8:21 If you do not release45 my people, then I am going to send46 swarms of flies47 on you and on your servants and on your people and in your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground they stand on.48
tn The construction uses the predicator of nonexistence—אֵין (’en, “there is not”)—with a pronominal suffix prior to the Piel participle. The suffix becomes the subject of the clause. Heb “but if there is not you releasing.”
tn Here again is the futur instans use of the participle, now Qal with the meaning “send”: הִנְנִי מַשְׁלִיחַ (hinni mashliakh, “here I am sending”).
tn The word עָרֹב (’arov) means “a mix” or “swarm.” It seems that some irritating kind of flying insect is involved. Ps 78:45 says that the Egyptians were eaten or devoured by them. Various suggestions have been made over the years: (1) it could refer to beasts or reptiles; (2) the Greek took it as the dog-fly, a vicious blood-sucking gadfly, more common in the spring than in the fall; (3) the ordinary house fly, which is a symbol of Egypt in Isa 7:18 (Hebrew זְבוּב, zévuv); and (4) the beetle, which gnaws and bites plants, animals, and materials. The fly probably fits the details of this passage best; the plague would have greatly intensified a problem with flies that already existed.