PLAGUE NO.5 -- LIVESTOCK DISEASED
Again the Lord requires Moses to repeat his demand to Pharaoh to let the people go. This time He warns that if Pharaoh refuses, He will send a very severe pestilence on all the livestock of Egypt, a disease that would issue in death, and that Israel would be immune from it. There is a pointed lesson in this that the selfish greed of man eventually destroys those things that are necessary to serve his interests. For instance, men resort to strikes, civil rights riots, etc. in demanding what they call their own rights, but they always become the losers.
Verse 6 tells us that "all the livestock of Egypt died." Yet verse 19 indicates there were cattle in Egypt at the time of the seventh plague. The answer may be that the word "all" in verse 6 is not intended to be absolute, but used in general sense, or else other livestock could have been brought in after the fifth plague. Pharaoh sent an inquiry to find that none of the livestock of the Israelites were affected, but in spite of this he hardened his heart against the Lord.
PLAGUE NO.6 -- BOILS
In this case there was no previous warning. The Lord told Moses to take ashes from a furnace in his hands and in the sight of Pharaoh to scatter them toward the heavens, evidently tossing them upward so that the wind would disperse them every direction. As he did this, the ashes became out a fine dust, bringing with it such infection as to inflict boils on people and animals.
The magicians made no attempt to imitate this miracle because they were themselves stricken with boils, and likely were not anxious to have more of them! This plague is typical of the personal moral corruption that results from resistance to the truth of the Word of God. But even this did not persuade Pharaoh to repent of his state of stubbornness in refusing God's Word to let His people go.
PLAGUE NO.7 -- HAIL
Once again the Lord commanded Moses to repeat the same message to Pharaoh (v.13), adding that He will continue to send plagues on Pharaoh, on his servants and on his people, until at last Pharaoh would be cut off from the earth (vs.13-15). More than this, Pharaoh is told that God Himself had raised Pharaoh up for the purpose of displaying in Pharaoh the superior power of God, and that through all this history God's name would be declared through the entire earth (v.16). For matters like this would certainly be reported worldwide.
Since Pharaoh continued to exalt himself against God's people, and therefore against God Himself, he is told that the next day God would sent an extremely heavy hail such as Egypt had never before experienced (v.18). But he is graciously warned that animals left outside would be killed. Some among Pharaoh's servants feared the Word of the Lord and heeded the warning, and of course their animals were safe, but others had no respect for God's Word and suffered the consequences. (vs.20-21).
When Moses acted on God's Word, stretching forth his hand toward heaven, the hail was accompanied by thunder and lightning, the fire running along on the ground, an infliction that affected the land of Egypt more severely than anything previously known, damaging all vegetation and breaking trees as well as killing livestock and people who remained outside. Again the land of Goshen was spared, so that Israel did not suffer at all from the hail.
This awesome affliction was so alarming to Pharaoh that he called for Moses and Aaron (v.27), telling them, "I have sinned this time," and admitting that the Lord is righteous and he and his people wicked. He need not have said this at all, though it was true, but he should certainly have meant it when he promised to let Israel go if the plague were stopped (v.28).
On the basis of his promise, however, Moses agreed to ask the Lord to remove the plague, and it would cease immediately Moses left the city, giving witness to the fact that the earth is the Lord's (v.29). Yet Moses adds that he knew that Pharaoh and his servants would continue to prove rebellious (v.30). It is added here that only the early crops (flax and barley) were ruined, not the later crops (wheat and spelt).
As Moses had said, the Lord gave respite from the hail, and again Pharaoh fulfilled Moses prediction by hardening his heart in refusing to let Israel go.