Plague, Ashen Boil, Bombing Hail, Voices, Lightning, Rain
With Questions and Proposed Answers Supplied
Background and Printed Text: Exodus chapter 9
Exodus 9:1 And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Come unto Pharaoh. And thou shalt speak unto him: ‘So said Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews, “Send my people, and he has served me!” 2For if thou art refusing to send, and thou art yet gripping into them, 3behold the Hand of Yehovah is being in thy cattle that is in the field—in horses, in asses, in camels, in herd and in flock, a very heavy plague! 4And Yehovah will segregate between the cattle of Israel and between the cattle of Egypt. And not a thing will die from all to the sons of Israel!’”
5And Yehovah put an appointment to say, “Tomorrow Yehovah will do this speech in the land.” 6And Yehovah did this speech from tomorrow. And every cattle of Egypt died. And not one from the cattle of the children of Israel died. 7And Pharaoh sent. And behold, not unto one from the cattle of Israel died. And the heart of Pharaoh weighted. And he did not send the people.
8And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe] and unto Aharon, “Take ye to you a fullness of your fists of ash of a furnace. And Draw [Moshe] shall sprinkle him heavens-ward to the eyes of Pharaoh. 9And he shall become to powder over all the land of Egypt. And he shall be upon the adam and upon the beast for a boil flowering eruptions-eruptions in all the land of Egypt.” 10And they took the ash of the furnace. And they stood to the faces of Pharaoh. And Draw [Moshe] sprinkled him heavens-ward. And the boil of the eruptions-eruptions flowered in adam and in beast. 11And the diviners were not able to stand to the faces of Draw [Moshe] from the faces of the boil. For the boil is in their diviner and in all Egypt. 12And Yehovah gripped the heart of Pharaoh. And he did not hearken unto them just as Yehovah spoke unto Draw [Moshe].
Bombing Hail, Voices, Lightning, Rain
13And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Early-rise in the morning. And position thyself to the faces of Pharaoh. And thou shalt say unto him, ‘So said Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews, “Send my people, and he has served me! 14For in this stroke I am sending all my plagues unto thine heart and into thy slaves and into thy people for the sake that thou shalt know that there is not like me in all the land! 15For now I sent my hand and I smote thee and thy people via pestilence. And thou hast been expunged from the land! 16And silently for the sake of this I ‘stood’ thee—for the sake of showing thee my power and in order to publish my Name in all the land! 17Thou art yet building-up thyself via my people to not send them! 18Behold I am raining very heavy hail as a time tomorrow, that there was not like him in Egypt from the day of her being founded and unto now! 19And now, send! Firm thy cattle and all that is to thee in the field. All the adam and the beast that he will find in the field, and he will not be gathered to the house, and the hail will descend upon them, and they shall die!”’”
20The fearer of the speech of Yehovah from the slaves of Pharaoh made his slaves and his cattle flee unto the houses. 21And who did not put his heart unto the speech of Yehovah, and he forsook his slaves and his cattle in the field.
22And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Stretch thine hand upon the heavens! And hail was in all the land of Egypt—upon the adam and upon the beast and upon every herb of the field in the land of Egypt!” 23And Draw [Moshe] stretched his rod upon the heavens. And Yehovah gave voices and hail! And fire walked landward! And Yehovah rained hail upon the land of Egypt!
24And hail was very heavy, and fire taking herself in the midst of the hail—that there wasn’t like him in all the land of Egypt from then, her becoming to a race! 25And the hail smote all that is in the field from adam and unto beast in all the land of Egypt. And the hail smote every herb of the field. And he broke every tree of the field. 26Only in the land of Goshen where the sons of Israel are there, hail wasn’t.
27And Pharaoh sent. And he called to Draw [Moshe] and to Aharon. And he said unto them, “I sinned the stroke! Yehovah is the righteous! And I and my people are the culpable-ones! 28Entreat-ye unto Yehovah, and multiply from there being voices of gods and hail. And I have sent you. And ye shall not add to stand!” 29And Draw [Moshe] said unto him, “As my going out of the city, I will spread my palms unto Yehovah. The voices shall cease and the hail will not be any more, so that thou shalt know that the land is to Yehovah! 30And thou and thy slaves—I knew! For before ye will fear from the faces of Yehovah Gods, 31and the flax and the barley—she was smitten!” For the barley is spring, and the flax is exalted-above. 32And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten, for they are darkened.
