Exodus Chapter 9 Continued
Exodus 9:17 “As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?”
The real issue was pride as Pharaoh continued to exalt himself against the Lords’ people. He would not humble himself and “obey” God as (in 5:2). There were some Egyptians (in verse 20), that feared the word of the Lord and who had made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses (see 8:19 for a positive response to God’s working).
Exodus 9:18 “Behold, tomorrow 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.”
The seventh plague which Pharaoh’s hardened heart provoked was that of hail, a phenomenon which must have produced the greatest astonishment and consternation in Egypt as rain and hailstones, accompanied by thunder and lightning, were very rare occurrences.
“Such as hath not been in Egypt”: In the Delta, or lower Egypt, where the scene unfolds, rain occasionally falls between January and March. Hail is not unknown, and thunder sometimes heard. But a storm, not only exhibiting all these elements, but so terrific that hailstones of immense size fell, thunder pealed in awful volleys, and lightning swept the ground like fire, was an unexampled calamity.
We see here, that Pharaoh thought too highly of himself and God was about to bring him down. We see Pharaoh being told that he thought he was better than these Hebrews (who are God’s chosen). Pharaoh has made himself ruler over them. There will be no playing around. Within 24 hours God was going to rain hail like they had never seen before. There would be damaging hail to anything or anyone out in it. This was not just ordinary hail, but would be more severe than Egypt had ever witnessed.
Verses 19-25: After six plagues, some of Pharaoh’s servants believed the message about the coming hail and had their servants and livestock “flee” for cover. Others, however, did not “regard the word of the Lord” and the consequences were devastating.
Exodus 9:19 “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.”
The peculiar circumstances of Egypt, where the whole country was overflowed by the Nile during some months of each year, caused the provision of shelter for cattle to be abnormally great. Every year, at the time of the inundation, all the cattle had to be “gathered” into sheds and cattle-yards in the immediate vicinity of the villages and towns, which were protected from the inundation by high mounds. Thus, it would have been easy to house all the cattle that remained to the Egyptians after the murrain, if the warning here given had been attended to generally.
This was a grave warning from God. It seemed as though by now, many would be listening and heeding these warnings. Every time God had spoken through Moses and Aaron, whatever they had vowed, happened. God is truth. Pharaoh could not be trusted, because he did not tell the truth. His word meant nothing. We will see in the next verse that some had begun to believe and heed the warnings from God.
Exodus 9:20 “He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:”
“He that feared the word of the LORD”: Some heard the instruction and obeyed; others, like their national leader, “regarded not” (verse 21), a graphic refusal to heed divine instruction.
We see from this that some of Pharaoh’s servants had seen the wonders done with the rod that God had given Moses. They believed and did just as they were warned to do. They stayed in the house and brought their animals in too, to keep them from being killed by the hail.
Exodus 9:21 “And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.”
Or “set not his heart” “unto it”, took no notice of it, but treated it with the utmost contempt. And of this sort it may be thought there was the far greatest number: everyone of this group.
“Left his servants and cattle in the field”: Let them remain there, and took no care of them, or thought about them, and so took no effort to preserve them. In which he acted a foolish part, to his own detriment and loss.
We can surely see again, our society today in this. We who are reading and heeding, the Word of the Lord are in the ark of safety waiting to go to our promised land (heaven), with our Deliverer (Jesus). Those who are not reading and heeding the Word of the Lord are living worldly lives, much like these Egyptians. The day of reckoning is here, just as the next 24 hours will bring these careless Egyptians to death. The similarities are overwhelming.
Exodus 9:22 “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.”
Regarded not, etc.; due premonition, it appears, had been publicly given of the impending tempest. The cattle seem to have been sent out to graze, which is from January to April, when alone pasturage can be obtained, and accordingly the cattle were in the fields. This storm occurring at that season, not only struck universal terror into the minds of the people, but occasioned the destruction of all, people and cattle. Which in neglect of the warning, had been left in the fields, as well as of all vegetation (Exodus 9:25). It was the more appalling because hailstones in Egypt are small and of little force; lightning also is scarcely ever known to produce fatal effects. And to enhance the wonder, not a trace of any storm was found in Goshen (Exodus 9:26).
