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The Ten Plagues

For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12-13)

Why did God send the ten plagues to Egypt?

In the Contemporary English Version of Exodus 12:12, it was clearly written:

By attacking the gods of Egypt, God broke the spiritual powers and principalities over the land of Egypt, which were established by the Egyptian gods. These ten plagues also dethroned Pharaoh, who was claimed to be the divine king bearing the name "Son of Ra."

Pharaoh's arrogance in questioning God: "Who is the LORD, that I should heed His voice" (Exodus 5:2) - was answered by the very "hand of God," an idiom meaning in ancient Egyptian language, "a plague."

In fact, the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:19)



1. Blood

the god of River Nile, Hapi

2. Frogs

the toad goddess, Heka

3. Lice

the god of the earth, Geb

4. Flies

the god of insects, Khepfi

5. Livestock

the bull god, Apis

6. Boils

the god of medicine, Thoth

7. Hail & Fire

the sky goddess, Nut

8. Locusts

the god of the fields, Anubis

9. Darkness

the sun god, Ra

10. Death of Firstborn

the god-king, Pharaoh

The First Plague: Blood (Exodus 7:14-24)

This was an attack on Hapi, the father of the gods, who was the god of the Nile. The Nile's waters nourished the land, and determined the welfare of all the people. Hapi was worshipped as the one who brought water to all Egypt for life. He was responsible for watering the meadows, and for bringing the dew. But most importantly, he brought floods through the rising of the Nile. As a fertility god, he was associated with Osiris.

The Nile was considered the link from this life to the next. The waters of the Nile was considered the blood of Osiris. The Egyptians thirsted after blood when they slaughtered the Hebrews children, and now God gave them blood to drink.

Now the source that brought the Egyptians life brought death instead. The Egyptians worshipped their sacred river. But when its waters turned to blood, the Egyptians became terrified. This first plague caused them much confusion. It also brought great shame to their god, Hapi. Other deities connected with the Nile were Amon, and Khnum who was the guardian of the Nile.

The Second Plague: Frogs (Exodus 8:1-15)

This was a direct attack on Heka, the toad goddess, the wife of Khnum. She had the head of a toad. She was the goddess of the land, and was also the goddess of the resurrection and procreative power.

Frogs were consecrated to Osiris, and were the symbol of inspiration. As frogs came out of the sacred Nile, they were being worshipped. They were held as sacred objects in Egypt, much like cows in India today. They could not be killed or interfered with. This was a real problem for the Egyptians. If someone killed a frog, even unintentionally, the person was punishable by death.

The Third Plague: Lice (Exodus 8:16-19)

This was an attack on Geb, the god of the earth or vegetation, as well as the guide to heaven. He was the father of Osiris, and was married to Nut, who was the goddess of the daytime sky, a place where the clouds were formed.

When the dust of the earth became lice, it brought great embarrassment to those Egyptians who gave offerings or paid tribute to their god of the earth.

The Fourth Plague: Flies (Exodus 8:20-32)

This was an attack on Khepfi, the god of insects and dung beetles. These dung beetles were called scarabs. They were symbols of Amon-Ra, who had the head of a dung beetle. He was therefore called "lord of the flies - prince of dung." These swarms of scarabs were again sacred to the Egyptians, and were not to be interfered with.

The scarabs (representing the lust of the eyes) became an embarrassment to the Egyptians as they watched them chewing and destroying everything they had worked for. These hungry insects couldn't be satisfied.

The Fifth Plague: Livestock (Exodus 9:1-7)

This was an attack on Apis, who was the bull god. He was the god of fertility, and his counterpart, the cow-headed goddess Hathor was the goddess of love, happiness, dance, music and protector of women.

The Egyptians held many beasts as their idols of worship. The lion, wolf, dog, cat and ape were sacred to them. They especially held the bull as well as the goat, ram and cow as very sacred since the souls of their gods were believed to reside in these animals. The soul of their god Osiris was believed to reside in the body of the bull, Apis.

These animals and livestock were beasts of burdens. The plague was a contagious disease upon them. This indicated that God was against their soulish and burdensome acts, the lust of the flesh.

The Sixth Plague: Boils (Exodus 9:8-12)

This was an attack on Thoth, the god of medicine and wisdom.

The Egyptians had several medical deities, to whom, on special occasions, they sacrificed humans. They were burnt alive on a high altar, and their ashes were cast into the air. With every scattered ash, a blessing might descend upon the people.

But Moses took ashes from the furnace, and cast them into the air. The ashes were scattered by the wind descending upon all the priests, people, and beasts as boils, thus shaming their god Thoth.

Instead of blessings, they received boils. Instead of being wise, they were actually fools in the sight of God. Their pride of life was shattered.

The Seventh Plague: Hail And Fire (Exodus 9:13-35)

This was an attack on Nut, who was the sky goddess. She was the one who gave the Egyptians their harvest time, the time of plenty.

God attacked and destroyed her crops, the same way He did to her husband, Geb. She was the mother of Osiris. Thus, this was also an attack on Isis, the goddess of life, and Seth, the protector of crops.

This plague was also against the Egyptian god Shu, who was the god of the wind, storm and violence from the sky or any natural phenomenon. He held the ladder to heaven.

This was a battle between gods and God! The One Who answered by fire is God!

"Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God Who answers by fire, He is God." (1 Kings 18:24)

The Eighth Plague: Locusts (Exodus 10:1-20)

This was an attack on Anubis, who was the god of the fields, especially cemeteries. This plague finished up the work that was done by the hail and fire. They devoured every herb of the land and fruit of the trees.

Again, this plague was an attack on Isis, the protector against locusts, and Seth, the protector of crops.

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55)

The Ninth Plague: Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29)

This was an attack on Ra, the sun god. Darkness was considered a creation of Seth, the evil principle destroyer of Osiris. This plague would seem to the Egyptians that Ra, their sun god, was dead; and that Seth had killed him.

This plague was so terrible that the darkness could actually be felt! While the Egyptians were suffering darkness, the Israelites were enjoying light.

Ra was believed to be the physical father of all Pharaohs. And Pharaoh was the king of all gods.

The Tenth Plague: Death Of The Firstborn (Exodus 11, 12)

This was an attack on Pharaoh, who was the god-king. Pharaoh was considered a god, and so was his firstborn son, who would succeed him on the throne.

In fact, first-born people and animals were often worshipped. Pharaoh was considered an incarnation of Ra, the sun god, and Osiris, the giver of life. Because Pharaoh's son was considered a god, a god of Egypt actually died.

In this last plague, God humbled the Egyptians for the cruel ways that they had treated His people. The Egyptians had enslaved the Jews, and had murdered their male children, their firstborns.

God stroke back with an awful vengeance. His righteous anger was made known upon every house that was not covered with the blood of the lamb. When God saw the blood on the doorpost, He passed over.

Have you ever wondered why God destroyed the gods of Egypt? I believe that God, besides delivering His people, also desires the Egyptians to believe in Him, and be called His people too. This is clearly stated in Isaiah 19:19-25:

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them.

Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it. And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.

In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria--a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."

God has included the Egyptians in His plan of salvation too!

Written On:
17 March 2005