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November 22, 2015
Exodus 7-10
I am going to try today to take us thru’ the first 9 plagues. Chptr 11 begins the crux of what we know as the
“Passover/Exodus” and it will require some time all of its own. So there won’t be much time for questions
this morning , if you please. Write down any you have and we’ll cover them all next week. 7:4-5 begins our
lesson w/ a statement of God’s purpose behind the plagues.
7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the
children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that
I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from
among them.”
Remember back in Exodus 5:2 when Pharaoh asks “Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him and let
Israel go?” Through the 10 plagues, God more than adequately answers Pharaoh’s question. Each plague
was a direct encounter and defeat particular Egyptian gods. In the end, the Israelites would know God’s
presence and commitment to them as their covenant Lord and the Egyptians would know that “God is the
We reminded ourselves of other OT “signs and wonders” last week, when we reviewed signs. We
said that God displayed His mighty, unsurpassed power, with Noah (the Flood), Abraham (Sodom and
Gomorrah), Joseph (success in Egypt), and Moses (the burning bush and signs). Todays lesson gives us
many more to add to that list.
7:8-13 Moses revisits Pharaoh and offers him the first “sign” God gave to him, as proof that he spoke from
God. It was throwing down the rod and it turned to a “serpent”. The court magicians were able to perform
some trick that roughly duplicated Moses “sign”, so Pharaoh wasn’t impresses and refused Moses demand to
let the Israelites go. (do you think this was the first time Moses tried this , since God showed it to him ?)
JVM said the word translated “snake” in most Bible versions, actually means Crocodile. I looked it
up in Strong’s and sure enough the word is used in scripture to mean “marine or land monster, sea-serpent,
dragon, serpent, & whale”, but never a snake. (diff word used in Garden of Eden for serpent) There is very
little in history regarding snakes in Egypt except the Cleopatra suicide tale of the asp. We’re going to be
hearing alot about Egyptian gods this morning. Probably more than you want to know, but I think it can be
worthwhile and interesting. I hope you don’t grow tired about them too soon this morning.
The Egyptians worshipped two croc gods (or gods who were crocks) get it ? One was Sebak. He
was a diety of evil w/ the head of a croc. Apepi, the arch enemy of all solar gods, appeared as a croc as well.
The Egyptians had a daily ritual performed in the Temple of Amun-Ra in the city of Thebes. Apepi tried
each day to prevent the rising of the sun god Ra. He used thunder, storms, hurricanes, rain, etc to try to
obscure the sky and cover daylight. The Egyptian ritual was a daily attempt to destroy this “croc” headed god,
so the sun god Ra, could rule the land that day. So, all-in-all it makes sense that this rod might have actually
turned to a croc and devoured the ones made by court magicians.
7:14-25 is the account of the 2nd “sign” of Moses to Pharaoh. The leprous hand doesn’t seem to have been
used, or it isn’t mentioned in scripture. This “sign” (water turned to blood) is also considered to be the First
Plague of Ten, since it affects the whole country. Moses & Aaron met Pharaoh as he went down to the river
the next morning. God told Moses & Moses told Aaron to tell Pharaoh since you refuse to let the Jews go,
the waters of the Nile shall be turned to blood.
Some scholars gave great weight to the plagues’ presentation. Three sets of 3, not counting the final
Passover plague. Moses “did” 3, Aaron “did” three and God “did” three, etc. I won’t be sharing much of that
with you. I’m gona’ concentrate on the “battle of the gods”. It’s the most interesting to me.
7:20 Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his
servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into
blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water
from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Not only the river but all water in Egypt that came for the river, wherever it was. This lasted for 7
days. You’ll remember of course that the river Nile was sacred itself. So this is another blow against the
religion of the Egyptians.
The Egyptian Nile god, Hapi, was as “a fat man with breasts of a woman” which indicated the
powers of fertility and nourishment. The Nile was Egypt’s life “blood” providing them not only with water,
fertile soil, & with fish, their main source of meat. Since Hapi brought fertility to the land, he was associated
with Osiris, the fertility god of earth and vegetation. Ironically, “the Nile was considered the blood of Osiris”
and “the link from this life to the next.” Turning the Nile into actual blood also brought shame to Khnum,
guardian of the Nile.
One ancient Egyptian text provides historical record of this plague. In The Admonitions of Ipu-Wer,
(dated approx. 2050 B.C.) describes a chaotic period in Egypt: “Why really, the River [Nile] is blood. If one
drinks of it, one rejects (it) as human and thirsts for water.”
8:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in 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 plague all your
country with frogs. 3 The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into
your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into
your ovens and your kneading bowls.
The 2nd plague, the infestation of frogs, was a direct attack on Heqt, the fertility goddess who was
portrayed with the head of a frog. Ironically, after the annual Nile flooding, many frogs were a good thing.
