Summary of passage: Now the Lord tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that the next plague will be a plague of flies; however, this time there will be no flies upon God’s people in Goshen–only in Egypt–so that Pharaoh will see God’s power even more. Pharaoh tells Moses to worship God in Egypt and Moses says that is impossible for the Egyptians would stone them to death for doing so. Pharaoh again says he will allow the people to go if Moses takes away the flies. Moses does and Pharaoh once again lies.
God tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that he will kill all of the Egyptians livestock but leave the Israelites’ livestock alone. Still, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he refuses. So with no warning, God sends the plague of boils upon the men and animals. Still, Pharaoh refuses to believe.
7) God decides to only send the plague of flies upon the Egyptians and spare His people.
8a) Presumably to give Pharaoh time to repent and turn to God and let His people go after receiving the warning from Moses. Hence, Pharaoh would have no excuse as to his refusal.
b) This shows God’s infinite mercy.
c) Pharaoh refused to honor God’s request and “his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.”
9a) The people themselves. Before it was the water, the land, and animals around them. Here, it’s against the people themselves with the boils.
b) Yes and no. Original sin by Adam brought upon us death. Often, illness and disease lead to death. So, yes, in this instance. But in the Old Testament, people believed if you sinned you were punished by God with a disease or with death. Here, Jesus says no in John 9 as he heals a blind man. Romans 5:12: “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”
Sickness is not a consequence of personal sin; it’s a consequence of original sin (Adam and Eve’s). But with forgiveness, we are cured of our “sickness” of sin. [More explanation in End Notes].
Conclusions: Here we see the second set of three plagues. God spares His people all of the plagues and God begins a more aggressive approach as it now afflicts the bodies of the Egyptians. Unbelievable how Pharaoh still refuses to relent. This must be the work of the devil for who else would still refuse to believe after seeing all of God’s miracles?
Question 9b is interesting because we get to see just what Jesus did for us on the cross. Amazing!
I’m excited to be studying the plagues. It’s been a long time for me and I had forgotten most of them! Thank you, BSF!
End Notes: The exact translation of flies is unknown in the original Hebrew. This could very well be biting insects such as mosquitoes or fleas as well. We can assume this had the same effect as the Plague of gnats/lice–that life as usual stopped in Egypt.
We can learn from Moses here. Pharaoh tries to compromise, offering the Egyptians the right to sacrifice but here in Egypt. Moses refuses. Compromising in the face of evil/the devil is exactly what the devil wants us to do. We must remain strong in our faith and not give in to any form of sin.
Did Pharaoh lie or did he change his mind once the Plague of flies was gone? I tend to lean toward lying. He never intended to give up his slaves and since he had already reneged on his promise with the frogs, who would believe him anymore?
Note how Pharaoh wanted God to help him and as soon as he was helped, he turned on God. Good lesson for us. God is for us in the good and the bad.
Pharaoh knew God’s power enough to ask for God to remove the plagues. But once done, he turned his back on God. How many of us have done the same thing?
God is asking for Pharaoh to let His people go for His sake. We are created for His sake. So we must remember it is all about Him.
The cow was sacred to the Egyptians and their god, Hathor, was represented as a cow at times. There is record of an ancient battle where Egypt’s enemy put cows amongst the troops and the Egyptians would not shoot arrows at them for fear of killing the cows, forcing a retreat.
Even the magicians are struck with boils and their god of healing, Imhotep, was powerless.
For the first time, God hardens Pharaoh heart in fulfillment of scripture (Exodus 4:21; 7:3). In every example up to this point, Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Good lesson for us. God gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent but eventually judgment is rendered.
This was a good website on the origin of sickness with many scriptural references thrown it:
Sickness is from the devil, not from God. Sickness entered this world (and us) from man’s sins. But since we are forgiven if we accept Jesus as our Savior, illness is not from our personal sins. Does that make sense?