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Biastai
Oct 16th 2008, 07:46 PM
The 10 plagues in Egypt described in Exodus 7 -11 is outlined in an interesting way in Tyndale's New Bible Dictionary. Certainly sounds like the work of one ruling force. This is taken straight from the above mentioned publication with the exception of the 9th and 10th plague. I'm not attempting to use scientific explanations to disprove the involvement of God. If anything, I think it shows otherwise because of the "pre-designed" nature of the course of some of the plagues. I was reminded of this information while participating in a thread discussing whether or not and how God intervenes in the world. This struck me as very interesting, so I wanted to share it with everyone here.

#1 The Nile floods every year, and due to an unusually high flood one year the river soaks up red earth that is higher on the bank. The plague of blood results (the writer records what is seen). The problematic point in this explanation would be the blood found in the water vessels (unless it was water drawn from the Nile of course).

#2 The sudden introduction of protist organisms found in the red earth disturbs the river's ecosystem and the fish die. This next disturbance of the ecosystem causes a mass migration of frogs onto land (2nd plague).

#3,4 That ecosystem cannot support this many frogs at once, and they die. Flies and gnats (some translations, maggots or lice[?]) move in to decompose the frogs (3rd, 4th plague).

#5,6 This situation is ripe for pestilence which in turn kills livestock (5th plague), and people get boils from a communicable skin disease (6th plague).

#7 This chain of cause and effect seems to end here with the 7th plague being a hailstorm.

#8 The 8th plague brings a locust swarm which would certainly not be unusual there in Egypt.

#9 When I initially read about the 9th plague "darkness that could be felt," I first thought sandstorm. Michael Grant, in his Ancient Meditteranean, writes of a volcanic eruption in the Cretan colony of Thera dated c. 1450 B.C. which in intensity dwarfed the Krakatoa eruption of 1883 (this event killed 36 thousand in Indonesia). He adds that this event most definitely could have caused dark sooty air in Egypt.

#10 Egyptian firstborn die. Certainly the extraordinary event to provide the foundation of an independent people.

SIG
Oct 16th 2008, 07:53 PM
My experience has been that Scripture often provides some fact about its miracles that blows away attempts at scientific explanations. (eg: Low tide caused the parting of the Red (Reed) Sea? Scripture describes a wall of water on either side...)

I've also read that the plagues were an undermining of specific Egyptian gods.

teddyv
Oct 16th 2008, 08:11 PM
I've also read that the plagues were an undermining of specific Egyptian gods.

This past year one of our preachers did a series on Exodus and he basically made the same point - God was specifically targeting each of the Egyptian "gods" to make the point there is only one true God.

Biastai
Oct 16th 2008, 08:24 PM
My experience has been that Scripture often provides some fact about its miracles that blows away attempts at scientific explanations. (eg: Low tide caused the parting of the Red (Reed) Sea? Scripture describes a wall of water on either side...)

I've also read that the plagues were an undermining of specific Egyptian gods.

What's the source and did the author explain each plague? If yes, I would want to check that out.

I knew the Egyptians worshipped snakes and cats and calves, but I didn't know they had gods in connection with such things as flies, gnats, and hail(?).

SIG
Oct 16th 2008, 09:01 PM
"What's the source and did the author explain each plague? If yes, I would want to check that out."

I was afraid you'd ask that :lol:

SIG
Oct 16th 2008, 09:04 PM
A quick Google yielded this; there is more...

http://hubpages.com/hub/Ten-Plagues-For-Ten-Gods

Levin
Oct 17th 2008, 08:10 AM
As much as I would affirm the historical and scientific authority of the text, these are not the things that the text is concerned with.

The author of Exodus is clearly not concerned with scientific fact: he is concerned with the glorification and exaltation of I AM as the supreme deity over the land of Egypt. Before these incidents, Pharaoh had thought that he himself was sovereign over his land and his people. I AM makes it clear who is in control so that His people can remember the destruction He wrought. The plagues of Egypt are repeatedly referred to throughout the OT as symbolic of the greatness of I AM and for the necessity to remain in His covenant (Joshua 24:17, Judges 6:8 10:11, Nehemiah 9:9, Psalms 78, 81;10, 135, Isaiah 10:26, Jeremiah 11:4, Ezekiel 20:6). Because of this these events were necessarily grand in scope and memorable, so much so that the children of the Israelites were supposed to take great interest and ask about them.

