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Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Dictionaries
Plagues of Egypt

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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These were wrought by God to show to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians His great power, and that all the elements of creation were at His disposal. Exodus 7 Exodus 12 .

1. THE PLAGUE OF BLOOD. The water of the Nile and of the canals and pools was turned into blood. The water stank, and the fish died. This was a real punishment; for it was the water they all drank, and which was highly esteemed. The fish too was abundant: the Israelites in the wilderness could not forget the fish of which they had eaten freely, or 'for nothing.' The magicians also were able to turn water into blood: where then was the great power of the God of Israel? Pharaoh hardened his heart.

2. FROGS. The land swarmed with them: they were in their bedchambers, their ovens, and their bread pans. The magicians also were able to bring up frogs on the land. The presence of the frogs was so insufferable that Pharaoh called for Moses, and begged him to entreat Jehovah for their removal, and he would let the people go. The frogs died and were gathered in heaps; but with the relief, Pharaoh hardened his heart, and would not let the people go.

3. LICE, ken, kinnam. The dust of the land became lice in man and in beast. It has been supposed that the word signifies gnats, because the LXX has σκνίφες, which some translate 'mosquito-gnats.' But these may be included in the next plague. It is more probable that the louse or the tick is alluded to. It is described as being ' in man and in beast.' The magicians could not imitate this: it was a communication of life. They acknowledged, "This is the finger of God." Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not let Israel go.

4. FLIES. In the A.V. the words 'of flies' are added, and the 'swarms' may refer to swarms of insects of different sorts. They were to come into the houses and also to corrupt the land. Gesenius gives 'gad-fly' for arob , but in Psalm 78:45; Psalm 105:31 , the same word is translated 'divers sorts of flies.' There is an insect that is exceedingly destructive to property, ruining the wood of a house in a short time. No doubt the common fly of Egypt is included: they are very troublesome; soon defiling food, and persistently attacking the body. One thing that characterises this plague is that these pests were not sent into the land of Goshen, where the Israelites dwelt. The plague was felt so much that Pharaoh hastened to call Moses, and proposed that they should have their sacrifice, but have it in Egypt. To this Moses could not accede, for the Israelites would have to sacrifice the animals which the Egyptians worshipped. Pharaoh at length consented to their going; but they were not to go very far away. However no sooner was the plague removed than Pharaoh again refused to let Israel go.

5. MURRAIN OF BEASTS. It fell upon the cattle, horses, asses, camels, and sheep, that were in the fields, and all that were attacked died. Of the cattle of the children of Israel none were stricken. Pharaoh sent to certify this, and one would have thought that, finding they were all safe, it would have convinced him that it was the Almighty he was fighting against. But he would not let Israel go.

6. BOILS upon man and beast. The magicians were now smitten, so that they could not stand before Pharaoh as at other times. But Pharaoh hardened his heart, and refused to let the people go.

7. HAIL, with thunder and lightning. The fire ran along upon the ground. There had not been a storm of such violence since Egypt had been a nation. This also had not fallen upon Goshen. The king said, "I have sinned this time: Jehovah is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Entreat Jehovah (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer." The hail and thunder ceased; but Pharaoh would not let Israel go.

8. LOCUSTS. Moses threatened these, and Pharaoh's servants now begged him to let the people go. He called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go?" All must go, and the flocks and herds. Pharaoh again refused, but said the men might go. The devastation of the locusts was such that Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron 'in haste,' confessed that he had sinned against Jehovah, and begged that 'this death' might be removed. A west wind carried away the locusts but Pharaoh's heart was hardened; and he again refused.

9. DARKNESS. "They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." It was a darkness that might be felt, and Pharaoh called for Moses, and bade the Israelites to depart with their wives and their little ones; but they must leave their flocks and herds behind. Moses could not agree: all must go: not a hoof must be left behind, it was God's redemption. Pharaoh was angry, saying, "Take heed to thyself, see my face no more: for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die." Moses replied, "Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more." This is in Exodus 10:29; but in Exodus 11:4-8 it is clear that Moses told Pharaoh of the death of the firstborn, which might have been on the same occasion by a message direct from God. We read that Moses, though the meekest of men, went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

10. DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN. "From the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle." The Israelites had prepared the paschal lamb, and had sprinkled its blood upon the lintel and door-posts, and the destroyer passed them by. This was typical of the precious blood of Christ, which is the testimony that judgement on man has been executed, and is the basis of all God's subsequent dealings in grace. Moses and Aaron were called for, and told to depart with flocks and herds. The Egyptians were urgent upon them to make haste, exclaiming, "We be all dead men." Thus did God bring His sore judgements upon Egypt, to let Pharaoh know that He was the mighty God, and to redeem His chosen people with a high hand.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Plagues of Egypt'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​p/plagues-of-egypt.html. 1897.
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