In the Book of Exodus, God unleashed ten plagues on the land of Egypt. What were some of the reasons for these plagues? What connection did they have to the Egyptian gods? Some have claimed that there is no evidence that these plagues occurred. Is there any proof in secular history that these plagues took place?
This article will go over the ten plagues and provide information about all of this. A related two-part sermon is available: Egypt and the Plagues (Part 1) and Exodus Plagues and Prophecy (Part 2).
The Bible teaches that God gave Moses a role in communicating with a Pharaoh in Egypt (for information on who this pharaoh was and when the Exodus was, check out the article When was the Exodus? for what happened in Exodus before this as well as much that happened before the ten plagues, check out the article Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread):
7 And the Lord said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:7-10)
1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'"
2 And Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go."
3 So they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."
4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor." 5 And Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!"
6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, 7 "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' 9 Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words."
10 And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus says Pharaoh: 'I will not give you straw. 11 Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.'" 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 13 And the taskmasters forced them to hurry, saying, "Fulfill your work, your daily quota, as when there was straw." 14 Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, "Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as before?"
15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, "Why are you dealing thus with your servants? 16 There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, 'Make brick!' And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people."
17 But he said, "You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.' 18 Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks." 19 And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, "You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota."
20 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. 21 And they said to them, "Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us." (Exodus 5:1-21)
So, we see that God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go and that Pharaoh refused. We also see that those who were to be delivered turned against Moses.
God then told Moses to speak to Pharaoh again:
10 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 "Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go out of his land."
12 And Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, "The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?"
13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 6:10-13)
1 So the Lord said to Moses: "See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. 3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them." (Exodus 7:1-5)
In Exodus 7:4 God said that Pharaoh would not listen and that God would use great judgments. The great judgments that followed were the ten plagues.
Continuing with the narrative in Exodus:
6 Then Moses and Aaron did so; just as the Lord commanded them, so they did. 7 And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.
8 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 9 "When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, 'Show a miracle for yourselves,' then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.'" 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. 13 And Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 7:6-13)
Although there was a miraculous wonder, Pharaoh's magicians did something similar. Despite their Satanically-influenced miracle being inferior, Pharaoh decided it was close enough and hence chose to ignore the message that God had for him. Many have been influenced by Satan and signs and lying wonders are part of his plan (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; see also Satan's Plan). Even today, most real Christians seem to think that Laodicean churches are similar enough to God (despite their doctrinal and other falsehoods), so they do not heed the messages to Laodicea nor Philadelphia--this will result in disaster to the Laodiceans (prophetic reasons why are in the article The Laodicean Church Era).
Both Pharaoh (according to the what is recorded in Exodus) ignored and the Laodiceans (according to Jesus' words recorded in Revelation 3:14-19) are ignoring what should have been obvious.
Remember part of why the events of the Exodus were recorded:
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)
So, there are lessons. And one of the lessons for those in the end times is so Christians will change and not be destroyed by the destroyer. This is what will happen to the non-Philadelphia Christians during a 3 1/2 year period (Revelation 12:17; ). The Philadelphians themselves are to be protected then (Revelation 3:7-10; 12:14-16).
Getting back to the narrative in Exodus, notice the following:
14 So the Lord said to Moses: "Pharaoh's heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, when he goes out to the water, and you shall stand by the river's bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand. 16 And you shall say to him, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness"; but indeed, until now you would not hear! 17 Thus says the Lord: "By this you shall know that I am the Lord. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. 18 And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river."'"
19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.'" 20 And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21 The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this. 24 So all the Egyptians dug all around the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the river. (Exodus 7:14-25)
Pharaoh apparently was wondering when various sign would begin--but that did not change him. 11 times the word "plagues" is found in the Book of Revelation for future events (in the NKJV)--has that affected you?
Getting back to ancient Egypt, realize that the Nile was the lifeblood of Egypt. It has been said that without the Nile that there would have been no Egypt. By that, it is meant that the ancient Egyptian empire would not have been able to thrive and have the economic strength to conduct military campaigns without the wealth that flowed directly and indirectly because of the Nile river.
Despite the a miraculous wonder, Pharaoh's magicians did something that seemed similar. So, Pharaoh decided it was close enough and hence chose to ignore the message that God had for him (deception and 'lying wonders' are part of Satan's Plan).
Is there any proof outside of the Bible that this or any of the ten plagues happened?
It would be very unusual indeed if we had a truly Egyptian eyewitness account of Moses and the ten plagues. At least such an account has not yet been found. But we have the next best thing to it — a description of Egypt after the ten plagues and the leaving of the Israelites.
This account is found in what is called the "Ipuwer papyrus." This tattered document in the Leiden Museum of Antiquities is in a sad state of preservation. But its message is unmistakable. It matches the Biblical record in detail.
The most exhaustive translation is that of Sir Alan Gardiner published in Leipzig in 1909 under the title Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage. Additional information is given by R. 0. Faulkner ("Notes on 'The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage,'" Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 1964, pp. 24-36). (Grabbe L. The Exodus. Tomorrow's World, April 1971, pp. 28-30).
The Ipuwer Papyrus is a single papyrus holding an ancient Egyptian poem, called The Admonitions of Ipuwer or The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All. ... The sole surviving manuscript dates to the later 13th century BCE (no earlier than the 19th dynasty in the New Kingdom). (Ipuwer, Wikipedia, accessed 03/13/15)
Notice that the Ipuwer papyrus tells of the River (the Nile) becoming blood. Here are two translations of some of it:
2:5: "Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere." (Grabbe, p. 29)
II:3 Indeed, [hearts] are violent, pestilence is throughout the land, blood is everywhere, death is not lacking, and the mummy-cloth speaks even before one comes near it. (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
Papyrus 2:10: "Why really, the River is blood. If one drinks of it, one rejects (it) as human and thirsts for water" (Wilson). (Grabbe, p. 29)
II:9-10: the poor man [complains]: "How terrible! What am I to do?" Indeed, the river is blood, yet men drink of it. Men shrink from human beings and thirst after water. (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
So, there is a record of an incident in secular history that the Nile turned to blood, though perhaps it should be mentioned that some prefer to believe that the Ipuwer was written prior to this occurrence (here is a link to an English translation of the papyrus. A translation also in R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems. Oxford World's Classics, 1999).
Notice something that King David stated:
23 And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name — and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land — before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? (2 Samuel 7:23-24)
Why mention this?
Because David realized that the 'awesome deeds' that happened in Egypt, including the ten plagues, were to show that the God of the Bible was real and that the Egyptian gods were not.
Notice the following reports about the gods of Egypt:
"The Egyptians considered sacred the lion, the ox, the ram, the wolf, the dog, the cat, the ibis, the vulture, the falcon, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the cobra, the dolphin, different varieties of fish, trees, and small animals including the frog, scarab, locust and other insects. In addition to these there were anthropomorphic gods; that is, men in the prime of life such as Amun, Atum, or Osiris." (John Davis, Moses and the Gods of Egypt, p. 95). (As cited by Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #1. The Church of Christ in Zion. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_1.html accessed 03/12/15)
These Ra (or, as he was called in the South, Amon), Osiris, Isis and Horus were the greater gods of Egypt. In later days Ra, Amon and another god, Ptah, were combined as three embodiments or aspects of one supreme and triune deity, There were countless lesser divinities: Anubis the jackal, Shu, Tefnut, Ncphthys, Ket, Nut; . . . but we must not make these pages a museum of dead gods. Even Pharaoh was a god, always the son of Amon-Ra, ruling not merely by divine right but by divine birth, as a deity transiently tolerating the earth as his home. On his head was the falcon, symbol of Horus and totem of the tribe; from his forehead rose the uraeus or serpent, symbol of wisdom and life, and communicating magic virtues to the crown. The king was chief -priest of the faith, and led the great processions and ceremonies that celebrated the festivals of the gods. It was through this assumption of divine lineage and powers that he was able to rule so long with so little force. (Durant W. The Story of Civilization, PART ONE: OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE. Great Neck, N. Y., March, 1935, p. 201; https://archive.org/stream/storyofcivilizat035369mbp/storyofcivilizat035369mbp_djvu.txt accessed 03/12/15)
So, first God defies Pharaoh being truly divine, then God turned the Nile into blood.
This plague was an affront to many of the greatest gods of Egypt.
The great god Khnum was the guardian of the Nile River -- he is usually represented as a human being with a ram's head.
Hapi was the "spirit of the Nile" and its "dynamic essence." Hapi was the god of the annual Nile inundation. Epithets for Hapi describe him as being the "lord of the fishes and birds and marshes."
"The very position of Hapi made it certain that he would become successful as a deity. The entire country looked to the Nile as the source of all wealth and provender, so that the deity which presided over it rapidly rose in public estimation. Thus Hapi quickly became identified with the greater and more outstanding figures in early Egyptian mythology. He thus became a partner with the great original gods who had created the world, and finally came to be regarded as the maker and molder of everything within the universe. We find him credited with the attributes of Nu, the primeval water-mass, and this in effect made him a father of Ra, who had emerged from that element. Hapi, indeed, stood in more immediate relationship to the Egyptians than almost any other god in their pantheon. Without the sun Egypt would have been plunged into darkness, but without the Nile every living creature within its borders would assuredly have perished." (Spence, Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends, p. 170).
