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The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart (Exodus 9)

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The Gods Of Egypt

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CHAPTER 9 Feb.3 
The Plague on the Livestock
Then Yahweh said to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still, 3behold, the hand of Yahweh is on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks with a very grievous pestilence. 4Yahweh will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt; and nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel’.  5Yahweh appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow Yahweh shall do this thing in the land. 6Yahweh did that thing on the next day; and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. 7Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the livestock of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he didn’t let the people go. 
The Plague of Boils
8Yahweh said to Moses and to Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. 9It shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking out with boils on man and on animal, throughout all the land of Egypt. 10They took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward the sky; and it became a boil breaking out with boils on man and on animal. 11The magicians couldn’t stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were on the magicians, and on all the Egyptians. 12Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken to Moses. 
The Plague of Hail
13Yahweh said to Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 14For this time I will send all My plagues against your heart, against your officials, and against your people; that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 15For now I would have stretched out My hand, and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth; 16but indeed for this cause I have raised you up: to show in you My power, and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth; 17as you still exalt yourself against My people, that you won’t let them go. 18Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now. 19Now therefore command that all of your livestock and all that you have in the field be brought into shelter. Every man and animal that is found in the field, and isn’t brought home, the hail shall come down on them, and they shall die’. 20Those who feared the word of Yahweh among the servants of Pharaoh made their servants and their livestock flee into the houses. 21Whoever didn’t respect the word of Yahweh left his servants and his livestock in the field. 22Yahweh said to Moses, Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man, and on animal, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. 23Moses stretched out his rod toward the heavens, and Yahweh sent thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down to the earth. Yahweh rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24So there was very severe hail, and lightning mixed with the hail, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25The hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and animal; and the hail struck every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. 27Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, I have sinned this time. Yahweh is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 28Pray to Yahweh; for there has been enough of mighty thunderings and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer. 29Moses said to him, As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands to Yahweh. The thunders shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is Yahweh’s. 30But as for you and your servants, I know that you don’t yet fear Yahweh God. 31The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. 32But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they had not grown up. 33Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands to Yahweh; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth. 34When 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. 35The heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go, just as Yahweh had spoken through Moses.


9:3 Is on- Present tense. Yet the idea is clearly ‘it will be on’. God’s word is so certain that He can speak of things He has not yet done as if He has done them, or is now doing them (Rom. 4:17). We need to try to look at things like this; and see that the essence of future judgment and salvation are in fact working themselves out right now.
9:5 The plague upon cattle was clearly prophesied as going to happen at a specified time; but it was conditional upon Pharaoh refusing to let Israel go (9:1,2). He could have complied, and therefore the plague wouldn’t have happened. And yet the prophecy is so specific that it would seem that this conditionality just didn’t exist. But it did. Bible prophecies often have a conditional element to them, because God’s purpose is often open-ended, reflecting the colossal value He places upon our freewill decisions.
9:14 The plagues were on Pharaoh’s heart in that God was progressively confirming Pharaoh in the position he had himself adopted.
9:22 The great hail plague lead up to Israel’s Passover deliverance, and yet this is the language of the last days (Rev. 16:21)- as if there will again be a Passover deliverance for God’s people, heralded by the pouring out of plagues upon those who persecute them.
9:29 Spreading out hands is a form of prayer, perhaps symbolizing our openness before God, or perhaps an expression meaning that we have nothing, but beg God for His grace.
9:31,32 Are we to conclude that the Egyptians grew barley but the Hebrews preferred wheat?
9:35 The record speaks often of how Pharaoh hardened his heart [“his heart was stubborn” carries this idea], and yet also of how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (10:1). God confirms people in the mental attitude they adopt. He’s not indifferent. Hence the colossal importance of human thought and action- God is waiting to confirm us in the way we choose to go.