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And in-very deed for this came have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power: and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
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.
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.
He that feared the word of the Lord among the serrants of Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses. And he that regarded not the word of the Lord, left his servants and his cattle in the field.
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 in the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
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.
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.
And the hail smote throughout all the land'of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beabt: and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moser and Aaron,
and said unto them, I have sinned this time: tlie Loa'r> is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
Intreat the Lord, (for it i«- enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. ,.
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.
But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will iiot fear the Lord God. And the flax and the barley was smitten; for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was boiled. But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
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.
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.
And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoke* by Moses. .
Though the Egyptians did not feed upon the flesh of oxen, calves, &c. cattle were of great value to them; some kinds for carrying burdens, others on account of their milk, and some as idols; it must therefore have been a heavy punishment to them to lose these creatures.'
The text says, all the cattle of Egypt died; meaning
all all which had the murrain. By cutting them off in this manner, the Lord evidently proved, that "allthe beasts of the field are his *."
It appears very hard, that poor animals should have suffered for the sins of men ; but as God's tender mercies are over all His works, and the cattle could not have committed any offence against Him, we may be certain that the Lord So ordered the judgment as to inflict less pain on those which died, than thev would have endured had their lives been prolonged.
The plague of boils must have been a very afflictive .one, for they were of the most painful and rancorous f kind; and it is remarkable, that the magicians seem to have been tormented by them to the greatest degree; and that in consequence of them they yielded the contest, which they had Hitherto carried on with Moses and Aaron: by this circumstance the supremacy of the Lord Go i) of the Hebrews, over the idols of Egypt, was made manifest. • ,
The storm, which the Lord sent Upon the Egyptians, .was the more dreadful to them, because in Egypt it is X very uncommon thing to see rain, much less hail. The Psalmist has given a very poetic description of this judgment: " He destroyed ihe vines with hail, and the sycatmore trees -with frost: He gave v/i the cattle also to the hail, and the flocks to hot thunder-bolts And from the account which this section gives of it, we find that God employed three elements against Pharaoh, the air in the thunder, the water in the hail, and thefire in the lightning; *11 jointly demonstrating that the God of Israel is the God of nature.
We find, from this section, as well as the foregoing ones, that, so far from impelling or inclining Pharaoh to
* Psalm 1.10. f See Deut. xxviii. 27. % Vsi lxxviii. 47, 48.
do evil, God did every thing consistent with Divine lustice to reclaim him. He never sent a judgment upon Egypt without first warning Pharaoh of it, and informing him for what end it was designed; and if the LbR D with-held his. restraining grace, it was only as a friend with-holds his advice from one who refuses to be influenced by it; and who, in order to prevent mischief from failing upon the innocent, redoubles his kiadness to those whom the other strives to injure. Had Pharaoh drawn nigh to God, God would have drawn —nigh to hira *.
The plague of boils was of such a nature, that had BOt the Lord, who sent it, healed those who were afflicted, it would have proved fatal; but it was his will to prolong the life of Pharaoh, in order to make him a farther instrument of displaying His Divine power.
There was a remarkable discrimination made among the people of Egypt, in respect to the calamities occasioned by the storm of hail, which affected the property of those only who did not regard the word of the Lord. This strongly intimated that God was disposed to shew mercy to them.
Though (as has been observed before) the Lord moderated in Pharaoh and his people that terror with which He generally torments the minds of presumptuous sinners, so as to enable them to endure reiterated judgments, the king was not totally exempt from it. The mighty thunderings awakened, in Pharaoh's mind, a sense of guilt, and extorted a confession from him, that the Lord ivas righteous, and he and his fieoplt •wicked; but his fear was very different from that which is described to be the beginning of wisdom +. It was no more than a temporary dread of divine vengeance,
* James iv. 8; f Prov. i. 7.
impelling him, instinctively, to seek relief from Him, who alone could give it,i It dkl not produce humility and godly sorrow. . The mercy of God, which should have led him to. repentance, served but to harden' his heart, and make hjm. more obdurate ; . which. iis; the usual effect of divine mercy upon those, .whQ, by provoking God to withdraw the aid of His Holy. Spirit, gubject themselves to the influence .of that malignant Being, whose delight it is to make mankind ungrateful to their Almighty Benefactor,
This seetion teaches us, that the Lord can, wound and can heal *. That an extraordinary mortality among cattle is designed by him as a punishment to men; that the elements of air, fire, and water, are under liis direction: that the thunder roars, and the lightning''flies, at his command; that the most violent storm ceases -at his bidding; and that he employs all these for the chastisement and reformation of wicked princes and nations. It also informs us, that it is sometimes the way of the Lord to avert these evils from individuals, when he sends judgments on . a, king and people in general. Let us therefore acknowledge Him.as the God of the whole earth: and ever keep in mind, that His mercy is over them that fear Him.
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THE PLAGUES OF LOCUSTS AND DARKNESS.
From Exodus, Chap. x. . ,
And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh': for I have hardened his heart, and the hearts of his servants ; that I might shew these my signs before him:
And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and
* 'Dent, xxxii. 30. • •• i