Boom! Chapter 8! The plagues begin. God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh again to let his people go. If he will not, God will smite the land with frogs.
The Plague of Frogs
It’s not like God isn’t being reasonable. He has given Pharaoh plenty of opportunities to let the people go. He has been shown a staff that changes into a snake and that changes rivers into blood, and yet he still denies it, even when seen firsthand. This goes to show that God loves his children, even when they are wicked and give them every opportunity to repent. But there comes a time where you need to say, “You haven’t repented. I cannot hold back the judgement any longer unless you repent.”
We are talking lots and lots of frogs. To the point where it is annoying. The Lord says that the frogs will come into the house, into your room, into your bed, into your servants’ houses, upon the people, into the ovens and kneading trough (what’s that?). Where do all these frogs come from? Are there that many frogs in Egypt? I would hate to have a plague of frogs. It would probably smell. Nothing would get done.
Here’s a thought. When God sends plagues, do you think they are location specific? Does he use specific elements of the land where the plague is to plague? Or does he plague however he wants regardless of it’s in the land or not. Let me illustrate. That may have come across confusing. If God wanted to plague Alaska in the dead of winter, would he use raging snowstorms? Or command an abundance of wolves to scourge the land? These are all things that occur naturally in the winter (snow and wolves). Or would he use things like lice, frogs and flies? Things that aren’t as frequent during the winter months but would be “strengthened” in order to be a plague. I don’t know.
Aaron brings frogs upon the land of Egypt. Verse 7 says that the magicians did likewise and brought frogs also upon the land of Egypt. The magicians doing this can’t be right. What enchantment could bring frogs? They are probably trying to explain this plague to Pharaoh while the frogs keep coming. And then say their enchantment brought frogs, even though they were already coming. AND who in their right mind would want to increase a plague just for the sake of proving how Moses did it? If I was Pharaoh, I wouldn’t exactly care how they did it at this point, I would just want them to figure out a way to make it stop.
Pharaoh finally says to Moses, “Ask the Lord to take away the frogs and I will let the people go.” Two important things just happened. The first is obvious, he said he will let the people go. Second, he acknowledged the Hebrew God! I think God is thinking with the plagues, “If you are going to increase the burden on my people, I will increase your burden of trying to keep the kingdom safe. But good luck becuase this will break you unless you repent and let my people go.”
Moses asks Pharaoh when he would like the plague to go away. He says tomorrow. Moses goes and talk to God and the next day, the frogs in the houses, villages, and fields all died. All the people gathered the frogs together into great piles and the entire land stank. When Pharaoh saw this, he hardened his heart and hearkened not unto them. I think Pharaoh was expecting all the frogs to hop back into the river of their own accord. Instead, they were left with another plague in and of itself, dead frogs everywhere! I would rather have frogs that were alive torturing me than have dead frogs that stank everywhere! Cross reference Ecclesiastes 8:11. When sentences are not carried out swiftly, hearts of the condemned become set on doing evil. True that. When you set out to take someone down, if you don’t follow through, it will only get worse. I learned that in my business class. If you are going to fire someone, you cannot partially fire them by reassuring them or cutting pay. You need to nip it at the bud and say goodbye. If you don’t, it will come back and bite you.
The Plague of Lice
Aaron stretches out his hand and smites the dust. All the dust of Egypt becomes lice. Lice is a word which here means small bug that bites you and makes you itch all over. Usually living in your hair. Ewww! I just got the heeby-jeebies. I would really hate this. Pharaoh’s magicians try to get rid of the lice but cannot. They tell Pharaoh that this is indeed the finger of God doing this. But Pharaoh remains hard hearted and iwll not hearken to them. Pharaoh has a lot of hate in him. Maybe his insecurity is fueling his stubborness. Maybe someone told him he was the weakest link or that he wouldn’t live up to hid daddy’s expectations. Maybe this battle of wills is really some sick game to prove to himself that he isn’t the weakest link. Kasihan man, kasihan (pitiful in Malay). Cross reference John 3:2. Finger of God means that God is the one with Moses.
