Day 19: Exodus 8-10; Let My People Go: The Plagues

As we talked about yesterday, the story of Moses and the 10 plagues is quite familiar to us.  It, like the story of Joseph has been made into movies and dramas many times over.  One of the most popular would be that of “The TEN Commandments” starring Charleston Heston.  This movie follows, fairly accurately, the story of Moses from beginning to end (which is also why it is one of the longer films in cinema history).

The Ten Commandments

Despite this popularization of the story of Moses in Egypt, even these fail to truly capture all that is going on in this time between God and Pharaoh.

As we spoke about yesterday, the true battle taking place here is between God almighty and the “god-man” Pharaoh, and what we see here today is not an arbitrary display of power by God attacking this or that.  These plagues, all ten of them, are a systematic dismantling of the entire Egyptian religious system in which God proves His power of the gods of the Egyptian people one by one, decimating Egypt and showing the world the true power, what we would call omnipotence, of the God of the Israelites.

What do I mean by this?  Well there are several main categories of gods that were worshiped by the Egyptians of that time.  Yesterday we talked about Ra, the god of their gods, god of the sun and thus the giver of life.  Along with this came the gods of the Nile, fertility, crops, animals, weather, death, life, and many more.  In fact, there were many gods for each of these categories.  The gods for crops would be for planting, growth, harvest, etc.  If you are interested in this, you can check out “Tour” for a list of the gods and their associations.  It really is quite fascinating.

Anyways… God is systematically dismantling the entire Egyptian pantheon.  Pantheon means “many gods.”  It is a word we often associate with Greek and Roman mythologies but is just as applicable here.  The Egyptians worshiped the Nile and its god Hapi as one of the givers and sustainers of life.  God turns the Nile to blood and then makes the Nile produce frogs which both interrupt life and also end up dying and making the land stink.  Egyptians worshiped the earth and its associated god.  God makes the earth produce gnats which get on and in everything (likely causing bites and disease).  After this God sends flies which we read “ruin the land of Egypt.”  God kills all the livestock of Egypt thus rendering the Egyptian god of livestock moot.  God displays His power over the Egyptian god of health in the plague of boils and over the god of weather by sending hail which decimates the crops.  Then, to prove His power over the gods of the crops, harvest, and all growing things, locusts are sent by god and eat everything, and the land is completely ruined.  At this point, Egypt could be considered mostly desolate with the exception of the large cities and vast amounts of people that still live there.

God then goes after the sun god Ra, who is basically their highest deity.  The sun is blotted out and it is completely dark.  I think we can assume from this that God is also showing his power over the god of the night, god of the sunrise, and god of the sunset.

As we talked about yesterday as well, this isn’t a small showing of power just to the nation of Egypt, or just to Israel, or even to both.  These are done that the entire world would know that there is none like God in all of the earth.  We will see the culmination of this tomorrow when God shows His power over death and life itself, the final blow of the plagues, but not the final display of God’s power in this story.

3 Responses to “Day 19: Exodus 8-10; Let My People Go: The Plagues”

  1. […] would be reminded of the story of Noah and the great flood in Genesis 6-9 or of Moses and the 10 plagues that so vividly displayed God’s power over all creation in Exodus […]

  2. […] and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.  This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.  This is the […]

  3. […] fourth trumpet judgment carries a similar theme to the ninth plague on Egypt, that of darkness.  These similarities are important to the overall theme of Revelation, […]

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