TEN PLAGUES

The Ten Plagues

 Most miracles are natural phenomena.
The Ten Plagues were notable exceptions.
There the laws of nature were turned upside down to help free the Hebrew Children.

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   1st:  Waters Turned to Blood 

A river is turning to blood

Jewel

The first of the judgments was upon the waters of Egypt.

Jewel The Nile was the highway of this ancient land, as it still is today.
Jewel

The Nile River was worshiped by the Egyptians.

Jewel As part of their cultural background, the Nile was a god they worshiped, a source of life.
Jewel Notice this was the first place that God judged, the river!
Jewel Not only was the Nile turned to blood, but the other waters of the land were as well, even the waters that were drawn for use in the houses in wooden and stone jars.
Jewel For seven days the whole land was in horror:  with dead fish. a stench from the river, and the inability to find fresh drinking water.
Jewel To better appreciate what was going on, we must examine the various gods of the river.  This gives us our first peek at the cosmic war against the powers of darkness.

Map of the Nile River

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Osiris, one of the chief gods of Egypt, was first of all the gods of the Nile.

Button Osiris’ companion was the mother god, Isis.
Button They had a child, Horus. (Those three were human-headed gods (in contrast to the many that had heads of birds, beasts, and reptiles).
Button Hapimon was in the north.
Button Taueret was at Thebes and the hippopotamus goddess of the river.
Button Nu was the god of life in the Nile.

 

The supernatural pollution of the waters of the land was a humiliation to the gods the Egyptians worshiped.

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  2nd:  The Frogs

Lots of frogs everywhere

Jewel

The second of the plagues further proved the powerlessness of the gods of Egypt. The land was covered with a plague of frogs in such abundance that they infested the Egyptians’ houses and beds.

Jewel One of the principal goddesses of the land was Hekt, the wife of the "creator of the world," who was always shown with the head and the body of a frog.
Jewel

The frogs came out of the sacred Nile and Egypt’s devotion to them prevented them from dealing with them.  They soon had decaying carcasses throughout the land resulting in a stinking horror.  It is interesting that the magicians could increase the frogs (in Ex 8:7) but couldn’t make them go away.

It is interesting that the climactic war against God in Revelation is assembled by three frog-like spirits:

A frog

 "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (v.14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
Rev. 16:13-14

A frog

These unclean spirits will lead the entire world to war against God!

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3rd: The Sand Flies

People running from bugs

Jewel

The third of the judgments on Egypt came out of the soil in Egypt. The Hebrew word ken is translated "lice" in our English translation, with "sand flies" or "fleas" in some marginal notes.

Man scratching his head with bugs jumping out of his hair
Jewel The Hebrew word comes from a root meaning to dig; it is probable that the insect was one, which digs under the skin of men.

 

"Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God;…"
Ex 8:19

Portion of Michelangelo's painting showing God's finger reaching out and touching man's finger

Jewel

There was something about lice that freaked them out.  They were able to deal with the serpents, the water to blood, and the frogs.  When it came to the lice, not only could they not do it, they went to Pharaoh and told him that it was, "the finger of God"  So, what was the big deal with the lice?

Jewel The priests of the Egyptian system had a big thing about cleanliness.  They wore special linen garments, they shaved their head every third day.   In order for them to worship according to their system, they had to be totally clean. The infestation of the lice made it impossible for them to worship.
Jewel

The priests themselves could not officiate in agreement with the system that they were following. The bringing of the lice against them made them recognize that God was dealing with them.  They went to Pharoah to point out that this was "the finger of God."

Jewel This was an embarrassment to their great god of the earth, Geb, to whom they gave offerings for the bounty of the soil.

 

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4th:  The Scarabs

People running from flying scarabs

The fourth of the plagues were "swarms" ("of flies" is not in the original).
The word is `arob, a swarm, possibly suggesting unending motion.

Jewel

The deification of the scarab beetle is still noticeable – even today – in the jewelry and artifacts celebrating ancient Egypt.

Bracelet with scarab beetle decoration
Jewel Amon-Ra, the king of the gods, had the head of a beetle. Some of the giant scarabs were even accorded the honor of mummification and entombment with the Pharaohs.
Jewel

This is particularly bizarre since the scarab is actually a dung beetle. The insect is about the size of a nickel and feeds on dung in the fields or the side of the road.

Jewel When animals defecate, these insects swarm from their holes in the ground and collect the dung for future meals by forming it into round balls about the size of golf balls, which they roll across the ground to their underground dwellings. Beetle rolling a ball of dung
Jewel

Since they seemed to "come from nowhere," and perhaps because these perfectly round balls were possibly associated with the sun, these beetles became associated with creation. (Also, the Egyptians seem to have had the mistaken notion that the scarabs deposited larvae in the ball, but that is not true.)