They controlled the insect population, thus helping the crops. This is why frogs and toads were very sacred to
the Egyptians. If someone killed a frog, even unintentionally, the person was punishable by death.” With so
many everywhere, it would have probably been impossible not to accidentally step on one. What’s more, in
the end, by God’s power they all died, “were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them,” thus making a
mockery of their god Heqt
8:16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the
earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.’” 17 And they did so. Aaron stretched
out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast.
All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried by their
secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then
the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh's heart was hardened,
and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
The 3rd plague, the plague of gnats (or lice), was a judgment against Geb, the god of the earth,
and against the Egyptian priests. Geb was in charge of the soil from which the Egyptian crops grew.
Consequently, “Egyptians gave offerings to Geb for the bounty of the soil.” However, God embarrassed
Geb by making the all of dust of Egyptian soil become gnats which “came upon men and animals.”
Regarding the rituals of Egyptian priests, (and much like later Jewish priests) personal cleanliness
was a high priority in order for them to enter the temples of their gods. They had to wash themselves
sometimes as much as 10x a day, fumigate themselves in incense, keep their fingernails and toenails trimmed,
and shave all the hair off their bodies. Nothing was permitted on their bodies. With all these nasty gnats, the
daily rituals of the priests were not possible. They could not even enter their temples to beg their gods for
relief. Court magicians recognized this plague as “the finger of God” and did not even try to replicate any of
the following plagues.
8:20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as
he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve
me. 21 Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your
servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with
swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. 22 But on that day I will set apart the land of
Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am
the Lord in the midst of the earth. Continued ….
23 Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”’”
24 And the Lord did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his
servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies.
Moses meets Pharaoh again next morning. This is the 1st plague that was delivered directly from
God, without the use of the rods or Moses or Aaron. God told Moses to announce this 4th plague, the swarm,
after Pharaoh’s next refusal. Pls note that in these verses the word for fly does not appear. It is an insertion of
translators after the word “swarm”. It really says, “I will send swarms.” Most Hebrew interpreters say the
word means a mixed or miscellaneous collection of noxious bugs. However the word swarm is most often
translated as a “mosquito like bug that bites”. Maybe like our “no see-ums”. Who can forget Katherine
Hepburn trying to hide from the swarm of biting bugs in African Queen.
In continuing the “battle against the gods of Egypt” theme, many identify this swarm, as
beetles. Beetles bite. If so, then this plague is an attack against Kheper, god of flies and beetles; who had
the head of a beetle. Beetles were sacred, and symbolized creation and family happiness. In fact, many gold
scarab beetles have been found in Egyptian tombs. So in this plague, 1 of their sacred objects of happiness
became a curse. This one was so sacred or this one was so bad that Pharaoh was finally willing to bargain
with Moses. Maybe the beetles not entering Goshen proved to Pharaoh that the Egyptians’ gods were not in
control. This event is where we got the verse we looked at last week, when Moses told Pharaoh that they
could not sacrifice in Goshen for fear of insulting the Egyptians, by killing animals. (Pharaoh attempts 4
compromises w/Moses)
Chptr 9 opens with Pharaoh once again, going back on his word to let the Jews go free, if Moses
would stop the plague. One wonders why Moses kept believing him. But I think the answer is that Moses
did NOT believe Pharaoh. Moses was taking ordered from God & God would decide how Moses acted &
9:2 If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, 3 the hand of the Lord will bring a
terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your
cattle, sheep and goats. 4 But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and
that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”
This is the 2nd consecutive miracle by God alone. And, again, God protects Israel during it. The 5th
plague in which all of the livestock of the Egyptians died was directed at Apis, Hathor, Mnevis, and
Khnum. Apis was the sacred bull of Ptah, the creator god of the Memphis region. To represent Apis, one
bull with special marks was chosen. “The animal was well fed and all measures were taken for its well-being.
As long as the Apis was well the livestock of the country was thought to be the same.” Considering the fact
that all of the livestock died, the Apis representative must have died as well.
As for Hathor, she was the goddess of love, beauty and joy and was represented by a cow. Cows
were therefore sacred to the Egyptians. Since all of the cows in Egypt died, their cow-god was made a
The last 2 gods represented in this plague were Khnum, who had a ram’s head, and Mnevis, who
was a sacred bull worshipped at Heliopolis. The fact that “all of the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not
one animal belonging to the Israelites died” once again proved that the God of Israel was more powerful than
the gods of Egypt. You might say this plague proved that the Egyptian gods were just “bull”.
Maybe you just heard me say” the creator god of the Memphis region” or a “sacred bull worshipped
at Heliopolis”. Egyptian religion had thousands of gods and thousands of temples. Memphis alone, has the
remains of 1000 temples. Various priests of various gods competed for the attention of the people. Each
Pharaoh has a special “chief” god and he too was a god. No one god spoke for all Egypt or to all Egyptians.
