Why were the plagues upon Egypt chosen?
I must admit this is a question which I had never before considered. But, God being God, it is unlikely that the plagues He chose to send upon Egypt in efforts to break Pharaoh and cause him to allow the Hebrews to leave were chosen at random. Indeed, a deeper look at the ten plagues reveals much more…
First, the very fact that there were ten of them is significant. Ten, in scripture, represents fullness and completeness. As we will see, the ten plagues demonstrated to the Egyptians God’s complete authority over the false ‘gods’ of Egypt. And just as God judged Pharaoh, his people and their gods with ten plagues, so He soon after gives His own people the Ten Commandments which if broken incur His judgement upon them as well.
The Egyptians had many false gods. The ten plagues as we will see were a direct demonstration of God’s power over their imagined ‘gods’ of the land.
1. The Nile becomes blood (Ex. 7:14-25). ‘Isis’ was the Egyptian god of the Nile, ‘Khnum’ was the guardian of the Nile, and ‘Hapi’ was a water bearing God of the Nile. (Water is the most essential element needed for life.)
2. The plague of frogs (Ex. 8:1-5). ‘Heket,’ or ‘Heget’ was the Egyptian god of fertility and renewal and had the head of a frog.
3. The plague of gnats (Ex. 8:16-19). The Egyptian god ‘Geb,’ was the god the dust of the earth; ‘Set’ was god of the desert.
4. The plague of flies (Ex. 8:20-32). ‘Re’ was the sun god. ‘Khepri’ was a god with the head of a fly. ‘Uatchit’ may also have been a god represented by the fly.
5. The death of livestock (Ex. 9:1-7). ‘Hathor,’ goddess of love and protection, had the head of a cow. ‘Apis’ was the bull god.
6. The plague of boils (Ex. 9:8-12). ‘Isis’ was considered a goddess of medicine and peace. ‘Sekmet’ was believed by the Egyptians to be a goddess with power over disease. ‘Sunu’ a god of pestilence.
7. The plague of hail (Ex. 9:13-35). ‘Nut’ was the goddess of the sky. ‘Set’ was the god of storms.
8. The plague of locusts (Ex. 10:1-20). ‘Osiris’ was god of the crops. ‘Seth’ was an Egyptian god of storms and disorder. (The locusts came like a dark cloud in the skies and created a havoc worse than any Hitchcock film!)
9. The plague of darkness (Ex. 10:21-29). ‘Ra’ and ‘Horus’ were Egyptian sun gods and ‘Hathor’ was a goddess of the sky.
10. The death of the firstborn (Ex. 11:1-12:30). ‘Min’ was believed a god of reproduction and ‘Isis’ also a protector of children. Through this final plague the Passover was also instituted foreshadowing the sacrificial Lamb of God Who would deliver His children from eternal destruction.
Through all these plagues Jehovah God demonstrated His ultimate authority over all man-made idols and so-called ‘gods,’ over Pharaoh (also considered a god), over nature, and over sin. Ultimately we must all bow to Him. – Have you?
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31)
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