We can quickly see that what God says He will do, He does. Also, we must note the peculiarity of this hail. Regular hail is not accompanied by fire. Many times, God is associated with fire; and I believe that is the reason we see fire with this hail. It is to prove to the Pharaoh, where it came from. Take note, one more time; this was not Satan doing this, it was God.
Exodus 9:23-24 “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.” “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.”
“Fire ran along upon the ground … grievous”: The violent, electrical thunderstorm brought with it unusual lightning, or “fire-balls,” which zigzagged (literally “fire taking hold of itself”), to and fro on the ground with the hail.
This we see was an exact happening of what God had promised. I have made the statement many times that it is bad to be under attack of the devil, but it is much worse to be under attack by God. There is nowhere to go for help when you have angered God to this terrible point.
Exodus 9:25 “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.”
It was in all the land and it smote and did mischief in all parts of it.
“All that was in the field, both man and beast”: Which they that neglected the word of the Lord took no care to fetch home, these were all smitten and destroyed by the hail.
“And the hail smote every herb of the field”: That is, the greatest part of them, for some were left, which the locusts afterwards ate (Exodus 10:15).
“And brake every tree of the field”: And the vines and fig trees (Psalm 78:47).
You reap what you sow. The Pharaoh had been very cruel to the children of Israel without cause. God didn’t overlook it. This was partially in payment for his cruelty to them. In (Revelation 8), we read of this same hail mingled with fire.
Rev. 8:7 “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
Both the hail in Exodus and in Revelation were punishment from God on evil men.
Exodus 9:26 “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel [were], was there no hail.”
“Only in the land of Goshen”: 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.
You see here, that God protected His own.
Pharaoh’s principal concern was for relief, and Moses knew Pharaoh’s heart as he said,
Verses 27-30: Pharaoh’s confession was accurate but insincere; as he admitted only what he thought he must in order to relieve the pressure. He had not yet come to “fear the LORD God”.
Exodus 9:27 “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.”
Notice Pharaoh’s testimony and confession: “I have sinned this time”. The phrase this time means “now at length” or “this once,” which might reflect some of the arrogance and the shallowness of his confession. Interesting, he says, “the LORD is righteous”, and I and my people are wicked,” when only a few months before had refused to even acknowledge the existence of Yahweh (5:2). “Righteous” may refer only to this particular event.
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.
The first step toward repentance and getting help from God is to admit you have sinned, and that the terrible things that are happening to you, done by God, are justified because of that sin. Here it appears for the moment, that Pharaoh truly wanted to repent and start anew.
Exodus 9:28 “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.”
“For it is enough”: Moses’ reply (verse 30), indicated that such an evaluation was not one of repentance or one of fearing the Lord and acknowledging His power.
Here we see Pharaoh almost begging Moses to go and talk with God for him. You would think that he was sincere as bad as this hail was. It was obviously from God, because the Hebrews were not experiencing this horrible hail. We must remember how evil Pharaoh was. It really surprises me that Moses believed him.
Exodus 9:29 “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.”
That is the whole world, the heavens and the earth. This is one great point that the Scriptures are intended to establish, that the whole universe, and all creatures therein, belong to the Lord, and are under his government. This truth, the foundation of all religion, ought to be established in our hearts, that we may put our trust in him and be resigned to his will. Whatever the dispensations of his adorable providence may be; however mysterious and unsearchable, as to the reasons of them, persuaded that they are as wise as they are powerful, and as gracious as they are just and holy. And will assuredly all work for good to those that love him.
Exodus 9:30 “But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.”
Pharaoh’s principal concern was for relief, and Moses knew Pharaoh’s heart as he said, “I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God.” Moses was certainly right, for after the respite, Pharaoh continued to sin more (in verse 34).
We see here, that Moses and Aaron would leave the city and, probably go into Goshen, where the other Hebrews were. The complaining of the Hebrews had long since stopped. Probably the one thing that convinced them more than anything else, was because these last few judgments had fallen on the Egyptians and spared the Hebrews, who lived in the same country. We see in the first part of (verse 29), that Moses prayed with his hands lifted in the sky. God loves for us to praise Him as we pray. We know that the world, and everything in it belongs to God.
In (Revelation 4), we read that God created all things, and that they were created for His good pleasure.
Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
We read another Scripture (in Psalms 24), that makes us know for sure that the earth and everything in it and on it, is God’s.