33And Draw [Moshe] exited the city from with Pharaoh. And he spread his palms unto Yehovah. And the voices ceased, and the hail and rain. And he did not pour-forth landward. 34And Pharaoh saw that the rain ceased, and the hail and the voices. And he added to sin. And his heart heavied—he and his slaves. 35And the heart of Pharaoh gripped. And he did not send the children of Israel just as Yehovah spoke via the hand of Draw [Moshe].
I. The Threat to Herd and Flock (verses 1-4)
Yehovah commanded Moshe to come unto Pharaoh. Moshe introduced whom he was quoting: “So said Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews.” Yehovah’s command to Pharaoh was the same as it had previously been: “Send my people, and he has served me!” Moshe then gave Yehovah’s threat: “For if thou art refusing to send, and thou art yet gripping into them, behold the Hand of Yehovah is being in thy cattle that is in the field—in horses, in asses, in camels, in herd and in flock, a very heavy plague!”
Moshe then declared the segregation that Yehovah will perform: “And Yehovah will segregate between the cattle of Israel and between the cattle of Egypt. And not a thing will die from all to the sons of Israel!”
1. Why did Yehovah insist that Pharaoh send Yehovah’s people (instead of just leading them out, and stopping Pharaoh from stopping them)? Before answering this, the reader needs to know a practice of the cultures in the Bible. If a visitor comes to lodge with someone, that person who opens his home normally must send the guest on his/her way. If the guest just leaves, that is considered improper, and could result in harm to the friendship (or even the accusation of stealing, since a guest is like a gift to the person). Thus, when the person said that it was time to leave, the host would sometimes try to convince the guest to stay another day. Once the host sent the visitor, the departure was in peace. If you read the book of the Judges of Israel, you will see this type of interaction.
With this in mind, I propose that this type of interaction among cultures is directly related to why Yehovah told Pharaoh to send the people of Israel. This people had been a guest in Egypt for these centuries. Yehovah desired the departure to be in peace and not with hatred. Since the Egyptian leaders were now holding on to this people as if the Israelis were their property, Yehovah sent to these leaders to tell them to send His people. Yehovah began to force Egypt’s ‘hand’ to do this so that the Israelis could leave in peace, and not just sneak away. Yehovah truly had no desire to harm Egypt and Egyptians, but He was more than willing to kill Egyptians if they insisted upon holding Yehovah’s property. Once they sent the Israelis, Yehovah would not harm them (as long as they didn’t try to do a reversal and re-kidnap them).
2. Does Yehovah ever threaten anyone? He obviously does!
3. What is the Hand of Yehovah, and how does this hand differ from Yehovah? In the Bible, a hand is always a picture of power. The hand is used in expressions that refer to power. Think of the view that a very young child has of an adult’s hand. The child knows that the hand can do anything. That is why the child places items that need to be fixed or assembled into an adult’s hand.
The same thing is true in this case. Yehovah’s Hand can do anything, and will do what is necessary to accomplish what Yehovah has set out to do. The Arm of Yehovah is the Messiah; the Hand, then, will be the power of the Messiah of Yehovah!
4. Yehovah threatened the horses, asses, camels, herd and flock of Pharaoh and all Egypt (except for the Israeli herds and flocks) if Pharaoh didn’t send the people of Israel. Why was Yehovah willing to harm animals that couldn’t do anything about what Pharaoh chose to do? Pharaoh owned those animals and made money from them. Yehovah owned the people of Israel, and desired to be profited by them through their good works! If Pharaoh refused to send Yehovah’s property, Yehovah would attack Pharaoh’s property. Yehovah gave humans the use of animals for profit (making money) so that they can understand Yehovah’s use of humans—also for profit, but in an ethical and moral sense of doing what the Bible calls good works. Humans can slaughter their innocent animals for food. If you like hamburgers, you are eating from a slaughtered innocent cow. This is fine before Yehovah. Thus, Yehovah can also slaughter such animals to show His power to Pharaoh and Egypt.
5. Why did Yehovah segregate between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt? Define segregation: Segregation is the act of separating, withdrawing, or go apart from another group; separating one group from a flock; isolating, dividing out.
Yehovah did this so that Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the Israelis will know Yehovah’s power. Yehovah desires His own property, the people of Israel! He will force the hand of Egypt!
6. How many animals of the Israelis normally died on a daily basis in Egypt? While deaths of cattle, sheep and goats were not common, animals still normally occasionally died. Thus, an animal would be found dead somewhere in Egypt. Yehovah kept all of the Israeli animals from dying during this plague!
II. One Day’s Notice (verses 5-7)
Yehovah Himself set the appointment for this event, and Moshe told Pharaoh this: “Tomorrow Yehovah will do this speech in the land.”
The text then explained that Yehovah did this speech (what He said) from tomorrow—that is, it began starting the next day. Every cattle of Egypt died. Not even one of the Israelis’ cattle died!
Pharaoh sent investigators to see if any of the Israelis’ cattle died, and they found that not a single animal died. How did Pharaoh respond? His heart (mind) weighted—he became concerned about what would happen if he sent the Israelis. He didn’t send the people.
1. What is an appointment in the Bible, and why is this word so important? An appointment is normally a meeting at a declared time with a specific purpose. The Bible uses this word in a different way. In the Bible, it is a specific event promised by Yehovah/Yeshua that will occur at a declared or an undeclared time with a purpose to miraculously harm or to miraculously benefit, or both miraculously harm one group and miraculously benefit another.
This word is so important because the hope (expectation) in the Bible is all about Yehovah’s appointments. The following are examples of what the Bible teaches that those who believe the Bible can expect:
- Israel will become entirely righteous, including every Israeli without an exception
- The Messiah of Israel, now named Yeshua (Salvation), will personally come from the heavens to earth with all the Saints who have lived and died so that He will reign over all kings and lords of the earth from Mount Zion in Israel.
- There will be a time of seven years of Tribulation (many centuries from now) during which Yehovah will furiously attack Israel for Israeli unbelief and paganism, and then Israel will be saved from all enemies. During the same Tribulation, but later, Yeshua will furiously attack the races for attacking Israel and for violence against Israel, while individuals from those races who fear Yehovah/Yeshua and who do heroism to save the lives of Israelis will experience the good will and power of God on their behalves and on the behalves of those whom they are saving.
- The Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Israel will be permanently established in Jerusalem and will reign over the entire planet.
- There will be a judgment of every individual who is still alive to determine whether he/she was willing to benefit others at the risk of his/her own life.
- There will be a judgment of every individual who has lived to determine his/her permanent placement according to his/her words and works.
- There will be two resurrections of the dead: one resurrection for those who died in Biblical faith, and thus have Salvation, and anther resurrection for those who died without Biblical faith.
- There will be a slaughter of the entire armies of six races that come to attack Israel, and Yehovah will attack many cities throughout the world by fire-bombing them with burning sulfur after this attempted attack on Israel (many centuries from now).
- There will be at least two Temples rebuilt in Israel with animal sacrifices again being offered.
If I can describe these appointments, I can describe a much, much longer list of appointments given in the Bible. The Bible is based on such appointments. Those appointments are what readers of the Bible who believe the Bible expect to occur. When the Bible uses the word hope, it means those things expected to occur by the appointments of God. Every miracle that is described in the Bible is also a future appointment that is guaranteed to occur again unless the Bible explains that it won’t happen again. Thus, since Yeshua walked on water, others will likewise walk on water when a need to do so arises during the Tribulation. The plagues in Egypt were attacks against gods of the Egyptians; Yehovah will again use such methods to attack false gods of the races, and He will then stop all demonic empowering of the false gods (so that they just won’t work any more).
The appointments are that important in the Bible.
2. Verse 5 states, “Tomorrow Yehovah will do this speech in the land.” What speech will He do? He will do the speech that describes how He will slam Egypt with a very heavy plague on its livestock (horses, asses, camels, sheep, goats, etc.), and He will not permit any Israeli livestock to die.
3. The next statement says, “And Yehovah did this speech from tomorrow.” What does from tomorrow mean? This means that He did what He said starting with tomorrow, and continuing to the next day and the next day, etc.
4. How many of the Egyptian cattle died in this plague? All of the Egyptian cattle died!
5. How many died from the Israeli cattle? Not even one died.
6. For what purpose did Pharaoh send, and whom did he send? He sent his slaves to find out what the losses were among the Israelis’ cattle.
7. Why did Pharaoh’s heart weigh, this time, and what does this mean? It means that Pharaoh’s mind got heavy, and considered (weighed) the situations that would occur if the Israelis left. He now saw that the Israelis would leave Egypt with all the cattle that was in Egypt! Egypt needed the cattle, and therefore Pharaoh refused to send the Israelis so that Egypt could obtain cattle from them.
III. Boils with Eruptions (verses 8-12)
Yehovah now directed both Moshe and Aharon: “Take ye to you a fullness of your fists of ash of a furnace.” Thus, they filled their four fists with furnace ash. Yehovah told only Moshe to sprinkle the ash toward the heavens directly in the sight of Pharaoh. When Moshe does this, the ash shall become a powder over all the land of Egypt! The powder will land upon ‘the adam’ (the human, referring to every human) and upon the beast (referring to every beast). It will then become a boil that flowers and erupts over again over all the land of Egypt.
