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EXODUS: FUNCTIONING WELL IN A HOPELESS GROUP ASSIGNMENT
Part I: God's Deliverance Of Israel Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
L. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Disease On Livestock
Lesson: (1) Hort's naturalistic explanation that a plague of anthrax on Egypt's livestock by way of their contact with infected dead frogs is countered by the Scientific data and Scripture: (a) anthrax does not infect frogs, but (b) land animals that contract it from the soil. (c) Scripture reveals the activity of the frogs and the contrasting destiny of the livestock of Israel and Egypt though both groups of animals were in close proximity to the dead frogs and each other's soils counter a natural explanation of a plague of anthrax. (2) Also, this plague revealed Egypt's gods associated with livestock were false.
- As we before noted, Scripture reveals five goals for the plagues of Egypt: they came to deliver Israel from Egypt, to answer Pharaoh's question of "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?", to reveal God's power to Israel, to reveal the earth belongs to the Lord and not Egypt's gods and to judge all the gods of Egypt, R. Grigg, "The Ten Plagues of Egypt," Creation (v. 27, no. 1), Dec.-Feb. 05, p. 36.
- For such goals to be reached, the plagues would have to be seen as miracles by the Egyptians.
- However, naturalistic explanations for the plagues were offered by Greta Hort in 1957, a scholar of medieval English literature and religion, and her views are cited in reference works today, Ibid., p. 34, 38.
- Thus, we view the Scripture and the data to see if the fifth plague was a true miracle that glorified God:
- God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Disease On Livestock, Exodus 9:1-7.
- The Biblical account of the fifth plague is as follows:
- God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let Israel go that she might serve Him, Ex. 9:1. Failure to obey would result in a disease that killed Egypt's horses, donkeys, camels, cattle and sheep, Ex. 9:2-3 ESV.
- This plague would have hurt Egypt's "transportation, agriculture and worship (since cattle were sacred)", cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Exodus 9:3.
- God promised He would make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of the Egyptians; not a single livestock of the people of Israel would die from the plague, Exodus 9:4!
- God further stated the plague would occur the day after Pharaoh refused to release Israel, Exodus 9:5.
- Pharaoh apparently refused to release Israel, so the plague hit with all the livestock of the Egyptians dying and not a single livestock of the people of Israel expiring just as God had foretold, Ex. 9:6!
- Though Pharaoh learned that not one livestock in Israel had died, he still refused to release Israel, 9:7!
- Greta Hort gave a naturalistic explanation for the plague to counter the view that it was a miracle: she suggested the livestock died from anthrax the animals contracted from the dead frogs, Ibid., Grigg, p. 34.
- Nevertheless, the scientific data does not support Hort's explanation as follows:
- Anthrax "does not infect aquatic animals, e. g. fish (whether dead or alive) or frogs," Ibid., p. 36.
- Also, it "infects . . . land animals which graze on grass contaminated by anthrax . . . in the soil."
- Besides, the Biblical record contradicts Hort's explanation:
- Russell Grigg reported that "some of the frogs returned to, and remained in, the Nile when God lifted the plague (Exodus 8:11)." (Ibid.) Those frogs did not have the highly contagious disease of anthrax!
- Also, an epidemic of anthrax contracted from the dead frogs would not result in only Egypt's livestock dying as Ex. 9:6-7 records happened; the livestock of Israel were also exposed to the frogs, for the frogs plagued Goshen where Israel lived, Ex. 8:2; cf. J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible, vol. I, p. 227!
- Besides, as anthrax is contracted from the soil, it is highly unlikely that no highly contagious anthrax was in Goshen (Ex. 9:4, 6-7) while being naturally, copiously present in all of Egypt's other soils (9:6)!
- Fulfilling God's will, this fifth plague "on the livestock (which provided food, milk, clothing and transportation), was a direct attack on Apis, the sacred bull god, and Mnevis, a bull-god symbol of fertility, as well as Hathor, the cow-like mother goddess, and Isis, the queen of the gods, who wore a cow's horns on her head. They were all shown to be imposters [sic]." (Ibid., p. 37)
Application: May we believe the plague of disease on Egypt's livestock was a miracle from the Creator God, and worship Him as the One, True God, Maker of all the earth's livestock, cf. Genesis 1:24-25.