Moses and Aaron went to tell Pharaoh God’s message: ‘If you don’t let my people go, I will send gadflies to the land.’ Swarms of gadflies invaded the houses of the Egyptians, both rich and poor. The whole land was full of gadflies. But in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, there were no gadflies. Starting with this fourth plague, the plagues hurt only the Egyptians. Pharaoh pleaded: ‘Beg Jehovah to take these flies away. Your people can go.’ But when Jehovah took the gadflies away, Pharaoh changed his mind. Would Pharaoh ever learn his lesson?
Jehovah said: ‘If Pharaoh does not let my people go, the animals of the Egyptians will become sick and die.’ The next day, the animals began to die. But the animals of the Israelites didn’t die. Still Pharaoh was stubborn, and he wouldn’t give in.
Then Jehovah told Moses to go back to Pharaoh and throw ashes into the air. The ashes became dust that filled the air and settled on all the Egyptians. The dust caused painful sores to break out on all of the Egyptians and their animals. Even so, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go.
Jehovah sent Moses back to Pharaoh with His message: ‘Are you still refusing to send my people away? Tomorrow hail will rain down on the land.’ The next day, Jehovah sent hail, thunder, and fire. It was the worst storm Egypt had ever seen. All the trees and crops were ruined, but not those in Goshen. Pharaoh said: ‘Beg Jehovah to make this stop! Then you can go.’ But as soon as the hail and the rain stopped, Pharaoh changed his mind.
Then Moses said: ‘Now locusts will eat any plants that were left over from the hailstorm.’ Millions of locusts ate up everything that was left in the fields and on the trees. Pharaoh pleaded: ‘Beg Jehovah to send these locusts away.’ But even after Jehovah stopped the locusts, Pharaoh was still stubborn.
Jehovah told Moses: ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky.’ Immediately, the sky became completely dark. For three days, the Egyptians could not see anything or anybody. Only the Israelites had light in their houses.
Pharaoh said to Moses: ‘You and your people can go. Just leave your animals here.’ Moses said: ‘We must take our animals so that we can offer them to our God.’ Pharaoh was very angry. He shouted: ‘Get away from me! If I see you again, I will kill you.’
“You will again see the distinction between a righteous person and a wicked person, between one serving God and one not serving him.”—Malachi 3:18