Moshe and Aharon did as they were told, taking ash of the furnace. They then stood directly in front of Pharaoh. Moshe sprinkled the ash toward the heavens. The boils flowered with eruptions in man and animal.
The diviners couldn’t stand directly in front of Moshe because of the faces of the boil! The diviners erupted with boils, as well as all Egypt.
This time, Yehovah gripped the heart (mind) of Pharaoh! Pharaoh didn’t hearken unto them, which is what Yehovah had said Pharaoh wouldn’t do.
1. Why did Yehovah command both Aharon and Moshe to take a fistful of ash from a furnace when only Moshe was commanded to sprinkle the ash toward the heavens? If Moshe alone sprinkled the ash, and it became powder over all the land of Egypt, what could Aharon do if he later sprinkled the powder? I propose that the purpose was to show Pharaoh that if even half the ash did this, he needed to fear what the whole amount would do!
2. What does “upon the adam” mean (when ‘adam’ isn’t capitalized)? This refers to man—that is, to the human population (in Egypt, in this case). The word adam refers to a colour: to red, since the first human was red, the same colour as red soil.
3. What is a boil? A boil is a painful, round and raised inflammation of the skin with a dead inner core that gives off a yellowish-white and stinking liquid caused by an infection.
4. What does “a boil flowering eruptions-eruptions” mean? This means that they will rise up on the skin and will open to give off the stinking liquid (known as pus). They will also be flowering “eruptions-eruptions,” meaning that they will spread to other places so that one person or animal will have quite a few of these boils!
5. What beasts were there since so many of the cattle of the Egyptians died? The text didn’t say that all the cattle and animals died. The Egyptians also acquired livestock from the Israelis.
6. Why did Yehovah also put boils on Egyptian cattle? The cattle also suffered, and made noise night and day to haunt the Egyptians from the pain. Yehovah used psychological warfare on the Egyptians. Since the cattle were so important to them, and since they had a cattle god, Yehovah again attacked their cattle god.
7. Did the Israelis’ cattle also suffer with boils? No. Once the third plague had occurred, Yehovah put a distinction between the Israelis and their property, and the Egyptians and their property. The Israelis’ cattle were safe.
8. Would Egyptian cattle that was temporarily grazing on Israeli lands and in the hands of the Israelis be safe from the boil? I propose that it would have been safe!
9. Why weren’t the diviners able to stand in front of Moshe? They must have had boils on the bottoms of their feet! Or, they may have had boils up their tuchases (their rear ends) and between their legs! Such boils would have made walking very painful!
10. What does “For the boil is in their diviner and in all Egypt” mean? This treats all the diviners as if they are one diviner! The entire group of diviners has this boil in the group! There was no exception; every diviner had boils!
11. How long did the boils and the ‘boil plague’ last? The text doesn’t say! It could have lasted for quite a while!
12. Did Pharaoh get hit with the boils? Though the text doesn’t mention if Pharaoh himself broke out with boils, since he is the one who needs to be convinced, I would think that he was afflicted with them. If he was, the text also doesn’t describe his asking Moshe to call upon Yehovah to remove the boils. If, on the other hand, Pharaoh had no boils, this would have brought resentment against him; his slaves, who were tortured with the boils would have seen that Pharaoh doesn’t care enough to ask Moshe’s God to stop this plague!
IV. Yehovah’s Threat and Editorial (verses 13-19)
Yehovah had new orders for Moshe: “Early-rise in the morning. And position thyself to the faces of Pharaoh.” Yehovah identified Himself in the normal way: “So said Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews.” Yehovah commanded Pharaoh in the usual way: “Send my people, and he has served me!”
Yehovah then followed this with a direct threat: “For in this stroke I am sending all my plagues unto thine heart and into thy slaves and into thy people for the sake that thou shalt know that there is not like me in all the land!”
Yehovah then gave the result of this threat being carried out: “For now I sent my hand and I smote thee and thy people via pestilence. And thou hast been expunged from the land!”
Why did Yehovah tolerate Pharaoh? He explained: “And silently for the sake of this I ‘stood’ thee—for the sake of showing thee my power and in order to publish my Name in all the land!”
Yehovah openly stated Pharaoh’s motives: “Thou art yet building-up thyself via my people to not send them!”
Thus, Yehovah told Pharaoh what was next coming: “Behold I am raining very heavy hail as a time tomorrow, that there was not like him in Egypt from the day of her being founded and unto now!”
