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Bible Commentaries

Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Exodus 9

Verses 1-35

CHAPTER 9 The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Plagues

1. The fifth plague: the grievous murrain (Exodus 9:1-7 )

2. The sixth plague: boils (Exodus 9:8-12 )

3. The warning given (Exodus 9:13-21 )

4. The seventh plague: hail (Exodus 9:22-35 )

In the demand God calls Himself “the Lord God of the Hebrews” (see also Exodus 9:13 and Exodus 10:3 ). The fifth plague strikes animal creation. cattle, such as mentioned in the opening of this chapter, formed the most important part of the wealth of Egypt . Egypt ‘s wealth is therefore stricken. But God waited and warned before He executed this judgment. Jehovah’s power sheltered Israel in Goshen and not a beast suffered there. Notice Pharaoh’s curiosity. He sent to see if Israel had escaped and found that not one had died. What an evidence that the Lord God of the Hebrews is the Lord. Yet his heart was hardened.

The next plague came without warning, unannounced. Moses and Aaron sprinkled the ashes of the furnace, and it became a boil upon man and beast. The magicians may have attempted then another counterfeit move, but the boils broke out on them. If they were of the priestly class they had become defiled by the nasty sores. The priests were obliged to be scrupulously clean in everything. The ashes of the furnace have a double meaning. Egypt in its fiery persecution of Israel is called a furnace. Divine retribution now came upon them in the boils, which must have burned as fire. But the furnace may have been the altar in Egypt upon which sacrifices were offered to their god Typhon. Most likely the Egyptians brought such sacrifices to stay the plagues, and now the very thing in which they trusted is turned into a plague. This plague was the first which endangered human life, and therefore the forerunner of the death which Pharaoh would bring upon himself and his people by his wicked opposition.

The seventh plague is ushered in by a solemn warning and more lengthy address to Pharaoh. A very grievous hail is threatened to fall upon man and beast; the hail was to kill all found in the open field. Note Exodus 9:16 and compare with Romans 9:17 . God dealt with Pharaoh in this way that he might know Jehovah and His power and that through what Jehovah did His name might be made known throughout the earth. Jehovah’s holiness, omnipotence, justice, as well as His patience and longsuffering are revealed in these judgments, foreshadowing all future judgments to come for this earth. The report of what Jehovah had done in Egypt spread soon to other nations, and inspired a holy awe (Exodus 15:14-16 ). It was a loving and gracious advice God gave through Moses (Exodus 9:19 ). No doubt there were many Egyptians who believed and escaped. The unbelieving suffered. Divine mercy still lingered. Those of the Egyptians who believed the divine warning must have belonged to the mixed multitudes which went out with Israel (Exodus 12:38 ).

The fearful hail was accompanied by fire (lightning) which ran along the ground, and thunderings. These are called in the Hebrew “the voices of God.” The tempest is the type of God’s wrath in judgment. Hail is mentioned repeatedly in Revelation and there it is called “the plague of hail” (Revelation 8:7 ; Revelation 11:19 ; Revelation 16:21 ). The plagues of Egypt will be repeated on this earth during the great tribulation. Note Pharaoh’s confession, which shows that this plague had made a deep impression on him (Exodus 9:27 ). Pharaoh used the name of “Jehovah” and the name of God (Elohim). “Entreat Jehovah that there be no more voices of God” (literal rendering). What a desperately wicked thing the human heart is. He sinned more after this than before.

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Exodus 9". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/exodus-9.html. 1913-1922.