Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.
If you don’t, I will send more plagues on you and your officials and your people. Then you will know that there is no one like me in all the earth.
By now I could have lifted my hand and struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth.
But I have spared you for a purpose—to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth.
But you still lord it over my people and refuse to let them go.
So tomorrow at this time I will send a hailstorm more devastating than any in all the history of Egypt.
Quick! Order your livestock and servants to come in from the fields to find shelter. Any person or animal left outside will die when the hail falls.’”
Some of Pharaoh’s officials were afraid because of what the LORD had said. They quickly brought their servants and livestock in from the fields.
But those who paid no attention to the word of the LORD left theirs out in the open.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward the sky so hail may fall on the people, the livestock, and all the plants throughout the land of Egypt.”
So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed toward 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 devastating hail and continuous lightning.
It left all of Egypt in ruins. The hail struck down everything in the open field—people, animals, and plants alike. Even the trees were destroyed.
The only place without hail was the region of Goshen, where the people of Israel lived.
Then Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. “The LORD is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong.
Please beg the LORD to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.”
“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, and you will know that the earth belongs to the LORD .
But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God.”
(All the flax and barley were ruined by the hail, because the barley had formed heads and the flax was budding.
But the wheat and the emmer wheat were spared, because they had not yet sprouted from the ground.)
So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and went out of the city. When he lifted his hands to the LORD, the thunder and hail stopped, and the downpour ceased.
But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had stopped, he and his officials sinned again, and Pharaoh again became stubborn.
Because his heart was hard, Pharaoh refused to let the people leave, just as the LORD had predicted through Moses.