Yet, Yehovah told Pharaoh what to do to save the humans and the cattle: “And now, send! Firm thy cattle and all that is to thee in the field.”
He gave the results of not doing this: “All the adam and the beast that he will find in the field, and he will not be gathered to the house, and the hail will descend upon them, and they shall die!”
1. Did Pharaoh enjoy seeing Moshe early in the morning? By now, Pharaoh must have dreaded seeing him! Yet, he didn’t touch him.
2. Why did Yehovah use the very same wording over and over again when He said, “Send my people, and he has served me”? Yehovah kept the command simple. The threats after the command changed. Yehovah doesn’t need to improve on His actions and communications; they are right the first time.
3. What does stroke mean in, “For in this stroke, I am sending…”? It refers to a point in time, as if it were the ticking of a wind-up watch or the clicks of a wind-up grandfather clock. Long before clocks made sounds, Yehovah spoke of time in terms of strokes as if they are rhythmic beats (like heartbeats). Thus, “in this stroke” is like “at this time.”
4. What did Yehovah mean by, “in this stroke, I am sending all my plagues unto thine heart”? Yehovah is explaining to Pharaoh why He keeps sending all these plagues, and where he is sending them: unto Pharaoh’s heart, into Pharaoh’s slaves, and into Pharaoh’s people.
5. What was the purpose for sending all these plagues? It was “for the sake that [Pharaoh] shall know that there is not like [Yehovah] in all the land!” Yehovah didn’t send the plagues to force Pharaoh to do something, but rather so that Pharaoh would know that no other being is like Yehovah!
6. Yehovah said, “For now I sent my hand.” What does this mean? Anyone’s hand is that person’s (or group’s) power, and the hand is the means by which anyone does what he/she does. Yehovah sent His hand, as if His hand had either been disconnected from Him or as if His hand hadn’t been in motion just before this occurred. Later in the Bible, the Arm of Yehovah will be described as a person. The hand is connected to the arm! Yehovah’s hand will act as a messenger of Yehovah.
7. What will the hand be doing, according to verse 15? The hand will smite! This sounds like it will form a fist to strike Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s people!
8. What does smite mean? This means to hit, to strike hard, as if to kill or wound. The past tense of smite is smote.
9. What does pestilence mean? This is a disease outbreak. (It doesn’t refer to a pest problem.)
10. What does expunged mean? It means to be cut off, destroyed, completely removed, completely erased.
11. Who will be expunged from the land? Pharaoh will be expunged!
12. Wouldn’t this be a direct threat to Pharaoh’s life from Yehovah? Wouldn’t Pharaoh become very angry being threatened in this way? It was a direct threat! If Pharaoh became angry, the text doesn’t tell us readers. He didn’t respond as if he felt threatened.
13. What does stood mean in, “And silently for the sake of this I ‘stood’ thee”? Here, it means to cause to stand; to raise to rank and power; to set into a higher position of rank and responsibility.
14. Why did Yehovah use silently in, “And silently for the sake of this I ‘stood’ thee”? Yehovah raised Pharaoh to his position without Yehovah’s saying a word to anyone. (He sometimes announces when He is raising someone to a position.)
15. What two reasons did Yehovah give for ‘standing’ Pharaoh? He gave the following two reasons:
- for the sake of showing Pharaoh His power
- in order to publish His Name in all the land
16. What land did Yehovah have in mind when He said, “in order to publish my Name in all the land”? I propose that this goes back to Genesis 1:1 when Yehovah created the heavens and the land. I propose that this goes far beyond the land of Egypt, instead including all the land that is above water!
17. What would be accomplished if Yehovah published His Name in all the land? Since His Name is Salvation, Yehovah did all these things in order to cause His Salvation to be scrolled—the word behind published, meaning to place it on a scroll in writing, or to communicate it as if one is reading a scroll—so that all humans will know of Yehovah and of His Salvation (whether they believe in Him or not!).
18. Yehovah said through Moshe, “Thou art yet building-up thyself via my people to not send them.” What was Pharaoh doing, according to this description? Pharaoh was still using the Israeli slaves to build for him in order to build up his own fame and majesty before the world. He therefore wasn’t sending the Israelis, desiring to keep them for himself.
19. How heavy is heavy hail? The hail must have weighed a lot—not enough to destroy the sturdy houses in Egypt, but enough to kill humans and animals.
20. Had there been hail in Egypt before this time? There had been, since this hailstorm is compared with prior hailstorms. This will be the worst there has ever been!
