All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Exodus – God Makes a Way.” All corresponding video presentations may be found on this YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFXW6HwOySA&list=PL7JRppjEn33ZzlfbuQKdvQQfsrkwm0GC5. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, send a message via the “Contact” button.
Ex 6:28-10:29 – Yahweh Sends Plagues.
We can divide this section into two parts, then list the ten plagues and study them in order.
 Ex 6:28-7:13 Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh
 Ex 7:14-10:29 The First Nine (of Ten) Plagues
 Ex 7:14-25 Water to Blood
 Ex 8:1-15 Frogs from Waters
 Ex 8:16-19 Gnats or Lice
 Ex 8:20-32 Swarms of Flies
 Ex 9:1-7 Death of Livestock
 Ex 9:8-12 Boils and Sores
 Ex 9:13-35 Raining Hail
 Ex 10:1-20 Locust Swarm
 Ex 10:21-29 Total Darkness
 Ex 11:1-12:32 Death of the Firstborn (Discussed in the next class post)
Ex 6:28-7:13 Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh
Why would God repeat or renew His commissioning of Moses?
Has Moses given up his old excuses, or just saved them for reuse?
“I make you as God to Pharaoh.” In what sense?
“I will harden. Multiply. Lay My hand. Bring out. Stretch out.”
Egyptians’ “staff-to-serpent” sign and Aaron’s swallowing theirs.
After this sign, does Pharaoh soften or harden? Why?
A “reluctant Moses, an unbelieving Pharaoh, a crushed and dispirited Israel, a proud and ruling Egyptian people, a non-nation against the greatest of nations, are brought together, … so that the proof of Yahweh’s Presence … may be established irrevocably.” – John I. Durham
The Ten Plagues
Purposes:  Identify Yahweh as the one true God (Ex 7:17; 8:10, 22; 14:4, 18.  Prove His concern for His enslaved people.  Show His superiority over Egypt’s gods.  Arouse Pharaoh.  Enable faith.
Ex 12:12 “For I will go through the land of Egypt … and will strike down all the firstborn in Egypt… both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Yahweh.”
Nu 33:4 … Egyptians were burying all their firstborn whom Yahweh had struck … Yahweh had also executed judgments on their gods.
Why this sequence of the first nine plagues? Do they build on each other? Increase in intensity? Note the repeated settings, warnings, responses, and reversals.
The Ten Plagues: Similarities
Staff to snake & plagues 1, 2: copied by Egypt. Plagues 3-10: NOT.
Plagues 1-3: Irritations. Then, 4-6: Destructions. Then, 7-10: Death.
Plagues 1, 4, 7: “In the morning …” Ex 7:15; 8:20; 9:13.
Plagues 1, 2, 3: Aaron initiated, staff. Ex 7:19; 8:5-6, 16-17.
Plagues 4, 5, 6, 10: No use of staff mentioned.
Plagues 7, 8, 9: Moses initiated, staff. Ex 9:22-23; 10:12-13, 21-22.
Plagues 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10: Announced in advance to Pharaoh.
Plagues 3, 6, 9: Occurred without advance notice to Pharaoh.
Plagues 1-3: Egyptians AND Israelites. Plagues 4-10: Egyptians ONLY.
Ex 7:14-25  Water to Blood
Why might the ancient Egyptians have worshiped the Nile River?
Hapi – the Egyptian god of the Nile.
Have you ever experienced a contaminated water supply? Of course!
“As Pharaoh is going out to the water …” Very timely!
Was it just the Nile River that was affected?
Dead fish. Putrid, foul water. Even in wooden and stone vessels.
Irony: magicians copied this harmful sign! Unable to reverse the plague and restoring the water. Note Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim 3:8).
Seven days, then reversed.
Ex 8:1-15  Frogs from the Waters
What’s the most unwelcome pest that ever got into your house?
Heket – Egyptian goddess of fertility, water, and renewal. Supposedly protected women giving birth. They wore charms bearing her image.
“Smite” – refers to a severe blow that causes injury or death.
Imagine frogs on your bed, your ovens, your dishes, and yourself.
Pharaoh: “Entreat Yahweh! I will let the people go and sacrifice!”
How soon would you want the frogs to be gone? Yesterday! Yet Pharaoh says, “Let’s do it tomorrow!”
Worse than all those frogs? Dead frogs!
