There are several instances of plagues mentioned in the Bible, but this series will focus primarily on the Ten Plagues in the book of Exodus chapters 5-13.
Do you know what a plague is? One English dictionary describes a plague as:
1. An epidemic disease that causes high mortality; pestilence
2. Any widespread affliction, calamity, or evil, especially one regarded as a direct punishment by God.
3. To smite with a plague, pestilence, death, etc.; scourge.
Back in Moses' day, God's people were enslaved by the Egyptians who mistreated them terribly. The Egyptians were a nation of idol and deity worshippers. Even Pharaoh was considered a "god". Several times the only True God, Jehovah, sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh commanding him to free the Israelites, but he [Pharaoh] wouldn't listen to Moses, refusing to let the people go. Pharaoh was full of himself, even showing contempt for God at Exodus 5:2** saying: "Who is Jehovah that I should obey his voice to send Israel away? I do not know Jehovah at all, and what is more, I will not send Israel away." Imagine speaking about God, Sovereign of the Universe like that! So to prove his power over the haughty ruler, Jehovah God set in motion a series of devastating plagues on Egypt. Let's consider what happened next.
Plague #1 (Exodus 7:19-21) - turning the Nile river into blood.
Not only was the Nile river turned into blood, but all the waters of Egypt, its rivers, canals, marshes and reservoirs became blood. There was no water anywhere in the land of Egypt safe for people to drink, not even in the wooden and stone containers they usually used to store water since everything had all been turned into blood. Because of the bloody waters, all the fish died. Think of how smelly it would have been with dead and decaying fish everywhere! [yuk!]
This first plague brought disgrace to the Nile-god Hapi. The Egyptians also venerated and mummified certain kinds of fish so having them killed off was certainly a blow to Egypt's idolatrous religion. Did Pharaoh release the Israelites? You'll have to wait for Plague #2!
*Image from "My Bible Story" Ch.32 [Watchtower & Bible Tract Society of PA]
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See you next time!