The Significance of the Plagues - theCommune-ity

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The Significance of the Plagues

That None of These Diseases May Come Upon You Part 1

The Purpose of the Plagues

 The purpose was duo-fold:  To convince the Egyptians to let the Israelites go and to confirm the existence of only one God  To assure the Israelites that God was fighting for them and well able to deliver them

The Significance of the Plagues

 The word for “disease” in Exodus 11:1 is used to describe the plague on the firstborn  Pharaoh's unwillingness to grant the Hebrews freedom was the first time a nation challenged the power of God  Egypt would soon learn that the people they enslaved had a mighty God as their advocate

The Purpose of the Plagues

 Egypt was one of the most powerful nations on earth  Pomp attached to their heritage and multiple religions  Haughty, rebellious and ungodly

The Pattern of the Plagues

     Most of the plagues begin with the request of Moses and Aaron This is followed by the plague description and the reaction of Pharaoh and his officials.

Sometimes Pharaoh will ask Moses to make the plagues stop In other instances he partially agrees to Moses’ commands.

In plagues 1-5 and seven the Bible says Pharaoh hardened his own heart in plagues 6 and 8 10 God hardened Pharaoh’s heart

The Pattern of the Plagues

 Beginning with plague four, the text explains that none of the plagues struck Goshen where the Israelites lived.  Exemption is also mentioned with reference to the fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth plagues  It is likely that this pattern was not excluded in plagues six and eight also

#1 The Plague of Blood

 The waters of the Nile were critical to the Egyptians  It was worshipped as the god Hopi because the overflow of the Nile irrigated all of Egypt’s crops  Some commentators refute this plague and deem it a natural disaster

#2 The Plague of Frogs

    The frog was the symbol of the Egyptian goddess Heqt, who was depicted as a woman with a frog’s head. Heqt was the goddess of fertility Exodus 8:3 may be an act of “sanctified sarcasm” with the land being fertile with frogs!

*Pharaoh asked for the removal of the frogs to which Moses gave him a specific time and God responded accordingly

#3 The Plague of Gnats

  God’s handiwork became more pronounced when Aaron struck the ground with his staff and it became gnats (i.e. Lice) We’ll review how Egypt’s magicians did some of the same miracles heretofore but at this juncture they proclaim, “This is the finger of God”

# 4 The Plague of Flies

  Hordes of flies covered Egypt except Goshen Devastation was so widespread that the “land was ruined”  These exact words are used in Genesis 6:11 to describe the corruption of the Earth before the Flood. As the Flood was used to judge the Earth, the plague of flies was used to judge Egypt

# 5 The Plague on Livestock

  A number of animals were associated with deities This was a powerful blow against Egypt’s heathenistic religion  Apis was a sacred bull and a god of crafts  Hathor, the goddess of joy was portrayed with the ears of a cow

# 6 The Plagues of Boils

 These boils were extremely painful making it difficult for the magicians to “stand before Moses”…it affected the knees and legs (Deut. 28:35)

# 7 The Plague of Hail

    The third trio of plagues began with a hailstorm described as the worst Egypt had ever known.

Normally Egypt receives very little rainfall, especially upper Egypt and since hailstorms of any kind are rare, this storm was all the more powerful At this juncture, this is the first time we see Pharaoh admitting that he sinned v 27 In the aftermath of the storm, the flax and barley harvest had been severely destroyed and many of the livestock had perished dealing Egypt’s economy a crippling blow

# 8 The Plague of Locusts

 Locusts came in unprecedented numbers and devoured anything that survived the hailstorm  The severity of this plague found itself woven into the fabric of the Hebrews…they were instructed to tell their children and grandchildren 10:2

# 9 The Plague of Darkness

 Darkness is associated with the judgment of God  Ra was the sun-god and a prominent deity to the Egyptians  Darkness obviously contested the Egyptian notion of their god

# 10 The Death of the Firstborn

   According to Egyptian theology, Pharaoh himself was a god but this final plague showed his vulnerability Israel was God’s ‘firstborn son’ Ex. 4:22 There is much significance about the firstborn son in Near Ancient Eastern culture