Exodus 9

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still, 3 behold, the LORD’s hand is on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks with a very grievous pestilence. 4 The LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt; and nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.”’” 5 The LORD appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.” 6 The LORD did that thing on the next day; and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. 7 Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the livestock of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he didn’t let the people go. 8 The LORD said to Moses and to Aaron, “Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it towards the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 It shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking out with boils on man and on animal, throughout all the land of Egypt.” 10 They took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up towards the sky; and it became a boil breaking out with boils on man and on animal. 11 The magicians couldn’t stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were on the magicians, and on all the Egyptians. 12 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he didn’t listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses. 13 The LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues against your heart, against your officials, and against your people; that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For now I would have stretched out my hand, and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth; 16 but indeed for this cause I have made you stand: to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth; 17 as you still exalt yourself against my people, that you won’t let them go. 18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now. 19 Now therefore command that all of your livestock and all that you have in the field be brought into shelter. Every man and animal that is found in the field, and isn’t brought home, the hail shall come down on them, and they shall die.”’” 20 Those who feared the LORD’s word amongst the servants of Pharaoh made their servants and their livestock flee into the houses. 21 Whoever didn’t respect the LORD’s word left his servants and his livestock in the field. 22 The LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand towards the sky, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man, and on animal, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.” 23 Moses stretched out his rod towards the heavens, and the LORD sent thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down to the earth. The LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 So there was very severe hail, and lightning mixed with the hail, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and animal; and the hail struck every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. 27 Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 28 Pray to the LORD; for there has been enough of mighty thundering and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands to the LORD. The thunders shall cease, and there will not be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you don’t yet fear the LORD God.” 31 The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they had not grown up. 33 Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands to the LORD; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 The heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

God will have Israel released, Pharaoh opposes it, and the trial is, whose word shall stand. The hand of the Lord at once is upon the cattle, many of which, some of all kinds, die by a sort of murrain. This was greatly to the loss of the owners; they had made Israel poor, and now God would make them poor. The hand of God is to be seen, even in the sickness and death of cattle; for a sparrow falls not to the ground without our Father. None of the Israelites’ cattle should die; the Lord shall sever. The cattle died. The Egyptians worshipped their cattle. What we make an idol of, it is just with God to remove from us. This proud tyrant and cruel oppressor deserved to be made an example by the just Judge of the universe. None who are punished according to what they deserve, can have any just cause to complain. Hardness of heart denotes that state of mind upon which neither threatenings nor promise, neither judgements nor mercies, make any abiding impression. The conscience being stupified, and the heart filled with pride and presumption, they persist in unbelief and disobedience. This state of mind is also called the stony heart. Very different is the heart of flesh, the broken and contrite heart. Sinners have none to blame but themselves, for that pride and ungodliness which abuse the bounty and patience of God. For, however the Lord hardens the hearts of men, it is always as a punishment of former sins.

Verses 8–12

When the Egyptians were not wrought upon by the death of their cattle, God sent a plague that seized their own bodies. If lesser judgments do not work, God will send greater. Sometimes God shows men their sin in their punishment. They had oppressed Israel in the furnaces, and now the ashes of the furnace are made a terror to them. The plague itself was very grievous. The magicians themselves were struck with these boils. Their power was restrained before; but they continued to withstand Moses, and to confirm Pharaoh in his unbelief, till they were forced to give way. Pharaoh continued obstinate. He had hardened his own heart, and now God justly gave him up to his own heart’s lusts, permitting Satan to blind and harden him. If men shut their eyes against the light, it is just with God to close their eyes. This is the sorest judgment a man can be under out of hell.

Verses 13–21

Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message to Pharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man of such a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with; and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power of God has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies. When God’s justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same time shows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguished between Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians and others. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgment itself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Some believed the things which were spoken, and they feared, and housed their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Even among the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God’s word; and shall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not, and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deaf to the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leaves the blood of those that perish upon their own heads.

Verses 22–35

Woful havoc this hail made: it killed both men and cattle; the corn above ground was destroyed, and that only preserved which as yet was not come up. The land of Goshen was preserved. God causes rain or hail on one city and not on another, either in mercy or in judgment. Pharaoh humbled himself to Moses. No man could have spoken better: he owns himself wrong; he owns that the Lord is righteous; and God must be justified when he speaks, though he speaks in thunder and lightning. Yet his heart was hardened all this while. Moses pleads with God: though he had reason to think Pharaoh would repent of his repentance, and he told him so, yet he promises to be his friend. Moses went out of the city, notwithstanding the hail and lightning which kept Pharaoh and his servants within doors. Peace with God makes men thunder-proof. Pharaoh was frightened by the tremendous judgment; but when that was over, his fair promises were forgotten. Those that are not bettered by judgments and mercies, commonly become worse.

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