9.5. The Fifth Plague: Pestilence (9:1-7)

The setup:

(1) The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go to worship Me.

(2) For if you refuse to let them go, and continue to hold them,

(3) then the hand of the Lord will strike your livestock in the fields — the horses, the asses, the camels, the cattle, and the sheep — with a very severe pestilence.

(4) But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of the Egyptians, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the Israelites.

(5) The Lord has fixed the time: tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.’ ”

The actual plague:

(6) And the Lord did so the next day: all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the livestock of the Israelites not a beast died.

Pharaoh’s reaction:

(7) When Pharaoh inquired, he found that not a head of the livestock of Israel had died; yet Pharaoh remained stubborn, and he would not let the people go.

(4) But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of the Egyptians, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the Israelites: The distinction between Israel and Egypt is now evident not only with respect to the people themselves, but to their property as well.

(7) When Pharaoh inquired, he found that not a head of the livestock of Israel had died: Pharaoh is of course deeply troubled by the misfortunes that have beset his country. But he also truly wants to understand the underlying pattern of events, and to verify the accuracy of Moses’ words.

License

Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

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