Exodus 9 Commentary

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Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
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Ex 1:1-18:27
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(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 9:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

  • Ex 9:13 Ex 3:18 Ex 4:22,23 Ex 5:1 Ex 8:1,20 Ex 10:3 


Then - Marks progression, this one after another episode of heart hardening (Ex 8:32+)! 

Cole remarks that "ironically, after the discussion of the Egyptian horror of animal sacrifice. The next plague deals particularly with ‘beasts’.  Like the turning of the Nile waters to blood, this is a direct blow at Egypt’s gods.

The LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and speak to him - Presumably in his palace. Note in all these plagues, Moses no longer expresses any hesitation or reservation (or excuse). He has seen the power of Jehovah and surely grown in his trust in Jehovah with each plague that left a clear imprint of the sovereign power of God over the secular power of Pharaoh. 

Guzik - In mercy, God told Moses to give another warning, so that Pharaoh would have opportunity to repent.  (Exodus 9)

Go to Pharaoh - 5x - Exod. 3:11; Exod. 7:15; Exod. 8:1; Exod. 9:1; Exod. 10:1

Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me Let My people go, that they may serve Me - This command which one writer calls "the freedom to worship formula" is repeated some 9 times (Ex 5:1+; Ex 7:16+; Ex 8:1+; Ex 8:20+; Ex 8:21+; Ex 9:1+; Ex 9:13+; Ex 10:3+; Ex 10:4+) Play Louis Armstrong - Go Down Moses - Let My People Go or another version Moses Go Down (Let My People Go)

Guzik -  In this appeal two things were clear. First, the people of Israel belonged to God, not to Pharaoh. Second, it was clear that God wanted Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go for the sake of the LORD Himself, not even so much for the sake of the children of Israel.  (Exodus 9)

Currid - The message is repeated. Pharaoh is directed to let the people leave Egypt, or there will be serious consequences. An important addition to the command is the inclusion of the title for Yahweh, ‘the God of the Hebrews’. This epithet has not been applied since the first plague (Ex 7:16), and it serves as a reminder to Pharaoh who it is that he is battling against....‘the God of the Hebrews’. This epithet has not been applied since the first plague (7:16), and it serves as a reminder to Pharaoh who it is that he is battling against. (Exodus Commentary)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

In four successive plagues of constantly increasing severity had Pharaoh already been made to feel the lighting down of the heavy arm of the divine indignation, without yet being brought to submit to the mandate of heaven. He consequently yet stands a mark for the arrows from Jehovah’s quiver. His last recent breach of faith was so gross an affront both to God and to Moses, that we might have looked for the infliction of another judgment without the least premonition. But warning is here given of another plague of still more deadly nature than any of the preceding, in case he should persist in refusing to let the people go. Would that his compliance had spared the historian the necessity of relating any thing but the threatening! But alas! we pass directly into the narrative of its execution.

Thompson summarizes some of GOD'S PURPOSES FOR THESE PLAGUES - In the book of Joshua, when the two spies went to Jericho and hid in the harlot Rahab’s house, she said to them: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt…” (Joshua 2:9-10). Then she went on to say, “…for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). What Rahab’s statement tells us is that people all over the world came to realize that there is only one God of the heavens and earth and this God was Israel’s God. What caused people to realize this was the plagues found in the book of Exodus (Sermon)

When we go through the book of Exodus, we discover God had some very specific reasons for these sign/miracle/plague judgments:

  • Reason #1 - God wanted to multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Ex 7:3 The things God did in Egypt pointed to Him and should cause people to stand in awe of Him.
  • Reason #2 - God performed these things to force the Egyptians to let the Israelites go. Ex 7:4 This was God’s will and it would end up happening. These plagues would break these people.
  • Reason #3 - God wanted the Egyptians and the world to know He is the sovereign I AM LORD. Ex 7:5, 17 God is the self-existing God who can do what He wants and has a covenant connection to Israel.
  • Reason #4 - God wanted the Egyptians and the world to know there is no God like Him. Ex 8:10; 9:14 No created being can do what God does in these sign/miracle/plagues. They cannot be duplicated.
  • Reason #5 - God performed these things so that His name would be proclaimed throughout all the earth. Ex 9:16 Even the most godless people in the world have heard of these Egyptian plagues.
  • Reason #6 - God performed these things so God’s own people would tell the future generations about His great sovereign power. Ex 10:1-2

    It is the responsibility of God’s own people to pass on truth about the sovereignty of God. He can harden a heart or He can soften a heart. He is the Sovereign God (Sermon)

The Ten Plagues on Egypt


1 BLOOD (Ex 7:20+)


Pharaoh hardened (Ex 7:22+)

2 FROGS (Ex 8:6+)


Pharaoh begs relief, makes promise (Ex 8:8+)
then is hardened (Ex 8:15+)

3 GNATS (Ex 8:17+)

Hathor, Nut

Pharaoh hardened (Ex 8:19+)

4 FLIES (Ex 8:24+)

Shu, Isis

Pharaoh bargains (Ex 8:28+) but is hardened (Ex 8:32+)

5 PESTILENCE (Ex 9:6+)


Pharaoh hardened (Ex 9:7+)

6 BOILS (Ex 9:10+)


Pharaoh hardened (Ex 9:12+)

7 HAIL (Ex 9:23+)


Pharaoh begs relief (Ex 9:27+), makes promise (Ex 9:28+) then is hardened (Ex 9:35+)

8 LOCUSTS (Ex 10:13+)


Pharaoh bargains (Ex 10:11+), begs relief (Ex 10:17+), but is hardened (Ex 10:20+)

9 DARKNESS (Ex 10:22+)


Pharaoh bargains (Ex 10:24+), but is hardened (Ex 10:27+)



Pharaoh beg Israel to leave (Ex 12:31-33+)

Exodus 9:2  "For if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them,

  • Ex 4:23 8:2 10:4 Lev 26:14-16,23,24,27,28 Ps 7:11,12 68:21 Isa 1:20 Ro 2:8 Rev 2:21,22 16:9 


For if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them - The "if" introduces a conditional statement that concludes with the consequence in Ex 9:3. If you refuse (maen used 3x in OT - Ex 8:2, Ex 9:2, Ex 10:4) identifies this as a clear threat to Pharaoh (same challenge made in the second plague,  frogs, and will be made again in the eighth plague, locusts). While if you refuse was used before, now we have an added phrase which is a direct frontal attack on Pharaoh's power! If you...continue to hold them is a somewhat ironic play on words because hold is the same verb chazaq repeatedly used to describe the hardening of Pharaoh's heart (Ex 7:13, Ex 7:22, Ex 8:19, Ex 9:35, Ex 10:20, Ex 10:27, Ex 11:10, Ex 14:4) which is the very reason he won't let them go but continues to hold them. The ides is something like "if you continue to strong arm them." 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

2. Wilt hold them still. Heb. מחזיק בם mahazik bam, strengthenest upon them; i. e. forcibly detaining them.

Exodus 9:3  behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks.

  • the hand - Ex 7:4 8:19 1Sa 5:6-11 6:9 Ac 13:11 
  • very severe pestilence - Ex 5:3 


Behold - This is added to get Pharaoh's attention. "Look out Mr. Pharaoh!' Mattoon calls this "The Plague of the Pocket Book!"  (Treasures from Exodus)

The hand of the LORD - None of the previous plagues were announced as plagues by the hand of the LORD, but this one was. This is not the "finger of Elohim" (Ex 8:19+) but the "hand of Yahweh!" A finger bring gnats was bad enough, but hand will be far worse. This speaks of the full might of Jehovah's omnipotent power! God specifically wanted Pharaoh to understand that this death plague was coming directly from Him. God wanted all to know the death penalty comes directly from Me. This should be frightening to any sane person, but Pharaoh is not entirely sane! This shows you how prideful (pride filled) he was. He did not care if all the Egyptian animals were dead; he was not about to submit to the Word of God or will of God.

 "When pride comes, then comes dishonor." 
Proverbs 11:2

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Proverbs 16:18

A man's pride will bring him low,
Proverbs 29:23

David Thompson observes "Now again we learn something about how to recognize a heart God has hardened. (OR THAT HARDENS ITSELF AGAINST GOD) A hardened heart does not think or react in rational, logical ways. A hardened heart is a heart that thinks and acts in ways that are illogical. The logical thing to do when you have just seen this plague would be to say - we need to let these people go. But a hardened heart does not think rationally or logically. (Sermon)

Currid adds an interesting note that "Ancient Egyptian texts characteristically describe Pharaoh’s power in terms of his ‘strong hand’" (Exodus Commentary)

Hand of the LORD - See study of the Hand of the LORD - used 38x in Scripture - Exod. 9:3; Deut. 2:15; Jos. 4:24; Jos. 22:31; Jdg. 2:15; Ruth 1:13; 1 Sam. 5:6; 1 Sam. 5:9; 1 Sam. 7:13; 1 Sam. 12:15; 2 Sam. 24:14; 1 Ki. 18:46; 2 Ki. 3:15; 1 Chr. 21:13; Ezr. 7:6; Ezr. 7:28; Job 12:9; Ps. 75:8; Ps. 118:15; Ps. 118:16; Prov. 21:1; Isa. 19:16; Isa. 25:10; Isa. 41:20; Isa. 62:3; Isa. 66:14; Jer. 51:7; Ezek. 1:3; Ezek. 3:14; Ezek. 3:22; Ezek. 8:1; Ezek. 33:22; Ezek. 37:1; Ezek. 40:1; Lk. 1:66; Acts 11:21; Acts 13:11

Will come with a very severe pestilence - This is the first plague against the personal property of the Egyptians. Severe would have been bad enough but very severe should be an attention grabber for Pharaoh! Severe is kabed used to describe Pharaoh's stubborn heart in Ex 7:14. Because of his stubborn heart he would suffer a severe pestilence. Or heavy heart brings heavy plague! The Septuagint translates pestilence using the noun thanatos which means death, the implication being that the animals will not just become sick but will die!

Pestilence (01698)(deber from dabar = to speak) refers to plague. In the first 3 uses in Exodus deber speaks of divinely induced pestilence on Egypt (Ex 5:3, 9:3, 15). In Lev 26:25 as punishment for Israel's sin God promises "I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be delivered into enemy hands." (Compare Nu 14:12, Dt 28:21) In 2Sa 24:13, 15 we see the pestilence was sent on Israel because of King David's sin and as a result 70,000 men died! King Solomon referred to pestilence as one of the judgments that should stimulate the people to pray asking God to hear their cries (1Ki 8:37, 2Chr 6:28). God delivers from pestilence (Ps 91:3).

On your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks - Notice the pronoun your referring to the possessions of Pharaoh. This was going to hit him directly and hard. Also in an agrarian culture, this would devastate the national economy! 

John Currid - This plague is also a polemic. Bull cults are known to have flourished throughout the history of Egypt. Egyptians viewed the bull as a fertility figure, the great inseminator imbued with the potency and vitality of life. Apis was the most important of the Egyptian sacred bulls. Other bull cults included Buchis (sacred bull of Hermonthis) and Mneuis (Heliopolis). In addition, bulls were understood as embodiments of the great Egyptian gods Ptah and Ra. Numerous important female deities are pictured as livestock animals: Isis, queen of the gods, bears cow’s horns on her head; Hathor is given a bovine head for her task of protecting the king. The biblical author is demonstrating that these gods are impostors. Yahweh is sovereign over all things. (Exodus Commentary)

Victor Hamilton - Apparently not only does God visit the sins of the fathers on their children. He also visits the sins of the fathers on their livestock. All of God’s creation, human and nonhuman, are liable to be caught up in the disastrous consequences of one malevolent human being. The ripple effect of one’s stubbornness and stupidity can be massive. (Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

3. Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon the cattle, &c. Heb. יד יהוה הויה yad Yehovah hoyah, the hand of the Lord (is) being (i. e. made to be) upon the cattle, &c. Carrying still the future import which so frequently pertains to the present participle. The plague in this instance was to come directly from the hand of the Lord, without the intermediate wielding or waving of Aaron’s rod.

A very grievous murrain. Heb. דבר כבד מאד deber kabed meod, a pestilence very heavy; i. e. a very great and general mortality, as appears from v. 6. The original word for ‘murrain,’ when applied to men, is translated ‘pestilence,’ and is rendered in the Gr. both here and elsewhere, by θανατος, death. See Note on Ex. 5:3. Our English word ‘murrain’ comes either from the French mourir, to die, or from the Greek μαραινω, to grow lean, to waste away. It is with us applied to a a particular contagious disease among cattle, the symptoms of which are a hanging down and swelling of the head, abundance of gum in the eyes, rattling in the throat, difficulty of breathing, palpitation of the heart, staggering, a hot breath, and a shining tongue; all which symptoms prove that a general inflammation has taken place. But as no particular disorder is here specified, mortality would have been a better rendering. There was a peculiar affliction in the judgment of the murrain, not only from the Egyptians being dependent on their animals in various ways for their sustenance and comfort, but also from their being compelled to witness their excruciating sufferings without the power of affording relief. The poor beasts themselves were guiltless of wrong, yet having their being under a constitution in which they are a sort of appendage to man, they are made subject to suffering by reason of his sin, or as Jeremiah expresses it, ch. 12:4, ‘For the wickedness of the land, the beasts are consumed.’ This infliction therefore was a trial to Pharaoh and the Egyptians whether they would be at all wrought upon by a view of the effects of their sin as evinced in the sufferings of the unoffending brute creation. At the same time, in order to impress them still more forcibly with the displeasure of God against them, the Israelites, whom they so much despised and oppressed, were entirely exempt from this calamity.

Exodus 9:4  "But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.

  • Ex 8:22 10:23 12:13 Isa 65:13,14 Mal 3:18 


But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel - The distinction is in the livestock but ultimately it is in the people who own the livestock, Israelites versus Egyptians. God is not doing this because Israel is so good, but because of His (Abrahamic) covenant with their forefathers (Dt 7:6-8) and the fact that He choose them to be a distinct people (Ex 19:5,6) from whom He would bring His Messiah (cf Gal 3:16+). Sadly even though God made this distinction physically in all the last 7 plagues (and possibly even the first 3 but those are more difficult to determine with certainty), Israel herself did not keep herself distinct spiritually from Egypt and allowed herself to be corrupted by Egyptian influences, including the idolatrous gods of Egypt (cf Acts 7:39-42, 43+). And so God was "successful" in getting Israel out of Egypt, the ongoing task after that was to "get Egypt out of Israel!"

THOUGHT - God chose Israel from the rest of the world to be different, holy, set apart from the world and to Him. Now in the NT God has chosen individuals, both Jews and Gentiles, to be holy, set apart from this world and unto Himself. We are to be a distinct (not weird or strange or "holier than thou") people, Peter writing "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”  (1 Pe 1:14-16+, cf Lev 11:44+). Paul adds "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6:19-20+)

God’s providential care of Israel was evident in the last seven plagues, because the Jews escaped each one of them (Ex 8:22–23; Ex 9:4, 11 [“all the Egyptians”], Ex 9:26; Ex 10:6 [“all the Egyptians”], Ex 10:23; Ex 11:7). 

Make a distinction (set apart) (06395)(palah) to be distinct, separate, set apart, to be different, to be selected, to be distinguished. To mark something as different from something else and to deal differently with it. It can take on the sense of being wonderful or amazingly constructed (Ps 139:14). This verb is used in Ex. 8:22; Ex 9:4 and Ex 11:7 meaning to make distinct, to distinguish or to separate and in all three passages the Septuagint (Lxx) translates palah with the verb paradoxazo (para = beside + doxazo = to glorify) which means to treat with distinction, to mark off, to make extraordinary. In the only other Scriptural use in Dt 28:59 paradoxazo translates "extraordinary" (pala)

In Ex 33:16 God's call on Israel was to be a distinct, distinguished, set apart people where the Septuagint uses the verb endoxazomai (1740) meaning to be an object of honor and praise, to be held in high esteem - Used 13x - Ex 14:4 (I will be honored); Ex 14:17 (I will be honored); Ex 14:18 (when I am honored through Pharaoh); Ex 33:16; 2 Ki. 14:10; Ps. 89:7; Isa. 45:25; Ezek. 28:22 (I will magnify Myself); Ezek. 38:23 (sanctify Myself); Hag. 1:8 (be glorified); 2 Th. 1:10 (He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day); 2 Th. 1:12 ( the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you)

Palah is used 7x in OT - 

Exodus 8:22 “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land.

Exodus 9:4  “But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.”’”

Exodus 11:7 ‘But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’

Exodus 33:16  “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished (endoxazomai - ) from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” 

Psalm 4:3   But know that the LORD has set apart (Lxx = thaumastoo = treat wonderfully, magnify) the godly man for Himself; The LORD hears when I call to Him. 

Psalm 17:7  Wondrously show (A command; Lxx = thaumastoo = treat wonderfully, magnify) Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them. 

Psalm 139:14  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Lxx = thaumastoo and thaumasios - be wonderfully wornderful!); Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 

Exodus 9:5  The LORD set a definite time, saying, "Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land."

