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scripture

 

CHAPTER 9

Fifth Plague: the Pestilence. 1Then the LORD said to Moses: Go to Pharaoh and tell him: Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go to serve me. 2For if you refuse to let them go and persist in holding them, 3the hand of the LORD will strike your livestock in the field—your horses, donkeys, camels, herds and flocks—with a very severe pestilence. 4But the LORD will distinguish between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that nothing belonging to the Israelites will die. 5And the LORD set a definite time, saying: Tomorrow the LORD will do this in the land. 6And on the next day the LORD did it. All the livestock of the Egyptians died,a but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. 7But although Pharaoh found upon inquiry that not even so much as one of the livestock of the Israelites had died, he remained obstinate and would not let the people go.

Sixth Plague: the Boils. 8So the LORD said to Moses and Aaron: Each of you take handfuls of soot from a kiln, and in the presence of Pharaoh let Moses scatter it toward the sky. 9It will turn into fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and cause festering boils* on human being and beast alike throughout the land of Egypt.

10So they took the soot from a kiln and appeared before Pharaoh. When Moses scattered it toward the sky, it caused festering boils on human being and beast alike. 11Because of the boils the magicians could not stand in Moses’ presence, for there were boils on the magicians as well as on the rest of the Egyptians. 12But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said to Moses.

Seventh Plague: the Hail. 13Then the LORD spoke to Moses: Early tomorrow morning present yourself to Pharaoh and say to him: Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go to serve me, 14for this time I will unleash all my blows upon you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me anywhere on earth. 15For by now I should have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with such pestilence that you would have vanished from the earth. 16But this is why I have let you survive: to show you* my power and to make my name resound throughout the earth!b 17Will you continue to exalt yourself over my people and not let them go? 18At this time tomorrow, therefore, I am going to rain down such fierce hail as there has never been in Egypt from the day it was founded up to the present. 19Therefore, order your livestock and whatever else you have in the open fields to be brought to a place of safety. Whatever human being or animal is found in the fields and is not brought to shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them. 20Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the LORD hurried their servants and their livestock off to shelter. 21But those who did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left their servants and their livestock in the fields.

22The LORD then said to Moses: Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall upon the entire land of Egypt, on human being and beast alike and all the vegetation of the fields in the land of Egypt. 23So Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent forth peals of thunder and hail.c Lightning flashed toward the earth, and the LORD rained down hail upon the land of Egypt. 24There was hail and lightning flashing here and there through the hail, and the hail was so fierce that nothing like it had been seen in Egypt since it became a nation. 25Throughout the land of Egypt the hail struck down everything in the fields, human being and beast alike; it struck down all the vegetation of the fields and splintered every tree in the fields. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, was there no hail.

27Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! The LORD is the just one, and I and my people are the ones at fault. 28Pray to the LORD! Enough of the thunder* and hail! I will let you go; you need stay no longer.” 29Moses replied to him, “As soon as I leave the city I will extend my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail so that you may know that the earth belongs to the LORD. 30But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.”

31Now the flax and the barley were ruined, because the barley was in ear and the flax in bud. 32But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they grow later.

33When Moses had left Pharaoh and gone out of the city, he extended his hands to the LORD. The thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured down upon the earth. 34But Pharaoh, seeing that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, sinned again and became obstinate, both he and his servants. 35In the hardness of his heart, Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.

* [9:9] Boils: the exact nature of the disease is not clear. Semitic cognates, for example, suggest the Hebrew root means “to be hot” and thus point to some sort of inflammation. The fact that soot taken from the kiln is the agent of the disease would point in the same direction. See further Lv 13:1823; Dt 28:35; 2 Kgs 20:7.

* [9:16] To show you: some ancient versions such as the Septuagint read, “to show through you.” Cf. Rom 9:17.

* [9:28] Thunder: lit., “divine voices,” “voices of God,” or the like.

a. [9:6] Ps 78:48.

b. [9:16] Rom 9:17.

c. [9:2324] Ps 78:47; 105:3233.




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