Another reason for the scope of destruction in the text, which may be some kind of figure of speech, is to show that I AM has selected the people of Israel to be set apart from the Egyptians. For almost all of the plagues Israel is set apart from the rest of the nation, which shows not only the power and presence of I AM in the plagues but also demonstrates the specialty of I AM's covenant people.

In conclusion, I would affirm the historical accuracy of the text, but that is not the main issue here. The issues are who is sovereign over Egypt and why Israel should follow I AM. Through great miraculous events I AM shows Himself worthy of being followed and the only sovereign over any land, no matter how powerful their king.

With Regards,
Levin

Chimon
Oct 17th 2008, 10:46 AM
The author of Exodus is clearly not concerned with scientific fact

Would you say the same thing about Genesis 1-3? If so, that casts a huge shadow on the Creationism/Evolution debate, does it not?

chad
Oct 19th 2008, 08:03 PM
I have a few questions regarding the 10 plagues as described in Exodus, which I havn't been able to find good answers to.

What I find interesting of the 10 Plagues is that the Egyptian Sorceress and Magicians were able to do the same things by thier secret arts.

Staff becoming a snake (Ex 7:8-10), Water turned to Blood (Ex 7:20), Frogs (Ex 8:7)

My question is: If the Egyptians use magic and thier secret arts and could do the same, where does thier power come from. Of course the obvious answer would the Egyptian Gods that they worshipped, but I guess what i'm really asking is what is the power behind the gods?

Is it the occult and demonic power?

Do the Egyptian Gods represent demons and the egyptians worhipping them is equivelant to demon worship?

What is the biblical definition of a demon? Are they fallen angels and are they the same as Evil spirits?



I would be interested in any opinions or views that others may have.


Thanks


Chad :hmm:

petepet
Oct 19th 2008, 10:09 PM
I have a few questions regarding the 10 plagues as described in Exodus, which I havn't been able to find good answers to.

What I find interesting of the 10 Plagues is that the Egyptian Sorceress and Magicians were able to do the same things by thier secret arts.

Staff becoming a snake (Ex 7:8-10), Water turned to Blood (Ex 7:20), Frogs (Ex 8:7)

My question is: If the Egyptians use magic and thier secret arts and could do the same, where does thier power come from. Of course the obvious answer would the Egyptian Gods that they worshipped, but I guess what i'm really asking is what is the power behind the gods?

Is it the occult and demonic power?

Do the Egyptian Gods represent demons and the egyptians worhipping them is equivelant to demon worship?

What is the biblical definition of a demon? Are they fallen angels and are they the same as Evil spirits?



I would be interested in any opinions or views that others may have.


Thanks


Chad :hmm:

You will notice that the Egyptian sorcerers only copied the 'simple' miracles.

They clearly did not turn the Nile red for that had already been done. All they did was produce water and then turn it red. Any good conjuror could do that without being spotted.

The Egyptians also had the art of paralysing snakes so that they looked like a rod, and then causing them to become unparalysed.

In both cases these were simple conjuring tricks.

But when it came down to tiny insects they were beaten.

petepet
Oct 19th 2008, 10:20 PM
Would you say the same thing about Genesis 1-3? If so, that casts a huge shadow on the Creationism/Evolution debate, does it not?


The Bible is not interested in the science behind what it describes. Its aim is to present the power and splendour of God.

That the first seven plagues followed a pattern often experienced in Egypt in a mild form is scientifically possible. What was amazing in this case was the way in which it was enhanced.

But the writer was concerned to bring out God's hand in it all.

The same thing is true about the relation of the plagues to the gods of Egypt. All the plagues were related in one way or another to the gods of Egypt, but it will be noted that no attention was drawn to the fact until Exodus 12.12. Moses did not want to introduce such ideas, which would have put the wrong emphasis on the story.

