Exodus 11


‘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. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbours for articles of silver and gold.” (The LORD made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)’ Exodus 11:1-3

We must note that the first three verses in this chapter are a continuation of the time when Pharaoh threatened Moses with his life, Exodus 10:29.

These instructions are given to the Hebrews concerning the things they need to do in preparation for their departure from Egypt, Exodus 3:21-22. God promises one more plague and after which Pharaoh will let His people go.

Remember God had promised Abraham that his posterity would come out of the land of those who enslaved them and they would leave with many treasures, Genesis 15:14, here we see this being fulfilled.

Earlier back in Exodus 3:22, it was only the women who were mentioned as requesting treasures of the Egyptians, but here the men to are included. All the articles of gold and silver would be later used in the construction of the tabernacle.

The Plague On The Firstborn

‘So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 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. The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 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.’ Exodus 11:4-10

Here we find the tenth and last plague, the death of the firstborn males. This was a judgment on ‘Isis’, the protector of children. In this plague, God was teaching the Israelites a deep spiritual lesson which pointed to Christ.

This plague was going to hit Egypt in a very personal way, the firstborn is a reference to the male children. In Egyptian culture, the firstborn son was the hereditary centre of reference to the financial and social prestige of the family. All other children of the family looked to the firstborn as the future leader of the family. By killing the firstborn, God was effectively bringing Egypt to its knees.

Notice again that God told Moses that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen, this shows how power-hungry Pharaoh is, he’s proud and arrogant and will go to any length to keep his position of power.

Pharaoh had continued to refuse the right of God’s firstborn, Israel, to worship Him, Exodus 4:22-23, and, He will now experience the appropriate judgment, the death of his and Egypt’s first-born, including even cattle.

Earlier Pharaoh told them never to come to him again or he would die, Exodus 10:29, but Moses’ basically says, then let your servants appear in my presence. This of course happened, with even Pharaoh himself joining in the begging, Exodus 12:30-33.

There is a teaching which is popular amongst certain groups, that teach that this plague was carried out by the ‘angel of death’. Let me go ahead and address that teaching before going on to the next chapter.

The Angel Of Death!

It never ceases to amaze me how people repeat ‘phrases’ they’ve heard and then they go on to teach others the same ‘phrases’. The problem with most of these phrases is that they completely mislead people and they lead to an erroneous understanding of God and His Word.

One of these phrases is, ‘the angel of death’ or ‘the death angel’ which implies God has an angel whose specific role is to go out and kill people.

No Such Angel

It may come as a surprise to some that there is no such angel mentioned in the Scriptures and the Scriptures nowhere describes any of God’s angels as an ‘angel of death’ or ‘the death angel.’

There are a few Bible references which people use to back up their claim that there is ‘an angel of death’, however, if these same people took the time to read the Scriptures properly and in their proper context, they would soon come to a different conclusion.

The main example given for proof of an ‘angel of death’ is found in Exodus when the final plague came upon Egypt, where the firstborn sons of the Egyptians would die, Exodus 11:4-5. And when we go over to the next chapter, we see this promise coming to fruition, Exodus 12:29.

Now notice in both of these passages there is no mention of any angel, never mind any mention of an ‘angel of death’ and if you read them carefully you can’t miss the fact that it’s God Himself, who carries out this judgement. The text says, ‘I (God) will go out’, ‘The Lord Stuck down’.

Another example that people use to claim that the ‘angel of death’ exists is found in 2 Kings 19:35. Again, we don’t need to be a Bible scholar to read that this text clearly tells us ‘the angel of the Lord’ carried out this act, but notice, there is no mention of the phrase, ‘angel of death’.

Another example that people use to claim that the ‘angel of death’ exists is found in 2 Samuel 24:15-16. As with the other text, we see here that it is ‘the angel of the LORD’ which causes all these deaths, but nowhere is this angel ever called ‘the angel of death’.

I’ve heard too many sermons and sat in too many Bible classes where I hear this phrase being used over and over again but a careful reading of the Scriptures reveals to us that God has on a few occasions carried out His judgement on nations using angels but nowhere in the Scriptures are these angels or any specific angel referred to as ‘the angel of death’ or ‘the death angel’.

If we’re going to use ‘phrases’, let’s use Biblical phrases, not phrases which are completely misleading, and unscriptural. Someone once said, ‘let’s call Bible things by Bible names’.

Go To Exodus 12