And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh. The pointed and monitory character of the address contained in this passage indicates that a longer interval had elapsed since the last interview with Pharaoh than had intervened between the former plagues; and that as the demand for permission to Israel to depart was now renewed, the king's refusal would be followed by a series of increasingly terrible visitations until the judicial climax was reached. Hence, they were announced as "plagues upon his heart" - fitted to astonish, to agitate, and overwhelm both him and all his people. The former plagues having, as we have seen, occurred before or during the early period of the annual overflow, an interval of four or five months probably ensued during the subsidence of the Nile, after which the still moistened soil was prepared for the seed.
Whether the bondage of the Israelites was enforced with unabated rigour, a considerable relaxation had taken place since the commencement of the plagues: certain it is that there is no record of its continuance; and the single condition on which the threatened judgments were suspended was Pharaoh's consent or refusal to "let the Lord's people go, that they may serve me."