Meditating on the Word
“In His law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2
“Meditating on the Word,” edited by Wayne Burger, is a work of the church of Christ, which meets at 11873 Springs Rd. Unit #250, Conifer, CO 80433. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: coniferchurchofchrist.com
Vol. 15 No. 4 January 25, 2015
Plagues Leading to the Exodus
If one did not know that the movie “Exodus, Gods and Kings” was based upon the bible, one might never guess that it was. Although it was about Moses delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage, there was very little Bible in it. They did a pretty good job of depicting the plagues, but nearly everything else was inaccurate. The biblical exodus was exciting enough, why degrade it by putting inhuman opinion?
The account of Moses freeing the twelve tribes of Israel from bondage is recorded in Exodus 1-19. Exodus one gives the record of the growth in numbers of the Israelite people. Chapter two records Moses’ birth, events in Egypt, and his escape to the land of Midian. Exodus three and four give the details of God’s call of Moses. Pathetically, the movie doesn’t even portray Moses bring called from a burning bush and to make it even worse, God is depicted as coming to Moses through Moses’ own son. Chapters five and six tell the first consequences brought upon the Israelites because Moses talked to Pharaoh about freeing Israel. Bringing the plagues upon Egypt begins in chapter seven and are recorded through chapter 13.
The Biblical Account of the Plagues
(1) Water to blood, Exodus 7:14-25.
(2) Frogs, Exodus 8:1-15.
(3) Lice (KJV, ASV, NKJ) – Gnats (NASU, NIV), (NASB, NIV), Exodus 8:16-19.
(4) Flies (KJV, ASV, NIV, NKJV), insects (NASB), Exodus 8:20-32.
(5) Murrain (KJV, ASV), Pestilence on your livestock (NASB, NKJ), Plague on your livestock (NIV), Exodus 9:1-7.
(6) Boils, Exodus 9:8-17.
(7) Hail with lightning on the ground, Exodus 9:18-35).
(8) Locusts, Exodus 10:1-20.
(9) Darkness, Exodus 10:21-28.
(10) Death of the first born male, Exodus 11-12, (Exodus 4:23).
Details of the Biblical Plagues
Water to Blood, Exodus 7:14-25: the magicians were able to duplicate this sign, Exodus 7:22. Only the water in the rivers, streams, pond, reservoirs, and vessels turned to blood (Exodus 7:19). The Egyptians dug around the Nile for waer to drink, (Exodus 7:24). This plague lasted seven days, (Exodus 7:25). Also, because the fist died there was a great stecnch in the land (Exodus 7:21).
Frogs, Exodus 8:1-15: The Egyptian magicians were able to duplicate this sign, (Exodus 8:7). Frogs covered the land, (Exodus 8:2-6). When the plague ended the land became foul with their stench, (Exodus 8:14).
Hail, Exodus 9:18-35: The Egyptians were warned to bring in their livestock, (Exodus 9:18-21). Fire (lightning) accompanied the hail, (Exodus 9:23-24). The land of Goshen was spared, (Exodus 9:26). The Egyptians’ flax and barley were ruined, (Exodus 9:31). The Egyptians’ wheat and spelt were not ruined because they had not sprouted, (Exodus 9:32).
Locust, Exodus 10:1-20: So many locusts were brought in that the surface of the land could not be seen, (Exodus 10:5, 15). They ate what the hail had not destroyed, (Exodus 10:5). It was a worse plague of locust than had ever been seen, (Exodus 10:6). The locusts were brought by an east wind, (Exodus 10:13). God removed the locust by a west wind which drove them into the Red Sea, (Exodus 10:19). Not one locust remained, (Exodus 10:19).
Darkness, Exodus 10:21-29: It was so dark that it could be felt, (Exodus 10:21). The darkness lasted three days, (Exodus 10:22). The Egyptians could not see one another nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, (Exodus 10:23). Pharaoh called for Moses, but refused to grant Moses’ wish, (Exodus 10:24-27). Pharaoh threatened Moses with death if he ever saw his face again, (Exodus 10:28). Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again,” (Exodus 10:29).
Death of the firstborn male: (A Separate Study)
The Plagues Analyzed
The plagues seem to be grouped in threes, except for the last one which was unique. The groups are 1-2-3, 4-5-6, and 7-8-9 and there is a pattern in the presentations.
Plagues one and two in each group were announced to Pharaoh before they occurred while the third in each group came without warning. Warnings given for plagues one (Water to blood, 7:17) and two (Frogs 8:2), four (Flies 8:21), and five (Murrain 9:3), and seven (Hail 9:13), and eight (Locust 10:4). No warning was given for plagues three (Lice), six (Boils), and nine (Darkness).
There is a pattern about how the plagues were brought about by different rods. Aaron’s rod was used to bring plagues one (Water to blood 7:19), two (Frogs 8:5), and three (Lice 8:16). No rod is mentioned in the second series, plagues four (Flies), five (Murrain), and six (Boils). Moses’ rod was used to bring plagues seven (Hail 9:22), eight (Locust 10:12), and nine (Darkness 10:22).
Distinction between Egyptians Israelites
The pattern is not as clear in this category. Plagues number four (Flies or Insects) did not affect Israel (8:22), five (Murrain) did not affect Israel (9:4), and seven (Hail) did not affect Israel (9:26). The text telling about the sixth plague (Boils) does not specifically mention that they did not happen to Israel.
The Plagues Were Miraculous
Even though the plagues involved natural phenomena, there were miraculous elements connected with them. Joseph Free lists five respects in which the plagues were miraculous in nature (College Press Commentary Series on Exodus by Wilbur Fields).
(1) Intensification – all were more numerous and severe than those which occur naturally.
(2) Prediction – often Moses and Aaron predicted when they would come or leave which is not possible with natural disasters.
(3) Discrimination – several plagues affected only the land or people of Egypt which is not the way natural disasters occur.
(4) Orderliness — the severity of the plagues gradually increased and often came and went in an orderly manner.
(5) Moral purpose – the plagues were not just freaks of nature, but carried a moral purpose in several ways
The Plagues – Their Purposes
(College Press Commentary
on Exodus 7 by Wilbur Fields).
(1) To force Pharaoh to let Israel go, Exodus 3:20; 7:4.
(2) To show that God was the only true and living God, Exodus 7:5, 17; 8:22; 9:14; 14:4, 18.
(3) To show the Israelites that God was taking them as His people and He was to be their God, Exodus 6:7; 10:2; 15:11.
(4) To show the power of God, Exodus 9:16.
(7) To show that God made a distinction between His people and those who were not His people, Exodus 6:7; 8:23; 11:7.
(8) To cause God’s name and fame to be spread abroad through the earth, Exodus 9:16; 10:2.
(11) To cause Israel to fear God and keep His commandments, Deuteronomy 6:20-25.