Passover – the Seventh Plague

Exodus 9:13  And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
14  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
15  For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
16  And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
17  As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
18  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.
19  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.
20  He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
21  And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.
22  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 of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23  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.
24  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.
25  And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26  Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
27  And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
28  Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.
29  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.
30  But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.
31  And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.
32  But the wheat and the rie (spelt) were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
33  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.
34  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.
35  And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

The Plague of Hail (against the sky goddess Nut)

Again warning is given before the enactment of the plague takes place. Pharaoh is warned of the impending doom that will be faced if he does not listen to the Lord, and forget his own Egyptian gods and goddesses.

Hail of unspeakable size and ability to destroy, would rain down from the sky and turn to fire as it hit the ground. The Lord, in showing Pharaoh that “there is none like Him in the Earth”, allows those who are willing to hear His word, and do as He commands, to be saved.

The announcement of the seventh plague, as noted in Exodus 9:13-16, was to take place in the morning as Pharaoh went down to the Nile to worship. There Moses was to tell Pharaoh:

    You still dam yourself up against my people by not letting them go (Exodus 9:17)

The translation is the meaning of the literal Hebrew.  The word, salal, (translated “exalted” in the KJV) means to heap up earth as a dam or rampart; to set oneself as a dam, to oppose.  Pharaoh is heaping himself up like a dam or rampart against Israel to prevent God’s people from breaking free and leaving Egypt.  In setting himself up to dam up Israel, Pharaoh has set himself up against the Strategic Plan of God.  Pharaoh in his stubbornness is standing in the path of the Strategic Plan of God.  In terms of the literal Hebrew, arrogantly he he was trying to dam up the Plan of God.  And God was going to use this to demonstrate all the things He could do to break Pharaoh’s grip on power.

God’s power over Pharaoh demonstrated that if God could handle Pharaoh, He can handle any arrogant person.  For those stuck in a relationship on the job or in a marriage or in a neighborhood with an arrogant person, the pattern of God’s punishment of Pharaoh could be applicable.  When a person opposes the Strategic Plan of God, that person will be subject to divine punishment just as Pharaoh was.  Of course, the believer must execute the Plan of God just as Moses did in order to receive God’s grace solution.  Every step of the way, the Lord told Moses what to say and do while the angels of God ripped Pharaoh and Egypt to pieces.

Verses 18 and 19 tell us that the plague of the hail was to be the worst since Egypt  it became a nation (verse 24)  The plague will be so bad that people or animals exposed to it will die. 

By the seventh plague, Moses and the signs and wonders taking place in Egypt were the top news story.  Pharaoh’s palace staff had learned to pay attention to the announcements that Moses made and some believed in the Lord.  Those who feared the word of the Lord ordered their servants and livestock inside, but those who failed to believe Moses, left their servants and livestock in the field.

The Lord directed Moses to stretch out his hand toward the sky and the hail storm would begin.

First came the thunder, which is used to announce divine judgment (Revelation 10:3-4).  Then came the hail along with lightning, which is described as fire running along the ground – meaning the fire mingled or formed balls.  The lightning was in the form of balls of fire.  The violent hail storm produced by the weather angels was the worst in the history of the nation of Egypt.

The violent plague of hail was not only destructive to the livestock, but it also destroyed the plants and trees.  Thus, the hail storm severely damaged the agricultural economy of Egypt.  However, in Goshen where Israel was, there was no hail.  Here again, the Lord judged Egypt but delivered Israel.

After Pharaoh experienced the plague of hail, he sent for Moses and Aaron to negotiate with them.

Verses 27-30 show Pharaoh wanting the plague to end, but he is still holding back.  He said, “I have sinned this time,” which was repentance for once – not all the other times.  Pharaoh agreed to let Israel go, and Moses agreed to go out of the city and spread out his hands to the Lord so the thunder and hail would cease.  However, Moses remarked that Pharaoh and his staff still did not fear the presence of the Lord.  They had not been saved and did not have a personal relationship with the Lord.  Pharaoh gave lip service to the Lord but did not fear Him.  The word for fear (jare‘) also means to respect.  They did not respect the authority of the Lord.

According to Pliny:

    Barley is reaped in the 6th month after sowing, wheat in the 7th.
    Barley is ripe at the end of February or the beginning of March.
    Flax is in flower at the end of January.
    In northern Egypt, the spelt is ripe at the end of Apr. and wheat and spelt ripen at the same time.

Putting this information alongside verses 31-33, we deduce that the hail occurred at the end of January or the first part of February eight weeks before the Passover.

The Ipuwer papyrus describes the Plague of Hail.

    2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.
    10:3-6 Lower Egypt weeps… The entire palace is without its revenues.
            To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish.
    4:14 Trees are destroyed
    6:1 No fruit nor herbs are found . . .
    6:3   Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.

However, as soon as the hail storm ceased, Pharaoh and his servants hardened their hearts (verses34-35) just as the Lord had told Moses he would.
Both words for hardened are used here.  The word for hardened in verse 34 is chabedh, which means hard in the sense of refusing to budge.  In verse 35 the word for hard is chazaq, which stresses the strength, or firmness and arrogance, of Pharaoh’s convictions against God.
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