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The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets

by Ellen G. White


Table of Contents    Chapters:  

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Note:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

NOTE 2. PAGE 272. That the plagues were designed to destroy the confidence of the Egyptians in the power and protection of their idols, and even made their gods to appear as cruel tormentors of their worshipers, can be seen from a study of the Egyptian religion. A few examples may serve to illustrate this fact.

The first plague, turning the water of the river Nile and of all canals into blood (Exodus 7:19), was directed against the source of Egypt's very existence. The river Nile was regarded with religious reverence, and at several places sacrifices were offered to the Nile as to a god.

The second plague brought frogs over Egypt. Exodus 8:6. Frogs were held sacred by the Egyptians, and one of their deities, Heqa, was a frog-headed goddess thought to possess creative power. When the frogs, as the result of Moses' command, multiplied to the extent that they filled the land from one end to the other, the Egyptians may have wondered why Heqa was tormenting her ardent worshipers instead of protecting them. In this way the Egyptians were not only punished by the second plague, but witnessed also contempt heaped upon them, as they supposed, by one of their gods (Exodus 9:3), of which many represented powerful gods in the Egyptian pantheon. To mention only a few, we find that the Apis bull was dedicated to Ptah, the father of all the gods, the cow was sacred to Hathor, one of the most widely worshiped of all female deities of the Nile country, while the ram represented several gods like Khnemu, and the ram-headed Amen, who was Egypt's chief god in the New Empire period. Hence, the disease which slew the animals dedicated to their deities revealed to the Egyptians the impotence of their gods in the presence of the God of the despised Hebrews.

The ninth plague (Exodus 10:21) dealt a heavy blow to one of the greatest gods of Egypt, the sun of god Ra, who had been continuously worshiped from the earliest times of that country's known history. In a land which hardly ever saw clouds in the sky, the sun was recognized as a never-failing power which provided warmth, light, life, and growth to the whole world. Every egyptian king considered himself as a "son of Ra," and carried this expression in his titulary. When Amen of Thebes became chief god of Egypt during the eighteenth dynasty, the power of the sun-god Ra was recognized as so great that a compromise was made by combining Amen and Ra to make one god—Amen-Ra. A few years after the Exodus, when Ikhnaton introduced a short-lived monotheism, the only god retained was Aton, the sun disk. seeing how entrenched sunworship was in the religious life of the Egyptians, and how highly the sun god Ra, Amen-Ra, or Aton was revered, we can understand why the plague directed against the god was brought upon Egypt toward the culmination of the fight between the God of the Hebrews and his Egyptian adversaries. [p. 759]

Also the tenth plague, the slaughtering of the first-born (Exodus 12:29), was striking at least one god, and that was the king, who was considered to be Horus, the son of Osiris. As the ruler of the Nile country, he was addressed by his subjects as "the good god." Hence, the last plague crowned the actions wrought by the miracle-working power of the Hebrew God. So far gods controlling the forces of nature or animals had been disgraced, but now a god living in a visible form among the Egyptians was also humiliated by the despised God of The Hebrews slaves, of whom the proud Pharaoh once had said, "Who is The Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." Exodus 5:2.

Table of Contents    Chapters:  

Note:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

< Prev  ...  64  65  66  67  68  69  70  71  72  73  Appendix  Next >

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