The Fifth Plague – Livestock

The Fifth Plague – Livestock


(6) All the cattle of Egypt died, yet of the cattle of Bnei-Yisrael, not one died.  (7) When Pharaoh inquired, there was not so much as one of the cattle of Bnei-Yisrael dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he did not let the people go.

Exodus 9:6-7, TLV

Once more the Hebrews were protected from the fifth plague. By contrast ALL of Egypt’s cattle were dead. We should note that this affected all the livestock, not just the cows. Horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and flocks are mentioned in Exodus 9:2. Once more an Egyptian deity, Apis the bull god, was defeated by the One True G-d. Pharaoh was well aware that only the Egyptian livestock were affected. He asked and was told that the Hebrew livestock were doing just fine. Pharaoh saw clearly the effects of his stubbornness on his people.

Most of us do not own any livestock. We may look at this and see a tragic loss of animal lives, but we probably wouldn’t think of it as as huge as disaster as it was. These animals were the source of transportation. They provided the “horse power” for work that we rely on machinery for. They were food sources either directly or via the agricultural work they provided. The disaster was immense. For us this would be if suddenly no one’s car worked, the tractors and farm equipment would not operate, factory machinery was gone, and no trains or trucks were bringing the groceries to the stores. Can you imagine the disruption to life that that would create? But what was Pharaoh’s response? 

Pharaoh hardened his heart. He saw the consequences of his sin for his people all around him… and he hardened his heart. It seems almost unbelievable, but I’m not sure that I am any different sometimes. I may not be causing nationwide disasters, but my stubbornness does not always impact my life alone. My lack of repentance affects those around me all the time. 

Questions to Ponder: What are the things in my life that HaShem has said to deal with that I have hardened my heart concerning? What effect is this having on those around me? What am I going to do about it?