MOSES AND THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT

MOSES RETURNS TO EGYPT, DEMANDING LET MY PEOPLE GO


Exodus 4:18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 4:19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. 4:20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 4:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 4:26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision. 4:27 And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. 4:28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

4:29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 4:30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 4:31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Book: Moses: A Life by Jonathan Kirsh. Film: Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments with Charleston Heston; Prince of Egypt , a Dreamworks animation with the voice of Moses supplied by Val Kilmer and his friend Ramses by Ralph Fiennes.

Websites and Resources: Bible and Biblical History: Bible Gateway and the New International Version (NIV) of The Bible biblegateway.com ; King James Version of the Bible gutenberg.org/ebooks ; Bible History Online bible-history.com ; Biblical Archaeology Society biblicalarchaeology.org ; Internet Jewish History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Complete Works of Josephus at Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) ccel.org ; Judaism Judaism101 jewfaq.org ; Aish.com aish.com ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; torah.org torah.org ; Chabad,org chabad.org/library/bible ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/judaism ; BBC - Religion: Judaism bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism ; Encyclopædia Britannica, britannica.com/topic/Judaism; Jewish History: Jewish History Timeline jewishhistory.org.il/history ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Jewish History Resource Center dinur.org ; Center for Jewish History cjh.org ; Jewish History.org jewishhistory.org ; Christianity and Christians Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Christianity.com christianity.com ; BBC - Religion: Christianity bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/ ; Christianity Today christianitytoday.com; Biblical Images: Bible in Pictures creationism.org/books ebibleteacher ebibleteacher.com ; Bible-History.com bible-history.com ; Pictures from the Bible lavistachurchofchrist.org ; Bible Blue Letter Images blueletterbible.org/images ; Biblical Images preceptaustin.org

Moses Returns to Egypt in the Muslim Story


Musa (Moses) with a cane in his hand

“Armed with the divine mission and the Book that was sent down to him which was to be the 'means of enlightenment to the people and a guidance and mercy to mankind', Moses left for Egypt with Aaron. They first went to the people and asked them to worship the true God. Moses showed them His Signs, but the people dismissed these as 'nothing but false magic' and laughed at him. He asked them to sacrifice a cow as an offering to God. 'What sort of cow?' they asked him in jest. Moses told them that God wanted a cow which was neither young nor old but of middle age. 'What about its color?' they asked. Moses said it should be deep and bright yellow. There were several cows of this color, they told Moses. [Source: BBC, September 4, 2009, jews-for-allah.org |::|]

“He clarified that it should be a cow that was neither yoked nor had ploughed any field; further, it was to be of sound mind and wholesome body. The people then realized what Moses meant; he wanted them to kill the golden cow that they and their forefathers had been worshipping. They asked Moses first to approach Pharaoh, their King, and if he agreed, they too would follow him.|::|

“Moses approached Pharaoh and appealed to him to give up his arrogance and high and mighty ways and to bow before the Lord, who was indeed the ruler of the world. Purify yourself, O Pharaoh, so that I may guide you to the right path. [29:18] Pharaoh was furious and asked Moses who was this God of his, whose messenger he claimed to be. Moses replied: Our Lord is the one who creates all things; He gives them form and then guides them. [20:50]|::|

“Pharaoh enquired about the generations that had passed away. Knowledge of them, Moses said, was with God alone. He then asked Pharaoh to look around and see the variety of God's creations -- the rain, the wind, the cattle and the plants, all were the signs of His supremacy. Pharaoh asked Moses whether he had any proof of his prophethood. Moses threw down his staff and it became a live serpent. He then drew his hand out of the pocket of his cloak, and it shone with dazzling brightness.|::|

Moses Confronts the Pharaoh and Turns Aaron's Rod Into a Serpent

Exodus 7:7: And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh. 7:8 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 7:9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. 7:10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

7:11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. 7:13 And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.


