It appears the sons of Israel suffered through the first three plagues right along with the Egyptians. Maybe they needed to see and experience the powerful ‘finger of God’ in order to remember that their God was greater? They had, after all, spent hundreds of years amongst the Egyptians and their gods. And since each of the plagues targeted Egyptian gods, this was yet another way God is shown as the One True God.
When Moses warned Pharaoh that the fourth plague was coming, God added something new. “‘But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land. And I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall occur.’ Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt.” ~ Exodus 8:22-24
God was now sparing His people from the plagues~ “‘in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land'”. It was miraculous to have swarms of insects throughout the land, except in the neighborhoods of Israel. There could be no doubt that the LORD was in control of all of Egypt.
“But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.” ~ Exodus 8:32
Before the fifth plague, God again warned Pharaoh, to no avail. “So the LORD did this thing on the morrow, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died. And Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.” ~ Exodus 9:6-7
What else can we learn from this? When God says He is going to do something, He always follows through. His promises are kept. He keeps His word.
Next came boils, ouch. Throughout Egypt every man, and every animal still living, was covered with painful sores. Yet we are told “And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.” ~ Exodus 9:12
Pharaoh would not listen. And it appears that Pharaoh had hardened his heart to the point where now God was keeping it hardened. “‘But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.'” ~ Exodus 9:16. God was now making an example out of Pharaoh.
Before the seventh plague, an even stronger warning was given, and this time some of the Egyptian people listened and believed the words of God.
“‘Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.’ The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses; but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field… And the hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field.” ~ Exodus 9:18-21, 25
Remember, God doesn’t want anyone to perish. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9. He warned the Egyptian people, and Pharaoh, time and time again. Finally some listened and believed- and lived!