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The Plagues of Egypt, in the story of the
book of Exodus The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Starting with the deliverance of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus), Pharaoh's daughter, it recounts the revelation at the Burning bush where he was called by Yahweh ...
, are ten
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disaster
s inflicted on
Biblical Egypt Biblical Egypt (; ''miṣ-rā-yim''), or Mizraim Mizraim ( ; cf. Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The M ...
by the
God of IsraelGod of Israel may refer to: * God in Judaism, God as understood in Jewish theological discussion. * Yahweh, the national god of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. * Tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters YHWH as the name of God, and various ...
in order to convince the
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...
to allow the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
to depart from
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, each of them confronting Pharaoh and one of his
Egyptian gods Ancient Egyptian deities are the gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as a ...
; they serve as "signs and marvels" given by God to answer Pharaoh's taunt that he does not know Yahweh: "The Egyptians shall know that I am the ".


Plagues


1. Turning water to blood: Ex. 7:14–24


2. Frogs: Ex. 7:25–8:11/15


3. Lice or gnats: Ex. 8:12–15/8:16–19


4. Wild animals or flies: Ex. 8:16–28/8:20–32

The fourth plague of Egypt was of creatures capable of harming people and livestock. The Torah emphasizes that the ''‘arob'' (עָרוֹב "mixture" or "swarm") only came against the Egyptians and did not affect the Israelites. Pharaoh asked Moses to remove this plague and promised to grant the Israelites their freedom. However, after the plague was gone, the Lord hardened his heart and he refused to keep his promise. Various sources use either "wild animals" or "flies".


5. Pestilence of livestock: Ex. 9:1–7


6. Boils: Ex. 9:8–12


7. Thunderstorm of hail and fire: Ex. 9:13–35


8. Locusts: Ex. 10:1–20


9. Darkness for three days: Ex. 10:21–29


10. Death of firstborn: Ex. 11:1–12:36

Before this final plague, God commands Moses to tell the Israelites to mark a
lamb Lamb or The Lamb may refer to: * A young sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Alt ...
's blood above their doors in order that the Angel of Death will pass over them (i.e., that they will not be touched by the death of the firstborn). Pharaoh orders the Israelites to leave, taking whatever they want, and asks Moses to bless him in the name of the Lord. The passage goes on to state that the
passover Passover, also called Pesach (; he, פֶּסַח '), is a major Jewish holiday Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Translitera ...
sacrifice recalls the time when the "passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt".


Composition and theology

Scholars are in broad agreement that the publication of the Torah took place in the mid-Persian period (the 5th century BCE). The
Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically ...
, composed in stages between the 7th and 6th centuries, mentions the "diseases of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 7:15 and 28:60) but refers to something that afflicted the Israelites, not the Egyptians, and never specifies the plagues. The traditional number of ten plagues is not actually mentioned in
Exodus Exodus or the Exodus may refer to: Religion * Book of Exodus, second book of the Hebrew Torah and the Christian Bible * The Exodus, the biblical story of the migration of the ancient Israelites from Egypt into Canaan Historical events * 1948 ...
, and other sources differ; Psalms 78 and
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seem to list only seven or eight plagues and order them differently. It appears that originally there were only seven (which included the tenth), to which were added the third, sixth, and ninth, bringing the count to ten. In this final version, the first nine plagues form three triads, each of which God introduces by informing Moses of the main lesson it will teach. In the first triad, the Egyptians begin to experience the power of God; in the second, God demonstrates that he is directing events; and in the third, the incomparability of Yahweh is displayed. Overall, the plagues are "signs and marvels" given by the God of Israel to answer Pharaoh's taunt that he does not know Yahweh: "The Egyptians shall know that I am the ".


Historicity

Scholars broadly agree that
the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

the Exodus
is not a historical account, that the Israelites originated in
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
and from the
Canaanites Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Common Semitic in the ...
and that, while a small group of proto-Israelites probably did originate from Egypt, it did not happen in the massive way the Bible describes. The
Ipuwer Papyrus The Ipuwer Papyrus (officially Papyrus Leiden I 344 ''recto'') is an ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of comm ...