Psalms 24:1 “The earth [is] the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
Moses knew in his heart, that even this hail had not really affected Pharaoh and these people.
Exodus 9:31-32 “And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley [was] in the ear, and the flax [was] bolled.” “But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they [were] not grown up.”
“Flax and the barley was smitten … wheat and the rie were not smitten”: A very brief bulletin on which crops were damaged and which were to place this plague in February. All 4 crops mentioned were important economic resources. Wheat would be harvested only a month later than flax and barley together with the after crop “spelt” or “rye.” God’s timing of the disaster to two crops left room for Pharaoh to repent before the other crops might be destroyed.
(Verses 31 and 32), were describing the damage done to the fields. The flax was used in clothing (making linen), and the barley was used to make beer. So you see these were not primary food sources. The wheat and rye were food substances, and they were not really damaged.
Exodus 9:33 “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.”
Moses did not fear the storm. Though it still raged, he left the shelter of the city, and went out into the midst of it, and spread out his hands to God, when lo! At once the rain, and hail, and thunder ceased at his bidding, and soon “there was a great calm.” As Millington observes, “Moses knew that he was safe, though all around might be destroyed. The very hairs of his head were all numbered, not one of them could perish. Standing there under the tempestuous canopy of heaven, bareheaded, in the attitude of prayer, he spread abroad his hands unto the Lord, and the thunder and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth”.
Moses did just as he promised, and God did just as He promised also. We see in the next verse, that Pharaoh (a symbol of evil), lied. He did not do what he promised.
Exodus 9:34 “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.”
The reference to servants is intriguing, since most of the discussion centers around the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart only, but the text expands the discussion to the servants in the next chapter.
“Sinned yet more”: Pharaoh’s culpability increased because when he saw God answer Moses’ prayer, an entreaty he had requested (verse 28); still all his admissions and promises were promptly swept aside.
“He and his servants”: For the first time, mention is made of the stubborn resistance of Pharaoh’s entourage, all of whom had hardened their hearts. The striking contrast emerges in God’s directions to Moses for the next plague: He had hardened their hearts for a purpose (10:1).
Exodus 9:35 “And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.”
“Who it seems used to rise early in the morning, and so was a fit time to meet with him, and converse with him. It might be one of the mornings in which he used to go to the water early, though not mentioned, unless that was every morning.
“And say unto him, thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, let my people go, that they may serve me. Thus had he line upon line, and precept upon precept, so that he was the more inexcusable (see Exodus 9:1).
We see the actions of a very evil man. The instant the pressure was removed from him and his people, he and the people went right back into sin. This is the same thing in our world today. We see sin everywhere getting worse every day. It is because we have an easy life. I believe God allows wars, depressions, famines, earthquakes and other things that we have no control over, to happen to make us aware of how badly we need Him.
Exodus Chapter 9 Continued Questions
1. What question did this lesson begin with?
2. What terrible plague came upon Egypt?
3. Who made Pharaoh ruler of the Hebrews?
4. Who was their true ruler?
5. What did Moses and Aaron tell the people to do, before this terrible plague strikes?
6. If they did not heed this warning, what would happen to them?
7. God is ________.
8. Pharaoh was a _______.
9. Were there a few believers, even in Pharaoh’s servants?
10. What similarity can we see in our society today?
11. What was Moses to do, to start the plague?
12. What was unusual about this hail?
13. What did this fire, probably, indicate?
14. Was it Satan, or God that brought the plague?
15. What is worse than Satan attacking us?
17. Where is there another mention of hail with fire?
18. What lesson is taught in both?
19. Where was the only exclusion of this plague?
20. What was Pharaoh’s first statement to Moses and Aaron after the hail?
21. What is the first step in getting help from God?
22. What did Pharaoh ask Moses to do?
23. Why was this plague obviously from God?
24. When Moses prayed and God answered and stops the hail, what message was Pharaoh to get out of this?
25. How did Moses feel about Pharaoh’s repentance?
26. What was the one thing that convinced the Hebrews that Moses was truly the deliverer?
27. What was Moses doing, when he raised his hands in prayer?
28. In Revelation 4:11, we read what?
29. What did Psalms 24:1 tell us?
30. What two farm products were destroyed?
31. Which two were spared?
32. Explain why these differences were made?
33. What did Pharaoh do, when the hail stopped?