I was going back over Exodus 11 and 12 this morning in final preparations for a Sabbath sermon, and I noticed something I had never noticed before. It is amazing how that you can read a text for so many years and yet miss something very profound.
In Exodus 11:6-7 we have Moses talking to Pharaoh about what is going to happen in the final plague in Egypt. It is the plague where the firstborn in all of Egypt will perish, that is, unless the command to apply blood to the door of the house is obeyed (see Exodus chapter 12). In Exodus 11:6 Moses says that there is going to be a great cry of anguish throughout Egypt. This cry would be something that had not occurred before nor would occur again. It would be the cry of all the families in Egypt that awoke when their firstborn died during the middle of the night. Imagine thousands of people dying at one singular time all over an entire nation.
Moses then states this in Exodus 11:7: "But against all the Israelites, whether man or beast, not even a dog will snarl."
I read this one time, and then I went back again a read it a few more times. I was thinking to myself, "What in the world does this mean?" It even made me chuckle a bit.
The literal reading from the Hebrew is "not even a dog will move/point its tongue," and most commentators regard it as an idiom meaning something like this: when the Israelites leave they will not have to deal with the grief from their firstborn dying. This means that there will be no dogs howling as is customary for dogs to do when someone in the house is hurt or in need.
However, I think there is another meaning (or a two-fold meaning) here that becomes apparent with a bit of study into the worship of the Egyptians. The Egyptians worshiped a multiplicity of gods and in bringing the plagues on Egypt Yahweh was executing judgment on all their gods (Exodus 12:12). One of the gods Egypt worshiped was named Anubis and was the Son of a major god named Osiris. Anubis was depicted as either a dog (jackal) or at least a man with the head of a dog. He was actually called "barking Anubis" by the Egyptian people. Egypt even had a city named Anubis after the name of the god. Anubis' name actually means something like, "Lord of the Place of Embalming," or "Lord of Death." It was believed by the Egyptians that Anubis was the god that carried them to the underworld when they died.
It is quite probable that what Moses meant in Exodus 11:7 is that there would be yet another judgment on one of Egypt's gods. Just as the "powerful" sun god "Ra" was shown to be powerless when there were three days of darkness in Egypt during the ninth plague, Yahweh was now mocking Anubis through His prophet Moses by telling them that even Anubis would not be able to stop the exodus from the land of Egypt, controlled by Yahweh's ultimate power. Even Anubis, the "lord of the dead" couldn't keep Yahweh's Israel people from leaving Egypt. Very interesting to say the least.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.