Aaron's rod changed into a serpent

7:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go. 7:15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. 7:16 And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.

Moses Challenges the Pharaoh’s Magicians in the Muslim Story

“Pharaoh's chiefs said Moses was no more than a magician; they told Pharaoh: 'Call the best of magicians from our cities to counter his magic'. Moses agreed to face them, and the Festival Day was fixed for the event. Two of the best magicians confronted Moses. They threw their ropes and staves at Moses, which turned into serpents and coiled around him. [Source: BBC, September 4, 2009, jews-for-allah.org |::|]

“Moses prayed to his Lord for help. The Lord told him not to lose nerve, and commanded: Throw your staff down and it will swallow everything which they have faked here; theirs are only magic tricks, what you have is real. No magician ever thrives, whatever he may do or wherever he may go. [20:69] |::|

“Moses threw his staff on the ground and it turned into a bigger serpent which swallowed all the other serpents. The magicians were wonderstruck and at once prostrated themselves, declaring that they believed in the God of Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh thundered with rage: 'How dare you do so without my leave?' He warned them that he would cut off their hands and feet on alternate sides and crucify them on the trunks of palm trees if they did not desist from following Moses.|::|

“The magicians showed no fear and told Pharaoh that he could do what he liked with them but they would not retract from the clear path shown by Moses. They believed that his God was superior to Pharaoh. They asked for the forgiveness of the Lord for the sins of sorcery that Pharaoh had compelled them to commit.” |::|

Plagues of Egypt

Moses returned to Egypt and confronted the Pharaoh: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go." When Moses first asked the Pharaoh to let his people go the Pharaoh responded by increasing the Israelites work load. Then, not only were they required to make and carry bricks, they also had to raise and harvest straw as binder for the bricks.☼


Fifth Plague: cattle dying

When the Pharaoh refused again the Ten Plagues of Egypt were unleashed on the land one after another.
The first plague - river water turned to blood
The second plague - frogs
The third plague - gnats
The fourth plague - flies
The fifth plague - death of livestock
The sixth plague - boils
The seventh plague - hail
The eighth plague - locusts
The ninth plague - darkness
The tenth plague - death of the firstborn|

In the First the Nile turned to blood, a phenomena some scholars say might have been caused by red mud pouring down the river from Ethiopia. The plagues of frogs, lice, flies, cattle disease and bolis that followed, they say, are conditions usually associated with seasonal floods. The seventh plague, hail and fire, may have been a hailstorm with lightning or a volcanic eruption in the Mediterranean. The eight plague, locusts, still swarm from time to time. The three days of darkness that followed may have been a sandstorm.

In the tenth plague the firstborn of every Egyptian family was killed, even the pharaoh's oldest son. Exodus 12:29 in the Bible reads: "at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon." Historians have yet to find any evidence of this event.

Finally after the tenth plague the Pharaoh at last let Moses and the Israelites go. Before the plague struck Israelites were told to sacrifice a lamb and paint their doorways with its blood. Their homes were passed over by the plague, which is the origin of the Passover holiday. During Passover, Jews eat unleavened bread or matzo. The explanation for this tradition is that the Jews were forced to pack up and leave Egypt so quickly they didn't have time to leaven their bread.☼

It was the tenth plague - the plague of the firstborn - which eventually persuaded the Pharaoh to let them go. It was announced that the first-born sons in every household would die, but the sons of the Israelites would be saved if they marked their door posts with the blood of a lamb killed in sacrifice. They had to cook the lamb and eat it that night with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. These are the origins of the Jewish Festival: Passover. [Source: BBC]

First Plague of Egypt; Rivers Turn to Blood


First Plague: water turns to blood

Exodus 7:17: Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. 7:18 And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river. 7:19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

7:20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 7:21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

7:22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said. 7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also. 7:24 And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. 7:25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river. 8:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

Second Plague of Egypt: Frogs

Exodus 8:2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 8:3 And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: 8:4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

8:5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 8:6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.


