Exodus 9:18
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.
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(18) Such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof.—Rain, and even hail, are not unknown at the present day in Lower Egypt, though they are, comparatively speaking, rare phenomena. Thunderstorms are especially uncommon, and when they occur are for the most part mild and harmless. A thunderstorm which killed a man in Thevenot’s time (Voyages, vol. i., p. 344) was regarded as most extraordinary, and “spread universal consternation.” There is hail from time to time between November and March; but it very seldom does any considerable damage.

9:13-21 Moses is here ordered to deliver a dreadful message to Pharaoh. Providence ordered it, that Moses should have a man of such a fierce and stubborn spirit as this Pharaoh to deal with; and every thing made it a most signal instance of the power of God has to humble and bring down the proudest of his enemies. When God's justice threatens ruin, his mercy at the same time shows a way of escape from it. God not only distinguished between Egyptians and Israelites, but between some Egyptians and others. If Pharaoh will not yield, and so prevent the judgment itself, yet those that will take warning, may take shelter. Some believed the things which were spoken, and they feared, and housed their servants and cattle, and it was their wisdom. Even among the servants of Pharaoh, some trembled at God's word; and shall not the sons of Israel dread it? But others believed not, and left their cattle in the field. Obstinate unbelief is deaf to the fairest warnings, and the wisest counsels, which leaves the blood of those that perish upon their own heads.A very grievous hail - The miracle consisted in the magnitude of the infliction and in its immediate connection with the act of Moses.Ex 9:18-35. Plague of Hail.

18. I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, &c.—The seventh plague which Pharaoh's hardened heart provoked was that of hail, a phenomenon which must have produced the greatest astonishment and consternation in Egypt as rain and hailstones, accompanied by thunder and lightning, were very rare occurrences.

such as hath not been in Egypt—In the Delta, or lower Egypt, where the scene is laid, rain occasionally falls between January and March—hail is not unknown, and thunder sometimes heard. But a storm, not only exhibiting all these elements, but so terrific that hailstones of immense size fell, thunder pealed in awful volleys, and lightning swept the ground like fire, was an unexampled calamity.

Since they were a kingdom or a nation.

Behold, tomorrow about this time,.... It was now the fourth day of the month Abib, and the fifth when the following was inflicted:

I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail; which should fall very thick, and the hailstones be very numerous and heavy, and the storm last long:

such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof, even until now; not since the earth or land itself was founded, for that was founded when the rest of the world was, and the sense then would be the same as since the foundation of the world; and so the Targum of Jonathan seems to understand it, paraphrasing the words,"from the day that men were made, even until now.''And a like expression is used of a storm of hail, thunder, and lightning, and earthquakes yet to come, which will be such as has not been since men were upon the earth, with which this plague may be compared, Revelation 16:19, but here is meant since Egypt was inhabited, or rather formed into a kingdom, and founded as such, which had been many hundreds of years before this time; there was a king of Egypt in Abraham's time; the first founder of this empire, and king of it, was Mizraim, the son of Ham, from whom it had its name, by which it is usually called in Scripture. This supposes that it did sometimes rain in Egypt, contrary to a vulgar notion, or otherwise there would have been no room for the comparison; though it must be owned that rain is rare in Egypt, especially in some parts of it; See Gill on Zechariah 14:18.

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.
18. to-morrow] as vv. 5, 6. Comp. on Exodus 8:23.

grievous] i.e. severe: see on Exodus 8:24.

Verse 18. - To-morrow about this time. As it might have been thought that Moses had done nothing very extraordinary in predicting a storm for the next day, a more exact note of time than usual was here given. Compare Exodus 8:23; Exodus 9:5. I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail. Rain, and, still more, hail are comparatively rare in Egypt, though not so rare as stated by some ancient authors (Herod, 3:10; Pomp. Mela, De Situ Orbis, 1:9). A good deal of rain falls in the Lower Country, where the north wind brings air loaded with vapour from the Mediterranean; particularly in the winter months from December to March. Snow, and hail, and thunder are during those months not very uncommon, having been witnessed by many modern travellers, as Pococke, Wansleben, Seetzen, Perry, Tooke, and others. They are seldom, however, of any great severity. Such a storm as here described (see especially vers. 23, 24) would be quite strange and abnormal; no Egyptian would have experienced anything approaching to it, and hence the deep impression that it made (ver. 27). Since the foundation thereof. Not "since the original formation of the country" at the Creation, or by subsequent alluvial deposits, as Herodotus thought (2:5-11), but "since Egypt became a nation" (see ver. 24). Modern Egyptologists, or at any rate a large number of them, carry back this event to a date completely irreconcilable with the Biblical chronology - Bockh to B.C. 5702, Unger to B.C. 5613, Mariette and Lenormant to B.C. 5004, Brugsch to B.C. 4455, Lepsius to B.C. 3852, and Bunsen (in one place) to B.C. 3623. The early Egyptian chronology is, however, altogether uncer-rain, as the variety in these dates sufficiently intimates. Of the dynasties before the (so-called) eighteenth, only seven are proved to be historical, and the time that the Old and Middle Empires lasted is exceedingly doubtful. All the known facts are sufficiently met by such a date as B.C. 2500-2400 for the Pyramid Kings, before whose time we have nothing authentic. This is a date which comes well within the period allowed for the formation of nations by the chronology of the Septuagint and Samaritan versions. Exodus 9:18The seventh plague. - To break down Pharaoh's opposition, Jehovah determined to send such a Hail as had not been heard of since the founding of Egypt, accompanied by thunder and masses of fire, and to destroy every man and beast that should be in the field. מסתּולל עודך: "thou still dammest thyself up against My people." הסתּולל: to set one's self as a dam, i.e., to oppose; from סלל, to heap up earth as a dam or rampart. "To-morrow about this time," to give Pharaoh time for reflection. Instead of "from the day that Egypt was founded until now," we find in Exodus 9:24 "since it became a nation," since its existence as a kingdom or nation.
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