Exodus 9:20 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 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 fear of the LORD is very important. The Hebrew word translated as “feared” has the meaning of “standing in awe of, reverence”. There were some Egyptians who had seen enough of the power of God that they listened to the warning given by Moses and Aaron. They also had seen enough of the stubbornness of Pharaoh to know that he was not about to let the children of Israel go. They listened to the warning and they brought their cattle into their houses.
In verse 21 we read that those who disregarded the word of the LORD left their cattle in the field and did not prepare for the disaster that was coming.
In verse 22 Moses was told to stretch forth his hand toward heaven. Once again the reminder was given that God is in heaven. He rules from heaven. He can watch over all of humanity at the same time. Moses would acknowledge God’s authority and the LORD would answer by sending the hail as promised. Interestingly, Moses would be standing outside but would not be affected by the hail. However, those Egyptians that disregarded the LORD’s warning would die. We notice that this hail affected the livestock as well as certain crops and also the people.
In verse 24 we see that there was also fire mixed in with the hail. This was quite the storm that God sent upon the land of Egypt. We read that the fire ran along the ground. God shows His power in many ways. Verse 25 tells us that the hail did exactly what the LORD had declared it would do. Those who disregarded the LORD’s warning lost their cattle and even their own lives. No one in Egypt was safe outside. However, we read in verse 26 that the land of Goshen was spared this judgment as well. The Hebrews could observe the storm right next door, but they were safe in their land.
Interestingly, in verse 27 Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and he acknowledged his sin this time. He did not realize he was a lost sinner and could do nothing good. He just limited his sin to this one act. That is quite common among lost people. They do not want to admit they are wretched lost sinners. They might admit to some sin, but that is all. Most of the time they will blame their troubles or their problems on their circumstances.
Pharaoh even went so far as to acknowledge that the LORD is righteous. You notice though that he was not prepared to acknowledge his sin alone. He would include the entire nation in this sin. It is not difficult to find others who are also at fault. However, in order to be forgiven, a person must acknowledge their own sin. The whole world could be in sin, but the individual must deal with their own need of salvation. A person cannot hide behind other people’s sin.
In verse 28 Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to intreat the LORD for him. Pharaoh had his false priests. The LORD had already told Moses that he would be seen as God to Pharaoh. In the Old Testament, God taught the nation of Israel they needed to come before Him through His chosen priests. His chosen priests were a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the coming of Christ, He is our Mediator. As we have noted in the past, Jesus taught that we come to God in Jesus’ name. This is an important truth that many people ignore. We cannot come before God on our own. We must come through His declared mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pharaoh was frustrated enough in this moment to promise that the Hebrews could leave the country.
In verse 29 Moses promised to reach out to the LORD to have this severe storm cease. Just as quick as that storm was brought on, it was ended. Here was another opportunity for the nation of Egypt to witness the mighty hand of God. Moses reminded Pharaoh again here that they needed to know that the earth is the LORD’s. That is still an important truth that people need to be reminded of today.
In verse 30 Moses already knew that Pharaoh was not going to honour his word. He was a wicked sinner who did not know how to honour his word. Pharaoh would never come to know the fear of the LORD. He was far too proud for that. His servants were more concerned with pleasing Pharaoh than they were with knowing the true God.
In verse 31 we read which crops were destroyed with the hail. In verse 32 we read that some of the crops were not destroyed. Grain can take quite a beating if it is in the right stage of growth. Once it is filled out and hit with severe hail, it is too late.
In verse 33 we read that Moses went out and did as he stated he would and the LORD stopped the hail and the rain immediately. What an amazing scene that must have been. One minute there was a violent storm and the next it would be calm and peaceful. However, the evidence of that storm would be there for all to see. The Egyptians now needed to clean up all the dead livestock and the dead people. There would be a shortage of certain grains as well for that year.
In verse 34 Pharaoh proved the LORD and Moses to be right. He sinned yet more. He hardened his heart, as did his servants. They seemed to love all the punishment they were enduring and all they were putting the nation through.
In verse 35 God once again stated the nature of Pharaoh’s heart. He refused to let the children of Israel go. He did exactly as the LORD had spoken by Moses. We are reminded again, that the LORD knows us better than we know ourselves. He does not force anyone to go to hell. He knows by the nature of the person who will end up there and who will not. He knows the end result of our choices. It is important to listen to God and bow before Him in true humility, rather than trying to declare Him to be unjust. God does not answer to man. Man answers to God. Those who repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation are blessed of Him. Don’t miss out on that blessing.