In Genesis 1 the whole emphasis was on God's operation. The secondary activity was almost ignored. The writer was not interested in 'how' but 'Who'. He was not interested in the science of it. He leaves us to recognise that some adaptation took place. For there were only three creative acts (using bara - to create). The initial creation, the creation of life, and the creation of man. The remainder is seen as 'just happening' because God spoke.

petepet
Oct 19th 2008, 10:33 PM
What's the source and did the author explain each plague? If yes, I would want to check that out.

I knew the Egyptians worshipped snakes and cats and calves, but I didn't know they had gods in connection with such things as flies, gnats, and hail(?).

One source of such theories is found in articles by G Hort in Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (sorry, but you did ask :-))) ).

There is probably some truth in what she points out, but as so often taken too far.

The following is a critique of her work (from Answers in Genesis site).
First published:
Creation 27(1):34–38
December 2004
by Russell Grigg (http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/r_grigg.asp)
Were the ten plagues of Egypt, as recorded in Exodus chapters 7–11, all overt miraculous acts of God? Yes, according to Moses. No, according to the natural-cause-and-effect theory of Greta Hort, first published in 1957–58,1 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r1) and today widely cited in Bible reference books and encyclopedias.2 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r2) However, Hort’s ideas have never been subjected to independent scientific scrutiny, until that of Brad Sparks in 2003.3 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r3)
Hort’s ‘chain reaction’

According to Hort, the first plague, of blood, was supposedly4 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r4) a massive amount of red algae, plus a huge quantity of red earth washed into the Nile by excessive rains on the Abyssinian plateau. These algae allegedly de-oxygenated the water, thus killing the fish, which somehow gave rise to anthrax bacteria. The frogs then sickened, left the river (the second plague) and died. Hort’s third plague was mosquitoes, which had bred in the floodwaters, and her fourth was the biting fly Stomoxys calcitrans, breeding in the decaying plants left by the retreating Nile flood. The livestock disease of her fifth plague was anthrax spread by the dead frogs. The sixth plague, of boils on animals and people, was supposedly skin anthrax transmitted by the biting flies.
According to Hort, the seventh plague, of hail and thunder, was a coincidental local weather feature, which also promoted the locusts of the eighth plague.5 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r5) The ninth plague, of darkness, was allegedly caused by a desert sandstorm known as a khamsin, which blotted out the sun by throwing into the air the blanket of fine red dust from the first plague, left on the ground when the widespread Nile floodwaters receded. And Hort’s tenth plague was not the death of the firstborn, but the destruction of the last remains of the ‘first-fruits’ of the harvest, ‘due to a corruption of the Bible text’ (Hort 1958:52–54).3 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r3)
Fatal flaws in Hort’s theory

