Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. 2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbours for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.

Here are two ways (among others) in which the final plague was going to be different to all the rest:

  1. It was going to work! (1b). Whereas it was known that the other plagues were preparatory and would be resisted (e.g. 3:19);
  2. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were going to encounter God Himself, without the involvement of human intermediaries: ‘All ten of the disasters inflicted on Egypt were acts of God, but the final one was outstandingly so, for in its performance the Lord in person entered Egypt to exact a just judgment (11:4; 12:12). In this regard the sequence of plagues illustrates the awesome biblical truth that the final issue for recalcitrant humanity is to come face to face with God. Divine patience and forbearance wait while every avenue of moral probation is offered, tried and exhausted, but…The word of God cannot be refused endlessly. There always has to be an end, a meeting with the God whom our refusals have offended to the point of finality.’ Alec Motyer: ‘The Message of Exodus’, p.126).