Moses v. the Egyptian Magicians — Exodus 7-9

Welcome back, glad to have you here. We’re in a really exciting portion of Exodus currently: the 10 plagues of Egypt.

As a side note here, there is good evidence to conclude that the Pharaoh of this Egyptian disaster was not Rameses as is commonly thought. The Rameses-is-the-Pharaoh-of-the-Exodus notion derives most of it’s support from “The 10 Commandments” with Charlton Heston. But the dates of Rameses the Great (c. 1200BC), a number of details found in the story (e.g., that the city of Rameses was a storehouse city in Exo. 1:11, not a capital, as in the times of Rameses the Great), and secular archaeology notes that Israel was known to be dwelling in Canaan before the time of Rameses the Great (see the Merneptah Stela, in which Pharaoh Merneptah, father of Rameses the Great, boasts of a victory over Israel already in Canaan). The Pharaoh who most like the Pharaoh of Egypt during the plagues and the destruction of Egypt is Amenemhep IV who disappeared from history without a trace, without a tomb, without an heir about 1486BC. And as an additional side note a poet of this era Ipuwer writes a lamentation of Egypt that describes a number of disasters that sound very much like the biblical 10 plagues.

The thing I really wanted to point out and talk about was the matter of the magicians of Egypt and their ability to duplicate some of the signs that Moses demonstrated by the power of God to Pharaoh to convince him to let the people go. The magicians managed through their secret arts to mimic the sign of the staff that turned into a serpent, the water turning to blood, and the plague of the frogs. Their mimicry enabled Pharaoh to more easily disregard God’s command and believe what he wanted to believe — that he was at least equal to, if not superior to, any god. Now, of course, later the magicians couldn’t conjure up anything even close to God’s great signs and had to confess that this was the “finger of God” (Exo. 8:19) — but the damage was already done, Pharaoh’s heart was decidedly hardening already (a course from which, ultimately, he would not deviate, even as he charged into the Red Sea).

I’m caused to wonder about other false signs and wonders from today. Fellowship, “miracles”, quotes from Scripture, or some transcendent experience have all been a part of drawing people into false teachings, false groups, false practices, and false beliefs. How do you tell the difference? You have to check the Bible — the sum of the Bible, not just some of it. Satan has been known to quote Scripture to his own advantage sometimes (Matt. 4), produce false signs (Matt. 24:24), a false fellowship, and treacherous emotional experiences. The one real compass is God’s word.

In time Egypt’s magicians couldn’t keep up; God’s signs far outstripped them. And in time that which is false becomes evident by the fruit it bears, the false signs can’t keep up with true signs, a superficial fellowship descends into division, and the emotions wear off or out — but the damage is often already done, hearts are decidedly hardened and unwilling to deviate from their courses, even as they charge straight off into their own Red Sea.

That’s why your daily Bible reading is really important. See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the Rock Hill church of Christ in Frisco TX where I've worked since 2020. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, and the Lord's church.
This entry was posted in Bible commentary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s