  • time - Ex 9:18 8:23 10:4 Nu 16:5 Job 24:1 Ec 3:1-11 Jer 28:16,17 Mt 27:63,64 


The LORD set a definite time - Bruckner has an interesting comment that "The LORD set a time, as Pharaoh’s visible control diminishes and Yahweh’s increases. In the plague of frogs, Pharaoh set the time (8:9). With the flies, Moses set the times of their infestation and removal (Es 8:23, 29). Hereafter, the Lord would establish the timing (Ex 9:18 hail; Ex 10:4 locusts). (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

Saying, "Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land." - This blow is not haphazard by holy determined! This specific timing indicates this is not a natural but a supernatural sign! Notice that Moses clearly says the LORD will do this thing

Hamilton - Four times in these plagues (Ex 8:23; Ex 9:5, 18; Ex 10:4), in the announcement part of the plague, God tells Pharaoh what he is going to do “tomorrow.” Twice “tomorrow” appears after the plague has already come on (Ex 8:10; Ex 8:29). Unlike what Jesus says in Matt 6:34+, “Do not worry about tomorrow,” maybe Pharaoh had better start worrying a bit about tomorrow. Maybe he needs to start singing, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” especially if such meditation and reflection will move him toward a change of heart, an about-face. But don’t hold your breath. (Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary)

David Thompson said it this way - This is interesting because when a person is right with God, Jesus taught we don’t have to worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34). But if a person is not right with God, one had better worry about tomorrow. If a person is not right with God, one better worry about the next hour because you may not be around to even see tomorrow. (Sermon)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

To-morrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. The fixing of the time in this manner would make the judgment when it came the more remarkable. ‘We know not what any day will bring forth, and therefore cannot say what we will do to-morrow, but God can.’ Henry.

Exodus 9:6 So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died.

  • Ex 9:19,25 Ps 78:48,50 



So the LORD did this thing on the next day - Note that this prophecy was perfectly fulfilled. The timing substantiates it beyond a shadow of doubt as a miracle and not as some aberrational natural occurrence! Believe it or not!

and all the livestock of Egypt died - Here a skeptic might argue that if all the livestock died than where did the beasts come from in Ex 9:25? Hamilton writes "Given that “animals” appear in the next plague of boils (9:9, 10), and in the following plague of hail (9:19, 22, 25), the “all” in “All the livestock of Egypt perished” (v. 6) must mean “most of.”" (Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary)

David Thompson - Pharaoh's arrogant rebellion had not only cost him, but it cost the people of his kingdom. One political leader in rebellion against God does affect the entire nation. One political leader who is righteous before God also does the same. (Sermon)

NET NOTE - The word “all” clearly does not mean “all” in the exclusive sense, because subsequent plagues involve cattle. The word must denote such a large number that whatever was left was insignificant for the economy. It could also be taken to mean “all [kinds of] livestock died.” (Exodus 9)

Wiersbe - Inasmuch as there were still livestock in Egypt that were affected by the next two plagues (Ex 9:9, 19–21), the word “all” in verse 6 should be interpreted in a relative sense. Note too that the livestock killed by the fifth plague were in the fields, not in sheds (Ex 9:19–21). (Exodus - Be Delivered)

J Vernon McGee commenting in light of fact that Egyptians worshiped bulls  - With a tour group I made a trip out to the pyramids. When we got back, one of the men who knew the area said, “Did you see the mummies of the bulls?” We said, “No.” “Well,” he said, “you missed the most important thing.” So several in our group went back out there to get pictures of them. I was not interested in going twelve miles in all that heat to see mummies of bulls! But they are there—literally hundreds of them, reverently entombed in sarcophagi. Archaeologists have just begun unearthing them. Apis, the black bull, was worshiped in Egypt. The second largest temple that Egypt built was located in Memphis and was for the worship of the black bull Apis. Apis was supposed to be an embodiment of Ptah of Memphis. Apis, thought to be engendered by a moonbeam was distinguished by several characteristics. A new Apis was always believed to be born upon the death of the old. The dead bull was embalmed and buried in Memphis. His soul then passed to the world beyond as Osiris-Apis. You might say that what they had here is the worship of a sick cow. God must have smiled at this. God is leveling His judgments against this awful, frightful institution of idolatry that had such a hold upon the Egyptian people as well as on the Israelites. We shall see later that Israel, too, had gone into idolatry.  (Exodus 9)

Guzik - Cole cites an ancient record of a battle the Egyptians lost because their enemies put a herd of cattle in front of their advancing troops. It worked because the Egyptian soldiers would not shoot at the opposing army for fear of accidentally killing what they considered to be the sacred cattle.  (Exodus 9)

but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died - This clear protection of Israel gives us the second clear indication that this is a miracle. In fact the fact that none of the livestock of Israel died would be in essence a second miracle. 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

6. All the cattle of Egypt died. That is, some of all sorts; not absolutely each and every one; for we find, v. 19, 25, some remaining which were smitten by a subsequent plague. This peculiar usage of the word ‘all,’ as denoting some of all kinds, instead of the absolute totality of the number spoken of, is of great importance to a right understanding of the sacred Scriptures throughout. Thus, 1 Tim. 2:4, ‘Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto a knowledge of the truth; i. e. all classes and ranks of men; for he had just before exhorted that prayers should be made for ‘kings and for all that are in authority;’ implying, that as no order of men are placed without the pale of salvation, so none should be left out of the supplications of the saints. In like manner it is to be observed, that while in v. 25, of this chapter it is said that ‘the hail smote every herb of the field,’ in ch. 10:15, we are told that the locusts ate ‘every herb of the land which the hail had left.’ For a full and interesting illustration of this phraseology, see J. P. Smith’s Geology and Scripture Compared, p. 247, in respect to the universality of the deluge.



#1 - Nile/Water to blood

Ex. 7:20+; Ps 105:29

Rev. 8:8-9; 11:6; 16:3-6

#2 - Frogs

Ex 8:6+  Ps 105:30

Rev. 16:13 (note)

#3 - Gnats

Ex 8:17+ 

Rev. 11:6??? (note)

#4 - Flies

Ex. 8:24+; Ps. 105:31

Rev. 11:6??? (note)

#5 - Livestock Died

Ex. 9:6+

Rev. 8:9 (note)

#6 - Boils

Ex. 9:10+

Rev. 16:2

#7 - Hail

Ex. 9:23+; Ps. 105:32

Rev. 8:7; 16:21

#8 - Locusts

Ex. 10:13+; Ps. 105:34

Rev. 9:3

#9 - Darkness

Ex. 10:22+; Ps. 105:32

Rev. 8:12;
Rev 9:2
Rev 16:10

#10 - Death of Firstborn

Ex. 12:29+; Ps. 105:36


Exodus 9:7  Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

  • the heart - Ex 9:12 7:14 8:32 Job 9:4 Pr 29:1 Isa 48:4 Da 5:20 Ro 9:18 


Stubborn is not the word for Pharaoh, for this distinction and the destruction should have brought him to his senses. This says a lot about the danger of a hard heart in ANYONE! Circumstances and things that should make sense if one is thinking normally, simply do not "compute" in a person with a hard heart. You say white (and it really is white) and they refuse to accept it and say "No! It's black." O, the horror of a hard heart! We see the essence of what happens when a person's heart is given over to themselves in Romans 1:20-28. Notice for example Romans 1:28 "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." Pharoah's thinking is "not proper!" And note Ro 1:32 "and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." This is a hard and foolish heart! 

Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead - Note the interjection "Behold" which called attention to this second miracle. There could be no doubt that it was the finger of God. There could be no doubt that God had protected His people. Intellectually, Pharaoh would not be able to miss these clear supernatural signs. 

Currid - Pharaoh’s activity is shown as paradoxical. He ‘sends out’ his servants to investigate Goshen, but he refuses to ‘send out’ the people of God from Goshen. (Exodus Commentary)

Guzik -  Moses told Pharaoh that the Israelites would be spared, and Pharaoh believed it enough to confirm this. Nevertheless, he did not change his heart when it was proven that Moses and his God were exactly right.  (Exodus 9)

But - Again this term of contrast shows that in spite of overwhelming evidence Pharaoh's heart was hardened. 

The heart of Pharaoh was hardened - The Hebrew verb for hardened is kabad which has the basic meaning of to be heavy (like "heavy with sin.") . The Septuagint uses the verb baruno which means caused to experience pressure through something weighty, to burden, to weigh down, to oppress by weight. When used of Pharaoh's heart it means be morally stubborn regarding a change of action or attitude. Driver adds that kabad stresses the will as being slow to move, unimpressionable, slow to be affected  (Ex 8:15; Ex 8:32; Ex 9:7; Ex 9:34; Ex 10:1; Ex 14:4; Ex 14:17) Note it is somewhat ironic that the verb kabad is used here for hardening but is used later for honoring (first God, then parents in  Ex 14:18; Ex 20:12)!

Currid - Pharaoh’s denial of the request for Israel to leave was because ‘his heart was heavy’ (kābēd). The verb kābēd is a stative verb, indicating the condition, or state of being, of Pharaoh’s heart. It is not being used as an active verb, as if the heart were in the process of becoming heavy. It simply was in a state of heaviness. (NET says "In context this represents the continuation of a prior condition." Exodus 9)...

It may be appropriate at this point to consider how humanity normally views or understands so-called natural disasters. When calamities of nature strike, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or diseases of cattle, people almost always see no reason or source behind the disaster. They regard it as merely a matter of chance—disorder breaking in on the normal order of nature. ‘Mother Nature’ is fickle and cannot be trusted. In other words, there is no purpose or meaning to natural calamities. The Bible teaches something different. At the very heart and foundation of Scripture is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. What this means is that God is the Creator of the universe, Lord and Master of all, and his will is the cause of all things. In other words, it is God who is on the throne of the universe, maintaining the creation, directing it and working all things according to his own will and purpose. The biblical picture is that everything that happens in heaven and on earth occurs because of God’s decree, will and purpose. B. B. Warfield gets to the core of the matter when he says, ‘All things without exception, indeed, are disposed by Him … and if calamity falls upon man it is the Lord that has done it.’ Pharaoh and the Egyptians attempted to explain away the plagues as not originating with Yahweh—they looked for other explanations. (Exodus Commentary)

And he did not let the people go - His hard heart directed his foolish decision.

Wiersbe - How did Pharaoh respond to this terrible plague? He hardened his heart and resisted the authority of the Lord. “How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (Prov. 28:14, NASB). The opposite of a hard heart is a heart that fears God, and that reverential fear motivates us to obey the Lord’s commands. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10), but the hardhearted person is ignorant of God and His truth (Eph. 4:18)....For Pharaoh, the worst was yet to come. (Exodus - Be Delivered)

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. 
-- Proverbs 29:1

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

And Pharaoh sent, &c. This shows that he was at least somewhat impressed by the plague as a calamity of very marvellous operation. His sending to ascertain the fact of the Israelites’ exemption indicates that he was not satisfied with reports to that effect. But whether the result of the mission convinced him that the hand of God was in the affliction or not, it is clear that no permanent good impression was made upon him. His heart remained still unsoftened, and he refused to let Israel go.


Hardened - Study all 18 instances in Exodus which mention the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh. Notice which are prophecy, which are ambiguous as to the hardening agent, which are caused by Jehovah and which reflect the choice of Pharaoh's self-will. I think you will find this an interesting exercise as you wrestle with this subject of God hardening a person's heart. 

Ex 4:21+ The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Ex 7:3+ But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

Ex 7:13+ Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 7:22+ But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:15+ But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:19+ Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 

Ex 8:32+ But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:7+ Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:12+ And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses. 

Ex 9:34+ But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

Ex 9:35+ Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

Ex 10:1+ Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,

Ex 10:20+ But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.

Ex 10:27+  But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.

Ex 11:10+  Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

Ex 14:4+ “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. 

Ex 14:8+ The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.

Ex 14:17+ “As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.


  • 6x Jehovah definitely hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
  • 4x Jehovah gave a prophecy (I will).
  • 5x the agent hardening is not stated.
  • 3x Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
  • The first definite mention of one hardening Pharaoh’s heart is Pharaoh (Ex 8:15).

HARDNESS OF HEART — stubbornness in opposition to God’s will (1 Sam. 6:6; Job 38:30). The classic case in the Bible of such disobedience was the Pharaoh of Egypt, who refused to release the Hebrew people in spite of repeated displays of God’s power (Ex. 4:21; 7:3; 14:4, 17). (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

Related Resources:


The action or state of resistance to and rejection of the Word and will of God. Hardness of heart can be a refusal to hear the Word of God, or it can be a refusal to submit and obey the will of God. This rejection can include both the message delivered and the messenger who delivers it.

“Hardening” is a process whereby a person ceases to have a conscience about an evil action that is committed or a sinful attitude that is embodied, such as pride, godlessness, hatred, lust, etc. (Heb. 3:13; 1 Tim. 4:2). Sinful habits can produce or compound this hardened condition. Hardness of heart can eventually destroy one’s sense of sin, ruling out the possibility of repentance.

One of the major issues in this topic concerns the agent of the hardening. The Bible pictures both God and individuals as agents of hardening. For example one passage in the book of Exodus states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exod. 8:15). In other places, God is said to be the one who hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exod. 4:21; 10:1). Paul asserts that God will harden whomever He wants and will bestow mercy on whomever He chooses (Rom. 9:18). The Bible also gives strong warnings against hardening the heart, implying that persons are responsible for the condition of their hearts (Ps. 95:8; Heb. 3:8, 15; 4:7). Hardening may therefore be considered both the work of God and the individual.

The significance of the passages that speak of hardness of heart is that God uses these destitute conditions as a means of accomplishing His purposes. Because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, God liberated the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and eventually led them to the promised land (Josh. 11:20). God used the hardness of Israel to bring salvation to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:7–25). In these passages God’s sovereign purposes are manifested. The entrenched hardness of people’s hearts may be the occasion through which God manifests His mercy and grace. The brightness of God’s redemption is highlighted against the darkness of humanity’s sin. (Stan Norman - Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

William Barclay - There are certain inevitable consequences of sin.

Sin results in a certain 'hardening' of the heart. The word used for hardening is sklerunein (Heb. 3.13). The adjective skleros can be used, for instance, of a stone which is specially hard for masons to work; it can be used metaphorically of a king who is inhuman and hard in his treatment of his subjects. Sin hardens the heart. In Phil. 1.9 Paul prays that the Philippians may abound in what he calls aisthesis, which is 'sensitive perception'. It is the quality of heart and mind which is sensitive to that which is wrong. It is the experience of life that the first time a man commits a wrong action he does so with a kind of shuddering reluctance; if he does it twice he does it more easily; if he goes on doing it he will end by doing it without thinking at all. His sensitiveness to sin is gone; his heart is hardened. It is indeed true that the most awful thing about sin is exactly its power to beget sin.

William Barclay - Whenever a man sets his own ideas in the place that God should take, whenever he stubbornly goes his own way, he is on the way to a condition in which his heart is petrified, in which his heart and his conscience have become insensitive and when his eyes are blind.

Hardening, Hardness of Heart.

The action of hardening one’s heart or the state of hardness of heart is persistent and sometimes hostile rejection of God’s Word—not simply refusal to hear the Word but refusal to respond in obedience. The rejection may also extend to those who convey the Word, whether prophets, apostles, or the Logos himself, Jesus Christ. The objects of hardening may be individuals (e.g., Pharaoh in Exod. 4:21; 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19; 10:1) or whole communities (most importantly Israel in Isa. 6:10–11; 29:9–14; Rom. 11:7–25; 2 Cor. 3:14; but also gentiles in Josh. 11:20; Eph. 4:18). There is no one technical word or phrase for hardening in Scripture.

Most theological discussions are concerned with identifying the agent(s) of the hardening, with opinion divided between God alone (strict Calvinism) and humans alone (Arminianism) or some variation involving both. Variations might hold that God provides the opportunity for human hardening or hardens based on foreknowledge of human sin. Usually the attempt is made to tie hardening to reprobation or preterition, and thus the phenomenon is seen as directly concerning an eternal destiny.

In Scripture both God and humans are listed as agents of hardening. Pharaoh is said to harden his own heart (Exod. 8:15). But also God hardens Pharaoh’s heart (Exod. 4:21; 10:1), and Paul comments that God hardens whom he will and has mercy on whom he will (Rom. 9:18). Scripture warns against hardening, implying responsibility on the part of hearers (Ps. 95:8; Heb. 3:8, 15; 4:7). Noteworthy are the different renderings of Isaiah 6:9–10 in the MT and the LXX, and the consequent usage of the passage in the NT. The former makes God the agent working through the prophet, preventing repentance in Israel (see John 12:40). The LXX sees the people themselves as the agents refusing repentance (see Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27).

Hardening, therefore, is a complex phenomenon involving both divine and human agency. But instead of being the manifestation of predetermined reprobation, hardening is primarily presented in Scripture as a means of God’s accomplishing his purposes for history. Such can be seen in Pharaoh’s case, through which God accomplished Israel’s deliverance (cf. Josh. 11:20). Such is also the case in Israel’s present hardening (Rom. 11:7–25), through which God is bringing salvation to the gentiles. In each case, hardening results in a manifestation of mercy and grace.

Hardening is lifted only by God (2 Cor. 3:15–16; 4:3–6). Scripture expects Israel’s present hardening to be followed by new covenant ministries of the Spirit in which the nation’s hard heart is replaced by a new heart of faith and obedience (Jer. 31:33–37; Ezek. 36:26–37:28; Rom. 11:25–32). (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology)

From Gotquestions


"What are the causes and solutions for a hardened heart?"


To better understand the causes and solutions for a hardened heart, it’s important to understand the broad biblical meaning of the word “heart.” The Bible considers the heart to be the hub of human personality, producing the things we would ordinarily ascribe to the “mind.” For example, Scripture informs us that grief (John 14:1); desires (Matthew 5:28); joy (Ephesians 5:19); understanding (Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:15); thoughts and reasoning (Genesis 6:5; Hebrews 4:12; Mark 2:8); and, most importantly, faith and belief (Hebrews 3:12; Romans 10:10; Mark 11:23) are all products of the heart. Also, Jesus tells us that the heart is a repository for good and evil and that what comes out of our mouth – good or bad – begins in the heart (Luke 6:43–45).

