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Poole on 1 Samuel 6:6: Reproved by Wizards

Verse 6:[1] Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, (Ex. 7:13; 8:15; 14:17) as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully (or, reproachfully[2]) among them, (Ex. 12:31) did they not let the people (Heb. them[3]) go, and they departed?

[Wherefore do ye make heavy your hearts, וְלָ֤מָּה תְכַבְּדוּ֙ אֶת־לְבַבְכֶ֔ם] Will ye make your hearts heavy? (Pagnine, Montanus, Malvenda); will ye harden your spirit? that is, why will ye obstinately and tenaciously resist, by retaining the Ark (Vatablus)? תְכַבְּדוּ, ye will make heavy, is here put in the place of תַכְבִּידוּ, ye will make heavy[4] (Drusius). They are said to be made heavy, who, loaded with oppressive weight, are hindered from performing some work. Sin is a grievous weight, under which men are buried (Mendoza). Ye will harden, etc. (Arabic). Ye are obstinate and resolute (Munster). Βαρύνω, to weigh down,[5] is in the place of σκληρύνω, to make hard, and a heavy heart is a hard heart (Drusius). They were previously advised with lenience, but now they are reproved with severity (Mendoza). Josephus relates that there were certain ones in the Council, who were saying that the causes of these evils were natural; therefore, while by the delay of the council opportunities were lost, and each wanted to defend his own opinion, the plague was increased, as the Rabbis also observe. Therefore, the Priests say, how long will ye harden, etc.? (Martyr).

Do ye harden, or, should ye harden; the future tense of the indicative mood being put potentially, as is not unusual. They express themselves thus, either because they perceived that some opposed the decree of sending home the ark, though the most had consented to it; or because they thought they would hardly send it away in the manner prescribed, by giving glory to God, and taking shame to themselves.

[As Egypt and Pharaoh made heavy] They subjoin a species to a genus, or a part, but the principal part, to the whole. Thus in Joshua 2:1, View the land, and Jericho. Thus in 1 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 2:30. Likewise, tell His disciples and Peter.[6] All Judea and Jerusalem, in Matthew 3:5 (Drusius). Pharaoh is mentioned last, so that progress might be made from the lesser hardness (that is, of the Egyptians) to the greater (namely, of Pharaoh) (Mendoza).

As the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts; which they might easily learn, either by tradition from their ancestors, or by the reports of the Hebrews.

[Did He not, after He smote, etc.? הֲלוֹא֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר הִתְעַלֵּ֣ל בָּהֶ֔ם[7]] Did He not take vengeance on them, etc.? (Jonathan). And, just as they mock them, they did not release them, yet they departed (Syriac). And, after they slighted them, and did not release them; at last the Lord led them out, with them reluctant (Arabic). Did they not, when He wrought wonderful things, etc.? (Pagnine, similarly the Dutch, Vatablus), that is, when He drew out His strength against them (Vatablus). When he mocked, etc. (Septuagint, Montanus). After he had mocked them (Tigurinus). Or he had wrought reproachfully with them (English). While he was acting against them (Munster). After he crushed them. הִתְעַלֵּל, with a ב following, is to do a work of grinding, that is, to crush (Drusius). Or, to do a work of corruption, that is, to corrupt (Kimchi in Drusius). What if, after he executed judgment upon them? For to do posited absolutely is to do judgment (Drusius). After He did very illustrious things upon them (Junius and Tremellius). He exercised Himself in their case. A Synecdoche of genus (Piscator). They refer it to God. Others take it impersonally, is it not so that, after it was done at pleasure with them (Malvenda). The sense is able to be twofold: either, 1. Why are ye crueler than Pharaoh? For he, having been smitten, released the people: but you, having been smitten, yet retain the Ark. Or, 2. Pharaoh, although he was resistant, was yet overcome by God, etc. Thus ye will be unequal to divine power (Mendoza). Now, this history was well-known to the Philistines, either from the tradition of the elders, or from the narration of the Hebrews (Menochius).

[1] Hebrew: וְלָ֤מָּה תְכַבְּדוּ֙ אֶת־לְבַבְכֶ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֧ר כִּבְּד֛וּ מִצְרַ֥יִם וּפַרְעֹ֖ה אֶת־לִבָּ֑ם הֲלוֹא֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר הִתְעַלֵּ֣ל בָּהֶ֔ם וַֽיְשַׁלְּח֖וּם וַיֵּלֵֽכוּ׃ [2] Hebrew: הִתְעַלֵּל. [3] Hebrew: וַיְשַׁלְּחוּם. [4] Although these two forms mean roughly the same thing, the Hiphil conjugation more commonly communicates the causative sense. [5] Thus the Septuagint. [6] Mark 16:7. [7]עָלַל, to act severely, in the Hithpael conjugation, signifies to busy oneself, or to deal wantonly or ruthlessly.

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