One of the greatest gods of Egypt was Osiris, the god of the underworld; the Egyptians believed the Nile was his bloodstream.
During this first plague, the Egyptians would have to wonder where was Tauret, the hippopotamus goddess of the river. Where was Nu, the god of life in the Nile?
"It was appropriate that the first of the plagues should be directed against the Nile River itself, the very lifeline of Egypt and the center of many of its religious ideas. The Egyptians considered the Nile sacred. Many of their gods were associated either directly or indirectly with this river and its productivity. For example, the great Khnum was considered the guardian of the Nile sources. Hapi was believed to be the 'spirit of the Nile' and its 'dynamic essence.' One of the greatest gods revered in Egypt was the god Osiris who was the god of the underworld. The Egyptians believed that the river Nile was his bloodstream. In the light of this latter expression, it is appropriate indeed that the Lord should turn the Nile to blood! It is not only said that the fish in the river died but that the 'river stank,' and the Egyptians were not able to use the water of that river -- imagine the horror and frustration of the people of Egypt as they looked upon that which was formerly beautiful only to find dead fish lining the shores and an ugly red characterizing what had before provided life and attraction. Crocodiles were forced to leave the Nile. One wonders what worshipers would have thought of Hapi the god of the Nile who was sometimes manifest in the crocodile." (Davis, p. 102). (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #1. The Church of Christ in Zion. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_1.html accessed 03/12/15)
The Nile and the gods associated with the Nile, including the trinitarian ones like Osiris, were shown to have been powerless against the true God.
While current civilization is not based upon the Nile river, many act like it is based upon the US dollar, which has functioned as the world's reserve currency for decades. And although God has not turned the US dollar into blood, He had warnings related to the economy.
It needs to be understood that some of the warnings in the "Old Testament" of the Bible related to economic matters are clearly to occur at the latter time of the end:
43 The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. 45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 28:42-45)
... evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands (Deuteronomy 31:29).
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry...5 Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man... 6 "Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, 'Woe to him who increases What is not his--how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges'? 7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you. Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. (Habakkuk 2:3,5,6-8).
Why mention any of this is in the context of the plague against the Nile? As the US government continues to pile debt upon debt with 'many pledges' called treasury notes, the currency is being debased. The Nile turned to blood and wreaked havoc upon Egypt. The USA dollar is getting debased through debts of various kinds and the economy of the USA will one day be destroyed.
The New Testament warns:
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10)
The Egyptians did not believe that the Nile could be devasted and most Americans do not believe that the USA dollar will become worth no more than the scrap value of the materials it is made of. While we do need money to function in society, we all need to insure that it is not too much of our focus.
In the future, will God punish OUR world with a similar plague of blood as He once punished the Egyptians? Notice:
8 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (Revelation 8:8)
3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.
4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying:
"You are righteous, O Lord,
The One who is and who was and who is to be,
Because You have judged these things.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
And You have given them blood to drink.
For it is their just due." (Revelation 16:3-6)
So, we will see on a bigger scale than what happened in Egypt, waters turned to blood.
Yet, just like Pharaoh would not believe and do what he should have, partially because he was deceived by wonders from his magicians, after the plagues of blood in Revelation, others affected will not believe and do what they should do. Instead, "they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory" (Revelation 16:9).
Do you pay attention to the tests and trials in your life?
They are there for a reason.
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
"If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:12-19)
So, while we may properly conclude that Pharaoh should have listened, we need to consider if we have listened enough ourselves.
Now perhaps it should be mentioned that Hollywood has some interest in the 'gods of Egypt.'
There is a 2016 movie actually titled Gods of Egypt. Here is some information about it:
The survival of mankind hangs in the balance when Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, usurps Egypt’s throne and plunges the prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.
While it does not seem to be a biblical movie, the Bible, in Exodus, shows that God did deal with ‘gods of Egypt’ in the ten plagues, many of which will occur to a degree again according to what is written in the Book of Revelation.
Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel go, so a week later, another God caused another plague:
7:25 And seven days passed after the Lord had struck the river. (Exodus 7:25)
8 And the Lord spoke to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. 3 So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls. 4 And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants."'"
5 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.'" 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt. (Exodus 8:1-7)
So, somehow (with deceipt and/or Satan) the magicians also made frogs appear. Interestingly, the Ipuwer papyrus tells of a problem that magicians had:
VI:6: Indeed, magic spells are divulged; smw- and shnw-spells are frustrated because they are remembered by men. (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
The above is indicating that because magicians knew some tricks, the real miracles were not being paid attention to. Even today, many will follow false leaders, sometimes because of tricks, instead of paying attention to the truth.
This was prophesied for the church age and to last until Jesus' return:
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)
Getting back to frogs, obviously the Egyptians were familiar with frogs, but this was different. Here are some comments from Gill's Commentary:
And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly,.... The river Nile; and though water, and watery places, naturally produce these creatures, yet not in such vast quantities as to cover a whole country, and so large an one as Egypt, and this done at once, immediately; for they were all produced instantaneously, and in one day were spread all over the nation, and removed the next: and besides what follows is equally miraculous: which shall go up and come into thine house; which though they may come up out of rivers, and be upon the banks and the meadows adjacent, yet are never known to come into houses, and especially into bedchambers and other places after mentioned, being not a bold but timorous creature, and shuns the sight and company of men; but these came even into the royal palace, nor could his guards keep them out: and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed; and by their leaping upon him, and croaking in his ears, disturb his rest: and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people both nobles and common people, and not only get into their houses, but upon their persons, on their hands when about their business, on their laps, and into their bosoms, as they sat; which must be very offensive and troublesome to them, what with their ugly shape, croaking noise and filthy smell, and the disagreeable touch of them, leaping on them, and even upon their food, and all vessels used for the same, which must make it very nauseous and distasteful to them:
There was an important goddess for the Egyptians who had a frog-like appearance:
To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since millions of them were born after the annual inundation of the Nile, which brought fertility to the otherwise barren lands. Consequently, in Egyptian mythology, there began to be a frog-goddess, who represented fertility, referred to by Egyptologists as Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc., more rarely Hegit, Heget etc.), written with the determinative frog. ...
Early frog statuettes are often thought to be depictions of her.
Later, as a fertility goddess, associated explicitly with the last stages of the flooding of the Nile, and so with the germination of corn, she became associated with the final stages of childbirth. This association, which appears to have arisen during the Middle Kingdom, gained her the title She who hastens the birth. ... Women often wore amulets of her during childbirth, which depicted Heqet as a frog, sitting in a lotus.
Heqet was considered the wife of Khnum, who formed the bodies of new children on his potter's wheel.
In the myth of Osiris developed, it was said that it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth. As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet's role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association led to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection in the Christian era along with cross and lamb symbolism. (Heqet. Wikipedia, viewed 03/12/15)
So, the frog goddess affected those who claim to be Christian in Egypt who adopted crosses. The cross is not an actual Christian symbol (see also What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?).
Good luck charm amulets and idols are to be avoided by Christians. As the Apostle John wrote:
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5:21)
Other idols these days could be jobs or possessions.
Amulets did not save the Egyptians from the plague of frogs or the other nine plagues.
It is reported that found that near/after the time of the Exodus, according to Douglas Petrovich:
More inscriptional evidence may attest directly to the Year-9 crisis is Amenhotep II’s commissioning of a decree for his couriers to destroy all the images of the gods...(Petrovich D. ‘Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty,’ in Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, Vol. 5:2, 2013, 9-28; as cited by Wright T. Was There an Exodus & Conquest? July 20, 2013. http://crossexamined.org/was-there-an-exodus-conquest/#_ftn11 viewed 03/01/15)
This seemingly would have included images related to the frog goddess, and a plague of frogs would seem to be a reason to do so.
It should be noted that frogs are biblically unclean as they do not meet the criteria of an animal that is biblically clean to eat in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 (see also The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats). The way the New Testament refers to them is consistent with the view that they are still unclean:
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (Revelation 16:13)
So, some type of 'frog-like' plague will affect the earth, though this time not with actual frogs.
Many people realize that the Apostle Peter wrote about Christians being holy:
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13-16)
But most do not seem to realize in that last verse Peter was quoting a passage in Leviticus. Let's look at it and the context:
41 'And every creeping thing that creeps on the earth shall be an abomination. It shall not be eaten. 42 Whatever crawls on its belly, whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet among all creeping things that creep on the earth — these you shall not eat, for they are an abomination. 43 You shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creeps; nor shall you make yourselves unclean with them, lest you be defiled by them. 44 For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 45 For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:41-45)
Notice that God is teaching that one should not be contaminated with the type of creatures that the Egyptians were contaminated with nor have the lusts of the flesh they had either (cf. 1 Peter 1:14; see also The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats).
