Exodus 9

The Plague on Livestock

1 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.”
2 If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back,
3 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.
4 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.’ ”
5 The LORD set a time and said, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this in the land.”
6 And the next day the LORD did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died.
7 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.

The Plague of Boils

8 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.
9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on people and animals throughout the land.”
10 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.
11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians.
12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.

The Plague of Hail

13 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,
14 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.
15 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.
16 But I have raised you up[a] for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go.
18 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.
19 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.’ ”
20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.
21 But those who ignored the word of the LORD left their slaves and livestock in the field.
22 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.”
23 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;
24 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.
25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree.
26 The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.
27 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.
28 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.”
29 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.
30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God.”
31 (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom.
32 The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)
33 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.
34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts.
35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.

Exodus 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

The murrain of beasts. (1-7) The plague of boils and blains. (8-12) The plague of hail threatened. (13-21) The plague of hail inflicted. (22-35)

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.

Cross References 38

  • 1. S Exodus 8:1
  • 2. Exodus 7:4; 1 Samuel 5:6; Job 13:21; Psalms 32:4; Psalms 39:10; Acts 13:11
  • 3. Leviticus 26:25; Psalms 78:50; Amos 4:10
  • 4. ver 26; S Exodus 8:23; Exodus 8:22
  • 5. ver 19-21; Exodus 11:5; Exodus 12:29
  • 6. Psalms 78:48-50
  • 7. S Exodus 7:22
  • 8. Exodus 7:14; Exodus 8:32
  • 9. Leviticus 13:18,19; Deuteronomy 28:27,35; 2 Kings 20:7; Job 2:7; Isaiah 38:21; Revelation 16:2
  • 10. S Exodus 8:18
  • 11. S Exodus 4:21
  • 12. S Exodus 7:4
  • 13. S Exodus 3:18; Exodus 8:20
  • 14. S Exodus 8:10
  • 15. Exodus 15:11; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Psalms 35:10; Psalms 71:19; Psalms 86:8; Psalms 89:6; Isaiah 46:9; Jeremiah 10:6; Micah 7:18
  • 16. Exodus 3:20
  • 17. Proverbs 16:4
  • 18. Ex 14:4,17,31; Psalms 20:6; Psalms 25:11; Psalms 68:28; Psalms 71:18; Psalms 106:8; Psalms 109:21; Romans 9:17*
  • 19. ver 23; Joshua 10:11; Psalms 78:47-48; Psalms 105:32; Psalms 148:8; Isaiah 30:30; Ezekiel 38:22; Haggai 2:17
  • 20. ver 24; Exodus 10:6
  • 21. Proverbs 13:13
  • 22. S Genesis 19:14; Ezekiel 33:4-5
  • 23. Exodus 20:18; 1 Samuel 7:10; 1 Samuel 12:17; Psalms 18:13; Psalms 29:3; Psalms 68:33; Psalms 77:17; Psalms 104:7
  • 24. S ver 18; Joshua 10:11; Psalms 78:47; Psalms 105:32; Isaiah 30:30; Ezekiel 38:22; Revelation 8:7; Revelation 16:21
  • 25. S ver 18
  • 26. Psalms 105:32-33; Ezekiel 13:13
  • 27. S ver 4; Isaiah 32:18-20
  • 28. Exodus 8:22; Exodus 10:23; Exodus 11:7; Exodus 12:13; Amos 4:7
  • 29. ver 34; Exodus 10:16; Numbers 14:40; Deuteronomy 1:41; Joshua 7:11; Judges 10:10; 1 Samuel 15:24; 1 Samuel 24:17; 1 Samuel 26:21
  • 30. 2 Chronicles 12:6; Psalms 11:7; Psalms 116:5; Psalms 119:137; Psalms 129:4; Psalms 145:17; Jeremiah 12:1; Lamentations 1:18
  • 31. Exodus 8:8; Acts 8:24; Exodus 10:17
  • 32. S Exodus 8:8
  • 33. ver 33; 1 Kings 8:22,38; Job 11:13; Psalms 77:2; Psalms 88:9; Psalms 143:6; Isaiah 1:15
  • 34. Exodus 19:5; Job 41:11; Psalms 24:1; Psalms 50:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • 35. S Exodus 8:29
  • 36. Deuteronomy 8:8; Ruth 1:22; Ruth 2:23; 2 Samuel 14:30; 2 Samuel 17:28; Isaiah 28:25; Ezekiel 4:9; Joel 1:11
  • 37. Isaiah 28:25
  • 38. S Exodus 4:21

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the plague of murrain upon the cattle, and which yet was not upon the cattle of the Israelites, Ex 9:1-7 and the plague of boils and blains on man and beast, Ex 9:8-11 and Pharaoh's heart being hardened, Moses is sent to him with a message from the Lord, threatening him that all his plagues should come upon him, and particularly the pestilence, if he would not let Israel go; and signifying, that to show his power in him, and declare his name throughout the earth, had he raised him up, and a kind of amazement is expressed at his obstinacy and pride, Ex 9:12-17, and he is told that a terrible storm of hail should fall upon the land, and destroy all in the field; wherefore those that regarded the word of the Lord got their cattle within doors, but those that did not took no care of them, Ex 9:18-21 and upon Moses's stretching out his hand, when ordered by the Lord, the storm began, and destroyed every thing in the field throughout the land, excepting the land of Goshen, Ex 9:22-26 upon which Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, acknowledged his sin, and the justice of God, begged they would entreat for him, which Moses did; but when the storm was over, Pharaoh's heart was still more hardened, and he refused to let the people go, Ex 9:27-35.

Exodus 9 Commentaries

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