Chapter 9

Plagues 5, 6, and 7: Fire, Brimstone, and Disease

  • Plague #5 comes sweeping in. All Egyptian-owned livestock—donkeys, cows, sheep, camels, and horses—are hit with a nasty thing called pestilence, a disease that wipes them out. All Israelite livestock are spared. Natch.
  • Pharaoh again refuses to let the Israelites go. He's really not getting the picture.
  • Plague #6 is a nasty one. Moses takes some kiln soot (dust gathering at the bottom of a pottery oven), throws it in Pharaoh's face, and nasty boils pop up all over all the Egyptians' bodies. Ew.
  • Pharaoh's magicians not only can't fix this plague, but they actually fall before Moses.
  • God again makes Pharaoh stubborn, and so Pharaoh plays his part and refuses to let the Israelites go.
  • God explains to Moses why he continues to "harden Pharaoh's heart," saying, "I have let you [Pharaoh] live to show you my power and to make my name resound through all the earth" (9:16). So this is all for self-exaltation?
  • God unleashes Plague #7. This is it, folks. The original fire and brimstone passage. The seventh plague is a huge amount of hail, accompanied by fire raining from the sky. And guess what? None of it hits the Israelites. 
  • Pharaoh finally relents, and tells Moses to call off the fire. Moses does so, but then Pharaoh decides—surprise!—to keep the Israelites in slavery.

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