Getting back to the account in Exodus, Pharaoh did not care for the frogs and wanted them gone:
8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord."
9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, "Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only."
10 So he said, "Tomorrow." And he said, "Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 And the frogs shall depart from you, from your houses, from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only."
12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh. And Moses cried out to the Lord concerning the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh. 13 So the Lord did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields. 14 They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:8-15)
Pharaoh did not keep his word. Those who faithfully believe God do:
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? 2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart 3 and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, 4 who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD,who keeps his oath even when it hurts, 5 who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. (Psalm 15:1-5, NIV)
Do you make promises and not keep them?
If not, this is something you need to change. The Bible teaches that "and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone" (Revelation 21:8 NKJV).
So, since Pharaoh did not keep his word, another plague followed:
16 So the Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.'" 17 And they did so. For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth, and it became lice on man and beast. All the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
18 Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:16-19)
Despite the fact that Egyptian magicians could not do this, Pharaoh did not want to let the children of Israel go. He may have tried to tell himself that this was simply a trick his magicians did not know.
Some feel that the lice may have somehow stung or otherwise bothered people. It has been speculated that the god Ged was the indirect target of this plague.
The word "lice" is rendered as "sand flies" or "fleas" in some translations. The Hebrew word kinnim comes from a root word meaning "to dig"; it is probable that the insect in question would dig under the skin.
This plague would have been an embarrassment to Geb, the great god of the earth. Egyptians gave offerings to Geb for the bounty of the soil -- yet it was from "the dust of the soil" that this plague originated. (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #1. The Church of Christ in Zion. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_1.html accessed 03/12/15)
Geb was the Egyptian god of the Earth and a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis. It was believed in ancient Egypt that Geb's laughter were earthquakes and that he allowed crops to grow. (Geb. Wikipedia, accessed 03/12/15)
Geb was sometimes said to be the father of the sun god Ra. ... Geb himself was said to have swallowed up the dead...
Egyptian kings were said to sit on "the throne of Geb." Geb was usually the main judge between the rival gods Horus and Seth. Geb continued this role as a judge of the dead in the afterlife. (Pinch G. Handbook of Egyptian Mythology. ABC-CLIO, 2002, pp. 135-136)
Since all living went to Geb, in a sense, Geb was a god of the underworld and the dead. But God judged against him, as God executed judgement against all the gods of Egypt (cf. Exodus 12:12).
The Apostle Paul wrote:
55 "O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)
As Christians, we have no reason to fear the sting of death nor Geb, who is not our judge.
But the lice plague should remind us that we can be infested with problems (cf. Romans 7:18) that we need God's help for (cf. Romans 7:24-25).
Furthermore, a plague from the Book of Revelation may have some similarities to the lice one:
2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. (Revelation 16:2)
As the lice affected the skin of man and beast, some type of loathsome sore will affect those who have the mark of the Beast (see also Mark of the Beast and The Mark of Antichrist) and those who worshiped his image (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?).
After lice, came the plague of flying bugs:
20 And Jehovah saith unto Moses, ‘Rise early in the morning, and station thyself before Pharaoh, lo, he is going out to the waters, and thou hast said unto him, Thus said Jehovah, Send My people away, and they serve Me; 21 for, if thou art not sending My people away, lo, I am sending against thee, and against thy servants, and against thy people, and against thy houses, the beetle, and the houses of the Egyptians have been full of the beetle, and also the ground on which they are. 22 ‘And I have separated in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people are staying, that the beetle is not there, so that thou knowest that I [am] Jehovah in the midst of the land, 23 and I have put a division between My people and thy people: to-morrow is this sign.’
24 And Jehovah doth so, and the grievous beetle entereth the house of Pharaoh, and the house of his servants, and in all the land of Egypt the land is corrupted from the presence of the beetle. (Exodus 8:20-24, Young's Literal Translation)
While most people think that these bugs were flies as flies come from lice, the actual Hebrew word he'aarob means 'swarms.' The KJV and NKJV has the expression "of flies" in italics after swarms--that use of italics means that the expression "of flies" is not in the original Hebrew. Nor, I should add, is the word 'beetle' literally in the text. So, the type of insect is uncertain.
Notice that this particular plague only hit Egypt and did not affect the children of Israel. Yet, this was not said of the previous four.
Often, we Christians face the same tests and trials as the world does (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13). But the Bible teaches that God will ultimately differentiate between His people and all others on this planet (Revelation 14:9-12; Revelation 20:4). Yet, God actually has to warn His people in the end time to come out of Babylon (Revelation 18:4) or face the plagues that it will receive.
How many tests and trials do you have to go through with the world? Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
If Christians will properly examine themselves, they will not have to be condemned with the world.
Anyway, with the swarms God made a distinction between His people and the Egyptians. You want God to make a distinction with you as soon as possible, so examine yourself.
Well, getting back to the swarms, this got Pharaoh's attention:
25 And Pharaoh calleth unto Moses and to Aaron, and saith, ‘Go, sacrifice to your God in the land;’
26 and Moses saith, ‘Not right to do so, for the abomination of the Egyptians we do sacrifice to Jehovah our God; lo, we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes — and they do not stone us! 27 A journey of three days we go into the wilderness, and have sacrificed to Jehovah our God, as He saith unto us.’ 28 And Pharaoh saith, ‘I send you away, and ye have sacrificed to Jehovah your God in the wilderness, only go not very far off; make ye supplication for me;’ (Exodus 8:25-28, Young's Literal Translation)
Because Moses warned about the abominations of the Egyptians, it is possible that this particular swarms had to do with some type of beetle.
It is important to note that Moses did not use the phrase "of flies" in this passage -- he simply used the word "swarms" -- the phrase "of flies" was added by the translators, and it is very possible the translators did not help with our understanding of this passage.
It is very likely that the "swarms" in this passage were swarms of the scarab beetle. The scarab was actually a dung beetle -- an insect that feeds on the dung in the fields. The plague of swarms of scarabs, with mandibles that could saw through wood, was destructive and worse than termites!
Deification of the scarab beetle is still seen in Egypt today. Amon-Ra, the creator and king of the gods, had the head of a beetle. "Ra, the Sole Creator was visible to the people of Egypt as the disc of the sun, but they knew him in many other forms. He could appear as a crowned man, a falcon or a man with a falcon's head and, as the scarab beetle pushes a round ball of dung in front of it, the Egyptians pictured Ra as a scarab pushing the sun across the sky." (Geraldine Harris, Gods & Pharaohs from Egyptian Mythology, p. 24).
Some scholars believe this "swarm" was of the blood-sucking gadfly, which was responsible for a lot of blindness in the land. Keil and Delitzsch believe this was the dog-fly, an insect described in detail by Philo. Dog-flies are more annoying than gnats, and fasten themselves to the human body. (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #2. The Church of Christ in Zion. © 2015 David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_2.html accessed 03/12/15)
The idea that this might be a beetle is possibly supported by the following as the Egyptian god Amun-Re had the head of a beetle :
More inscriptional evidence may attest directly to the Year-9 crisis is Amenhotep II’s commissioning of a decree for his couriers to destroy all the images of the gods, singling out Amun-Re in particular. (Petrovich D. ‘Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty,’ in Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, Vol. 5:2, 2013, 9-28; as cited by Wright T. Was There an Exodus & Conquest? July 20, 2013. http://crossexamined.org/was-there-an-exodus-conquest/#_ftn11 viewed 03/01/15)
Notice also the following about the goddess Neith:
Interestingly, images of the fly, and even earlier, of the beetle, were symbolically connected with the ancient war goddess and huntress Neith. Neith also protected the royal house, and she was at one time associated with the rising sun ... Sometimes Neith is represented by the fly, and at other times... the "click beetle" (Motte-Florac E, Thomas JMC. "Insects" in oral literature and traditions, Volume 11 of Ethnosciences (Lovaina). Peeters Publishers, 2003, p. 165).
No matter was type of bug it was, the Egyptian deities failed to protect the Egyptians. Only those that the God of the Bible protected were protected.
As far as the swarming creature goes, it could have been some type of fly. Interestingly:
Insects were important religious symbols in ancient Egyptian culture and mythology. They were featured prominently in hieroglyphs, seals, and carvings. Depictions of insects were used as talismans for protection, and even placed in burial tombs. To the ancient Egyptians, these tiny creatures were powerful symbols of resurrection and eternal life. ...
In ancient Egypt, flies represented courage and tenacity. Stone carvings in the form of flies have been found and dated to approximately 3500 B.C. According to Egyptian mythology, flies protected against misfortune and disease. (Zagata D. Sacred Insects in Ancient Egypt. Demand Media. http://classroom.synonym.com/sacred-insects-ancient-egypt-5563.html accessed 03/17/15)
Getting back to the narrative in Exodus:
29 Then Moses said, "Indeed I am going out from you, and I will entreat the Lord, that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. But let Pharaoh not deal deceitfully anymore in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord."
