The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. (Exodus 11:1, ESV)
There have been a lot of movies made about the Exodus, and they all like to focus on the 10 plagues brought upon Egypt. As I was reading through here this morning, this verse stuck out.
After everything that happens, I try to read it like I don’t know what is coming next. After each plague I think “Now, surely, Pharaoh will release the Hebrews, right‽” and then Pharaoh double crosses them. For a while you wonder if God is just enabling Pharaoh to continue in his sins, if the mercy is just too much. There is real irony here because God’s mercy brings about more suffering than if He would have just wiped out the Egyptians from the beginning. But that wouldn’t have sent the right message. The Hebrews are going to leave Egypt to follow a god that is merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love and boy will they see His patience and love as He gives the Egyptians one chance after another after another after another after another after another after another after another!
So after all of that, I think this might be the most terrifying sentence in the whole book.
One plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely.
There is one more plague coming, and it is going to be so severe that Pharaoh won’t let you leave, but he will drive you away completely! This next thing that is going to happen will be so profound, so powerful, so consummate, that Pharaoh will not change his mind like he did 9 times already. You will not be allowed to leave, but driven from this land.
It’s also interesting to note, that after the proclamation of the first nine plagues, Moses tells Pharaoh such and such will happen unless you let my people go. This time it’s done. Here comes the final plague, and we’re not asking anything of you, Pharaoh. The time for entreaty is over. The God of the Hebrews is done negotiating and yielding.