Exodus 8


‘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 send a plague of frogs on your whole country. 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 on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will come 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 honour 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

The Plague Of Frogs

Once again God commands Pharaoh to let His people go and worship Him, and He gives Pharaoh time to think about it, Exodus 7:16. If he refused then another miraculous outpouring of God’s judgment would come upon the land of Egypt.

The second plague brought frogs from the Nile. This was a judgment against ‘Heqet’, the frog-headed goddess of birth. Frogs were thought to be sacred and not to be killed.

God had the frogs invade every part of the homes of the Egyptians, and when they died, their stinking bodies were heaped up in offensive piles all through the land.

We can’t help but note the number of frogs there must have been, they were all over the land including in the bedrooms of many houses, Psalm 78:45. This would have had a huge impact on the living conditions of all those in Egypt and their spiritual conditions, as frogs were worshipped by the Egyptians, they wouldn’t be able to go about their daily lives without crushing them.

Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us how the magicians performed this trick, but it does say they used their ‘secret arts’, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10. Remember they are magicians and magic was their art. They were secret because these magicians, like some today, don’t reveal how they do it. it’s interesting to note if the magicians were real miracle workers, why didn’t they miraculously remove the frogs instead producing more?

At last, and for the first time, it appears that Pharaoh’s stubborn heart is beginning to soften, as he asks Moses to pray to the Lord and remove the grogs so that God’s people can go and worship Him. However, it appears that his request wasn’t genuine, he just wanted some relief from the frogs, and he has no intentions of letting God’s people go anywhere.

Notice also when Moses asked exactly when he would like the frogs removed, he replied, ‘tomorrow’. If we were in Pharaoh’s shoes I’m sure we would say, ‘now, get rid of these frogs right now’, but for some reason, he said ‘tomorrow’.

The very fact the frogs died the following day, is another miracle within itself. We can only imagine the stench and pies and pies of dead frogs were scattered throughout Egypt.

It appears when God put pressure on Pharaoh, his heart softened but now that the frogs were dead, he goes back to being hard-hearted again and refused to let God’s people go, Exodus 4:21.

The Plague Of Gnats

‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said.’ Exodus 8:16-19

It’s interesting to note that Pharaoh was given no warning and no thinking time about this plague, from God, as he did with the others. Here we find the third plague, gnats. This was a judgment against ‘Set’, the god of the desert. But unlike the previous plagues, the magicians were unable to duplicate this one, and declared to Pharaoh in Exodus 8:19 that, ‘this is the finger of God’.

The Hebrew word used here for gnat is the word, ‘ken’, and it means, any of the tiny, minute stinging flies, which are classified as stinging gnats. Different translations of the Scriptures use different words here, some use ‘gnats’, some use the word, ‘lice’, some use the word, ‘maggots’, some use the word, ‘mosquitoes’ and others use the word, ‘fleas’.

Adam Clarke in his commentary says the following.

‘The word used in this text means the tick, 1. Their being said to be in man and beast, the tick buries its head in the victim, and 2. The meaning of the root word here, which is to make firm, fix or establish, which ticks most assuredly do.’

Just as man was created from the dust of the ground, 1 Corinthians 15:47, so too were these gnats. Notice that magicians couldn’t perform their secret magic arts as they did previously, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10, this is possibly because this plague came unannounced and so they would have had no time to prepare.

The magicians openly declare to Pharaoh that they couldn’t do it but also say, ‘this is the finger of God’. When the magicians said this, they weren’t acknowledging the God of Israel, they were simply acknowledging that the plague was supernatural and beyond their power of imitation. This, of course, was an excuse for not being able to replicate the miracle.

There were so many gnats, they covered the land of Egypt which would have made life pretty miserable for the Egyptians. Because they were all over the animals, the gods of Egypt wouldn’t receive the sacrifice of gnat-infested animals, so this stopped their sacrificial system.

Pharaoh’s heart once again became hard and he wouldn’t listen to God just as God said, Exodus 4:21. It’s interesting to note if Pharaoh himself was regarded as a god by the Egyptians, why didn’t he himself intervene and do something about all these judgments?

The Plague Of Flies

‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’” And the LORD did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.” But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the LORD our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, as he commands us.” Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.” Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the LORD, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.” Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD, and the LORD did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.’ Exodus 8:20-32

Unlike the plague of gnats, God now gives Pharaoh another warning with this plague and gives his notice about what He is about to do. Notice also that this will also affect Pharaoh at the river again, where he would go for his daily walk to worship, Exodus 7:14.

Once again, it’s difficult to know what kind of flies these were, some translations have the word, ‘gnats’ others have the word, ‘beetles’ and others have the word, ‘gadflies’. Whatever they were, they were some kind of flying insect, Psalm 78:45, which totally destroyed the land.

This fourth plague was a judgment on either ‘Re’ or ‘Uatchit’, who were both Egyptian gods depicted as flies. In this plague, God clearly distinguished between the Israelites and the Egyptians, Goshen where the Israelites lived would have no flies but where the Egyptians lived, they would have swarms of them.

Pause for a moment and think about this and imagine what the Israelites were thinking about during this miracle. You’ve got all these flies swarming around in Egypt but yet, in Goshen where God’s people were, there were none. I would imagine the Israelites were thinking to themselves, ‘who is this God, who not only created billions of flies but controls them?’

I don’t know about you but when we get one single fly in our home, it’s almost impossible to catch it, never mind control it. But God, who is the creator of all things, can demand obedience even from the animal world. God is not only the all-powerful one, but He is also the one who protects.

There’s no way the Egyptians could misunderstand the point God was making. The point was that Israel was God’s people, and He wanted Pharaoh to let them go. Pharaoh appears to soften his heart and comes up with a compromise, they can go and worship in the land, that is Egypt.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Here is the first of four compromises suggested by Pharaoh as a means of hindering the will of God. The second is in Exodus 8:28, ‘Ye shall not go very far away’. The third is in Exodus 10:11, ‘only the men must go’. The fourth is in Exodus 10:24, ‘the flocks and the herds must be left behind’. Moses’ ultimate answer to these was the stern declaration, ‘there shall not a hoof be left behind!’ Exodus 10:26.’

The Israelites couldn’t sacrifice and worship in Egypt because the sacrifice involved the killing of sheep, and as we know shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians, Genesis 46:34. The Egyptians would have turned on the Israelites and killed them if they sacrificed sheep.

Pharaoh, once again, under the pressure of the plagues agrees to let God’s people go and worship Him in the wilderness. Notice that Pharaoh asks Moses to intercede for him, it appears that Pharaoh is absolutely aware of the One who sent the plagues and he knows that God is the only one who can stop the plague. Exodus 8:28-33 / Exodus 9:27-33 / Exodus 10:15-19 / Exodus 8:30-31 / Exodus 9:5-6 / Exodus 10:13 / Exodus 10:33.

Once again, Pharaoh lied through his teeth to Moses when the pressure was taken off, or he may have simply changed his mind, this is seen in the fact that his heart became hard again.

Go To Exodus 9


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