30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. 31 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go. (Exodus 8:29-32)
Despite agreeing to let the children of Israel go, Pharaoh once again broke his word. Hopefully, you are not in a similar habit.
Swarms remind us that we can be overwhelmed and think that our problems are too difficult to deal with. But remember:
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The Egyptians got swarms they could not handle. God will not give you more than you really can (see also our free online booklet Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).
It should also be considered that the several of the plagues were essentially a type of pestilence. Pestilences are prophesied:
11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11)
7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see." 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)
The Egyptians were afflicted with frogs, lice/gnats, and swarms, all of which are beasts of the earth.
Since Pharaoh did not let the children of Israel go, God sent another plague:
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, 'Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, 3 behold, the hand of the Lord will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep — a very severe pestilence. 4 And the Lord will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel."'" 5 Then the Lord appointed a set time, saying, "Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land."
6 So the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. 7 Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go. (Exodus 9:1-7)
There were several Egyptian gods associated with animals. Here is a little bit about some of them:
The god Apis was represented as a bull, and had been worshipped in Egypt since around 3,000 B.C. The funerary cult devoted to him left many important remains. The Apis bull was the living image of the god Ptah. He was also associated with Re, from whom he borrowed the disk he wore between his horns.
When the Apis bull died, priests would travel through every pasture in Egypt looking for his replacement -- the calf would have a black coat, with distinctive patches on his neck, back and body. The Apis bull supposedly had the power of prophecy. When the Apis bull died the land of Egypt mourned for him as they would for the loss of the monarch himself. After death, his body would be embalmed, and after the funeral rites were performed, the body would be placed in a granite sarcophagus.
Hathor was the cow-headed goddess of the desert. "The cow was the living symbol of Isis-Hathor, represented sometimes as a cow, at others as a woman with a cow's head, at others as a horned woman." (How and Wells, Commentary on Herodotus, p. 185).
"The original form under which Hathor was worshipped was that of a cow. Later she is represented as a woman with the head of a cow, and finally with a human head, the face broad, kindly, placid, and decidedly bovine, sometimes retaining the ears or horns of the animal she represents. She is also shown with a head-dress resembling a pair of horns with the moon-disk between them." (Lewis Spence, Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends, p. 163).
The goddess Hathor was the symbolic mother of Pharaoh, and the king of Egypt was referred to as "the son of Hathor." In addition to the gods already mentioned, this plague would have been a direct insult to Khnum, the ram-god, and to Bast, the cat goddess of love. (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #2. The Church of Christ in Zion. © 2015 David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_2.html accessed 03/12/15)
Hathor was the goddess of joy (Hathor, Wikipedia, accessed 03/12/15) and those who lost livestock in Egypt from this plague would not have been joyful.
In Egyptian mythology, Apis or Hapis (alternatively spelled Hapi-ankh), is a bull-deity that was worshipped in the Memphis region. "Apis served as an intermediary between humans and an all-powerful god (originally Ptah, later Osiris, then Atum)." ... Apis was the most important of all the sacred animals in Egypt...(Apis. Wikipedia, accessed 03/12/15)
The Bible teaches that there is only one mediator:
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5, NKJV).
5 For there is one God, one also mediator of God and men, man Christ JESUS (1 Timothy 2:5, RNT).
Thus any others who claim to be a mediator clearly contradict the Bible (from both the Catholic and Protestant translations) and CANNOT BE OF GOD. No Egyptian god or goddess is a mediator between God and humankind. Nor are any saints, including Jesus' mother Mary, though some wish to think otherwise (Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.
The Ipuwer papyrus has a couple of statements showing that there were problems with the livestock in Egypt consisent with the fifth plague:
Papyrus 8:12: "Behold, butchers transgress (?) with geese. They have given [to] the gods instead of oxen." Note that so few cattle were left, geese were sacrificed in their place. (Grabbe, p. 29)
5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan... (Bechmer M. The Ten Plagues Live from Egypt. http://ohr.edu/838 accessed 03/11/15)
Animals would somewhat weep and moan from this type of pestilence.
Back in the days of Egypt, cattle was the source of wealth for many who were wealthy. Many lost much of their wealth with the plague of hail and some of the plagues to follow. While having assets is fine, remember that Jesus taught:
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Remember, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
As mentioned before, the Bible tells of a coming time of pestilences (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:7-8).
Since Pharaoh would not let God's people go, a sixth plague hit:
8 So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt." 10 Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (Exodus 9:8-12)
It may be that since ashes become part of the earth that this plague was partially also against Geb, the earth god (his 'wife' Nut was likely involved with the seventh). The fact that the magicians were hit by this indicates that this was also against the Egyptian gods of medicine and healing. One such god would have been a supposedly deifed human named Imhotep:
The first real person in known history is not a conqueror or a king but an artist and a scientist Imhotep, physician, architect and chief adviser of King Zoser (ca. 3150 B.C.). He did so much for Egyptian medicine that later generations worshiped him as a god of knowledge, author of their sciences and their arts; (Durant W. The Story of Civilization, PART ONE: OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE. Great Neck, N. Y., March, 1935, p. 147; https://archive.org/stream/storyofcivilizat035369mbp/storyofcivilizat035369mbp_djvu.txt accessed 03/12/15)
Notice a view from David Padfield:
This plague was probably skin anthrax, a black abscess that develops into a pustule. This plague was accompanied by painful boils that affected the knees, legs, and soles of the feet (cf. Deut. 28:35). This explains why Pharaoh's "magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians" (Exo. 9:11). ...
This plague would have also been an affront to Serapis, the deity in charge of healing, and to Thoth, the ibis-headed god of intelligence and medical learning. (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #2. The Church of Christ in Zion. © 2015 David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_2.html accessed 03/12/15)
The boils would also be consistent with passages in the Ipuwer papyrus about animals and cattle suffering.
Notice two other historical sources which are consistent with the plague of boils:
in Pompeius Trogus' Historicae Philippicae. Here Moses appears not as an Egyptian but as the son of Joseph. ... "The reason for the Exodus is the same as in most of the other sources: an epidemic. "But when the Egyptians were exposed to the scab and to a skin infection, and had been warned by an oracle, they expelled [Moses] together with the sick people beyond the confines of Egypt lest the disease should spread to a greater number of people. ..
TACITUS gives us a summary that combines many aspects of the Exodus tradition. Egypt is stricken by an epidemic that leads to bodily deformities; King Bocchorus consults the oracle and learns he must "purge" the country of this race (genus) because the gods detest it (ut invisum deis). The Jews are driven into the desert, but find a leader in Moses who brings them to Palestine and founds Jerusalem. (Assmann J. Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Harvard University Press, 2009, pp. 35-36, 37)
So a skin problem and fear of death (probably relating to the later plague of the death of the firstborn) are recorded in ancient writings as causes of the Exodus.
As Christians, we need to realize that God is our healer:
26... "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you." (Exodus 15:26)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:13-17)
Sometimes, however, we have to go through long and difficult illnesses. When that happens, it should remind us to examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:30-31), but also realize that if we love God, all things will work together for good (Romans 8:28).
Interestingly, in the future, God has a plague similar to the boils that affected Pharaoh's magicians and kingdom that will hit those supporting the kingdom of the Beast:
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:10-11)
Just like Pharaoh, people in the end will not repent from being afflicted with painful sores.
Since boils did not persuade Pharoah, weather, in the form of hail, was then used:
13 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me, 14 for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 15 Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. 17 As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go. 18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. 19 Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die."'"
20 He who feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses. 21 But he who did not regard the word of the Lord left his servants and his livestock in the field.
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt — on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt." 23 And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. (Exodus 9:13-26)
The Bible teaches that God controls the weather (Psalm 148:8, RAV; for more on weather, see Weather Blessings and Sorrows).
The Egyptians believed that their gods had control of the food supply.
Since this plague originated from the sky, it would have been an insult to Nut, the sky goddess. "Her most general appearance, however, is that of a woman resting on hands and feet, her body forming an arch, thus representing the sky. Her limbs typified the four pillars on which the sky was supposed to rest. She was supposed originally to be reclining on Geb, the earth, when Shu raised her from this position." (Lewis Spence, Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends, p. 173).
Nut was also considered by the Egyptians to be the mother of five other gods: Osiris, Hathor, Set, Isis, and Nephthys.
During this plague, you have to wonder: Where was Shu, the wind god? Where was Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of Upper Egypt?
Isis and Seth supposedly protected the crops, but the burned fields testified of their impotence. Although this plague would have caused widespread devastation, a few trees remained for the locusts of the next plague to devour. (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #2. The Church of Christ in Zion. © 2015 David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_2.html accessed 03/12/15)
Nut is a daughter of Shu and Tefnut. Her husband and brother is Geb. She has five children: Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys,and Horus. Her name is translated to mean 'sky' and she is considered one of the oldest deities among the Egyptian pantheon, with her origin being found on the creation story of Heliopolis. ...
Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow whose great body formed the sky and heavens, a sycamore tree, or as a giant sow, suckling many piglets (representing the stars). ...
