Sunday, July 11, 2004

Exodus 8

In this chapter, we see God escalate the conflict in a controlled, stepwise manner, demonstrating mastery of two Egyptian gods and showing power not possessed by Egyptians.

The plague of frogs is the first instance in which Pharaoh makes a deal with Moses, which Pharaoh later breaks. Interestingly, Moses asks Pharaoh to set the time for the removal of the plague, emphasizing Moses' control of the situation. Pharaoh does not ask for the plague to lift immediately, but on the next day, hoping perhaps that the frogs will leave on their own and discredit Moses. Some commentators connect the frogs to the goddess Heqet, the goddess of childbirth. (see

The plague of gnats (or lice), which follows the plague of frogs, is the first instance in which God strikes without warning Pharaoh. It is also the first instance in which the Egyptian magicians are unable to match what Moses commands. The magicians now recognize that they are mastered by a greater power, saying "This is the finger of Elohim," but they do not know God more intimately than this. Pharaoh decides to wait out this plague.

The plague of flies is the first plague which strikes the Egyptians selectively. Pharaoh tries to bargain with Moses on how far the Israelites may go, but Moses demands full freedom of worship. Pharaoh again falsely gives his word.


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