Exodus 9:7
And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
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(7) Pharaoh sent.—The Pharaoh evidently did not believe it possible that there should be such a widespread destruction of the Egyptian cattle without the Hebrew cattle suffering at all. He therefore sent persons to inquire and report on the facts. These persons found the announcement of Moses fulfilled to the letter. This was the more surprising, as Goshen consisted mainly of the low flat tract bordering on the Menzaleh marshes.

The heart of Pharaoh was hardened.—Even the exact correspondence of the result with the announcement did not soften the heart of the king. It remained dull and unimpressed—literally, “heavy” kâbêd). Loss of property would not much distress an absolute monarch, who could easily exact the value of what he had lost from his subjects.

Exodus 9:7. Pharaoh sent — It seems as if Pharaoh, notwithstanding all he had seen, could not conceive that such a distinction could be made between cattle feeding together in the same or similar pastures, that those of the Egyptians alone should be stricken, while those of the Israelites were not affected; and therefore he sent expressly to know the truth of it: when behold, (and well might it be said, behold! for it was worthy of both notice and admiration,) there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead — But, notwithstanding this most convincing evidence of the distinguishing favour of God toward his people, such was the unwillingness of Pharaoh to part with the advantage which the service of the Israelites was to him, that he could not bring himself to consent to their departure.

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.Was hardened - See Exodus 4:21. Pharaoh probably attributed the exemption of the Israelites to natural causes. They were a pastoral race, well acquainted with all that pertained to the care of cattle; and dwelling in a healthy district probably far more than the rest of Lower Egypt. 7. Pharaoh sent … there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead—The despatch of confidential messengers indicates that he would not give credit to vague reports, and we may conclude that some impression had been made on his mind by that extraordinary exemption, but it was neither a good nor a permanent impression. His pride and obstinacy were in no degree subdued. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Pharaoh sent,.... Messengers to the land of Goshen, to see whether the murrain was upon the cattle of Israel or not, and whether any of them died or not. The Targum of Jonathan is,"he sent to Pelusium to see"

and inquire about this matter; that is, to Raamses, for so that paraphrase calls Raamses in Exodus 1:11 a city built by the Israelites, and where many of them might dwell. This Pharaoh did, not merely out of curiosity, but to know whether the divine prediction was accomplished, and that he might have wherewith to confront it, could he find the murrain was upon any of the cattle of Israel, or any died of it; and if they did not, his view might be to convert them to his own use, and make up his loss, and the loss of his people, in a good measure in this way, and perhaps this may be the reason why he so little regarded this plague:

and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead; which was very wonderful, and therefore a "behold", a note of admiration, is prefixed to it, yet it made no impression on Pharaoh:

and the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go; though this plague was so heavy upon him and his people, and the loss they sustained so great: in the other plagues of the water, the frogs, lice, and flies, though very troublesome and terrible, yet the loss was not very great; but here much damage was done to their property, yet this did not make his heart relent, or cause him to yield to let Israel go.

And Pharaoh {b} sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

(b) Into the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived.

7. was stubborn] lit. heavy; the word regularly used by J (v. 34, Exodus 7:14, Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32, Exodus 10:1).

Verse 7. - And Pharaoh sent. This time the king had the curiosity to send out and see whether the Israelites had been spared. Though he found the fact correspond to the announcement, he was not seriously impressed. Perhaps he thought the Israelites took better care of their cattle and were better cattle doctors than his own people. (The doctoring of cattle is represented on the monuments. Rosellini, Mon. Civ. pl. 31.) Or he may have attributed the escape of their animals to the more healthy air of Goshen. Pharaoh's heart was hardened. The plague affected him less than others had done, rather than more. He was so rich that an affliction which touched nothing but property seemed a trivial matter What cared he for the sufferings of the poor beasts, or the ruin of those who depended upon the breeding and feeding of cattle

CHAPTER 9:8-12 Exodus 9:7But Pharaoh's heart still continued hardened, though he convinced himself by direct inquiry that the cattle of the Israelites had been spared.
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