Exodus 9:1 - Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Bible Comments

Exodus 9:6. All the cattle of Egypt died; that is, all were smitten with the murrain, whose unbelieving owners did not take care to house them: so we read in the twentieth verse concerning the hail. This plague was not only great in itself, but it seemed to be a stroke against their gods. Their Jupiter Ammon was fashioned like a ram, their Anubis like a dog, and their Apis like a bull or an ox. The Jupiter Ammon of Egypt was at first no other than a representative of Jehovah, but they had now likened the Godhead to fourfooted beasts, and birds, and creeping things. Romans 1.

Exodus 9:9. A boil breaking forth with blains, or burning ulcers. This was Job's affliction. Job 2:7-8.

Exodus 9:16. For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power. The margin of our bible reads, have I made thee to stand, or to subsist. The Vatican copy of the Septuagint, according to Dr. Wall, reads hast thou been kept alive. And referring to this text, St. Paul says, What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. Romans 9:22. Hence Pharaoh having long violated every dictate of conscience, and suppressed every sentiment of humanity; and having hardened his neck against the first miracles of heaven, evidently passed into a state of reprobation, or became a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction. But though God had raised him up to the throne, and preserved him from dying by the former plagues, when he might most justly have cut him off in his sins; yet he reserved him for the more exemplary punishment of overwhelming him in the sea; and thereby making him a fearful example of his vengeance to tyrannical princes, and the whole infidel world.

Exodus 9:24. Fire mingled with hail. In the year of Christ 824, there was in France, and in some parts of Germany, a storm which much resembled this. Tirinus. Wis 16:16. The hail was accompanied with tremendous thunder. The predominance of the electric fluid would contribute much towards the formation of the huge stones of hail.

Exodus 9:29. I will spread abroad my hands, in the usual form of earnest and supplicating prayer.

Exodus 9:31. Bolled; that is, was shot, or in the ear.

Exodus 9:32. The wheat not grown. The barley is but four months in the ground. There the barley harvest is at Easter, and wheat six weeks later. The river Nile begins to rise in June: the lowest elevation Isaiah 16 feet, and the highest 24 feet. If the rise be high, a rich harvest follows the next year, because the country is enriched by a wider spread of the waters. As the waters retire, the sower wades in, and casts his wheat upon the water, to procure an early vegetation. See on Isaiah 19.


Pharaoh persists in hardening his heart, and God repeats his strokes of vengeance. The conflict still continues, and assumes a most awful aspect on the part of the sinner, and on the part of the Lord. Men who fight against God, we may be sure, are not far from destruction.

The hardness of heart so destructive to Pharaoh was not peculiar to him; it extended to most of his servants; for those who believed Moses, and housed their cattle, were exempt from the scourge. And oh, how tremendous were those calamities! The waters had scarcely resumed their colour; the plagues of the frogs, the insects, and the vermin were but just removed; the carcases of the cattle destroyed by the pestilence still infected the air; and now the heavens gather black; now the vivid lightnings roll along the ground, and the roaring of distant thunders proclaims the approach of Israel's God. The hail or ice of heaven falls on all the land. The cattle and their keepers fall wounded and die together; the vineyards and gardens are all destroyed; the trees are stripped of their verdure and lopped of their branches, and the trunk suffered to remain solely to preach the terrors of the Lord to a future age. How great, how deplorable are the devastations of sin! And if they were so deplorable in the exterior world, how much more are they to be lamented when they strip the soul of all its beauty, and render it a desert in the eyes of God!

In the boils which afflicted the Egyptians, those who harden their hearts against God's judgments may see the complaints which he is about to inflict on their bodies, and in the tempest of lightning and hail they may see the vengeance he is about to inflict on their souls. And who may abide the day of his coming? As is thy fear, so is thy wrath.

It was a very great mercy that the Egyptians were warned one day before the vengeance came: and oh how great is that mercy which still warns men by the ministry of the word. Surely it is the voice of longsuffering and grace; surely it is that they may hear the trumpet, and secure themselves from danger. Oh that our wicked age might see in Pharaoh and his people, the awful consequences of infidelity and crime. Oh that they might by a repentance correspondent to their sins, avert the anger of heaven, and secure to themselves refuge in the arms of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 9:1-35

1 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.

2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,

3 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.

4 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.

5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.

12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

13 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.

14 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.

15 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.

16 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.

17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?

18 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.

19 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.

20 He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:

21 And he that regardeda not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.

22 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.

23 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.

24 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.

25 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.

26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

27 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.

28 Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mightyb thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.

29 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.

30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.

31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.

32 But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.

33 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.

34 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.

35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.c