The fifth plague is disease on livestock. Pharaoh is warned and gives no response. Next is boils and he basically isn’t even warned – he knows the drill: Moses stood before him, threw soot in the sky, boils.
The magicians, in their final appearance, “could not stand before Moses.” They gone. The wicked will prove themselves given time.
Next is hail and Pharaoh admits sin, but Moses declares he knows Pharaoh does not YET fear God.
Next is locust and Pharaoh says the men can go in an attempt to compromise and control. Response: the locust. Pharaoh admits sin again – this time against God and “you” (Moses). But again his heart is hardened.
Then darkness – so think it could be felt. People didn’t see anyone else and didn’t get up for 3 days. Pharaoh says everyone can go, but not the livestock. What is darkness you can feel? The Spirit? What is a physical thing? Blind?
Pharaoh continually tries to control and continually turns back once the pressure (plague) is gone. In his last attempt, he tries to hold back the Israelites means of living and means of sacrifice. The thing that once made them odious and loathsome is what he wants to hold on to.
We will do anything to try to have some control. Even retain what is rotten and offensive to us. But God is more patient and powerful than we are. It’s easier and better just to give over to Him what He wants, what is already His, than to fight Him.
The harder you hold and fight, the more it hurts. When ultimately it’s for your own good and He’ll get your attention anyway. It’s just harder for you. And the price goes up… in this case it’s their first-born children. God knows about that too.