Follow up to Why is every 3rd plague unannounced

We see that in the warning, Moses uses the phrase, "Send my people and they shall worship me."

There is a warning about the 10th plague. But, here, Moses doesn't use this phrase at all. He just tells Pharaoh, this is what will happen, and then, after it happens, your servants will come down and tell us to leave.

Why doesn't he (or G-d) give Pharaoh a "last chance" to send the people, as was done with the other plagues?


1 Answer 1


The "tenth" plague was actually announced at the very beginning Shmos 4:23

So I say to you, 'Send out My son so that he will worship Me, but if you refuse to send him out, behold, I am going to slay your firstborn son.' "


Send out My son… but if you refuse to send him out, behold, I am going to slay, etc.: That is the last plague, but He warned him [Pharaoh] about it first, because it was [the most] severe, and that is what [Scripture] says: “Behold, God deals loftily in His power” (Job 36:22). Therefore, “who is a teacher like Him?” [A man of] flesh and blood who seeks to avenge himself against his fellow, concealing his plans, so that he will not seek rescue, but the Holy One, blessed be He, deals loftily with His strength, and no one is able to escape from his hand, except by returning to Him [by repenting]. Therefore, He teaches him [about possible punishment] and warns him to repent. — [from Tanchuma, Va’era 14, Exodus Rabbah 9:9]

Now that Par'o has refused to accept the warnings and the punishments of the other plagues, and has told Moshe that he will refuse to see him or accept any warnings


Pharaoh said to him, "Go away from me! Beware! You shall no longer see my face, for on the day that you see my face, you shall die!"

[Thereupon,] Moses said, "You have spoken correctly; I shall no longer see your face."

then he has made himself subject to the original punishment. He has been given the last chance and he has turned it down. Once he has refused the last chance, there is nothing more to be said. Otherwise, you can ask why 10, why not 20 or 30, ...

Bo chapter 11 shows how Moshe responded to Par'o and said what was going to happen as a result. This was not a "warning" but a statement before he turned and walked out.

  • Really good answer. It does raise a follow up, here. If the warning of the last punishment came at the beginning, already, then, yes, why all the other plagues? What was the point of all the others?
    – DanF
    Jan 25, 2017 at 17:16
  • @DanF To get Par'o to acknowledge Hashem and to therefore listen to the warning. Had he let them go willingly, he would have wscaped the final punishment. Jan 25, 2017 at 18:59

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