The Story of Redemption


The Plagues

The miracle of the rod's becoming a serpent and the river's being turned to blood did not move the hard heart of Pharaoh, only to increase his hatred of the Israelites. The work of the magicians led him to believe that these miracles were performed by magic, but he had abundant evidence that this was not the case when the plague of frogs was removed. God could have caused them to disappear and return to dust in a moment, but He did not do this, lest, after they should be removed, the king and the Egyptians should say that it was the result of magic, like the work of the magicians. They died, and then they gathered them together into heaps. Their bodies they could see before them, and they corrupted the atmosphere. Here the king and all Egypt had evidences which their vain philosophy could not dispose of, that this work was not magic but a judgment from the God of heaven. SR 116.1

The magicians could not produce the lice. The Lord would not suffer them to make it even appear to their own sight, or to that of the Egyptians, that they could produce the plague of the lice. He would remove all excuse of unbelief from Pharaoh. He compelled even the magicians themselves to say, “This is the finger of God.” SR 116.2

Next came the plague of the swarms of flies. They were not such flies as harmlessly annoy us in some seasons of the year, but the flies brought upon Egypt were large and venomous. Their sting was very painful upon man and beast. God separated His people from the Egyptians and suffered no flies to appear throughout their coasts. SR 116.3

The Lord then sent the plague of the murrain upon their cattle, and at the same time preserved the cattle of the Hebrews, that not one of them died. Next came the plague of the boil upon man and beast, and the magicians could not protect themselves from it. The Lord then sent upon Egypt the plague of the hail mingled with fire, with lightnings and thunder. The time of each plague was given before it came, that it might not be said to have happened by chance. The Lord demonstrated to the Egyptians that the whole earth was under the command of the God of the Hebrews—that thunder, hail, and storm obey His voice. Pharaoh, the proud king who once inquired, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” humbled himself and said, “I have sinned ... : the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” He begged of Moses to be his intercessor with God, that the terrific thunder and lightning might cease. SR 117.1

The Lord next sent the dreadful plague of the locusts. The king chose to receive the plagues rather than to submit to God. Without remorse he saw his whole kingdom under the miracle of these dreadful judgments. The Lord then sent darkness upon Egypt. The people were not merely deprived of light, but the atmosphere was very oppressive, so that breathing was difficult; yet the Hebrews had a pure atmosphere and light in their dwellings. SR 117.2

One more dreadful plague God brought upon Egypt, more severe than any before it. It was the king and the idolatrous priests who opposed to the last the request of Moses. The people desired that the Hebrews should be permitted to leave Egypt. Moses related to Pharaoh and to the people of Egypt, also to the Israelites, the nature and effect of the last plague. On that night, so terrible to the Egyptians and so glorious to the people of God, was the solemn ordinance of the passover instituted. SR 117.3

It was very hard for the Egyptian king and a proud and idolatrous people to yield to the requirements of the God of heaven. Very slow was the king of Egypt to yield. While under most grievous affliction he would yield a little; but when the affliction was removed, he would take back all he had granted. Thus, plague after plague was brought upon Egypt, and he yielded no more than he was compelled to by the dreadful visitations of God's wrath. The king even persisted in his rebellion after Egypt had been ruined. SR 118.1

Moses and Aaron related to Pharaoh the nature and effect of each plague which should follow his refusal to let Israel go. Every time he saw these plagues come exactly as he was told they would come; yet he would not yield. First, he would only grant them permission to sacrifice to God in the land of Egypt; then, after Egypt had suffered by God's wrath, he granted that the men alone should go. After Egypt had been nearly destroyed by the plague of the locusts, then he granted that their children and their wives might go also, but would not let their cattle go. Moses then told the king that the angel of God would slay their first-born. SR 118.2

Every plague had come a little closer and more severe, and this was to be more dreadful than any before it. But the proud king was exceedingly angry, and humbled not himself. And when the Egyptians saw the great preparations being made among the Israelites for that dreadful night, they ridiculed the token of blood upon their doorposts. SR 118.3