And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great
Perhaps with the same sort that Abimelech and his servants were smote with on a like account, ( Genesis 20:17 Genesis 20:18 ) . The Jews
because of Sarai, Abram's wife;
or "upon the word of Sarai" F9, as it may be literally rendered: hence the Jews have a notion, that an angel stood by Sarai with a scourge in his hand, and when Sarai bid him smite Pharaoh, he smote him F11; but (rbd) signifies not a word only, but thing, matter and business: and so Onkelos renders it here: and the sense is, that Pharaoh and his courtiers were smitten, because of the affair and business of Sarai; because she was taken by them, and detained in Pharaoh's house, and designed to be made his wife or concubine; and thus for evil intentions was this punishment inflicted; so that evil designs, not brought into execution, are punishable; though the word of Sarai may mean what she was bid to say, and did.
F8 Jarchi in loc. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 41. fol. 35. 4.
F9 (yrv rbd le) "propter verbum Sarai", Montanus; "super verbo", Munster, Piscator.
F11 Jarchi in loc. Bereshit Rabba, ut supra. (sect. 41. fol. 35. 4.)