|1462 B.C. (?) - The Plagues: Egypt Gets KO'd Early in the 10th|
|Written by production|
|Friday, 06 July 2007|
The Plagues of Egypt
First Plague: The Nile River Water Becomes Blood (Exodus 7:14)
Moses and Aaron went openly to the river, and touched the water with their staffs. It became blood. Not just the river, but its tributaries. Not just the flowing water, but the water that people had in jars and containers. The fish died. It stank. People had to dig holes near the river and gather the water that seeped into the holes just to stay alive. God gave them an avenue to continue living, but they lived in misery.
Was this a natural occurrence of algae or bacteria? No. We needn't suppose such things, as if God could only work by foreseeing what nature was going to do anyway. No, that is not what scripture says. Exodus 7: 15-21 says it was blood, so saying it was bacteria or algae is not the same. Also, blood has a smell and a feel of its own, quite easily distinguishable from bacteria laden water. The people also had a word for the color red, if they just wanted to say that the water turned red. They had no real refrigeration for their food in Egypt, let us remember. So they would have had many an occasion to become familiar with algae, bacteria, molds, and all these types of life forms. They would have said something like "Ah, we've seen this before. It's something growing in the water. We've had to deal with it before. It will pass." They did not say such things. They suffered greatly.
Egypt had forced little male Hebrew babies to be left out to die, probably by the hundreds of thousands. Apparently they were put into baskets and allowed to float away down the river. It was because the Egyptians feared the population growth of the Hebrews slaves. No number is given, so I'm guessing. But Moses was about 80 years old at the time the plagues began, and they started forcing Hebrew's to abandon their male babies before Moses's birth. Had they stopped doing it? Unknown. But their land was awash, figuratively speaking, with the blood of killed babies, as America is today. With this intrigueing first plague, the Egyptians found their lives miserable because of the blood in their land's rivers. Imagine washing, cooking, watering your animals, irrigationg your crops with blood!
And the false god of the Nile River, Hapi, was unable to stop it. This Nile River was also supposed to be the blood stream of Horus - a powerful god in Egyptian religion. Why couldn't Horus protect the Nile, his own blood stream, from the God of the Hebrews? The people of Egypt must have worried greatly. Pharoah's heart was unrepentant though, and he would not acknowledge God.
Second Plague: Frogs Over Run the Land (Exodus 7:25)
Seven days went by with no change in Pharoah's attitude, so God told Moses and Aaron to tell Pharoah to expect frogs to over run the land. They used their staffs and caused this to happen through God's power, but Pharoah's sorcerers, still trying to show their power, illustrated that they could make frogs happen, though whether this was a magic illusion, or an actual creation of frogs isn't recorded. I am pretty sure it was an illusion. Yet there are the evil spirits of fallen angels in the world, and perhaps they can perform some small feats of magic. But what they might be able to do a little, God could do a lot, and soon frogs were everywhere, even in the food bowls. They were on the floors, on the ground, in people's way where ever they walked or sat,or lived.
But this was particularly inconvenient in Egypt. They had a false god named Heqt (Heket) which was shown in the form of a frog, and because of Heqt, frogs were sacred. I've read that you could conceivably be executed for intentionally killing a frog in Egypt in that era. But Heqt didn't seem to be able to control his frog kingdom. It became as populous an animal as God cared to have it be until frogs were odious to all of Egypt.
Pharoah, still not willing to admit too much, was none the less able to make the connection, and he asked Moses to pray that God would take away the frogs. Moses wisely asked Pharoah to specify the time when God should remove them, so that no one would be able to attribute their disappearance to natural causes or to the sorcerers. At the agreed time Moses prayed to God to take away the frog plague, and the frogs died in giant reeking nasty heaps everywhere that they had been, and the land stunk. So much for the power of Froggy God.
Pharoah, once he was rid of the frogs, went back to being stubborn about the Hebrews leaving to worship for three days.
Third Plague: Gnats Gnats Gnats (Exodus 8:12)
God said to Moses "Tell Aaron to stretch out his staff to strike the earth so that it will be turned into gnats throughout Egypt." Aaron did so, and gnats arose. They plagued man and beast and they were very numerous.
Pharoah's magicians tried to make gnats, but they could not. They even said to Pharoah "This is the finger of God!" But Pharoah decided to stay stubborn against God.
The false god named Geb was the Earth God, and Seth was also a god of this realm. But, sadly, they didn't seem to have much pull with the God of the Israelites who did whatever he wished to with the creatures of the dirt.
It is a interesting that some cultures use the word 'nat' for evil spirits, or demons. In south east asia you will hear it, for instance.
Fourth Plague: The Swarms of Flies (Exodus 8:16)
Moses went to Pharoah as directed and said "God says to let my people go three days distance to make sacrifice to Me, or I will loosen flies on your subjects and your servants and your houses. The swarms will be everywhere, but not on My people, only on yours. In the land of Goshen, where My people live, I will loose no flies so that you will see I make a distinction between My people and yours, so you will know that I am the Lord. This will take place tomorrow."
