"Go back to Pharaoh," the LORD commanded Moses. "Tell him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.
If you continue to oppress them and refuse to let them go,
the LORD will send a deadly plague to destroy your horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and sheep.
But the LORD will again make a distinction between the property of the Israelites and that of the Egyptians. Not a single one of Israel's livestock will die!'"
The LORD announced that he would send the plague the very next day,
and he did it, just as he had said. The next morning all the livestock of the Egyptians began to die, but the Israelites didn't lose a single animal from their flocks and herds.
Pharaoh sent officials to see whether it was true that none of the Israelites' animals were dead. But even after he found it to be true, his heart remained stubborn. He still refused to let the people go.
Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take soot from a furnace, and have Moses toss it into the sky while Pharaoh watches.
It will spread like fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, causing boils to break out on people and animals alike."
So they gathered soot from a furnace and went to see Pharaoh. As Pharaoh watched, Moses tossed the soot into the air, and terrible boils broke out on the people and animals throughout Egypt.
Even the magicians were unable to stand before Moses, because the boils had broken out on them, too.
But the LORD made Pharaoh even more stubborn, and he refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning. Go to Pharaoh and tell him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.
If you don't, I will send a plague that will really speak to you and your officials and all the Egyptian people. I will prove to you that there is no other God like me in all the earth.
I could have killed you all by now. I could have attacked you with a plague that would have wiped you from the face of the earth.
But I have let you live for this reason -- that you might see my power and that my fame might spread throughout the earth.
But you are still lording it over my people, and you refuse to let them go.
So tomorrow at this time I will send a hailstorm worse than any in all of Egypt's history.
Quick! Order your livestock and servants to come in from the fields. Every person or animal left outside will die beneath the hail.'"
Some of Pharaoh's officials believed what the LORD said. They immediately brought their livestock and servants in from the fields.
But those who had no respect for the word of the LORD left them out in the open.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Lift your hand toward the sky, and cause the hail to fall throughout Egypt, on the people, the animals, and the crops."
So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning struck the earth. The LORD sent a tremendous hailstorm against all the land of Egypt.
Never in all the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such severe hail and continuous lightning.
It left all of Egypt in ruins. Everything left in the fields was destroyed -- people, animals, and crops alike. Even all the trees were destroyed.
The only spot in all Egypt without hail that day was the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel lived.
Then Pharaoh urgently sent for Moses and Aaron. "I finally admit my fault," he confessed. "The LORD is right, and my people and I are wrong.
Please beg the LORD to end this terrifying thunder and hail. I will let you go at once."
"All right," Moses replied. "As soon as I leave the city, I will lift my hands and pray to the LORD. Then the thunder and hail will stop. This will prove to you that the earth belongs to the LORD.
But as for you and your officials, I know that you still do not fear the LORD God as you should."
All the flax and barley were destroyed because the barley was ripe and the flax was in bloom.
But the wheat and the spelt were not destroyed because they had not yet sprouted from the ground.
So Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. As he lifted his hands to the LORD, all at once the thunder and hail stopped, and the downpour ceased.
When Pharaoh saw this, he and his officials sinned yet again by stubbornly refusing to do as they had promised.
Pharaoh refused to let the people leave, just as the LORD had predicted.