Exodus 9:19
Send therefore now, and gather your cattle, and all that you have in the field; for on every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down on them, and they shall die.
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(19) Gather thy cattle.—The peculiar circumstances of Egypt, where the whole country was overflowed by the Nile during some months of each year, caused the provision of shelter for cattle to be abnormally great. Every year, at the time of the inundation, all the cattle had to be “gathered” into sheds and cattle-yards in the immediate vicinity of the villages and towns, which were protected from the inundation by high mounds. Thus it would have been easy to house all the cattle that remained to the Egyptians after the murrain, if the warning here given had been attended to generally.

Exodus 9:19. Send now therefore and gather thy cattle — This warning God gives to mitigate the severity of the judgment, to show his justice in punishing so wicked and obstinate a people as would not hearken either to his words or former works, and especially to make a difference between the penitent and the incorrigible Egyptians, it being far from God to inflict the same punishment on those who mourn because of any national crime, and those who for their profit or pleasure will continue to do wickedly.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.In Egypt the cattle are sent to pasture in the open country from January to April, when the grass is abundant. They are kept in stalls for the rest of the year.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.

This forewarning God gives, partly, to initiate the severity of the judgment; partly, that a considerable number of horses might be reserved for Pharaoh’s expedition, Exo 14; partly, to show the justice of God in punishing so wicked and obstinate people, as would take no warning neither from God’s words, nor from his former works; and partly, to make a difference between the penitent and the incorrigible Egyptians. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field,.... The servants that were at work there: this is said to denote both the certainty of the plague, and the terribleness of it, that all, both men and beast, would perish by it, if care was not taken to get them home; and also to show the wonderful clemency and mercy of God to such rebellious, hardened, and undeserving creatures, as Pharaoh and his people were; in the midst of wrath and judgment God remembers mercy:

for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home; and there sheltered in houses, barns, and stables:

the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die; the hailstones that would fall would be so large and so heavy as to kill both men and beasts, like those which fell from heaven upon the Canaanites in the days of Joshua, which killed more than the sword did, Joshua 10:11.

Send therefore now, and {e} gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.

(e) Here we see though God's wrath is kindled yet there is a certain mercy shown even to his enemies.

19. Advice to the Pharaoh, and, implicitly (cf. vv. 20, 21), to his servants as well, to bring their cattle quickly into safety. The advice gives the Pharaoh an opportunity of shewing what his frame of mind is, according as he follows or disregards the advice. According to v. 6 the Egyptians had indeed no ‘cattle’ left after the murrain; but (as was remarked on v. 6) ‘all’ in Hebrew is not always to be taken literally. The inconsistency is however remarkable: contrast Exodus 10:5; Exodus 10:15.Verse 19. - Thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field. During winter and early spring, the Egyptians kept their cattle "in the field," as other nations commonly do. When the inundation began (June or July), they were obliged to bring them into the cities and enclosed villages, and house them. The time of the "Plague of Hail" appears by all the indications w have been the middle of February. They shall die. Human life was now for the first time threatened. Any herdsmen that remained with the cattle in the open field and did not seek the shelter of houses or sheds would be smitten by the huge jagged hailstones with such force that they would be killed outright, or else die of their wounds. As the plagues had thus far entirely failed to bend the unyielding heart of Pharaoh under the will of the Almighty God, the terrors of that judgment, which would infallibly come upon him, were set before him in three more plagues, which were far more terrible than any that had preceded them. That these were to be preparatory to the last decisive blow, is proved by the great solemnity with which they were announced to the hardened king (Exodus 9:13-16). This time Jehovah was about to "send all His strokes at the heart of Pharaoh, and against his servants and his people" (Exodus 9:14). אל־לבּך does not signify "against thy person," for לב is not used for נפשׁ, and even the latter is not a periphrasis for "person;" but the strokes were to go to the king's heart, "It announces that they will be plagues that will not only strike the head and arms, but penetrate the very heart, and inflict a mortal wound" (Calvin). From the plural "strokes," it is evident that this threat referred not only to the seventh plague, viz., the hail, but to all the other plagues, through which Jehovah was about to make known to the king that "there was none like Him in all the earth,;" i.e., that not one of the gods whom the heathen worshipped was like Him, the only true God. For, in order to show this, Jehovah had not smitten Pharaoh and his people at once with pestilence and cut them off from the earth, but had set him up to make him see, i.e., discern or feel His power, and to glorify His name in all the earth (Exodus 9:15, Exodus 9:16). In Exodus 9:15 וגו שׁלחתּי (I have stretched out, etc.) is to be taken as the conditional clause: "If I had now stretched out My hand and smitten thee...thou wouldest have been cut off." העמדתּיך forms the antithesis to תּכּהד, and means to cause to stand or continue, as in 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Chronicles 9:8 (διετηρήθης lxx). Causing to stand presupposes setting up. In this first sense the Apostle Paul has rendered it ἐξήγειρα in Romans 9:17, in accordance with the purport of his argument, because "God thereby appeared still more decidedly as absolutely determining all that was done by Pharaoh" (Philippi on Romans 9:17). The reason why God had not destroyed Pharaoh at once was twofold: (1) that Pharaoh himself might experience (הראת to cause to see, i.e., to experience) the might of Jehovah, by which he was compelled more than once to give glory to Jehovah (Exodus 9:27; Exodus 10:16-17; Exodus 12:31); and (2) that the name of Jehovah might be declared throughout all the earth. As both the rebellion of the natural man against the word and will of God, and the hostility of the world-power to the Lord and His people, were concentrated in Pharaoh, so there were manifested in the judgments suspended over him the patience and grace of the living God, quite as much as His holiness, justice, and omnipotence, as a warning to impenitent sinners, and a support to the faith of the godly, in a manner that should by typical for all times and circumstances of the kingdom of God in conflict with the ungodly world. The report of this glorious manifestation of Jehovah spread at once among all the surrounding nations (cf. Exodus 15:14.), and travelled not only to the Arabians, but to the Greeks and Romans also, and eventually with the Gospel of Christ to all the nations of the earth (vid., Tholuck on Romans 9:17).
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