The Ten Plagues of Egypt.
This is my final story that I will be looking at. This was another hard one to do because of how iconic it is and how much it says that God instructed Moses to do what he did. From the very start at the burning bush, I have questions about this whole story.
I am going to be looking at the story from the burning bush to the last plague. I am not going over all of the text, as there is quite a lot to cover. Just the parts for this study. Lets have a look at the story from the old testaments point of view.
Exodus 3 is where we begin.
Moses is looking after his father-in-laws sheep when he comes to a mountain called “the mountain of God”. Unlike the cartoon version, Moses is not in a cave. The angel of the lord shows up in a bush on fire and tells Moses that he is standing on holy ground. They then have a conversation about the cry of Israel and how God wants Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses finds out Gods name. Even after seeing a stick turn into a snake and his hand withered Moses still isn’t keen, because he stutters. God says Moses can take Aaron along but Moses has to get Israel free from pharaoh.
Moses goes off and tells the elders with Aaron. They then go to pharaoh and the battle for Israel’s freedom begins. Ten plagues later and pharaoh kicks Moses and his people out. They then go off and the story continues.
This is the quick version. You can read the whole story from Exodus 3.
A few things that got my interest before we carry on.
The snake, the plunder and the Withered hand.
First I noticed the withered hand. Why would God wither Moses hand? He already showed Moses the snake stick. Surely the people would believe with out having to have Moses hand withered. Surely that would be enough for any man to convince them it was God that Moses had talked to. Exodus 4:1-9.
Straight after the snake, Moses hand is withered. God then says if that doesn’t convince the people then throw water on the ground and it will become blood.
Why would God turn a rod into a snake (the form that satan used in the garden) Gen 3:1. wither Moses hand and then say to turn water into blood. It doesn’t seem right to me. The snake clearly scared Moses.
EX 4:3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.(UKJV)
Then his hand is withered. This doesn’t seem like a God of love to me. Surely God would have changed the rod into an eagle. Something less threatening. It could have something to do with the Egyptian gods but why would God scare Moses. Another thing of interest is the plunder. God strikes Egypt with ten plagues then robs them. It doesn’t add up to me. Here is something else which is strange.
EX 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. 4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband are you to me. 4:26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband you are, because of the circumcision.(UKJV)
This has always confused me. I have had a look to see what it says on the Internet and I think I know why. Moses son had not been circumcised. Because of this sin and because of the new leadership role, being the new spiritual father of Israel, could this be why God wanted Moses dead? Even though God had just given him the instruction to set Israel free? Does that make sense?
Ten in total. Not very nice. Moses goes to pharaoh, asks for his people to be let go. Pharaoh says no. Each time until the last, a new plague comes as a punishment to pharaoh and his people for defying Gods wishes. The interesting thing about the plagues is that Israel suffered some of them as well. If you look, there are only a few that say that Israel was separated from the plague. Another interesting thing is on the second plague pharaoh tells Moses to go and take the Israelites with him.
EX 8:8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Implore the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.(UKJV)
He implores Moses. The frogs go then God hardens his heart. From the start of this God says to Moses that He will harden pharaoh’s heart. Doesn’t quite seem fair to me. EX4:21. Also God said early on about the tenth plague.
EX 4:22 And you shall say unto Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 4:23 And I say unto you, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, even your firstborn.(UKJV)
That makes Israel Gods firstborn. But what about Adam? Wasn’t he Gods first born?
What did Jesus teach or say about Moses?
Jesus references Moses to the leper. Matt 8:4, there is the transfiguration story. Moses comes to visit Jesus. Matt 17:3 there is the reference to what Moses says about divorce and death, Mark 10:3, 12:19. Matthew, Mark and Luke talk about the same references.
There are many references to Moses in the gospels but Jesus doesn’t mention the ten plagues. He does mention the burning bush passage but only in Mark 12:26 and Luke 20:37. The Matthew account does hint to it but doesn’t say it the same as the other two. Moses law is mentioned also. Luke 2:22, 24:44, John 1:17, 1:45.
How would Jesus have dealt with this?
Jesus would have warned the Israelites to flee Egypt. He wouldn’t want anyone to suffer or die. Even His enemies. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He wouldn’t want them to suffer. Matt 5:43. He would have told Moses not to send the plagues, like He did with the sons of thunder, when they wanted to call down the fire from heaven. He wouldn’t have been waiting to kill Moses after asking him to go to pharaoh. He also wouldn’t have withered Moses hand to convince people who He was. He would have healed not hurt.
What do I Believe?