1. Her algae
The crucial element of Hort’s theory is her two red algae, Haematococcus pluvialis and Euglena sanguinea, which she claims enhanced the colour of the muddy Nile water to make it ‘blood-red’.6 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r6) However, these two algae are not normally red—in turbid, flowing water they are green, so the Egyptians could not possibly have mistaken them in the Nile for a plague of blood!
In over 100 years of research, scientists have not found either species of algae in the 400 species of algae found in the Nile, nor even in the 1,000 species known to occur in East Africa.3 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r3) They are actually ‘rare and fragile ice water species that belong in sub-arctic cold climates’ and ‘are used as “industrial indicators” of snow and ice water temperatures’.3 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r3) Neither causes a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)7 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r7) anywhere in the world, nor pollutes water, nor makes water undrinkable.3
Far from being toxic or a source of anthrax, these algae are used worldwide today as human and animal food supplements! H. pluvialis has strong antioxidant properties, is considered to be anticarcinogenic, and even promotes athletic performance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved H. pluvialis for human consumption on 13 April 1995, after years of study!3 Euglena algae are used widely as a fish food!3 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r3)
2. The fish
The fish could not possibly have died from the presence of Hort’s two benign algae. Nor could they have died from anoxia (lack of oxygen), caused by any algae, because anoxia can only occur after an algal bloom, which cannot occur in muddy water. The fish died because they could not live in the blood.
3. Her red mud
Nile mud is brown, not red. If Hort’s blanket of mud was so thick that it formed the ninth plague of darkness when blown into the air as dust, it would also have caused complete underwater darkness when it was concentrated in the waters of the Nile, thereby killing her algae outright. This is because algae are plants, so they need sunlight for photosynthesis. However, suspended mud prevents this. Likewise, suspended mud causes flocculation, i.e. mud particles stick to any algae, which then sink. For these reasons ‘the silt-laden Nile at its flood time high is completely clear of all algae of every species’.3 As Sparks says: ‘Because Hort’s theory requires both the algae and the silt that kills the algae, her theory is logically and scientifically self-destructing [emphasis in the original].’3 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r3)
If the water had been merely red-coloured, the Egyptians needed only to have let it stand in a vessel until the mud settled, or they could have strained it. Exodus 7:19–20 says that the Nile turned to blood when Aaron struck the water with his staff. There was no time delay, no gradual accumulation of red matter, and blood appeared in streams, ponds, pools, and vessels of wood and stone (Exodus 7:19), not just in the Nile.
4. Her anthrax
Anthrax occurs in soil, not in the Nile. It does not infect aquatic animals, e.g. fish (whether dead or alive) or frogs. In fact, some of the frogs returned to, and remained in, the Nile when God lifted the plague (Exodus 8:11). Anthrax infects mammals, e.g. land animals which graze on grass contaminated by anthrax spores in the soil.8 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r8)
5. Her biting flies
Biting flies do not spread anthrax to animals or humans, nor do they feed on dead animals. In the medical-veterinary history of anthrax there are ‘no known cases of anthrax-infected fly bites of humans, cattle or sheep anywhere in the world’.3
6. The Nile in flood
Hort depends on floodwaters to breed her mosquitoes and biting flies, as well as to provide the widespread coating of red mud/dust on the land that she claims was blown aloft to cause the plague of darkness. However, Exodus makes no mention of floodwaters during the plagues. On the contrary, Moses meets Pharaoh on the banks of the Nile (Exodus 7:15), and the Egyptians dig along the Nile to search for drinking water (Exodus 7:24). These are not descriptions of a flooded river.
7. Her desert storm of red dust
Hort depends on flooding for her plagues of frogs, flies and locusts, with more water added from the hailstorm. She does not explain how the khamsin dried out this massive saturation of the alleged red mud coating so that it could have turned into dust and been blown aloft in just a few hours. The Egyptians would have been used to desert storms. Pharaoh would hardly have been influenced by one, even if it lasted three days.
8. Hort’s ‘first fruits’ instead of ‘firstborn’
It is manifestly disingen­uous of Hort to claim a mistranslation of one Hebrew word in the Bible account to substantiate her naturalistic theory, and then for her to disregard the two-and-a-half chapters of the same source document (Exodus 11:1–13:16) that describe in great detail the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians and the saving of the firstborn of the Israelites.
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/images/v27/i1/p37_boats.jpgDid God use natural processes?




God acts regularly through His creation by means of natural law; miracles are the way He acts on special occasions. In Exodus the miraculous is seen in:
God’s foretelling of all the events to Moses so that he could announce them to Pharaoh.9 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r9)
The beginning of all the events (and the cessation of some) at the exact times stipulated by Moses as the agent of Yahweh,10 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r10) and because of the actions or prayers of Moses and Aaron.
The localizing of the events so that Goshen (where the Israelites lived) was excluded.11 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r11)
The events themselves.
God is not precluded from using natural phenomena or secondary agents to accomplish His special purposes. In fact, Exodus 10:13 says that God brought the locusts of the eighth plague by ‘an east wind that blew across the land all that day and all that night’. And then Exodus 10:19 says that, to end this plague, God ‘changed the wind to a strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea’. However, this is the only plague which Moses detailed in this way.
Hort (and others) who attempt to belittle the plagues as being no more than a ‘logical and connected sequence’ of natural phenomena12 (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v27/i1/plagues.asp#r12) must explain why ‘Mother Nature’ has never repeated anything remotely like this sequence of events. All naturalistic explanations of the plagues lose sight of God’s role as Judge. Hort might also ponder why, for the last 3,500 years, the Jews, in their annual Passover feast, have celebrated the deliverance of their firstborn as the trigger for their exit from Egypt.
References and notes