Ipuwer Papyrus
, written probably in the late
Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt The Twelfth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (Dynasty XII) is considered to be the apex of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Middle Kingdom by Egyptologists. It often is combined with the Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt, Eleventh, Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Thir ...
(c. 1991–1803 BCE), has been put forward in popular literature as confirmation of the Biblical account, most notably because of its statement that "the river is blood" and its frequent references to servants running away; however, these arguments ignore the many points on which Ipuwer contradicts Exodus, such as Asiatics arriving in Egypt rather than leaving and the fact that the "river is blood" phrase probably refers to the red sediment colouring the Nile during disastrous floods, or is simply a poetic image of turmoil. Attempts to find natural explanations for the plagues (e.g., a volcanic eruption to explain the "darkness" plague) have been dismissed by biblical scholars on the grounds that their pattern, timing, rapid succession, and above all, control by Moses mark them as
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the Scientific law, laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entity, non-physical entities, such as angels, demons, gods, and ghost, spirits. It ...

supernatural
.


Artistic representation


Visual art

In visual art, the plagues have generally been reserved for works in series, especially engravings. Still, relatively few depictions in art emerged compared to other religious themes until the 19th century, when the plagues became more common subjects, with John Martin and Joseph Turner producing notable canvases. This trend probably reflected a Romantic attraction to landscape and nature painting, for which the plagues were suited, a Gothic attraction to morbid stories, and a rise in
Orientalism In art history, literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning amon ...
, wherein exotic Egyptian themes found currency. Given the importance of noble patronage throughout Western art history, the plagues may have found consistent disfavor because the stories emphasize the limits of a monarch's power, and images of lice, locusts, darkness, and boils were ill-suited for decoration in palaces and churches.


Music

Taking direct inspiration from the ten plagues, Iced Earth's eleventh studio album ''
Plagues of Babylon ''Plagues of Babylon'' is the eleventh studio album by American heavy metal band Iced Earth#REDIRECT Iced Earth Iced Earth is an American heavy metal band formed in Tampa, Florida and currently based in Columbus, Indiana. They were formed i ...
'' contains many references and allusions to the plagues. song "
Creeping Death "Creeping Death" is a song by American Heavy metal music, heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on November 23, 1984, as the lead single, lead and only commercial single from their album ''Ride the Lightning'' ("Fade to Black (song), Fade t ...
" (from their second album, ''
Ride the Lightning ''Ride the Lightning'' is the second studio album by American heavy metal Heavy metal may refer to: *Heavy metals, a loose category of relatively dense metals and metalloids **Toxic heavy metal, any heavy metal chemical element of environmen ...
'') makes references to a few of the plagues, in addition to the rest of the story of the Exodus. Perhaps the most successful artistic representation of the plagues is Handel's oratorio ''
Israel in Egypt ''Israel in Egypt'', HWV 54, is a The Bible, biblical oratorio by the composer George Frideric Handel. Most scholars believe the libretto was prepared by Charles Jennens, who also compiled the biblical texts for Handel's ''Messiah (Handel), Mess ...
'', which, like his perennial favorite, "
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...

Messiah
", takes a libretto entirely from scripture. The work was especially popular in the 19th century because of its numerous choruses, generally one for each plague, and its playful musical depiction of the plagues. For example, the plague of frogs is performed as a light aria for alto, depicting frogs jumping in the violins, and the plague of flies and lice is a light chorus with fast scurrying runs in the violins.


Documentaries

* ''
The Exodus Decoded ''The Exodus Decoded'' is a 2006 documentary film by "investigative archaeologist" and filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici Simcha Jacobovici (; born April 4, 1953) is an Israeli Canadians, Israeli-Canadian film director, producer, freelance journalist, a ...
'' (2006)


Films

* ''
The Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christi ...
'' (1923) * '' The Moon of Israel'' (1924) * ''
The Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christi ...
'' (1956) * '' The Abominable Dr. Phibes'' (1971) * ''
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...
'' (1995) * ''
The Prince of Egypt ''The Prince of Egypt'' is a 1998 American Animation, animated musical film, musical drama film produced by DreamWorks Animation and released by DreamWorks Pictures. The first feature film from DreamWorks to be Traditional animation, traditiona ...
'' (1998) * ''
Magnolia ''Magnolia'' is a large genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), ...
'' (1999) * ''
The Mummy Mummy often refers to either: * A term of endearment for a Mother. * A well preserved corpse, see; Mummy * Mummy (undead), a popular trope of horror fiction; see Mummy (disambiguation)#Arts and entertainment, Arts and Entertainment Mummy or The ...
'' (1999) * ''
The Reaping ''The Reaping'' is a 2007 American supernatural film, supernatural horror film, horror Thriller (genre), thriller film, starring Hilary Swank. The film was directed by Stephen Hopkins (director), Stephen Hopkins for Warner Bros. Pictures, Village ...
'' (2007) * '' Exodus: Gods and Kings'' (2014) * '' Seder-Masochism'' (2018)


