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 Holiday Central > Passover > The Ten Plagues > Boils

The Sixth Plague: Boils  מכת שחין
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 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן, קְחוּ לָכֶם מְלֹא חָפְנֵיכֶם, פִּיחַ כִּבְשָׁן; וּזְרָקוֹ מֹשֶׁה הַשָּׁמַיְמָה, לְעֵינֵי פַרְעֹה. וְהָיָה לְאָבָק, עַל כָּל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם; וְהָיָה עַל-הָאָדָם וְעַל-הַבְּהֵמָה, לִשְׁחִין פֹּרֵחַ אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת--בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת-פִּיחַ הַכִּבְשָׁן, וַיַּעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה, וַיִּזְרֹק אֹתוֹ מֹשֶׁה, הַשָּׁמָיְמָה; וַיְהִי, שְׁחִין אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת, פֹּרֵחַ, בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה. וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים, לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה--מִפְּנֵי הַשְּׁחִין:  כִּי-הָיָה הַשְּׁחִין, בַּחַרְטֻמִּם וּבְכָל-מִצְרָיִם.
       שמות ט: ח-י"א --   

And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron: 'Take to you handfuls of soot of the furnace, and let Moses throw it heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust over 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. And they took soot of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it up heavenward; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
-- Exodus 9:8-3

The Plague:
The sixth plague that God inflicted on the Egyptians was shchin or boils. God commanded Moses and Aaron to take two handfuls of soot from the kiln and had Moses throwing it skyward, thus spreading it all over Egypt. Unlike other plagues except the blood, Pharaoh stood witness to the initiation of this plague. This painful skin disease affected Pharaoh and his magicians as well as all other Egyptians and their animals. This was significant since not only could the magicians not replicate this plague but they were unable to heal even themselves.

Why Boils?
The plagues preceding this one affected the environment. Shchin was the first plague that caused harm to the bodies of the Egyptians. Though the boils affected all of Egypt its first signs were seen on Pharaoh and his sorcerers. This was to prove to Pharaoh the might and strength of God. Indeed, the Plague of Boils was yet another declaration of God's power. First, it took but a couple of handfuls soot to cause the spread of boils all over Egypt, a miracle in itself. Secondly, the use of soot to cause boils was was an overruling of ordinary laws of nature, as soot was actually used to cure boils. The Egyptians looked to their god of medicine, Thoth, who was unable to cure the boils.

Additionally, we see a "Measure for Measure" - as the boils disfigured the Egyptians, a retribution for hurting the Jews, often disfiguring them with the harsh physical abuse

he Pharaoh relented, promised to let the Israelites leave. And then, once the the Boils /Schin was removed, Pharaoh's heart hardened and he reneged on his promise.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt: Information and more
   Ten Plagues of Egypt, an Overview
Plague of Blood (דָם): Ex. 7:1425
   Plague of Frogs (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ): Ex. 7:258:11
   Plague of Lice (כינים): : Ex. 8:1619
   Plague of Wild Animals / Swarm of Flies (עָרוֹב): Ex. 8:2032
     Plague of Livestock Death (דֶּבֶר): Ex. 9:17
    Plague of Boils (שְׁחִין): Ex. 9:812
   Plague of Hail (בָּרָד): Ex. 9:1335
   Plague of Locusts (אַרְבֶּה): Ex. 10:120
   Plague of Darkness (חוֹשֶך): Ex. 10:2129
    Death of the Firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:112:36

The Ten Plagues of Egypt - a Passover (Pesach) brings you much more about the holiday, its meaning and its traditions... See the links below.



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