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What is a…
a “stroke” of affliction, or disease
Plagues in the Bible
sent as a…
The 10 plagues of Egypt
Each punishing plague miraculously appeared exactly on command by God. Each was attention-getting to the extreme. Every Egyptian and every Israelite clearly witnessed God’s power and judgment on sin—pagan idolatry, disrepect and denial of their Creator, and disobedience. News of what happened quickly spread throughout surrounding lands and nations, including Canaan—the destination of the Israelite Exodus. Where fear of the LORD had previously disappeared among the heathen and Israel, it now strongly arose.
WATER TO BLOOD—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 and dug nearby the Nile in an attempt to find water (Exodus 7:14-25).
It was not only the Nile River that was affected; it was apparently all water, including their streams, pools, all their reservoirs of water, water in vessels of wood, and water in vessels of stone.
PLAGUE OF FROGS (Exodus 8:1-15)
“…frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.” —Exodus 8:6 NASB
PLAGUE OF LICE, GNATS OR MOSQUITOES attacking “man and beast”
(Hebrew: kinnim, properly gnats or mosquitoes; compare Psalm 78:45; 105:31), “out of the dust of the land” (Exodus 8:16-19)
“The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not…” —Exodus 8:18a
SWARMS OF FLIES (Hebrew: arob, translated by the Septuagint dog-fly), Exodus 8:21-24
“I will send swarms of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they dwell. …there came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of flies in all the land of Egypt.” —Exodus 8:21, 24b
COW/CATTLE DEATHS—the murrain (Exodus 9:1-7), or epidemic pestilence which carried off vast numbers of cattle in the field
Warning was given of its coming.
BOILS—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,” King James Version; but in Revised King James Version, “the boil of Egypt.” “The magicians could not stand before Moses” because of it.
SUPERNATURAL HAIL STORM OF DEATH—the plague of hail, with flashing fire and thunder (Exodus 9:13-33)
…a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. …“Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.” …the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail. …the flax and the barley were ruined… —Exodus 9:18b-33 NASB
Warning was given of its coming and at what time of day. (Compare Psalm 18:13; 105:32-33).
PLAGUE OF RAVENOUS LOCUSTS everywhere, so that the land was darkened with them (Exodus 10:12-15)
The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled in all the territory of Egypt; they were very numerous. There had never been so many locusts, nor would there be so many again. For they covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Thus nothing green was left on tree or plant of the field through all the land of Egypt. —Exodus 10:14-15 NASB
The Hebrew name of this insect, arbeh, points to the “multitudinous” character of this visitation. Warning was given before this plague came.
COMPLETE DARKNESS—after a short interval, the plague of darkness began
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.
DEATH OF FIRSTBORN—the last and most fearful of these plagues was the death of the firstborn 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 firstborn of the humblest slave, and all the firstborn of beasts. But from this plague the Hebrews were completely exempted. The Lord “put a difference” between them and the Egyptians. (See PASSOVER.)
Impotence of Egypt’s idols
The 10 plagues sent on Egypt by the one true God openly mocked these pagan gods, depicted on idols everywhere. Jehovah displayed his omnipotence, showing their gods to be powerless and utterly false, affording their idolatrous worshipers absolutely no protection. Examples:
- Plague of frogs (Heket, frog-headed goddess—a.k.a. Heqet, Heqat)
- Plague of flies (Khepri, fly-headed god)
- Nile River and all water replaced with blood (Hapi and Anuket, god and goddess of Nile and water; also Ur-Henu—god of water, Tefnut—goddess of water, Osiris—rules over water and judgment, Khnum—god of Nile, Sobek—crocodile god of Nile)
- Death of all cows/cattle (Hathor, cow-headed goddess, sometimes cow-bodied)
- Intense, killing hail, flashing fire and thunder (Set—god of storms)
- Sun and moon disappear leaving complete and total darkness (Ra, god of the Sun—a.k.a. Amun-Ra and Akmun-Rah; Khonsu, Thoth, Iah [Yah, Lah], gods of the Moon)
- Death of all firstborn in Egypt, save the Israelites who obeyed God (Anubis, god of death)