Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, and tell him, 'This is what the LORD God of the Hebrews says: Let my people go to worship me.
If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them [in slavery],
the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock, including your horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats.
But the LORD will distinguish between Israel's livestock and the livestock of the Egyptians. No animals belonging to the Israelites will die.'"
The LORD set a definite time. He said, "Tomorrow I will do this."
The next day the LORD did as he said. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but none of the Israelites' animals died.
Pharaoh found out that not one of the Israelites' animals had died. Yet, Pharaoh continued to be stubborn and would not let the people go.
Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take a handful of ashes from a kiln, and have Moses throw them up in the air as Pharaoh watches.
They will become a fine dust throughout Egypt. The dust will cause boils to break into open sores on people and animals throughout Egypt."
They took ashes from a kiln and stood in front of Pharaoh. Moses threw the ashes up in the air, and they caused boils to break into open sores on people and animals.
The magicians couldn't compete with Moses because they had boils like all the other Egyptians.
But the LORD made Pharaoh stubborn, so he wouldn't listen to Moses and Aaron, as the LORD had predicted to Moses.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Early in the morning, go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD God of the Hebrews says: Let my people go to worship me.
Now I will send plagues that will affect you personally as well as your officials and people. This is how you will know that there is no one like me anywhere on earth.
By now I could have used my power to kill you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.
But I have spared you for this reason. I want to show you my power and make my name famous throughout the earth.
You are still blocking my people from leaving.
So, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever happened in Egypt since the beginning of its history.
Now, send [servants] to bring your livestock and everything else you have indoors. All people and animals still outside and not brought in will die when the hail falls on them.'"
Those members of Pharaoh's court who listened to the LORD's warning brought their servants and cattle indoors quickly.
But those who didn't take the LORD's warning seriously left their servants and animals out in the open.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Lift your hand toward the sky, and hail will fall on people, animals, and every plant in the fields of Egypt."
When Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning struck the earth. So the LORD made it hail on Egypt.
It hailed, and lightning flashed while it hailed. This was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.
All over Egypt the hail knocked down everything that was out in the open. It struck down people, animals, and every plant in the fields and destroyed every tree in the fields.
The only place it didn't hail was the region of Goshen, where the Israelites lived.
Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. "This time I have sinned," he told them. "The LORD is right, and my people and I are wrong.
Pray to the LORD. We've had enough of God's thunder and hail. I'll let you go; you don't have to stay here any longer."
Moses replied, "As soon as I'm out of the city, I'll spread out my hands to the LORD in prayer. The thunder will stop, and there will be no more hail. This is how you will know that the earth belongs to the LORD.
But I know that you and your officials still don't fear the LORD God."
(The flax and the barley were ruined, because the barley had formed heads and the flax was in bloom.
Neither the wheat nor the wild grain was damaged, because they ripen later.)
As soon as he left Pharaoh and went out of the city, Moses spread out his hands to the LORD in prayer. The thunder and the hail stopped, and no more rain came pouring down on the ground.
When Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had stopped, he sinned again. He and his officials continued to be stubborn.
Pharaoh was stubborn and would not let the Israelites go, as the LORD had predicted through Moses.