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 hail

inflicted. (22-35)

1-7 God will have Israel released, Pharaoh opposes it, and the

trial is, whose word shall stand. The hand of the Lord at once

is upon the cattle, many of which, some of all kinds, die by a

sort of murrain. This was greatly to the loss of the owners;

they had made Israel poor, and now God would make them poor. The

hand of God is to be seen, even in the sickness and death of

cattle; for a sparrow falls not to the ground without our

Father. None of the Israelites' cattle should die; the Lord

shall sever. The cattle died. The Egyptians worshipped their

cattle. What we make an idol of, it is just with God to remove

from us. This proud tyrant and cruel oppressor deserved to be

made an example by the just Judge of the universe. None who are

punished according to what they deserve, can have any just cause

to complain. Hardness of heart denotes that state of mind upon

which neither threatenings nor promise, neither judgements nor

mercies, make any abiding impression. The conscience being

stupified, and the heart filled with pride and presumption, they

persist in unbelief and disobedience. This state of mind is also

called the stony heart. Very different is the heart of flesh,

the broken and contrite heart. Sinners have none to blame but

themselves, for that pride and ungodliness which abuse the

bounty and patience of God. For, however the Lord hardens the

hearts of men, it is always as a punishment of former sins.
8-12 When the Egyptians were not wrought upon by the death of

their cattle, God sent a plague that seized their own bodies. If

lesser judgments do not work, God will send greater. Sometimes

God shows men their sin in their punishment. They had oppressed

Israel in the furnaces, and now the ashes of the furnace are

made a terror to them. The plague itself was very grievous. The

magicians themselves were struck with these boils. Their power

was restrained before; but they continued to withstand Moses,

and to confirm Pharaoh in his unbelief, till they were forced to

give way. Pharaoh continued obstinate. He had hardened his own

heart, and now God justly gave him up to his own heart's lusts,

permitting Satan to blind and harden him. If men shut their eyes

against the light, it is just with God to close their eyes. This

is the sorest judgment a man can be under out of hell.
13-21 Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message to

Pharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man of

such a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with;

and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power of

God has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies.

When God's justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same time

shows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguished

between Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians and

others. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgment

itself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Some

believed the things which were spoken, and they feared, and

housed their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Even

among the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God's word; and

shall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not,

and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deaf

to the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leaves

the blood of those that perish upon their own heads.
22-35 Woful havoc this hail made: it killed both men and

cattle; the corn above ground was destroyed, and that only

preserved which as yet was not come up. The land of Goshen was

preserved. God causes rain or hail on one city and not on

another, either in mercy or in judgment. Pharaoh humbled himself

to Moses. No man could have spoken better: he owns himself

wrong; he owns that the Lord is righteous; and God must be

justified when he speaks, though he speaks in thunder and

lightning. Yet his heart was hardened all this while. Moses

pleads with God: though he had reason to think Pharaoh would

repent of his repentance, and he told him so, yet he promises to

be his friend. Moses went out of the city, notwithstanding the

hail and lightning which kept Pharaoh and his servants within

doors. Peace with God makes men thunder-proof. Pharaoh was

frightened by the tremendous judgment; but when that was over,

his fair promises were forgotten. Those that are not bettered by

judgments and mercies, commonly become worse.
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