1. In this chapter plagues five, six, and seven are given to us. Once again we have a distinction in one of the plagues given to the Egyptian without any kind of warning (plague six).
2. The fifth plague (murrain, epidemic) has some uncertainty as to exactly what it was (Davis, p. 119). Whatever the epidemic was (anthrax or otherwise) it was the Lord’s directing that had some of the livestock killed and others not (9:4). This distinction between the Egyptian and Israelite livestock (second occurrence in “distinction making”) had the Pharaoh do a confirmation. With this being done it would only be reasonable that he would give in; it is clear that Egypt’s king was not reasonable.
3. The sixth plague (boils) came with no warning. Perhaps the handful of soot (ashes) was from the kiln that made the brick for the Egyptians; if that was the case, note the irony. The boils that broke on the cleanliness of the Egyptian magicians would not allow for them to stand before the king when he, no doubt, called for them on this occasion. “The very fact that the magicians continued to be called even after their impotence had been demonstrated indicated something of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart” (Davis, p. 124).
4. The seventh plague brings warning, once again, to the Pharaoh. Once again, however, he refuses to allow the punishment from the Lord to get him to alter his refusal to let Israel go (9:34-35). This plague (the rain, hail, and fire) brought the king to his knees (9:26-27), and the Lord makes plain that he could have destroyed him if He desired; instead He uses him for a greater purpose (9:15-17). Pharaoh’s obstinacy was on display and in contest with the Lord’s might.
5. Application: It is the mark of wisdom when a person is brought to his knees and from that position he begins life anew. He does not begin to live life in accordance with his old way of thinking, but he begin to live life as the one who had been crucified with the Lord (Galatians 2:20). This is the mark of wisdom, because this wisdom will take him through this world into the arms of the Lord in the next.