Increasing Irritation — Exodus Chapter 8
This blog post will cover the devotionals #34-36 for Exodus Chapter 8.
**Pictures will be added at a later date.
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 Exodus 8:1-15
Seven days after the first plague, God sent Moses to Pharaoh again with a warning about another refusal. Frogs would cover the land—they’d be in the houses, beds, ovens, and bread-bowls, as well as on the people. Just as all the bodies of water were affected by the blood, they’d also all produce multitudes of frogs (which makes sense, considering that’s where tadpoles start and become frogs). It happened, and the whole land was covered, and Pharaoh’s magicians replicated the act. Yet, they were unable to remove them from the land—and this created a touch of humility in the king. This was the first time Pharaoh pleaded for help from the only god that could help him. He called the brothers and asked them to have God take away the frogs, and he’d let the people go to sacrifice. Moses reminded him of his former boasting, and then asked an interesting question. “When should I request for you…for the frogs to be destroyed…and remain only in the river?” More interestingly, Pharaoh said, “Tomorrow.” He was hoping that by setting the time for the next day, there might be a chance that they’d disappear on their own beforehand, and he’d be saved the humiliation of acknowledging that God had worked. Moses said it’d be done according to his word, so that it’d be clear that there’s none like God. Indeed, the frogs continued to agitate Egypt until the time stated by Pharaoh. God didn’t send, multiply, or destroy the frogs. He simply stopped restraining them to the waters (so they spread everywhere), and eventually stopped sustaining their lives (to relieve Egypt)—and then returned to restraining them to the waters. God could’ve just made them disappear, but that would’ve been just one more opportunity for Egypt to claim it was simply magic. Instead, all the frogs died in the houses, fields, and villages. They gathered them into heaps, and Egypt stunk again. Nothing about that could be claimed as magic—they were real, and now they were dead and putrefying the atmosphere. However, once Pharaoh saw relief, he hardened his heart once again. Notice here, in verse 15, that this is the first time the Bible says specifically that Pharaoh (not God) hardened his own heart. So not only did he reject God, but he went back on his word (was he lying from the beginning, or did he change his mind?). Once again, he was digging deeper into a pit that he’d struggle to get out of. Now, why were frogs the focus of the second plague? They were considered sacred by Egypt because they represented life and fertility (because millions were born after the yearly flooding of the Nile River). Interestingly, we see many situations throughout Scriptures where God’s the One who makes a barren woman or beast fertile. Moreover, Egypt had a frog-headed goddess (called ‘Heket’) of fertility and childbirth. She was called the wife of Khnum (the ‘Divine Potter’ we discussed in devotional #33), and supposedly blew the breath of life into the nostrils of the bodies he formed on the potter’s wheel from the dust of the earth. We go back to seeing where this truly came from. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Egypt wouldn’t destroy the frogs, but by the end of that plague, their ‘gods’ were slimy, intolerable pests—rather than something to revere.
 Exodus 8:16-19
Likely as soon as Pharaoh went back on his word, Aaron was directed to signify the next plague. This was a consequence—not for simply refusing again, but for saying he’d let them go, then refusing to follow through. Aaron used the rod to strike the dust, and all the dust of Egypt became lice. All men and beasts were affected by this. When the magicians tried to replicate this act, they were finally unsuccessful—thus proving that God’s power was indeed superior. They admitted that it was “the finger of God.” Even with that, Pharaoh refused to accept it. He again hardened his heart, and another day was gone. This third plague was chosen to be something the magicians (via Satan) couldn’t replicate. Why this plague? They worshipped ‘Ged (also known as ‘Sed’ or ‘Ked’)’, the ‘Earth god’—or ‘god of dust and dirt’. Thus, the lice were produced from the dust of the earth—showing God’s superior power over the earth. This horrifying experience caused Egyptians (men and women alike) to keep their heads shaved clean. They had extravagant hairstyles, but that was provided largely by wigs. The Egyptian beauty ideals are partly founded on their hatred of parasites. This plague may’ve also been the first of several responses to their vanity.
 Exodus 8:20-32
God told Moses to get up early the next day and meet Pharaoh at the water again to relay the same message. If he’d refuse this time, swarms would cover the people, their houses, etc. Swarms ‘of flies' is added to the Bible text as an assumption, but based on the type of effects they had, it may’ve been several types of flying pests, such as mosquitos, bees, biting flies, etc. These particular flies weren’t just annoying. They were huge and venomous. Anything that was bitten by them experienced a great deal of pain. Even Strong’s Concordance defines ‘swarms’ here as ‘mosquito’. This time, God would separate the Israelite from the Egyptian. The land of Goshen (where the Hebrews lived) would be kept free of flies. This’d happen the next day. When it did, the flies absolutely corrupted Egypt. Pharaoh ‘consented’ half-heartedly again. He called the brothers and told them to sacrifice to God “in the land.” He was referring to them staying there in Egypt, and they could worship there. Moses declined, saying that it’d be inappropriate. What they’d sacrifice to God would be the animals that Egypt worshipped as gods (which Moses referred to as “the abomination”), and to do that in front of the Egyptians would get them stoned to death. The Egyptians viewed these animals as so sacred that to kill one, even accidentally, was punishable by death. Instead, Moses said they’d go three days into the wilderness to sacrifice, as God commanded. Pharaoh agreed to let them go, but asked Moses to request that God not take them very far away. Moses said he’d leave and ask God to rid Egypt of the flies the next day, but advised him not to be deceitful again concerning the release of Israel. All the flies were indeed removed the next day, and “Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also.” He refused to let them go. Flies and hornets are used in the Bible to symbolize Egypt. Isaiah 7:18 says, “…the Lord will hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt…”. Why were flies the focus of this plague? Egypt used flies as awards—such as victory necklaces, which consisted of three gold flies. ‘The order of the golden fly’ was a military decoration from Pharaoh to his elite soldiers. 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Moses himself may’ve received one of these in his early days. Most importantly, certain flies were connected with Egypt’s gods. ‘Uatchit’ was supposedly manifested in the Ichneumon fly, which drills into other insects and deposits its eggs inside, and the eventual larvae feed on the insect, leading to its death. Farmers wanted them in order to inhibit other crop pests. ‘Kheprer’ was illustrated as a flying beetle—called the ‘resurrection god’, who could supposedly bring life to himself. This is incredibly important—considering God’s the only One who can create and sustain life.