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Exodus Chapter 9
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Epidemic: The Fifth Plague
9:1 God told Moses to go to Pharaoh, and in the name of God, Lord of the Hebrews, say to him, 'Let My people leave and serve Me.
9:2 For if you refuse to let them leave, and continue holding them,
9:3 God's power will be directed against your livestock in the field. The horses, donkeys, camels, cattle and sheep [will die from] a very serious epidemic.
9:4 'God will [again] make a miraculous distinction, [this time] between Israel's livestock and that of Egypt. Not a single [animal] belonging to the Israelites will die.
9:5 God has set a fixed time, and has announced that He will strike the land with this tomorrow.'
9:6 On the next day, God did this, and all the livestock in Egypt died. Of the Israelites' livestock, however, not a single one was affected.
9:7 Pharaoh sent word and discovered that among the Israelites' livestock, not a single [animal] had died. But Pharaoh remained obstinate and would not let the people leave.

Boils: The Sixth Plague
9:8 God said to Moses and Aaron, 'Take a handful of furnace soot and throw it up in the air before Pharaoh's eyes.
9:9 It will settle as dust on all Egypt, and when it falls on man or beast anywhere in Egypt, it will cause a rash breaking out into boils.'
9:10 They took the furnace soot and stood before Pharaoh. Moses threw it up in the air, and it caused a rash, which broke into boils, in man and beasts.
9:11 The master symbolists could not stand before Moses as a result of the rash, since the rash had attacked the symbolists [along with] the rest of Egypt.
9:12 [Now it was] God who made Pharaoh obstinate. He did not listen to [Moses and Aaron], just as God had predicted.

Warning
9:13 God told Moses to get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh, saying to him in the name of God, Lord of the Hebrews, 'Let My people leave and serve Me.
9:14 This time, I am prepared to send all My catastrophes against your very heart. [They will strike] your officials and your people, so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the world.
9:15 'I could have unleashed My power, killing you and your people with the epidemic [sent against the animals], and you would have been obliterated from the world.
9:16 The only reason I let you survive was to show you My strength, so that My name will be discussed all over the world.
9:17 'But now you are still lording it over My people, refusing to let them leave.
9:18 At this time tomorrow, I will bring a very heavy hail. Never before in Egypt, since the day it was founded, has there been anything like it.
9:19 'Now send word and make arrangements to shelter your livestock and everything else you have in the field. Any man or beast who remains in the field, and does not come indoors, will be pelted by the hail and will die.'
9:20 Some of Pharaoh's subjects feared God's word, and they made their slaves and livestock flee indoors.
9:21 But those who did not fear God's word left their slaves and livestock in the field.

Hail: The Seventh Plague
9:22 God said to Moses, 'Stretch out your had toward the sky, and there will be hail throughout all Egypt. [It will fall] on man and beast, and on all outdoor plants all over Egypt.
9:23 Moses pointed his staff at the sky, and God caused it to thunder and hail, with lightning striking the ground. God then made it hail on the land of Egypt.
9:24 There was hail, with lightning flashing among the hailstones. It was extremely heavy, unlike anything Egypt had experienced since it became a nation.
9:25 Throughout all Egypt, the hail killed every man and animal who was outdoors. The hail destroyed all the outdoor plants, and smashed every tree in the fields.
9:26 Only in Goshen, where the Israelites lived, there was no hail.
9:27 Pharaoh sent word and summoned Moses and Aaron. He said to them, 'This time I am guilty! God is Just! It is I and my people who are in the wrong!
9:28 Pray to God. There has been enough of this supernatural thunder and hail. I will let you leave. You will not be delayed again.'
9:29 Moses said to him, 'When I go out of the city, I will spread my hands [in prayer] to God. The thunder will then stop, and there will not be any more hail. You will then know that the whole world belongs to God.
9:30 'I realize that you and your subjects still do not fear God.
9:31 The flax and barley have been destroyed, since the barley was ripe, and the flax had formed stalks.
9:32 But the wheat and spelt have not been destroyed, since they are late in sprouting.'
9:33 Moses left Pharaoh's presence, and went out of the city. As soon as he spread his hands out to God, the thunder ceased, and the hail and rain stopped falling to the ground.
9:34 But when Pharaoh saw that there was no longer any rain, hail or thunder, he continued his sinful ways. He and his officials continued to make themselves obstinate.
9:35 Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not let the Israelites leave, just as God had predicted through Moses.



Commentary:

in the name of...
  Literally, 'and say to him, 'this is what God....' '

power
  Literally, 'hand.'

strike
  Literally, 'do.'

handful
  A double handful, where both hands are placed together and filled (cf. Leviticus 16:12; Ibn Ezra ad loc.; Rashi here translates it as joinchiez, a 'joined handful.'

soot
  (Rashi; Hirsch; Septuagint). Or, 'ashes' (Targum Yonathan; Vulgate), or 'cinders' or 'embers' (rescoldo in Spanish; Radak, Sherashim). Some sources state that it is the white ash that forms on burning embers (Lekach Tov; Sekhel Tov).

boils
  (Hirsch). Or 'blisters' (Sekhel Tov). Others have, 'boils breaking into open sores' (Septuagint). (See Bava Kama 80b).

in the name...
  Literally, 'Say to him: this is what God ... says: ....'

unleashed My power
  Literally, 'extend My hand.'

lording it over...
  (Ibn Ezra; Radak, Sherashim). Or, 'oppressing' (Targum; Rashi; Rashbam).

Some of...
  This is not part of Moses' speech (Targum Yonathan). According to some, however, it is (cf. Sforno).

outdoor plants
  Literally, 'grass of the field.' See Genesis 1:11, 2:5.

lightning striking the ground
  (Ralbag; Sforno; Hirsch). Or, 'fire flashing' (Targum Yonathan), or 'fire streaming to the ground' (Ibn Ezra). Cf. Psalms 78:48, 105:32, 148:8.

flashing
  (Targum). Or 'fire darting,' or 'fire jumping' (Targum Yonathan; Sekhel Tov); 'deadly fire' (Sh'moth Rabbah); or 'self-contained fire' (Hirsch), or 'fire holding itself to the hail' (Malbim). Cf. Ezekiel 1:4. The expression can also be translated, 'lightning flashes in close succession,' 'incessant fire,' 'a mass of fire,' or 'forked lightning.' Some say that it denotes a meteorite shower (Ibn Ezra, Sefer HaAtzamim).

supernatural
  (cf. Ralbag). Literally, 'God's thunder.' (cf. Targum; Targum Yonathan).

The flax...
  This is still part of Moses' speech (Saadia Gaon; Rashbam; Ramban; Tur; Hirsch). According to others, this is the Torah's comment (Ibn Ezra).

spelt
  (Septuagint; espelta in Spanish, Radak, Sherashim; Bertonoro on Kilayim 1:1), otherwise known as Dinkel (Tifereth Yisroel on Kilayim 1:1). This is a species of wheat (Pesachim 35a) known as triticum spelta. Maimonides, however, writes that it is a kind of desert wheat (commentary on Kilayim 1:1). Since no evidence of spelt has been found in Biblical times, some identify the kusemeth here as Emmer wheat (triticum dicoccum), which is found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Others say that it is triticum dioccoides), which grows wild in the Holy Land. Thus, in Hebrew there are two types of wheat, chita, and kusemeth, and in ancient Egyptian, these may correspond to chetzt or khent and kamut.

late in sprouting
  And still not emerged from the ground (Ibn Ezra; Radak, Sherashim). Or, 'still yielding' (Rashi; Lekach Tov; Saadia; both explanations are found in Sekhel Tov).





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