The Sixth Plague - Boils

Ex. 9:8-12


Verse 8, And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.

I.   There is no warning to Pharaoh about what God is about to do.

A.     God is under no obligation to inform anybody about what He is about to do.

B.     Pharaoh doesn't have an opportunity to repent before he suffers.


II.   The ashes of the furnace.

A.     Refers to Egyptian custom of sprinkling the ashes of victims to God "Typhon".

B.     Moses would sprinkled these ashes toward heaven was a challenge to Egyptian deity.

1.       When the ashes of the furnace was sprinkled toward heaven by the Egyptians, nothing would happen.

2.       When Moses sprinkled the ashes of the furnace, the Egyptians would certainly notice because that was part of their religious observance.

3.       The observers (Pharaoh is included) would see the ashes turn into a cloud of dust, which in turn would cause the boils.

4.       This act is very clearly a show of God's strength over the pagan religion of Egypt.

C.     If it was the furnace of the brick kiln, a symbol that the result of the labor of Israel caused the sores on Egypt.


III.   The relationship between Moses and Aaron.

A.     Aaron is the speaker for Moses.

1.       If we don't read the scriptures very carefully, we will not understand how much Aaron has done.

2.       Sometimes we think that Aaron only speaks what Moses tells him.

B.     God will now begin to use Moses for the miracles.

1.       We naturally think that Moses is always in the forefront of the miracles, but God used Aaron to turn the rod into a serpent and to perform the first 3 plagues.

2.       See the following table:


Plague No.

Plague or Miracle

Who Acts?

Ex. 7:10


Rod turned into a serpent

Aaron cast down the rod.

Ex. 7:19

No. 1

Water turned into blood

Aaron stretched out the rod over the water.

Ex. 8:5

No. 2

Frogs from water

Aaron stretched out the rod over the water.

Ex. 8:16

No. 3

Lice from dust

Aaron stretched out the rod, and smote the dust of the land.

Ex. 8:24

No. 4

Swarms (of flies)

And the LORD did so.

Ex. 9:6

No. 5

Murrain of beasts

And the LORD did that thing.

Ex. 9:8,10

No. 6


Moses sprinkled it.

Ex. 9:22,23

No. 7

Hail and fire

Moses stretched forth his rod.

Ex. 10:12,13

No. 8


Moses stretched forth his rod.

Ex. 10:21,22

No. 9


Moses stretched forth his hand.

Ex. 12:29

No. 10

Death of firstborn

the LORD smote all the firstborn

3.       This is actually the first miracle God has used Moses to perform!

C.     As can be seen from the above chart, it is not the last miracle God will use Moses for, but it is the last miracle God will use Aaron for.

1.       There is a definite changing of the one God uses to show His power.

2.       This doesn't speak bad about Aaron.

3.       He is not supposed to be in this place to begin with.

4.       The only reason he is here is because of the rebellion of Moses.

5.       God has shown Moses through Aaron that the power is in Himself, not in the man.

6.       Moses has begun to understand this principle, and will begin to show his faith in God by complete obedience.

7.       It is interesting to note the spiritual development of Moses.

D.     The comparison of the final three miraculous plagues performed by Moses.

1.       In Ex. 9:22,23, and 10:12,13 Moses stretches forth his rod.

a.       This seems to say that Moses and Aaron each have a rod.

b.       Moses stretched forth his rod and Aaron stretches forth his rod.

2.       In Ex. 10:21,22 Moses stretches forth his hand.

a.       This is to show that the power is not in the rod, but in God.

b.       For more information, see my comments on Exodus 10:21, 22.


Verse 9, And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.

I.   The nature of the plague.

A.     The word "dust" refers to a cloud.

1.       The word “small” is associated with the dust.  It doesn’t take a lot of dust, or big dust for God to do his work.

2.       It appears the dust ashes of the furnace, when sprinkled in the air, in the sight of Pharaoh, will grow until it becomes like a cloud which fills the land.

3.       As the cloud fills the land, there will be a grievous sore appearing on man, and beast.

B.     The boil will be an inflamed spot, or an eruption on the flesh and is comparable to the inflammation of leprosy.

1.       It appears to me that the inflammation starts when the dust cloud comes.

2.       Everybody would associate the dust cloud with the boils.

C.     The word "blains" means:

1.       by reduplication - speaking about the rapid development of the illness.

a.       First one blain will appear.

b.       Then two more blains will appear.

c.       Then four more blains will appear.

d.       Then eight more blains will appear.

e.       Then sixteen more blains will appear.

f.        It wouldn't take very long before the whole body was covered with blains, which would turn into a leprosy type boil.