Considering this, it’s easy to see how a hardened heart can dull a person’s ability to perceive and understand. Anyone’s heart can harden, even faithful Christians’. In fact, in Mark 8:17–19 we see Jesus’ own disciples suffering from this malady. The disciples were concerned with their meager bread supply, and it was clear that each of them had forgotten how Jesus had just fed thousands with only a few loaves. Questioning them as to the hardness of their hearts, Christ spells out for us the characteristics of this spiritual heart condition as an inability to see, understand, hear, and remember. Regarding this last criterion, too often we forget how God has blessed us and what He has done for us. Similar to the disciples in this instance or the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, when a new calamity arises in our lives, our hearts often fill with fear and concern. Sadly, this simply reveals to God the little faith we have in His promise to take care of us (Matthew 6:32–33; Philippians 4:19). We need to remember not only the many times God has graciously provided for us in our time of need, but also what He has told us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Sin causes hearts to grow hard, especially continual and unrepentant sin. Now we know that “if we confess our sins, [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). However, if we don’t confess our sins, they have a cumulative and desensitizing effect on the conscience, making it difficult to even distinguish right from wrong. And this sinful and hardened heart is tantamount to the “seared conscience” Paul speaks of in 1 Timothy 4:1–2. Scripture makes it clear that if we relentlessly continue to engage in sin, there will come a time when God will give us over to our “debased mind” and let us have it our way. The apostle Paul writes about God’s wrath of abandonment in his letter to the Romans where we see that godless and wicked “men who suppress the truth” are eventually given over to the sinful desires of their hardened hearts (Romans 1:18–24).

Pride will also cause our hearts to harden. The “pride of your heart has deceived you . . . you who say to yourself, ‘who can bring me down to the ground’ . . . I will bring you down declares the LORD” (Obadiah 3). Also, the root of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness was his pride and arrogance. Even in the face of tremendous proofs and witnessing God’s powerful hand at work, Pharaoh’s hardened heart caused him to deny the sovereignty of the one, true God. And when King Nebuchadnezzar’s “heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory . . . until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone He wishes” (Daniel 5:20–21). Accordingly, when we’re inclined to do it our way, thinking we can “go it on our own,” it would be wise to recall what King Solomon taught us in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

So, what then is the antidote for a heart condition such as this? First and foremost, we have to recognize the effect that this spiritual disease has on us. And God will help us to see our heart’s condition when we ask Him: “Search me O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24). God can heal any heart once we recognize our disobedience and repent of our sins. But true repentance is more than simply a resolute feeling of steadfast determination. Repentance manifests itself in a changed life.

After repenting of our sins, hard hearts begin to be cured when we study God’s Word. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart. . . . I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9–11). The Bible is our manual for living as it is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). If we are to live life to the fullest as God intended, we need to study and obey God’s written Word, which not only keeps a heart soft and pure but allows us to be “blessed” in whatever we do (Joshua 1:8; James 1:25).

Hearts can also become hardened when we suffer setbacks and disappointments in life. No one is immune to trials here on earth. Yet, just as steel is forged by a blacksmith’s hammer, so, too, can our faith be strengthened by the trials we encounter in the valleys of life. As Paul encouraged the Romans: “But we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:3–5).

Exodus 9:8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.

  • Take - Ex 8:16 


Then - This marks progression. Pharaoh hardens, God persists with plagues, previously a plague to their possessions, now a plague to their person! As Walter Kaiser says "For the first time the lives of humans are attacked and endangered, and thus it was a foreshadowing of the tenth and most dreadful of all the plagues." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky  - NET note has an interesting thought that "Moses tosses the soot into the air, it will symbolize that the disease is falling from heaven."  (Exodus 9)

Currid on soot from a kiln - At first glance, this command seems to be strange. Why soot from a furnace? The answer is that it is poetic justice. The type of furnace spoken of here was probably a kiln for burning bricks. The furnace, then, was a symbol of the oppression of the Hebrews, the sweat and tears they were shedding to make bricks for the Egyptians. Thus the very soot made by the enslaved people was now to inflict punishment on their oppressors. (Exodus Commentary)

Constable - God turned the suffering of the Israelites in the furnace of Egypt so that they and what they produced became a source of suffering to the Egyptians  (Exodus 9)

Bruckner notes a more literal rendering: “Have Moses scatter it abundantly toward the heavens before the eyes of Pharaoh.” Soot filled the air in Pharaoh’s court. Moses must have seemed mad, throwing ashes up by the handful, but no one was laughing. (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

Throw- (02236)(zaraq) means to sprinkle, to toss, to throw, to scatter in abundance, to be sprinkled and most of the OT uses (see below) refer to the priest's actions in carrying out the rituals of the sacrifices and offerings. The first use by Moses describes "throwing" the soot from a furnace into the air in the presence of Pharaoh (Ex 9:8, 10). When Job's friends saw him coming at a distance and could scarcely even recognize him, they threw (sprinkled) dust over their heads toward heaven to demonstrate their grief (too bad they did not maintain this attitude!) (Job 2:12). In the ratification of the Old Covenant, Moses took half the blood and sprinkled it on the altar (Ex 24:6-8) signifying the solemn binding nature of the covenant God was making with Israel. In Ex 29 which describes the consecration (Ex 29:1) of Aaron and his sons as priests to Jehovah, Moses was to take some of the blood of the ram and sprinkle it around on the altar (twice - Ex 29:16, 20; cp Lev 8:24). (All uses in Exodus - Exod. 9:8; Exod. 9:10; Exod. 24:6; Exod. 24:8; Exod. 29:16; Exod. 29:20; )

Hamilton on throw (scatter) - Most often “scatter” (zāraq) is used in a sacramental context (e.g., Lev. 1:5, 11; 3:2, 8, 13; 7:14; 8:19, 24) for “dashing” the blood against the sides of the altar. Parallel nonsacramental uses of zāraq to Exod. 9:8, 10 are Job 2:12 (Job’s friends “sprinkled” dust on their heads upon seeing an almost unrecognizable Job), and Ezek. 10:2 (in which the Lord instructs the man clothed in linen to “scatter” burning coals over the city). (Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary)

Wiersbe - God warned Israel that if they disobeyed Him after entering the Promised Land, He would send them the same painful boils with which He had afflicted the Egyptians (Deut. 28:27, 35). (Exodus - Be Delivered)

Deuteronomy 28:27+The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.

Deuteronomy 28:35+The LORD will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

In the sight of Pharaoh - While there is not forewarning, nevertheless Pharaoh would get another front row seat and be the first to witness this sign from Jehovah. He would clearly see that it is the LORD working through His prophets. 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

8. Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, &c. Something similar to this is still to be recognized in the maledictory usages of the East. ‘When the magicians pronounce an imprecation on an individual, a village, or a country, they take ashes of cow’s dung (or from a common fire,) and throw them in the air, saying to the objects of their displeasure, such a sickness, or such a curse, shall surely come upon you.’ Roberts. The obstinacy of Pharaoh under such an accumulation of calls, warnings, and judgments was becoming continually a sin of a more and more aggravated character, and it was therefore fitting that the punishments it incurred should also be of a growing intensity. As the ravages of the pestilence that had wasted their flocks and herds had proved unavailing, a plague was now to be sent that should seize their bodies and touch them to the quick. The Heb. term for ‘ashes,’ as it comes from a root signifying ‘to blow,’ properly denotes the fine cinereal particles which are carried off in the dense clouds of smoke arising from a furnace. The original for ‘furnace’ signifies also a ‘lime-kiln or brick-kiln;’ and as these were among the instruments of oppression to the Israelites, it was fitting that they should be converted to a means of chastisement to the Egyptians, for God oftentimes makes men to recognize their sin in their punishment.

Exodus 9:9  "It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt."

  • boil - Lev 13:18-20 De 28:27,35 Job 2:7 Rev 16:2 


It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt - Note that this is part of the miracle -- the soot in Ex 9:8 in effect "multiplies" because it miraculously transforms from soot to dust and not only that but just a small amount in Moses' and Aaron's hands to multiplies into enough dust to cover the entire land of Egypt. 

Currid adds that "the divine nature is reflected in the transubstantiation, or the changing of one substance into another: soot is transformed into dust. Finally, the effect of dust in bringing disease upon creatures also points to the plague’s supernatural constitution." (Exodus Commentary)

And will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt - If you have ever been in a serious dust store, it would have been bad enough to have this dust throughout the land, but it was virulent dust that had the miraculous power to produce boils and then sores. And don't miss the intense pain that came with these festering boils breaking out! 

Guzik - The idea behind the ancient Hebrew word for boil is “to burn.” It has the idea of a swelling, painful, skin inflammation.  (​​​​​​​Exodus 9)

NET note - The lesson of this plague is that Yahweh has absolute control over the physical health of the people. Physical suffering consequent to sin comes to all regardless of their position and status. The Egyptians are helpless in the face of this, as now God begins to touch human life; greater judgments on human wickedness lie ahead. (Exodus 9)

Bruckner - The Hebrew word for “animals” (beast) (behemah) in verses 9–10 is different from the word for “animal” (livestock) (miqneh) in Ex 9:6. Behemah refers to all kinds of animals, not just domestic livestock.  (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

Boils (07822)(shechin) boil, eruption, a serious skin disease and irritation with festering sores. 

NET on boils - The word שְׁחִין (shékhin) means “boils.” It may be connected to an Arabic cognate that means “to be hot.” The illness is associated with Job (Job 2:7–8) and Hezekiah (Isa 38:21); it has also been connected with other skin diseases described especially in the Law. The word connected with it is אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת (’ava’bu’ot); this means “blisters, pustules” and is sometimes translated as “festering.” The etymology is debated, whether from a word meaning “to swell up” or “to overflow” (W. C. Kaiser, Jr., Expositor's Bible Commentary). (Exodus 9)

Gilbrant - With verbal cognates in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Middle Hebrew and a number of Aramaic dialects, the root verb of shechîn means "to become hot," "to warm." The nominal cognates of shechîn are varied. The noun means "inflammation" in Middle Hebrew, Samaritan, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Mandaean and Syriac. It means "excitement" in Jewish Aramaic and "something set on fire" (usually referring to incense) in Ethiopic. An Akkadian cognate means "covered in dust, ashes." The Arabic cognate means "heat." The adjective "warm" is attested in Arabic and Akkadian cognates.

The precise meaning of shechîn is not clear. It denotes some sort of skin disease and occurs in four contexts among its thirteen attestations. Some meaningful distinctions of skin diseases include dermatitis, a class of skin diseases which are generally caused by surface contact; eczema, which is a type of dermatitis which is produced by internal rather than external factors; finally, boils, which result from the infection of hair follicles.

The association of dust and leprosy contained in the Akkadian nominal cognate is interesting when compared with the original occurrence of the Biblical Hebrew noun in Exo. 9. In the account of the plagues which would befall the Egyptians for failure to let the Israelites go, the sixth plague was symbolically enacted when Moses threw soot from an Egyptian furnace into the air. The disease intended was debilitating, as the pain prohibited the Egyptian magicians from being able to face Moses (as the front man for Yahweh) to try and imitate his actions. Further, the pain was severe enough to serve among the curses which the people would bear if they violated the Mosiac Covenant (Deut. 28:27, 35). This ailment could be associated with some sort of externally activated dermal infection.

Another context involves a skin condition which made a person ritually unclean (Lev. 13). Ritual uncleanliness meant exclusion from the camp, which had to be made holy in order for Yahweh to dwell among the people. In this passage, a boil seems to be the focus, as the discoloration of the hair protruding from the healed area defined whether the person had another more serious skin ailment (cf. HED #7168).

The noun occurs among the physical ailments of Job (Job 2:7). The ailment was frightfully painful and clearly produced some substance at the surface which Job scraped. The noun occurs in the phrase, "from the sole of your foot unto the top of your head," a formulaic construction found in Deut. 28:35.

Likewise, Hezekiah was on his deathbed, only to be miraculously healed by Yahweh (2 Ki. 20:7; Isa. 38:21). Among his symptoms were a large shechîn on his body. It was through the rupture of the shechîn that the divine healing was manifested, when, at the command of the prophet Isaiah, those caring for the king applied a poultice of figs to the wound. Hezekiah recovered and lived another fifteen years. The shechîn here was not merely a boil, since it was likely the external manifestation of a deadly internal ailment (in both modern and ancient Israelite interpretation). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Exodus 9:10 So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast.

  • boil - De 28:27 

So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast - Soot became boils and then sores apparently immediately. Imagine the fear of the people. And for us animal lovers, imagine the poor innocent animals' reaction? I become unnerved if my dog cries! 

Thompson has an interesting note on beast - Now the “beasts” refer to any animal that wasn’t killed in the previous plague. This can refer to a couple of things. Undoubtedly many Egyptians went to the Hebrews and purchased some of their animals, which would explain why they had more. Also, this is a different Hebrew word than “livestock” in verse 3. This would include the wild beasts such as lions, alligators, hippopotamus (Ibid., p. 105). (Sermon)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

It shall become dust, &c.; i. e. it shall by a miraculous diffusion become a fine cinder-like sleet floating in the atmosphere above the surface of the earth like a cloud of dust which does not subside, and wherever it lights upon the persons of men causing a ‘boil breaking forth with blains.’ Heb. ‘boil budding, germinating, or efflorescing with pustules or blisters.’ The original term for ‘boil,’ שחין shehin, denotes an inflammation, which gives us the true sense of the obsolete word ‘blains,’ accompanied with a sense of tormenting heat, which first produces a morbid tumor, and then a malignant ulcer. In Job, 2:7, 8, the word occurs in the sense of a burning itch or an inflamed scab, which Job could not remove with his nails, and was therefore obliged to make use of a potsherd, or fragment of a broken earthen vessel, for the purpose In the case of the Egyptians, the ‘Shehin’ was of a still more virulent nature so that they were in fact visited with a treble punishment at once, viz. aching boils, nauseous ulcers, and burning itch. To this severe plague the threatening of Moses, Deut. 28:27, obviously has reference; ‘The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch whereof thou canst not be healed.’ The Gr. renders it by ελκος, ulcer, which occurs, Rev. 16:2, which in our version is translated ‘noisome and grievous sore.’ The judgment of the first vial, therefore, considered in the letter, was similar to that of the sixth plague of Egypt.

Exodus 9:11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.

  • Ex 7:11,12 8:18,19 Isa 47:12-14 2Ti 3:8,9 Rev 16:2 


The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians - Note boils were not stated to be on Israelites. God’s providential care of Israel was evident in each of the last seven plagues, because the Jews escaped each one of them (Ex 8:22–23; Ex 9:4, 11, Ex 9:26; Ex 10:6, Ex 10:23; Ex 11:7). It is also notable that the magicians are still trying to oppose Moses and Aaron (and of course Jehovah), but they had not experienced success after the second plague (frogs). Now not only can they not duplicate the sign, they themselves are afflicted with the sign.

THOUGHT - The Septuagint translates "could not stand before" with Greek ouk (= absolute negation) and dunamai (= capability or power) indicating they absolutely had no power to stand. The verb dunamai is in the imperfect tense which normally speaks of repeated action, and in this case pictures them attempting to work a counterfeit again and again, but with absolutely no power to do so! In this "power struggle" it was clearly God Who won! And perhaps they could not even physically stand if the boils got on their feet! Dear reader, God will win in the end, so if you have never done it, you need to humble yourself and place your faith in Jesus Christ Who has defeated Satan on the Cross and one day soon will return to crush all godless, rebellious enemies. As Paul said “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31+)

Currid - The Hebrew verb for ‘to stand’ is the same one that was used in the previous verse. It highlights a contrast: whereas Moses and Aaron could stand before Pharaoh and perform miraculous feats, the Egyptian magicians could not even stand before the Hebrew prophets. Here we have another proof of the power of Yahweh. (Exodus Commentary)

Wiersbe has an interesting comment that "the Egyptians were obsessed with physical cleanliness. They took frequent baths, but the festering sores would make that difficult." The upshot is that this would totally humiliate the Egyptians who were known for their cleanliness and bathing (Exodus - Be Delivered)

Guzik - This plague was probably directed against the Egyptian god Imhotep, who was said to be the god of medicine.  (​​​​​​​Exodus 9)

Davis - “This plague, like previous ones, most assuredly had theological implications for the Egyptians. While it did not bring death, it was serious and painful enough to cause many to seek relief from many of the Egyptian deities charged with the responsibility of healing. Serapis was one such deity. One is also reminded of Imhotep, the god of medicine and the guardian of healing sciences. The inability of these gods to act in behalf of the Egyptian surely must have led to deep despair and frustration. Magicians, priests, princes, and commoners were all equally affected by the pain of this judgment, a reminder that the God of the Hebrews was a sovereign God and superior to all man-made idols.”

J Vernon McGee - For the first time God is touching man as well as beast with judgment. He is afflicting man’s physical body. The priests who served in the Egyptian temples had to be clean, without any type of breaking out or sickness. Suddenly this plague of boils comes upon them and they are unclean, unfit to serve in the temples. This brings to a halt all of the false worship in Egypt. I walked over part of the ruins of the city of Memphis. The ruins are practically all gone now, but archaeologists know something of the extent of that great city. Up one thoroughfare and down the other was temple after temple. There were over one thousand temples in Memphis, and priests served in all of them. You can imagine what this plague of boils did to the services in these temples. Everything slowed to a standstill. All the bright lights went off! About the time I was in this city I remember reading about a strike in Las Vegas. There on “glitter gulch” are probably more neon lights than any place in the world. I have been told that if you fly in an airplane over Las Vegas at night, it is so bright that you think the sun is coming up. Well, they had a strike and the lights went out. Motels closed and the people left. It was such a startling event that the strike was settled immediately. Conditions were similar in the land of Egypt to those in Las Vegas during the strike. False religion was out of business. Everyone had boils. The priests could not serve in the temples. There were probably signs on the temples, which said, CLOSED BECAUSE OF SICKNESS.  (Exodus 9)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

The magicians could not stand before Moses. They had probably hitherto continued to linger about the person of Pharaoh, confirming him in his obstinate refusal to let the people go, and pretending that though Moses had thus far performed works beyond their skill, yet they should doubtless be too hard for him at last; but now, being seized with these loathsome and painful ulcers, they were utterly confounded, and quitting the court in disgrace, were henceforth no more heard of. See an allusion to this part of the sacred history, 2 Tim. 3:8, 9.