Nut is also the barrier separating the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in the world. She was pictured as a woman arched on her toes and fingertips over the earth; her body portrayed as a star-filled sky. Nut’s fingers and toes were believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions of north, south, east, and west. (Nut (goddess). Wikipedia, accessed 03/12/15)
Nephthys= The sister goddess of Isis. She is responsible for immortality, justice, water, weather, wild birds, the moon & the night, & the underworld. In mythology, she was the representation of darkness, and also aided Isis in governing the country & reassembles the body of Osiris after being killed by Nephthys’ husband. ...
Tefnut= The lioness-headed goddess of order, justice, time, heaven & hell, & weather. She is the mother of Nut & Geb. (Z Veiga-Brown) (Ancient Egyptian Gods & Goddesses. Tutankhamun Project - 6th Period (Fulay). https://sites.google.com/a/smpanthers.org/fulay-6th-period-scripture/home/ancient-egyptian-gods--goddesses accessed 03/17/15).
So, Nut seems to have, at least partially, been a weather goddess, and probably one who protected cattle. The plague of hail showed she and the other weather goddess were ineffective in protecting the cattle of the Egyptians.
The Ipuwer papyrus has reports consistent with the biblical account of the hail and fire:
9:2-3: "Behold, Cattle are left to stray and there is none to gather them together. Each man fetches for himself those that are branded with his name." The plague of hail had caused the few surviving cattle to so scatter in trying to find shelter that they were difficult to round up. ...
Another aspect of the hail was the fire (lightning?) mixed with it. Note one peculiar passage of the papyrus — 2:10-11: "Forsooth, gates, columns and walls (?) are consumed by fire; (while) the..... of the kings' palace stands firm and endures." Apparently wooden structures (but not the more substantially built structures) were destroyed by the fire accompanying the hail! (Grabbe, p. 29)
2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire. (Bechmer M. The Ten Plagues Live from Egypt. http://ohr.edu/838 accessed 03/11/15)
IV:12: Indeed, trees are felled and branches are stripped off. (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
Notice a couple of specific crops that were struck by the hail:
31 Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud. (Exodus 9:31)
Notice something else that the Ipuwer papyrus mentions:
IV:3: Indeed, everywhere barley has perished and men are stripped of clothes, spice, and oil; everyone says: "There is none." The storehouse is empty and its keeper is stretched on the ground; a happy state of affairs! (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
Barley was a major food source, and flax was likely a source of oil. Flax was also wear linen for clothes comes from.
This plague, especially combined with the following fifth one and the eighth one would have greatly affected food production.
Great hail is also prophesied to come again in the end:
7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)
21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great. (Revelation 16:21)
Instead of repenting, people will blaspheme.
Are you happy when God tries to correct you?
Remember that the Bible teaches:
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Do not be like the Egyptians or others who will not repent nor heed God's correction.
God instructed Moses to see Pharoah again:
3 So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 4 Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field. 6 They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians — which neither your fathers nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.'" And he turned and went out from Pharaoh. (Exodus 10:3-6)
Moses flat out told Pharaoh that he needed to humble himself and listen to God. Notice what Paul wrote to Christians:
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (Romans 12:16)
This time, Pharaoh's staff decided to try to persuade Pharaoh to listen:
7 Then Pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?"
8 So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, "Go, serve the Lord your God. Who are the ones that are going?"
9 And Moses said, "We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord."
10 Then he said to them, "The Lord had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you. 11 Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the Lord, for that is what you desired." And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence. (Exodus 10:7-11)
So, Pharaoh considered what God had to say, but decided that he still knew better. Pharoah was wise in his own opinion. This happens to Christians as well as others.
But what God's expects His followers to do is in the Book of Proverbs:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)
Many are 'wise in their own eyes.' Very few actually trust God.
Getting back to the narrative in Exodus, notice what happened next:
12 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land — all that the hail has left." 13 So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them. 15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 10:12-15)
This plague brought utter devastation. One might think that because of the severity that there might be some record of it outside the Bible. Well, the Ipuwer papyrus seems to discuss it:
Papyrus 3:3: "... The mistresses of houses say: would that we had something to eat." 3:10-13: "Lacking are grain (?), charcoal... All is ruin!"
4:14-5:3: "Forsooth, trees are destroyed (?)" — compare this with Exodus 9:25 — "... cakes are lacking [Faulkner] for most (?) children. There is no food.... Forsooth, all animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan because of the state of the land."
Papyrus 6:1-5: "Forsooth, (men eat} herbs, and wash (them) down with water. No fruit(?) nor herbs are found [for] the birds..... is taken away from the mouth of the swine..... hunger. Forsooth, grain has perished on every side. (People) are stripped of clothes, spices (?) and oil. Everybody says: there is none. The storehouse is empty and its keeper is stretched on the ground; a happy state of affairs!" (Faulkner.)
Papyrus 6:9: "The corn (?) of Egypt is common property."
9:11: "Destroyed (?) are... their food [is taken away?) from them."
10:3-5: "Lower Egypt weeps. The storehouse of the king is common property of everyone, and the entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong (by right) wheat and barley, geese and fish."
A horrible picture of murder for a little food. Not only does revenue for the king no longer come in, but the very royal storehouses are also robbed by desperate citizens. Even the animals have nothing to eat. (Grabbe, p. 29)
II:11: Upper Egypt has become an empty waste. ...
IV:4: Indeed, great and small [say]: "I wish I might die." Little children say: "He should not have caused [me] to live." ... IV:10: There are no remedies for it; noblewomen suffer like maidservants
IX:9-10: All is ruin! Indeed, laughter is perished and is [no longer] made; it is groaning that is throughout the land, mingled with complaints. (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15; location IX:9 is called 9:6 in Grabbe, p. 30)
This plague showed that none of the gods of Egypt were effective in protecting crops:
Again, as with the preceding plagues, the gods of Egypt were silent. You have to wonder what their worshippers thought as they saw the devastation. Where was Nepri, the god of grain? Where was Ermutet, the goddess of childbirth and crops? Isis is silent once again. Thermuthis, the goddess of fertility and the harvest was speechless. Seth, another god of crops, was also mute. (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #3. The Church of Christ in Zion. © 2015 David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_3.html accessed 03/13/15)
Only the true God can protect. So, this time, Pharaoh seems to change his mind.
16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, "I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only." 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. 19 And the Lord turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go. (Exodus 10:16-20)
This time, God apparently decided that Pharaoh was not really serious so He hardened Pharaoh's heart. While some people often think that they always have time to call to God this is not quite the case:
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
The above implies that there is a time when it will be too late. This is confirmed for the end times by the following:
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' 12 But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matthew 25:1-13)
Although the above seems to be referring to those who only think that they are Christian (cf. Matthew 7:21-23), it also appears that the Laodicean Christians (Revelation 3:14-19) will be in a situation where it will be too late for them to NOT go through the Great Tribulation (see also The Laodicean Church Era).
It should also be mentioned that the descendants of Israel were warned about a time of locusts coming if they were disobedient:
38 "You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. 41 You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. 42 Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land.
43 "The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
45 "Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever.
47 "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you.
52 "They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the Lord your God has given you.
53 You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. 54 The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, 55 so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, 57 her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
58 "If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, 59 then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues — great and prolonged plagues — and serious and prolonged sicknesses. 60 Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed. 62 You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. 63 And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.
64 "Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known — wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. 67 In the morning you shall say, 'Oh, that it were evening!' And at evening you shall say, 'Oh, that it were morning!' because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.
68 "And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, 'You shall never see it again.' And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you." (Deuteronomy 28:38-68)
The time will come when crops in the USA and at least some of its Anglo-Saxon descended allies will be hit by locusts and other pestilences--and this is BEFORE the start of the Great Tribulation (cf. Matthew 24:4-8).
Notice that later for those that do not have the seal of God, a different kind of locust plague is prophesied for the future:
1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. (Revelation 9:1-5)
Only God's people will be protected from this locust plague. Are you among those truly part of God's church (see also Where is the True Christian Church Today?).
Egpyt experienced famine and food shortages, both of which are prophesied to happen again:
7... And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places (Matthew 24:7)
5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine." (Revelation 6:5-6)
Versions of a lot of the ten plagues will happen again.
The plague of darkness was to come next:
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt." 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (Exodus 10:21-23)
So the Egyptians were the people of darkness and the Israelites were the children of light.
Christians are to be children of the light and not the darkness:
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light." (Ephesians 5:8-14)
Christians get their light from the Spirit via Jesus.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)
Christians are to be a new lump, unleavened (1 Corinthians 5:7) and walk in the light and practice truth. The Egyptians did not practice the truth and many who claim to be Christian these days do not as well (cf. 1 John 2:4-5).
Anyway, Pharaoh decided to change his mind:
24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, "Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you."
25 But Moses said, "You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the Lord our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there."
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. (Exodus 10:24-27)
So, God decided that He needed to harden Pharaoh's heart again and Pharoah would not let the children of Israel go.
