~~~~~Lesson: Exodus: Chapters 9-11 (Reading after lesson)
Many people have trouble understanding the concept that the Lord was the one making Pharaoh obstinate…aka “The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart”.
There are two common explanations for this:
1) God, obviously, is not limited by our lack of understanding of what is right and wrong. God’s actions in hardening Pharaoh’s heart in order to show God’s glory is right, we simply don’t have the understanding the morality.
2) That God was only continuing a process of hardening that Pharaoh had already initiated. In other words, it was Pharaoh’s decision to reject God.
Which of these seems more likely to you? Why?
The rest of "scientific" explanation is as follows: the pestilence that spread throughout the land caused boils to break out upon all of the Egyptians. The biting insects carried bacteria (perhaps Pseudomonas mallei). Something to do with the volcano- don't ask me what, it's been too long- changed the weather pattern and caused the horrible hail. The Locusts came to feed because the wind changed with the weather. The darkness was caused by the ash from the volcano. The death of the firstborns was caused because of a dangerous gas that was floating through the air; the firstborn was usually honored by having a bed off the floor to sleep on...the gas was lighter than normal air, so only those on beds died.
Honestly, I didn't make this up!! I’ve re-ordered “Exodus Decoded” from Netflix and will post the detailed, “scientific” explanation when I’ve re-watched it.
In your opinion, which plague is the most "miraculous"? Why?
~Reading: Exodus: Last Five Plagues
Sixth Plague: the Boils: Exodus 9:10-12
So they [Moses & Aaron] took soot from a furnace and stood in the presence of Pharaoh. Moses scattered it toward the sky, and it caused festering boils on man and beast. The magicians could not stand in Moses' presence, for there were boils on the magicians no less than on the rest of the Egyptians. But the Lord made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had foretold to Moses.
Seventh Plague: the Hail: Exodus 9:20-26, 34-35
(20-26) Some of Pharaoh's servants feared the warning of the Lord and hurried their servants and livestock off to shelter. Others, however, did not take the warning of the Lord to heart and left their servants and livestock in the fields.
The Lord then said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall upon the entire land of Egypt, on man and beast and every growing thing in the land of Egypt." When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent forth hail and peals of thunder. Lightning flashed toward the earth, and the Lord rained down hail upon the land of Egypt; and lightening constantly flashed through the hail, such fierce hail as had never been seen in the land since Egypt became a nation. It struck down every man and beast that was in the open throughout the land of Egypt; it beat down every growing thing and splintered every tree in the fields. Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites dwelt, was their no hail.
(34-35) But Pharaoh, seeing that the rain and hail and thunder had ceased, sinned again: he with his servants became obdurate, and in his obstinacy he would not let the Israelites go, as the Lord had foretold through Moses.
Eighth Plague: the Locusts: Exodus 10:13-15, 19-20
(13-15) So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord sent an east wind blowing over the land all that day and all that night. At dawn the east wind brought the locusts. They swarmed over the whole land of Egypt and settled down on every part of it. Never before had there been such a fierce swarm of locusts, nor will there ever be. They covered the surface of the whole land, till it was black with them. They ate up all the vegetation in the land and the fruit of whatever trees the hail had spared. Nothing green was left on any tree or plant throughout the land of Egypt.
(19-20) ...and the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which took up the locusts and hurled them into the Red Sea. But though not a single locust remained within the confines of Egypt, the Lord made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the Israelites go.
Ninth Plague: the Darkness: Exodus 10:22-23, 27
(22-23) So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was dense darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. Men could not see one another, nor could they move from where they were, for three days. But all the Israelites had light where they dwelt.
(27) But the Lord made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let them go.
Tenth Plague: the Death of the Firstborn: Exodus 11:1, 29-30
(1) Then the Lord told Moses, "one more plague will I bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. After that he will let you depart. In fact, he will not merely let you go; he will drive you away.
[Moses tells Pharaoh the warning; the Israelites prepare for the Passover as the Lord them. They also swabbed their doorposts with blood as instructed.]
(29-30) At midnight the Lord slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the first-born of the animals. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was loud wailing throughout Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong