Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Exodus 9: What Are the Egyptians Eating at This Point?

Today's Podcast


God sent Moses and Aaron to ask Pharaoh to free the Israelite slaves, but God wanted to punish Pharaoh and the Egyptians, so he hardened Pharaoh's heart to keep him from releasing his slaves and then sent plagues into Egypt. We have seen 4 plagues so far.

The Fifth Plague: Egyptian Livestock Die (v. 1-7)

(Photo credit: Nottingham Vet School)
Moses asks Pharaoh to let his people go to worship God or a severe plague will hit the Egyptian livestock and kill them all, however, the Israelite livestock will all be spared. However, Pharaoh's heart was hardened and he did not let the people go.

From Guzik(along with the rest of the commentaries on this post):
Let My people go, that they may serve Me: In this appeal, it is clear that God wants Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go for the sake of the LORD Himself, not even so much for the sake of the children of Israel.
I've pointed this out before, but didn't highlight it this time. Pharaoh isn't being asked to let his slaves go free, just to be allowed to go worship Yahweh. I find it interesting that God isn't so much interested in helping them out, as much as he wants them to be able to worship him. It seems quite selfish of God. Furthermore, this fact seems perfectly find to the Christians here. He even goes on
We must treat each other well not only for the sake of our fellow brother or sister, but also for the sake of the LORD. We owe it to Him even more than we owe it to them.
We owe it to God more than we owe it to the people we are interacting with? What an insane way to view the world. This is one of those things that really bothers me about this religion. Suppose we are friends and then you fuck me over in some way, according to this philosophy, you have wronged me, sure, but more importantly you have wronged God. So if you go to confession and get yourself right with God is it over? I'm sure many Christians would argue that you also have to patch things up with me, but doesn't the fact that I am the less important person harmed mean I will be dealt with last, or possibly never? Especially if you really don't want to rectify things, but you feel guilty, this gives you an out. You can feel like you did something, alleviate your guilt, and I'm equally as harmed as I ever was.

I had to double check that. v6 "All the livestock of the Egyptians died". That is fucking harsh. So all of the fish in the Nile died in the first plague, now all of their livestock are dead. What are these people supposed to eat? Also, are we supposed to expect that starving Egyptians are not going to steal the livestock from their slaves?

I'm guessing the real reason for this plague was so that the Egyptians will have nothing to sacrifice to their gods rather than to simply punish the Egyptian people. As we have seen in the previous plagues, this really seems to be Yahweh's intent. 
This plague was directed against the Egyptian god Hathor who was thought to be a mother goddess was in the form of a cow. In addition, Egyptian religion considered cattle sacred and the cow was often a symbol of fertility. God shows Pharaoh and all of Egypt that He is mightier than this imagined pagan god.
There you go, another pissing match between gods.

The Sixth Plague: Boils (v. 8-12)

God then instructed Moses to throw soot into the air and it would cause boils on all man and beast of the Egyptians. It was so bad the magicians could not stand. But the lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he didn't listen.

First of all, what beasts? All of their livestock just died. Do they have beasts other than livestock? Between the fifth and sixth plagues did the Egyptians rush out to neighboring lands and get replacement animals?

Also, this verse had no ambiguity at all, this time God hardened Pharaoh's heart. He definitely took away his free will here.
This plague was probably directed against the Egyptian god Imhotep, who was said to be the god of medicine; even those who would be thought of as closest to the Egyptian gods (the court magicians) were stricken with this plague.
Again, I find the real reason for the plagues interesting, gods attacking other gods, the humans being hurt seem to just be an afterthought.

The Seventh Plague: Hail (v. 13-35)
English: The Plague of Hail, illustration from...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God had Moses warn everyone that huge hail would come the following day. Anyone who fears the word of God will go inside and be safe, anyone who ignores God will be hurt or have his livestock or slaves killed by the hail.

That's kind of interesting, he gave fair warning on this one, and anyone who wants to can protect themselves. It is certainly interesting that what God seems to what from the Egyptians is fear.

There was hail everywhere, any man or beast that wasn't under cover was killed. Also, every plant was destroyed. Except this didn't affect the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.

I guess you could protect yourself unless you're a farmer, then it doesn't matter how much you fear God, you are screwed. Also, if you are keeping score, the plagues have now killed all of the fish, all of the livestock, and all of the grains in the field. Seriously, everyone in Egypt would have to die soon of starvation.

Pharaoh then told Moses that he was sorry and would let the people go, so Moses went out of the city and stopped the storms, but as soon as the rain stopped Pharaoh changed his mind (he hardened his heart).

Again, we have the same problem, is Pharaoh hardening his own heart, or did God do it? Based on the difference in wording from plague 6, it seems that Pharaoh did it to himself this time. In that case, what the hell is he doing? God is destroying his kingdom, just let the damn slaves go do their thing.
This plague was directed against several Egyptian gods. Notable among them would was Nut, the sky goddess.
Moral of the Story:
I guess the moral for all of the plague chapters is pretty much going to be the same, if you worship the wrong God you are fucked.

Verses of note:

--Free Will--

Exodus 9:12 God took away Pharaoh's free will so he could continue punishing his people

"But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them"

--God's Ego--

Exodus 9:1,13 The reason God wants the Israelites to be free is so they can worship him

"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let my people go, that they may serve me."

Exodus 9:16 God is plaguing the Egyptians so they will know he is powerful and spread his name

"But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth."
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  1. Jeez! The livestock didn't do anything wrong!

    1. That's true, but neither did the Egyptian people :)

  2. When I read these stories now after becoming a non believer, I feel like I was so calloused to others' sufferings. Not so much on a personal level, or people living in the world but the masses of people and nations that "God" commanded his followers to destroy or supposedly destroyed himself. It was "well they we're bad people" or "it was God's will. Reading some of the commentary that you posted on this story just sounds insane! I might be a little dense, but is apologetics called that because Christians are constantly apologizing and justifying the horrendous things he's done? Horrendous isn't even the word here. When people do these sorts of things, they are fucking awful. Given they take a lot of organization and preparation, but we still try not to forget the awful kinds of things in history so they are not repeated. However, God does these things without any effort all because he is butthurt. The God of this bible is a monster. Plain and simple.
    Btw, as always, I love your commentary.

    1. And therein lies the problem with unquestioning obedience to an authority, whether than authority is human or divine. Rules and obedience become more important than human lives, with horrifying results.

    2. Yeah, it is really crazy the things that I found not only acceptable as a believer, but good. "It's good that God wiped all of the bad people off the planet". Thinking back about the way I used to interpret these types of things, I'm quite frankly embarrassed.

      According to wikipedia, apologetics is named after a greek word that means "speaking in defense", although the fact that it sounds like they are apologizing does make me chuckle sometimes.

  3. The free will argument I have been learning about the way to twist from the William Lane Craig perspective. Apparently God did harden Pharaohs heart(and thus take away his free will), but not every time so in effect God was just helping Pharaoh get his true hearts desire.

    OK,now that you have read that twice. Yes this is one of the acrobatic excuses.I was shocked.

    1. Yeah, that is a really good point. I went into this in a little more detail the first time in came up in chapter 4. Looking back though, I thought I had said more, I must have ranted a bit on the podcast :)


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