In Egypt, the sun god Ra was quite important:
Ra (Re) was the primary name of the sun god of Ancient Egypt. He was often considered to be the King of the Gods and thus the patron of the pharaoh and one of the central gods of the Egyptian pantheon. He was also described as the creator of everything. Ra was so powerful and popular and his worship was so enduring that some modern commentators have argued that the Egyptian religion was in fact a form of veiled monotheism with Ra as the one god. This seems to be somewhat of an overstatement, but underlines his primary position within religious texts throughout Egyptian history. (Hill J. Ra. Ancient Egypt Online. Copyright J Hill 2010. http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/ra.html accessed 03/13/15)
For beneath and above everything in Egypt was religion. ... in the official theology the greatest of the gods was the sun. Sometimes it was worshiped as the supreme deity Ra or Re, the bright father who fertilized Mother Earth with rays of penetrating heat and light; sometimes it was a divine calf, born anew at every dawn, sailing the sky slowly in a celestial boat, and descending into the west, at evening, like an old man tottering to his grave. Or the sun was the god Horus, taking the graceful form of a falcon, flying majestically across the heavens day after day as if in supervision of his realm, and becoming one of the recurrent symbols of Egyptian religion and royalty. Always Ra, or the sun, was the Creator: at his first rising, seeing the earth desert and bare, he had flooded it with his energizing rays, and all living things vegetable, animal and human had sprung pell-mell from his eyes, and been scattered over the world. The earliest men and women, being direct children of Ra, had been perfect and happy; by degrees their descendants had taken to evil ways, and had forfeited this perfection and happiness; whereupon Ra, dissatisfied with his creatures, had destroyed a large part of the human race. Learned Egyptians questioned this popular belief, and asserted on the contrary (like certain Sumerian scholars), that the first men had been like brutes, without articulate speech or any of the arts of life.* 8 All in all it was an intelligent mythology, expressing piously man's gratitude to earth and sun. (Durant W. The Story of Civilization, PART ONE: OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE. Great Neck, N. Y., March, 1935, pp. 197-198; https://archive.org/stream/storyofcivilizat035369mbp/storyofcivilizat035369mbp_djvu.txt accessed 03/13/15)
This plague of darkness was an insult to Egypt's religion and entire culture. The sun god Amon-Ra was considered one of the greatest blessings in all of the land of Egypt.
Amon and Ra were originally two separate deities. Ra was a sun god whose cult was centered at the city of Heliopolis, and is usually represented in art with a man's body and a falcon's head surmounted by a solar disk. ...
In Egyptian mythology Horus was the god of light who personified the life-giving power of the Sun. He was usually represented as a falcon-headed man wearing a sun disk as a crown. The reigning kings of Egypt were believed to be incarnations of the god Horus.
Once again, the gods of Egypt were silent. Where was Ptah, the chief god of Memphis, and the one who created the moon, the sun and the earth? Where are Atum, the sun god and creator who was worshiped at Heliopolis, the major center of sun worship? Where was Tem, the god of the sunset? Where was Shu, the god of sunlight and air? (Padfield D. Against all the Gods of Egypt, #3. The Church of Christ in Zion. © 2015 David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2002/egypt_3.html accessed 03/13/15)
The God of the Bible clearly was more powerful than the Egyptian sun god.
The event of darkness may have been referred to in the Ipuwer as a translation of it states:
9:11 The land is without light (Bechmer M. The Ten Plagues Live from Egypt. http://ohr.edu/838 accessed 03/11/15)
So there is some non-biblical evidence that the darkness of Exodus occured in Egypt.
And of course, it was the God of the Bible (and not Ra!) who made everything and rested on the Sabbath:
8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)
The Sabbath is on Saturday, not Sunday. God even reminded the children of Egypt that since He took them out of Egypt, He wanted them to keep the Sabbath day:
12 'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
God did not tell them to keep Sunday. But what about for Christians? Notice what the New Testament teaches:
3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." 5 And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience...9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NIV).
The Sabbath is the seventh day for Christians as it was for the children of Israel. Christians are to be a light in this age of spiritual darkness.
The Bible also shows that more physical blackness is prophesied to hit the Sun and sky:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Revelation 6:12)
12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. (Revelation 8:10-12)
Many will be deceived by the coming darkness.
Well in addition to the fact that Revelation 6 & 8 do not teach people will repent because of this, as it turns out there are various Catholic prophecies of a coming time of darkness and other signs in the sky. It may well be that many will believe them and not be too concerned about the darkness that God is going to bring to the Earth. It could also be that there will be a three day time of darkness that happens prior to the darkness mentioned in Revelation 6 & 8, but some of the Catholic prophecies related to this may partially be fulfilled as the events of Revelation unfold.
Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi (died 1837): There shall come all over the earth an intense darkness lasting three days and three nights. Nothing will be visible and the air will be laden with pestilence... During these three days the people should pray the Rosary and beg God for mercy. ... All the enemies of the Church, secret as well as known, will perish over the whole earth during that universal darkness, with the exception of some few, whom God will soon convert. The air shall be infected with demons, who will appear under all sorts of hideous forms. ... Russia, England, and China will come into the Church. (Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p. 26)
Sister Rose Asdenti (1847). She foretold the three days of darkness and that England would return to the unity of faith. (Connor, p. 27)
Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi (19th Century)..."After the three days of darkness, St. Peter and St. Paul, having come down from Heaven, will preach in the whole world and designate a new Pope. A great light will flash from their bodies and will settle upon the cardinal who is to become Pope. Christianity, then, will spread throughout the world. He is the Holy Pontiff, chosen by God to withstand the storm. At the end, he will have the gift of miracles, and his name shall be praised over the whole earth (Birch DA. Trial, Tribulation & Triumph: Before During and After Antichrist. Queenship Publishing Company, Goleta (CA), 1996, pp. 362-363).
Palma Maria d'Oria (died 1863): There shall by be a three days darkness, during which the atmosphere will be infected by innumerable devils... Blessed candles alone shall be able to give light and preserve the faithful Catholics from this impending dreadful scourge. Supernatural prodigies shall appear in the heavens. (Connor, p. 27)
Before the great tribulation, there is going to be a sign. We will see in the sky one great red cross on a day of blue sky without clouds. The color red signifies the blood of Jesus Who redeemed us and the blood of the martyrs selected by God in the days of darkness. This cross will be seen by everyone: Christians, pagans, atheists, etc., as well as all the prepared ones (understand for prepared ones not only the Christians, because there are people who have never heard the Gospel, but also for those who have the voice of God in the sanctuary of their consciences) who will be guided by God in the way of Christ. They will receive grace to interpret the significance of the cross (Flynn Ted and Maureen. The Thunder of Justice. MaxKol Communications, Inc. Sterling (VA), 1993, p.349).
There are many other private prophecies concerning the remote and proximate signs which will precede the General Judgment and concerning Antichrist, such as those attributed to St. Hildegarde, St. Bridget of Sweden, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (the "three days' darkness"), the Curé d'Ars, and many others. These do not enlighten us any more than do the Scriptural prophecies as to the day and the hour of that judgment, which still remains a Divine secret. (Devine, Arthur. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Prophecy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified of Pau (died 1878): All states will be shaken by war and civil conflict. During a darkness lasting three days, the people given to evil ways will perish so that only one fourth of mankind will survive. The clergy too will be greatly reduced in number, as most of them will die in defense of the Faith or their country. (Connor, p. 27)
Marie Julie Jahenny of La Fraudais (1891): There will come three days of continued darkness. The blessed candle of wax alone will give light during the horrid darkness. ... Red clouds like blood will pass in the sky, the crash of thunder will make the earth tremble; lightening will flash through the streets at an unusual time of the year; the earth will tremble to its foundations; the oceans will cast its foaming waves over the land... All vegetation will be destroyed as well as three-fourths of the human race. (Connor, p. 28)
Many non-biblical prophesies teach doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1) and are part of Satan's Plan of signs and lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Some of the above would not seem to be related to the biblical darkness prophecy, but some others may.
The Book of Revelation shows that most of humanity will die and that there will be lightning and troubles (Revelation 11:19; 16:18). It may be that the Catholic prophecies will be pointed to in order to keep people away from listening to God or His witnesses.
Just like the Egyptians who did not truly repent with the darkness plague, neither will much of humankind repent at the coming darkness.
God had one more plague planned, and He told Moses that this would result in real action from Pharaoh:
1 And the Lord said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. 2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold." 3 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people. (Exodus 11:1-3)
Before going further, let me add another verse as well as something from the Ipuwer papyrus:
35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. (Exodus 12:35-36)
III:3: Indeed, gold and lapis lazuli, silver and turquoise, carnelian and amethyst, Ibhet-stone and [. . .] are strung on the necks of maidservants. ...
III:6: They come no more; gold is lacking ...
III:7: To what purpose is a treasury without its revenues? (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
Papyrus 3:6-10: "Gold is lacking, the..... of all handicrafts is at an end (?). The..... of the king's palace is despoiled (?)."
9:6: "Behold, no craftsmen work. The enemies of the land have spoilt (?) its crafts (?) [impoverished its craftsmen — Faulkner)."