Hort, G., The Plagues of Egypt, 2 parts, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 69:84–103, 1957; 70:48–59, 1958. Hort was ‘a scholar of medieval English literature and religion’ (ref. 3).
E.g. The New Bible Commentary Revised, Inter-Varsity Press, London, Exodus 7:14–11:10, p. 126, 1970; and The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Part 3, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, Plagues of Egypt, pp. 1234–1237, 1980. Also The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Plagues of Egypt, Vol. 3, pp. 878–880, 1986. Sparks, B., Red algae theories of the ten plagues: contradicted by science, 2 parts, Bible and Spade 16(3):66–77, 2003 and 17(1):17–27, 2004, on which this article is based.
Hort wrote that we can only ‘suppose that the waters of the Blue Nile … had brought [the two species of “red” algae] into the Nile from Lake Tana (Hort 1957:94, emphasis added)’. Quoted from ref. 3. Hort changed the east wind that brought the locusts into a south wind, because they are supposed to come from the Sudan or south-western Arabia. She also changed the west wind that blew the locusts into the Red Sea into a north, or sea, wind (ref. 3).Others, unacknowledged by Hort, have suggested red algae, red silt and anthrax. ‘Hort’s unique contribution has been to name two particular species of algae that are non-existent in Egypt and the Nile’ (ref. 3). They are not listed in more than 170 species of algae known to cause HABs, listed by UNESCO and other sources (ref. 3). Wild carnivores may (rarely) contract anthrax by eating infected carcasses; humans may contract it from eating infected meat, or, if they have cuts or abrasions in their skin, from handling infected hides or wool. Moses announced or initiated plagues 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 before Pharaoh, but not, it seems, 3 and 9.
‘YHWH’ or Jehovah, the sacred name of the one true God (Exodus 3:14).
Exodus says that plagues 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 did not occur in Goshen, and no. 6 (boils) occurred ‘on all the Egyptians’. Goshen is not mentioned in respect of 1, 2, 3 and 8.
Marr and Malloy (1996) postulated that a different set of organisms caused the plagues, that the 9th plague was blindness not darkness, and that the 10th plague was caused by a poisonous mould (from the droppings of the locusts) growing on the top portions of the grain supplies, with the firstborn receiving extra helpings. These and other naturalistic theories are counted in ref. 3.

petepet
Oct 19th 2008, 10:45 PM
Also of possible interest (I have not looked into it yet, but intend to).

Archaeological evidence from Egypt for the plagues
The Leiden Museum in Holland houses a papyrus written by an ancient Egyptian named Ipuwer.1 It ‘appears to be an eye-witness account of the effects of the Exodus plagues from the perspective of an average Egyptian’.2 Excerpts are: ‘Plague stalks through the land and blood is everywhere … the river is blood. Does a man drink from it? As a human he rejects it. He thirsts for water … . Nay, but gates, columns and walls are consumed with fire … . Nay but men are few. He that lays his brother in the ground is everywhere … . Nay but the son of the high-born man is no longer to be recognized … . The stranger people from outside are come into Egypt … . Nay, but corn has perished everywhere. People are stripped of clothing, perfume and oil. Everyone says “there is no more”. The storehouse is bare … . It has come to this. The king has been taken away by poor men.’3
References


Catalogued as ‘Leiden 344’, it was discovered in 1828, and translated in 1909 by Prof. Alan H. Gardner under the title The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a Hieratic Papyrus. See <www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm>, 24 May 2004.
Becher, M., The Ten Plagues—Live from Egypt, <ohr.edu/yhiy/article.php/838>, 21 April 2004.
Down, D., Searching for Moses, TJ 15(1):53–57, 2001, who quotes from Erman, A., The Ancient Egyptians: A Sourcebook of Their Writings, Harper and Row, New York, pp. 94–101, 1966.

petepet
Oct 19th 2008, 10:56 PM
In respect of the gods of Egypt: (from Answers in Genesis site).