Second Plague: frogs everywhere

8:7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 8:8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.

8:9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? 8:10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.

8:11 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only. 8:12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 8:13 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. 8:14 And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Third and Fourth Plagues of Egypt: Lice and Flies

Exodus 8:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:18 And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. 8:19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 8:20 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

8:21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. 8:22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. 8:23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.


Fourth Plague: insects

8:24 And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. 8:25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.

8:26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? 8:27 We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us. 8:28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.

8:29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD. 8:30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. 8:31 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. 8:32 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.

Fifth and Sixth Plagues of Egypt: Dead Livestock and Boils

Exodus 9:1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 9:2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 9:3 Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]


Sixth Plague: boils

9:4 And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel. 9:5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. 9:6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 9:7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

9:8 And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. 9:9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. 9:10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. 9:11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. 9:12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

Seventh Plague of Egypt: Hail and Fire

Exodus 9:13 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 9:14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. 9:15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. 9:17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? 9:18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. 9:19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. 9:20 He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: 9:21 And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.


Seventh Plague: Hail and Fire

9:22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. 9:23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 9:24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 9:25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.

9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. 9:27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 9:28 Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.

9:29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD's. 9:30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God. 9:31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. 9:32 But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.

9:33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 9:35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.

Eighth Plague of Egypt: Locusts

Exodus: 10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: 10:2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. 10:3 And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]


Eighth Plague: locusts

10:4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: 10:5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: 10:6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.

10:7 And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? 10:8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? 10:9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.

10:10 And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. 10:11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence. 10:12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.

10:13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 10:14 And the locust went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. 10:15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

10:16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 10:17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. 10:18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. 10:19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Ninth and Tenth Plagues of Egypt: Darkness and Death of the Firstborn


Ninth Plague: darkness

10:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 10:22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: 10:23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. 10:24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. [Source: King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org]

10:25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. 10:26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither. 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.

10:28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. 10:29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more. 11:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold. 11:3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people.

11:4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born 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.

Plagues and the Red Sea in Muslim Story of Moses


Tenth Plague: death of the firstborn Egyptians

“Pharaoh grew more furious, and decided to wipe out every trace of the teachings of Moses. He issued a proclamation: O my people, I am the sovereign of Egypt; even rivers flow beneath my feet. Are you to listen to a man who cannot even speak properly? If he is really the Almighty's messenger, why is he not loaded with gold or attended upon by angels? [43:51-53] [Source: BBC, September 4, 2009, jews-for-allah.org |::|]

“Moses warned him that, if he disobeyed his call, 'we have been told by Allah that a grievous punishment awaits you.' But Pharaoh and his men paid no heed to Moses' warning. Thus they were struck by the plague and other diseases; they begged Moses to save them from the scourge. But no sooner were they cured than they went back to the worship of Pharaoh. Two of Pharaoh's chiefs, Qaran and Haman, behaved particularly abominably; greed for wealth and lust for power blinded their vision.|::|

“With the passage of time, the attitude of Pharaoh towards Moses worsened: he denounced him publicly and tortured his followers. He declared that there was no other god except he. He told Haman: 'Build me a high tower, so that I may go to the top and find out who this God of Moses is.' He ordered his chiefs to show no mercy to Israelites; they should be driven out of Egypt. A reign of terror was unleashed. As a result, many of Moses' people left him, while only a few remained as his followers. But Moses was not dismayed; he remained steadfast in the pursuit of his faith. |::|

“Then God came to Moses' rescue. He was told to gather his followers and take them through the midst of the seas, on a path that would be specially carved for them by God. Pharaoh and his men, fully armed, attempted to pursue them along the same path. As soon as Pharaoh and his men set foot on the path, however, it vanished, and they were drowned in the raging seas.”|::|

“Moses showed his unwavering faith in God when he led his followers to the Red Sea – Pharoah’s army was behind them, and the open sea in front:<>

