For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night
. Which must be understood consistent with his omnipresence, and of the manifestation of his powerful presence, or of the exertion of his mighty power in the following event: and will smite all the
firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast;
as had been declared to Pharaoh, ( Exodus 11:5 )
and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment;
meaning either figuratively, the nobles, princes, judges and civil magistrates, who are sometimes called Elohim, gods; but since the firstborn of these, as of others, and so the judgment on them, are comprehended in the preceding clause, this is, rather to be understood literally of the idols of the Egyptians, their images of gold and silver, or of whatever they were made of: the Targum of Jonathan is,
``on all the idols of the Egyptians I will exercise four judgments; the molten idols shall be melted, the idols of stone shall be cut asunder, the idols of earth shall be broke to pieces, and the idols of wood shall become ashes;''see ( Numbers 33:4 ) ( Isaiah 19:1 ) and there are some traces of this in Heathen writers; Artapanus F5 says, that by an earthquake most of the temples in Egypt fell; and Justin F6 reports, that Moses, being the leader of the exile Israelites, stole away the sacred things of the Egyptians, i.e. their gods, which they endeavoured to regain by force of arms:
I am the Lord;
God Almighty, faithful and true, and therefore what was threatened should certainly be performed, and thereby the Egyptians and all others might know that he was Jehovah alone, and that there is no God beside him.
F5 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 436.
F6 E Trogo, l. 36. c. 2.