No more warnings would be given. The ninth plague came suddenly and without any announcement whatsoever. Darkness descended upon the land, and it lasted for three days. That was the most significant judgment of all in terms of Egyptian religion, because the greatest of all the gods was the sun god Ra, and Pharaoh was considered the incarnation of Ra.

Now the plagues got worse, with the sixth one being against the bodies of the people. Aaron took soot from a furnace and threw it up into the air. The dust dispersed and created boils on the bodies of the Egyptians. That must have seemed very ironic because one of the things they did in their ancient religion was to take the ashes of an offering and throw it into the air. The people thought they were blessed by these ashes thrown into the air and actually falling upon them. But what they regarded as a blessing is now a curse, and it causes boils to break out upon the people.

The second plague was an abnormal multiplication of frogs. God told Pharaoh to let His people go, and that if he did not, the Lord would bring a plague of frogs upon the country, in the Nile, in Pharaoh’s palace, in every house, even in their ovens and kneading troughs (Ex. 8:1-4). Aaron stretched out his rod over the Nile, and immediately all the frogs began to multiply and spread across the land.

Now God said to Moses and his brother that they were to go back and demand again that Pharaoh let the people go. This time they gave Pharaoh a sign. We’re told in Exodus 7 that they did the same sign that God had given to Moses when he was on Horeb on the other side of the Arabian Desert. When they appeared before Pharaoh, Moses had a staff in his hand, a shepherd’s crook, and he was to throw that on the ground. But when he did this and it became a snake, Pharaoh wasn’t very impressed. He probably had seen tricks like that done by his magicians. So he called over his magicians and they did the same thing, but with one very important difference: the snake that had come from the staff of Moses ate up the other snakes. You think that would give anybody pause! But it didn’t give Pharaoh much pause, and he still refused to let the people go. Exodus 7:13 says something that’s going to be repeated again and again in this struggle. It says, “Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.” Now at this point the plagues begin.

This week, we are going to look at the battle by which the Jews were freed from their slavery in Egypt. But I want to begin by saying that there is an enormous gulf between the way a secular historian would look at this and the way the Bible does. Secular historians might look at in a variety of ways, of course. Some would be inclined to see history as the acts of great men, and would say, “Well, this is a case of a marvelous leader, a man of great charismatic ability and faith and integrity and vision. And it was through the force of his personality that the people were brought out.” Somebody who is more inclined to think in terms of mass movements of people through the consolidation of the will of a vast number would say, “Well this is a people movement. Here were a vast number who, in this ancient culture, began to get a taste of what freedom was all about. They wouldn’t rest until they really obtained it.” That’s very different from what the Bible says.