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Exodus 11 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Exodus 11 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.

2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.

3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.

4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:

(11:4-6) "About midnight will I go out"
These verses clearly show that the mass murder of innocent children by God (see 12:29-30) was premeditated.
Notice first of all, that every child of the Egyptians could have escaped. As for example with the plague of pestilence, see chapter 9:3, the Egyptians received warning beforehand, with exact instructions what to do to escape God's wrath. Also note that the firstborn of the Israelites would be killed as well, unless they also followed these instructions. The instructions were simple, and in reach of everyone, who truly believed that God existed and would bring this plague upon them, see chapter 12:22-23.
The author of the SAB might ask: these little children had done nothing. But they were under their parents protection. If parents don't put their children in seat belts, and subsequently their children die in a crash, is it not the parents fault? It surely is. The children are part of the parents and it is the responsibility of the parents to take care of them, physically and spiritually.
Finally, was this not a just punishment? Pharaoh and his people had engaged in forced labour, working people to death, and killing the Hebrew males for over 80 years. What kind of punishment does that deserve?
See also Was God being evil when He killed all the firstborn in Egypt? which addresses this last topic in much detail.

5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.

7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.

(11:7) "That ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel"
God will kill the Egyptian children to show that he puts "a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."
The difference was not that the angel would only visit the Egyptians. He would come through the entire land, even the portions occupied by the Israelites, and save those where there was blood upon the door posts, see chapter 12:23.
But the difference would be that the Israelites would obey, and have the blood upon the posts, and would be saved, and the majority of the Egyptians would not, and therefore a great cry would go up.
On if this was cruel and unjust, see verse 4.

8 And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.

9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.

(11:9) "And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt."
God explains to Moses that he has been hardening Pharaoh's heart so that Pharaoh will not let the Israelites go. God says that this way he'll be able to show off his latest signs and wonders (by murdering little children).
This verse simply says that God has foreseen that Pharaoh would not hearken. But yes, God hardened Pharaoh's heart as punishment, and yes Pharaoh had a free will, and did not listen.
Note that the last plague did not come upon the children, but upon all firstborn, adults and children, and the Egyptians could have escaped it, see verse 4.

10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

(11:10) "The LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
God hardens Pharaoh's heart one last time "so that he would not let the children of Israel go."
Who hardened the Pharaoh's heart?