TV

* ''
The Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of an anthology, a compilati ...
'' (2013 miniseries) – Episode 2 has a scene of these plagues. * '' Os Dez Mandamentos'' (2015) * "
A Rugrats Passover "A Rugrats Passover" is the 23rd and final episode of the third season of the American animated television series An animated series is a set of Animation, animated works with a common series title, usually related to one another. These episodes ...
" * "
Simpsons Bible Stories "Simpsons Bible Stories" is the eighteenth episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series ''The Simpsons ''The Simpsons'' is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The ...
" * ''
Family Guy ''Family Guy'' is an American adult animated animated sitcom, sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane and developed by MacFarlane and David Zuckerman (TV producer), David Zuckerman for the Fox Broadcasting Company that premiered on January 31, 1999. ...
'' – In the
second season The second (symbol: s, abbreviation: sec) is the SI base unit, base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) (French: Système International d’unités), commonly understood and historically defined as of a day – this factor d ...
episode "
If I'm Dyin', I'm Lyin' ''Family Guy''s second season first aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox network in 21 episodes from September 23, 1999, to August 1, 2000. The series follows the dysfunctional Griffin family—father Peter Griffin, Peter, mother Lois Griff ...
", the Griffin family is affected by most of the plagues due to Peter being worshipped like God. * '' Haven'' – In "A Tale of Two Audreys" the town of Haven is afflicted by almost all of the plagues of Egypt. * ''
South Park ''South Park'' is an American animated sitcom An animated sitcom is a subgenre of the sitcom that is animation, animated instead of live action. History Early history ''The Flintstones'', which debuted in 1960, is considered the first e ...

South Park
'' – In the sixteenth season episode " Jewpacabra".


Image gallery

File:Aaron points his rod at the river and it begins to flow with Wellcome V0034268.jpg, The Second Plague: Frogs came up and covered the Sand of Egypt File:William de Brailes - The Third Plague of Egypt - Gnats (Exodus 8 -17) - Walters W1065R - Full Page.jpg, The Third Plague: File:Tissot The Plague of Flies.jpg, The Fourth Plague: ''The Plague of Flies'', James Jacques Joseph Tissot, Jewish Museum, New York File:033.The Fifth Plague. Livestock Disease.jpg, The Fifth Plague: Pestilence of livestock, by
Gustave Doré Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré ( , , ; 6 January 1832 – 23 January 1883) was a French artist, as a printmaker 300px, Rembrandt, ''Self-portrait'', etching">Self-portrait.html" ;"title="Rembrandt, ''Self-portrait">Rembrandt, ''Self ...

Gustave Doré
File:Martin, John - The Seventh Plague - 1823.jpg, The Seventh Plague: John Martin (1823) File:Holman The Plague of Locusts.jpg, The Eighth Plague: "The Plague of Locusts", illustration from the 1890
Holman Bible The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is a modern English Bible translation from Holman Bible Publishers. The New Testament was published in 1999, followed by the full Bible in March 2004. Beginnings The roots of the HCSB can be traced to ...
File:034.The Ninth Plague. Darkness.jpg, The Ninth Plague: ''Darkness'' by
Gustave Doré Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré ( , , ; 6 January 1832 – 23 January 1883) was a French artist, as a printmaker 300px, Rembrandt, ''Self-portrait'', etching">Self-portrait.html" ;"title="Rembrandt, ''Self-portrait">Rembrandt, ''Self ...

Gustave Doré


See also

*
Aaron's rod Aaron's rod refers to any of the staves carried by Moses's brother, Aaron, in the Torah. The Bible tells how, along with Staff of Moses, Moses's rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt that preceded the The ...
*
Jochebed According to the Bible, Jochebed was a daughter of Levi and mother of Miriam, Aaron and Moses. She was the wife of Amram, as well as his aunt. No details are given concerning her life. According to Jewish legend, Moses's Mother is buried in the T ...
*
Miriam Miriam ( he, מִרְיָם ''Mīrəyām'') is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Amram and Jochebed, and the older sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a prophets in Judaism, prophetess and first appears in the Book of Exodus. The ...


References


Further reading

* * * *


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Plagues Of Egypt Book of Exodus
Egypt in the Hebrew Bible{{catmore, Biblical Egypt Ancient Egypt, Hebrew Bible Ancient Jewish Egyptian history Hebrew Bible nations, Egypt ...
Moses Passover Jewish miracles Animals in religion Insects in religion Disasters in Egypt