1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in 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 plague all your country with frogs. 3 The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 4 The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.”’” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, 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 of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the Lord to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile.” 12 So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
-The first plague was an attack against the Nile which directly attacked Apis and Isis, god and goddess of the Nile, as well as Khnum, the guardian of the Nile. It was also said that the Nile itself was the blood of the god Osirus. So in this first plague, God has attacked the most important and most worshiped aspect of the Egyptian religion. Now God is attacking the second. The goddess Heqet is the frog-headed goddess of birth. Because of this believe, the Egyptians never kill frogs because it is an insult to the goddess Heqet and will bring bad luck or even worse, death. So besides the annoyance of having frogs everywhere, they could not kill any of them so it is no wonder that Pharaoh begged Moses to ask God to take them away. Ironically, God takes them away and the frogs all die so that even though there weren’t frogs jumping around everywhere, now the land stank which might actually be worse. Again it says the magicians “did the same” and were somehow able to produce frogs.
The Third Plague: Gnats
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.’” 17 And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
-This third plague is an attack on the next most worshiped god in Egypt which was Set, god of the desert. The desert itself came alive and turned into gnats. For the first time now, we are told the magicians could not produce gnats from dust and they have now become convinced that there really is a God as Moses and Aaron claim that is doing these things and this is not a trick or some weaker god. If these had all been tricks on the side of the Egyptians, why would not the magicians be able to paralyze temporarily gnats so they looked like dust or swapped them out with a slight of hand if this is what they did for the snake, the water, and the frogs up to this point? And it isn’t just because of the magnitude of the whole desert of Egypt becoming gnats because the whole country was covered in frogs too. But that was not enough to have the magicians give up but this was. This is further evidence that the magicians somehow were able to produce these miracles in smaller scale as the word of God states.
The Fourth Plague: Flies
20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 21 Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. 22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. 23 Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”’” 24 And the Lord did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants’ houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies. 25 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 26 But Moses said, “It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he tells us.” 28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away. Plead for me.” 29 Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you and I will plead with the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow. Only let not Pharaoh cheat again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 31 And the Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.
-In this fourth plague, this was an attack on the gods Re and Uatchit who were depicted as flies. The plague is also special because God declares that the flies will not be in Goshen where the Israelites lived. This implies that it could be even the Israelites were effected by the Nile that had turned to blood , the frogs, and the gnats, but not these flies although this isn’t a guarantee. God could simply be pointing out this time that Goshen is always unaffected to convince Pharaoh he isn’t just some random powerful god but the God of the Israelites. Again, Pharaoh begs for the plague to end and it does yet Pharaoh still won’t let them go. He has deceived Moses twice now.