The First Plague – Exodus 7:14-25

I have only a couple things to mention regarding this plague. It strikes me incredible that even the buckets of water were affected and turned into blood. Egypt had no water to drink, and it says at the end of chapter 7 that it lasted for seven days. The magicians were able to conjure the same feat, but then why couldn’t they turn the blood back into water? Wouldn’t that have been beneficial for the Egyptians?

This first plague begins the long prose of what we refer to as the “Ten Plagues”. Psalm 78:43-51 also reiterates these plagues, leaving out live, boils, and darkness. Psalm 105:27-36 also reiterates these plagues, leaving out boils and pestilence. As an overview, the Ten Plagues are grouped into three classes, each class with three plagues, and the tenth plague having a character all its own. The first two plagues are always forewarned in every class, and the last happens suddenly. Also, in the case of the first, fourth, and seventh plague, Pharaoh was informed in the morning of what it to happen. Such is the pattern that seems to be laid out.

Within the first plague, we have an attack on the deities of Egypt. Hapi was the deified Nile river, and the Egyptians offered sacrifices to this ‘god’. The Nile was also considered the lifeblood of Osiris. It’s interesting that Pharaoh had thrown all of the male children into the Nile, attempting to kill the hope of the Israelites, and now God is turning the Nile into blood. It makes me to think of the passage much later in Scripture (Revelation 16:3-7) where the creation and the angels cry out that God is just in His action of causing the water in the Antichrist’s kingdom to become blood. Just as the Antichrist has slain all of the saints, so too is God giving the beasts kingdom blood to drink. Just as Pharaoh has spilled the innocent blood of the Hebrews, so now is God giving the Egyptians blood to drink.

It’s interesting to me that seven days pass at the end of the chapter. Some Jewish commentaries have suggested that this implies a week before the second plague. Others have suggested that the plague simply lasted for seven days. Either way, I think we often forget that time does elapse in the Bible. We can sit down and read through all ten plagues in one sitting, but we don’t realize that months have probably passed in that duration. Imagine the intensity of not having water for seven days. No wonder the Egyptians were digging around the Nile to try to find water. After three days, as the saying goes, you’re dead. There is no water, no fish, and with no water there is soon to be bigger problems.

Day after day would have gone on, and these people would have been without an answer. It mentions that Pharaoh hardened his heart, and that the magicians performed the same miracle, and that the Egyptians attempted to find water by digging wells, but this has to effect the psyche. You don’t go through daily inconvenience without some sort of response. It eats away at you. This is the first plague, the introduction to God’s judgments upon the gods of Egypt, and God’s revealing of Himself to the Israelites and to the Egyptians.

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