21. When Yehovah gave the command, “And now, send,” whom was Pharaoh to send, and for what purpose? Yehovah commanded Pharaoh to immediately send all his slaves to gather both the slaves and the cattle from the fields. He only gave him one day to send word to the entire land of Egypt! Everyone in the fields and all cattle in the fields will die! (This did not include the fields where the Israelis were located.)
22. What does “Firm thy cattle” mean? This is like saying, “Secure thy cattle.” It is also like saying, “Confirm that thy cattle” has been gathered.
23. What is an ‘adam’? This is a human—anyone who descended from Adam’s lineage.
24. How many of the animals and humans that remain in the fields will die? They will all die!
V. The Fearer and the Ignorer (verses 20-21)
Pharaoh’s slaves heard these words. Every slave who feared the speech of Yehovah made his slaves and his cattle flee unto (toward) the houses. Every slave who didn’t put his heart (mind) unto the speech of Yehovah abandoned his slaves and his cattle in the field.
1. What is a “fearer of the speech of Yehovah,” and does that person have faith in Yehovah? This is a person who took Yehovah’s words very seriously, and feared the consequences of not obeying them! This doesn’t mean that the person has faith in Yehovah. Folks can fear the words of other gods while refusing to place their faith in those gods; they can do the same toward Yehovah.
2. What does “And who did not put his heart unto the speech of Yehovah” mean? This means that this person didn’t set his mind to hearken to what Yehovah said. Folks can make up their minds to listen and do, and they can make up their minds to ignore. Most humans will ignore the speeches of Yehovah the Gods of Israel, including most Israelis.
3. Why does the text state, “and he forsook his slaves and his cattle in the field” instead of stating, “and he left his slaves and his cattle in the field”? The act of not warning them was abandoning them to death. They didn’t just leave them in the field; they forsook them to die. Thus, they were at fault for their deaths according to the justice of Yehovah.
VI. Hail, Thunder, Lightning (verses 22-23)
Yehovah commanded just Moshe to: “Stretch thine hand upon the heavens.” Yehovah told Moshe the results: “And hail was in all the land of Egypt—upon the adam and upon the beast and upon every herb of the field in the land of Egypt!”
Moshe did as he was commanded, stretching his rod upon the heavens. Yehovah gave voices and hail! Fire walked toward the land! Yehovah rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
1. How can Moshe stretch his hand upon the heavens when Moshe just isn’t that big? Yehovah made Moshe into a god! Thus, in Pharaoh’s eyes, Moshe was very large! If Moshe can do this, what can the God (Yehovah) Who is behind these miracles do?
2. When did Moshe stretch his hand upon the heavens? He did this the next day after warning Pharaoh and his slaves to get their slaves and cattle out of the field. When Moshe did this, the hail immediately came.
3. Wasn’t Moshe outside when this occurred? If so, wasn’t Moshe in danger of being hit by the hail and being killed? He was outside, since he stretched his hand upon the heavens! He was not in any danger, since Yehovah always is able to direct His judgments toward their intended targets and away from those whom He isn’t targeting. There is no such thing as Collateral Damage when Yehovah judges. He only goes after His intended targets. When humans fight in wars, Collateral Damage almost always occurs.
4. What else besides humans and cattle was destroyed? Every herb of the field was destroyed! Thus, the crops were destroyed!
5. In what danger was the land of Egypt because of this hail, besides those who were killed by it? Since the cattle and the herbs, as well as the slaves who worked the fields, were killed, the rest of the Egyptians who counted on them for food were in danger of starvation! Thus, this plague made food scarce.
6. Yehovah told Moshe to stretch his hand upon the heavens; Moshe stretched his rod upon the heavens. Did Moshe do wrong? Moshe didn’t do wrong. However, because he didn’t do exactly as Yehovah said, he set himself up for a later problem. Yehovah will tell Moshe to speak to a Rock in a text much later than our texts, and Moshe will strike the Rock instead of speaking to it. This will result in Yehovah being furious with Moshe, and giving him a delayed death sentence. One must do exactly as Yehovah says; one must take what He says very literally. Yehovah is very strict about these things because they are the difference between life and death.
7. What does “Yehovah gave voices” mean? This means that Yehovah caused voices to be heard in the heavens. Now, hearers of these voices heard thunder. The same Hebrew word that means thunder means a voice. Yehovah sometimes spoke sentences using thunder! (He will do this later in the Torah.)