Exodus 9:12  And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

  • Ex 4:21 Ex 7:13,14 Ps 81:11,12 Rev 16:10,11 


Parallel Passages:

Exodus 4:21+ The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Exodus 7:3+ “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart - This is the first time we see that Jehovah Himself hardens Pharaoh's heart. (See Summary above) From this point on most of the instances of Pharaoh's heart being hardened are the result a direct act of God! Woe! 

Bruckner - The Lord increasingly took control to demonstrate who the true Creator is. God’s intention was to bring the enslaved people from an oppressive regime into God’s own protection and service. (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

And he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses - Hard hearts do not listen! The LORD had predicted this response.

Currid - The sixth plague, like the previous ones, is repeated and intensified in the book of Revelation. John reports the beginning of the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath upon the followers of Satan in the following way: ‘And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his image’ (Rev. 16:2+). As before, the plagues in Egypt serve to foreshadow the plagues that are to be directed upon the ungodly in the last days. However, the plagues in Revelation are much greater and more extreme—they confirm the nature of the final judgement against the followers of the devil.(Exodus Commentary) (See more discussion of The Parallels in Revelation)

David Thompson says "Every human would be wise to pray to God and ask that He never harden your heart so you would not listen to the Word of God. Because God can and will do this."  (Sermon)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

12. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh. Heb. יחזק yehazzëk. On the import of the term, see Note on Ex. 4:21. God had there threatened that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart, but we do not, until we come to the present passage, find it expressly said that he did harden it. Here, it is true, the effect is ascribed to the divine agency, but after what we have remarked at so much length on this subject in that place, the reader will scarcely be in danger of putting a wrong construction on the words. It is not to be understood that God, by a positive act, created any hardness of heart in Pharaoh, or that he immediately put forth any influence to render him callous and incapable of right feeling. He had before hardened his own heart by resisting both the grace and the wrath of heaven, and nothing more is meant by the expression before us, than that God was pleased to leave him under the control of his own strong delusions, and so to order the events of his providence as to make him more and more obstinate. In no other sense did God harden his heart, than by permitting him to rush forward in precisely such a course of rebellion as would issue in his hardening his own heart. But even this was a fearful judgment, and one that speaks awfully to those who do violence to their own consciences and sin with a high hand.

Walter Kaiser, et al - The Lord Hardened Pharaoh’s Heart?
The theme of “hardening” occurs twenty times between Exodus 4 and 14. But the most troublesome aspect of these verses is that in ten out of the twenty occurrences God himself is said to have hardened Pharaoh’s heart. This fact troubles many readers of the Scriptures, for it appears God authors evil and then holds someone else responsible. Did God make it impossible for Pharaoh to respond and then find Pharaoh guilty for this behavior?

God twice predicts he will harden Pharaoh’s heart. These two prophetic notices were given to Moses before the whole contest began (Ex 4:21; 7:3). However, if these two occurrences appear to cast the die against Pharaoh, it must be remembered that all God’s prophecies to his prophets have a suppressed “unless you repent” attached to them. Few prophecies are unconditional; these few include God’s covenant with the seasons in Genesis 8:22; his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David; his new covenant; and his covenant with the new heavens and the new earth in Isaiah 65–66.

In general, only the promises connected with nature and our salvation have no dependence on us; all others are much like Jonah’s message to Nineveh. Even though Jonah never even hinted at the fact that Nineveh’s imminent destruction (only forty days away) could be avoided by repentance, the king assumed such was the case, and Jonah’s worst fears were realized: the nation repented and the barbarous Assyrians did not get what was coming to them!

In Pharaoh’s case, Pharaoh initiated the whole process by hardening his own heart ten times during the first five plagues (Ex 7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34, 35; and 13:15). It was always and only Pharaoh who hardened his heart during these plagues! Rather than letting the work of God soften his heart during these plagues and concluding that Yahweh is the only true God, Pharaoh made this evidence the basis for hardening his heart. Meanwhile, the plagues must have had some impact on the general population of Egypt, for when the Israelites left Egypt, they were accompanied by “many other people” (Ex 12:38). Even Pharaoh’s own magicians confessed, “This is the finger [the work] of God” (Ex 8:19), and they bowed out of the competition with the living God.

It appears that Pharaoh reached the limits of his circumscribed freedom during the fifth plague, for after that time, during the last five plagues, God consistently initiated the hardening (Ex 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17).

God is not the author of evil. There is no suggestion that he violated the freedom of Pharaoh’s will or that he manipulated Pharaoh in order to heap further vengeance on the Egyptian people. God is not opposed to the cooperation of pagan monarchs. Pharaoh could have cooperated with God just as Cyrus did in the Babylonian exile; God was still glorified when that king decided on his own to let Israel return from Babylon. If Pharaoh had acted as King Cyrus would later do, the results of the exodus would have been the same. It is Pharaoh, not God, who is to be blamed for the hardening of his own heart. (Hard Sayings of the Bible)

Exodus 9:13  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

  • Ex 9:1 7:15 8:20 


Rod Mattoon introduces this next plague writing "The Word of the Lord is becoming very uncomfortable for Pharaoh because he would not obey. All this king had to do was submit to God's command. The fact that he has continued to resist the Lord in spite of five plagues is a clear indication of the hardness of his heart. He doesn't care who suffers. He is determined to have his own way no matter what the cost. In his mind, he believes he is a god. God has continued to demonstrate His mercy in spite of the king's rebellion. He did not wipe him out after his first refusal. The Lord has gradually increased the pressure after each refusal to obey, but Pharaoh's time is running out. People act the same way as this king today with destructive consequences. Unfortunately, some of them are Christians. Two words in the Christian vocabulary which cannot go together when it comes to obeying God are, "No Lord." If we persist in rebellion, we can also expect chastening. In Egypt's case, they reaped the hail from Heaven. The third cycle of plagues begins here. This cycle will be more severe than the previous ones and more detailed in description. The times of mild warnings are gone. This is the longest warning so far, probably because it will be the most destructive plague up to this point." (Treasures from Exodus)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews - This passage begins an extended warning from the LORD through Moses to Pharaoh form verse 14 through verse 19. The morning meeting marks the beginning of the third cycle (of 3 plagues in each cycle, each beginning with a morning warning). 

Currid - The command to Moses to ‘stand before Pharaoh’ harks back to Ex 9:11. There the magicians could not stand before the Hebrew prophets. Moses, however, now takes a firm stand before the King of Egypt. (Exodus Commentary)

Cassuto - Moses was able to stand with proud bearing before the king, and not merely to reiterate his demand in the Lord’s name and to declare: Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me, but to threaten him with even worse consequences than before (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

In the morning - Moses had three morning meetings with Pharaoh - (1) Ex 7:15+ to warn of first plague against the Nile River, (2) Ex 8:20+ to warn of fourth plague of swarms of insects and (3) Ex 9:13+ apparently in the palace where Moses gives a long warning to Pharaoh and announces the sixth plague, heavy hail (Ex 9:18+). 

God of the Hebrews - 6x - Exod. 3:18; Exod. 5:3; Exod. 7:16; Exod. 9:1; Exod. 9:13; Exod. 10:3

Let My people go, that they may serve Me - NET = "Release my people so that they may serve me!" (Exodus 9) Literally "Send (Hebrew = shalach; Lxx = exapostello) My people" (see "send" in Ex 9:14 - if he does not "send" His people then God will "send" His plague)! This command is repeated some 9 times (Ex 5:1+; Ex 7:16+; Ex 8:1+; Ex 8:20+; Ex 8:21+; Ex 9:1+; Ex 9:13+; Ex 10:3+; Ex 10:4+) Play Louis Armstrong - Go Down Moses - Let My People Go or another version Moses Go Down (Let My People Go)

J Ligon Duncan - In verses 13 through 21 God reveals His twin purposes for the plagues. And, we see His surprisingly, gracious dealings with Pharaoh in at least a couple of ways. This is the beginning of the third set of three plagues. And it’s prefaced by a long theological introduction. Here God tells us His purposes in redemption. Look again at the phrase. "Let My people go that they may serve Me." Here we see the ground of the redemption of Exodus; it’s God’s people. This is God’s people. And here we see the goal of the Exodus. Their purpose is to serve the Lord. Let my people go, so that they may serve the Lord." (Exodus 9:8-35 The 6th & 7th Plagues: Boils and Hail)

NET Note - Rain was almost unknown in Egypt, and hail and lightning were harmless. The Egyptians were fascinated by all these, though, and looked on them as portentous. Herodotus describes how they studied such things and wrote them down (1.2.c.38). If ordinary rainstorms were ominous, what must fire and hail have been? The Egyptians had denominated fire Hephaistos, considering it to be a mighty deity (cf. Diodorus, 1.1.c.1). Porphry says that at the opening of the temple of Serapis the Egyptians worshiped with water and fire. If these connections were clearly understood, then these elements in the plague were thought to be deities that came down on their own people with death and destruction. (Exodus 9)

Exodus 9:14  "For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.

  • send all - Lev 26:18,21,28 De 28:15-17,59-61 29:20-22 32:39-42 1Sa 4:8 1Ki 8:38 Jer 19:8 Mic 6:13 Rev 18:8 22:18 
  • that you may know - Ex 8:10 


Mattoon - the Lord picks up again where He left off. If Pharaoh is going to please God, he must come to a point of submission in his life. God said again, "Let my people go." The Lord is knocking at the door of Pharaoh's heart again. The message of the Lord is very simple, "Obey." If you are out of God's will, then obey Him. Forsake your sin, forgive others, and follow the Lord.  (Treasures from Exodus)

For this time (in the cycle of plagues beginning now, and in the climactic plague that will follow it) "is a conjunction meaning ‘because/for’, or an emphatic adverb, ‘indeed’. It therefore indicates the certainty of the statement that follows. It is not conditional; there is no ‘if … then’ situation. It is going to happen." (Currid)

Mattoon on for this time (Hebrew - pa'am) - Hebrew word pa'am which means "stroke, anvil, hoof-beat." This phrase points to a rapid and continuous succession of blows. Like a blacksmith hammering the metal on an anvil, God has been hammering at the hard heart of Pharaoh and Egypt with the hammer of judgment for the purpose of getting this king to conform to God's will. Like the rapid hoof beat of a running horse, God has been sending one plague after another to try to bring the king to a point of repentance. Pharaoh had the Burger King attitude. He wanted to have it his way. The result was self destruction.  (Treasures from Exodus)

I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people - All My plagues refers to plagues 7-10. Notice it is God Who sends the plague. It will directly affect Pharaoh. And don't miss the literal rendering "this time I am sending all My plagues on your heart." (Hebrew = leb; Lxx = kardia) This is what I, as a physician, would diagnose as a "divine heart attack!" Not physical, but spiritual! This will be a devastating blow struck by God, a direct assault on the sovereignty of Pharaoh, clearly indicating intensification of the confrontation between the Kingdom of God and kingdom of darkness.

“The Lord will strike Pharaoh precisely in the organ that perpetuates his transgression—his heart” (Shemesh 2005: 346).

Currid - The use of the verb ‘to send out’ (Hebrew = shalach; Lxx = exapostello) is a word-play on Ex 9:13. In that passage God demands that Pharaoh send out the Hebrews. But because Pharaoh does not do so, God responds by ‘sending out … plagues’ on Egypt....on you (against you) means ‘against your heart’. The Egyptians believed that Pharaoh’s heart was the all-controlling factor in both history and society. Now the King of Egypt’s heart is hardened against the Hebrews. Yahweh assaults his heart to demonstrate that only the God of the Hebrews is the sovereign of the universe. (Exodus Commentary)

Alan Cole - Pharaoh has been treated mercifully so far: his life has been prolonged so that YHWH’s name and power should be exalted (verse 16; cf. Rom. 9:17). This brings, as corollary, the further thought that all the plagues came in mercy, rather than judgment; for each one was an opportunity for pharaoh to repent. Instead, he hardened his heart, making his final judgment both certain and inexcusable. (TOTC-Ex)

Cassuto - If you will not release My people, I shall release upon you—measure for measure—all My plagues, terribly severe plagues, which will go straight to your heart and to the heart of your servants and people (hinting at the last plague, the plague of the first-born), that you may know—you who said, ‘I do not know the Lord’ (5:2)—that there is none like Me [כָּמֹנִי kāmōnī] in all the earth (הָאָרֶץ hā’āreṣ, which here connotes ‘the world’ [not ‘land’]: there is none like Me among your gods, and I alone can perform deeds that have not their like in any part of the world.   (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

So that - (Term of purpose) This introduces the purpose of God's "heart attack" on Pharaoh. 

J Vernon McGee - God is going to use Pharaoh to demonstrate His power throughout all of the earth. Here is a case of God using the wrath of man to praise Him. Psalm 76:10 For the wrath of man shall praise You; With a remnant of wrath You will gird Yourself. (Exodus 9)

Guzik - In this bold declaration, God told Pharaoh through Moses that his resistance was being used for God’s glory.. If Pharaoh though he was accomplishing anything with his resistance against God, he was completely wrong. All his stubborn rebellion merely glorified the LORD more in the end. (Exodus 9)

Plagues (04046) (maggephah from nagaph = strike, smite) means a blow, pestilence, defeat, plague, slaughter, plague, pestilence, strike, smite. It always denotes a plague sent by God. Maggephah frequently describes a blow reflecting divine retribution (as in Zech 14:12, 15, 18). This is the first use of maggephah describing the plague intended to pierce Pharaoh's heart. 

You may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth - The Hebrew word yada means to know relationally and experientially. Pharaoh will experience the sovereign power of Yahweh and in this relation/experience will come to know Him! Recall the Pharaoh earlier declared "I do not know the LORD!" (Ex 5:2). Yahweh is about to rectify Pharaoh's ignorance! The result of plagues 7-10 will be to show Pharaoh there was no one like the LORD. God will ensure that Pharaoh and his servants acknowledge the hand of Jehovah over Egypt and all the earth! So God states the purpose clearly in this plague. Earlier Moses had agreed to entreat Jehovah that the frogs might be removed declaring “May it be according to your word, (PURPOSE) that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God." (Ex 8:10+

2 Chronicles 14:11ESV  And Asa cried to the LORD his God, "O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you."

Cassuto on there is no one like Me -  After the division of the Sea of Reeds, the children of Israel will proclaim in their song (Ex 15:11): ‘Who is like Thee [כָמֹכָה khāmōkhā], O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee [כָּמֹכָה kāmōkhā], majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing wonders?’  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

Bruckner - These verses (as well as Ex 10:1–2) most clearly explain the point of the ten plagues. They are to proclaim Yahweh’s name and reputation as God of all the earth. We see this in two purpose clauses:  “so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth” (Ex 9:14b)   “that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Ex 9:16b) (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

It is interesting that the Hebrew word for "like" (kemo) is a term of comparison used to assert that something is like something else and is used here to show that NOTHING is like Jehovah! And then it is used in later after Israel's deliverance and Pharaoh's army chases after them. In Exodus 15:5 we read "they (Egyptians in Red Sea) when down into the depths LIKE (kemo) a stone!" 

You may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. - Exodus 9:14

Like (kemo) is used in a similar description of Jehovah. Take a moment to meditate on the greatness of Jehovah

Exodus 15:11  “Who is like (kemo) You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like (kemo) You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? 

2 Samuel 7:22  “For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like (kemo) You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

1 Kings 8:23  He said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like (kemo) You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart,

1 Chronicles 17:20  “O LORD, there is none like (kemo) You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

2 Chronicles 6:14 He said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no god like (kemo) You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart;

Psalm 35:10  All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like (kemo) You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” 

Psalm 71:19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like (kemo) You

Psalm 86:8  There is no one like (kemo) You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. 

Psalm 89:8  O LORD God of hosts, who is like (kemo) You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 

Isaiah 44:7   ‘Who is like (kemo) Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. 

Isaiah 46:9   “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like (kemo) Me

Jeremiah 10:6-7 There is none like (kemo) You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your Name in might.  7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations And in all their kingdoms, There is none like (kemo) You

Micah 7:18  Who is a God like (kemo) You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. 

SUGGESTION - After meditating on the preceding passages, now take a moment to Praise our God, for Who is like Him? Play the song Who is Like You to help you praise our God majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders. 

