The Plagues Of Egypt -- By: Edward M. Merrins

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 065:260 (Oct 1908)
Article: The Plagues Of Egypt
Author: Edward M. Merrins


The Plagues Of Egypt

Edward M. Merrins

II.

The first series of plagues, covering about a year, consisted of (1) a low Nile, with the gloomy prospect of famine and pestilence; (2) a plague of frogs; (3) a plague of lice; (4) a plague of other insects; (5) a murrain of cattle; (6) an epidemic of pestis minor. All these calamities fell heavily upon the Egyptians, injuring their property, and causing much bodily discomfort and sickness. But the hearts of the people, and the heart of Pharaoh, notwithstanding his own sickness, remained unchanged. These plagues had only touched them externally, as it were, in body and estate; their inward nature had not been stirred so profoundly as to make them willing to liberate their slaves. The succeeding plagues of hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of the first-born, covering almost another year, were more searching, penetrating to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, for the Egyptians could not otherwise regard them than as the manifestations of the wrath of a powerful and hostile divinity.

The Seventh Plague

The plague of rain, hail, lightning, and thunder.—It is difficult for us to enter fully and sympathetically into the religious emotions of the peoples of antiquity, in whom there dwelt fresh and strong the dark instincts formed when our primitive an-

cestors first began their intelligent struggle with the forces of nature, regarded as dread and inscrutable, and were often beaten and cowed by them. Perhaps these instincts partially survive in> those among ourselves who are filled with unconquerable fear and restlessness during a thunder-storm, in spite of their education and every outward protection. What then must have been the fears of the Egyptians during this rare visitation of a terrible hail- and thunder-storm? “I am he who sendeth forth terror into the powers of rain and thunder… . I have made to flourish my knife, along with the knife which is in the hand of Thoth, in the powers of rain and thunder.” But this terrible storm was not believed to come from Thoth or any other of their own divinities, for then it might have been more tolerable. The terror of it lay in the conviction that they were in the hands of the God of the Hebrews, who was showing Himself to be far more powerful than their own gods, and was directing his anger against them. They felt, as did their captives, that it was He, and no other, who thundered in the heavens, and uttered his voice; that the earth shook and trembled, because He was wroth; it was He who bowed the heavens, and came down; who shot out lightnings, and discomfited them; who gave over their cattle to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts; who cast upon them t...

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