It did happen the next day, and soon Pharoah had endured enough. He told Moses that the Hebrews could go sacrifice, but Moses must pray to God to take away these flies. Moses made Pharoah promise not to go back on his word. But after the flies were gone, Pharoah did go back on his word, and would not let them go. This was a very very prideful man.
Flies were under the jurisdiction of the powerful false god combo of Amon-Re. The flies were also considered the ears of Beezelbub. But the poor flies had hearing problems, and couldn't seem to hear Beezelbub's voice very well. Yet they heard the real God's voice just fine, and obeyed Him. The Egyptian people must have really been starting to wonder if their Pantheon of gods had taken their vitamins.
Fifth Plague: Pestilence (Exodus 9:1)
Next God told Pharoah through Moses to let His people go worship, or a pestilence would break out among the Egyptian farm animals, but not the Israelite farm animals. It would be very severe. Setting a certain time, the Lord then let the pestilence break out among the animals, and all the Egyptian livestock died. But not the Israelite livestock.
But though Pharoah's messengers confirmed that none of the Israelite animals died, Pharoah still remained stubborn and would not let the Israelites go. This Pharoah was not a quick learner.
Apis was a false god that took the form of a sacred bull. Apis was a very revered false god in Egypt. But all of the earthly Apis's in Egypt died, and no amount of praying to Apis helped. And in addition, Pharoah was called the son of Hathor (another god associated with cattle) but neither Hathor or his son the Pharoah could save the cattle. Egypt's gods were building up a pretty dismal win/loss record against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Sixth Plague: Painful Boils (Exodus 9:8)
God told Moses and Aaron to take a handful of soot from a furnace, and in the presence of Pharoah to loose the fine soot into the air. He told them it would cause painful boils on man and beast everywhere throughout the land.
This was done, and the boils that broke out were on men and on beast and so painful that Pharoah's magicians could not even stand in the presence of Moses and Aaron because their agony was so great. But God made Pharoah stubborn, and he still would not listen, just as God had foretold.
Seventh Plague: Large Hail Stones (Exodus 9:13)
Moses then told the Pharoah that he must allow the Israelites to leave on a three day journey to worship God, or else a terrible hail would fall - unlike any hail storm before. He told Pharoah that if he wasn't going to allow the Israelites to leave, then he should at least warn all his people in the land of Egypt to take cover, they and their animals, that they might live.
Willful Pharoah did not let the Israelites go, but he did spread the warning to his people. Some took the warning, but others did not heed it. You would think that they would have been starting to develope confidence in God's warnings by now, but apparently only part of them had learned.
Moses raised his staff to the sky as God directed him, and the storm started. It is said that no storm of hail had ever been this fierce, nor the lightening so continuous and terrifying as this storm's. The hail stones smashed the tree limbs, killed the unsheltered animals, and destroyed the early grains in the fields throughout the land of Egypt, except in Goshen where the Hebrews lived. Land values in Goshen had to be rising by this time, don't you think?
Pharoah called Moses and admitted that he and the Egyptians were sinful, and God was being just to punish them. But he begged Moses to pray to God that the hail would stop. And he would allow them to go and sacrifice to God.
Moses told Pharoah that he would do as Pharoah asked, and he would walk out of the city and extend his hands to the Lord, and as soon as he did, the hail would stop. This would show Pharoah that the Lord was in complete control of the storm. But Moses predicted that Pharoah would change his mind because he did not yet fear the Lord.
Moses did as he said, but he was right. This insanely stubborn Pharoah did go back on his word once again. But to be fair, God had openly said that he would put a stubborn spirit into Pharoah so that God's might could be shown to the idolatrous people of Egypt, so that they might decide to quit worshipping false gods. Like the god Nut (false god of the sun, moon,and heavenly objects) who could not stop destruction from falling from his heavens. Or maybe Nepri, god of grains, who could not protect the grain.
God was having a great streak of luck against these Egytian gods. Who could have guessed that would happen.
Eighth Plague: The Locusts Swing By For Dinner (Exodus 10:1)
Moses asked Pharoah to let the Israelites go and worship their God, or else a locust plague such as never was seen before would come to Egypt. This time a new thing happened - Pharoah's servants spoke up and asked Pharoah not to say no to the God of the Israelites. You could sort of guess that this Pharoah was not a man to bring up issues with, but his servants were apparently getting a sense of dread at this point.
So Pharoah actually listened a little, and he told Moses that some but not all of the Hebrews could go out and worship. Moses tries to explain to Pharoah that God wants all of his people to come - that this is how it's done for their God's sacrifices. But Pharoah then took a perturbed attitude about it, and actually has Moses driven from his presence.
God then told Moses to stretch out his hand over Egypt and Moses did so. An East wind began to blow, and for that day and all that night it blew. By morning the wind had brought the locusts. They fell thickly upon the land, darkening the ground in layers. It was the greatest number of locusts which had ever been, the scritures say. All the green plants that had survived the hail, and all that had regrown since then werer eaten. The plants were eaten and destroyed.