Yahweh 10 Egyptian deities 0
According to Exodus, God sent the ten plagues on Egypt for the following reasons:

To deliver the Israelites (Exodus 3:8; 19–20; 6:1, 5).
To answer Pharaoh’s question: ‘Who is the Lord1 that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?’ (Exodus 5:2; 7:5; 8:22; 9:14).
So that the Israelites would know the power of Yahweh (Exodus 6:7; 10:2).
To show that the earth belongs to Yahweh, not to the Egyptian gods (Ex. 9:16, 29; 11:7; cf. Psalm 24:1).
To execute judgment on ‘all the gods of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:12, cf. Numbers 33:4).
Following, we list ways in which the plagues could have spoken against the various gods of Egypt.
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/images/v27/i1/p36_broken_hathor.jpg
Hathor was originally worshipped in the form of a cow. Later she is portrayed as a woman with a cow’s head, and finally with a broad-faced, serene human head. She is also represented with the head-dress of a pair of horns with the moon-disk between them. She was presented in many different guises and associated with many local ‘gods’ in ancient Egypt.

The 1st plague was directed against the Nile itself, which the Egyptians worshipped as their source of life. This plague confronted the numerous river deities, including Khnum (guardian of the Nile), Hapi (spirit of the Nile and god of fertility) and Osiris (god of the underworld, whose blood the Nile was considered to be). By turning the Nile into blood and killing the fish (supposedly protected by Hathor and Neith), Moses was not only shaming all these Egyptian objects of worship, but also showing that sustenance comes only from the hand of Yahweh.
The 2nd plague, of an immense number of frogs, attacked the Egyptian goddess Heqet, symbol of good crops (derived from the Nile waters) and childbirth, usually depicted as a woman with a frog’s head; as well as Isis, another fertility goddess. Frogs were sacred to the Egyptians. However, these goddesses were powerless to prevent these symbols of life from becoming rotting piles of death.
Interestingly, the Egyptian magicians mimicked the plagues of blood and frogs with their enchantments (Exodus 7:22; 8:7). These could have been simulations, but more likely were demonic miracles, as miracles are evidence of supernatural power, not just of God’s power.2,3 God allowed the magicians to add to these two plagues, but not to reverse them!
The 3rd plague, of lice (or gnats or mosquitoes) from the dust of the earth, confronted all the gods of the earth (e.g. Akhor). This and the 4th plague, of flies, confronted another favourite, Khepri, the scarab (dung beetle) god. A plague of flies shows failure of the dung beetle god to do its job of burying the dung, which stops flies from breeding in the dung. This god was also associated with rolling the sun across the sky, like dung beetles rolling balls of dung.
The 5th plague, on the livestock (which provided food, milk, clothing and transportation), was a direct attack on Apis, the sacred bull god, and Mnevis, a bull-god symbol of fertility, as well as Hathor, the cow-like mother goddess, and Isis, the queen of the gods, who wore a cow’s horns on her head. They were all shown to be imposters.
The 6th plague, of boils, showed the impotence of any of the gods of magic and healing, such as Hike and Thoth (Imhotep), to protect even the magicians from the boils, and thus from the power of Yahweh.
The 7th plague, of hail, and the 8th one, of locusts (brought by the wind), that destroyed the crops, attacked the various sky deities (e.g. Shu, Tefnut and Nut, deities of air, moisture and sky), who supposedly controlled the weather. The loss of crops showed the impotence of the gods of vegetation, agriculture and harvest (e.g. Geb and Seth).
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/images/v27/i1/p37_pyramid.jpgThe 9th plague, of darkness, was an attack on the supreme deity of Egypt, the sun-god Ra or Amon-Ra (also spelt Re), who was believed to bring light and heat to the earth. Other sky gods also impotent were Horus, Seker, Khepri, Mut and Nut.
Finally, the 10th plague, of death of the firstborn, was an attack on the divinity of Pharaoh, whom the Egyptians believed was an incarnation of the sun-god and of Osiris, the giver of life. It was the Pharaoh’s task to retain the favour of the gods and to uphold the laws of Ma‘at, goddess of order. However, he was powerless to prevent the death of his own son, the next-in-line ‘divine ruler’, or that of anyone else’s son in the land of Egypt.4 Thus, Yahweh alone had absolute control of life and death.

petepet
Oct 20th 2008, 12:42 AM
I have dug out a more sober explanation of the sequence of events for the first six plagues.


