Else, if thou wilt not let my people go
But remainest obstinate and inflexible:
behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee;
the word used is generally thought to signify a "mixture", and is interpreted by many a mixture of various creatures; the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it a mixture of wild beasts, and so Josephus F11 understands it of all sorts of beasts, of many forms, and such as were never seen before; according to Jarchi, all sorts of evil beasts are meant, as serpents and scorpions, mixed together; and so Aben Ezra says it signifies evil beasts mixed together, as lions, wolves, bears, and leopards; but it is not likely the houses should be filled with these, or the ground covered with them, as after related: and besides, they would soon have destroyed, all the inhabitants of the land, since as it follows they are said to be upon them; rather a mixture of insects is intended; the Septuagint; version renders it the "dog fly", and so Philo the Jew F12; which, as Pliny F13 says, is very troublesome, to dogs especially, about their ears, and this version Bochart F14 approves of:
and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses;
they should be sent unto and settle first on his own person, and also on his ministers and courtiers, and upon all his subjects in general, and get into their houses, and be very troublesome guests there:
and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of the swarms of flies,
and also the ground whereon they are;
their number would be so very great.
F11 Antiqu. l. 2. c. 14. sect. 3.
F12 De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 622.
F13 Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 34.
F14 Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 15. col. 555.