(Exo 8:1 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
Exo 8:1: Keep in mind that these plagues were an attack on the false gods of Egypt (Ex. 12:12, Num. 33:4). As this verse points out, Pharaoh would not allow the people to serve Elohim. The true conflict is between Pharaoh and his false gods opposing the worship of Elohim.
There are several possibilities as to what happened to the Nile River. Naturally, it could all be miraculous events caused directly by the hand of Elohim.
But there are other explanations that appear to show that Elohim possibly used natural disasters or events to cause these calamities. One possibility is that the Nile suffered from a particularly toxic form of red tide algae.
The other is the possibility that a volcanic eruption and subsequent earthquake caused an iron oxide and CO2 buildup. This type of disaster seems to explain other plagues also.
(Exo 8:2 NASB) “But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs.
(Exo 8:3 NASB) “And the Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls.
Exo 8:3: The frog was considered the theophany of the goddess Heqt, the wife of the creator of the world and the goddess of birth. Heqt was always shown with the head and sometimes body of a frog. Amulets and scarabs worn by Egyptian women to protect them during childbirth would often bear the image of Heqt for protection. Heqt was believed to assist women in childbirth. The plague may have been taken as a retribution for the decree to kill newborn males at birth.
Consider the irony in the statement that the frogs invaded pharaohs bedroom and even jumped on his bed (Exo. 8:3).
(Exo 8:4 NASB) “So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants.”‘”
(Exo 8:5 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”
(Exo 8:6 NASB) So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:6: If the Nile was turned blood red due to a huge influx of toxic algae, or if it was caused by iron oxide and CO2 buildup, then this plague would likely follow. Frogs congregate in areas such as ponds, lakes, and rivers especially during their reproductive period. The huge masses of dead and decaying fish would have polluted their habitat and caused them to invade land in much greater numbers and much sooner than usual. The dead fish would have been a source of disease carried by insects, thus causing the frogs to die en masse (v. 14).
(Exo 8:7 NASB) And the magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:7: The magicians could not solve the problem. They could only show that it was happening anyway. They apparently took credit for it happening in areas that they designated even though it was happening everywhere.
(Exo 8:8 NASB) Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.”
Exo 8:8: The fact the Pharaoh entreated Moses to intercede with Elohim to take away the frogs was a sign the he recognized the Elohim of Israel as being the author of the plague.
Pharaoh realized this was not a totally natural occurrence, but a supernatural one.
(Exo 8:9 NASB) And Moses said to Pharaoh, “The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?”
(Exo 8:10 NASB) Then he said, “Tomorrow.” So he said, “May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.
Exo 8:10: Moses let Pharaoh decide when the frogs would cease upon the land. If this came about on the day Pharaoh selects, there could be no doubt that Elohim caused them to cease.
(Exo 8:11 NASB) “And the frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”
(Exo 8:12 NASB) Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh.
Exo 8:12: Moses cried to Elohim concerning this matter. Moses handled this in a manner that would bring glory to Elohim
(Exo 8:13 NASB) And the LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields.
(Exo 8:14 NASB) So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul.
Exo 8:14: Frogs were so sacred in Egypt that even the involuntary slaughter of one was often punished with death. Imagine the people of the land as they went out to gather the decaying bodies of the frogs, and put them into heaps.
(Exo 8:15 NASB) But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Exo 8:15: The text says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart this time, but Elohim previously stated that He was the one hardening his heart (Ex. 4:21). However, the evil was in the heart of Pharaoh. There were some times when Elohim persuaded Pharaoh to “follow his heart.”
(Exo 8:16 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.’”
(Exo 8:17 NASB) And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:17: The plagues can be grouped into three groups of three. The first plague in each group was announced in the morning, the second in each group was announced in Pharaoh’s palace, and the last in each group came without warning. In keeping with the pattern, this plague comes without warning.
There is some question as to what was being referred to here. It could be either gnats, lice, or mosquitos.
Here Elohim is turning the dust of the earth into one of these types of insects. This is probably a mocking of the earth-god named Geb. Elohim showed that the false god, Geb, was impotent.
(Exo 8:18 NASB) And the magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast.
Exo 8:18: The turning of the dust of the earth into mosquitos or gnats was not a continual act. It happened when Aaron struck the earth with his rod and it was apparently instantaneous.
The magicians could not copy this miraculous event. Nor could they stop it.
(Exo 8:19 NASB) Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Exo 8:19: The magicians realized that this was not a natural event that they could lay claim to. They said, “Only Elohim could do this…”
(Exo 8:20 NASB) Now the LORD said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
(Exo 8:21 NASB) “For if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwell.
Exo 8:21: This starts the second round of plagues on Egypt. Moses is to arise early in the morning to Pharaoh to tell him of the plague if he does not let Elohim’s people serve Him.
The precise meaning of this word has not been determined. It is used only in this instance in Scripture. The LXX renders it as “the dog fly.” Philo also translates this as the dog fly which is a stable fly or horse fly. It is also possible that these were scarabs, or beetles.
(Exo 8:22 NASB) “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land.
Exo 8:22: If these were beetles, this was a mocking of Kheper, or Kehpri, the alleged god of creation. His symbol was the scarab, as he had the head of a beetle. If they wish to worship beetles, beetles they will get…
(Exo 8:23 NASB) “And I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall occur.”‘”
(Exo 8:24 NASB) Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:24: Elohim divides the plagues so they will not strike the Israelites who are living in Goshen.
(Exo 8:25 NASB) And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.”
(Exo 8:26 NASB) But Moses said, “It is not right to do so, for we shall sacrifice to the LORD our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us?
Exo 8:26: Moses knew that the sacrifices consisted of bulls and cows. He knew Torah and it’s details.
Pharaoh tried a compromise, but Israelite worship was offensive to the Egyptians, who worshiped the bull-god Apis and the cow-goddess Hathor. Furthermore, Moses had to leave the land in order to be obedient to Yahweh’s command.
(Exo 8:27 NASB) “We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us.”
Exo 8:27: Partial obedience is not obedience at all. They are only allowed to sacrifice in the place Elohim designates. That is specifically stated in Torah (Deut. 12:13-14).
(Exo 8:28 NASB) And Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.”
(Exo 8:29 NASB) Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the LORD that the swarms of insects may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.”
Exo 8:29: Pharaoh is dealing deceitfully.
(Exo 8:30 NASB) So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD.
(Exo 8:31 NASB) And the LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.
(Exo 8:32 NASB) But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
Exo 8:32: Pharaoh hardened his heart once again. More plagues will follow.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas