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God also told him, that if these miracles would not prove that he had sent him, he should perform more, and he should turn some of the water of the river Nile into blood.
Moses then complained that he could not speak well; but God asked him, who made his mouth ? and he could make him speak well.
Still he did not like to go, till God was displeased with him for his anbelief, and he told him that Aaron his brother should speak for him.
So Moses went to his father-in-law, and asked his leave to go into Egypt; and he took his family with him, and his rod in his hand.
And God, by some secret power, impressed Aaron's mind with the thought that he must go and meet Moses.
And when Moses had told Aaron all that had happened, they went together to the elders of Israel. And when they heard all that they were told, and saw the miracles performed, they believed that God would deliver them, and they worshipped him.
Moses applies to Pharaoh.-Pharaoh's Obstinacy and Cruelty.
EXODUS v. Moses and Aaron now went to Pharaoh, and asked leave for the Israelites to go and worship in the wilderness. But Pharaoh knew nothing of the God of Israel, and he asked, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his And he charged Moses and Aaron with making the people discontented ; and he desired that their work should be heavier, and that they should make the same number of bricks as before, but instead of having straw served out to them they should get it where they could ; for they used straw to make the clay of the bricks stick faster together; and some of the bricks made at that time have been found in very ancient ruins in Egypt, and are kept by those who are curious in such things, and in these are straw with the clay. So the people wandered about the corn-fields to get stubble instead of good straw; and this took up so much time, that they could not make the number of bricks they were ordered to make.
Then Pharaoh ordered the Israelitish officers to be beaten, probably by striking them hard on the soles of the feet,-a cruel punishment, used in Egypt, called being bastinadoed. And when they complained to Pharaoh, he said, “Ye are idle, ye are idle ;" and he told them to go again to their work.
And they told Moses and Aaron how cruelly they were used, and blamed them for it: and Moses entreated the Lord in behalf of the poor Israelites.
Beginning of the Ten Plagues of Egypt.-The Plague of Blood.
EXODUS VII. God now permitted Pharaoh's stubbornness and obstinacy to remain, and did not directly cut him off, that he might afterwards show his great power over those who dare to resist his will. This is what is meant by his hardening Pharaoh's heart; and not that he made him wicked, for God never does any wicked thing; he is too good to do evil.
Moses was now eighty years of age, and Aaron was eighty-three, when they stood before Pharaoh.
Now, as Pharaoh would require some proof of their coming from God with their demand to let the Israelites go, Moses and Aaron were desired to use their rod, which perhaps had been Moses's shepherd's crook for catching he sheep by the legs, and with this they were to work the miracles already done.
So when they came before Pharaoh, they did as the Lord had commanded ; and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
Then God determined to afflict Egypt with great plagues.
Egyptians were such stupid idolaters, that they worshipped beasts, birds, insects, and even things without life, as the river Nile, to which they sacrificed a boy or a girl every year. To show them how stupid it was, Moses was commanded to go to the river when Pharaoh went there, perhaps to lathe or to pay it some honours,—and to smite the waters with his rod, and they should become blood, and the fish should die, and the river stink, and the Egyptians nauseate the very water they were used to adore, and which is the most delicious and the most refreshing in the world. And when Moses smote the waters, all the waters in the rivers, and ponds, and even in the vessels in the houses, became blood. " And there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt." Perhaps God here designed to punish the Egyptians for their cruelty, in having drowned so many poor helpless Hebrew infants in the Nile. The Egyptians then dug wells and got good water : so Pharaoh still remained obstinate, and would not let the people go.
The Plagues of Frogs, of Lice, and of Flies.
EXODUS VIII. As Pharaoh would not let the people go, the Lord commanded Moses to threaten him with a second plague, which should be frogs.
There was no need that in this case new frogs should be created, for there were heaps of them in the muddy bed of the Nile, grown and in spawn; and a miracle would be plain enough to be seen, if all the young ones were brought at once to life, and the whole covered the land as Moses said.
And now what he said to Pharaoh came to pass—“And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bed-chamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs : and the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.”
You will wonder, perhaps, how the frogs could get into the ovens ; but the Egyptian ovens were only earthen pots sunk into the ground, into which they put their dough, and covered it with fire, and so baked it into bread. Here, when the fire was out, the frogs would easily fill
Pharaoh was obliged to ask Moses to beg of God Almighty that he would remove them. Moses did so; but Pharaoh still remained obstinate, and would not let Israel go, though the miracle remained before his eyes ; " and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps : and the land stank.”
God then brought a third plague upon Egypt.. Aaron at his command "stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt."
The magicians tried to imitate this plague ; but God bounded their power, and they could not do it. Then they said, “ This is the finger of God." Some learned men think this plague was an insect called the tick, which is flat and round, and is worse than the noxious vermin called lice; as it thrusts its little head and body into the flesh, and will not come out till it is torn in two, and dreadfully torments the body on which it fastens.
This plague did not answer any purpose ; so a day or two after God threatened Pharaoh again: and as he would not mindit,“there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.”
Many persons probably died of this fourth plague,-being stung to death, and having their bodies inflamed and thrown into a fever by these venomous little insects, which they could not escape ; for it is said in the seventyeighth Psalm, when speaking of this plague, “He sent divers sorts of flies among them which devoured them.”
All the time that these plagues existed, the Israelites in Goshen were free from them,-a proof that God's care was over them.
Pharaoh now offered to let the people go, but he did not wish them to go far, and he begged of Moses to pray that the flies might be removed. But when this was done, he again refused to let the people go.
The Plagues of Murrain, of Boils and Blains, and of Rain,
Hail, and Fire.
EXODUS ix. It was very foolish as well as very wicked for Pharaoh to contend against God Almighty, for he can do everything. So he sent a fifth plague, and caused a disease among the cattle of the Egyptians, and
"all the cattle of Egypt died,”—that is, all the cattle that the disease killed were belonging to Egypt, for some were afterwards killed in other ways ;—“but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one."
But Pharaoh was yet hardened. God, therefore, sent a sixth plague ; i was “a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron, at God's command, " took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh ; and Moses sprinkled it up towards heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses, because of the boils ; for the boil was upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians." The ashes from the furnaces of the brick-kilns were thus turned into a righteous punishment, for the cruel treatment of the Israelites by the Egyptians.
This was followed by a seventh plague of hail, fire, and thunder. The people were warned of the danger, and cautioned not to go themselves, nor to leave out their cattle in the fields, for the hail should come down upon them and they should die. “And he that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses : and he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field.” And now again “ Moses stretched forth his rod towards heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along the ground." And “all that was in the field,” man and beast, and berb and tree, perished. “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail."
Pharaoh was now sadly frightened, and sent for Moses, and begged him pray to God to stop the "mighty thunderings and hail ;" but when they were over, Pharaoh again would not let the people go.
The Plagues of Locusts and Darkness.
EXODUS x. God now threatened Pharaoh with the plague of locusts, which was the eighth plague.
So Moses stretched out his rod, and the Lord sent a wind that brought locusts with it, and “they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened ; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left : and there remained not any green