Pharoah called Moses and asked forgiveness, and asked Moses pray to God that the locusts would leave. So Moses did, and a strong West wind carried the insects out into the Reed Sea. The locusts were gone from Egyt, but can you guess who still wouldn't let the Israelites go? When I picture a modern leader being this obtuse, I just can't see the people putting up with it. But this was Egypt. And Pharoah was regarded as a god in his own right. Again, the agricultural gods of Egypt had shown a distinct disability to protect their turf, and their might was cast into doubt, if not down right disrepute.
Ninth Plague: On My Mark ....Dark! (Exodus 10:21)
God then told Moses to stretch his hand out toward the sky, and such strange and heavy darkness would come that it could be literally felt. Strange as it sounded, it happened. For three days this soupy darkness kept the Egyptians homebound and in fear. But where the Israelites lived, there was light. This almost got the best of Pharoah.
He called Moses to him, and said that all of the Israelites could go worship God, but their animals couldn't go. Moses explained that they sacrificed some of their animals, and wouldn't know which God would want them to sacrifice until they got there, so the animals needed to go.
This caused the big break up that had been coming for a long time. Pharoah said no, and that Moses needed to get out of his presence forever. He said if Moses ever came back, he would kill Moses.
Moses answered that this was fine, and Pharoah would in fact never see Moses appear before him again.
Egypt's important Sun god had failed to pierce God's darkness. Why worship such a puny Sun god? Many Egyptians must have asked themselves this. Especially upon finding out that the Israelites did not experience the blackness. God's might must have been very clear to the average Joseph in Egypt by this point.
Tenth Plague: The Death of All Firstborn Not Under the Blood (Exodus Chapter 11)
Pharoah himself had a firstborn son, and Pharoah let himself be worshipped as a god. When God brought down this last, most devastating curse, even Pharoah was shown to be no god, but just a man.
Moses gave word from God that one last curse would be inflicted upon Egypt: the death of all first born animals and men. Israelites too could be at risk unless they took part in a new and strange ceremony, still practised as a memorial today, about 3,500 years later. It is called Passover. At twilight each Israelite family would slaughter a year old lamb or goat. It would be cooked whole, and it would be eaten in its entirety, but with no bones broken, in one sitting. None of the meat could be left over. And this meal would be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
(Sorry if I got any of this wrong - look it up or ask your Jewish friends!)
Very importantly, the whole family would close the door and stay inside the house that night until morning. They could not go outside. And most importantly, when they slaughtered the passover lamb or kid, they must place some of its blood on the door posts and lintel of their homes door, on the outside. It was a marker meant to be seen by a destroyer that would come. The angel of the Lord would pass through Egypt, and go into every unmarked house and destroy the first born in that house. If your house was not protected by the blood, that house's first born would be destroyed.
Some say this was merely from a deadly gas released from underwater during an earthquake. They say that the firstborn traditionally slept near the door and so that is why they were the only ones killed. I like that answer because it is so hilarious. Why did the firstborn of all the generations, old and young, die, as is recorded. Why did no Israelites live among the Egyptian towns. Did the Israelites all live in one far away town and just walk 20, 40, or 60 miles to work every day from where they lived far away from the magical mystery gas? Were there no hills, no rises, no two story buildings in all of the land, where the gas wouldn't have climbed to? What about the firstborn of the beasts? Exodus 12:29 says the firstborn of Egyptian beasts died as well. Did they sleep by the door of the barn -you know, because it was traditional? You know those animals and their traditions! They are so set in their ways. Thank you, whoever, for the magical mystery gas theory that explains it all away so neatly with no loose ends. No need for God, it's all explained by science. It sure is a powerful theory. Unless you spend 10 seconds questioning it, that is.
There's a show where they use a Lake in Africa which burped a toxic gas that killed many as the proof of the magical mystery gas theory. But it looks from the pictures and film of that incident , like the animals died pretty indiscriminately - not according to birth order. And in the higher villages no one died. It's a different situation. It's just a different situation.
God told Moses that after this plague, Pharoah would come to Moses and ask the Israelites to leave, and they were to leave quickly - immediately - asking their former captors the Egyptian people for gold and silver and clothing as parting gifts. (The scriptures mention that Moses was, by this point, a somewhat revered figure in the eyes of the Egyptian people. They had endured the plagues of Moses's God!)
All this happened as God had told Moses, and in the morning Egypt was full of wailing. Some grand-parents are first borns. Some parents are first borns. Some children are first borns. Imagine how many funerals were in the land in the next few days. Imagine how the land smelled from the dead first born animals.
In 'the Wisdom of Sirach, written by a Jewish person named Jesus and still retained in Catholic Bibles, it is said that each Egyptian that died was given knowledge of why they died, and they spoke of it as they died. That's the only place I've found that actually mentions the Egyptian death experience, or manner of death.
But it did not happen to the Israelites. They were 'passed over' by the Lord's destroying angel. Israel departed Egypt immediately, in haste, their dough and breadbowls carried with them, and carrying presents of silver and gold asked of and given by their Egyptian keepers. They fled out of Egypt, with Moses leading them.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 22 March 2013 )|
|< Prev||Next >|