8. What causes these voices? They are normally the result of lightning.
9. What does “fire walked landward” describe? This describes the very beautiful and quite frightening ball lightning (which I have seen). This form of lightning isn’t like the jagged streaks that are so long; it is lightning that starts with a very pretty and round explosion of light that stays on, rolls through the air, and rolls along the ground! It looks like a large ball. If it runs into something, it can set it on fire. It can go through windows. When it doesn’t come down, it rolls through the air. It causes quite a beautiful show!
In this case, the ball lightning walked (we would say, rolled) along the land, striking persons, cattle, objects, and other things. If it struck a person or a cow, that person or cow would probably die right away from the fire and electricity.
10. The text doesn’t describe any rain. Did it rain? I can’t tell whether the hail, lightning and thunder were accompanied by rain. I propose that the rain (if any) wasn’t so strong as to block the view of the lightning or to drown the sound of the thunder (voices).
VII. Devastation (verses 24-26)
The hail was very heavy (both in the amount of hail and in the size of the hail). Fire took herself in the midst of the hail! That is fire and ice at the same time! This kind of a hailstorm never occurred from the time that Egypt (the original person) became a race! The hail smote (attacked with the force to kill) everything in the field including man and animal. The hail smote every herb of the field. It also broke every tree of the field! There was no hail, however, in the land of Goshen where the sons of Israel are.
1. How heavy was the hail? If the text states that it was heavy, that can mean two things: that the hailstones were very large (big enough to kill humans and cattle, but not big enough to destroy the buildings into which the obedient slaves took refuge with their cattle); it can also mean that the amount of the hail was very great so that there were perhaps feet of hail, if not a number of inches of hail stacked on the ground. In either case, or in both cases, humans and cattle were not able to survive if they were outside.
2. What does “fire taking herself in the midst of the hail” describe? That fire was from the ball lightning! Thus, fiery explosions of lightning that rolled were interspersed (were mixed in) with the hail! This is so strange, because fire and ice seem so opposite to each other! Some must have been hit by the hail at the same time they were hit by the lightning balls!
3. What does “there wasn’t like him in all the land of Egypt from then, her becoming to a race” mean? This means that a storm like this never occurred in Egyptian history. The race of Egyptians started with one man whose name was Mitzraim. (Mitzraim is the Hebrew word for Egypt, too.) The man named Mitzraim had children; his children had children, and this process continued until there was a race of Egyptians. During this entire time, there were storms in the land of Egypt. There was never a storm like this one, however!
4. What does smote mean? It means to strike, often with a force to kill (as in this case).
5. How many herbs of the field survived this hail? No herbs survived!
6. How many trees survived this hail? The text states that the hail broke every tree of the field. That doesn’t mean that it killed every tree. The damage was very great. Thus, the timber in Egypt was temporarily ruined!
7. Did the Israelis see the hail? If they were near the border of Goshen, they saw the hail beyond Goshen’s borders. The Israelis were perfectly safe during this storm; they were in Goshen.
8. Were the Israelis being slave-driven during this time? I have wondered this. I know that Yehovah brought the projects of the Egyptians to a halt; those projects included construction using bricks. If the projects were stopped, the need for the bricks also ceased. I propose that the Israelis had far fewer taskmasters and slave drivers commanding them to do anything. Many of them were now dead! Others were ruined from previous losses.
VIII. False Repentance (verses 27-30)
Pharaoh sent and called Moshe and Aharon. He admitted that he had sinned this time, and that Yehovah is righteous. He then stated that he and his people are the culpable ones.
He told them to entreat unto Yehovah, and multiply from their beings voices of gods and hail. On this condition, Pharaoh stated, “I have sent you. And ye shall not add to stand!”
Moshe responded, “As my going out of the city, I will spread my palms unto Yehovah. The voices shall cease and the hail will not be any more, so that thou shalt know that the land is to Yehovah!”
Moshe then added, “And thou and thy slaves—I knew! For before ye will fear from the faces of Yehovah Gods, and the flax and the barley—she was smitten!”
Moshe explained, “For the barley is spring,” that is, the barley is coming up well, as it does in the spring of the year. “And the flax is exalted-above,” meaning that it is already several inches high. “And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten, for they are darkened,” meaning that the tender plants haven’t yet broken aboveground.
1. When did Pharaoh send for Moshe and Aharon? He sent for them during the storm.
2. Where were Moshe and Aharon located during the storm? They either were still where Pharaoh was located or they went to Goshen. If they were in Goshen, Pharaoh’s slaves might have been killed trying to get to Goshen during this storm. If they were where Pharaoh was, they were not very far away.
3. What does “I sinned the stroke” mean? The stroke means at this time. The stroke describes the ticking of a clock or the rhythm of time. (They didn’t have ticking clocks at this time.) Thus, “I sinned the stroke” means “I sinned this time!”
