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Easton's Bible Dictionary


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A "stroke" of affliction, or disease. Sent as a divine chastisement (Numbers 11:33; 14:37; 16:46-49; 2 Samuel 24:21 ). Painful afflictions or diseases, (Leviticus 13:3,5,30; 1 Kings 8:37 ), or severe calamity (Mark 5:29; Luke 7:21 ), or the judgment of God, so called (Exodus 9:14 ). Plagues of Egypt were ten in number.

  • The river Nile was turned into blood, and the fish died, and the river stank, so that the Egyptians loathed to drink of the river (Exodus 7:14-25 ).

  • The plague of frogs (Exodus 8:1-15 ).

  • The plague of lice (Heb. kinnim, properly gnats or mosquitoes; Compare Psalm 78:45; 105:31 ), "out of the dust of the land" (Exodus 8:16-19 ).

  • The plague of flies (Heb. arob, rendered by the LXX. dog-fly), Exodus 8:21-24 .

  • The murrain (Ex.9:1-7), or epidemic pestilence which carried off vast numbers of cattle in the field. Warning was given of its coming.

  • The sixth plague, of "boils and blains," like the third, was sent without warning (Ex.9:8-12). It is called (Deuteronomy 28:27 ) "the botch of Egypt," A.V.; but in RSV, "the boil of Egypt." "The magicians could not stand before Moses" because of it.

  • The plague of hail, with fire and thunder (Exodus 9:13-33 ). Warning was given of its coming. (Compare Psalm 18:13; 105:32,33 ).

  • The plague of locusts, which covered the whole face of the earth, so that the land was darkened with them (Exodus 10:12-15 ). The Hebrew name of this insect, Arbeh , points to the "multitudinous" character of this visitation. Warning was given before this plague came.

  • After a short interval the plague of darkness succeeded that of the locusts; and it came without any special warning ( Exodus 10:21-29 ). The darkness covered "all the land of Egypt" to such an extent that "they saw not one another." It did not, however, extend to the land of Goshen.

  • The last and most fearful of these plagues was the death of the first-born of man and of beast (Exodus 11:4,5; 12:29,30 ). The exact time of the visitation was announced, "about midnight", which would add to the horror of the infliction. Its extent also is specified, from the first-born of the king to the first-born of the humblest slave, and all the first-born of beasts. But from this plague the Hebrews were completely exempted. The Lord "put a difference" between them and the Egyptians. (See PASSOVER .)

    Copyright Statement
    These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Plague'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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