Our creator does not do anything without a purpose. Which means there is a purpose for each of the Plagues and for the plagues to be done in a certain order. Today we will look at this purpose and this authors view that God was sending a message and giving a teaching through each of the plagues.
The purpose of the plagues and wonders God did in Egypt in the eyes of Pharaoh
YHVH explains that one of the reasons He will do these mighty acts, is so that His people will “know” who He really is.
Exo 6:6,7 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Our Father in Heaven also says that these plagues are for the express reason that the Egyptians including Pharaoh who said that “he does not know who YHVH is” in Exo 5:2, will come to know who He is.
Exo 7:5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
Exo 7:17 Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
Exo 8:10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.
Exo 8:22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
Exo 9:14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
Exo 9:29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’S.
Exo 10:2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.
Exo 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
Similarly, the reason for God’s Commands given at Sinai is for the purpose of getting to “know” Him – what He likes/dislikes and what He approves/disapproves for those who call themselves “The people of God”.
As Paul mentions in Romans 7:7 we would not know what is right and wrong if we do not know God’s Law. Sin is transgressing the Law as per 1Jn 3:4, and without it we would not have any knowledge of good and evil, thereby transgressing against God.
Jer 2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
Jer 4:22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Now let’s look at the Plagues and the Commandments side-by-side.
|10 Plagues||10 Commandments Exo 20:1-17|
|1) Water turns to blood Exo 7:7-22||1) You shall have no other Gods before me|
|2) Frogs Exo 8:1-7||2) Do not make any graven images|
|3) Lice Exo 8:16-19||3) Do not take My name in vain|
|4) Flies Exo 8:20-24||4) Remember the Sabbath|
|5) Plague on Cattle Exo 9:1-7||5) Honour your Parents|
|6) Boils Exo 9:8-12||6) Do not Murder|
|7) Hail Exo 9:18-35||7) Do not commit Adultery|
|8) Locust Exo 10:1-20||8) Do not Steal|
|9) Darkness Exo 10:21-28||9) Do not bear false witness|
|10) Death of Firstborn Exo 11:1-8||10) Do not Covet|
It may seem unrelated at first glance, but let’s look at each of these 10 statements given at Sinai alongside the corresponding Plague to see whether there maybe any connection between each pair.
1st Command & 1st Plague
The command reads “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” How could this be connected with the River of Egypt and all other water sources turning into Blood? The source of Life or as Jeremiah says “the Fountain of Living Waters” in 2:13 and 17:13 is the Creator of all living things. It is not the Nile, which was worshiped as one of the main deities in Egypt, that gave true life. This was the statement that God makes with this plague, where the source of life that the Egyptians believe in, becomes a place of Death, Stink and Thirst.
2nd Command & 2nd Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” The connection of Graven images is plain when you reflect on what a “graven image” really is. It is anything that God has created, that which comes from God, but is celebrated and worshiped as God. So it is fitting that the account of the plagues has frogs (the symbol of another deity of Egypt) “coming out” from the water sources such as the River of Egypt. This is an object lesson for everyone to understand how could it be that a thing (graven image/frog) that proceeds from another thing considered as a deity (the River of Egypt) could be a deity, itself.
3rd Command & 3rd Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” What can taking the name in vain have in common with “Lice”? First of all, Lice is a translation from the Hebrew Word “כּן- kên” which means “latch on or fastening” onto something. The word is closely related to another Hebrew Word “כּנה – kânâh” which means “call by name or surname” as seen in Isaiah 45:4 & 44:5. The text makes a connection in this sense with taking the name of God in vain, as “כּן- kên” has the idea of fastening on to something and becoming a parasite. It is the same with a person who takes God’s name in vain – as the name carries His authority and honour. When a person says “I am a child of God” and then acts in demeaning way, it is taking the name of God in vain. It does not only restrict itself to instances where people use the name improperly in speech, but it has far more gravity in being used in our day to day actions. So through this Plague God shows that a people who act befitting to the name bring disrepute to His name thereby taking something parasitically which does not belong to them.
