Thursday, November 10, 2011

Exodus 8:1-15 The Plague of Frogs

"Seven days passed after the LORD struck the Nile.

Then the LORD said to Moses, 
'Go to Pharaoh and say to him, "This is what the LORD says:
Let my people go so that they may worship me.  If you refuse to let them go,
I will plague your whole country with frogs.
The Nile will teem with frogs.
They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed,
into the houses of your officials and all your people,
and into your ovens and kneading troughs.
The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials." '

Then the LORD said to Moses,
'Tell Aaron, "Stretch out your hand with your staff
over the streams and canals and ponds,
and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt." '

So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt,
and the frogs came up and covered the land.
But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts;
they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said,
'Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people,
and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.'

Moses said to Pharaoh,
'I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you
and your officials and your people
that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs,
except for those that remain in the Nile.'

'Tomorrow,' Pharaoh said.

Moses replied, 
'It will be as you say,
so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God.
The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people;
they will remain only in the Nile.'

After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, 
Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh.
And the LORD did what Moses asked.
The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields.
They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief,
he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron,
just as the LORD had said."

Exodus 8:1-15 (NIV)

This was a long passage, but I thought that it need to be kept together in one post so that everything is in context.  Here are some of my observations:  (you are invited to leave your insights in the comments as well.)

  • Seven days passed after the waters of Egypt turned to blood.  There is no indication in the text, though, that the water problem stopped before this new plague of frogs appeared.  So they would have to deal with bloody water and frogs.
  • The LORD makes very clear what the consequences of continued disobedience will be, before the events take place:  There will be a multitude of frogs, which will plague the whole country.  They will get into palaces, homes and beds, and into kneading troughs and ovens.  The frogs will even go up onto the people themselves.  No one will be unaffected -- whether common people, officials or Pharaoh himself.
  • Moses tells Aaron to stretch out his hand with his staff over the streams, canals and ponds.  I imagine Aaron striding over to each body of water, and the frogs pouring out soon afterwards upon the land.  This made it clear that this was no natural occurrence, but would happen at the moment which the servant of the LORD directed.  This was further evidence of the power of the God of the Hebrews.  I think that it happened in this way because we are told that the magicians also did the same things by their secret arts -- so they would have had to have the time to go to an unaffected water source and display their own abilities.  If it had happened all at once, in one flourish of Aaron's staff, there would have been no unaffected stream or pond where these magicians could do so.  [However, I don't think that Aaron went on a walking tour of all Egypt to visit each individual pond or place of water, for that would have taken too long.  Perhaps it happened individually at first, in order to give the magicians their shot at imitating Aaron's actions, then suddenly, the rest of the waters were affected in unison.]
  • The magicians were able to make frogs come up on the land of Egypt as well.  Interestingly, though, Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron when he has had enough, not his magicians.  [Possibly he had already asked his magicians to remove the frogs, but they could not do so.]  He asks them to pray to the LORD to remove the frogs, and promises to let the people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.
  • Moses wants to make sure that Pharaoh understands that this is no magic trick.  He allows Pharaoh to set the time for the frogs to be removed from the land (except for the normal amount present in the Nile).  Pharaoh picks the next day as the time for this to occur.  At first I wondered why he did not choose to have the frogs removed immediately, since they were such a nuisance.  I wonder if Pharaoh was hoping that the frogs would leave by themselves before the appointed time, so that he could prove Moses and Aaron to be wrong, and the plague of frogs to be merely a coincidence?  For Moses states that the plague will leave at the time which Pharaoh has stipulated, " that you will know there is no one like the LORD our God."  (v.10)  If the frogs leave the next day at the appointed time, it would be obvious that there was something supernatural going on.
  • After leaving Pharaoh, Moses prays to the LORD about the frogs.  The LORD listens to Moses request and the frogs die at the appointed time.  Piled in heaps throughout the land, they caused the land to reek as they decayed.  No doubt all the people would have participated in the clean-up, for the frogs were everywhere, so many experienced first-hand the well-timed answer to Moses' prayer.
  • Pharaoh hardened his own heart this time.  He would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had predicted.  Since the frogs were already dead, he may have figured that he did not have to comply with his promise to let the people go offer sacrifices to the LORD.

Obviously Pharaoh did not know Who he was dealing with...

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