibility of the Two being totally separate.
The Word was, at the same time, wholly God and wholly man.
He is the Agent through Whom creation came about
He is Life itself, and that Life is the Light of mankind
Light that shines, even in the darkness; and even the darkness can not suppress it
In the original Greek of this book, the Holy Spirit moved John to use a very active, dynamic word that is translated “suppress” here. It is also written in a way that it is emphatic. The root word is καταλαμβάνω [kata-lam-bano]:
Strong's: to take eagerly, i.e. seize, possess, etc. (literally or figuratively) [also translated as: apprehend, attain, come upon, comprehend, find, obtain, perceive, (over-) take]
Thayer's: to lay hold of so as to make one's own, to obtain, attain to; to seize upon, take possession of; to detect, catch; to lay hold of with the mind; to understand, perceive, learn, comprehend
There are physical, mental, and spiritual aspects to this word, especially in this verse, e.g. the darkness can not mentally understand the Light (its nature, character, goals, ways, means, etc.), nor can it physically or spiritually arrest, suppress, lay hold of, the Light. The Light is incomprehensible and unstoppable.
light, in varying intensities, has numerous effects, including:
illuminate purify warm comfort console
cook enliven invigorate decorate
characteristics of light include:
Light is a form of energy produced by luminous objects
Light can travel through a vacuum
Light can penetrate through transparent materials but cannot pass through opaque objects
Light travels in a straight line in an optically homogeneous medium
Light bounces back when made to fall on polished surfaces such as mirrors or metal surfaces. This bouncing back of light is described as reflection.
The change in the velocity of light when it travels from one transparent medium to another is described as refraction.
Light takes the path of least time in passing from one point to the other.
[from http://www.tutorvista.com/content/physics/physics-ii/light-reflection/light-characteristics.php accessed 23 Jan 15]
“the children of Isra'el had light in their homes” - in their dwellings. The singular word is מוֹשָׁב [mo-shahv]:
Strong's: from יָשַׁב [yah-shahv]; a seat; figuratively, a site; abstractly, a session; by extension an abode (the place or the time); by implication, population
יָשַׁב to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication, to dwell, to remain; causatively, to settle, to marry
BDB: a seat, a sitting, those sitting, a sitting company or an assembly; a dwelling place, a dwelling; a situation, a location; a time of dwelling; those dwelling, a dweller
so there was light in the homes of the people of Isra'el, but also in the places where they lived
1 Adonai said to Moshe, “I'm going to bring still one more plague on Pharaoh and Egypt, and after that he will let you leave here. When he does let you go, he will throw you out completely! 2 Now tell the people that every man is to ask his neighbor and every woman her neighbor for gold and silver jewelry.” 3 Adonai made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people. Moreover, Moshe was regarded by Pharaoh's servants and the people as a very great man in the land of Egypt.
a fulfillment of Ex. 3:19-22
I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so. 20 But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders that I will do there. After that, he will let you go. 21 Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won't go empty-handed. 22 Rather, all the women will ask their neighbors and house guests for silver and gold jewelry and clothing, with which you will dress you own sons and daughters. In this way you will plunder the Egyptians.
This explains how these former slaves had supplies and provisions for the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness.
4 Moshe said, “Here is what Adonai says: 'About midnight I will go out into Egypt, 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. 6 There will be a horrendous wailing throughout all the land of Egypt – there has never been another like it, and there never will be again. 7 But not even a dog's growl will be heard against any of the people of Isra'el, neither against people nor against animals. In this way you will realize that Adonai distinguishes between Egyptians and Isra'el.'”
God distinguishes between people that are His and those who are not; between what is holy and what is not; what is good and what is not; what is right and what is wrong.
If we call on His name, if we claim that He is our Savior and LORD, we need to do the same.