6:3-5: "(People) are stripped of clothes, spices (?) and oil. Everybody says: there is none." (Grabbe, p. 30)
Notice also the following:
in Pompeius Trogus' Historicae Philippicae. Here Moses appears not as an Egyptian but as the son of Joseph. But the cult he initiates in Jerusalem is characterized as "sacra Aegyptia." When leaving Egypt, Moses "secretly took the sacred objects of the Egyptians. In trying to recover these objects by force, the Egyptians were forced by storms to return home." (Assmann J. Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Harvard University Press, 2009, pp. 35-36)
So, there are confirmation that there was a time that the Egpytians lost their gold/wealth ("sacred objects" were often made of precious materials). The part about Egypt's military returning after "storms" sounds like their drowing in the sea in Exodus 14.
Here is information about the Passover:
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire — its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover.
12 'For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:5-13)
Here is some confirmation of the death and wailing in Egypt from the Ipuwer papyrus:
4:3 (5:6) Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.
6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.
6:3 The prison is ruined.
2:13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.
3:14 It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations (Bechmer M. The Ten Plagues Live from Egypt. http://ohr.edu/838 accessed 03/11/15).
Papyrus 2:4: "Forsooth, women are lacking and no (children) are conceived. Khnum fashions (mankind) no longer because of the condition of the land." Khnum was the potter god who supposedly shaped babies on a wheel. 2:5-6: "Death is not lacking (?). The mummycloth (?) speaks, before every one comes near it (?)."
Gardiner makes this comment about the preceding statement, "The sense seems to be: corpses are everywhere, and the very bandages cry out, so that they can be heard without drawing near to them."
Papyrus 2:6-7: "Forsooth, many dead men are buried in the river. The stream is a sepulchre, and the place of embalmment has become stream." 4:3-4: "Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls. The offspring of desire are laid out on the high ground. Khnum groans because of weariness." (Grabbe, p. 30)
II:3-5: Indeed, [hearts] are violent, pestilence is throughout the land, blood is everywhere, death is not lacking, and the mummy-cloth speaks even before one comes near it. Indeed, many dead are buried in the river; the stream is a sepulcher and the place of embalmment has become a stream.
Indeed, noblemen are in distress ... (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
The firstborn of Egypt were killed.
Those that God protected were passed over from this death.
Now, the Ipuwer papyrus tells that the Egyptians rebelled against their gods:
VII:5-6: Behold, men have fallen into rebellion against the Uraeus, the [. . .] of Re, even she who makes the Two Lands content. Behold, the secret of the land whose limits were unknown is divulged, and the Residence is thrown down in a moment. (The admonitions of Ipuwer. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/ipuwer.htm viewed 03/17/15)
As far as the Uraeus, here is information:
The Uraeus is a symbol for the goddess Wadjet, who was one of the earliest Egyptian deities and who often was depicted as a cobra. The center of her cult was in Per-Wadjet, later called Buto by the Greeks. She became the patroness of the Nile Delta and the protector of all of Lower Egypt. The pharaohs wore the Uraeus as a head ornament: either with the body of Wadjet atop the head, or as a crown encircling the head; this indicated Wadjet's protection and reinforced the pharaoh's claim over the land. In whatever manner that the Uraeus was displayed upon the pharaoh's head, it was, in effect, part of the pharaoh's crown. The pharaoh was recognized only by wearing the Uraeus, which conveyed legitimacy to the ruler. (Uraeus. Wikipedia, accessed 03/17/15)
As a deity, Neith is normally shown carrying the was scepter (symbol of rule and power) and the ankh (symbol of life). ... As protectress of the Royal House, she is represented as a uraeus, and functions with the fiery fury of the sun, In time, this led to her being considered as the personification of the primordial waters of creation. She is identified as a great mother goddess in this role as a creator. (Neith. Wikipedia, accessed 03/17/15)
So, people rebelled against the goddess of the Nile, their great mother goddess, and apparently Re/Ra.
Amenhotep II, the likely Pharaoh of the Exodus (see When was the Exodus? Did it Happen?), also destroyed their images:
Archaeologist, Douglas Petrovich at the University of Toronto has written a fascinating article (Douglas Petrovich, ‘Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty,’ in Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, Vol. 5:2, 2013, 9-28)... At the end of the article Petrovich makes some starling observations in his conclusions:
More inscriptional evidence may attest directly to the Year-9 crisis is Amenhotep II’s commissioning of a decree for his couriers to destroy all the images of the gods, singling out Amun-Re in particular. Given that Thutmose III and Amenhotep II expressly ascribed praise to Amun-Re for military victories on their Asiatic campaigns, and that Amenhotep II originated and/or perpetuated the desecration of Hatshepsut’s images throughout Egypt, there is plenty of reason to hypothesize that the religious crisis—and subsequent decree to destroy all the “bodies” of Egyptian deities throughout the land—may be intricately bound to the military and political turmoil of his Year-9. Moreover, a potential interruption in the high priesthood of Amun during this time may also attest to this “perfect storm” of events. Therefore, a religious crisis focused on Amun-Re at this time may have been initiated by Amenhotep II as a result of a devastating loss in battle which coincided with the abandonment of their principle naval base from which military operations into Asia were launched, and led to an unavoidable shift in foreign policy. (Ibid., 22)
Why would Amenhotep II order the destruction of the images of Egyptian gods? Why was there major turmoil & upheaval in Egypt’s religious practices? Why was there a complete change of foreign policy with regard Egypt’s nearest neighbors in Asia [in the Levant] in the later part of Amenhotep II’s reign? This evidence alone does not prove the exodus, but it is certainly consistent with the behavior of an autocratic & military ruler such as Amenhotep II, if such an event such as the biblical exodus took place. The exodus was an event in which Egypt’s gods were rendered impotent and pharaoh’s military forces were drastically reduced. I submit that the exodus, as it is exactly described in the Bible, is the most reasonable explanation for this turn of event’s Amenhotep II’s rule. (Wright T. Was There an Exodus & Conquest? July 20, 2013. http://crossexamined.org/was-there-an-exodus-conquest/#_ftn11 viewed 03/01/15)
Since the pharaohs were supposedly related to these gods, it would take a great reason for a pharaoh to do this. Amenhotep II, whose gods failed to protect him, his son, and Egypt, would have the motivation, as well as support from the Egpytian populace, to do this.
Despite all the plagues, both Pharaoh and the children of Israel had doubts.
Notice what happened after the children of Israel left Egypt:
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, 'They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.' 4 Then I will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord." And they did so.
5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, "Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?" 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. 7 Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. 9 So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."
13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."
15 And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 17 And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."
19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians."
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen." 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses. (Exodus 14:1-30)
Do you ever have doubts? The children of Israel did.
This is despite God having a pillar of clouds and fire to lead them:
18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you."
20 So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. (Exodus 13:18-22)
As Christians, we are to be led by God's Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14), which was shown as tongues of fire in Acts 2:3-4.
Now, there is something interesting from the Ipuwer papyrus that seems relevant here related to the travels of the Israelites:
Papyrus 7:1: "Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land."
There is little doubt from the context that this is a reference to the pillar of fire and smoke which led the Israelites. The deceived Egyptians may at first have conceived it to be something which plagued the escaping Israelites instead of guiding them.
Papyrus 7:1-6: "Behold, things are done, that have never happened for long time past ... Behold, Egypt has come to pour out water. He who poured water on the ground, he has captured the strong man in misery (??). ..." (Grabbe, p. 30)
The Egyptians somehow deceived themselves that it was safe to go after the Israelites, and later may have hoped their gods had a fire to assist them. But they, and those who trusted in that military were in error. What may have been the most powerful military in the world at that time was destroyed.
Notice also the following:
6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalms 20:6-7)
Some still have their faith in the military of the USA--but it too is prophesied to be defeated. Notice:
39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. (Daniel 11:39).
The 'he' above is the final European King of the North (see also Who is the King of the North?).
When Egypt had the strongest fortresses on the planet, it was defeated. The USA currently has the strongest fortresses and it too will have its foreces defeated--though this time because God will have humans do it:
5 "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
6 I will send him against an ungodly nation,
And against the people of My wrath
I will give him charge,
To seize the spoil, to take the prey,
And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 Yet he does not mean so,
Nor does his heart think so;
But it is in his heart to destroy,
And cut off not a few nations.
8 For he says,
'Are not my princes altogether kings?
9 Is not Calno like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad?
Is not Samaria like Damascus?
10 As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols,
Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 As I have done to Samaria and her idols,
Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?'" (Isaiah 10:5-11)
See also Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy and Germany's Assyrian Roots Throughout History.)
Beyond destruction of the military of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies, the Bible shows that a worse time of inundation by water is coming.
6 "For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land (Haggai 2:6).
19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Revelation 16:19-20)
41 Oh, how the praise of the whole earth is seized! How Babylon has become desolate among the nations! 42 The sea has come up over Babylon; She is covered with the multitude of its waves. 43 Her cities are a desolation, A dry land and a wilderness, A land where no one dwells, Through which no son of man passes. 44 I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed; And the nations shall not stream to him anymore. Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall. 45 "My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD (Jeremiah 51:41-45).
