Exodus 9


‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats. But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’” The LORD set a time and said, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this in the land.” And the next day the LORD did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.’ Exodus 9:1-7

The Plague On Livestock

As Pharaoh continues to harden his heart and refuses to let God’s people go, Exodus 5:1 / Exodus 7:2 / Exodus 7:7 / Exodus 7:16 / Exodus 8:1 / Exodus 8:20, God, continues to bring judgment against Egypt.

Here we find the fifth plague, the death of livestock. This was a judgment on the goddess ‘Hathor’ and the god ‘Apis’, who were both depicted as cattle. As with the previous plague, God protected His people from the plague, while the cattle of the Egyptians all died, Psalm 78:48.

God was steadily destroying the economy of Egypt while showing His ability to love, protect and provide for those who obeyed Him. As we go through these plagues we see that God was slowly demonstrating not only to Pharaoh but to His people that He controls everything.

There is no way the Israelites could avoid witnessing the power of God as their livestock lived in Goshen but in Egypt, they all died. And if you were an Israelite living during this time, wouldn’t you be thinking to yourself, what on earth is going on here? Remember they have never witnessed anything like this before.

We don’t know what this disease was which the livestock suffered, the point is it was only the Egyptian’s livestock not the Israelites. This should have been a clear declaration to Pharaoh that God was protecting the Israelites.

Notice that Pharaoh did some investigating into the matter, but his heart remained hard and he wouldn’t allow God’s people to go. In the seventh plague, Exodus 9:20-21, we read that the livestock was further afflicted.

The Plague Of Boils

‘Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on people and animals throughout the land.” So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on people and animals. The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.’ Exodus 9:8-12

Here we find the sixth plague, which was boils. This was a judgment against several gods over health and disease ‘Sekhmet’, ‘Sunu’, and ‘Isis’. Notice again, God gave Pharaoh no warning or time to think before sending this plague, just like He did earlier with the plague of gnats, Exodus 8:16. As the dust of the ashes spread through Egypt, it caused boils, Exodus 28:27.

Notice a furnace is mentioned, Fields, in his commentary says the following.

‘If these ashes did come from a brick kiln, there is a sardonic twist of vengeance revealed. The Israelites had been enslaved at brick-making, and now the ashes that made the lives of the oppressed bitter smite the oppressor with boils.’

The magicians are mentioned here, which tells us that these religious leaders were powerless against the God of Israel. We also find the first mention of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart, which we dealt with back in Exodus 4:21. As a result of Pharaoh’s hard heart, he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, and allow God’s people to go.

The Plague Of Hail

‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’” Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. But those who ignored the word of the LORD left their slaves and livestock in the field. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on people and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.” When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the LORD, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the LORD. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God.” (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.) Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the LORD; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.’ Exodus 9:13-35

Before God sent the last four plagues, Pharaoh was given a special message from God. These plagues would be more severe than the others, and they were designed to convince Pharaoh and all the people, ‘that there is none like me in all the earth’.

Here we read of the seventh plague, hail, Psalm 78:48. This was an attack against ‘Nut’, the sky goddess, ‘Osiris’, the crop fertility god, and ‘Set’, the storm god. It appears that Moses and Aaron could go to Pharaoh at any time they wanted to.

You will notice that it was this plague that increases the hardships of those who were afflicted. The affliction would come within the household of Pharaoh so that he would understand that there was no god that man could conceive as the God of heaven.

What we see here is that this was the first plague that took human life. It was more destructive to human property and was made known with the terrifying manifestation of hail mingled with fire.

This hail was unlike any that had been seen before, it was accompanied by a fire which ran along the ground, and everything left out in the open was devastated by the hail and fire. But once again, God’s people were miraculously protected, and no hail-damaged anything in their lands.

And again can you imagine being there? I would be so tempted to step out of Goshen, pop into the part where the hail and fire were happening and pop back into Goshen again.

Imagine if you lived right on the borderline where you’ve got this line on the ground where no hail and fire are and just watching this event. If you’re an Israelite there would be no mistaking the awesomeness of God.

Pharaoh was even told that he was placed in his position by God so that God could show His power and declare His name through all the earth. And as an example of His grace, God warned Pharaoh to gather whatever cattle and crops remained from the previous plagues and shelter them from the coming storm.

Notice also that it was God who raised Pharaoh up into the position he had at this time. God foreknew that Pharaoh would resist His plan to deliver Israel from captivity. He knew that all ten plagues would have to be unleashed on Egypt in order that He be glorified as the all-powerful God of heaven.

God could have done away with Egypt in the blink of an eye, He could have wiped them off the face of the Earth and just taken Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He didn’t do that because He wanted to demonstrate that He was in control of absolutely everything.

God raised Pharaoh up precisely for the purpose of glorifying God’s Name. God’s will was going to be done but it was entirely up to Pharaoh as to just how that would happen.

Go To Exodus 10


"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."