Exodus 9
Matthew Poole's Commentary
Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
God threatens to smite his cattle with a pestilence, Exodus 9:1-3; but spares Israel’s, Exodus 9:4. Appoints a time for the execution hereof, Exodus 9:5; wherein the Egyptians’ cattle dies, Exodus 9:6. Pharaoh’s obstinacy, Exodus 9:7. God strikes all Egypt with boils, which is the sixth plague, Exodus 9:10. The magicians are not able to stand before Moses, Exodus 9:11. Pharaoh’s heart hardened according to the word of the Lord, Exodus 9:12. God commands Moses to repeat his message, Exodus 9:13; and threatens Pharaoh with more grievous plagues, Exodus 9:14. God’s end in raising up Pharaoh, Exodus 9:16. The seventh plague, viz. hail and rain, Exodus 9:18. God’s counsel for the securing of their cattle, Exodus 9:19. The execution of this plague, Exodus 9:23. The effects of it, Exodus 9:25. The land of Goshen is preserved, Exodus 9:26. Pharaoh’s confession, Exodus 9:27. Moses’ prayer for him, Exodus 9:29. He foretells Pharaoh’s obstinacy, Exodus 9:30. By Moses’s entreaty the plague is stayed, Exodus 9:33. Pharaoh’s heart remains hardened, Exodus 9:34,35.

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For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
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Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
The hand of the Lord; in an immediate manner, not by my rod, that thou mayst know it is not I, but the Lord, which doth all these things to thee.

Thy cattle which they kept for their wool or milk, or manifold uses and services, though not for food and sacrifice.

And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
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And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.
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And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
All the cattle; either of all sorts, or a very great number of them, as the word all is frequently used; or rather, all that were in the field, as it is expressly limited, Exodus 9:3, but not all absolutely, as appears from Exodus 9:9,19,25 14:23.

And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
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And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
Take to you handfuls of ashes, to mind them of their cruel usage of the Israelites in their furnace, of which see Deu 4:20 Jeremiah 11:4. Both were to take them up, but Moses only to sprinkle them, as at other times Aaron only did the work, to show that they were but instruments, which God could use as he pleased, and God was the principal author of it.

And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
A burning scab, which quickly raised blains and blisters; whereby they were both vehemently inclined to scratch themselves, and yet utterly disenabled from it by its great soreness.

And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
God multiplying that dust, and heating it, and then dispersing it over all the land, and causing it to fall and rest upon the bodies of the Egyptians.

And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
Could not stand before Moses, as they hitherto had done, both as spies and as adversaries; for though their understandings were convinced of God’s hand and infinite power, yet their hearts were not changed; but for their worldly interest they persisted to rebel against their light., and therefore are justly plagued. It was no favour to Pharaoh that the plague was not upon him, but only a reservation to a greater mischief, as it follows.

And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
Ver. 12 No text from Poole on this verse.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
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For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
Upon thine heart, or, into thy heart: thou hast hitherto not felt my plagues upon thy own person or thy body, but I shall shortly reach and wound it, and that not only in the skin, as the magicians and others are now smitten, but even to thy heart, such as shall make thy heart sick, Micah 6:13, such as shall give thee a mortal and irrecoverable wound. Some understand it of inward and spiritual judgments upon Pharaoh’s heart, such as hardness of heart; but that plague had been inflicted upon him, and is recorded before this time. And Pharaoh’s heart being here opposed to his servants and people, seems rather to denote his person, the heart or soul being often put synecdochically for the whole man.

For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
Pestilence; not properly so called, but largely, as the word is used Hosea 13:14, meaning with an utter and irrecoverable destruction. This relates partly to the killing of the first-born, which plague did more immediately and nearly concern both him and his people, and principally to their destruction in the Red Sea.

And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Raised thee up; so the Hebrew word is translated, Romans 9:17. I have raised thee up out of thy first nothing, into thy being, and life, and kingdom; and upheld thy being and reign even in the midst of thy tyranny. Heb. I have made thee to stand, i.e. to remain alive and untouched, when thy magicians could not stand, Exodus 9:11. I have preserved thee in life, not for want of power to destroy thee, as thou mayst fancy, nor for want of provocation from thee, but for my own glory.

To show in thee my power, in those mighty works which have been occasioned by thy rebellion and obstinacy. My name; my being and providence, and my manifold perfections; my patience in bearing thee so long, my justice in punishing thee, my power in conquering thee, my wisdom in overruling thy pride, and tyranny, and cruelty, to thy own destruction, and the redemption of my oppressed people, and my faithfulness in making good my promises to them, and my threatenings to thee.

As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
Against my people, i.e. against me acting for my people. The gracious God takes what is done to or against his people as done to or against himself. See Zechariah 2:8 Matthew 25:40,45 Ac 9:4,5.

Behold, to morrow 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.
Since they were a kingdom or a nation.

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.
This forewarning God gives, partly, to initiate the severity of the judgment; partly, that a considerable number of horses might be reserved for Pharaoh’s expedition, Exo 14; partly, to show the justice of God in punishing so wicked and obstinate people, as would take no warning neither from God’s words, nor from his former works; and partly, to make a difference between the penitent and the incorrigible Egyptians.

He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
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And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.
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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.
Upon man, i.e. upon those men that presumed to continue in the field after this admonition.

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.
The fire ran along upon the ground, devouring both herbs and cattle which were upon it, Psalm 78:47,48 105:32,33

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.
Which strange mixture much increased the miracle. That hail and rain did sometimes, though but seldom, fall in Egypt, is attested by divers eye-witnesses.

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.
i.e. Most of them; or herbs and trees of all sorts, as appears from Exodus 10:12,15. See Poole "Exodus 9:6".

Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
It seems the Egyptians that dwelt there were spared for the sake of their neighbours the Israelites; which great obligation probably made them more willing to lend their jewels to them, Exodus 12:35.

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.
I now plainly see and freely acknowledge my sin in striving with God. He seems not to deny that he had sinned before, for even the light of nature would discover his sin, in breaking his faith, and the word of a King given to Moses for Israel’s dismission.

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.
Or, and let it be enough, (let God content himself that he hath punished me so long, and that I have confessed my sin, and promised amendment,)

that there may be hereafter

no more.

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.
Or, that this land is the Lord’s, even his whom thou deniedst to have any jurisdiction in it, or over thee, Exodus 5:2. Or the earth is put for the world, the heaven and the earth: q. d. That thou mayst see that he can either cause the heavens to send forth such thunders and hails, or restrain them as he pleaseth.

But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.
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And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.
The flax and the barley were not so necessary for human life as the wheat and rye. Thus God still sends smaller judgments to usher in the greater.

But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
The Hebrew word may be rendered either dark or hid, to wit, under the ground, whereby it was secured from this stroke; or late, as divers of the Hebrews and other interpreters render it. This kind of corn coming later up, was now tender and hidden, either in the ground or in the herb; whereby it was in some measure secured both from the fire by its greenness and moisture, and from the hail by its pliableness and yielding to it, whereas the stalks of barley were more dry and stiff, and therefore more liable to the hail and fire.

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 went out of the city, that, being solitary, he might pour forth his heart in fervent prayers.

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.
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And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
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Matthew Poole's Commentary

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