I believe it wasn’t God in the bush. WHAT? I hear you cry. Why would God use a snake and wither Moses hand. It scared Moses. I don’t think God is into scaring people. Also you have the plunder and the blood. Doesn’t sound like God to me.
It was brought to my attention that Jesus calls himself I AM. Jn 8:58 which I believe is in reference to Exodus 3:14. This caused me a lot of problems because Jesus acknowledges that He was there and that I AM is Gods name. That means that it must have been God talking in the burning bush. After much prayer I think I have come up with a possible solution. In chapter 3 God tells Moses that He has heard the cry of His people and He wants to do something about it. He says He will deliver them in verse 8. The sign that God says first is that the people will serve God on this mountain.
Ex 3:12 And he said, Truly I will be with you; and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you have taken the children of Israel out of Egypt, you will give worship to God on this mountain.(BBE)
So far there is no God of wrath. It’s only towards the end of this chapter that God says He will smite Egypt with His wonders. That shows that its God that sends the Plagues. But why would He say that the sign to Moses would be the people serving Him on the mountain after they are free. Could it be that God stopped talking and satan took over. We are told by Jesus that false Christ’s will deceive the elect. Matt 24:24, Mk13:22. Paul tells us that satan goes around like an angel of light. 2 Corth 11:14. Could it be that it was satan that continued where God left off. satan could have been waiting in the wings for God to finish so he could have his way. Like I have said before satan gave David instruction as if from God. From the smiting onwards I believe that it was satan talking to Moses. That would explain the fear of the snake, the withered hand and the plagues.
He has been trying to wipe out mankind since Adam. Why would he not try and do it now. Why else would the rod turn into a snake and the withered hand? God does not inflict sickness on people. Especially not to convince them to do His will. What about Job I here you cry. That is a study for another time. But I will say that I don’t think it was God then either. I don’t think it was God who wanted to kill Moses before he even started. Why the circumcised flesh stopped the angel I don’t know. May be it was all to reinforce the law.
I believe that satan influenced Moses to inflict the plagues so that he could destroy the Egyptians and the Israelites at the same time. It might have been satan who caused the plagues but it also could have been Moses. There are other accounts of people commanding the elements. Joshua stopping the sun. Joshua 10:12. Joshua told the sun to stop, God didn’t tell him to do it. Elijah and the rain. 1 kings 17:1. Elijah told the rain to stop not God. God didn’t command Elijah to do it. In the New Testament Paul makes a man blind. Acts 13:11. The sons of thunder wanted to call down fire from heaven but Jesus stopped them. Luke 9:54. Could it be that Moses had the power to command these things? God did say in Genesis that we where to subdue the earth and have dominion over the animals. Could it be that Moses used that power to do these plagues? The only exception would be the tenth plague.
I believe that the tenth plague was satan trying to kill all the first born. May be to in-rage pharaoh to kill the Israelites. It did make him go after the Israelites and chase them to the sea. As far as the blood on the posts. I don’t believe that God wanted that. God could have stopped the angel with out the need for sacrifice. As we know in my other blog’s I have said that God doesn’t like sacrifice and offerings.
I believe that God was trying to warn Moses about the plagues and the destruction of Egypt. May be satan spared the Hebrews from some of the plagues to in-rage pharaoh even more. I think that it was all a plan from satan to try and kill the Israelites because they were Gods chosen people at the time. God got the Hebrews out in the end but I don’t think He wanted it to go the way it did. God had blessed Egypt when Joseph was there, why would he want to send the plagues? Some might say as revenge for the Hebrew children that where killed by the other pharaoh. But God isn’t like that. We see that in Jesus on the cross.
There is so much more that we could look at in this story but I would like to bring it to a close here. God would not have sent the plagues or withered Moses hand. I don’t think He would have used a snake to show His power. God is love. Perfect love. Perfect love casts out all fear. 1 Jn 4:18 any thing that is evil in action or destroys and lies is from satan not from God. James tells us an interesting thing:
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tested, I am tested by God; for it is not possible for God to be tested by evil, and he himself puts no man to such a test:14 But every man is tested when he is turned out of the right way by the attraction of his desire. 15 Then when its time comes, desire gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is of full growth, gives birth to death.16 Do not be turned from the right way, dear brothers.(BBE)
God does not test. He doesn’t use evil to test. God didn’t send the plagues nor did He harden Pharaohs heart. God is love. He doesn’t send suffering to train us in His ways.
The running theme of this story is fear, intimidation, suffering and violence. All caused by God? Is that the God you worship?
In my next blog I will give my concluding thoughts.