God tells Moses to go early in the morning and say to Pharaoh, “Let the people go.” If he won’t, God will send forth swarms of flies, that they may be upon the people and ground, wherever they go. God will also separate the land of Goshen (where the children of Israel are living) so no flies will go there. They will only be among the Egyptians. All this so that they may know that I am the Lord.
It is mind-boggling to me how Pharaoh can still resist. He has seen a staff change into a snake, rivers into blood, hands turn leprodic (a word I just made up), frogs swarm his land, and lice plague the people. The only comparison that comes to mind is denying the sun while it is shining right there in front of you. A thought came to mind. Denying the sun is easy when you can only see darkness. I think that is how Pharaoh was. He was under such control by Satan, his mind so clouded and fogged up that the “sun” didn’t break through the storm clouds raging in his mind.
The Plague of Flies
The swarm comes. Not just a normal swarm of flies, but a grievous swarm. The entire land is ruined. Can you imagine that many flies? You would go crazy from all the buzzing. The dirty flies would be landin gon all the food and nobody would be happy. Pharaoh has an idea this time. He tells Moses to have his people sacrifice in the land (of Egypt). Moses probably looks at Pharaoh increduously and says that they cannot because they would sacrificing abominations of the Egyptians to their God. And not only would God not accept them, but the Egyptians would stone the Israelites. Moses says that they must go three days into the wilderness and sacrifice as he has commanded them. Pharaoh hardens his heart and will not let them go. Sorry, check that, he says he will let them go, just not very far away. He asks Moses to remove the flies.
When the Lord commands you to sacrifice, you do not sacrifice abominations. You sacrifice what you are supposed to. And you sacrifice only the best. The Lord deserves our best. The only example I can think of is tithing. If the Lord says to pay your tithing 10%, you don’t pay 1% and use that as an excuse for saying you paid tithing. And when you get that paycheck, you don’t wait till the end of the month and hope you have enough money to pay tithing. As soon as you get that paycheck, you take the 10% off the top and set it aside for payment. That way, you are giving the Lord the best of your money, not the leftovers.
Moses says he will do what Pharaoh asks and removes the flies so long as Pharaoh does not deal deceitfully in letting the people go. Pharaoh agrees. But he hardens his heart (surprise surprise) and will not let the people go. Oh shoot! He just made a promise and broke it! All the hail and fire is going to come raining down on him hallelujah! But seriously, he did some pretty bad stuff and now the plague intensity and magnitude is going to increase.
The Plague of Animals Dying
The Lord tells Moses to go in to Pharoah and ask him to let the people go. If you don’t let them go, there will be a very grievous plague that destroys all animals on four legs. Cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen, and sheep. None of the children of Israel’s shall die, only Egyptian animals. Tomorrow this will happen. And it did. All the cattle died. Pharaoh looks to see if any of the Israelite cattle died and they didn’t. He hardened his heart and didn’t let the people go.
The Lord gave him one day this time to think about it before this plague came. The Lord is trying his best to work with him. He is extending mercy, but Pharaoh is denying it so justice is taking its full toll on him. I know I keep coming back to this but what in the world is Pharaoh thinking? What does he expect to gain from all this hard heartedness? He is probably looking at it as how he is the victim and God and Moses are doing this in an unjustified manner. And because of that, he thinks this rebellion is a way for him to be strong?
The Plague of Boils and Blisters
God tells Moses to take ashes from a furnace and sprinkle them towards heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. They will become small dust in all the land of Egypt and boils and blisters and pustules will break out among the people and beasts. Ashes to dust that cause boils and blisters to break forth. It’s biological warfare! The blisters and boils must have been particularly bad. Maybe like chicken pox where you whole body is covered in them so you freak out. As always, I wonder what the science is behind this?
