Exodus 9:13-35, the seventh plague

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    The Plague of Hail

    We do not have much evidence of the timing of the first six plagues, but this one, the plague of hail, is much more specific. This most awful of storms would have taken place in January, or, at the latest, in early February, for the flax was fully grown and hard and the barley was also hardened, but the later crops, the wheat and the spelt, had either not yet germinated or were still quite young and pliable, able to bend down or be struck down and still keep growing afterward.

    Did the first plagues take place in Egypt’s flood season of the Nile, or later? Frogs are expected with the Nile flood. Because there were so many frogs, we know the eggs had already been laid. Because they came a week after the waters became blood-like, or full of blood, we know the tadpoles were already swimming around and their metamorphosis had started and may have been probably fairly well advanced.

    The flooding of the Nile takes place late in the autumn. Because Egypt is in the northern hemisphere, their autumn is the same as that in the United States and Europe. The plagues may have started as early as October or as late as January. The timing of the hail is what pins down this particular date, though, to January or early February.

    To repeat myself from an earlier post, I am not in any position to deny that all of the plagues may have happened entirely miraculously. That is certainly not beyond belief. However it is always interesting to explore possible natural ‘causes’ (all causes resting with God ultimately) and this is what I am trying to do here. The key to all of it is the change in the water at the beginning. There are three possibilities mentioned by various commentators, and I want to quickly review them now because there is a chance that this hailstorm is not disconnected from that first plague.

    1. Volcanism: A massive explosion or series of volcanic explosions could have produced the iron and other chemicals which turned the water thick, red, and toxic. This could possibly also account for the darkness later as ash clouds hit the area. Volcanism that intense could also disturb the atmosphere enough to cause a much more violent storm or series of storms than Egypt had ever experienced before. This, then, is a distinct possibility for part of the time of the plagues.

    2. Velikovsky proposed that the earth may have gone through the tail of a comet and that this would start the series of plagues. I have quoted from him below for his explanation, and encourage anyone interested to read more of his material on that webpage. He is able to connect the waters turning red with the hail and the later darkness. He also brings in possible evidence of this being a world-wide event from stories and records from other cultures around the world. Whether or not we end up agreeing with Velikovsky, his research is excellent and it is not good to ignore that.

    3. Some commentators have suggested that a massive algal bloom hit the Nile, but this does not square with the fact that the waters even in the pails and buckets turned to blood or blood-like.

    At any rate, those are the three natural explanations I have read. Personally, my mind is still open although numbers 1 and 2 seem the most plausible to me. I would look for a possible connection with the other plagues, specifically those of the hail and darkness, if I were going to look for something natural. And in researching for this Bible study, I certainly ran into a lot of strange ideas. These are the ones that make the most sense, though!

    One of the more interesting commentaries I read is, again, from the Jewish community, and here it is:

    Was this plague, then, a challenge to a false god? It may have been. But I liked this commentary, which explained it as more of a lesson for Pharaoh, if he was willing to learn.

    Another Jewish commentary includes the following:
    I also want to add some from Velikovsky who is often scorned by people, but who did some really excellent research whether or not anyone agrees with his conclusions. So here is part of what he has to say regarding this plague:
    This plague is remarkable in the way God dealt with the people as well. First of all He tells Moses to tell Pharaoh rather bluntly that He, God, could have wiped them all out by now with something far worse. But He didn’t, and He didn’t for a reason: “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

    What does ‘raised up’ mean? My suggestion is that it means God brought to power someone who had such a rebellious and proud spirit that there was no way this man was ever going to submit to God. Calvinists say he couldn’t have, and non-Calvinists say he wouldn’t have, but no matter who is right, he didn’t, and it was by using that proud and haughty spirit that God was able to show the world the extent of His power.

    But was His power in the storm? Was it in the plagues? Perhaps. But perhaps the mightiest of His power was not in these relatively natural occurrences, but in the unnatural protection of the Israelites through it all. For the land of Goshen did not get hit by the hail.

    Now we can explain, at least in part why there may have been no flies there, and no anthrax (if that is what it was) – they had cleaned up the dead frogs entirely. But we cannot explain how any obedience or doings on their part saved their land from the hail. That was utterly and completely miraculous and only showed the hand of God and none other. And this makes something else apparent: it did not matter if the Israelites came inside and brought their animals in or not! They were safe!

    And this time Pharaoh, seeing the death and devastation calls Moses and says “This time I have sinned.”

    I’m sure that any number of people living today would have looked at Pharaoh and said, “Duh!” Moses was a little more courteous, however, and he agrees to pray for a stop to the hail, “so that you will know that the earth is the Lord’s.”

    Forget your idols, Pharaoh.

    But Moses also tells him, “But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”

    And then Moses walks out of the city. Note that. MOSES WALKED OUT OF THE CITY. When all the animals and people had to be brought in because they would be killed out there, Moses walked through it, out of the city. He spread out his hands and the devastation stopped. Immediately.

    And Pharaoh? Well, you know, hailstorms of whatever variety can’t last forever! What a coincidence that Moses pulled that stunt just as it was ready to stop anyway. Forget letting those silly Israelites go. He would need slaves now more than ever to help pull his economy back together after the storm and the dying! No way was he going to let them go now…

    “So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.”

    [ August 11, 2002, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  2. tyndale1946

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    Aug 30, 2001
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    I was thinking by the devestation of all these plagues so far how could there be any one left. I guess one could say that God preserved the life of the Eqyptians so he could show Pharoah his power. How many people were in Egypt at the time not counting the children of Israel in the land of Goshen. Some Egyptian went through some plagues and various plagues killed some. Others went through all the plagues to the final one. Is there any record of how many people perished in each plague? Reminds me of the book of Revelation where it says a third of men died... Just more food for thought... Brother Glen [​IMG]
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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