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Tenth Plague: the Death of the Firstborn. 1Then the LORD spoke to Moses: One more plague I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. After that he will let you depart. In fact, when he finally lets you go, he will drive you away. 2a Instruct the people that every man is to ask his neighbor, and every woman her neighbor, for silver and gold articles and for clothing. 3The LORD indeed made the Egyptians well-disposed toward the people; Moses himself was very highly regarded by Pharaoh’s servants and the people in the land of Egypt.
4Moses then said, “Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go forth through Egypt.b 5c Every firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl who is at the handmill,* as well as all the firstborn of the animals. 6Then there will be loud wailing throughout the land of Egypt, such as has never been, nor will ever be again. 7But among all the Israelites, among human beings and animals alike, not even a dog will growl, so that you may know that the LORD distinguishes between Egypt and Israel. 8All these servants of yours will then come down to me and bow down before me, saying: Leave, you and all your followers!d Then I will depart.” With that he left Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger.
9The LORD said to Moses: Pharaoh will not listen to you so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. 10Thus, although Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders in Pharaoh’s presence, the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go from his land.
* [11:5] Handmill: two pieces of stone were used to grind grain. A smaller upper stone was moved back and forth over a larger stationary stone. This menial work was done by slaves and captives.
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