The First Four Plagues

Exodus 7:14-8:32

Highlights from this Passage

  • The waters of Egypt are turned to blood.
  • Frogs, lice, and flies are sent.

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Yahweh said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn. He refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning. Behold, he is going out to the water. You shall stand by the river’s bank to meet him. You shall take the rod which was turned to a serpent in your hand. You shall tell him, ‘Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness. Behold, until now you haven’t listened.” Yahweh says, “In this you shall know that I am Yahweh. Behold: I will strike with the rod that is in my hand on the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. The fish that are in the river will die and the river will become foul. The Egyptians will loathe to drink water from the river.”’” Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood. There will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

Moses and Aaron did so, as Yahweh commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and struck 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. The fish that were in the river died. The river became foul. The Egyptians couldn’t drink water from the river. The blood was throughout all the land of Egypt. The magicians of Egypt did the same thing with their enchantments. So Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken. Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he didn’t even take this to heart. All the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink; for they couldn’t drink the river water. Seven days were fulfilled, after Yahweh had struck the river.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh says, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. If you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your borders with frogs. The river will swarm with frogs, which will go up and come into your house, and into your bedroom, and on your bed, and into the house of your servants, and on your people, and into your ovens, and into your kneading troughs. The frogs shall come up both on you, and on your people, and on all your servants.”’” Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the rivers, over the streams, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’” Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same thing with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Entreat Yahweh, that he take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to Yahweh.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “I give you the honor of setting the time that I should pray for you, and for your servants, and for your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, and remain in the river only.”

Pharaoh said, “Tomorrow.”

Moses said, “Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like Yahweh our God. The frogs shall depart from you, and from your houses, and from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only.”

Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to Yahweh concerning the frogs which he had brought on Pharaoh. Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields. They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’” They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were lice on man, and on animal; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their enchantments to produce lice, but they couldn’t. There were lice on man, and on animal. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s finger;” but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; behold, he comes out to the water; and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh says, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you, and on your servants, and on your people, and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground they are on. I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, to the end you may know that I am Yahweh on the earth. I will put a division between my people and your people. This sign shall happen by tomorrow.”’” Yahweh did so; and there came grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses. In all the land of Egypt the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms of flies.

Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land!”

Moses said, “It isn’t appropriate to do so; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Yahweh our God. Behold, if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, won’t they stone us? We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh our God, as he shall command us.”

Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to Yahweh your God in the wilderness, only you shall not go very far away. Pray for me.”

Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you. I will pray to Yahweh that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow; only don’t let Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to Yahweh.” Moses went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh 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. Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he didn’t let the people go.

Early Events in Moses’ Mission

Exodus 4:29-7:13

Highlights from this Passage

  • Moses and Aaron deliver God’s message to Pharaoh, who oppresses the people of Israel more and more.
  • The people of Israel cry out upon Moses and Aaron, and Moses complains to God.
  • God renews his promise to deliver the Israelites.
  • Moses speaks to the Israelites, but they do not believe him.
  • Moses and Aaron are sent to Pharaoh again.
  • God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.
  • Moses and Aaron perform the miracles of the serpent and the blood. Pharaoh’s sorcerers do the same.

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Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. The people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don’t know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”

They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword.”

The king of Egypt said to them, “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!” Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens.” The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. You shall require from them the number of the bricks which they made before. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, saying, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it. Don’t let them pay any attention to lying words.”

The taskmasters of the people went out with their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished.’” So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. The taskmasters were urgent saying, “Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!” The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?”

Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, ‘Make brick!’ and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.”

But Pharaoh said, “You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to Yahweh.’ Go therefore now, and work; for no straw shall be given to you; yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!”

The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble when it was said, “You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!”

They met Moses and Aaron, who stood along the way, as they came out from Pharaoh. They said to them, “May Yahweh look at you and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us!”

Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, “Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people. You have not rescued your people at all!”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land.”

God spoke to Moses, and said to him, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them. I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their travels, in which they lived as aliens. Moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the children of Israel, ‘I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments. I will take you to myself for a people. I will be your God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am Yahweh.’”

Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn’t listen to Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.”

Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, “Behold, the children of Israel haven’t listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, when I have uncircumcised lips?” Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a command to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were one hundred thirty-seven years. The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. The sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred thirty-three years. The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. Amram took Jochebed his father’s sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. The years of the life of Amram were one hundred thirty-seven years. The sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. Eleazar Aaron’s son took one of the daughters of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites according to their families. These are that Aaron and Moses to whom Yahweh said, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.” These are those who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron.

On the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, Yahweh said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I tell you.”

Moses said before Yahweh, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I have made you as God to Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not listen to you, so I will lay my hand on Egypt, and bring out my armies, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh when I stretch out my hand on Egypt, and bring the children of Israel out from among them.”

Moses and Aaron did so. As Yahweh commanded them, so they did. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Perform a miracle!’ then you shall tell Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent.’”

Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as Yahweh had commanded. Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers. They also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing with their enchantments. For they each cast down their rods, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.