Now, Moses announced to the king that a hail-storm of unprecedented violence was to sweep the land; no living thing, no tree, no herb was to escape its fury unhurt; safety was to be found only in the shelter of the houses; those, therefore, who believed and were afraid might keep in their homes, and drive their cattle into the sheds.
Some of the Egyptians took this counsel to heart; but the reckless and the stubborn left their cattle with their servants in the fields.
When Moses stretched forth his staff, the hail poured down with violence; deafening thunder rolled over the earth, and lightning rent the heavens, and ran like fire along the ground. The hail did its work of destruction; man and beast who were exposed to its rage died on the spot; the herbs were scattered to the wind, and the trees lay shattered on the ground.
But the land of Goshen, untouched by the ravages of the storm, bloomed like a garden amidst the general devastation. Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and acknowledged his sins. "The Lord is righteous," he said, "and I and my people are wicked. Entreat the Lord that there should be no more thundering and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."
Moses replied: "When I am gone out of the city, I shall spread out my hands to the Lord; and the thunder will cease, and neither will there be any more hail, that thou mayest know that the earth is the Lord's."
And it happened as Moses had said: the storm ceased, but
Pharaoh's heart remained hardened.