The Plagues In The Light Of Natural Phenomena.
We will now try to see the plagues in the light of natural phenomena, recognising that God used natural phenomena, enhancing it where necessary, to accomplish His purpose. While the land waited totally unaware of the forces that were gathering He knew exactly what was coming and what He would do with it and directed Moses accordingly.
The first nine plagues form a logical and connected sequence if we work on the basis that in that year there was an abnormally high inundation of the Nile occurring in July and August. In Egypt too high an inundation of the Nile could be as bad as too low an inundation, and this was clearly beyond anything known. This would be caused by abnormal weather conditions in lands to the south of Egypt of a kind rarely experienced which may well have also caused the effects not produced directly by the inundation.
The higher the Nile-flood was, the more earth it carried within it, especially of the red earth from the basins of the Blue Nile and Atbara. And the more earth it carried the redder it became. The flood would further bring down with it flood microcosms known as flagellates and associated bacteria. These would heighten the blood-red colour of the water and create conditions in which the fish would die in large numbers (7.21). Their decomposition would then foul the water further and cause a stench (7.21). The water would be undrinkable and the only hope of obtaining fresh water would be to dig for it (7.24). The whole of Egypt would of course be affected. This is the background to the first plague.
The result of these conditions would be that the decomposing fish would be washed along the banks and backwaters of the Nile polluting the haunts of the frogs, who would thus swarm out in huge numbers seeking refuge elsewhere (8.3). Their sudden death would suggest internal anthrax which would explain their rapid putrefaction (8.13-14). This is the background to the second plague.
The high level of the Nile-flood would provide especially favourable conditions for mosquitoes, which may partly explain either the ‘ken’ (ticks/lice/fleas) (8.16) or the ‘arob (swarms) (8.21), while the rotting carcasses of the fish and frogs would encourage other forms of insect life to develop, as would excessive deposits of the red earth which may have brought insect eggs with them. Insects would proliferate throughout the land (8.16). These might include lice and also the tick, an eight-legged arthropod and blood-sucking parasite and carrier of disease, as well as fleas. This is the background to the third plague.
As well as mosquitoes from the Nile flood, flies would also develop among the rotting fish, the dead frogs and the decaying vegetation, including the carrier-fly, the stomoxys calcitrans (which might well be responsible for the later boils), and become carriers of disease from these sources. The ‘swarms’ may well have included both (8.21). This is the background to the fourth plague.
The dying frogs might well have passed on anthrax, and the proliferating insects would pass on other diseases, to the cattle and flocks who were out in the open (9.3) and therefore more vulnerable. This is the background to the fifth plague.
The dead cattle would add to the sources of disease carried by these insects, and the insect bites, combined with the bites of the other insects, may well have caused the boils (9.9). This would occur around December/January. It may well be the background to the sixth plague.
Thus the first six plagues in a sense follow naturally from one another given the right conditions, but it is their timing, extremeness and Moses’ knowledge of them that prove the hand of God at work.
The excessively heavy hail (9.22), with thunder, lightning and rain, may well have resulted from the previously mentioned extreme weather conditions, but it went beyond anything known and was exceptional, resulting in death and destruction, and the ruination of the barley and flax, but not the wheat and spelt which was not yet grown (8.31-32). (This indicates a good knowledge of Egyptian agriculture). This would probably be in early February.
The excessively heavy rains in Ethiopia and the Sudan which led to the extraordinarily high Nile would cause the conditions favourable to an unusually large plague of locusts (10.4; 10.13), which would eventually be blown down into Northern Egypt and then along the Nile valley by the east wind (10.13).
The thick darkness (10.21) that could be felt was probably an unusually heavy khamsin dust storm resulting from the large amounts of red earth which the Nile had deposited which would have dried out as a fine dust, together with the usual sand of the desert. The khamsin wind would stir all this up making the air unusually thick and dark, blotting out the light of the sun. Three days is the known length of a khamsin (10.23). This, coming on top of all that had come before, and seeming to affect the sun god himself, would have a devastating effect. These unusual and freak events demonstrate an extremely good knowledge of Egyptian weather conditions with their particular accompanying problems, which could only have been written in the right order by someone with a good knowledge of the peculiar conditions in Egypt which could produce such catastrophes, confirming the Egyptian provenance of the record and the unity of the account.


Extracted from the commentary on Exodus at http://www/geocities.com/genesiscommentary/