with this one last plague, the LORD brings a finality to His “judgment against all the gods of Egypt”
The Plagues and their Judgment (from a youth ministry handout at Baruch HaShem Messianic Congregation)
In Shemot/Exodus 12:12 God says, “... on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments.” Thus the plagues are thought to be symbolic of the defeat of various gods venerated in ancient Egyptian mythology (and occultism in general):
Plague/Judgment Hebrew Torah The Egyptian god
1 Water turned to blood Makat Dam
מַכַּת דָּם Ex 7:14-25 Hapi and/or Khnum (god of the Nile
2 Frogs from the Nile River Makat Tzefarde'a
מַכַּת צְפַרְדֵּעַ Ex 7:25-8:11 Heket (goddess of fertility and water)
3 Lice/Gnats from the dust Makat Kinim
מַכַּת כִנִּם Ex 8:12-15 Geb (god of the Earth)
4 Swarms of Flies Makat Arov
מַכַּת עָרֹב Ex 8:20-32 Khepri (god of creation, lord of flies or beetles)
5 Death of Livestock Makat Dever
מַכַּת דֶּבֶר Ex 9:1-7 Apis (goddess of animals depicted as a bull); Osiris
6 Ashes to Boils Makat Shechin
מַכַּת שְׁחִין Ex 9:8-12 Isis (goddes of nature, healing and peace)
7 Hail and Fire Makat Barad
מַכַּת בָּרָד Ex 9:13-35 Nut (sky goddess, sister of Geb)
8 Locusts sent from the winds Makat Arbeh
מַכַּת אַרְבֶּה Ex 10:1-20 Set (god of storms, darkness, disorder)
9 Three days of darkness Makat Choshekh
מַכַּת חֹשֶׁךְ Ex 21-29 Ra (the Sun god) and Set (god of darkness)
10 Death of the firstborn Makat Bechor
מַכַּת בְּכוֹר Ex 11:1-12:36 Pharaoh (“son of Ra”); Khnum/Amon (ram god)
see Christ in the Passover teaching notes
14 This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation.
“to remember” here is from the Hebrew word זִכְרוֹן [zik-rōn] meaning a remembrance, a reminder, a memorial; from זָכַר [za-kar] = to remember, to recall, to call to mind
“celebrate” here is from the Hebrew root חָגַג [khaw-gahg] meaning
Strong's: properly, to move in a circle, i.e. (specifically) to march in a sacred procession, to observe a festival; by implication, to be giddy
BDB: to hold a feast, to hold a festival, to make a pilgrimage, to keep a pilgrim-feast, to celebrate, to dance, to stagger
“perpetual” here is from the Hebrew עוֹלָם [o-lam] meaning
Strong's: properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always
BDB: ancient time, long time (used of the past): (used of the future) forever, always; continuous existence, perpetual; everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity
“ordinance” here is חֻקָּה [khu-kah] = a statute, an ordinance, a limit, an enactment, something prescribed
Passover is a time to remember the LORD and all He did for His people. The Eternal, Omniscience, Sovereign of Heaven and Earth calls His people to celebrate this festival forever.
Depending on culture and custom we regularly celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo, Labor Day, Boxing Day, Armistice Day, etc. Why not special days the LORD established?
If we call the LORD our God, celebrating Passover is something we are called to do. Do we honor God and what He has enacted here? Not in a legalistic manner, but in order to honor Him and cultivate our relationship.
15 For seven days you are to eat matzah – on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats hametz [leavened bread] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra'el.
“matzah” is a transliteration of the Hebrew מַצָּה meaning
Strong's: properly, sweetness; concretely sweet (i.e. not soured or bittered with yeast); specifically, an unfermented cake or loaf, or (elliptically) the festival of Passover (because no leaven was then used)
BDB: unleavened (bread, cake), without leaven (yeast)
in this verse מַצָּה is found in its plural form: מַצּוֹת
“hametz” is a transliteration of the Hebrew חָמֵץ meaning
Strong's: ferment, (figuratively) extortion: -leaven, leavened (bread); from
חָמֵץ to be pungent; i.e. in taste (sour, i.e. literally fermented, or figuratively, harsh), in color (dazzling)
BDB: a thing leavened, leaven
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know the saying, “It takes only a little hametz to leaven a whole batch of dough?” 7 Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. 8 So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth. (1 Cor 5:6-8; emphasis original)
For seven days you are to eat matzah – on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats hametz [leavened bread] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra'el.
Seven representing “completion,” and linearly “completely,” we could say that we are to completely eat (consume, take into our lives) only what is “unleavened” (leaven free → sin free → pure, holy, righteous).
“on the first day”: from the first day we come into relationship with Christ, we need to
“remove the leaven from” our houses (every aspect of our lives)
“is to be cut off from Isra'el”: if we continue practicing a sinful and self-destructive lifestyle we cut ourselves off from the community of people that are following after the LORD