In trying to tweak my firewall setup I'm using a file called /etc/ipfw.rules

However, it seems even though I copy my rules perfectly to that file, the system freezes up and locks me out when I do:


ipfw -f flush; ipfw /etc/ipfw.rules

I've also tried doing it as

ipfw -f flush && ipfw /etc/ipfw.rules

But to no avail.

Firewall script is a common shell script. You don't need to run 'ipfw <script>'.
Flushing the rules is usually done by script itself.
For example:
#!/bin/sh
ipfw="/sbin/ipfw"
${ipfw} -f flush
${ipfw} <rule>
${ipfw} <rule>
${ipfw} <rule>
...
This file should be executable (chmod +x). You can also put any non-ipfw additional commands in this file if you want.
Try to make such script, execute it and write again about the results.
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