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EXODUS: FUNCTIONING WELL IN A HOPELESS GROUP ASSIGNMENT
Part I: God's Deliverance Of Israel Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
M. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Boils On Man And Beast
Lesson: (1) Hort's naturalistic explanation that the boils was skin anthrax spread by biting flies that came into contact with dead frogs scientifically errs, and is countered by Scripture. (2) The plague was a miracle showing the inability of Egypt's gods and magicians to heal and protect from disease.
- We have noted that Scripture reveals five goals for the plagues on 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 sixth plague was a true miracle that glorified God:
- God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Boils On Man And Beast, Exodus 9:8-12.
- The Biblical account of the sixth plague is as follows:
- God directed Moses and Aaron to take handfuls of ashes from the furnace and that Moses was to throw them into the air in the sight of Pharaoh, Exodus 9:8.
- This soot would become a fine dust throughout the land that would become boils that broke out in sores on man and beast throughout the entire land of Egypt, Exodus 9:9 ESV, KJV.
- When Moses and Aaron obeyed God, and the boils broke arrived, even Pharaoh's magicians who had tried to undermine Moses' credibility before Pharaoh by mimicking his miracles were unable to stand before Moses as they were afflicted by the plague with the rest of men, Exodus 9:10-11!
- However, God hardened Pharaoh's heart though allowing him to continue to believe as he had before regarding these other plagues, and he refused to let Israel leave the land as Moses asked, Exodus 9:12.
- Greta Hort gave a naturalistic explanation for the plague to counter the view that it was a miracle: she suggested the biting flies of the fourth plague, the insect Stomoxys calcitrans that had allegedly bred "in the decaying plants left by the retreating Nile flood," transmitted skin anthrax to man and animals via their contact with the dead frogs which she alleged had died of anthrax, Ibid., Grigg, p. 34.
- Yet, the scientific data does not support this naturalistic explanation: (1) Anthrax "does not infect aquatic animals, e. g. fish ( . . . dead or alive) or frogs," Ibid., p. 36 and, (2) " Biting flies do not spread anthrax to animals or humans, nor do they feed on dead animals. In the medical-veterinary history of anthrax there are no known cases of anthrax-infected fly bites of humans, cattle or sheep anywhere in the world.'" (Ibid., citing B. Sparks, "Red algae theories of the ten plagues: contradicted by science," 2 parts, Bible and Spade 16(3):66-77, 2003 and 17(1):17-27, 2004 on which this article by Russell Grigg is based.)
- Besides, the Biblical record contradicts Hort's explanation:
- Some frogs returned to live in Nile (Ex 8:11c), so there was no highly contagious anthrax among them.
- Also, Hort's suggestion of the existence of biting flies presupposed that the Nile River flooded to produce this plague; yet, (a) there is no mention in Scripture of such a flood! (b) Then, Moses was to meet Pharaoh on the banks of the Nile in Ex. 7:15 as though it had not flooded. (c) Last, the Egyptians dug around the Nile River to get water in Ex. 7:24, an event that would occur in saturated and hence, low-lying, regular river bank and not where a flood encroached onto higher, drier soil!
- Fulfilling God's will, this sixth plague "of boils, showed the impotence of any of the gods of magic and healing, such as Hike and Thoth (Imhotep), to protect even the magicians from the boils, and thus from the power of Yahweh," Israel's Creator-God, Ibid., p. 37.
Application: May we believe the plague of the boils was a miracle, and worship the Bible's Creator God as the One, True God "Who healeth all our diseases" as the Psalmist puts it in Psalm 103:3b.