Exodus 3:19

19 But I know that the king of Egypt 1will not let you go unless compelled 2by a mighty hand.[a]

Exodus 3:19 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 3:19

And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go
Or "but" F3 "I am sure" though so reasonable a request was made him, yet it would not be granted; this is observed to them, that they might not be discouraged when he should refuse to dismiss them, which the omniscient God knew beforehand, and acquaints them with it, that, when it came to pass, they might be induced to believe that the mission of Moses was of God, rather than the contrary: no, not by a mighty hand;
the mighty power of God displayed once and again, even in nine plagues inflicted on him, until the tenth and last came upon him; or "unless by a mighty hand" F4, even the almighty hand of God; prayers, entreaties, persuasions, and arguments, will signify nothing, unless the mighty power of God is exerted upon him.


F3 (yna) "ego autem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "sed ego", V. L.
F4 (alw) (ean mh) Sept. "nisi", V. L. Pagninus, Vatablus; so Noldius, p. 344. No. 1246.

Exodus 3:19 In-Context

17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey."'
18 And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.'
19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.
20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go.
21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty,

Cross References 2

  • 1. Exodus 5:2; Exodus 7:4
  • 2. Exodus 6:1; Exodus 13:3

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew go, not by a mighty hand
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.