The creature is made subject to vanity by reason of man’s sins,
liable to serve man’s wickedness or share his punishment.
When judgments are abroad,
they may fall both on righteous and wicked but they are not the same to one as the other in the final reckoning.
1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
3 Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
4 And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel.
5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.
6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
8 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
13 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
20 He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
21 And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.
22 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23 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.
24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
27 ¶ And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
28 Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.
29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’S.
30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.
31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.
32 But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
Exodus 9:1-7 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 9:8-17 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 9:18-35 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 9:1-12 – The Murrain of Cattle and the Plague of Boils
The plague on the cattle reminds us that the whole creation groans and travails from the effects of human sin. See Romans 8:20. But those groans are the cries of birth, not of death; and herald a happier day when the creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. There is a hint of this here, for the children of Israel lost not so much as one of their cattle from this pestilence. The Lord knoweth how to deliver his own, and our religion should make a difference for the living things of our firesides and farms.
How terribly does sin affect our physical health! These boils and blains on man and beast remind us of the inevitable brand with which sin marks its slaves. Let us read again Psalm 91, in the light of this passage. The souls that shelter under God’s wing, from the charmed circle of his presence, look, unharmed and unfearful, on pestilence and plague. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 9:13-35 – Mighty Thunderings and Hail
This paragraph recalls Revelation 7:3. The great angel there commanded that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or upon any tree, until the servants of God had been sealed on their foreheads. Only when this had been effected did the trumpets give signal of the disasters that broke successively on the earth. See Revelation 8:7, etc. The only spot in which the soul is safe is within the encircling provisions of the covenant. Israel stood there and was safe, not only from the hail but from the destroying sword. It was as safe a spot as the center of a cyclone is said to be. God had bound Himself by the most solemn sanctions to be a God to His people and deliver them. It was in pursuance of this pledge that He was their pavilion and canopy in this awful hour, catching the hailstones on His pinions, and securing them from hurt. Directly we trust in Christ He becomes our hiding-place from the storms of judgment and condemnation, Hebrews 13:20. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 9:26 – Only in Goshen, where the Children of Israel were, was there no hail.
Those who are included in the provisions of the covenant are sealed. The storm may sweep around them, but the great angel, who ascends from the east, cries with a great voice to the angels to whom it is given to hurt the earth, and the sea, and the trees, saying, Hurt them not till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads (Revelation 7:3).
The only spot in which the soul is safe is within the encircling provisions of the covenant. Israel stood there, and was safe—not only from the hail, but from the destroying sword. The invulnerable walls of that sacred enclosure were the oath and promise of God to Abraham. God had bound Himself by the most solemn sanctions to be a God to this people, and deliver them; it was necessary, therefore, that He should be their pavilion and canopy, catching the hailstones on his outstretched wings and securing them from hurt.
The covenant is entered, not by merit nor by works. There was neither the one nor the other in that race of slaves; but they stood there simply because of their relationship to the Friend of God. So we enter the blessed safety of the better covenant, through our relationship with the Lord Jesus, who is the Beloved of the Father, the one glorious and blessed Man. Without beauty or merit, the soul attaches itself by faith to Him, and discovers that it was loved before the worlds were made.
Ah, blessed Lover of souls, we see how the storm swept thy heart, that it might never touch us. Thou art our hiding-place, our shield, our deliverer, our strong tower. Without dismay we can anticipate the storms of death, judgment, and eternity, sure that wherever Thou art there can be no hail. —Our Daily Homily