The magicians are unable to copy this plague, in fact, they can’t even stand before Moses the blisters and boils were so bad. The same went for the people of Egypt. Imagine having an entire city with the same illness and symptoms at the same time! So scary. As usual though, Pharaoh hardens his heart and will not let the people go.
God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the people go. Because at this time, I am going to send all my plagues upon your heart, that you and your people may know that there is none like me on the Earth! I am going to smite you and your people so hard with pestilence, you are going to be cut off from the Earth. You can feel the frustration of Christ radiating from the pages of verses 14 and 15. It’s like him and Pharaoh have been having the arm wrestle of the century. But God is growing impatient with Pharaoh and if he doesn’t yield, he will quickly beat him. Cross reference Deuteronomy 28:60-61. If he doesn’t change his ways soon, all the plagues will come upon him specifically. Imagine that! Having leprosy, blisters, and boils all at the same time! All these diseases until you utterly die! Yuck! God says that the only reason he is allowing Pharaoh to be alive is so that he can show forth his power to all the world and to Pharaoh. In other words, Pharaoh’s only purpose on Earth right now is to be an example of what not to do.
Tomorrow morning it will be raining hail such as has never been seen in Egypt or the world. Cross reference Revelation 16:21. Another example of hail. We are talking like 75lb hailstones. Cross reference Joshua 10:11. Another instance of hail like this bing used. Cross reference Mosiah 12:6. Abinadi talked about this type of hail in reference to the destruction of king Noah and his people. Cross reference D&C 29:16. Hailstorms will come in the latter-days like these and all the crops on Earth will be damaged.
Moses tells him to gather all the cattle he doesn’t want to die and put it inside. Because any cattle that are left out WILL die. The servants that heard this and feared God fled into their houses. Pharaoh disregards what Moses has said and leaves his servants and cattle in the fields. Maybe Pharaoh thingks he is a martyr. That’s why he isn’t doing anything. Thinks he is powerless to stop it? So he just lets it all come. Like Lord Denethor from Lord of the Rings. He believes the royal line of Gondor has been broken when he thinks his last son, Faramir, has passed away. Coupling this with gazing too much into the palantir and see the Dark Lord’s plans for sieging his city and wiping it out, he abandons all hope and accepts his fate by trying to cremate himself.
Cross reference the Bible Dictionary entry on Faith. The absence of Faith is hopelessness, usually brought about by sin. I think Pharaoh was pretty hopeless. When Satan chains you up, there is a really bad feeling of hopelessness. You have no hope so you feel like the only option is to abandon yourself to some very dark ruin. That’s not true! There is always hope. All Pharaoh had to do was say, yes, and all the bad things would go away. there is always hope.
The Plague of Hail and Fire
Moses stretches forth his rod towards heaven and the Lord sends forth thunder and hail and fire runs along the ground. Cross reference Revelation 8:7. Fire mingled with hail is raining in Egypt. Trees and grass and anything else flammable is going up in flames. There had been nothing like this in Egypt ever since it was founded. This hail is breaking everything–trees, herbs, probably houses too. The land of Goshen, where the Israelites live, is the only place that isn’t hit by the hail and fire. One thing I wanted to say. Up until this point, Aaron has been unleashing the plagues, Moses stops them. Why is Aaron doing some and Moses doing others? Taking turns?
Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron to ask the Lord to please stop the thunderings and hailfire. He admits he has sinned and his people are wicked. Moses says that when he leaves the city, he will raise up his arms and it will stop. All that he may know that this Earth is the Lord’s. He also will let the people go and stay no longer.
Moses leaves and the thunderings and hailfire stop. BUT! Moses said that even after these things stopped, Pharaoh and his servants would not fear God. So, Moses smites the flax and barley. Just a little last slap in the face to remind him just who is in charge. But Moses was right! As soon as Pharaoh notices that the thunderings and rain and hail have stopped, he and his servants begin to sin and harden their hearts. Misery loves company. Notice before it just Pharaoh was the one hardening his heart and sinning. Now he has his servants on his side as well.