Like (03644)(kemo) is a Hebrew particle meaning like or as. It is used to assert that something is like something else. The word ke stands by itself fifty-six times and when it does it always uses the expanded form kemô. This is the form used in combination with the light suffixes, e.g. kāmônî, "like me," kāmôkā "like you,"(TWOT)

Kemo - 96x in 90v -  alike(1), comparison(1), if(1), like(84), likewise(1), so(1), such(4), such*(1), thus(1), when(1). Gen. 19:15; Gen. 34:15; Gen. 44:15; Exod. 9:14; Exod. 11:6; Exod. 15:5; Exod. 15:8; Exod. 15:11; Exod. 30:32; Exod. 30:33; Exod. 30:38; Num. 23:10; Deut. 4:32; Deut. 7:26; Deut. 18:15; Deut. 18:18; Deut. 33:29; Jdg. 8:18; Jdg. 9:48; 1 Sam. 10:24; 1 Sam. 21:9; 1 Sam. 26:15; 2 Sam. 7:22; 2 Sam. 9:8; 1 Ki. 3:12; 1 Ki. 3:13; 1 Ki. 8:23; 1 Ki. 13:18; 2 Ki. 18:5; 2 Ki. 23:25; 1 Chr. 17:20; 2 Chr. 6:14; 2 Chr. 35:18; Neh. 6:11; Neh. 9:11; Neh. 13:26; Job 1:8; Job 2:3; Job 6:15; Job 12:3; Job 14:9; Job 31:37; Job 35:8; Job 36:22; Job 38:14; Job 40:9; Job 40:17; Ps. 29:6; Ps. 35:10; Ps. 50:21; Ps. 58:4; Ps. 58:7; Ps. 58:9; Ps. 71:19; Ps. 73:15; Ps. 78:13; Ps. 78:69; Ps. 79:5; Ps. 86:8; Ps. 88:5; Ps. 89:8; Ps. 89:46; Ps. 90:9; Ps. 92:7; Ps. 115:8; Ps. 135:18; Cant. 6:10; Cant. 7:1; Isa. 44:7; Isa. 46:9; Isa. 51:6; Jer. 10:6; Jer. 10:7; Jer. 13:21; Jer. 15:18; Jer. 30:7; Jer. 49:19; Jer. 50:26; Jer. 50:44; Lam. 1:21; Ezek. 5:9; Ezek. 16:57; Hos. 7:4; Hos. 13:7; Joel 2:2; Mic. 7:18; Hab. 3:14; Hag. 2:3; Zech. 10:2; Zech. 10:7

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

I will send all my plagues upon thine heart. In again repeating his demand for his people’s deliverance, and his threatenings against Pharaoh’s disobedience, the Most High makes a startling and terrible declaration. If lesser judgments do not do their work, God will send greater. Moses is charged to tell Pharaoh that, in the plagues that remained to be inflicted there would be a kind of concentrated terribleness, so that each one should come upon him as if with the accumulated weight of all the rest. What he had already experienced was indeed grievous, but it should be nothing compared to what was to follow. They were to be such plagues as should not only endanger the body, but smite the heart, the inner man. They should penetrate the inward spirit with such indescribable pangs of terror, that it would seem as if the whole magazine of heaven’s vengeance were opened upon him and his people. This seems to be what is intended by the language—‘I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart,’ where we are probably to understand by ‘this time,’ the time occupied by the whole ensuing course of judgments that should finally end in the utter destruction of Pharaoh.

Exodus 9:15  "For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.

NET  Exodus 9:15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed from the earth. (Exodus 9)

NLT  Exodus 9:15 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.

NIV  Exodus 9:15 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. 

  • put forth My hand - Ex 9:3,6,16 3:20 
  • that - Ex 11:4-6 12:29,30 
  • cut off - Ex 14:28 1Ki 13:34 Pr 2:22 


Cassuto introduces this next section - Since the third cycle (ED: of three plagues) is severer and more decisive than the earlier ones, the account of the plagues that it comprises is longer and fuller than that of the preceding plagues. Even in regard to the third plague of the cycle, which comes without warning, the text is not as terse as it was with reference to the third plague of the first and second cycles. In the same way, Moses’ address to Pharaoh is more expansive than formerly. He begins with a preliminary explanation, in the Lord’s name, of his actions  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

For if by now I had put forth My hand (cf Ex 9:3) and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth - Moses was to tell Pharaoh that if God would have struck you with pestilence, you and all of the Egyptians would be dead and cut off from the earth.

Struck (Hebrew = nakah; Lxx = patasso) means to beat, strike, wound and is a frequent verb in Exodus - Exod. 2:11; Exod. 2:12; Exod. 2:13; Exod. 3:20; Exod. 5:14; Exod. 5:16; Exod. 7:17; Exod. 7:20; Exod. 7:25; Exod. 8:16; Exod. 8:17; Exod. 9:15; Exod. 9:25; Exod. 9:31; Exod. 9:32; Exod. 12:12; Exod. 12:13; Exod. 12:29; Exod. 17:5; Exod. 17:6; Exod. 21:12; Exod. 21:15; Exod. 21:18; Exod. 21:19; Exod. 21:20; Exod. 21:26; Exod. 22:2; 

Mattoon - God could have wiped out Egypt totally by this point, but He didn't. In mercy, He was giving Pharaoh one opportunity after another to repent and obey the Lord's command. Soon, Pharaoh's time will be up.  (Treasures from Exodus)

Wiersbe - God was dealing with Pharaoh in mercy, wanting to bring him into submission; for it’s only when we obey God that we can truly enjoy His blessings. With one blow, God could have wiped out Pharaoh and the nation (Ex 9:15), but He chose to give them opportunity to repent. (Exodus - Be Delivered)

Cut off (03583)(kachad) to hide or be hidden (to not being able to be known 2Sa 18:13; Ps 69:6, 139:15; Hos 5:3; Zec 11:16), to conceal, keep from (Ge 47:18; Jos 7:19; 1Sa 3:17, 17, 18; 2Sa 14:18; Job 6:10; 15:18; 27:11; Ps 40:11; 78:4; Isa 3:9; Jer 38:14, 25; 50:22);), to cut off, to destroy, perish, describing ruin (Ex 9:15; Job 4:7; 15:28; 22:20; Zec 11:9), destroy, annihilate, get rid of (Ex 23:23; 1Ki 13:34; 2Ch 32:21; Ps 83:5]; Zec 11:8). It has the basic idea of hiding or destroying by various measures: by cutting off or destroying Pharaoh and his people in plagues (Ex. 9:15); or by the Lord's destroying angel (Ex. 23:23). It has the meaning to make something disappear, to destroy or to efface it, such as the dynasty of Jeroboam (1 Ki. 13:34). It has the sense of hiding or not revealing something in Job 20:12 (Ps. 139:15; Hos. 5:3). In other contexts, it means for something to be hidden (2 Sam. 18:13; Ps. 69:5[6]); or kept hidden (Ge 47:18; 1 Sa. 3:17, 18; Ps. 78:4). It is used of persons being effaced, destroyed (Zech. 11:8, 9, 16) by the Lord, or even scattered.

TWOT - It means to keep something back, to refuse to make it known. Since something which is unknown has no independent existence, the verb also denotes non-existence or effacement.

Kachad - 30v - annihilated(3), blot(1), completely destroy(1), conceal(4), concealed(2), cut off(2), denied(1), desolate(1), destroyed(2), hid(1), hidden(4), hide(7), hides(1), perishing(1), wipe(1). Gen. 47:18; Exod. 9:15; Exod. 23:23; Jos. 7:19; 1 Sam. 3:17; 1 Sam. 3:18; 2 Sam. 14:18; 2 Sam. 18:13; 1 Ki. 13:34; 2 Chr. 32:21; Job 4:7; Job 6:10; Job 15:18; Job 15:28; Job 20:12; Job 22:20; Job 27:11; Ps. 40:10; Ps. 69:5; Ps. 78:4; Ps. 83:4; Ps. 139:15; Isa. 3:9; Jer. 38:14; Jer. 38:25; Jer. 50:2; Hos. 5:3; Zech. 11:8; Zech. 11:9; Zech. 11:16

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

For now I will stretch out my hand that I may smite, &c. Heb. כי עתה שלחתי את ידי ואך ki attah shalahti eth yadi va-ak, for now have I sent forth my hand and smitten. The true construction is somewhat ambiguous. The verbs in the original undoubtedly require a past rendering, though the Greek, with our own and several other versions, give the future. But it does not appear in what sense Pharaoh and his people could be said to have been cut off by pestilence, as they were drowned in the Red Sea, unless the term be taken in the general sense of mortality, to which it is probably a valid objection, that the original has the definite article (בהדבר = בדבר by the pestilence) implying a particular pestilence. At the same time, if it be applied to the past, it is evident that it must be understood in a qualified and hypothetical rather than in an absolute sense; for Pharaoh had not yet been really cut off from the earth. But the idiom of the original will easily admit of this conditional import of the passage, and we may consider the meaning of the divine speaker as fairly represented by the following paraphrase, which is largely sustained by Rabbinical and other critical authorities: ‘For I had, or could have, stretched out my hand (i. e. in the plague of the murrain which destroyed so many of the beasts, and could easily have numbered thee among its victims,) and I had (potentially, though not in actual fact) smitten thee and thy people with (that) pestilence, and thou wert (as good as) cut off from the earth.’ On the same principle it is said, Luke, 5:6, ‘They enclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their net brake;’ i. e. if we may so express it, the net, considered in itself, brake, but was kept whole by the power of God; for had it actually broken, the fish would have escaped, whereas it is said, ‘they filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.’ In like manner, if we mistake not, it is said, Ps. 105:26–28, ‘He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen. They showed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham. He sent darkness and made it dark; and they rebel led not against his word.’ That is there was such an intrinsic moral power in these miracles to beget belief, to work submission and compliance; they were in themselves so convincing, so overpowering, so absolutely charged with demonstration; that the writer speaks as if it would be an abuse of language in him, equal to the abuse of reason in them, not to admit the actual working of the legitimate effect. He says, therefore, that ‘they (the Egyptians) rebelled not against his word,’ because the word came attended with such a flood of evidence that there was a kind of moral paradox, or absurdity, or impossibility in supposing that it did not produce obedience, although such was indeed the fact. In the passage before us we conceive that God designs to assure Pharaoh, that considering his liability to have been cut off by the preceding plague, he may regard himself as having been in effect a dead man; ‘nevertheless,’ says he, ‘for this cause have I raised thee up.’ Heb. ‘Have I made thee to stand;’ i. e. have preserved thee safe in the midst of danger, ‘for to show in thee, &c.’ The word translated ‘raised up’ does not signify to bring into existence, but to cause to stand, to make to continue. Thus, 1 Kings, 15:4, ‘Nevertheless for David’s sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem.’ Heb. ‘To make to stand,’ i. e. to preserve. Prov. 29:4, ‘The king by judgment establisheth the land.’ Heb. ‘Makes to stand;’ i. e. renders safe. So also Ex. 21:21, ‘If he continue a day or two.’ Heb. ‘If he stand a day or two;’ i. e. survive. Paul, however, in quoting this passage, Rom. 9:17, employs the term ‘raised up,’ which will occasion no difficulty, if it be borne in mind that a person may be said to be ‘raised up’ who is preserved alive when in danger of dying, a usage of the word which occurs James, 5:15. ‘And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.’ It was in this sense of being spared from imminent destruction that Pharaoh was raised up. Among the ancient versions the Chal. has ‘For now it was near before me (i. e. it lacked but little) that I had sent out the stroke of my strength and thou hadst been consumed.’ Arab. ‘Because if I had given a loose to my power, I should have destroyed thee and thy people, and thou wouldst have been eradicated; but I have reserved, &c.’ Taking the words in this sense we may gather, (1) That however men may forget or disregard former judgments, God remembers them, and that sooner or later he will remember his enemies of them. (2) That as a preservative against future tokens of divine displeasure, we do well to call often to mind the plagues and destructions from which we have very narrowly, and through the forbearance of heaven, escaped.

Exodus 9:16  "But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.

  • deed - Ex 14:17 Ps 83:17,18 Pr 16:4 Ro 9:17-22 1Pe 2:8,19 Jude 1:4 
  • raised thee up - Heb. made thee stand
  • for to - Ex 14:4 15:11-16 18:11 Jos 2:10,11 1Sa 4:8 Ps 136:10-15 
  • that my - 1Ch 16:24 Ps 64:9 83:17,18 Isa 63:12-14 Mal 1:11,14 Ro 9:17 


But, indeed (but, however) is a strong adversative and as such introduces an emphatic contrast. "The first word is a very strong adversative, which, in general, can be translated “but, howbeit”; BDB 19 s.v. אוּלָם suggests for this passage “but in very deed.” (NET) The contrast is that in the previous passage God has not destroyed Pharaoh, as he could easily have done, but in contrast Jehovah has, literally, ‘caused you to stand’ (Hiphil causative stem).

Jehovah is not allowing Pharaoh to remain because God lacks power or Pharaoh does not deserve destruction, but it was for His own glory! 

for this reason I have allowed you to remain - literally, ‘caused you to stand’ or "maintained you alive!" - Moses was to tell Pharaoh that the only reason God has permitted them to live was because He wants to show His power and He wants His name proclaimed in all the earth. He had allowed Pharaoh to survive 6 plagues, but in spite of seeing clear supernatural evidence, Pharaoh persisted in his stubborn rebellion and rejection. 

Alan Cole on I have allowed you to remain - The point in the context is God’s patience and forbearance. Paul stresses this note too in Romans 9:16–18+. Otherwise, God would have wiped them all out with the plagues (verse 15). It is interesting that Paul seems to quote this verse, in Romans, from the LXX, not from our Masoretic Text (Exodus - TOTC)

As Currid says "Pharaoh’s standing is to be viewed in opposition to the inability of his magicians to stand in the presence of Moses and Aaron (see commentary on verse 11). And the only reason Pharaoh is able to stand is because Yahweh has so willed it." (Exodus Commentary)

Mattoon - God kept Pharaoh alive, allowed him to remain and sustained him in his position for the purpose of revealing and glorifying Himself. He spared this king for a purpose, which was to show His power and to spread His fame throughout the earth. (see Ps 75:7, Da 2:21) The Lord knew that the attitudes of this king would lead to a conflict that the Lord was going to win. Pharaoh's halt to God's commands would exalt God. His irreverence would irradiate and illuminate the glory of the Lord. His resistance would bring respect and reverence for the God of Heaven. God would reveal Himself through Pharaoh's resistance, rebellion, and resolve to disobey. The anger of this king would lead to the praise of God. God can find a use for even the most wicked of persons. He can glorify Himself through that angry, mean person in your life. We will all glorify God in one way or another, but some will glorify God in obedience while some will glorify God in disobedience like this king. Those who glorify God in disobedience will do so through the judgment they receive for their disobedience. This was how Pharaoh glorified God. As such, Pharaoh received no blessing for glorifying God; for only obedience is blessed for glorifying the Lord. Do you bring honor and glory to the Lord with your life, your actions, and your attitudes?  (Treasures from Exodus)

Constable - Pharaoh deserved death for his opposition and insolence. However, God would not take his life in the remaining plagues so his continuing opposition and God’s victory over him would result in greater glory for God (cf. Josh. 9:9; Ps. 76:10). (Exodus 9)

Leon Morris - “Neither here nor anywhere else is God said to harden anyone who had not first hardened himself.”

Douglas Moo - “God’s hardening, then, is an action that renders a person insensitive to God and his word and that, if not reversed, culminates in eternal damnation.....God’s hardening does not, then, cause spiritual insensitivity to the things of God; it maintains people in the state of sin that already characterizes them.

In order to show you (more clearly) My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth - Note that earth is mentioned in Ex 9:14-16 and in two of these God clearly states He is God of the earth. As Thompson says "This is something God wants people to understand. There is only one God of the entire universe and it is the God of the nation Israel and it is the God of the Bible."  (Sermon)

Cassuto - that is, in order that you may learn a lesson from the final plagues, and that, together with you, the rest of humanity throughout the world may be instructed.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

Currid - The purpose of God’s sustaining hand is directly stated. It is not because Pharaoh has earned, or merited, God’s grace. It is not because he does not deserve the judgement of the plagues. It is for one reason, and one reason alone: so that God’s name might be glorified in all the earth. The Hebrew verb for ‘proclaimed’ appears here in the Piel stem. In that stem, throughout the Old Testament, the verb means to give a laudatory recital, great praise and a recounting of the greatness of God. It is a word associated with worship. (ED: For example this same verb saphar is used in the piel in Ps 2:7 = "“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD" and Ps 19:1 "The heavens are telling (recounting) of the glory of God.") (Exodus Commentary)

Paul quotes this passage in part - 

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.  19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

  • There is no injustice with God. Pharaoh didn’t know God and refused to obey Him. He would be justly judged.
  • God chooses whom He has mercy and compassion on; Pharaoh was not one of them. He hardens whom He desires; and Pharaoh was one of them.
  • God raised up Pharaoh to demonstrate His power so that His name would be proclaimed throughout the earth.

J. Ligon Duncan - This passage is crucial for our understanding of God’s providence. God’s providence often has dual purposes. He is often doing several things at once. For instance, in this passage, notice how God’s mercy is shown in two ways. God’s mercy is shown in that God does not cut off Pharaoh immediately. God could have started the judgment of Egypt by simply wiping Pharaoh out at the very beginning; but He doesn’t do that. And thus we see the grace of God’s patience, granting to Pharaoh the opportunity to repent. And then we see God’s grace in the forewarning of this plague, and the indication at that the livestock ought to be brought in from the field. Isn’t it interesting? God is bringing judgment against Egypt, and yet you see His heart of compassion in that He is concerned even about beasts and servants in the field. This God of judgment is not merely a God of justice and holiness, He is a God of compassion and mercy and love. And He even has compassion on the animals of the Egyptians, if they will but harken to His warnings. And indeed those who harken to the word of the Lord, their servants and their animals are spared and those who do not, their servants and their animals are lost. And so on the one hand, in the Exodus judgments we see God’s grace and His mercy and His compassion and His long suffering displayed, and on the other hand, He displays His sovereignty, and there is no one like Him in heaven and earth. On the one hand, He’s bringing His people out of bondage; on the other hand He is raining judgment on His enemies. God can do many things with the same action. It’s a display of His sovereignty. We are usually unable to kill two birds with one stone. God does it all the time. And we learn here about the dual purposes of His providence. And it’s a sign of His sovereignty.  (Exodus 9:8-35 The 6th & 7th Plagues: Boils and Hail)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

16. To show in thee my power. Heb. הראתך את כחי harotheka eth kohi, to make thee see my power. This is the strictly literal rendering, which is intimated by the word ‘in’ in our translation being printed in Italics. The Gr. however has εν σοι, in thee, which Paul also adopts, Rom. 9:17, leaving us to infer that it is the true sense. Consequently הראתך harotheka, make thee to see, is an elliptical mode of expression for הראות בך haroth beka, show in or by thee; and instances of similar usage are easily adducible. Thus Gen. 30:20, ‘Now will my husband dwelt (with) me (יזבלני yizbeleni for יזבל עמו yizbal immi).’ Ps. 5:4, ‘Neither shall evil dwell (with) thee (יגורך yegureka for יגור עמך yegur immeka).’ Prov. 8:36, ‘He that sinneth (against) me (חטאי hotei for חטא בי hote bi) wrongeth his own soul.’

