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Acient pharos

Making Sense of the Plagues: The Education of Pharaoh



Then YHVH said to Mosheh, "Pharaoh's heart is hardened; he refuses to let

the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the

water; stand by at the river bank to meet him, and take in your hand the

staff that was turned into a snake. Say to him, 'YHVH, the God of the

Hebrews, sent me to you to say, "Let my people go, so that they may worship

me in the wilderness." But until now you have not listened.' Thus says

YHVH, "By this you shall know that I am YHVH." See, with the staff that is

in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be

turned to blood. (Sh'mot [Exodus] 7:14-17)

In this account of the warning of the first plague (blood), there are

several details which show up again in some - but not all - of the other


1) Mosheh warns Pharaoh about the upcoming plague - but not every time

(only before the plagues of frogs, wild beasts, pestilence, hail, locusts

and the first-born).

2) Some of these warnings take place in the early morning by the banks of

the Nile (wild beasts and hail) while others take place in Pharaoh's


3) A theological message (e.g. "By this you shall know that I am YHVH") is

appended to the warning - whereas other warnings are bereft of such a


4) Mosheh's staff is used in some of the plagues - but not all (it is only

used in the plagues of blood, frogs, lice, hail and locusts).

Our first simple and straightforward question is: Is there any rhyme or

reason to the plagues and their attendant warnings which would explain

these apparent inconsistencies?

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