Ten Egyptian Plagues for Ten Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
These ten Egyptian plagues not only demonstrated the power of God to Moses, the children of Israel, the Egyptians, and Pharaoh, but they were of such magnitude that they would be remembered for all generations, throughout the entire world. They again testify, as does both the Old and New Testament alike that salvation, from beginning to end, is only accomplished through Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of our faith." (Heb 12:2)
Corresponding Egyptian God and Goddess to the type of plague:
Hapi- Egyptian God of the Nile This Egyptian God was a water bearer. Egyptian Plague- Water Turned to Blood The first plague that was given to the Egyptians from God was that of turning the water to blood. As Aaron, the spokesman for Moses, touched the "rod" of the Lord to the Nile River it immediately turned to blood, all the fish died, and the river stank. Partially able to duplicate this miracle, the magicians of Pharaoh also turn water into blood, leaving Pharaoh unimpressed with this great wonder from God. Seven days the water throughout all the land of Egypt remained in this state, unsuitable for drinking, the perfect length of time to demonstrate that the Lord was superior to all the other Gods of Egypt.
Heket- Egyptian Goddess of Fertility, Water, Renewal Heket the Egyptian Goddess, had the head of a frog. Egyptian Plague- Frogs coming from the Nile River Still, Pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel go from the presence of Egypt. The second plague that was extended upon Egypt, from the "rod" by Aaron, was that of frogs. The frogs came up from the river and were in their houses, in their food, in their clothing, in every place possible. From the greatest to the least, no one in Egypt escaped the plague of frogs. Pharaoh's magicians were able to bring more frogs in their attempt to imitate the power of God, but only Moses was able to make the frogs go away. This was another attack on a famous Egyptian Goddess, Heket.
Geb- Egyptian God of the Earth the Egyptian God Geb, was over the dust of the earth. Egyptian Plague- Lice from the dust of the earth Still Pharaoh would not concede, even after this display of power from the Lord, or magnificent plague, he would not let them go. At the command of the Lord to Moses, Aaron was told to stretch forth his rod and smite the dust of the earth. When he did the dust became lice throughout all the land, on both people and beasts. The very dust that was referred to in the creation process of man is now used to plague men, as a reminder of his mortality and sin which both lead to death. Finally, the magicians of Pharaoh are humiliated, being unable to compete with this power that was so much greater than themselves and the powers that they had from their Egyptian gods and goddesses, and they profess, "this is the finger of God." This was the last plague that required Aaron's involvement, as the next set of three plagues are issued by the word of Moses himself.
Khepri- Egyptian God of creation, movement of the Sun, rebirth Khepri, the Egyptian god had the head of a fly. Egyptian Plague- Swarms of Flies With the fourth Egyptian plague, which consisted of flies, begins the great miracle ot separation or differentiation. Moses met Pharaoh at the Nile River in the morning and made the demand, speaking on behalf of the Lord, "Let My peole go, that they may serve Me." Again, Pharaoh hardened his heart and disregarded the request, resulting in a pronouncement of swarms of flies. This time, however, only the Egyptians are affected by the judgement, or plague, and the children of Israel remain unscathed. This wonder also moves the Egyptian plagues to a different level, adding destruction as well as discomfort to the consequence of their decisions. Plagued by flies, Pharaoh tried a new tactic and begins bargaining with the Lord, showing his desire to maintain power and authority over God. He tries to dictate the terms and conditions of the offer, telling them they may sacrifice but only "in the land" clearly not complying with the requested "three days journey" that the Lord required. Moses wouldn't budge, and Pharaoh relented allowing them to leave, but telling them not to "go very far." This temporary allowance is made solely to have Moses "intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart", at this point Pharaoh has learned in part who the Lord is and asks for His assistance over the Egyptian gods and goddesses. As soon as the request is granted by the Lord, Pharaoh reneges on his promise and will not let them go, and continues to worship his Egyptian Gods.
Hathor-Egyptian Goddess of Love and Protection Usually this Egyptian Goddess was depicted with the head of a cow. Egyptian Plague- Death of Cattle and Livestock Moses once again demanded of Pharaoh, "Let my people go, that they may serve me", revealing also the next Egytian plague to occur on the condition of continued disobedience to the request. This plague was given with an advanced warning, allowing a period of repentance to occur, which goes unheeded. "Tomorrow" the hand of the Lord would be felt upon all the cattle and livestock, of only the Egyptians, as"grievous murrain." This means that disease and pestilence would fall upon their livestock with so severe a consequence as to cause them to die. This plague affected the Egyptian by creating a huge economic disaster, in areas of food, transportation, military supplies, farming, and economic goods that were produced by these livestock. Still Pharaohs heart remained hard and he would not listen to the Lord but remained faith to the Egytian gods and goddesses.
Isis- Egyptian Goddess of Medicine and Peace Egyptian Plague- Ashes turned to Boils and Sores Unannounced the sixth Egyptian plague is given, for the first time, directly attacking the Egyptian people themselves. Being instructed by the Lord, Moses took ashes from the furnace of affliction, and threw them into the air. As the dust from the ashes blew all over Egypt, it settled on man and beast alike in the form of boils and sores. As with the previous two, throughout the remaining Egyptian plagues the division is drawn between the Egyptians and the children of Israel, as God gives protection to his covenant people. The severity of the judgment of God has now become personal, as it is actually felt by the people themselves. Cleanliness being paramount in the Egyptian society, this plague pronounces the people "unclean." The magicians who have been seen throughout the previous plagues are unable to perform ceremonially rituals to their Egyptian Gods and Goddesses in this unclean state, not allowing them to even stand before Pharaoh; they are seen in the scriptural account no more. It is great to notice the contrast shown as Moses and Aaron are the only ones left standing in front of Pharaoh, with the "One True God" as their support.