9:8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses
toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. 9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt,
and festering boils will break out on people and animals throughout the land.”
The 6th plague caused “festering boils” to break out on the men and animals of Egypt. Boils
involved swelling, itching, pussing, skin inflammation, spreading, breaking open… pretty much a lot of
discomfort and pain. Some surmise that since this plague of boils began directly in front of Pharaoh, he
might’ve been the first one to have them. This plague (like the gnats or lice) would’ve stopped all worship.
God attacked Imhotep, the god of medicine; Isis, the god of love, magic, medicine, motherhood,
children and peace; and Sekhmet, the lion-headed god of epidemics and healing. Sekhmet was responsible
for plagues, & “ had the power to heal those visited upon by pestilence.” What’s more, many of the priests of
Sekhmet were the ancient doctors and veterinarians. The fulfillment of God’s promise of festering boils
demonstrated His superiority over these gods and that He alone was in control of the plagues, epidemics, and
health of the people in Egypt. We’re told this plague affected “all the Egyptians” and even disabled the
magicians. Later on Deuteronomy 28 describes the boils of Egypt as painful afflicting the knees and legs
and spreading from the soles of the feet to the top of the head.
Next day after Pharaoh again refuses to release the Israelites, Moses tells Pharaoh9:13 …‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.
14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so
that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have put out my
hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.
16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be
proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them
go. 18 Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in
Egypt from the day it was founded until now.
In this 7th plague God destroyed the respect the people had for Nut, the goddess of the sky; Horus,
the sky god of Upper Egypt; (see- another regional god) Shu, the god of wind; Tefnut, the goddess for rain,
dew and moisture; Osiris, the god of agriculture and nature; and Seth, the harvest god. Together they were
suppose to prevent weather disasters, Tefnut was suppose to bring water in liquid, not solid form, and Seth
and Osiris were suppose to guard the crops. They all failed. The gods had actually become a plague to the
Egyptians, failing to help them… failing to match the power of the God of Israel. What’s more, the plague
again did not affect Goshen and God stopped the thunder and hail as Moses said He would, “so that the
Egyptians would know that the earth is the Lord’s,” not the Egyptian gods’.
After the hail storm….
9:27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned;
the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Plead with the Lord, for there
has been enough of God's thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”
29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the
Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth
is the Lord's. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.”
31 (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in
bud. 32 But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.)
this explains why the plague of locusts came next.
9:33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the
thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh
saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his
heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people
of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
Did Pharaoh really mean it when he admitted “he had sinned”. Some scholars hint that he might have
attempted several times to let the Jews go, but an evil wife/Queen kept convincing him to change his mind
each time.
10:3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of
the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they
may serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your
country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat
what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, 6 and
they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your
fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he
turned and went out from Pharaoh.
Vs. 7-11 (that follows) announcement marks the 1st time Pharaoh’s advisors has spoken up and told
him to “give it up”. Did they convince him to let the Jews go ? Yes & No. Pharaoh chg’s his mind and says
they can go, but only the men, not their families or flocks. Moses brings on God’s next plague as a result.
10:12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so
that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.”
13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the
land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts.
14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a
dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again. 15 They covered the face of
the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of
the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through
all the land of Egypt.
In 1937 MGM made a movie from Pearl S. Buck’s novel, The Good Earth. Great movie, nominated
for Best Picture. Luise Rainer won Best Actress for her role. It contains a horrific scene of a locust plague,
decimating the fields of Chinese peasants. It’s the only way I have to relate to this plague. I hope I never seen
another one like it. It is truly hard to watch.
This plague was an attack against Osiris, the god of agriculture and nature, Seth, the harvest god,
Ernutet, the “Lady of the fertile land and granaries,” and her daughter Nepri, the goddess of
the grain. God completed the destruction of all crops begun in the the hail storm…. “nothing green
remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.” The gods of Egypt failed to protect even what little the
Egyptians had left, leaving them to starvation.
In vs 16-20 we have the same dance between Moses & Pharaoh as we saw previously. Pharaoh says
he sinned, he is sorry. “Please call off the locusts”. Moses asks God to call off the plague. Pharaoh hardens
his heart again & refuses to let the Jews go.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness
10:21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be
darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward
heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt 3 days. 23 They did not see one another,
nor did anyone rise from his place for 3 days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived.
After 3 days or we should say, “after 72 hrs of darkness”, Pharaoh again tried to negotiate w/ Moses.
This time he says the children may go, but no flocks. Moses tells him that they must sacrifice their livestock
and don’t know yet what or how many God might require. (ad-lib or not?) Pharaoh again says “no”.