Exodus 9:17  "Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go.

NLT  Exodus 9:17 But you still lord it over my people and refuse to let them go. 

NIV  Exodus 9:17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go.

CSB  Exodus 9:17 You are still acting arrogantly against My people by not letting them go. 

  • Job 9:4 15:25,26 40:9 Isa 10:15 26:11 37:23,24,29 45:9 Ac 12:23 1Co 10:22 


Moses continues to speak in the Lord’s name. 

Still - In spite of having seen (and suffered) 6 miraculous plagues or signs that point to God as the LORD! 

You exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go - "you are still elevating yourself and rising up against them in ever greater measure" (Cassuto) Moses explains to Pharaoh how he had exalted himself which was "by not releasing God's people." The people were God's and to not let them go was to exalt himself above God. 

Currid - The verb translated ‘setting yourself up’ (exalt) is a Hithpael, or reflexive participle, that means ‘exalting yourself’ and comes from the verb ‘to lift up’. This verb goes right to the heart of the matter: Pharaoh is playing the deity, he is exalting himself against the Holy One of Israel. (Exodus Commentary)

Mattoon - This king has exalted himself against God and His people. The word "exaltest" means "to oppose, to raise a mound or bank of rock or dirt, to obstruct." This is what Pharaoh has been doing. He has been obstructing the worship of God's people and their exit from Egypt. Beloved, God does deal with those who try to obstruct or oppose His will and work, and will not obey His commands. An "I'm Going to Out-do the Lord" attitude will create mega-problems for you. A cocky spirit and pride will destroy your life. Many preachers have ruined their lives and ministries because of their cockiness. When a preacher becomes unteachable, he becomes unusable. He cannot be directed by God because he is going his own way. The most difficult people that I have dealt with in my life are those who are unteachable, cocky, proud, and think they know it all. You can't help anyone with this kind of attitude. In fact, God calls them a fool. Obadiah 1:4, Mt 23:12, Ps 73:6, Pr 16:18. Pride will manifest itself in these attitudes:  I don't need God. I can run my own life better than the Lord. Who is God to tell me what to do? These attitudes lead to a "Falling on Your Face" episode.  (Treasures from Exodus)

NET on exalt - (mistolel) is a Hitpael participle, from a root that means "raise up, obstruct." So in the Hitpael it means to "raise oneself up," "elevate oneself," or "be an obstructionist."  (Exodus 9)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

Exaltest thou thyself against my people? Heb. מסתולל mistolël, from the root סלל salal, to elevate or cast up. The present term is the participle of Hithpael, or the reflexive voice, and seems to denote that self-elevation which resembles a rampart made to oppose an enemy. Gr. εμποιη, thou insultest. Chal. id. Syr. ‘Thou detainest.’ Arab. ‘Tlou hinderest.’ Although Pharaoh was a powerful monarch, and God’s people a poor, degraded, and enslaved race, yet it was to be to his ruin that he exalted himself against them, inasmuch as it was virtually exalting himself against God. No power is too high to be called to account for lording it despotically over ‘the people of the saints of the Most High.’

Exodus 9:18  "Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.

  • this time tomorrow- 1Ki 19:2 20:6 2Ki 7:1,18 
  • I will send - Ex 9:22-25 Ps 83:15 


Behold - Take note! Pay attention! Don't miss this (as if he could!)

About this time tomorrow - Note that this specification of the TIMING indicates that the hail is not natural. Only God could give such a perfect "weather forecast."

Currid adds "God has fixed a time for bringing the seventh plague. It will not merely take place ‘tomorrow’, as in plagues number two (Ex 8:10), four (Ex 8:23, 29) and five (Ex 9:5). But it will be ‘at this time, tomorrow’, i.e., the very hour at which Moses is speaking to Pharaoh, one day later." (Exodus Commentary)

Repeat Comment from Hamilton - Four times in these plagues (Ex 8:23;  Ex 9:5, 18; Ex 10:4), in the announcement part of the plague, God tells Pharaoh what he is going to do “tomorrow.” Twice “tomorrow” appears after the plague has already come on (Ex 8:10; Ex 8:29). Unlike what Jesus says in Matt 6:34+, “Do not worry about tomorrow,” maybe Pharaoh had better start worrying a bit about tomorrow. Maybe he needs to start singing, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” especially if such meditation and reflection will move him toward a change of heart, an about-face. But don’t hold your breath. (Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary)

I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now - On very heavy note the exact Hebrew words were used again in Ex 9:3 ( very severe pestilence). And again note the wordplay here where the Hebrew word for heavy (kabed) is the same word used of the king's heart  in Ex 7:14+ ("Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn") which leads Currid to comment that "The severity of the storm mirrors the degree of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart!" The clear implication of in Egypt is that his hailstorm will not be local but over all of Egypt. This heavy hail is unique because nothing like it had ever occurred in Egypt, this fact also substantiating that the hail was a supernatural phenomenon. 

Side note - It is interesting that Moses does not add "and shall never occur again." Why do I say that? Because of what John writes describing the last judgments of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 16:21+

"And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

Walter Kaiser - Rainfall comes so occasionally in Upper Egypt that the prediction of a severe hailstorm accompanied by a violent electrical storm must have been greeted with much skepticism. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

J Vernon McGee adds "Egypt is essentially a land of little rain. The average is less than an inch (ED: Actually more like 2-3 inches) in one year. God tells them that they are going to have rain—but a kind they can do without."   (Exodus 9)

Cassuto - The hail, a phenomenon that occurs in Egypt only at rare intervals, will be so severe, as to merit the description: such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

Currid on not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded (yasaduntil now - The intensity of the storm is further highlighted by the statement that such a hailstorm had never been seen in Egypt since its inception. That announcement, Cassuto has pointed out, reflects a common Egyptian expression of the time. Pharaohs such as Thutmosis III would assert that they had done something greater ‘than all the things that were in the country since it was founded’. Yahweh employs the same idiom to demonstrate his power over any natural phenomena that had ever been experienced in the land of Egypt. It is critical to remember that the Egyptians believed their gods to be personified in the elements of nature. The catastrophe of the hail was therefore a mockery of the Egyptian heavenly deities, including Nut (the female representative of the sky and personification of the vault of heaven), Shu (the supporter of the heavens who holds up the sky) and Tefnut (the goddess of moisture). (Exodus Commentary)

Mattoon - Egypt's fish and meat have been demolished severely. Attention now has been focused upon the crops and vegetation. The Lord warns Pharaoh that the Mother of All Storms is coming. God's message was, "Pharaoh hasn't seen anything like it. Judgment is coming to you." Could this be avoided? Yes, if Pharaoh would obey. God gives him plenty of time to obey and prepare for what was coming to the land.
    • In mercy, the Lord warned Pharaoh.
    • In mercy, He warned the world in Noah's day that judgment was coming.
    • In mercy, He warned Ninevah.
    • In mercy, He has warned us of the return of Christ and the flames of Hell.
Beloved, when God warns about Hell, it is not because He hates sinners, but because He loves them. God doesn't send people to Hell. People choose to go there. Men reject the message of their conscience and creation. (Ro 1:20)
The Lord said it would rain hail. How does this happen? Drops of rain falling through a cold region of the atmosphere are frozen as they are sucked back up by an upward draft of air, freeze, and are converted into hail stones. Thus, the hail is produced by rain. When it begins to fall it is rain; when it is falling it freezes and is converted into hail; thus it is literally true that it rains hail. The farther a hail-stone falls the larger it generally is, because in its descent, it meets with innumerable particles of water which attach and freeze to it, and thus its bulk is continually increasing until it reaches the earth. In the case in question, if natural means were at all used, we may suppose a highly electrified state of an atmosphere loaded with vapors, which, becoming condensed and frozen, and having a considerable space to fall through, were of an unusually large size.
Though this was a supernatural storm, there have been many storms of a natural kind, that have been exceedingly dreadful hailstorms. A storm of hail fell near Liverpool, in Lancashire, in the year 1795, which severely damaged the vegetation, broke windows, etc. Many of the stones measured five inches in circumference. Dr. Halley mentions a similar storm of hail in Lancashire, Cheshire, on April 29th, 1697, that for sixty miles in length and two miles in breadth, did immense damage by splitting trees, killing fowls small animals, and knocking down men and horses, etc. Mezeray, in his History of France, says "that in Italy, in 1510, there was for some time a horrible darkness, thicker than that of night, after which the clouds broke into thunder and lightning, and there fell a shower of hailstones which destroyed all the beasts, birds, and even fish of the country. It was attended with a strong smell of sulphur, and the stones were of a bluish color, some of them weighing one hundred pounds." It is interesting to note that hailstones of this size will fall in the Tribulation period.  (Treasures from Exodus)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

18. To-morrow about this time. Gr. ‘At this same hour.’ The time is thus accurately specified, that the effect, when it occurred; might not be attributed to chance.

I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail. As rain is exceedingly rare, and hail almost unknown in Egypt, so formidable a hailstorm as that predicted, would be one of the greatest marvels that could occur in a climate like that of Egypt. A heavy fall of snow in July, would not be so great a phenomenon in our own country, as a heavy hail-storm at any time in Egypt.

Since the foundation thereof. Heb. למן היום הוסדה lemin hayom hivvasedah, since the day of its being founded. That is, since its first being inhabited; otherwise expressed, v. 24, ‘since it became a nation.’ The Gr. however renders it, ‘From the day of its being created,’ i. e. physically created. It was at any rate to be a storm such as never had had a precedent in that country, and for the reason, that the occasion of it had never had a precede it. But unparalleled judgments may be expected to overtake unparalleled offenders.

Founded (03245)(yasad) to establish, to found, to fix, to fix firmly. In a literal sense, this term can refer to laying the foundation of a building, primarily the Temple (1 Ki. 5:17; 6:37; Ezra 3:11; Isa. 44:28) or to laying the foundation of a city like Jericho (Josh 6:26; 1 Ki. 16:34); or Zion (Isa. 14:32). It refers to Creation of the Heavens and the Earth, God asking Job "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding." (Job 38:4) (See Genesis 1 commentary, see Elohim-Creator of Heaven and Earth)

Gilbrant - The basic meaning of this verb is "to found" or "to establish." Yāsadh occurs most often in the Qal stem. It is used of God "founding" the earth (Ps. 24:2; Isa. 48:13; 51:13). It also refers to the "laying of the foundation" of the Temple (Ezra 3:12; Isa. 54:11), and to "laying the foundation stone," which ultimately has messianic significance (Isa. 28:16). Yāsadh is used of a city "founded" for desert creatures, i.e., doomed to be abandoned (Isa. 23:13), and of a nation "founded" by God for the correction of his rebellious people, destined to achieve this purpose (Hab. 1:12). It is used of God "establishing" a place for the mountains and valleys (Ps. 104:8), and He "established" his commandments forever (Ps. 119:152).

In the Niphal stem, it refers to a group of people who "fix themselves" close together or "take counsel" (Ps. 2:2; 31:13) against the Lord and his anointed. It also refers to the "founding" of Egypt (Exo. 9:18) and to "laying the foundation" of the Temple (Isa. 44:28).

The Piel stem is used in the curse against anyone who would try to "lay the foundation" of Jericho (Josh. 6:26; 1 Ki. 16:34) and in the description of the preparations for "laying the foundation" of the Temple (1 Ki. 5:17; Ezra 3:10). It also is seen in the statement that God "founded" Zion (Isa. 14:32). Yāsadh is used of the king "giving orders" concerning his drinking party in Est. 1:8. David and Samuel "appointed" or "ordained" the gatekeepers, establishing their positions and functions (1 Chr. 9:22), and God "founded" the moon and stars, meaning He created them and set their boundaries (Ps. 8:3), suspending them in space in their orbits.

In the Pual stem, this verb always refers to "laying the foundation" of the Temple (1 Ki. 6:37; Ezra 3:6; Hag. 2:18; Zech. 8:9), except one occurrence which refers to the legs of the beloved as being "founded" on pure gold (Song 5:15).

In the Hophal stem, yāsadh speaks of "founding" or "laying the foundation" of the Temple (2 Chr. 3:3; Ezra 3:11). In Isa. 28:16, this form of the word refers to the "firmly placed" or "well laid" cornerstone of the foundation. Again, this verse ultimately refers to the Messiah. (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Yasad - 43v - appointed(2), established(4), firmly placed(1), found(1), foundation(6), foundation will be laid(1), foundations i will lay(1), foundations which laid(1), founded(11), given orders(1), laid(5), laid its foundations(1), laid the foundation(3), laid the foundations(1), lay its foundation(1), lay the foundation(1), laying(1), lays the foundation(1), make(1), rebuilding(1), set(1), take counsel(1), took counsel(1). Ex. 9:18; Jos. 6:26; 1 Ki. 5:17; 1 Ki. 6:37; 1 Ki. 7:10; 1 Ki. 16:34; 1 Chr. 9:22; 2 Chr. 3:3; 2 Chr. 24:27; 2 Chr. 31:7; Ezr. 3:6; Ezr. 3:10; Ezr. 3:11; Ezr. 3:12; Est. 1:8; Job 38:4; Ps. 2:2; Ps. 8:2; Ps. 24:2; Ps. 31:13; Ps. 78:69; Ps. 89:11; Ps. 102:25; Ps. 104:5; Ps. 104:8; Ps. 119:152; Prov. 3:19; Cant. 5:15; Isa. 14:32; Isa. 23:13; Isa. 28:16; Isa. 44:28; Isa. 48:13; Isa. 51:13; Isa. 51:16; Isa. 54:11; Amos 9:6; Hab. 1:12; Hag. 2:18; Zech. 4:9; Zech. 8:9; Zech. 12:1

Exodus 9:19  "Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die."'

  • bring your livestock- Hab 3:2 
  • the hail - Ex 9:25 


Now therefore - Term of conclusion. What is the conclusion? Or what are the facts that allow one to draw this conclusion? The idea is I, referring to the truth of what God would soon bring about. 

Send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety - Note these two commands! Moses does not appear to be stuttering now! And where did they get the livestock? They could have purchased livestock from the Israelites. And notice that since this warning was spoken directly to Pharaoh, it is an announcement that he would have to send out. 

Currid - The verb ‘send out/forth’ (ED: Hebrew shalach; Lxx uses kataspeudo = to press, urge, the same Greek verb used in Lxx of Ex 5:13 of the taskmasters who pressed the Israelites to complete their work quota. Also used of Pharaoh himself in Ex 10:16 when he "hurriedly called for Moses and Aaron") has been used throughout the exodus incident of what God demanded that Pharaoh should do for the Hebrews. Here Pharaoh is called to send out his people in his own interest, but once again he does not heed God’s word, as will be seen in subsequent verses. (Exodus Commentary)

Alan Cole - This is the first instance in which it was possible for pharaoh and his men to avoid the actual blow by faith and obedience to God. As always, when any ‘gospel’ is preached, some avail ed themselves of the opportunity and some did not. Cattle are usually out of doors in Egypt from January to April; after that, they are kept indoors, for protection from the heat (Driver). (TOTC-Ex)

Mattoon - God demonstrates His mercy again. He not only warns of judgment, but instructs them how to avoid destruction. God is giving them a chance to believe His Word. Divine clemency is offered to Pharaoh. The clemency is not in an opportunity to stop the plague as before, but is a warning on how to avoid the effects of the plague. Pharaoh is told that the people and the beasts can be spared if they will stay under shelter. The Lord is saying, "Do what I say and you will be OK." If we will do what the Lord says today, we will also be OK.  (Treasures from Exodus)

Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die - Clearly this is not small hail but huge hailstones, shooting down like deadly rockets from God! 

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

Send therefore now, and gather, &c. Heb. העז haëz, gather speedily, denoting an action to be performed with the utmost expedition, as is explained in the ensuing verse, ‘made to flee.’ With characteristic clemency the Lord couples with the prediction a gracious warning, to as many as will heed it, to send and gather their servants and cattle out of the field, and place them under shelter before the appointed time arrived. So unwilling is God that any should perish that even in the midst of impending wrath, he kindly provides and points out a way of escape.

Exodus 9:20 The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses;

NET  Exodus 9:20 Those of Pharaoh's servants who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their servants and livestock into the houses,  (Exodus 9)

NLT  Exodus 9:20 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. 

  • Pr 16:16 Pr 22:3,23 Jon 3:5,6 Mk 13:14-16 Heb 11:7 

Related Passage:

Proverbs 22:3; The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it. 


The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD - Did Pharaoh send out the message of warning? Perhaps. But alternatively these could have been servants in his palace who were aware of the coming danger. If the latter, then it makes Pharaoh even more hardened that he would be unconcerned for his own people. Here feared the word indicates that they believed God's warning. Their fear was shown to by their obedience to God's instruction. Recall that there was a one day delay giving them time to shelter their servants and livestock.