4th Command & 4th Plague
The command reads “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” The Sabbath institution is all about “Separation and Sanctification” as we see in Genesis 2:3. To Sanctify or to make Holy means to separate it from others (Lev 20:26). This sign of the Sabbath was given to His people as a sign of the Covenant forever (Exo 31:16,17) and was a sign to show that God sanctifies/separates them from all other people (Exo 31:13). In the 4th plague, the “Flies or Swarms” as it is translated in the text comes from a Hebrew word “ערב – ‛ârôb” which is connected with “ערב – ‛ereb” which means “mixed” as seen in Exo 12:38. So what is God communicating through this Plague? It is all about separation, and the text even says that God will put a division between His people and the people of Egypt (Exo 8:23). The plague speaks of mixing and the commandment speaks of separating ourselves to God.
5th Command & 5th Plague
The command reads “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” The next plague affects the cattle and all living animals that Egypt would consider their property and would be the inheritance of their children. The only reason a person honours their parents if not out of love would be because of the vast riches they would inherit from their parents. Without an inheritance, if there were such wicked people, they would not have a reason to honour their parents and would be completely unmasked. They would also be forced to to cherish their parents without any promise of earthly blessing. In contrast, God’s Command promises that honouring ones parents would prolong their life and become a blessing by itself.
6th Command & 6th Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not kill.” The corresponding plague mentions that Moses and Aaron took ashes out of the Furnace and sprinkled onto the air. According to Treasury of Scripture Knowledge “This was a significant command; not only referring to the fiery furnace, which was a type of the slavery of the Israelites, but to a cruel rite common among the Egyptians. They had several cities styled Typhonian, in which at particular seasons they sacrificed men, who were burnt alive; and the ashes of the victim were scattered upwards in the air, with the view, probably, that where any atom of dust was carried, a blessing was entailed. The like, therefore, was done by Moses, though with a different intention, and more certain effect. See Bryant, pp. 93-106.” If the furnace and the ashes were connected to human sacrifice done to Typhon/Set, the boils were then surely a punishment for murder.
7th Command & 7th Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It is not a surprise that Plague which came upon Egypt next was Hail and Fire from the skies. Just as Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed for breaking this command as per Jude 1:7, here Egypt is punished in a like manner, connecting the 7th Plague with the 7th Commandment.
8th Command & 8th Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not steal.” Locusts attacked Egypt next with a harsh plague that covered the whole of Egypt from the fields to their very houses. Egypt was robbed of everything that they had gained all these years. Moses told Pharaoh that whatever was left thus far would be completely destroyed. A fitting punishment for the crime that Egypt had perpetrated.
9th Command & 9th Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Bearing False Witness is a key component of subverting justice and is condemned many a time in the Scriptures (Exo 23:6,7). Deu 16:19 reads “Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.” A false witness is ultimately a blind witness who cannot stand as a witness at all. This blindness of subverting justice was shown in the darkness that plagued the Egyptians for three days.
10th Command & 10th Plague
The command reads “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” The last plague which was seen as one of the most harsh punishments affected the Firstborn. This covetousness, as the author suggests was the beginning of Egypt’s downfall. The start of slavery came because of Israel who had become rich in abundance as seen in Exo 1:7. The Egyptians were caught coveting their neighbour who had become numerous in their own land. This led to the enslavement of Israel, whom God called “My Firstborn” in Exo 4:22 long before the plagues came on Egypt. In Exo 4:23 God also told Moses to warn Pharaoh, that if he did not let go of God’s Firstborn, that his own firstborn would die as a punishment.
God has a purpose in all that he does and nothing is done haphazardly by Him. He gave us His Commands the “10 Words” or statements to know who He is, so that we may act in a manner that is Holy, as He is Holy. Similarly the 10 plagues of Egypt were also sent to make a statement about who He is – so that all of Egypt would know who the Creator is. It is no wonder then that the 10 plagues that preceded the 10 commands were punishments that showcased all that Egypt had done against Him. It also is a lesson to look around and really think of what happens around us in the end of days that we live in. Look up to His glory in everything, and get to Know the one true God that does everything with purpose everyday of our lives. Shalom!