4. Pharaoh also said, “Yehovah is righteous!” Did he mean it? He truly meant it … for about one minute! He was speaking words to get Moshe and Aharon to stop this devastating storm.
5. Was “I and my people are the culpable-ones” true? Pharaoh’s people had no control over these plagues and devastating storms. They were not the ones stopping the Israelis; Pharaoh was. Yet, they supported Pharaoh and his policies. Thus, they were guilty, too!
6. What does entreat mean? It means to request with urgency; it almost means to beg.
7. What does “multiply from there being voices” mean? Multiply from in Hebrew means to do the opposite of multiplying. (We think of dividing as being the opposite of multiplying, but that isn’t the same.) Pharaoh is asking Moshe and Aharon to ask Yehovah to stop the voices and the hail.
8. Pharaoh called the thunder voices of gods. Was he right? He was! Yehovah was indeed speaking to him! He was making Pharaoh very fearful.
9. Pharaoh promised that if Moshe and Aharon entreated unto Yehovah, and if Yehovah stopped the voices of gods and the hail, he would send the Israelis. Was this true? A reader by now will now that it isn’t true!
10. Pharaoh also said, “And ye shall not add to stand.” What does that mean? That means that the Israelis won’t wait any longer to leave. Since standing means remaining where one is without going, they won’t add (do again or increase the reasons they have) to stand—that is, they won’t stay any longer.
11. Did Moshe believe him? Moshe knew better than to believe him!
12. Moshe told Pharaoh that he was going out of the city, at which time he would spread his palms unto Yehovah. Wasn’t he afraid of being hit by the hail or struck by the lightning? Moshe didn’t fear this. He knew that Yehovah had sent him on this mission, and thus that Yehovah would make certain that Moshe was able to complete it. If Moshe were struck by hail and hurt or killed, that would make a joke out of Yehovah’s power.
13. What was the point of this terrible destruction, according to verse 29? This was to cause Pharaoh to know that the land (that is, the land of Egypt, as well as all the land on the planet) “is to Yehovah”—it both belongs to Him and is for His use. Pharaoh thought that the land of Egypt belonged to him and to his people.
14. Who is ‘I’ in, “And thou and thy slaves—I knew”? This is Moshe since he is the one who will spread his palms in verse 29.
15. What did he know? He knew that Pharaoh and his slaves still would not fear from the faces of Yehovah until the flax and the barley were smitten, and thus were destroyed.
16. What is flax? It is a plant with two important purposes. Its seeds can be crushed to give linseed oil that can be used in making paints and other products. Its fibres can be used to make linen! Linen becomes very soft after being washed a number of times.
17. What is barley? It is a cereal grain (used to make cereals and bread), and is also used in making beer.
18. What does “barley is spring” mean? This means that the barley crop had come above ground and was now producing green shoots. It is very vulnerable—susceptible to being hurt at this point.
19. What does “the flax is exalted above” mean? This means that the flax is at least several inches high, if not even higher, and is growing quite well.
20. What does being darkened mean in verse 32? This means that the wheat and the spelt were not yet aboveground. Their seeds may have germinated, but they were still under the soil, and were thus safe from the terrible force of the hail.
IX. Sinning More (verses 33-35)
Moshe left the city and Pharaoh. He spread the palms of his hands unto Yehovah. The voices ceased, as well as the hail and the rain. The rain didn’t pour down on the land.
Pharaoh saw that the rain ceased, as well as the hail and the voices. He sinned even more! His heart (mind) heavied, and so did the heart of his slaves!
Pharaoh’s heart gripped, hanging on to his views from before. He didn’t send the children of Israel, exactly as Yehovah spoke by means of the hand of Moshe!
1. Verse 34 states that Pharaoh “added to sin.” What did he do that was sin? He didn’t keep his promise to send the Israelis out of his land!
2. What does “his heart heavied” mean, and why did the heart of his slaves do the same thing? The mind of Pharaoh and his slaves (as if they had one mind) thought about what would happen to the land of Egypt if the Israeli slaves left; their economy would be ruined, and they would be vulnerable to attack (that would be open to another group attacking them while they were struggling to plant new crops and to do work for themselves). These things weighed heavily on their mind (‘heart’), and they made sure that their thought was about this result.
3. The next text states that the heart of Pharaoh gripped. What does this mean? This means that Pharaoh’s mind clung to the thought of keeping the Israelis as Egypt’s labour force, and to the thought of refusing to send them. He held on to what he believed was necessary for Egypt’s survival.