The Lord was very deliberate, as is always the case, in His choices of the particular forms of plagues that he would introduce through Moses and Aaron. Though we might not fully understand them all, it is clear that the “gods” of the Egyptians were being mocked, and thus shown not to be the real God. The first one of this chapter (the second plague) – of frogs – in verses 1-15 was obviously chosen to show the foolishness of worshiping their false god Heket (or Heqet), the Egyptian frog-goddess.
The cycle that will be repeated in other plagues begins:
- The hardship on Pharaoh and the people (just think about v. 3-4, and later about verse 13!)
- Pharaoh sees God’s power, promises to Moses, and asks him to “plead with the Lord” (v. 8)
- The respite (v. 12-13)
- Pharaoh then hardens his heart again and will not listen (v. 15).
Once again, the “magicians” do their thing; and again, they are powerless to reverse the plague – hence number 2 above, as the Lord intended. They were unable to mimic the third plague in v. 16-19, and tell Pharaoh that “This is the finger of God”, but he just returns to step 4 above. Many believe that the fourth plague of v. 20 ff was of the “biting” type of fly. The difference with this plague in v. 22-24 was that God would bring this upon the Egyptians, and not His people – so that they would “know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.”
(Side Note: Interesting articles about the mythological frog goddess can be found at “Ancient Egypt Online” and at “Ancient Egypt: the Mythology“. Both sites also have information on the mythological “god” Khephera, which may have to do with the insect plagues.) For this writer’s interpretation of the references that these chapters make to the “hardening of Pharaoh’s heart,” please see previous post for Exodus 7, but especially tomorrow’s posting for Exodus 9.
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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