How long did Pharaoh’s “submission” last?
Ex 8:16-19  Gnats or Lice from the Earth
Ex 8:16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats (or lice) through all the land of Egypt.’ ” What would that be like?
Some Bibles render as lice, maggots, or mosquitoes.
Ex 8:18 The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Lk 11:20 [Jesus said,] “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Ex 8:20-32  Swarms of Flies
For the first time, God makes a distinction. “Not in Goshen” (8:22).
Swarms [“of flies” implied, not stated] everywhere. Land laid waste. In ancient Egypt, the biting fly symbolized tenacity and persistence. A military decoration known as the “Order of the Golden Fly”, or the “Fly of Valor,” was awarded to their soldiers for bravery in battle.
Khepri – God of creation, movement of the Sun, and rebirth.
Pharaoh negotiates. “I will let Israel go, but only a short distance.” Once the flies are gone, Pharaoh reneges.
King Saul’s off-and-on “repentance” toward David (1 Sam 24, 26).
How do you recognize genuine sorrow for sin? 2 Cor 7.
Ex 9:1-7  Death of Cattle, Livestock
Condition: “Unless you let the Hebrews go.” Plague avoidable. Pharaoh chose God’s penalty by his defiant disobedience. “Bring it on!”
“Pestilence” or “murrain” (KJV): vague term for a widespread epidemic. Struck horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and flocks (sheep and goats).
First plague of death (of necessary animals) and loss of livelihood.
Yahweh’s control:  spared Israel;  set a definite day.
Egyptian gods represented as animals: the cow (Hathor), the bull (Apis, Mnevis, or Ptah), and the ram (Amun or Khnum). Some sacred animals, connected to priests and temples, were mummified.
Pharaoh sent messengers to Goshen to confirm that Israel had been spared.
Ex 9:8-12  Boils and Sores
First plague that touches the Egyptians’ own bodies and health.
Kiln: the kind used to fire pottery or reduce lime to the desired form.
Boils: various skin inflammations which caused uncleanness, great suffering, and possible death (Lev 13:18–20; Job 2:7; 2 Kgs 20:1, 7). Sometimes covered a man’s whole body, “from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 2:7; see Deut 28:35).
Magicians (present previously?) unable to stand, clearly overpowered.
Ex 9:13-35  Raining Hail
What’s the largest hail you have ever actually seen, heard, or felt?
Does Yahweh predict that even more plagues will follow (Ex 9:14)?
What does Yahweh want Pharaoh to know about Him (Ex 9:14)?
What if Yahweh unleashed His full power against Egypt (Ex 9:15)?
Why has He not done so (Ex 9:16)?
Nut (sky goddess), Isis (goddess of life), Seth (protector of crops).
First time He allows Egyptians to be spared. How (Ex 9:19-21)?
Note the effect on trees and vegetation Ex 9:25, 31-32).
Is Pharaoh making progress (Ex 9:27-28)?
Or not (Ex 9:30)?
Ex 10:1-20  Locust Swarm
As God’s enemies defy Him, His actions in effect harden them more.
What should the Hebrews teach their (grand)children about God?
How does Moses describe the invasion of the locusts (10:5-6)?
What do Pharaoh’s servants advise? Does Pharaoh listen (10:7-8)?
Snare – a trap set for a bird or an animal (Amos 3:5; Job 40:24).
Is Pharaoh still negotiating? About what? What’s the result (10:8-11)?
How does Yahweh use an east wind (10:13) and a west wind (10:19)?
How severe is the devastation brought by the locusts (10:14-15)?
Let’s call this the “Pharaoh Cycle.” Does it continue today?
Ex 10:21-29  Total Darkness
Did your lights go out last winter? How did it feel? How did you cope?
This ninth plague comes suddenly, without a previous warning.
Detaining flocks and herds would guarantee the Hebrews’ return.
Comment on, “Not even a hoof shall be left behind (Ex 10:26)!”
Note Pharaoh’s desperate, empty threat (Ex 10:28) …
And Moses’ confident reply (Ex 10:29).
Whatever happened to all of Moses’ past doubts and objections?
Written by Cory Collins
Cory Collins is a Bible teacher and a minister of the gospel. He serves with Keller church of Christ in Keller, Texas. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married since 1977. They have two children and two grandchildren.