The Lord commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me.’” Through Moses, the Lord promised to destroy with pestilence, the livestock of the Egyptians but not the livestock of the Hebrews. This seemed to include all farm animals because listed are: horses, donkeys, camels, herds and flocks. It is speculated that anthrax was the pestilence but there is no way of truly knowing; however, the cause was the Lord and that is the point of the text. The Lord also set a definite time, this way, Pharaoh had time to relent before the plague on the Egyptian livestock. The Lord did as he promised, on the next day, and all of the livestock of the Egyptians died but none of the livestock of the sons of Israel died. Pharaoh had people confirm the report; however, this did not change Pharaoh’s heart. The heart of man must be changed before he will change his mind.
Moses and Aaron, as commanded by the Lord, threw handfuls of soot from a kiln toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh and told him that it will become a fine dust and boils will breakout with sores on both man and beast. The scattering of ashes in Egypt was sometimes used by the magicians to bring an end to pestilence. (IVP BBC OT) Therefore, this was an affront to their power and effected them to the point that they could not present themselves before Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened further.
The Lord told Moses to go to Pharaoh and say, Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me.’” Through Moses the Lord told Pharaoh that he could have destroyed him but has allowed him to live to show the power of the Lord, that his name would be proclaimed throughout the earth. Yet, Pharaoh still exalts himself by not letting the people of the Lord go. Therefore, the Lord through Moses promised to bring calamity on Egypt through a storm of rain and hail. This warning allowed the Egyptians who believed to seek shelter from the storm. The hail struck all that was in the field in the land of Egypt but the land of Goshen, were the Hebrews lived was spared.
Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron to make supplication to the Lord to stop the storm. Pharaoh vowed to let the Hebrews and Moses vowed to spread out his hands to the Lord to stop the storm. Moses did as he had vowed but Pharaoh did not. Moses knew that Pharaoh would not do what he vowed to do because Pharaoh and his servants did not fear the Lord. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened even further.