Essay, Research Paper: Ten Plagues Upon Egypt

Religion

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To escape punishment for killing an Egyptian, Moses ran away to Midian, where he
met and married the daughter of a shepherd. During that time, the king of Egypt
died, and the Israelites called out to God in their suffering. In the past, God
had made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob concerning the fate of them
and their descendants, and the time had come for Him to rescue them. While Moses
was tending his father-in-law's sheep, he led the sheep through the desert until
they arrived at Mt. Horeb. There, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the
form of flames from a bush. The Lord told Moses that He saw the misery that the
Israelites were suffering at the hands of the Egyptians, and would come and
rescue them. He instructed Moses to go to the Pharaoh, ask that the Israelites
be freed, and then lead them out of Egypt and into the land of the Canaanites.
When Moses objected that neither Pharaoh nor his own people would support him,
God let him know that He knew Pharaoh's heart would harden against Him, so He
would show His power to the Egyptians by raining down calamities against them.
This display of anger for the Egyptians who refused to follow His will was
manifested in ten plagues. God, working through Moses and Aaron, brought misery
after misery upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. 1. The first plague involved
changing the water of the Nile River into blood. Moses warned Pharaoh that
unless he let the Israelites go to worship God, the river would turn to blood,
the fish would die, the water would stink, and the people would not be able to
drink. Even the water stored in jars would turn to blood. Pharaoh disobeyed, and
God let loose his wrath. Pharaoh hardened his heart as God had said, and walked
back into his palace. 2. The second plague occurred seven days later. When the
Pharaoh refused yet again to obey God, the Lord brought frogs out of the land.
They filled the Nile, and every home, bed and oven. Pharaoh then agreed to free
the Israelites if God removed the frogs. God caused the frogs to die the next
day, but Pharaoh hardened his heart and broke his end of the agreement. God then
sent a third plague. 3. Everywhere throughout Egypt, the Lord changed dust into
gnats. They covered men, animals and all of the land. Even Pharaoh's magicians
saw this was the work of God, but Pharaoh still would not listen. God knew this
was going to happen and sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand freedom, or a fourth
plague would descend upon him and his people. Like before, he refused. 4. This
fourth plague brought flies over the entire land, except for Goshen, which was
where the Israelites lives. Moses had gone and warned Pharaoh of this, and let
him know that Goshen would be spared to prove God's power to the Pharaoh. When
the flies came, they poured into the palace and the homes of Pharaoh's
officials. They covered the land and ruined it. Pharaoh again agreed to free the
Israelites so that they could go to the desert and make sacrifices to worship
God, but only if the flies were taken away. Again, a deal was made, and God
caused every last fly to leave. Yet once again, Pharaoh hardened his heart and
would not let the people go. 5. Then the Lord sent Moses to warn Pharaoh of a
fifth plague, in which all of Egypt's livestock would die, but not the
Israelite's. Pharaoh chose not to obey, and the next day, God brought His
plague. Pharaoh sent his men to investigate the livestock of the Israelites, and
even though he saw that not one was harmed, he still disobeyed God. 6. God then
created a sixth plague, the plague of boils, to sweep across the land. Moses
took soot from the furnace and tossed it in the air before the Pharaoh, It
became fine dust over the whole land and on every man and animal that it landed
on caused a terrible outbreak of boils, but Pharaoh still refused to free the
Israelites. 7. At this point, God instructed Moses to go once again to Pharaoh,
only this time the punishment for disobedience would be even greater. Moses was
to tell Pharaoh that God had given him many chances to let His people go, and
now He would display His true power. A hailstorm unlike any seen before would
fall upon Egypt. The next day, a tremendous hailstorm struck Egypt. Lightning
flashed through the sky, and every man and animal outside was killed, all crops
were beaten down, and all trees were stripped bare. Only Goshen was spared.
Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and told them he had sinned and was wrong. He
would allow the Israelites to leave if Moses would pray and end the storm. Moses
said that he would, but he knew that Pharaoh still did not fear God. He left the
city and spread his hands toward the Lord. The storm ended, and Pharaoh saw this
and again hardened his heart even further. 8. God instructed Moses to go to
Pharaoh once more. He explained how he had deliberately hardened Pharaoh's
heart, and those of his officials, so that he could perform these miracles,
which were to be retold to his descendants. Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and
warned him that if he refused to free their people, a plague of locusts would
enter the country. Pharaoh's officials told him to let the people go, as Egypt
was ruined. Pharaoh agreed, but would only allow the men to go; no women and
children would leave. Moses protested that all had to come as they were to
celebrate a festival to the Lord. Pharaoh refused him and drove them away. Moses
stretched out his staff over the land as God instructed him to do, and a wind
from the east blew across the land all day and all night. By the morning, the
wind had brought locusts. They covered all of Egypt. There were so many that the
ground was blackened. They ate all that was left after the hailstorm, everything
in the fields, every fruit left on the trees. No plant or tree was left in all
of Egypt. Quickly, Pharaoh summoned Moses and admitted his sin. He would allow
the people to go, if this plague would leave. Moses prayed to the Lord, and a
west wind blew in, which caught up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea.
God then hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he refused to let the Israelites go. 9.
Then the Lord told Moses to stretch his hand toward the sky and darkness would
spread over Egypt. Moses did this, and complete darkness covered all of Egypt
for three days. No one could see anything or leave their homes, except for the
Israelites, who had light in the places they lived. Pharaoh called for Moses and
told him to go and worship God. Even the women and children could go, but the
animals had to stay behind. Moses insisted that the animals come too, because
sacrifices and offerings had to be made. Pharaoh refused and became angry. He
told Moses to leave and never appear in front of him again. Moses agreed and
told him he would never see him again. 10. God spoke to Moses again, and told
him that He would send one more plague down on Egypt, after which the Israelites
would not only be freed, but also driven out completely. For this reason, they
were to go to their neighbors and ask for silver and gold. God made the
Egyptians kind toward the Israelites so that they would give these items to
them. Then he instructed him on the final plague. On the tenth of the month, the
people of Israel were to gather firstborn male lambs and on the fourteenth they
were to slaughter them for food and smear their doorframes with their blood. On
that night, the Lord would pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn
male, both men and animals, and would bring judgment against the Egyptian gods.
The blood on the doors would be a sign to Him of the Israelites, and this
horrible plague would pass over them. God gave them further instructions on what
to eat and what not to, and how else to observe this event. This was to
represent a lasting festival to the Lord for all future generations. It was to
be a day to commemorate. Moses explained this to the elders of Israel and
instructed them that this was a lasting ordinance for them and all their
descendants. Once they entered the land the Lord had promised, they were to
observe this ceremony. The Israelites bowed down, worshiped, and did as the Lord
commanded. At midnight, the Lord killed all the male firstborn in Egypt. Not
even the son of Pharaoh was spared. Pharaoh, his officials, and every Egyptian
woke up in the middle of the night and a loud wailing was heard over the land.
There was not one household without someone dead. During that night, Pharaoh
called for Moses and Aaron and told them to hurry and leave as they requested.
The Egyptians were frightened that they would die if the Israelites remained and
hurried them on their way with gold and silver, just as God had planned. They
journeyed from Rameses to Succoth where they received further instruction from
God concerning Passover. The Israelites did as commanded, and on that same day
they were brought out of Egypt.
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