“And when the two bodies saw each other, the people of Moses said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” (Moses) said: “By no means! My Lord is with me! Soon will He guide me!” Then We told Moses by inspiration: “Strike the sea with thy rod.” So it divided, and each separate part became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain. And We made the other party approach thither. We delivered Moses and all who were with him; but We drowned the others. Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. (26:61-68)<>

“When the time for retribution came, not only did God cause Pharoah and his army to drown, He also raised the status of the Israelites.<>

Could the Ten Plagues Been Caused by Pollution or a Volcano

20120502-Death_of_the_Pharaoh_Firstborn_son Lawrence_Alma-Tadema .jpg
Death of the Pharaoh's Firstborn son
by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
“In the Bible, the ten plagues are miracles — “acts of God working through nature”. Some scientists such as climatologists, oceanographers and vulcanologists suggest that there is evidence that some of them can be explained phenomena such as volcanic eruptions and pollution. The BBC reported: “The pfisteria theory provides one explanation of the first six plagues.In 1999 an environmental catastrophe happened in the town of New Burn, North Carolina. The residents woke up to find the waters of their river - the Neuse - had turned red. More than a billion fish died. People working near the river found that they were covered in sores. [Source: BBC |::|]

“The cause of this was found to be pollution. The pollution had come from a pig farm further up the river. Millions of gallons of pig-waste had found its way into the river, causing a genetic mutation in a marine micro-organism called pfisteria; turning it from harmless into lethal. The river had been poisoned.|::|

“John Marr, an epidemiologist specialising in environmental disasters, believes pollution in ancient Egypt could have caused the first six plagues. Pfisteria, or something like it, caused the fish to die, thus turning the river red; the pollution would have driven the frogs onto the land, on land the frogs would die, causing an explosion of flies and lice. The flies could then have transmitted viral diseases to livestock, killing them.

“Could a volcano have triggered the ten plagues? Marr thinks that fall-out of volcanic ash could have produced a toxic bloom of algae in the River Nile; thus setting off a chain of events similar to those produced by pfisteria...500 miles to the north of the Nile delta is the Greek island of Santorini. In the 16th century BCE, Santorini was blown apart by a gigantic volcanic eruption that was thousands of times more powerful than a nuclear weapon. It was one of the biggest explosions of the last 10,000 years. The ash cloud from the Santorini blast would have been huge and far-reaching.|::|

“When Santorini erupted, the wind was blowing in a south-easterly direction, towards Egypt. Samples of Santorini ash have been collected from the sea bed, the heaviest concentrations being in the direction of the Nile Delta. Oceanographer Dr Daniel Stanley, went to the Delta to drill for samples of mud and silt to see if the ash could have reached Egypt. He found volcanic shards that can be firmly related to the explosion. He says: 'I think it would have been a frightening experience. It would have been heard, the event. The blast ash fall would have been felt.'|::|

“Mike Rampino, a climate modeller from New York University, has run a computer simulation to look at the climatic effects of the Santorini blast. “The ash cloud passing overhead would have completely cut out the sun and plunged the Delta into darkness. This would have been accompanied by the kind of unusual weather seen after volcanic eruptions – lightening and perhaps hail. This would explain two of the 10 plagues – darkness and hail.| The ash cloud would have caused temperatures to drop by up to 2ºC, which would have reduced rainfall in the Delta and could have led to a drought. With river levels dropping, the water would have begun to stagnate. Combined with the poisonous minerals that were raining down from the ash cloud, the Nile would have become a deadly cocktail and conditions would have been ripe for an outbreak of further plagues.|::|

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons, Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bible in Bildern, 1860

Text Sources: Internet Jewish History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); “Old Testament Life and Literature” by Gerald A. Larue, King James Version of the Bible, gutenberg.org, New International Version (NIV) of The Bible, biblegateway.com Complete Works of Josephus at Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL), translated by William Whiston, ccel.org , Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994); National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018


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