Plagues III: Darkness and Death of Firstborn

Exodus 10:21-12:36
I. Context • Who are the main characters in this passage? What do we know about them? • Moses:


When does this passage take place? • The passage begins three days before Passover, which was on the 14th day of Abib/Nisan, and ends the next day as the people are urged to leave in haste. Also mentioned is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasted from the evening of the 14th day through the evening of the 21st day. Abib/Nisan corresponds with the later part of March and the first part of April on our calendar, basically the same time of year as it is now. Where does this passage take place? • The entirety of this passage takes place in Egypt; however, there is a distinction made between the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived (the eastern section of the Nile delta [Ryrie, Gen. 45:10]), and the rest of Egypt, which was inhabited by the Egyptians. What is going on? (Summary of Events) • The Lord told Moses to stretch his hand to the sky, and when he did, darkness covered Egypt for three days, except for the places where the Israelites lived (10:21-23) • Pharaoh told Moses that they could leave to worship, but they must leave their livestock and herds (10:23) • Moses refused to leave with the animals because the would be needed for worshipping God (10:24-26) • Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he told Moses to leave his presence and not to come back or else Moses would be put to death. Moses tells Pharaoh he would not appear before him again (10:27-29) • Previously, the Lord had told Moses that Pharaoh would let them leave after one final plague and that the Israelites should ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold as they left (11:1-3) • Before leaving Pharaoh’s presence, Moses warns Pharaoh of the 10th and final plague, the death of all Egyptian firstborn and firstborn of the cattle, and that the Israelites would be spared of this plague (11:4-7) • Moses tells Pharaoh that this final plague would be so bad that they would be begging the Israelites to leave and then Moses left Pharaoh’s presence. (11:8) • The Lord instructs Moses and Aaron on the specifics of observing the ordinance of Passover (12:1-13) • On the tenth day of the first month, each household was to select a lamb (12:1-3) • Must be year-old males, without defect, from either sheep or goats (12:4-5) • Small families could share a lamb with their nearest neighbor (12:4) • The lamb was to be taken care of until it was slaughtered at twilight on the 14th day (12:6) • Once slaughtered, each family was to take some of the lamb’s blood and mark the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses (12:7) • That night, they were to roast the lamb over fire and eat or burn all of it by morning (12:8-10) • They were to eat it with cloak tucked into belt, wearing sandals, and holding their staff (12:11) • The Lord tells of how He would pass through Egypt that night and kill all firstborns except for in the houses that had been marked with the lamb’s blood. (12:12-13) • The Lord instructs Moses and Aaron on observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread (12:14-20) • Anyone who ate anything with yeast during this time must be cut off from the people (12:15, 19) • Moses called together the elders of Israel and told them what God had said (12:21-23) • Passover & the Feast of Unleavened Bread are instituted as lasting ordinances for Israel (12:24-28) • At midnight, the Lord struck down every firstborn in Egypt, even Pharaoh’s, and livestock (12:29-30) • Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and commanded them and the Israelites to leave (12:31-32) • The Egyptians urged the Israelites to hurry in their leaving and gave them articles of silver and gold as Moses had told the people to ask their neighbors for, thus they plundered the Egyptians (12:33-36)


Interpretation • What principles are illustrated in this passage? What would you consider the theme of this passage?

How is God involved in this passage? Is he in the foreground or background? What do we learn of his character?

What is significant about studying Passover today on Easter? What parallels do you see? Was this intentional? o o o Selection of the lamb: Fate of the Lamb: The Role of the Blood:


Application • In many ways, the story of God rescuing the Israelites from slavery to the Egyptians is similar to God rescuing mankind from slavery to sin. One clear truth is that God loves his people. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8 (NIV) • Christ is our “Passover lamb” in that it was through his blood that God’s wrath “passes over” us. He lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died to pay the price we could not pay. God demands perfection and only Christ is worthy to be the perfect sacrifice that God demands as payment for sin. • Do you take your enslavement to sin seriously? The Israelites cried out for deliverance from their Egyptian captivity, yet sometimes because our slavery is not as overt, we don’t realize the reality that we are, indeed, slaves to sin. Would you yearn for deliverance differently if your enslavement was harder to overlook?

Order 1

Plague Nile River turned to Blood Frogs Swarms of Gnats/Lice Swarms of Flies Disease of the Livestock Boils Hailstorm Locusts Darkness Death of the Firstborn


2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th

Egyptian gods involved (Ryrie) Replicated? Hapi: spirit of the Nile 7:14-24 Everyone YES YES Khnum: guardian of the Nile Heqt: form of a frog 7:25-8:15 Everyone YES YES Hapi: spirit of the Nile Uncertain; perhaps an attack on the 8:16-19 Everyone NO NO Egyptian priests Uatchit: a god who manifested 8:20-32 Egyptians YES NO himself as a fly Apis bill revered. Sacred bulls and 9:1-7 Egyptians YES NO cows Ptah, Mnrvis, Hathor Sekhmet: goddess with power to heal 9:8-12 Egyptians NO NO Serapis: healing god Seth: protector of crops 9:13-35 Egyptians YES NO Nut: sky goddess Isis: goddess of life 10:1-20 Egyptians YES NO Seth: protector of crops Re: the sun god 10:21-29 Egyptians NO NO Atum: god of setting sun Osiris: giver of life 11:1-12:36 Egyptians YES NO Pharaoh was also considered deity Based up the table, “The Ten Plagues,” taken from the Ryrie Study Bible (NIV), pg. 100.