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The second plague, frogs - Artist unknown

Seven days after turning the Nile waters into blood, the Lord said to Moses,

“Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials, and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’”

Moses and the frog plague - Artist unknownThen God told Moses,

“Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”

So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frogs came up and covered the land. But Pharaoh’s magicians did the same things by their secret arts – they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”

“Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

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Moses replied, “It will be as you say so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people. They will remain only in the Nile.”

After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to God about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the house, in the courtyards, and in the fields. They were piled into heaps and the land reeked of them.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said he would do.

What the story means to us today

When the conditions improve, Pharaoh ignores God’s grace and goes back on his word

The plague of frogs impacts Pharaoh, his family, and the citizens of Egypt. The second of ten plagues causes Pharaoh to reconsider his stance against the Israelites. But when he receives relief from the plague, he takes it for granted and goes back on his word. But Pharaoh does not have the foresight to know – eight more devastating plagues are on the horizon.

Like many people today, Pharaoh asks for God’s assistance when times are bad but ignores God when times are good. He selfishly takes advantage of God’s good grace.

Additional thoughts and considerations

Was the plague of frogs a natural event?

The ten plagues of Moses and the plague of frogs - Artist unknownSome scholars propose the plague of frogs was a byproduct of the polluted Nile water. The theory holds that the algae that killed the marine life causes the frogs to abandon the contaminated waterways and move to safety on dry land. However, this does not explain why they moved into dwellings or why they suddenly died after moving to land. Nor does it explain the large number of frogs that besieged the citizens of Egypt.

It’s important to recognize that this plague caused Pharaoh to reconsider his opposition to freeing the Israelites. It is only the second plague of ten and already Pharaoh has come to “know” the god he previously denied – and there are still eight plagues to go!

How did Pharaoh’s magicians duplicate the plague of frogs?

The verses tell us the Egyptian magicians were able to duplicate Moses’ act using their “secret arts”. We are not told precisely what they did, only that they did “the same things”. They clearly did not cause another plague which would have worsened an already dire situation. Possibly they only caused the frogs to exit the water, which could have been accomplished using a variety of methods.

Note though, that the Egyptian magicians did not use their “secret arts” to remove the plague of frogs. This hints that they had no power to do so.

Why did Moses ask Pharaoh for a specific date and time to remove the plague of frogs?

When Pharaoh asks Moses to “pray to the Lord to take the frogs away”, Moses tells him, “I will leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials.” Not only does Moses tell Pharaoh that God can remove the plague, he lets Pharaoh set the specific date and time to prove the work is God’s and God’s only.

The science and history behind the story

Egyptians’ unusual fear of frogs

The Egyptians may have held a special fear for frogs. In ancient Egypt, frogs were believed to be the home to evil spirits. Egyptians of the day carried religious amulets that they believed would ward off the frog’s evil presence.

Notes on Biblical translation

“I will send a plague of frogs”

Moses and the plague of frogs - Artist unknownThe original Hebrew translates more closely to “I am about to plague you”. This could just as easily mean, “I am about to strike you”, a much more forcible threat.

Bible Text

NIV

25 Seven days passed after the LORD struck the Nile.

8  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. 3 The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. 4 The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’ ”

5 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ ”

6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.”

9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”

10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”

12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

7:25  Seven full days passed after the LORD struck the Nile. 8:1  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Release my people in order that they may serve me! 8:2 But if you refuse to release them, then I am going to plague all your territory with frogs. 8:3 The Nile will swarm with frogs, and they will come up and go into your house, in your bedroom, and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading troughs. 8:4 Frogs will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.” ’ ”

8:5 The LORD spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals, and over the ponds, and bring the frogs up over the land of Egypt.’ ” 8:6 So Aaron extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

8:7 The magicians did the same with their secret arts and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt too.

8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD that he may take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will release the people that they may sacrifice to the LORD.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me—when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed from you and your houses, so that they will be left only in the Nile?” 8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, “It will be as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. 8:11 The frogs will depart from you, your houses, your servants, and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”

8:12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD because of the frogs that he had brought on Pharaoh. 8:13 The LORD did as Moses asked—the frogs died out of the houses, the villages, and the fields. 8:14 The Egyptians piled them in countless heaps, and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

The plague of frogs - Artist unknownNew King James Version

And seven days passed after the LORD had struck the river.

8 And the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. 3 So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls. 4 And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants.” ’ ”

5 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’ ” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.

8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Entreat the LORD that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.”

9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only.”

10 So he said, “Tomorrow.” And he said, “Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 And the frogs shall depart from you, from your houses, from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only.”

12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh. And Moses cried out to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh. 13 So the LORD did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields. 14 They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

Seven days went by after GOD had struck the Nile.

1–4 8 GOD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘GOD’s Message: Release my people so they can worship me. If you refuse to release them, I’m warning you, I’ll hit the whole country with frogs. The Nile will swarm with frogs—they’ll come up into your houses, into your bedrooms and into your beds, into your servants’ quarters, among the people, into your ovens and pots and pans. They’ll be all over you, all over everyone—frogs everywhere, on and in everything!’ ”

5 GOD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Wave your staff over the rivers and canals and ponds. Bring up frogs on the land of Egypt.’ ”

6 Aaron stretched his staff over the waters of Egypt and a mob of frogs came up and covered the country.

7 But again the magicians did the same thing using their incantations—they also produced frogs in Egypt.

8 Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to GOD to rid us of these frogs. I’ll release the people so that they can make their sacrifices and worship GOD.”

9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Certainly. Set the time. When do you want the frogs out of here, away from your servants and people and out of your houses? You’ll be rid of frogs except for those in the Nile.”

10–11 “Make it tomorrow.”

Moses said, “Tomorrow it is—so you’ll realize that there is no God like our GOD. The frogs will be gone. You and your houses and your servants and your people, free of frogs. The only frogs left will be the ones in the Nile.”

12–14 Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, and Moses prayed to GOD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. GOD responded to Moses’ prayer: The frogs died off—houses, courtyards, fields, all free of frogs. They piled the frogs in heaps. The country reeked of dead frogs.

15 But when Pharaoh saw that he had some breathing room, he got stubborn again and wouldn’t listen to Moses and Aaron. Just as GOD had said.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river.

8 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 3 And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs: 4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. 5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. 7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD. 9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? 10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God. 11 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only. 12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. 14 And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database

 

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