Notice also what Jesus said:
11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven... 25 And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. (Luke 21:11, 25-26).
The amount of devastation that this will cause will be far greater than what happened to the Egyptians when the sea closed.
In terms of armies, notice the following that will affect those of the world that are left:
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:17-21)
Civilization will be replaced. Jesus will return and the millennial Kingdom of God on the Earth will begin.
What about you? Five or so centuries after leaving Egypt, the ancient children of Israel still had doubts about God later. Elijah proclaimed:
"How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)
God then performed a miracle (1 Kings 18:30-39) , but later the children of Israel still did not really believe.
Do you really believe God?
Utter devastation is coming to this world, and it will be a even worse time than the ten plagues hitting Egypt:
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. ...
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:4-8, 21-22)
Now the items Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:4-8 correspond with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I perhaps should add that the Book of Exodus showed that a type three of those horsemen plagues hit Egypt, and parts of the Ipuwer papyrus confirm that war and conflict hit Egypt as well. A worse version of what hit Egypt is prophesied--more 'plagues' are prophesied in the Book of Revelation than the ten that affected Egypt. There are four horsemen (Revelation 6), seven trumpets, and seven bowls of wrath (Revelation 16), also called the seven last plagues (Revelation 15)
But, as Jesus said, this horrific time will be stopped for the elect. By whom? "Christ, our Passover" (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Like most of the Egyptians, most in the end will NOT repent when the plagues come. The Bible shows:
20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21)
Many will be so unrepentant that they will fight against Jesus when He returns (Revelation 19; see also Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?).
The Bible shows that God will provide protection for some of His people during a coming trial. But unlike the Passover of Exodus, not all God's people will be protected. Notice:
13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:13-17)
Some are protected and some will not be--simply being a Christian who keeps God's commandmants is not enough to gain that protection. Here is who Jesus promised protection to:
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10)
Jesus also said to pray for this protection:
34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36)
Hence, through prayer and trying to live so one can be accounted worthy may lead people to become Philadelphian and support the true church (the woman of Revelation 12:14; also called the 'elect Lady' in 2 John 1).
Christians are to be holy and purged of the leaven of malice and deception:
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Remember that the ten plagues led to the original Passover. As the Apostle Paul indicated, we are to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The ten plagues really happened--the Bible and even parts of secular history confirm it.
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. (1 Corinthians 10:1-6)
A time of devastation is coming. Be spiritually prepared for it.
Egypt had the ten plagues and the destruction by the inundation of sea--the plagues and problems of the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord will be coming soon. The Book of Revelation even uses the term "plagues" (NKJV) eleven times.
Do not be like Pharaoh and harden your heart. Change and listen to God.
There are many who will not believe the ten plagues happened. Including various ones considered by the mainstream to be experts.
Notice the following from the 20th century (c. 1955):
The present century has brought extensive archaeological investigations in Egypt, the Holy Land, and adjacent countries which indicate that the Biblical account of the enslavement of the Children of Israel in Egypt and their exodus to the promised land of Canaan is traditional and legendary and without support of documentary archaeological evidence... no Egyptian records have been found relating to this early period of Hebrew history (Homer Hockett, The Critical Method in Historical Research and Writing, p. 52).
What about someone more recent?
Here is something about someone in the 21st century:
Roland Enmarch graduated from Oxford with a BA in Oriental Studies (Ancient Egyptian with Akkadian), and a DPhil specialising in Middle Egyptian pessimistic poetry, arriving at Liverpool in 2004. (Roland Enmarch. https://www.liv.ac.uk/archaeology-classics-and-egyptology/staff/roland-enmarch/ accessed 03/24/15)
Notice something Roland Enmarch wrote:
The broadest modern reception of Ipuwer amongst non-Egyptological readers has probably been as a result of the use of the poem as evidence supporting the Biblical account of the Exodus. [40 Numerous online examples, e.g. from a Jewish perspective M. Becher, The Ten Plagues – Live from Egypt, <http://ohr. edu/yhiy/article.php/838> accessed 01.01. 2007. Similar interpretations are also found from the Christian perspective: J. Lloyd, Escape from Planet Egypt – Part 2 , <http://www.christianmediaresearch.com/cmc-47.html> accessed 01.01.2007; also from an Islamic perspective: H. Yahya, The Historical Miracles of the Qur’an: The Troubles which Afflicted Pharaoh and Those about him, <http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/historical_03.html> accessed 01.01.2007.]
This arises from some of the poem’s descriptions of suffering, particularly the striking statement that ‘the river is blood and one drinks from it’ (Ipuwer 2.10), and the frequent references to servants abandoning their subordinate status (e.g. Ipuwer 3.14–4.1; 6.7–8; 10.2–3). On a literal reading, these are similar to aspects of the Exodus account. (Enmarch, R. (2007) 'The reception of a Middle Egyptian poem: The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All in the Ramesside period and beyond. In: Collier, M and Snape, S, eds Ramesside Studies. Rutherford Press, Bolton, pp. 169-175)
But Roland Enmarch is not willing to believe it:
Consider the most extensively posited parallel between Ipuwer and Exodus : the river becoming blood. This image cannot to be taken absolutely literally as a description of a historical occurrence. (Ibid, p. 174).
In addition to the Ipuwer, let me simply add here that there is evidence in the Merneptah Stele, from the 19th dynasty in Egypt (c. 1210 B.C.; discovered 1896), that the Exodus had earlier took place (see also When was the Exodus? Did it Happen?). Also the fact that the Pharaoh Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty took efforts to destroy items of the Egyptian gods also shows that something consistent with the ten plagues happened. There is also other historical evidence, such as from Tacitus and Pompeius Trogus.
Consider also that the Bible teaches:
4... Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. (Romans 3:4)
20... Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21)
The Bible also tells of people who are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7).
So, when you hear the opinion of 'scholars' when they blatantly contradict the Bible, realize that the Bible is still true.
The ten plagues of Egypt happened and the plagues of the Book of Revelation will also. Will you listen or harden your heart?
A related two-part sermon is available: Egypt and the Plagues (Part 1) and Exodus Plagues and Prophecy (Part 2).
Information on much of what happened before the ten plagues is in the article Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Thiel B. Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus. http://www.cogwriter.com/ten-plagues-of-egypt.htm COGwriter (c) 2015/2016 0221
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Here are some details related to the "Ipuwer papyrus" from a Jewish source:
Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you... credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu (Bechmer M. The Ten Plagues Live from Egypt. http://ohr.edu/838 accessed 03/11/15).
In the early 19th Century a papyrus, dating from the end of the Middle Kingdom, was found in Egypt. It was taken to the Leiden Museum in Holland and interpreted by A.H. Gardiner in 1909. The complete papyrus can be found in the book Admonitions of an Egyptian from a heiratic papyrus in Leiden. The papyrus describes violent upheavals in Egypt, starvation, drought, escape of slaves (with the wealth of the Egyptians), and death throughout the land. The papyrus was written by an Egyptian named Ipuwer and appears to be an eyewitness account of the effects of the Exodus plagues from the perspective of an average Egyptian. Below are excerpts from the papyrus together with their parallels in the Book of Exodus.
(For a lengthier discussion of the papyrus and the historical background of the Exodus, see Jewish Action, Spring 1995, article by Brad Aaronson, entitled When Was the Exodus? )
IPUWER PAPYRUS - LEIDEN 344 TORAH - EXODUS 2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
2:10 The river is blood.
2:10 Men shrink from tasting - human beings, and thirst after water
3:10-13 That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin.
7:20 …all the waters of the river were turned to blood.
7:21 ...there was blood thoughout all the land of Egypt …and the river stank.
7:24 And all the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.
2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.
10:3-6 Lower Egypt weeps... The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish
6:3 Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.
5:12 Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax.
9:23-24 ...and the fire ran along the ground... there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous.
9:25 ...and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
9:31-32 ...and the flax and the barley was smitten; for the barley was in season, and flax was ripe.
But the wheat and the rye were not smitten; for they were not grown up.
10:15 ...there remained no green things in the trees, or in the herbs of the fields, through all the land of Egypt.
5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan...
9:2-3 Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together.
9:3 ...the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field... and there shall be a very grievous sickness.
9:19 ...gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field...
9:21 And he that did not fear the word of the Lord left his servants and cattle in the field.
9:11 The land is without light 10:22 And there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt. 4:3 (5:6) Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.
6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.
6:3 The prison is ruined.
2:13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.
3:14 It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations
12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the prison.
12:30 ...there was not a house where there was not one dead.
12:30 ...there was a great cry in Egypt.
7:1 Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land. 13:21 ... by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. 3:2 Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the neck of female slaves. 12:35-36 ...and they requested from the Egyptians, silver and gold articles and clothing. And God made the Egyptians favour them and they granted their request. [The Israelites] thus drained Egypt of its wealth.