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The Fifth Plague: Livestock Diseased


Then the L ord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the L ord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, 3the hand of the L ord will strike with a deadly pestilence your livestock in the field: the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4But the L ord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the Israelites.’ ” 5The L ord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the L ord will do this thing in the land.” 6And on the next day the L ord did so; all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the livestock of the Israelites not one died. 7Pharaoh inquired and found that not one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the people go.

The Sixth Plague: Boils

8 Then the L ord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw it in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. 9It shall become fine dust all over the land of Egypt, and shall cause festering boils on humans and animals throughout the whole land of Egypt.” 10So they took soot from the kiln, and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses threw it in the air, and it caused festering boils on humans and animals. 11The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils afflicted the magicians as well as all the Egyptians. 12But the L ord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he would not listen to them, just as the L ord had spoken to Moses.

The Seventh Plague: Thunder and Hail

13 Then the L ord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the L ord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth. 17You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go. 18Tomorrow at this time I will cause the heaviest hail to fall that has ever fallen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19Send, therefore, and have your livestock and everything that you have in the open field brought to a secure place; every human or animal that is in the open field and is not brought under shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them.’ ” 20Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the L ord hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place. 21Those who did not regard the word of the L ord left their slaves and livestock in the open field.

22 The L ord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that hail may fall on the whole land of Egypt, on humans and animals and all the plants of the field in the land of Egypt.” 23Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the L ord sent thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth. And the L ord rained hail on the land of Egypt; 24there was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25The hail struck down everything that was in the open field throughout all the land of Egypt, both human and animal; the hail also struck down all the plants of the field, and shattered every tree in the field. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail.

27 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the L ord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28Pray to the L ord! Enough of God’s thunder and hail! I will let you go; you need stay no longer.” 29Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the L ord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the L ord’s. 30But as for you and your officials, I know that you do not yet fear the L ord God.” 31(Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they are late in coming up.) 33So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and stretched out his hands to the L ord; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured down on the earth. 34But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned once more and hardened his heart, he and his officials. 35So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the L ord had spoken through Moses.

8. And the Lord said unto Moses. God does not now postpone the time of the punishment, but redoubles the plagues in a continuous series; nor does he threaten Pharaoh, but, leaving him, executes the judgment which He decreed; both because it was now more than sufficiently manifested that admonitions were of no avail with him, and also that his desperate wickedness might be reproved in every way. For although I have lately said that all which happened is not fully related, still the narrative of Moses rather leads us to infer, that nothing about the boils was previously told to Pharaoh, but that the ashes105105     Havernick, in his Introduction to the Pentateuch, has a remarkable note on this plague. “The symbolical procedure,” he says, “employed by Moses, Exodus 9:8, etc., is striking, and has never yet been satisfactorily explained. It is, however, made completely intelligible to us by a statement of Manetho in Plutarch, De. Isaiah et Osir. p. 380: καὶ γὰρἐν ᾿Ειληθυίας πο·λει ζῶντας ἀνθρώπους κατεπίμπασαν, ὡς Μανέθων ἱστόρηκε, Τυφωνίους καλοῦντες, καὶ τὴν τέφραν αὐτῶν λικμῶντες ἠφάνιβον, καὶ διέσπειρον. In respect to this we may leave it undecided how far this statement should be connected with the residence of the Hyksos, a conclusion which there is much to favor; here we have only to do with the striking rite mentioned in the notice, which was certainly an ancient mode of expiation, indicating purification, which in antiquity was often symbolized by ashes. (V. Spencer, De legg, rituall., s. 3. diss. 3, c. 1.) We shall thus understand the entire significance, which the procedure had for the Egyptians, inasmuch as a rite which they regarded as sacred in the sense referred to, was here followed by the contrary effect, pollution, as is so expressively indicated by our text.” — Thomson’s Translation, p. 246. Edinburgh, 1850. were sprinkled, when he had no suspicion of anything of the kind. But it did not happen naturally that the heaven was darkened by the dust, and that the disease arose from thence; for how could a few ashes cover the whole air? But by this visible sign the tyrant was taught that the calamity which ensued was inflicted by Moses and Aaron. Moreover, God invested His servants with high and power, when He gave them command over the air, so that they should envelop it in darkness, and poison it with contagion. Hence we gather, that the devil’s are called the princes of the air, not because they govern it according to their will, but only so far as the permission106106     D’y faire leurs efforts. — Fr. to wander in it is accorded to them.

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