The 10 Plagues of Egypt is a fascinating account of the freedom of the Israelites and triumph over the Egyptian Kings who enslaved them. This miracle of God was not done overnight and required Moses with Aaron to deliver the warnings and the plagues to the house of Egypt. Looking at the plagues of Egypt now, and from the many times I watched The Ten Commandments (1956) that gives a wonderful visual; this is one of the biggest triumphs of God’s followers.
The Beginning of the Curses of Egypt
Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh and gave him the demand entrusted by God, which demanded that the Israelite slaves be able to leave Egypt so that they could worship their God freely. After Pharaoh’s first refusal, God sent Moses and Aaron back to show him a miraculous sign of warning. Aaron’s staff (wooden staff) became a serpent. Pharaoh’s sorcerers were also able to turn a stick into a serpent, however, the other snake swallowed the snakes of sorcerers. Even so, Pharaoh rejected the brothers’ requests.
Why Did the 10 Plagues of Egypt Happen?
The 10 Plagues happened because the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptian Kings and God made so they would be free men. Before every plague was a warning and time to acknowledge the warning.
How long did the 10 plagues of Egypt last?
Roughly about 2 weeks per plague including the warning before the plague started. The total is about 20 weeks or 4-5 months for all 10 plagues which ended in the freedom of the Israelites.
The Ten Plagues of Egypt Explained
The 1st Plague - The Waters Turn to Blood (Exodus 7,14-24)
God had instructed Moses to raise his staff over the Nile River where the Nile River would then run red with blood. This plague resulted in all the fish in the Nile River dying and a horrible smell from the Nile River for seven days. The Pharaoh’s sorcerers also displayed that they could turn the Nile red with blood. The Pharoah continued to disobey God’s will.
This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hands I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink and the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.--Exodus 7:17-18
The 2nd Plague - The Amphibians / Frogs (Exodus 7: 26-8: 11)
God then instructed Moses to tell Aaron to stretch his staff over the water which brought about hordes of frogs. The hordes of frogs invaded Egypt. The sorcerers of the Pharoah were also able to replicate this and Pharoah did not give into Moses demand once again. However, the sorcerers magic could not stop this plague and Moses was granted permission to go to the Israelites providing that Moses put an end to that plague. Moses did end this plague but allowed the Pharoah to choose the exact time when it would end as proof of divine punishment. All the frogs died the next day, but Pharoah continued his stubborn ways and revoked all permissions granted to Moses.
This is what the great LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.--Exodus 8:1-4
The 3rd Plague - The Gnats / Lice (Exodus 8: 12-15)
Lord God then told Moses to "Say to Aaron, Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground that will become lice over all the land of Egypt." The gnats/lice attacked the men and animals. The lice came from the dust of the ground and were infinite all over Egypt.
"And the LORD said [...] Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt." [...] When Aaron stretched out his hand with the rod and struck the dust of the ground, lice came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became lice.--Exodus 8:16-17
The 4th Plague - Flies (Exodus 8: 16-28)
The flies were capable of harming people and livestock, only harming the Egyptians not affecting the Land of Goshen (home of the Israelites). Pharaoh asked Moses to end this plague for the freedom of the Israelites but once again lied and did not grant freedom when the plague was ended. Some believe that this plague was a swarm of "wild animals" (such as lions, poisonous snakes, rhinoceroses, etc.) but modern interpretations lean more towards a plague of a swarm of flies or gadflies.
The 5th Plague - Disease on Livestock (Exodus 9: 1-7)
This plague sought to eliminate the cattle of Egypt (horses, donkeys, camels, cows, sheep, goats). The Israelite cattle were unharmed and Pharoah did not give into Moses demands again.
This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field--on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats.--Exodus 9:1-3
The 6th Plague - Unhealable Boils / Ulcers / Rash (Exodus 9: 8-12)
For this sixth plague, Moses was instructed by God to take two handfuls of soot from an oven and to scatter them in the presence of Pharoah. This resulted in the dust turning into a disease that plagued the Egyptians and cattle forming incurable ulcers/boils/rashes on their skin. The Egyptian sorcerers died from this plague while the Israelites were unaffected.
Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land."--Exodus 9:8-9
The 7th Plague - Hail and Fire (Exodus 9: 13-35)
The seventh plague was that of a destructive storm that brought about hail and fire brought upon when God instructed Moses to stretch out his rod to the sky. All of Egypt was affected by the supernatural storm mixed with powerful hail and fire. Pharaoh asked Moses to eliminate this plague in trade of allowing the Israelites to pray to God in the Land of Goshen. The Land of Goshen was never affected by this curse. This plague was ended when Moses began to pray but when the storm disappeared, Pharaoh refused to keep his promise.
This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die. [...] The LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.--Exodus 9:13-24
The 8th Plague - Locusts (Exodus 10: 1-20)
Before this plague of locusts, Moses warned Pharaoh of the next plague. Pharaohs officials begged the Pharaoh to free the Israelites but he did not. The speaker made a compromise that the Israelite men would be allowed to leave Egypt but the women and children must stay. Moses demanded all Israelites and animals must be set free but Pharaoh refused, leaving Moses to cause the next plague. God told Moses to stretch out his rod again and a wind from the East picked up bringing with it a swarm of locusts the next day. The swarm of locusts covered the sky and consumed all the rest of the crops killing all the plants and trees. Pharaoh again promised to free the Israelites but again did not once the plague had ended.
This is what the LORD, the God of the Jews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians--something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.--Exodus 10:3-6
The 9th Plague - Darkness (Exodus 10: 21-29)
God told Moses to stretch his hands towards the heavens to bring about the ninth plague of darkness. Darkness fell on Egypt and lasted for three days. Pharaoh said he would allow the Israelites freedom but not the sheep and cattle. Moses refused this offer and Pharaoh became angered and threatened to kill Moses if he appeared before the Pharaoh ever again. Moses agreed that he would never visit the Pharaoh again.
This plague was a direct insult to the Egyptian God Ra who was the God of the Sun. This plague proved that the God of Moses was stronger than the Egyptian God fueling Pharaohs anger and hatred even more.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt--darkness that can be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.--Exodus 10:21-23
The 10th Plague - Death of the First Born (Exodus 11: 1-10; 14: 1-31)
This final plague on Egypt was the most severe as it brought about the death of all the first-born of Egypt. God commanded the Israelites to mark their homes with the blood of a lamb so that the angel of death would pass their homes and not harm their firstborns under the protection of God. The angel of death first appeared at the home of the Israelites but passed every home. Then it continued on its missions to destroy the Egyptians first-born sons including the son of Pharaoh. The Pharaoh now in fear, knew that he must free the Hebrews.
This is what the LORD says: "About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt--worse than there has ever been or ever will be again."--Exodus 11:4-6
The Israelites are Free
The Pharaoh freed the Israelites and their cattle but later followed them with his army. The entire army and Pharaoh was consumed by the Sea of Suf (Exodus 13:18).
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