9th plague- Moving to a climax, in this plague of darkness, God brought judgment on all the gods
associated with the sun, moon and stars including Atum, the sun-god worshipped at Heliopolis; Tem, the
god of the sunset; Shu, the god of sunlight and air; Ptah, the creator of the moon and stars; and Horus,
“the god of light who personified the life-giving power of the sun.” Most of all, God made a fool of one of
Egypt’s major deities, Ra, the god of the sun who was combined with Amon, the creator god. It was from
the life-giving rays of Amon-Ra that all life supposedly came. “He stood for life, rebirth, children, health,
virility…” the list goes on. Basically, combined with Amon Ra was the greatest god in all of Egypt. AmonRe left the Egyptians in total physical and spiritual darkness – 10:21 says it was a “darkness that can be
felt.” Fear filled the Egyptians. Fear not only of the abandonment or non existence of their gods and more
importantly, of the power of the God of Israel.
Another ancient Egyptian text gives us some historical record of this plague. The Prophecy of NeferRohu dates towards the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, about 2040–1650 B.C; it relates to the 9th plague
of darkness: “The sun disc is covered over. It will not shine (so that) people may see … No one knows when
midday falls, for his shadow cannot be distinguished.”
Next week. The first “Passover”.
Chapter 11. The Final Plague
This fear culminated in the climatic tenth plague, the death of all the firstborn sons in Egypt,
including the firstborn son of Pharaoh. A firstborn son had extremely high significance in the Ancient
Near East, receiving a double portion of his father’s inheritance and special qualities and blessings.41
“Judgment on the firstborn represented judgment on the entire community.” 42 Judgment on all of the
firstborn sons in Egypt represented judgment on all of Egypt. Since each Pharaoh was considered to have
descended from one of the highest gods, in particular Re,43 he stood as a living representation and
his son as a future representation of all the Egyptian gods. Therefore, judgment on Pharaoh’s firstborn
represented judgment on all of the gods of Egypt. As the climatic and most devastating “un-natural”
plague, the death of all the firstborn sons was God’s “judgment on all the gods of Egypt,” ultimately
proving that “[He is] the Lord.”44
In “hardening Pharaoh’s heart” ten times45 and making a distinction between Israel and Egypt,46
God specifically and completely displayed His power above all of the Egyptian gods and proved to the
Israelites and Egyptians that Pharaoh was no god at all, that the Egyptian gods were actually nonexistent,
and that the God of Israel was the One and Only God, Creator and Controller of the universe.
Destroying the false gods of Egypt in actuality destroyed the directly connected Egyptian livelihood and
revealed to them that true life could only be found in the God of Israel. After many miracles and the
“casting out” of the many gods of Egypt and after three days of darkness, God conquered Pharaoh and
saved the Hebrew slaves of Pharaoh from death through the blood of the sacrificed lambs, leading them
to new life in the Promised Land. Ultimately, true new life would be fully realized in Jesus Christ, the
perfect Lamb. After many miracles and the casting out of many demons and after three days of
darkness, He conquered Satan and, by His blood, saved from death all believers who had been slaves of
Satan, leading them to eternal life in heaven.
Against All Gods, the Purpose of the 10 Plagues
Timothy Sliedrecht
Tyndale Theological Seminary
Old Testament Survey – OT 500i
Mr. Marinello
7 March 2005
In less than a lifetime Israel will have a miraculous deliverance from their slavery, receive a
divine revelation making them God’s chosen (covenant) people, and receive a code of laws to prepare
them to occupy the land of the patriarchs. Israel’s deliverance is the most significant miracle in their
history. Remember Johnny Carson? He used to have that funny lead in to some jokes…how bad was it ?
It was so bad that …How long was it ? It was so long that …..Well here it is for Israel. How important
was it ? Consider these facts…. It was so important that the entire texts of Exodus, Lev, Numbers and
Deut are confined to < 50 yrs. 80% of the Pentateuch is devoted to this short period of time. More than
1/6 of the entire OT is devoted to this brief time in Israel’s history.
One opinion on “the name of God”. From Adam Clarke’s Commentary . It was NOT included in SS
lesson however it was interesting & I wanted to save it.
It has long been a question, what is the meaning of the word ‫ יהוה‬Jehovah, Yehovah, Yehue, Yehveh, or
Yeve, Jeue, Jao, Iao, Jhueh, and Jove; for it has been as variously pronounced as it has been differently
interpreted. Some have maintained that it is utterly inexplicable; there is no mode of interpretation.
Others say that it implies the essence of the Divine nature. Others, that it expresses the doctrine of the
Trinity. How strange is it that none of these learned men have discovered that God himself interprets
this name in Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed (‫ )היהו‬Yehovah the
Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping
mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear
the guilty. These words contain the proper interpretation of the venerable and glorious name Jehovah.
(end of quote)