|When I read this passage, I always remember|
the scene from O Brother Where Art Thou
when Delmar says, "Not the livestock!"
The striking of the livestock would be a direct hit to the wealth of Egypt. One might consider that if the Hebrews were slaves, what would prevent the Egyptians from simply taking their untouched cattle?
We don't have time to consider this possibility (and maybe the Egyptians didn't either) before the next plague strikes.
This time, boils cover their captors. Even the magicians are afflicted and Moses is left unopposed except for Pharaoh. We can see that the allies and resources of the oppressor are falling away. Justice will come if ever slowly. Over three thousand years later, Martin Luther King, Jr. recognizes this as he states, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
The hardness of the heart of Pharaoh symbolizes to us just how difficult change is. How often have I hardened my own heart toward some change that took me by surprise?
Most of the time, I think we harden our hearts toward forgiveness of an injury done to us by another. If I do this, do I call down a painful boil upon my heart?
Photo by psyberartist (cattle1a Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons