|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:8-12 When the Egyptians were not wrought upon by the death of their cattle, God sent a plague that seized their own bodies. If lesser judgments do not work, God will send greater. Sometimes God shows men their sin in their punishment. They had oppressed Israel in the furnaces, and now the ashes of the furnace are made a terror to them. The plague itself was very grievous. The magicians themselves were struck with these boils. Their power was restrained before; but they continued to withstand Moses, and to confirm Pharaoh in his unbelief, till they were forced to give way. Pharaoh continued obstinate. He had hardened his own heart, and now God justly gave him up to his own heart's lusts, permitting Satan to blind and harden him. If men shut their eyes against the light, it is just with God to close their eyes. This is the sorest judgment a man can be under out of hell.
Verse 9. - It shall become small dust. Rather, "It shall be as dust." No physical change is intended by the expression used, but simply that the "soot" or "ash" should be spread by the air throughout all Egypt, as dust was wont to be spread. And shall be a boil breaking forth with blains. Literally, "an inflammation, begetting pustules." The description would apply to almost any eruptive disease. The attempts definitely to determine what exactly the malady was, seem to be futile - more especially as diseases are continually changing their forms, and a malady which belongs to the fourteenth or fifteenth century before our era is almost certain to have been different from any now prevalent. The word "blains" - now obsolete as a separate word - appears in "chilblains." Ver 10. - The furnace. It is perhaps not very important what kind of "furnace" is meant. But the point has been seriously debated. Some suppose a furnace for the consumption of victims, human or other; some a baking oven, or cooking stove; others a furnace for smelting metal; others again a limekiln. The ordinary meaning of the word used, kibshon, is a "brick-kiln;" but bricks were not often baked in Egypt. Nor is it at all clear that any victims were ever consumed in furnaces. Probably either a brick-kiln or a furnace for the smelting of metals is meant.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt,.... Which ashes, thrown up into the air, should be so multiplied and spread as to be over all the land of Egypt, and come down like showers of snow or sleet everywhere, only of a hot and scalding nature; or these handfuls of ashes were to be cast up into the air, and come down in the above manner, about Pharaoh's court, as a sign and token of what would be the case all over the kingdom:
and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains; that is, these ashes becoming a small dust, and falling down like the dew, snow, or sleet, yet hot and burning, should produce sore boils, burning ulcers, hot carbuncles, rising up in pustules, blisters, and buboes, which last word is pretty near in sound with the Hebrew word here used:
upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt; so that, as the last plague affected their property, substance, and riches, which in those times greatly lay in cattle, this, besides that, would affect their persons, and give them exceeding great pain, though it might not issue in death.
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