Perhaps Today Facts-n-Findings

The 10 plagues in Exodus aimed at the Egyptian gods

By Cheryl Ciambotti

Though you may already be familiar with the story of Moses (Exodus, chapters 7-12), you may not know that each of the 10 plagues was a direct hit, aimed at one of the gods to which the Egyptians prayed. The story begins not with "let my people go so they can leave the land," but rather, let them go “so they can worship me in the desert for 3 days,” says the LORD. It wasn't an intention to escape - it was a matter of worship. We have to remember that, lest we miss the point. God was directly speaking to the Egyptians about their gods through Moses, and He was reacquainting the Israelites with Himself. Look at the following:

1 Plague of water to blood: The god Osiris was thought to have the Nile as his blood stream and was the force of hydroponic fertility which causes plants to grow. NOTICE: This plague brings death, NOT life. Though Osiris was the god of life through water, he was proven impotent and unable to reverse the effect of this plague.

2 Plague of frogs: The god Heket had the body of a woman and the head of a frog. She was responsible for childbirth. The Egyptians prayed to her because she was considered the divine midwife to humanity. NOTICE: Heket is humbled before God with this plague as He brought death against her supposed life-bringing qualities.

3 Plague of gnats: The god Geb was the god of the earth which Moses’ staff strikes and from which the gnats come forth. This god was credited with health and sustaining plentiful crops. NOTICE: He was proven impotent with his inability to stop the bugs from tormenting the livestock, the people, and the crops.

4 Plague of flies: This plague comes with a warning and is felt only by the Egyptians. The god Ra was worshipped as the god of the sun and the symbol of life. The sun is needed to birth the small eggs deposited in the dung along the roadside that hatch the “flies” which some scholars believe were the blotta orentalis beetles (scarab beetles) which are sacred to Egyptians, resemble the spelling of the Hebrew word for the same Egyptian word used for "flies," and hatch the same way. These beetles or flies eat clothing, furniture, plants, and people. NOTICE: Ra is made impotent before God when the land was ruined by flies and Ra had no power over life or death. Equally, the sacred Scarab beetle has nothing to do with life eternal and resurrection, which was the common belief.

5 Plague of livestock: This plague is only felt by the Egyptians. The god Apis was represented as a bull and spoke of strength and power. Livestock were VERY valuable for food, labor, and transportation; but, the Egyptian livestock in the field were all gone in one day. NOTICE: The god Apis was made impotent when God could easily destroy even the bull - the strongest of the Egyptian gods.

6 Plague of boils: This plague is only felt by the Egyptians. The goddess Sekhmet was believed to have the power to create epidemics and to end them. NOTICE: Sekhmet was made impotent as the plague raged on and she could do nothing to end it, not even for her own group of priests. Also, NOTICE: Egyptian priests could have no disease; otherwise they could not serve in the temple. God deprives ALL of the Egyptian gods of their priests. Big win for God!!

7 Plague of hail: This plague is only felt by the Egyptians. Nut was the goddess of the sky and brought blessings to crops. She sheltered the Earth like a table over the crops. NOTICE: The last of the economy is devastated, she is made impotent in the face of God, and the Egyptian prayers are not heard as slaves, livestock, and crops are destroyed.

8 Plague of locusts: This plague is for Egyptians and comes with a warning. This was more devastating than any of the preceding plagues - taking every last living green thing from the Egyptians. Locusts can strip a country bare and starve a country for decades, eating their own body weight daily. Consider that 1 square mile of a locust swarm contains between 100 and 200 million locusts. NOTICE: The whole pantheon of the Egyptian gods was being targeted. No one can stop this catastrophe until God, through Moses, is summoned by Pharaoh to end it.

9 Plague of darkness: This plague is only felt by the Egyptians. It lasted 3 days and the darkness was so thick you could feel it. There was darkness for the Egyptians, but light for the Israelites. The god Ra is the god of the sun and the greatest god in the pantheon.  Ra was seen as a great blessing while regulating the seasons, the days, warmth, and bringing life-giving light. NOTICE: Ra is made impotent when he cannot bring back the sun.

10 Plague of firstborn: This plague was felt only by the Egyptians because the Israelites were instructed to put blood on the doorposts and the lintel so that the angel of death would pass them by. This plague was directed at all of the gods because Egyptians were instructed to dedicate their first-born to the gods. NOTICE: It particularly effected Isis, goddess of fertility; Meskhenet, goddess over the birth of children; Hathor, one of 7 deities who attended the birth of children; Min, god of procreation; Selket, guardian of life; Renenutet, cobra goddess and guardian of Pharaoh; and, to Pharaoh himself since he was seen as the representative of the god Ra but was unable to protect even his own son.

You can see clearly now that God was trying to accomplish 3 very important things. One, to reacquaint the Israelites with the God of their fathers; two, introduce the Egyptians to the One True God; and three, to bring judgment on the Egyptian gods.