Mattoon - Those that feared the Word of the Lord obeyed. The reward of their faith was the survival of their cattle and servants. Their obedience involved taking a definite stand. They chose to believe God instead of Egypt's gods (ED: WHO COULD NOT PROTECT!) Even in the country of Egypt, God's Word did not return void or empty. Someone will be affected by the Word of God. (Isaiah 55:11). (ED: AMEN!)  (Treasures from Exodus)

Currid on feared - That verb often signifies a fear that is associated with reverence, respect and even worship. Its use in the exodus context perhaps suggests a remnant of believers among the Egyptian people. Even if that was the case, it was only a small number. Exodus 9:30 indicates that Pharaoh’s servants as a group did not fear the Lord. (Exodus Commentary)

Bruckner on fear - The expression “fear” of the Lord is sometimes translated “reverence” or “respect.” It is certainly not the same as “being afraid” in 20:20. The midwives were the first to “fear the Lord” (Ex 1:17, 21). “Capable men” are defined as those who are trustworthy and “fear the Lord” (Ex 18:21). This “fear” has an element of awe as well as trust in the One who inspires the awe. Trust and “fear of the Lord” are used in parallel in the summary statement: “when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him” (Ex 14:31). (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

All uses of fear (yare) in Exodus - some are reverential fear and some are being afraid - Exod. 1:17; Exod. 1:21; Exod. 2:14; Exod. 3:6; Exod. 9:20; Exod. 9:30; Exod. 14:10; Exod. 14:13; Exod. 14:31; Exod. 15:11; Exod. 18:21; Exod. 20:20; Exod. 34:10; Exod. 34:30;

Made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses - NLT = "They quickly brought their servants and livestock in from the fields."  Here the servants refers to the servants of Pharaoh’s servants. What about the common folk in the rest of the land of Egypt? No description is given but presumably they were not warned. 

The different responses of the two groups in Ex 9:20 and Ex 9:21 is but a "microcosm" of the response of every man and woman every born, to accept or reject the Gospel, as we see in the response of the Jews upon hearing the message from Paul 

Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. (Acts 28:24+)

The one who fears God’s word will find shelter from the storm

Nah. 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.  

Ps. 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

Exodus 9:21  but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.

NET  Exodus 9:21 but those who did not take the word of the LORD seriously left their servants and their cattle in the field. (Exodus 9)

NLT  Exodus 9:21 But those who paid no attention to the word of the LORD left theirs out in the open.

  • paid no regard - Heb. set not his heart unto, Ex 7:23 1Sa 4:20 *marg: 1Ch 22:19 Job 7:17 34:14 Pr 24:32 Eze 40:4 Da 10:12 


but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field - Paid no regard is literally "did not set his heart to the Word." It is always an issue of the heart, not the head. Intellectually, some servants heard and understood the word of the Lord, but they refused to believe it in their heart, their "control center," and so they suffered disaster. Note the phrase paid no regard is the antithesis of those who feared the Word of the LORD. In short those who paid no regard had no fear of God and those who had fear of God (His word) paid regard. Do you fear the LORD? You can determine your answer by whether or not you keep His commandments, which are not burdensome, but life giving and blessing bestowing! So these were warned but did not fear God, which equates with the fact that they did not believe His Word and they paid for it dearly. What a picture of all who reject God and His Word of warning today.

Jesus said in “He who believes in Him (FEARS HIM, BELIEVES HIS WORDS OF WARNING AND GIFT OF REFUGE IN CHRIST) is not judged; he who does not believe (DOES NOT FEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD) has been judged already, because (EXPLAINS THE OBJECT OF BELIEF THAT SAVES FROM JUDGMENT) he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world (THE LIGHT HAS A NAME - JESUS - Jn 8:12), and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for (EXPLAINS HOW TO IDENTIFY ONE WHO LOVES DARKNESS) their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does (HABITUALLY, AS THERE DAILY PRACTICE -- BELIEVERS DO EVIL BUT IT IS NOT THE HABITUAL PRACTICE OF THEIR LIFE!) evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed (SO DON'T BE SURPRISED WHEN YOU TELL SOMEONE ABOUT SALVATION IN JESUS, BECAUSE HE IS LIGHT AND EXPOSES THEIR DARKNESS AND THEY HATE HIM FOR IT).  (John 3:18-20+)

McGee - Many people did not believe the words of God, and they suffered from the judgment. God gave them a chance, but it was their choice whether or not they believed what He said. The same holds true today.  (Exodus 9)

Mattoon - The Egyptians that left their cattle in the field, left the Word of God, left blessing, and left their peace. Beloved, learn from their mistakes.  (Treasures from Exodus)

If all the Egyptian livestock were killed in the earlier plague (Ex 9:6), how could the slaves of Pharaoh bring their livestock in from the fields? The answer is probably that the earlier plague killed all the animals in the fields (Ex 9:3 = "which are in the field,") but not those in the shelters. They could also have purchased livestock from the Israelites.

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

He that regarded not the word Heb. לא שם לבו lo sam libbo, that set not his heart to the word. Although there were some, even among the servants of Pharaoh, who had been sufficiently wrought upon by the former plagues to tremble at God’s word, yet there were others, and they probably the majority, who partook of the spirit of their master, and would not believe, though the event thus far, had in every instance proved the truth of Moses’ predictions. One would have thought that even if there were a peradventure that the calamity might come, they would have chosen the safer side, and housed their cattle for so short a time, rather than leave the poor creatures exposed to perish in the tempest; but they were so fool-hardy as in defiance of the truth of Moses and the power of God to risk the consequences.

Exodus 9:22  Now the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."

  • Ex 7:19 8:5,16 Rev 16:21 

Now the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky - This is the next day (cf "tomorrow" Ex 9:18) Moses is no longer in the presence of Pharaoh and this is the day after. And while not stated here comparison with the next verse indicates that Moses' hand was holding the staff of God (and not just his hand). 

That hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt - Throughout the land of Egypt, but NOT in the land of Goshen, the land inhabited by the Israelites (Ex 9:26). 

Rev 16:21+ And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.

Currid - In the history of Egypt, not only was hail rare, but when it did fall it was not usually particularly menacing. Its severity in the seventh plague is quite striking. (Exodus Commentary)

Exodus 9:23  Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.

  • the Lord sent - Ex 19:16 20:18 1Sa 12:17,18 Job 37:1-5 Ps 29:3 77:18 Rev 16:18,21 
  • and hail - Jos 10:11 Job 38:22,23 Ps 18:13 78:47,48 105:32,33 148:8 Isa 30:30 Eze 38:22 Rev 8:7 

Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt -  From here forward, Moses and his hand or staff would lead the people (Ex 9:23; 10:13, 21; 14:16; 17:9) Notice again we see the juxtaposition of man's responsibility and God's sovereignty (and power).

A W Pink - Witness God’s absolute (and sovereign) control of inanimate matter in connection with the plagues upon Egypt. At His bidding the light was turned into darkness and rivers into blood; hail fell, and death came down upon the godless land of the Nile, until even its haughty monarch was compelled to cry out for deliverance. Note particularly how the inspired record here emphasizes God’s absolute control over the elements—‘And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.’

This passage recalls Ps 29:3

"The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters."

And Ps 18:13

"The LORD also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire." 

Trapp - “A strange mixture; a miracle within a miracle, saith Rabbi Solomon. Fire and water made a peace betwixt themselves, that they might obey the will of their Creator.” 

Cole - The hail appears to have been accompanied at the same time by a violent thunderstorm, not unusual in sultry weather, marked by the electrical discharges popularly called ‘fire balls’ (verse 24; cf. Ezek. 1:4). As on Sinai, thunder and lighting are signs of God’s presence (Exod. 19:16). Hyatt maintains that hailstorms are much rarer in Egypt than Palestine: if so, this heightens the miracle.

Mattoon - This plague touches both men and beast. Men died from jagged stones of ice falling like bullets from Heaven. This plague was also an attack to discredit the gods of Egypt.  (Treasures from Exodus)
    • Nut-sky goddess
    • Osiris-god of crops and fertility. He couldn't protect the crops.
    • Set-god of storms. He could not prevent them.
    • Isis-goddess of the air.

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

The Lord sent thunder and hail. Heb. נתן קלת וברד nathan koloth ubarad gave voices and hail. The Lord’s ‘voice,’ is an expression often used as equivalent to ‘thunder.’ See Note on Gen. 3:8. Thus Rev. 6:1, ‘And I heard as it were the noise (φωνη, voice) of thunder.’ Rev. 10:3, ‘And when he had cried (the) seven thunders uttered their voices.’

The fire ran along upon the ground. Heb. ארצה aretzah, towards the earth. This is the exact rendering, and there can be no doubt that the fire meant was the lightning that accompanied the hail. The Psalmist thus speaks of this judgment, Ps. 78:47, 48, ‘He destroyed their vines and their sycamore-trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the hail and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.’ To this seventh plague of Egypt is compared the effect of the seventh vial of the Apocalypse; Rev. 16:17–21, ‘And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air … and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth … and there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent;’ where in the mention of the hail-stones there is an allusion probably to the passage of Joshua, ch. 10:11, ‘The Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hail-stones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.’

Exodus 9:24 So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

  • such as had not been  - Ex 9:23 10:6

So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation - "Egypt became a nation in 3100 B.C. So we’re being told here that for 1700 years there had never been a storm like this. That’s fairly impressive." (J Ligon Duncan Exodus 9:8-35 The 6th & 7th Plagues: Boils and Hail)

Cassuto - The fire of lightning is termed מִתְלַקַּחַת mithlaqqaḥath [‘taking hold of itself’] because it does not travel in a direct line, but in zigzag fashion, as though it took hold of itself, every now and again, to turn back or to turn aside.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

The words such as had not been remind us of Jesus' warning words describing the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation, the time Jesus referred to as the Great Tribulation...

“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Mt 24:21+)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

Fire mingled with the hail. Heb. אש מתלקחת בתוך הברד esh mithlak kahath bethok habbarad, fire catching hold, infolding, involving itself in the midst of the hail. The words are no doubt intended to depict a complication of elemental terrors which it is not easy distinctly to conceive. Amid peals of deep and portentous thunder, the lightning gleamed with terrific flashes, and at the same time a tremendous hailstorm poured its fury over a land of which the inhabitants had probably never before witnessed or heard of a similar phenomenon. If a violent tempest or tornado is an appalling occurrence in countries where they are not uncommon, what overwhelming dread must this have produced in Egypt! How could they but imagine that heaven and earth were mingling together in wild confusion! And then, when its fury had somewhat abated, to behold the desolations it had caused! Men and cattle killed and promiscuously scattered over the fields—all kinds of trees, plants, and grain battered down and destroyed—and the whole face of the ground appearing to have been swept by the besom of destruction! And yet, to enhance the wonder still more, in the land of Goshen not a solitary vestige of the wide-spreading havoc was to be seen. Here all nature was smiling unruffled in its usual fertility and beauty. What a contrast between the verdant fields and tranquil flocks of the one region, and the fearful spectacle of scathing and ruin in the other! ‘And my people shall dwelt in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places, when it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be utterly abased.’ No wonder that the visitation should, for a time at least, have overpowered the obduracy of Pharaoh, and prompted him to send in haste for Moses and Aaron, and address them in the language of the humbled penitent.

Exodus 9:25 The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field.

  • smote every - Ps 105:33 

The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast - All is hyperbole to an extent. While it may have hit everything, it did not destroy everything for those who had their animals sheltered were safe. This was supernatural for a hailstorm never affects an entire country.

 the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field - Every plant is hyperbolic. Cassuto writes "The word כָּל kol [‘all’, ‘every’], which occurs five times in succession (vv. 24–25), is used here, too, in a hyperbolic sense, not literally; further on reference will still be made to the plants of the field and the fruit of the trees (Ex 9:32; 10:5, 12, 15)."  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

The hail smote every herb of the field. That is, some of all sorts, as is evident from Ex. 10:15. Thus, Acts, 10:12, ‘Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth.’ Gr. παντα τα τετραποδα, all four-footed beasts.

Exodus 9:26  Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail.

  • Ex 8:22-32 9:4,6 10:23 11:7 12:13 Isa 32:18,19 


Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail - And if you still doubt it was supernatural this verse should convince you! God’s providential care of Israel was evident in each of the last seven plagues, because the Jews escaped each one of them (Ex 8:22–23; Ex 9:4, 11, Ex 9:26; Ex 10:6, Ex 10:23; Ex 11:7). Just as God miraculously protected Israel from swarms of flies, etc, so too He miraculously protected them from hail. 

John MacArthur - The discriminatory nature of this plague was unannounced beforehand, but the national distinction previously declared and observed again prevailed. Although unstated, those who were in the strife-torn regions and who obeyed instructions obviously found their livestock equally safe and sound. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Mattoon - God's people were spared from judgment, demonstrating again to Pharaoh that the Lord was in control and that He was God. He could inflict judgment upon the Egyptians but spare His own people.  (Treasures from Exodus)

Currid - Some commentators have attempted to explain away this distinction by saying that storms hammering Egypt in the Nile Valley would have been trapped there and unable to strike Goshen. That interpretation is impossible to justify in the light of God’s elective work, which is so evident in the plague account...As an aside, it is important to note what Pharaoh does not do. He does not summon his magicians to repel or replicate the plague. Nor does he send messengers to Goshen to see if it has been affected. What had happened, or was going to happen, was all too obvious. (Exodus Commentary)

Exodus 9:27  Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones.

  • I have - Ex 10:16 Nu 22:34 1Sa 15:24,30 26:21 Mt 27:4 
  • the Lord - 2Ch 12:6 Ps 9:16 129:4 145:17 La 1:18 Da 9:14 Ro 2:5 3:19 


Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones - Pharaoh is saying that Yahweh is right, and the Egyptians are not—so they are at fault, guilty. Pharaoh confessed and said the words suggesting repentance but he did not follow through with the obedience! His heart was only hardened more after God relented and showed mercy.

THOUGHT - Notice that Pharaoh speaks truth in Ex 9:27 but then turn around and immediately speaks lies in Ex 9:28. Do I ever confess and even claim to repent and when tempted soon thereafter, immediately fall face down and commit the same sin? That is a rhetorical question. 

John MacArthur - Any improvement in Pharaoh’s theological understanding, notwithstanding the following confession of a righteous Lord and of a wicked people, was rendered suspect by the face-saving caveat “this time.” Lacking repentance, it brushed aside all previous reaction and disobedience as having no significance. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Cole calls this “the easy confession of sin, and the shallow repentance that springs only from a desire to avert the consequences.” (TOTC-Ex)

Bruckner -  In spite of the penitent words, his admission of guilt was under the duress of booming thunder, pounding hail, pouring rain, and ground-strike lightning that would not quit. This was the third time he had said that he would let them go (Ex 8:8, 28; 9:28). (Exodus (Understanding the Bible Commentary)

Currid - Pharaoh’s self-condemnation is not very convincing because he is not acknowledging his earlier, previous sins and arrogance. He is only speaking of the present situation. In support of this point is his use of ‘this time’, or ‘now’, which mirrors God’s use of the same expression in verse 14. It would be a mistake to conclude that Pharaoh has seen the light and that he exhibits a repentant heart. He may be weakening but he still plays the snake—lying, manipulating and twisting. Even so, it is striking that Pharaoh should make any such confession at all. The ancient Egyptians believed in the purity of their sovereign. Individuals who approached Pharaoh were commanded to prostrate themselves, ‘smelling the earth, crawling on the ground’, while ‘invoking this perfect god and exalting his beauty’. God is attacking this notion of Pharaoh’s character being pure and untainted. There is only one who is good and perfect. (Exodus Commentary)

Cassuto - Pharaoh still remains arrogant, and declines to acknowledge his earlier and primary sins; hence he adds: this time, as though he had no other sin on his conscience except his refusal on this occasion.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

J Ligon Duncan - Pharaoh was considered a god, and Pharaoh was considered so righteous that when you came into his presence, you had to lick the dust because you were in the presence of the righteous god of Egypt; the one who had administered justice....Moses is showing us here how the one who claims to be a god and the one who claims to be righteous, admits his own wickedness. God is sovereign, God is upright, Pharaoh is not. Pharaoh has to ask for prayer again. He has to promise to let them go in order to find relief from the plague.  (Exodus 9:8-35 The 6th & 7th Plagues: Boils and Hail)

NET Note - Pharaoh now is struck by the judgment and acknowledges that he is at fault. But the context shows that this penitence was short-lived. What exactly he meant by this confession is uncertain. On the surface his words seem to represent a recognition that he was in the wrong and Yahweh right. (Exodus 9)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

I have sinned this time. As it can hardly be supposed that Pharaoh, intended to limit this confession of his sin to the present instance of his unbelief, we are no doubt authorized to extend the import of the phrase ‘this time’ to the whole course of his disobedience during the occurrence of the preceding plagues. This sense of the phrase strikingly confirms the interpretation put upon it in v. 14, as implying the time of a future series of judgments. Overcome by the tremendous display of the divine indignation which he had just witnessed, and which had proved fatal to many of his subjects, he confessed himself on the wrong side in his contest with the God of the Hebrews, declares that he has sinned in standing it out so long, and owns the equity of God’s proceedings against him: ‘The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Under the pressure of his convictions he humbles himself still farther, and entreats that this direful plague may at once be stayed, promising without any qualification that the people shall be dismissed. Perhaps he sincerely fell and intended all that he said at the time as the terror of the rod often extorts penitent acknowledgments from those that have no penitent affections; but the result proved that he knew little of the plague of his own heart, whatever he had been compelled to know of the plague of God’s hand. Moses, however, though he evidently placed no reliance upon his promise, v. 30, did not hesitate to listen to his request, and engaged at once to obtain a cessation of the storm; thus teaching us that even those of whom we have little hopes, and who will probably soon repent of their repentance are still to be prayed for and admonished.

Righteous, &c. Heb. הצדיק hatz-tzaddik, the righteous one הרשעים hareshaim, the sinners; thus showing that the original is far more emphatic than our translation. It was equivalent to saying that he and his people fully deserved all that had been brought upon them.

Mighty thunderings. Heb. קלת אלהים koloth Elohim, voices of God; i. e. loud and deafening peals of thunder, called voices or thunderings of God as ‘mountains of God’ are large and lofty mountains See Note on Gen. 23:6.

Shall stay no longer. Heb. לא תספון לעמד lo tosiphun laamod, shall not add to stand. Chal. ‘I will detain you no longer.’

