Exodus 9* The murrain of beasts. (1-7) The plague of boils and blains.(8-12) The plague of hail threatened. (13-21) The plague of hailinflicted. (22-35)1-7 God will have Israel released, Pharaoh opposes it, and thetrial is, whose word shall stand. The hand of the Lord at onceis upon the cattle, many of which, some of all kinds, die by asort of murrain. This was greatly to the loss of the owners;they had made Israel poor, and now God would make them poor. Thehand of God is to be seen, even in the sickness and death ofcattle; for a sparrow falls not to the ground without ourFather. None of the Israelites' cattle should die; the Lordshall sever. The cattle died. The Egyptians worshipped theircattle. What we make an idol of, it is just with God to removefrom us. This proud tyrant and cruel oppressor deserved to bemade an example by the just Judge of the universe. None who arepunished according to what they deserve, can have any just causeto complain. Hardness of heart denotes that state of mind uponwhich neither threatenings nor promise, neither judgements normercies, make any abiding impression. The conscience beingstupified, and the heart filled with pride and presumption, theypersist in unbelief and disobedience. This state of mind is alsocalled the stony heart. Very different is the heart of flesh,the broken and contrite heart. Sinners have none to blame butthemselves, for that pride and ungodliness which abuse thebounty and patience of God. For, however the Lord hardens thehearts of men, it is always as a punishment of former sins. 8-12 When the Egyptians were not wrought upon by the death oftheir cattle, God sent a plague that seized their own bodies. Iflesser judgments do not work, God will send greater. SometimesGod shows men their sin in their punishment. They had oppressedIsrael in the furnaces, and now the ashes of the furnace aremade a terror to them. The plague itself was very grievous. Themagicians themselves were struck with these boils. Their powerwas restrained before; but they continued to withstand Moses,and to confirm Pharaoh in his unbelief, till they were forced togive way. Pharaoh continued obstinate. He had hardened his ownheart, and now God justly gave him up to his own heart's lusts,permitting Satan to blind and harden him. If men shut their eyesagainst the light, it is just with God to close their eyes. Thisis the sorest judgment a man can be under out of hell. 13-21 Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message toPharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man ofsuch a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with;and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power ofGod has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies.When God's justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same timeshows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguishedbetween Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians andothers. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgmentitself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Somebelieved the things which were spoken, and they feared, andhoused their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Evenamong the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God's word; andshall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not,and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deafto the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leavesthe blood of those that perish upon their own heads. 22-35 Woful havoc this hail made: it killed both men andcattle; the corn above ground was destroyed, and that onlypreserved which as yet was not come up. The land of Goshen waspreserved. God causes rain or hail on one city and not onanother, either in mercy or in judgment. Pharaoh humbled himselfto Moses. No man could have spoken better: he owns himselfwrong; he owns that the Lord is righteous; and God must bejustified when he speaks, though he speaks in thunder andlightning. Yet his heart was hardened all this while. Mosespleads with God: though he had reason to think Pharaoh wouldrepent of his repentance, and he told him so, yet he promises tobe his friend. Moses went out of the city, notwithstanding thehail and lightning which kept Pharaoh and his servants withindoors. Peace with God makes men thunder-proof. Pharaoh wasfrightened by the tremendous judgment; but when that was over,his fair promises were forgotten. Those that are not bettered byjudgments and mercies, commonly become worse.
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