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Q: #327. In Exodus 9, it says that God killed ALL of the livestock of Egypt by pestilence during the 5th plague. Then, before the 7th plague, God told Moses to warn everyone to bring their livestock out of the fields so they wouldn't die. Where did the livestock come from in such a short time between the 5th and 7th plagues?

     A: Excellent question! I have not noticed this before, and spent a good part of last night searching for an answer. Since the Bible is silent on this, we obviously cannot know the answer for sure, but here are 3 good answers that I find plausible.

#1. If you look at (Ex 9:3), we see God saying that the pestilence would strike all the livestock that were “in the field.” So, perhaps there was sheltered livestock that was not “in the field,” which kept them from being struck with the pestilence. I find this the most likely explanation. There were quite likely very many places throughout the land to shelter animals. For example, we can see in (2 Chr 32:28) that King Hezekiah had “stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes (coops) for flocks.” (2 Chr 9:25) says that King Solomon had 4000 stalls for his horses! (See: Num 32:16,24,36, Mal 4:2, Zeph 2:6, Hab 3:17 for more examples)
*** Note: Something like this would also explain why in (Ex 14:7), Pharaoh had 600 horse drawn chariots to chase after Moses.

#2. Another possibility, we can see in (Ex 9:7) that after the pestilence, Pharaoh sent some of his men to see if the livestock of the Israelites had survived as God said they would (Ex 9:4). He was told they had. I am sure this did not please Pharaoh, and it is very possible that he confiscated a good deal of their livestock for himself. It could also be possible that he bought some livestock from surrounding nations.

#3. A final possibility could be that “all” does not mean “all,” but rather, is simply a generalization. For example, we might say, “My roommate ate ALL of my food,” but did he really eat EVERY single bit of food you had? Or, “All of my friends went to the movies.” Did EVERY friend you have go to the movies? The Bible also uses this language. For example,  in (Ex 7:24), it says, “all the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink.” Does this mean EVERY Egyptian dug, even the infants? Or, in (Lk 8:37) it says that “all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him (Jesus) to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear.” Does this mean that EVERY single person in the Gerasenes AND the surrounding district asked Jesus to leave?

     There are a few other possibilities floating around out there, but I find these three the best.

Copyright: © Steve Shirley

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