Exodus 9:4
And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
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(4) The Lord shall sever.—Comp. Exodus 8:22. Apparently Israel had been subjected to the first, second, and third plagues, which caused annoyance only, and not loss. Their exemption began with the fourth plague, and then probably continued without intermission, though it is not always mentioned.

Exodus 9:4. Shall nothing die of the children’s of Israel — This was the greater miracle, because the Israelites and the Egyptians were mingled together in the land of Goshen; so that their cattle breathed the same air, and drank the same water. By which it appeared that this pestilence was not natural, but proceeded from the immediate hand of God.9:1-7 God will have Israel released, Pharaoh opposes it, and the trial is, whose word shall stand. The hand of the Lord at once is upon the cattle, many of which, some of all kinds, die by a sort of murrain. This was greatly to the loss of the owners; they had made Israel poor, and now God would make them poor. The hand of God is to be seen, even in the sickness and death of cattle; for a sparrow falls not to the ground without our Father. None of the Israelites' cattle should die; the Lord shall sever. The cattle died. The Egyptians worshipped their cattle. What we make an idol of, it is just with God to remove from us. This proud tyrant and cruel oppressor deserved to be made an example by the just Judge of the universe. None who are punished according to what they deserve, can have any just cause to complain. Hardness of heart denotes that state of mind upon which neither threatenings nor promise, neither judgements nor mercies, make any abiding impression. The conscience being stupified, and the heart filled with pride and presumption, they persist in unbelief and disobedience. This state of mind is also called the stony heart. Very different is the heart of flesh, the broken and contrite heart. Sinners have none to blame but themselves, for that pride and ungodliness which abuse the bounty and patience of God. For, however the Lord hardens the hearts of men, it is always as a punishment of former sins.A very grievous murrain - Or "pestilence;" but the word "murrain," i. e. "a great mortality," exactly expresses the meaning. This terrible visitation struck far more severely than the preceding, which had caused distress and suffering; it attacked the resources of the nation.

The camels - These animals are only twice mentioned, here and Genesis 12:16, in connection with Egypt. Though camels are never represented on the monuments, they were known to the Egyptians, and were probably used on the frontier.

3-5. Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle—A fifth application was made to Pharaoh in behalf of the Israelites by Moses, who was instructed to tell him that, if he persisted in opposing their departure, a pestilence would be sent among all the flocks and herds of the Egyptians, while those of the Israelites would be spared. As he showed no intention of keeping his promise, he was still a mark for the arrows of the Almighty's quiver, and the threatened plague of which he was forewarned was executed. But it is observable that in this instance it was not inflicted through the instrumentality or waving of Aaron's rod, but directly by the hand of the Lord, and the fixing of the precise time tended still further to determine the true character of the calamity (Jer 12:4). No text from Poole on this verse. And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt,.... Make such a difference and distinction between them, that the murrain should not be on the one, when it was on the other, and which was a very marvellous thing; and especially in the land of Goshen, where the Egyptians had much cattle, and Pharaoh himself, see Genesis 47:6 and yet, though the cattle of Israel breathed in the same air, drank of the same water, and fed in the same pastures, they had not the murrain as the cattle of Egypt had; and the word here used signifies a marvellous separation, as has been observed on Exodus 7:22,

and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel; not an horse, nor an ass, nor an ox, nor a sheep.

And the LORD shall {a} sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.

(a) He will declare his heavenly judgment against his enemies, and his favour toward his children.

4. The land of Goshen is again, as in the case of the plague of flies (Exodus 8:22 f.), to be immune from the visitation.Verse 4. - The Lord shall sever. Compare Exodus 8:22. There shall nothing die, etc The original is more emphatic, and might be rendered literally - " There shall not die of all that is the children's of Israel a thing." These reasons commended themselves to the heathen king from his own religious standpoint. He promised, therefore, to let the people go into the wilderness and sacrifice, provided they did not go far away, if Moses and Aaron would release him and his people from this plague through their intercession. Moses promised that the swarms should be removed the following day, but told the king not to deceive them again as he had done before (Exodus 8:8). But Pharaoh hardened his heart as soon as the plague was taken away, just as he had done after the second plague (Exodus 8:15), to which the word "also" refers (Exodus 8:32).
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