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.