The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 9

Exo 9:3

All these animals were considered sacred -- because they contained the souls of gods: reincarnation!

PLAGUE: "Deber", translated "plague" (Hos 13:14), "pestilence" 48 times. Cp the "sting" of 1Co 15:55, related to death.

Exo 9:4


Exo 9:6

ALL THE LIVESTOCK OF THE EGYPTIANS DIED: That is, all the livestock "in the field" (Exo 9:3). But since all livestock was not "in the field", all did not die (Exo 14:9).

Exo 9:8

SOOT: Or "ashes" (AV) from the offerings to the god Typhon, the protector from plagues. The Egyptian priests scattered those ashes to the winds. Moses imitates their action (in a challenge), but with a different result.

INTO THE AIR: Or "toward the heaven" -- ref Neith, the "queen of heaven".

Exo 9:9

BOILS: Heb "shechin" = burn, ulcer, botch. Cp Job 2:7; Lev 13 conc leprosy; Deu 28:27,35 conc plagues promised to Jews; 2Ki 20:7/Isa 38:21 conc Hezekiah. From other refs, this covered the entire body. Also see Rev 16:2.

Exo 9:10

MOSES TOSSED IT IN THE AIR, AND FESTERING BOILS BROKE OUT ON MEN AND ANIMALS: The wording seems to exclude a naturalistic explanation -- such as anthrax transmitted from the animals to humans. The sprinkling of the dust was to demonstrate in Pharaoh's presence that this was a totally miraculous occurrence.

How could the magicians say they had performed this miracle?

AND ANIMALS: The cattle had already been afflicted in the earlier plague, but evidently not all had yet died. In fact, animals will be affected again in the next plague.

Exo 9:12

THE LORD HARDENED PHARAOH'S HEART: This is the first time that it is said specifically that God hardens Pharaoh's heart. "God is the potter, and if He so wishes, he can make a vessel to dishonour. Pharaoh has already been given seven opportunities by this point (see Exo 7:13n), and by his own free will has chosen to harden his heart on every single occasion. Just as God sent an evil spirit upon Saul to hasten His purpose and bring about a particular effect which He desire (Saul having been given ample opportunity to serve God in the right way), and just as God 'gave over' His people unto their own hearts' lust (Acts 7:39-42; Rom 1:24), so now God uses Pharaoh more as an object, as a piece of pottery, to show forth His glory. In fact, Pharaoh has shown himself so unworthy of God's grace that God can say that the only purpose of his existence is as a vehicle for God to illustrate His awesome power (cp Rom 9:17). Now God sends His plagues, not only on frogs and lice, but on the very heart of Pharaoh himself, leading to further intransigence and stubbornness on Pharaoh's part.

"Does this mean that free will has gone out of the window and that Pharaoh is merely a puppet whom God props up and supports only that He might knock him down? No, for the very overlap in Exo 9:34,35 (in which it is stated once more that Pharaoh hardens his own heart) shows that Pharaoh is still involved. But the drama has quite clearly reached a new level, in which, Pharaoh having been given ample opportunity, God pushes him, as it were, towards his doom...

"One writer has used a canoeing analogy to help explain the interaction of God and Pharaoh in the hardening process, which some might find helpful. Imagine being in a canoe heading towards the brink of a waterfall. The flow of water is gradually narrowing and the current is getting stronger, but at any point you can turn the canoe away and bring it to shore. However, as you go on and on towards the brink the current gets ever stronger and you have less and less opportunity to turn aside. To do so will command greater and greater effort. As you approach, the possibility of turning away becomes increasingly theoretical, for the current drives you on until ultimately there is nothing you can do but go over the brink. Pharaoh is the canoeist, repeatedly refusing to come to shore. Eventually he is caught in a current so strong that his own free will becomes increasingly irrelevant, and the current of God's purpose leads him to his destruction. It is not a perfect analogy, but it does make a useful point. The opportunities God gives us to exercise our free will and repent are there to be taken. Otherwise it may just be too late" (MV, Tes 72:254).

Exo 9:16

This is quoted by Paul: "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth' " (Rom 9:17). "The most careful attention should here be directed to what is not said by Paul in this appeal... God did not say to Pharaoh that he had raised him up in order to destroy him, or to drown his army in the Red Sea, but that God had raised him up for the purpose of showing his power in Pharaoh and of having God's name published throughout the earth. Just HOW God's purpose would be fulfilled in Pharaoh, at the time God spoke, still remained within the circumference of Pharaoh's free will to choose, whether by his own submission to God commands or by his rebellion against them, would be realized God's purpose. If Pharaoh had submitted to God's will, God's name would have been magnified all over the world and his power would have been demonstrated in Pharaoh just as gloriously in that manner as it was in the manner of its actual occurrence. Pharaoh had the free choice of obeying or not obeying God; but God had purposed, either way, to use him as a demonstration of God's power and a means of publishing the divine name all over the world; but the choice of HOW this would come about remained with Pharaoh until he was HARDENED.

"What happened to the king of Nineveh, following the preaching of Jonah, should be remembered in the connection here. Both Pharaoh and the ruler of Nineveh heard the word of God, the one by Moses, the other by Jonah. Nineveh received mercy; Egypt did not. God had a perfect right to spare one and punish the other; but it is a falsehood to allege that God's doing so was capricious and unrelated to what was in the two monarchs or to their response to God's word" (Coffman).

THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED IN ALL THE EARTH: Rahab the harlot heard of this in far away Jericho, and remembered its substance 40 years later (Jos 2:9-11).

Exo 9:18

THE WORST HAILSTORM THAT HAS EVER FALLEN: That is, never before in such large proportions. The miracle is in the magnitude of affliction.

Exo 9:19

LIVESTOCK... IN THE FIELD: The cattle were kept in the fields from Jan to April (cp vv 31,32).

Exo 9:20

THOSE... WHO FEARED: Here marks the beginning of division of the Egyptians, and the first stirrings of the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt.

Exo 9:22

ON EVERYTHING GROWING: Directed against Isis and Osiris, the gods of light, health, fertility, arts, agriculture.

Exo 9:23

"He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomores with frost (great hail)" (Psa 78:47).

Exo 9:27

I HAVE SINNED: There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I have sinned," possibly only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13; 24:10; 1Ch 21:8; Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (most likely less sincere) instances? Pharaoh in Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa 15:24,30; 26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.

Exo 9:29

THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S: God has complete control over all creation: Psa 24:1.

Exo 9:31

This fixes a date of February.

Exo 9:32

In Egypt, these grow up in March or early April.

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