Jewel The plague of swarms of scarabs, with jaws that could saw through wood and destructive qualities worse than termites, must have caused extreme bewilderment since they were so revered and thus were not to be interfered with!
Jewel Pharaoh called Moses, pleaded for a ceasing, hinted at the possibility of compromise, and even asked to be prayed for.

 But God doesn’t compromise; the judgments continued.

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5th: The Animals

Dead Cows

Jewel

The fifth plague was against the domestic animals of Egypt.  The spiritual effect was that it was against Apis, the bull god as well as the cow-headed Hathor, goddess of the deserts.

Hathor
Jewel   The worship of those gods was so widespread that even the children of Israel had become tainted with it, which led to the disaster of the golden calf in the image of Apis (Ex 32).
Jewel

The plague was a "murrain" (severe pestilence), a contagious disease among the cattle.  Even the sacred bulls in the temple died.

 
Jewel The veneration of cows still creates a sight in India, when cows appear on the streets and even in stores and shops because people are not allowed to harm them. Apis

The cattle of the Hebrews, of course, were not touched.

 
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6th: Boils

Man covered with boils

Jewel

The sixth plague was manifested against the bodies of men. The plague of shechiyn, translated "boils," may hide something more terrible.

Jewel The root means "burning."  The same word can be translated as leprosy, botch in Egyptian, which was declared to be incurable.
Jewel

Among the gods to which cures would have been ascribed were Thoth, the ibis-headed god of intelligence and medical learning; Apis; Serapis; and Imhotep.

Jewel Here, even the magicians did not escape and could not carry on their priestly duties.  It was their custom to take the ashes of human sacrifices and cast them into the air.  Borne by the wind over the population, they were viewed as a blessing. (Some think that this heathen custom was the source of the practice of putting ashes on the forehead on the first day of Lent.)

 

(Note from Kay:  I’ve had personal experience with boils.  I’ve had four altogether and, fortunately, only one at a time.  The ones I had were VERY painful.  They swelled up to the size of lemons.  I had to have them lanced and… don’t read this if you are squeamish…they had lots of purple and yellow pus in them.  They left large scars.  Someone who had boils all over would not be able to be touched where the boils were.  They might not be able to sit down or to lie down.  They could be in such pain that they don’t even want to eat.)
 

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7th:  Fiery Hail

Fire falling from sky

Jewel

Egypt is a sunny land with practically no rain. The seventh plague was a tempest of hail and fire. 

Jewel Where was Shu, the wind god, and Nut, the sky goddess? Where was Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of upper Egypt?
Jewel

It is interesting to note that when Pharaoh confessed his sin and the sin of his people, he even used the Hebrew names for God:

"I have sinned this time: the Lord [YHWH] is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Intreat the Lord [YHWH] that there be no more mighty thunderings ["voices of Elohim"]."
Exodus 9:27-28

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8th:  Locusts

Huge swarm of locusts

Jewel

Some of the earlier plagues may have been separated by extended intervals, but the eighth plague followed immediately on the heels of the seventh: locusts came upon the land.

Jewel Every twig and leaf that had somehow escaped the hail and fire was then taken by the locusts.

 Having lost faith in their gods, rebellion was now in the air.
 

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9th:  Thick Darkness

Darkness beginning to cover the sky

Jewel

The ninth plague was a darkness that could be felt! Josephus wrote:

"But when Moses said that what he [Pharaoh] desired was unjust, since they were obliged to offer sacrifices to God of those cattle, and the time being prolonged on this account, a thick darkness, without the least light, spread itself over the Egyptians, whereby their sight being hindered, and their breathing hindered by the thickness of the air, they were under terror lest they be swallowed up by the thick cloud."

Jewel The darkness, after three days and three nights, was dissipated.

 

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10th:  Death of the Firstborn 

People crying over their dead children

Jewel And, of course, the well-known tenth and final plague was the death of the firstborn in those homes not covered by the lamb’s blood on the doorposts or lintels.

Jews inside their home, protected from death

Jewel We all know the story of the Passover in Egypt, remembered by the Jews to this day.
Jewel And, of course, John the Baptist clearly marked out the person of Jesus Christ as a blood sacrifice when he referred to Jesus as the "passover lamb" when he introduced Him as "The Lamb of God".  (Jn 1:29,36)

Jesus on the cross with a lamb over His head

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It is no coincidence that our Lord, Himself, was sacrificed on Passover.

Surprising as it may sound, that awesome experience of the death of the firstborn in ancient Egypt was a:

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Scaled-down preview

Button A miniature object lesson
Button A dramatized prophecy
Button A spiritual blueprint of this age

In other words, The God of the Universe’s main purpose in staging such a spectacular Passover display in ancient Egypt was His way of giving the entire universe a "prophetic preview" of His plan of the ages to pass over and deliver His people in the closing days of this age.

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