Thoughts on Exodus 7 – 12
At the end of chapter 6 there is a recap of the genealogy of Moses and Aaron. I think it is placed in here, because over the next several chapters the pace is about to escalate. We need a reminder of the people involved.
Chapter 7 opens with God telling Moses that Moses will be made like God to Pharaoh and Aaron will play the role of prophet. God tells that he will Harden Pharaoh’s heart and he will not listen to Moses. (By the way, I want to come back to this hardening of Pharaoh’s heart) After all that is about to happen takes place, the Egyptians will know who the true God and Lord is.
The first sign that happens is turning the staff into a snake. Well, Pharaoh’s magicians can do this too. Although Moses’ snake eats the other snakes.I can only assume that demonic power is what allows the magicians to do this in the first place. God would ultimately have to permit this to happen for His purpose to be seen.
Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.
Next all water is turned to blood including the Nile River. Fish died. Even water in vessels turned to blood. The Bible says that Pharaoh’s magicians could match this sign/plague too. I have often wondered what water still existed that they turned to blood. While the Bible doesn’t say this explicitely, I wonder if the Israelites water was safe from God’s plague and somehow they obtained some of this water for their version of the plague.
Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened.
Next there is a plague of Frogs throughout the land. Frogs everywhere. In bed. In pots. Canals, rivers, and pools. Again the magicians used some kind of trickery to match this sign. Apparently, they could not make the frogs go away though, so this time Pharaoh asks Moses to plead with the Lord to take them away. Moses did this. God caused the frogs to die. The frogs were gathered into huge stinking piles. Pharaoh saw the pause in the plague and hardened his heart again and broke his promise to allow the people leave.
Next, Gnats. Gnats everywhere. This time however, the magicians could not match God’s sign. I believe this is because now that Pharaoh had broken a promise, God decided to show him his power alone. The Magicians tried to tell Pharaoh that “This is the finger of God.” He would not listen. Heart Hardened.
Next, Flies. Flies everywhere. Oh… everywhere except where the Israelites were. There was now a physical division between what was happening to God’s people and the Egyptians. Again Pharaoh appears to give in and begs of Moses to remove the flies and that he would let the people go worship. As soon as Moses pleads with the Lord to do this, and as soon as the flies are gone, Pharaoh again went back on his promise… refusing to let the people go. Heart Hardened.
The fifth plague killed off a large number of livestock owned by the egyptians. Israel’s animals survived. No promise made by Pharaoh this time. It was not like previous plagues. The animals could not come back to life. Heart Hardened.
The sixth plague was boils over all the egyptians. It is humorous to me that this time Moses thought it worth while to mention that the magicians could not even stand up because the boils. Something about that encounter must have been memorable enough for Moses to mention. Maybe they were rolling around on the floor. Either way, Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened.
The seventh plague was Hail and a Lot of it. So much of it that people who were out in among it and whatever remained of the livestock and now plants and trees would be killed by it. This time Pharaoh admits that he has sinned against God and asks Moses to plead with God for relief, but as soon as the rain and hail stopped, Pharaoh returned to his stubbornness and refused to let the people go. Heart Hardened.
Plague number eight was locusts. They came to eat everything that remained after the hail. This time something different happens. The people around Pharaoh are beginning to get the hint before he is. They plead to Pharaoh to let the people go so that the plague does not happen. He agrees to let the men go (assuming that they would come back for the women and children) Well that was the bargain from God. The locusts come. Like clockwork, Pharaoh admits his fault/sin, asks moses to remove the plague, God does. Pharaoh breaks his promise. Heart hardened.
Number 9 was darkness. Pitch black. This time Pharaoh agrees to let all the people go… only they needed to leave their livestock. It wasn’t going to happen. Heart hardened again.
The final plague and warning is given in Exodus 11. God tells Moses that this will be the final plague that will free the Israelites. In fact after this plague, the Pharaoh will drive them away completely. God blesses His people in the sight of the Egyptians. The Israelites will leave with silver, gold, jewelry…
The devastation in this plague is why passover is remembered. In chapters 11 and 12 we read of how God kills every first born of all households. The Destroyer is not permitted to enter into houses with the blood of the lamb on the doorpost.
How can the jewish people today not see the signs from the Passover and not SEE that it was Jesus that was the final Passover Lamb. His shed blood that has been put on the door frames of our lives are what keep us safe from the Destroyer. Satan comes to seek, kill and destroy. But Jesus came to give us life to the full.
After this plague, Pharaoh does indeed drive the people out… they assumed the worse that could happen next is that they would be completely killed off. Jacob’s sons had entered Egypt as 12 and are leaving as 600,000 men not counting women and children left on foot following Moses and Aaron out into the desert.