The interesting record of the Egyptian punishments for the deliverance of Israel, is still pursued and carried on through the whole of this Chapter. To the three fore-mentioned plagues of the frogs, lice and flies, succeed three more. One of a murrain among the Egyptian cattle: another of boils breaking out both upon man and upon beast: and a third in that of a mighty storm of thunder, hail and rain, which destroys all that was in the field. But although during the continuance of those visitations Pharaoh seemed to relent: yet on their removal his former hardness of heart returns, and he refuses to let Israel go.
Leviticus 26:14; Lev_26:18; Lev_26:21; Lev_26:23; Lev_26:27. Reader! mark these scriptures, and observe how the Lord warns before he smites. And when you have paused over these verses observe what a gracious declaration follows Leviticus 26:40-42, etc.
Pray Reader spiritualize this whole history, and consider that what God saith to Pharaoh for the temporal deliverance of Israel; he doth in effect say to all the enemies of his people for their eternal deliverance. Sweet thought! When the year of the Lord's redeemed is come, he will bring down the strength of their enemies to the earth. See Isaiah 43:3-4; Isa_60:12; Isa_63:4-5.
Mark that observation of the Apostle, Romans 8:22.
See here again the evidences of discriminating grace. Malachi 3:11; Mal_3:18. And was not that scripture fulfilled in this instance; doth God take care for oxen? And mind what follows, 1 Corinthians 9:10.
Observe here again discriminating mercy. Although the cattle of Israel were under the same climate, breathed the same air, ate of the same herbage, and drank of the same water, yet how different the issue to that of the cattle of Egypt. David's observation is worth perusal, Psalms 36:6. And yet more to the purpose in the application, is that of the Lord Jesus: Luke 12:6-7.
Zechariah 7:11-12. Reader! observe the increasing obduracy of the heart! What an awful question is that of Job? Job 9:4.
There was an apt resemblance in this plague to what Israel had long experienced from the furnace of their oppressors. So God himself calls it: Deuteronomy 4:20.
Deuteronomy 28:27; Revelation 16:2.
Observe in this plague the magicians are included as partakers. It should seem that in direct defiance of their own confession, Exodus 8:19. they still attempted to confront God's messenger, and thereby did their utmost to harden Pharaoh's heart. See Acts 13:8-11; 2 Timothy 3:8-9.
Observe the change of expression. Upon several instances before, it is said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart: but here it is said, that the Lord hardened it. When God gives a man up to a judicial blindness such will be the consequence. The most awful state on this side eternity. See those very solemn scriptures, Hosea 4:17; Romans 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.
Observe a renewed call to save from utter destruction. Deuteronomy 30:19. Six times before the Lord had spoken and without being regarded; but yet a seventh is vouchsafed.
Observe the increasing terrors of the Lord. Micah 6:13. Awful message, which marked them for ruin. See Deuteronomy 28:66-67.
The apostle Paul makes the best comment upon this, when he applies it to the sovereignty of grace: Romans 9:17.
I think it worthy observation, that the Lord who hath all hearts at his disposal, not only made a difference between the believing Israelite and the unbelieving Egyptian; but between one Egyptian and another. Some of the cattle of Egypt would be needed for the chariots and horsemen in the pursuit of Israel, which by and by was to take place. Hence the Lord inclined some of the Egyptians to take home their cattle to their houses.
Doth not David refer to this? Psalms 78:47-48. And again: Psalms 18:12-13; Job 38:22-23.
Take notice once more of distinguishing grace.
Reader! depend upon it, such will be the language of the ungodly in the day of final retribution. The very souls which are condemned will be obliged from their own mouths to confess God's righteousness in their condemnation.
Observe in this man's history, how little the correspondence between the mouth and heart.
Once more behold the amiableness of Moses; though he had strong reasons to believe the insincerity of Pharaoh.
Was not Moses in all this a type of the ever-blessed Jesus?
What an awful close to the Chapter? Alas! to what an excess of obduracy and hardiness is the human heart capable of arriving. How sweet that prayer of David, Psalms 19:13.
Reader! may it be your happiness and mine to follow up the design of the Holy Ghost in dwelling so particularly on this interesting history, and not take our leave of the solemn instructions contained in it, until by divine teaching it hath ministered to this end, to make us wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. How very awful are God's judgments! How very comforting the review of his mercies! Never my soul, never may I lose sight of those distinguishing marks of the Lord's love to his people in times of peril. He that severed between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt still separates between the precious and the vile. It is a sweet relief to a poor afflicted soul in a trying hour, that the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation. Jesus is still the hiding place from the storm, and the covert from the tempest. And when the Lord hides his saints, he shows himself. Precious is that scripture, which the Lord hath left on record for his church: I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. Isaiah 27:3.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany