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The Plague of Boils

God sends the Egyptian Magicians a very clear message


"So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.'" - Exodus 9:8,9

(Bible Study Online Article Covers : Exodus 9:8-12)



Short Recap?

In the last article we learned that God had delivered his "sixth judgment blow" against the Egyptians. And although this was God's sixth move from within this judgment process that was now taking place against Pharaoh and his kingdom, the plague itself was God's fifth. This particular plague dealt with God releasing a very severe pestilence upon the Egyptians livestock:

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, "Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

'For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, behold, the hand of the Lord will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep a very severe pestilence."'" - Exodus 9:1-3,

Also note that up to this point, this particular plague would turn out to be the most intense and the most devastating, for we find that Egypt's entire livestock from within the land would be wiped out:

"So the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died." - Exodus 9:6



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The Plague of Boils?


And perhaps Pharaoh was willing to give himself over to the notion that it would better for him to lose his livestock, than to give in to Moses' demands? Or maybe, just maybe, Pharaoh was hoping that this would finally be the end of this judgment process altogether? But unfortunately for Pharaoh, as he would soon find out, it wasn't.

For we now find God instructing Moses on what to do next: "So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.'" - Exodus 9:8,9



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Both Man & Beast Will Suffer?


And as we can see from what God had just told Moses, the Lord will be taking things up another notch, for we now find the Almighty inflicting both man and beast with His next plague: "...it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt." For we must keep in mind that up to now, the plagues that God had enacted upon the Egyptian kingdom seemed to be more of a nuisance and an inconvenience when it came to man.

But now we find God actually inflicting a severe condition upon mankind (the Egyptians) along with the beast that were left in the land. Now don't confuse the "beast" that were to be inflicted, with the Egyptian livestock (cattle) that had just died from the previous plague. There's a reason why the Sacred Record makes a point of putting a clear distinction between the two.



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Who Was God Challenging?


Be that as it may, we now find Moses and Aaron doing as they were instructed to do: "Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians." - Exodus 9:10,11

Now things get a little bit complex and at the same time, a little bit more interesting when it comes to the Egyptian deity that the Most High God was challenging at this time. And of course I could keep it very simple by placing the Egyptian deity that was known as Thoth in this spot. Being that the Egyptians recognized him as some sort of "god of invention" or "creator god."

The Egyptians believed that this deity had invented civilization advancements that dealt with: writing, music, magic and medicine. For this particular plague, magic and medicine would be the attributes that would easily connect this deity with this particular plague.



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Were the Magicians Singled Out?


But personally, I don't think it was Thoth that was being challenged. And the reason for this, deals with the Sacred Record specifically pointing out that the magicians were embarrassed and ashamed to stand before Moses - being that they too, were personally afflicted with the boils and sores: "And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians." - Exodus 9:11

The apostle Paul seems to confirm this point of view: "Now as Jannes and Jambres [the Egyptian magicians] resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was." - 2 Timothy 3:8,9



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Dare to be Daring?


Now we shouldn't make the mistake of glossing over this little detail when it comes to the magicians being singled out from within the passage. For if we were to be daring in our studies by exploring the passage a little bit farther, we could easily peel back another "layer of insight" when it comes to God's Word. And by doing so, in comes Imhotep. Now normally when one teaches this record by attaching Imhotep along with it, generally they are focused solely on him as a deity. This is understandable, being that it allows the Bible teacher to stay within the theme of this particular record: The God of Israel vs. The Egyptian deities.



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Let's Go Deeper?


But we can go even deeper if we were to briefly look at Imhotep before he was defied. Did you catch that "before he was deified?" Know that Imhotep was merely a man that served under the third Egyptian family dynasty mainly as a high priest and magician. But his accomplishments and responsibilities wouldn't end there, for he was also skilled and very knowledgeable in many subject areas that dealt with (medicine, poetry, philosophy, architecture, and engineering).

Imhotep was sort of like the renaissance men that we read about in our very own history books. Men like Michelangelo, Galileo, Cicero, Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin (just to name a few). And it was for his tremendous accomplishments and civilization contributions that would earn him from within the Egyptian civilization some sort of divine status after his death.



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Imhotep the Highly Revered?


World renowned historian and archaeologist James H. Breasted seems to give us a little bit more insight when it comes to the man: "In priestly wisdom, in magic, in the formulation of wise proverbs; in medicine and architecture; this remarkable figure of Zoser's reign left so notable a reputation that his name is not forgotten to this day. [Imhotep] was the patron spirit of the later scribes, to whom they regularly poured out a libation from the water-jug of their writing outfit before beginning their work."

So basically I went the long way around in order to show you just how personal and directly involved Imhotep was, when it came to Pharaoh's magicians. For they saw him as that shining example of how a high priest and magician should be, so much so, that he was highly revered long after his death. This is why I hold the viewpoint that this plague was a direct challenge to the magicians and the person (Imhotep) they had model themselves after.



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The Untouchables?


Look how the God of Israel took care of His servants, how He took care of His representatives when it came to Moses and his brother Aaron? For Pharaoh couldn't bring any harm to them (even if he wanted to), and it didn't matter how many times his heart was hardened, Pharaoh knew that Moses and Aaron were untouchable.

But when it came to Pharaoh's magicians, no such luck, they didn't enjoy the type of privileges and protections that was afforded to Moses and Aaron on the behalf of the One True God. And because of this, they were now exposed as frauds, while suffering an illness affliction from the very same God that they had earlier, chosen to mock, and oppose.

And of course, just like before, we find Pharaoh being left a hardened heart: "But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses." - Exodus 9:12


In the next Bible Study Online Article:

But as we would soon learn in the next article, God wasn't done with the Egyptians, for we find that He would begin to instruct Moses when it came to His next move from within the judgment process that was taking place against the Egyptians. Will Pharaoh be able to continue to endure the judgment process? Will the next Egyptian deity that God challenges - be up to the task of stopping of Him?


May God blessings be upon you, and thank you for your ongoing support



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181) God tells Pharaoh - You Owe Me Everything!

182) Pharaoh's Sympathizers

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