Tag Archives: Exodus

Death of Egypt’s Firstborn

NOTE:¬† I’m spending the weekend in a small town, in a home without the internet. ūüôā¬† Therefore, I am treating you all to a double feature post for today: the final piece in my Plagues series.¬† Thanks for all of your comments and encouragement.¬† Have a beautiful weekend!!!

I’ve always been struck by God’s curse of death of the firstborn upon ancient Egypt. ¬†I cannot imagine how completely devastating and sorrowful that would have been.

This is what the Lord says: “At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. ¬†All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. ¬†Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. ¬†Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 11:4-6

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Plague of Darkness

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward heaven, and the land of Egypt will be covered with a darkness so thick you can feel it.” ¬†So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. ¬†During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. ¬†But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 10:21-23

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Plague of Locusts

Here is my favorite piece of this series…

So Moses raised his staff over Egypt, and the Lord caused an east wind to blow over the land all that day and through the night.  When morning arrived, the east wind had brought the locusts.  And the locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt, settling in dense swarms from one end of the country to the other.  It was the worst locust plague in Egyptian history, and there has never been another one like it.  For the locusts covered the whole country and darkened the land.  They devoured every plant in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that had survived the hailstorm.  Not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt.          Exodus 10:13-15

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Plague of Hail

The following effect came from trying to layer watered-down gesso on top of oils.  The result was a great texture that almost reminded me of hail.

So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed toward the earth.  The Lord sent a tremendous hailstorm against all the land of Egypt.  Never in all the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such devastating hail and continuous lightning.  It left all of Egypt in ruins.  The hail struck down everything in the open field Рpeople, animals, and plants alike.  Even the trees were destroyed.  The only place without hail was the region of Goshen, where the people of Israel lived.          Exodus 9:23-26

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Plague of Festering Boils

I really pondered how gross festering boils would be:  all of the puss and fluid and oozing.  I feel pretty confident that I managed to capture that in this rather icky painting.

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a brick kiln, and have Moses toss it into the air while Pharaoh watches. ¬†The ashes will spread like fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, causing festering boils to break out on people and animals throughout the land.”

So they took soot from a brick kiln and went and stood before Pharaoh.  As Pharaoh watched, Moses threw the soot into the air, and boils broke out on people and animals alike.          Exodus 9:8-10

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Plague Against Livestock

“Tell [Pharaoh], ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. ¬†If you continue to hold them and refuse to let them go, the hand of the Lord will strike all your livestock – your horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats – with a deadly plague. ¬†But the Lord will again make a distinction between the livestock of the Israelites and that of the Egyptians. ¬†Not a single one of Israel’s animals will die!’……And the Lord did just as he said.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 9:1-4

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Plague of Flies

“…This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. ¬†If you refuse, then I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, your people, and all the houses. ¬†The Egyptian homes will be filled with flies, and the ground will be covered with them. ¬†But this time I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live. ¬†No flies will be found there. ¬†Then you will know that I am the Lord and that I am present even in the heart of your land. ¬†I will make a clear distinction between my people and your people. ¬†This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.”

And the Lord did just as he said. ¬†A think swarm of flies filled Pharaoh’s palace and the houses of his officials. ¬†The whole land of Egypt was thrown into chaos by the flies. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 8:20-24

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Plague of Gnats

Some translations list this as the plague of lice.¬† Either way, it’s gross and would have been awful to endure.¬† I just think about all the little clouds of gnats you see during the summer and how irritating those are.¬† I can’t imagine the air being completely choked with them.¬† Or lice.

So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. ¬†When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. ¬†All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. ¬†Pharaoh’s magicians tried to do the same thing with their secret arts, but this time they failed. ¬†And the gnats covered everyone, people and animals alike.

“This is the finger of God!” the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. ¬†But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. ¬†He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 8:17-19

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Plague of Frogs

Blech.  Frogs are icky.  Just reading this passage makes my all shuddery:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: ¬†Let my people go, so they can worship me. ¬†If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs across your entire land. ¬†The Nile River will swarm with frogs. ¬†They will come up out of the river and into your palace, even into your bedroom and onto your bed! ¬†They will enter the houses of your officials and your people. ¬†They will even jump into your ovens and your kneading bowls. ¬†Frogs will jump on you, your people, and all your officials. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 8:1-4

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Plague of Blood

Part of our final requirements for advanced painting was a series of paintings.  This put me in a panic: less than a week to produce a series of paintings?!  I was suddenly struck by the Old Testament plagues on Egypt, the overwhelming terror and misery they must have produced.  I tried to the best of my ability to capture that in my series of ten, small paintings.  It ended up being my favorite pieces produced in that class, my final art class of college.  Here is the first:

“As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. ¬†Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! ¬†The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. ¬†There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Exodus 7:20-21

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