The Confrontation with Pharaoh (The Covenant & the Cross #65)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 5:1-3 which reads: “And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Geddes MacGregor, author of “A Literary History of the Bible”. He said: “When a veil there must be, the translator’s task is to make it as gossamer-fine a veil as may be. Indeed, the face of even the most beautiful of women may be enhanced by a veil, if only the veil be worthy of her beauty.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Confrontation with Pharaoh” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

In addition to the sign of the return to Mount Sinai, God gave Moses several other signs to establish his position before both the people and Pharaoh. He was able to stick his hand inside his robe and have it come out leprous and then reverse the process. He was able also to cast down his staff and have it convert to a large snake and then revert back when he picked it up.

With this, Moses began a series of confrontations with Pharaoh. We know them as the ten plagues. The plague sequence struck a serious blow to the entire agricultural cycle of Egypt, which we have seen began with the rise of Sothis (Sirius) in June, signaling the coming flood of the Nile, and culminated the following spring at the time of the first Passover.

As such, the plagues were also directed at the gods of Egypt, whose role was to ensure the agricultural prosperity of the country. However, matching specific plagues with specific gods is very difficult. Many of the gods were local in nature; thus multiple gods had multiple functions, and several merged over the centuries. It is interesting to note that the first four plagues harassed rather than produced serious long-term consequences. It was only after Pharaoh continued to resist that the plagues progressed from being a show of force to having serious consequences.

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