One thing I want to go through right now is how many times Pharaoh was asked to let the people go. I skimmed the next few chapters and it doesn’t look like he is asked that again so I think it is safe to see how many times he was given a chance. Twice that I can find it is written that Moses asks to let his people go. How many times does Pharaoh harden his heart? Eight times.
God is going to do these miracles so that they can tell their sons and what happened and their sons’ sons. That they all may know that “I am the Lord”. Cross reference D&C 93:42-43. Teach your kids light and truth. That way, no affliction will come upon you. It is very important to teach your kids the gospel. My mom did it and we gained a knowledge and love of the gospel. I love this verse becuse it seems like God wants to be remembered throughout history. Him being our father, it makes sense.
Moses and Aaron go into Pharaoh and again ask how long Pharaoh is planning to refuse to let the people go. How long will he reufse to humble himself? Honestly, Pharaoh. Come on buddy. This is getting old. Work with me! Lots of your people are dead. Others who aren’t dead are suffering. You are holding up the story.
Moses says that if he refuses, locusts will come into his coasts. Cross reference Mosiah 12:6-7. Abinadi prophesied that locusts would come upon the people of Noah as part of their destruction package. They will eat all the grain. Cross reference when locusts ate all the plants of the pioneers in Utah. Then they prayed and seagulls came and ate them up. This is an example of modern day plauge.
The Plague of Locusts
Locusts are nasty. Big, gross bugs. Eating all things. They are going to cover the face of the Earth so much that no one will be able to see the Earth. They are going to eat the residue of what is left over from the hail. They are also going to eat all the trees. That’s a lot of locusts. Where do they all come from? Are there that many locusts in Egypt? Moses says that they are coming in from the coasts. So was there a giant migration of them from somewhere else? Moses says they will fill the hosues of everyone and that this event will be unlike any other in the history of Egypt.
Moses doesn’t even wait for an answer. He turns and goes out from Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s servants ask him how long Moses will be a snare unto them. I was trying to get scriptures that are in the footnotes to enlighten me on what was meant by “snare unto us”. Couldn’t find any. I’ll do my best to expoud. Maybe they think Moses is a stumbling block and a burr in their boot. A plague to them? The servants want to let Moses and the people go because Egypt is decimated. They have realized that the pros of keeping Moses around have been outweighed by the cons. It is no longer in their best interest to keep the Israelites around. Pharaoh actually listens to his servants and calls Aaron and Moses into his presence again. He says they can go, but asks who exactly is going?
What?! What do you mean who exactly is going? I have told you pretty much every time I visit! My people, the Israelites, the children of Israel, you know, all the people you have in bondage? My next question is how can/could he not realize who is going? Has sin clouded his thinking that much? I think that when you sin, you can’t think very well. You get tunnel vision and can only focus on one thing. And as far as that tunnel vision goes, your opinion is the only way you can or are even capable of seeing. Pride. Putting yourself above others. Don’t do it.
Moses says they are going to be taking everyone. Young people, old people, sons, daughters, flocks, and herds. Pharaoh says that he hopes the Lord is with them. If he let’s them all go, evil is before them. “Evil is before you” is a Hebrew idiom which here means, “Bent on mischief”. This isn’t the first time Pharaoh has used Hebrew idioms. He must be well versed in the Hebrew language, culture and traditions. Check that, probably not traditions. Do you think it was taught to him in Pharaoh school? Maybe he had just picked up the traditions and culture from being around them? Anyway, Pharaoh says he is oinly going to let the men go because Moses desired that. No, come on my friend. All the people. Everyone. Not just the men. Pharaoh doesn’t want Moses and Aaron around anymore and they are both driven from his presence.
That’s it for this week! In two weeks we’ll have the conclusion of the plagues. Stay tuned!