Nut- Egyptian Goddess of the Sky Egyptian Plague- Hail rained down in the form of fire Again warning is given before the enactment of the plague takes place. Pharaoh is warned of the impending doom that will be faced if he does not listen to the Lord, and forget his own Egyptian gods and goddesses. Hail of unspeakable size and ability to destroy, would rain down from the sky and turn to fire as it hit the ground. The Lord, in showing Pharaoh that "there is none like Him in the Earth", allows those who are willing to hear His word, and do as He commands, to be saved. A division is now felt between the Egyptians in the form of those "converted" to the Lord, as shown by their obedience and willingness to escape to the protection of their "houses." Similarly we are warned to make our houses a place of refuge from the world today, we have been warned. Interestingly enough, the crops that were destroyed by the hail consisted of flax and barley, which were ripening in the fields. These two particular crops were not the mainstay of their diet but were used more specifically for their clothing and libations. This destruction would make their life uncomfortable, but as far as effecting their food supply, the wheat still survived. This gave the Egyptians still another chance to turn to "the One True God", and forsake their own Egyptian gods and goddesses, thus showing His mercy and grace even yet.
Seth- Egyptian God of Storms and Disorder Egyptian Plague- Locusts sent from the sky Still Pharaoh would not listen to the message of the Lord, still he relys on his own Egyptian gods and goddesses. The eighth plague issued by the Lord had an even greater purpose than all the others, it was to be felt so that Pharaoh would tell even "his sons and son's sons" the mighty things of the Lord, thus teaching even future generations of the power of the "strong hand of God" over all the other Egyptian gods and goddesses. Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh with the same request, "Let my people go so that they may serve me” and pronounced the judgment of locusts if not heeded. This is the second wave of destruction to follow the hail, and whatever crops were left in tact after that display, were now completely consumed by the swarms of locusts that were unleashed from the sky. This wonder definitely affected their life source. By hitting them in their food supply, the Lord displayed the possibility of eminent death if a change of heart did not occur. Yet still, Pharaoh would not listen.
Ra- The Sun God Egyptian Plague- Three Days of Complete Darkness Darkness now fell upon Egypt, unannounced, as a prelude to the future fate to be felt by the Egyptian empire when the message of the Lord was not heeded, and they still turned to their own Egyptian gods and goddesses. Three days of palpable darkness, that was so immense it could be physically felt, covered the land of Egypt. The sun, the most worshipped God in Egypt other than Pharaoh himself, gave no light. The Lord showed that he had control over the sun as a witness that the God of Israel had ultimate power over life and death. The psychological and religious impact would have had a profound influence on the Egyptians at this point. Darkness was a representation of death, judgment and hopelessness. Darkness was a complete absence of light.
Pharaoh- The Ultimate Power of Egypt Egyptian Plague- Death of the Firstborn Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, was worshipped by the Egyptians because he was considered to be the greatest Egyptian God of all. It was believed that he was actually the son of Ra himself, manifest in the flesh. After the plague of darkness felt throughout the land was lifted, Pharaoh resumed his position of "bargaining with the Lord" and offered Moses another "deal." Since virtually all of the Egyptian animals had been consumed by the judgments of the Lord, Pharaoh now consented to the request made, to let the people go, but they must leave their animals behind. This was a totally unacceptable offer, as the animals were to be used as the actual sacrifice to the Lord. The Lord is uncompromising when He has set the terms. Enraged by the refusal, Pharaoh pronounced the last deadly plague to be unleashed upon the land from his very own lips as he warns Moses, "Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die." And Moses said, "Thus saith the Lord, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more." At this point the passive obedience that the children of Israel have shown is now moved to a level of active obedience. They are given strict instructions to follow so that they do not also feel the judgment of this last plague sent by the Lord. These instructions are known as "The Feast of Passover", "The Feast of Unleavened Bread", and "The Law of the Firstborn." In these rituals are displayed the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, and the law of consecration, all necessary requirements to receive ultimate salvation from spiritual death. "Let My people go that they may serve Me" As God's children today we have learned through this great show of power that ultimately it will require "active obedience" to receive salvation from the "One True God."
Looking back over the instructions that were given to Pharaoh to "let my people go that they may serve me", this principle is manifest throughout. Service to the Lord is the requirement of His people, and the blessing for this show of obedience and sacrifice is the ultimate salvation not only from physical death but from spiritual death as well.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard, the second founder of the Cistercians, the Mellifluous Doctor, the apostle of the Crusades, the miracle-worker, the reconciler of kings, the leader of peoples, the counselor of popes! His sermons, from which there are many excerpts in the Breviary, are conspicuous for genuine emotion and spiritual unction. The celebrated Memorare is ascribed to him. Bernard was born in 1090, the third son of an illustrious Burgundian family. At the age of twenty-two he entered the monastery of Citeaux (where the Cistercian Order had its beginning) and persuaded thirty other youths of noble rank to follow his example. Made abbot of Clairvaux (1115), he erected numerous abbeys where his spirit flourished. To his disciple, Bernard of Pisa, who later became Pope Eugene III, he dedicated his work De Consideratione. Bernard's influence upon the princes, the clergy, and the people of his age was most remarkable. By penitential practices he so exhausted his body that it could hardly sustain his soul, ever eager to praise and honor God.
Patron: beekeepers; bees; candlemakers; chandlers; wax-melters; wax refiners; Gibraltar; Queens College, Cambridge.