2.       The root word means "to belch forth" - speaking about the suddenness of the disease.

a.       The word “blains” appears in the Bible only in connection with the plagues in Egypt.

3.       The will be a sudden swelling in the flesh, and a blister will quickly appear, which will turn into a leprosy like boil.

a.       It must be remembered that leprosy in the Bible is a symbol of the judgment of God.

b.       The Egyptians might not know what the Bible said about leprosy, but they would know that their boils came from the dust cloud.


II.   Note the increasing severity of the plagues.

A.     It affects them in the form of disease for the first time.

1.       When the rod was turned into a serpent, the general population didn't know anything about it.

2.       When the water was turned into blood, the people were thirsty, but they were healthy enough to dig more wells.

3.       The people were uncomfortable when the land was covered by frogs, but the frogs were only a nuisance, not injurious to them personally.

4.       When the dust was turned into lice, the people and beasts were affected, but their physical distress was caused by something outside their bodies.

5.       I am sure the swarm (of flies) was very grievous to the people and beasts, but like the lice, it was caused by something outside their bodies.

6.       The murrain of beasts didn't physically affect the Egyptians at all, but it sure did make a dent in their pocket book!

7.       The boils of this plague is the first time God has stuck the Egyptians with a disease.

B.     It must be noted that all this sorrow and suffering has not caused the Egyptians to turn to the Lord.

1.       Sometimes we might get the idea that after enough physical trouble, every person will turn to the Lord.

2.       This simply isn't so.

3.       People might call out for the Lord's help, but just as soon as their troubles are over, they will go right back into sin.

4.       Only the drawing of the Holy Spirit will cause a person to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

C.     At first, there was no injury to anybody or anything, but as time has increased, and Pharaoh continually refuses to let Israel go, the severity of the plagues increase.



Plague No.

Plague or Miracle

Physical Effect

Exodus 7:10-11


Rod turned into a serpent


Exodus 7:17-18

No. 1

Water turned into blood

Fish die, people thirsty

Exodus 8:3-4

No. 2

Frogs come from river

Frogs are everywhere, people uncomfortable because of the many frogs.

Exodus 8:16-19

No. 3

Dust turned into lice

People suffer physically because of the lice bites.

Exodus 8:20-24

No. 4

Grievous swarms (of flies)

People and land suffer extensive damage.

Exodus 9:1-7

No. 5

Murrain of beasts

All animals in the field die, no humans die or suffer physically.  Suffering is economic.

Exodus 9:8-12

No. 6

Boils upon man and beast

Intense suffering by man and beast in Egypt.

D.     It must be remarked that the previous plague (the Murrian of beasts) would be considered by some to be more severe than this plague.

1.       Some of the animal rights activists would consider the death of an animal worse than a boil upon man and beast.

2.       In their minds, humans are nothing but animals that walk upright.

3.       They don't consider the eternal soul of man any more precious than the temporary soul of an animal.


Verse 10,  And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.


Verse 11, And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.

I.   The magicians.

A.     It is very amazing to me that the magicians came back.

1.       They were probably called by Pharaoh, even though they had already told him they were fighting the "finger of God".

2.       Unbelief on the part of Pharaoh is very evident.

a.       He didn't believe God.

b.       He didn't believe Moses and Aaron.

c.       He didn't believe his own people.

d.       He didn't even believe what he saw and heard and felt in his own body to be true.

B.     They were punished.

1.       For trying to pervert the right ways of the Lord.

2.       Helping to deceive Pharaoh.

a.       They were shamed, not necessarily a-shamed.

b.       They left - didn't come back.


Verse 12, And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

I.   The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart.

A.     Note the number of times Pharaoh hardens his own heart.

1.       Ex. 7:22  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.

2.       Ex. 8:15  But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

3.       Ex. 8:19  Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

4.       Ex. 8:32  And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.

5.       Ex. 9:7  And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

B.     Rom. 1:  Three times God gives them over.  This is what He is doing with Pharaoh.