Mattoon on I have sinned - Pharaoh is crying, "Uncle!" This is the first time that he makes a public confession of his error. The so called "Mr. Perfection" admits imperfection, "I have sinned." One can find forgiveness when they make this admission, yet, another may go into further depths of sin. What makes the difference? The answer is the attitude and genuine repentance of the person making the admission. A number of people made this admission in the Bible. Unfortunately, many did not demonstrate genuine repentance. 

1. Balaam:

Numbers 22:34-And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.

Balaam was an example of double-mindedness. After his confession, he went on to sin willingly and worked for the wages of unrighteousness. He tried to serve two masters, God and money and could not.

Matthew 6:24-No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Balaam's confession was worthless because he did not mean it. He was caught, but not convicted.

2. Saul:

1 Samuel 15:24-And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Saul was a picture of an insincere man. He confesses and then gives an excuse, "I feared the people." Insincerity was a trait of Saul. He loved to please people and agree with the crowd. Some folks insincerely confess sin to please others in order to get them off their back. Admission of sin is worthless if it is not genuine. God is not fooled by our phoniness.

3. Achan:

Joshua 7:20-And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
Achan's confession is doubtful. He was an example of a death-bed confession which creates doubt. One question that comes to mind when death-bed decisions are made is, "Did they really mean what they said?" Doubt is created because the admission or profession of faith, has not been tested by the person's life.

4. Judas Iscariot:

Matthew 27:4-Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
Judas' admission was made in a time of remorse and despair. He saw death face to face. He had no hope. He knew the treachery of his betrayal. He knew he was condemned. If you know you are lost, your hopelessness can be changed to hope by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.

5. Job:

Job 7:20-I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?

Job pictures the repentance of a saint. Job loved God, but he was a sinner like everyone else. Christians are sinners saved by grace but they still have to contend with their fleshly nature. Do you need to get something right with God? Do you need to come to Him and say, "Lord, I've sinned?" If so, there is cleansing in Christ.

1 John 1:9-If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

6. The Prodigal Son:

Luke 15:18-I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

This is an example of a blessed confession of a lost man. He is truly repentant. His Father saw him with eyes of mercy, ran with legs of mercy, embraced his neck with arms of mercy, and kissed him with kisses of mercy.

Pharaoh said, "I have sinned." Did he really mean it? No, he did not. Pharaoh is a picture of a hardened sinner whose confession is born in the storms of life, but dies in the calm. The storms of disease, danger, and desperation will drive people to cry out to God, but when life returns to normal, the Lord is forgotten.

Pharaoh's confession is superficial and worthless, "I have sinned THIS TIME." The man just didn't get it. He has been sinning every time. His confession is mouthed with no meaning. Even Moses knew what was going on (vs. 30). There was no change in the heart of the king. False repentance has roots in a shallow, flippant view of sin. Sin is not taken seriously, somberly, soberly, and solemnly. Pharaoh's responsibility for his sin was diverted in a sense, "I am my people are wicked." Not all the Egyptians were wicked for some of them believed in the Lord.

Exodus 12:38-And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

Pharaoh was trying to ease his guilt by having his people share the blame, yet, he is the one responsible. His decisions have led his people astray. Never underestimate the power of your example, whether it is good or bad. We will also note that true repentance leads you to confess your own sin, not the sins of others. Have you taken responsibility for your actions? Do you have a serious or flippant attitude toward your sin? If so, realize that it will ruin your life.  (Treasures from Exodus)

Exodus 9:28  "Make supplication to the LORD, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."

  • Make supplication to the LORD - Ex 8:8,28 10:17 Ac 8:24 
  • God's thunder - Heb. voices of God, Ps 29:3,4 
  • ye shall - Ex 11:1 


Make supplication to the LORD -  Pharaoh seems to believe in the power of prayer (especially when he is in distress - that's when even skeptics resort to prayer!) for this is the third time he asks Moses to pray for him (Ex 8:8, Ex 8:28). 

for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail - Literally "make ye supplication unto Jehovah, and plead that there be no voices of God and hail." Note that God's thunder is "God's voice." Pharaoh seems to fully grasp that the severe hailstorm is from a divine Source. He knows it was God but he uses elohim which could be rendered "gods" and " is a more generic name for deity in the ancient Near East."

Cassuto - He does not refer to the thunder as ‘the Lord’s voices’ but as ‘God’s voices’; he regards it generally as a Divine phenomenon, but not as the specific act of YHWH, the God of Israel.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

NET Note - The expression וְרַב מִהְיֹת (vérav mihyot, “[the mighty thunder and hail] is much from being”) means essentially “more than enough.” This indicates that the storm was too much, or, as one might say, “It is enough.” (Exodus 9)

and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer - literally Pharaoh says ‘You [plural] will not again have to stand." Once again he seems to be willing to comply with Jehovah's request, implying that they need no further audience with him. He is again being deceitful and lying again.

Mattoon - What he is doing is bargaining with God. Many people do this. Lord, get me out of my mess and I'll serve you. They usually don't when they get out of their mess.  (Treasures from Exodus)

Exodus 9:29  Moses said to him, "As soon as I go out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease and there will be hail no longer, that you may know that the earth is the LORD'S.

  • spread - Ex 9:33 1Ki 8:22,38 2Ch 6:12,13 Ezr 9:5 Job 11:13 Ps 143:6 Isa 1:15 
  • that the earth - De 10:14 Ps 24:1,2 50:12 95:4,5 135:6 1Co 10:26,28 


Moses said to him, "As soon as I go out of the city   - Why go out of the city to pray? There is not definitive answer. 

I will spread out my hands to the LORD - This is is an expression signifying the act of prayer (read 1 Ki 8:38; Ezra 9:5)

The thunder will cease and there will be hail no longer that you may know that the earth is the LORD'S - Moses is telling Pharaoh he would pray, and the purpose was the Jehovah is the sovereign Lord over all the earth. Moses uses the word for know which know by experience. This is why God answered the request to immediately stop the hail. It would be clear evidence of His supernatural, sovereign power to control the elements and that in turn would be clear evidence that not just Israel belonged to Jehovah, but the entire earth belonged to Him! 

The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it. 
-- Psalm 24:1

Currid - It is Yahweh who rules over the earth, not the Egyptian gods, and certainly not Pharaoh (who was considered ruler over the two lands of Upper and Lower Egypt). (Exodus Commentary)

J Ligon Duncan - (Moses says) I will pray for you, but I will pray for you so that you will know that the earth belongs to the Lord." I command the sky because God owns the sky. God is in charge of the world, and the reason that I’m going to pray, is not because I believe what you just said, but because I want you to know that the world belongs to God. The world belongs to the God of Israel.  (Exodus 9:8-35 The 6th & 7th Plagues: Boils and Hail)

NET Note - This clause provides the key for the exposition of this plague: God demonstrated his power over the forces of nature to show his sovereignty—the earth is Yahweh’s. He can destroy it. He can preserve it. If people sin by ignoring his word and not fearing him, he can bring judgment on them. If any fear Yahweh and obey his instructions, they will be spared. A positive way to express the expositional point of the chapter is to say that those who fear Yahweh and obey his word will escape the powerful destruction he has prepared for those who sinfully disregard his word. (Exodus 9)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

As soon as I am gone out of the city. He would retire from the city not only for purposes of privacy, in his intercession with God, but also to show that he was not afraid to expose himself to the action of the elements in the open field. By thus venturing forth in the midst of the tempest with a perfect confidence of impunity, Moses gave to Pharaoh a striking proof that he was the special object of the divine protection, and consequently that his message ought to be diligently heeded.

That thou mayest know, &c. That is, that thou mayest be convinced that the God of the Hebrews is no local deity like the fancied gods of Egypt, but the absolute and universal Sovereign, holding sway over all creatures, controlling the elements, and making every department of nature obsequious to his will. ‘See what various methods God uses to bring men to their proper senses. Judgments are sent, and judgments removed, and all for the same end, to make men know that the Lord reigns.’ Henry.

Exodus 9:30  "But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God."

  • Pr 16:6 Isa 26:10 63:17 


But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God - In essence Moses is saying Pharaoh's confession was a "counterfeit confession." In short, Moses is not impressed by Pharaoh's confession. Moses fearlessly confronts Pharaoh about his false fear! God had revealed this truth to Moses, for no man can see into another man's heart! What does this say about God? Which attribute of God does this describe? The omniscient God was not duped, cajoled nor hoodwinked by Pharaoh's polite promise (nor by ours beloved). He knew Pharaoh's heart (He knows ours)! The last part of Pr 16:6 says "by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil." God knew that Pharaoh had not chosen to depart from evil! 

THOUGHT - We need to carefully weigh what we promise to do for the Lord, for He knows our hearts. Do you fear the LORD God? Don't answer with a simple "Yes." Answer with your thoughts, words and actions that (enabled by the Spirit) seek to continually (not perfectly because we are not yet glorified beloved!) depart from evil and seek good. (Read Ps 34:14, Ps 37:27, Pr 13:19, Pr 16:17, 1 Th 5:21-22) And ultimately how do you know if someone makes a genuine decision for Jesus? We cannot read their heart but we can watch their life!

Currid - The Egyptians may have feared the plagues and may have been afraid of some sort of divine power, but they did not yet fear Yahweh. (Exodus Commentary)

Cassuto - Although you are afraid of the severity of the plague, and also generally of the Divine power, nevertheless the Lord God, the God whom we designate by the name YHWH, you have still not recognized and you still do not fear.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

NET Note - Moses is saying that he knew that Pharaoh did not really stand in awe of God, so as to grant Israel’s release, i.e., fear not in the religious sense but “be afraid of” God—fear “before” him (Exodus 9)

Exodus 9:31  (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud.

  • barley -  Ru 1:22 2:23 Am 4:9 Hab 3:17 


Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud - This fact helps date the time of year of this plague to February.

Mattoon writes "The time of the year is believed to be around mid-February. In Egypt the cattle are sent into open country from January to April when the grass is abundant. They remain in the stalls the rest of the year. The barley was in the ear. It ripens in February in Northern Egypt. It was the food of the poor and for horses. It was grown for beers. The phrase "flax bolled"means it was in blossom which takes place in Mid-February and early March. Flax was used to make linen and was used exclusively by the priest. White linen is a picture of righteousness."   (Treasures from Exodus)

MacArthur - God’s timing of the disaster to two crops left room for Pharaoh to repent before the other crops might be destroyed. (MacArthur Study Bible)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

The flax was bolled. That is, podded. Heb. הפשתה גבעל happishtah gibol The original word occurs only here, and its true import is not easily fixed. Nearly all the ancient versions understand it as intimating a stage of maturity in the flax in which it was past flowering. We think it probable that the genuine scope of the Heb. term expresses the formation of that small globous fruit, pod, or capsule on the top of the stalk of flax which succeeds the flower, and contains the seed. Gr. ‘The flax was in seed, or seeding.’ The Egyptians sowed all sorts of grain soon alter the waters of the Nile had subsided; but flax and barley being of more rapid growth would at any given time be more forward than wheat and rye which explains the circumstance mentioned in the text. The interval between the two harvests is usually about a month.

Exodus 9:32  But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.)

  • not grown up - Heb. hidden, or dark, Ex 10:22 


But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late - Spelt is a species of wheat, spelt, a grain with split kernels which ripened later than flax and barley (Ex. 9:32; Isa. 28:25; Ezek. 4:9).

Currid - First, the preservation of the young, tender plants shows the miraculous nature of the plague. It is normally that very stage that is devastated by hail, but on this occasion God excludes it from the destruction. Secondly, it shows God’s grace in the midst of judgement. God still gives sustenance to Egypt, and allows them to survive despite the plague....And, finally, the fact that some of the crops are kept alive provides material to receive the onslaught of the next plague, the locusts. (Exodus Commentary)

Gilbrant adds this note on spelt - See Wikipedia article. This species of emmer was considered of inferior quality because the chaff clings to the grain and is hard to remove. According to Herodotus, the Egyptians used it for bread. It has been identified as Triticum dicoccum, a hard-grained variety common in the Near East. The grain was domesticated in Israel as early as the Chalcolithic period. It will grow in conditions less fertile and humid than those required by wheat. (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

NET - "The word כֻּסֶּמֶת (kussemet) is translated “spelt”; the word occurs only her e and in Isa 28:25 and Ezek 4:9. Spelt is a grain closely allied to wheat."  (Exodus 9)

Mattoon - These accounts are in harmony with the natural history of Egypt. According to Pliny, the barley is reaped in the sixth month after the sowing-time, the wheat in the seventh. The barley is ripe about the end of February or beginning of March; the wheat, at the end of March or beginning of April. The flax is boiled or in flower in mid-February or early March.  (Treasures from Exodus)

Exodus 9:33  So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to the LORD; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth.

  • spread - Ex 9:29 8:12 
  • and the thunder - Ex 10:18,19 Jas 5:17,18 


So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to the LORD; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth - NLT - "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." 

Exodus 9:34  But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

  • saw - Ex 8:15 Ec 8:11 
  • and hardened - Ex 4:21 7:14 2Ch 28:22 33:23 36:13 Ro 2:4,5 


But - This often marks a "change of direction" and certainly does in this context! 

When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants - This is a frightening passage. Why? Because it clearly equates sinning with hardening of one's heart! Once the threat is over he becomes more hardened in his wickedness. Note the phrase and his servants which is the first time we see hardening of their hearts. Thus the words of Moses in Ex 9:30 are fulfilled, as they always are in one who is a true prophet of God. Pharaoh follows up his confession of sin with more sin!

THOUGHT - The application is clear - if we confess and repent and run back immediately to our "pet sin," the natural consequence is that our heart becomes a little more hardened to the God, to His Word, to the things of God! Does this thought frighten you? It frightens me! It recalls the warning in Hebrews 3:12-13+  "Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day (THIS IS WHY WE ALL NEED ANOTHER GODLY PERSON OF THE SAME GENDER IN OUR LIFE BELOVED! ARE YOU ACCOUNTABLE TO ANYONE? REALLY ACCOUNTABLE?), as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." There it is - clear as a bell - sin (which promises good but brings grief = deceitful) will harden my heart!!! God grant each of us (writer and reader) the power of His Spirit (His desire and His power - Php 2:13NLT+) to run from the first hint of sin's seductive snare. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Cassuto - The danger having passed, his fear also passed away; and he who had promised that the children of Israel would not continue to stay (v. 28), now continued to sin, and he hardened [literally, ‘made heavy’] his heart, he and his servants, even as the hail was heavy.  (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

NET has an interesting note - The text is clearly interpreting as sin the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and his refusal to release Israel. At the least this means that the plagues are his fault, but the expression probably means more than this – he was disobeying Yahweh God. (Exodus 9)

Mattoon - Pharaoh is going to cry out, "I have sinned." Will everything be all right now? If you cry out to God, "I have sinned," will everything be OK for you? Surprisingly, the answer is "No!" Admitting this is not enough to get you out of trouble.  (Treasures from Exodus)

George Bush - Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Exodus

The thunders and the hail ceased. The prayer of Moses was in this case invested with a power like that of Elias, and the two witnesses of the Apocalypse, James, 5:17, 18, Rev. 11:6, to open and shut heaven, and yet the mercy now accorded to Pharaoh tended as little to soften his heart as the previous judgment had done. As if the sun which now shone forth in the clear sky and hardened the soaked and saturated earth had produced a similar effect upon his heart, he is merely emboldened by this respite of wrath to persist in a course of more determined rebellion. Yet the language of the text implies that this increased hardness of heart was an increased measure of guilt: ‘He sinned yet more and more, and hardened his heart;’ i. e. sinned by hardening his heart. God’s foretelling the result, therefore, and permitting it, did not go to lessen his criminality.

Exodus 9:35  Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

Pharaoh's heart was hardened - Why? Was it God's fault in this context? Did God harden his heart? I think not. I think it is because he sinned again with the result being that his heart became a little more hard to God just like Hebrew 3:12-13+ warns! 

and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses - As Currid says "The account of the seventh plague ends with this formula that is found, in one variation or another, at the conclusion of every plague thus far (Ex 7:22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12). It is a convention of this section of Exodus signalling the final end of a particular plague episode." (Exodus Commentary)

Mattoon - There is a story about a monastery in Europe perched high on a cliff several hundred feet in the air. The only way to reach the monastery was to be suspended in a basket which was pulled to the top by several monks who pulled and tugged with all their strength. Obviously the ride up the steep cliff in that basket was terrifying. One tourist got exceedingly nervous about halfway up as he noticed that the rope by which he was suspended was old and frayed. With a trembling voice, he asked the monk who was riding with him in the basket how often they changed the rope. The monk thought for a moment and answered very harshly, "Whenever it breaks." Beloved, don't wait until your rope breaks to change the direction of your life if you are going the wrong direction. If you are not saved, put your faith in Jesus Christ to take you to Heaven. If you are a Christian, get your life right with God today. (Treasures from Exodus)

Currid applies the truth of this plague - We read in the Apocalypse of John the following description of the seventh bowl of wrath that will be meted out on unbelievers: ‘And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty … And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe’ (Rev. 16:17–21+). The similarities between this seventh plague in Revelation and the seventh plague in Egypt are striking. First, it should be noted that both plagues are accompanied by thunder and lightning. Secondly, the extent of the two plagues is underscored: in Egypt nothing like it had been seen in the land since it was founded as a nation (9:24); in Revelation nothing like it had occurred since man came to be on the earth. Both plagues were extremely severe, and in both instances mankind’s response to them was hardness of heart or blasphemy. The size of the hailstones in Revelation underscores the absolute extremity and severity of the plague at the end times—it is so much greater than the plague in Egypt. The disaster that befell the Egyptians was simply a mere foretaste of the final judgement. That ought to give us pause. And it ought to drive us to share the good news of Christ that delivers people from such an end.(Exodus Commentary)