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THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT. (1635-1451 B.C. 9. He sent a thick darkness over the land for three days;

the Egyptians saw not one another, neither rose any from his place; but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

The Israelites were free from all the plagues. During each plague Pharaoh promised to let the Israelites go ;--but after each plague was removed by the 'entreaties of Moses, he refused to let them go. God then threatened to destroy all the first-born of Egypt, both of man and beast.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS. kissed-a mode of salutation common 2nd plaguethe frog which was comin the East.

mon in the Nile, was one of the sacred eldersmen of age, character, wis- animals of Egypt; in this case the dom, experience and skill in judging; object of their superstition became the Moses and Aaron went to them first, instrument of their punishment. It is because they were the representatives not known whether the Egyptians and guides of the people; it was there-esteemed or disliked frogs, but in both fore natural for them to suppose the ancient and modern times objects of people would be guided by the advice of dislike or fear have been regarded as the elders.

deities, believed—though in the lowest de- 3rd plague-great care was taken by gradation of slavery, and surrounded by the Egyptians not to harbour any the grossest idolatry, they retained the kind of vermin. The priests were knowledge of the True God, and shaved every third day that no decherished the remembrance of his testable creature might harbour upon promises to their fathers respecting

them when they were perforwing Canaan; they admitted the miracles their duty to their gods. This plague of Moses as proofs of bis mission, and would consequently be most noisome believed that the time of God's pro- to them. Some commentators consider mised visitation was at hand.

that mosquitos are the insects referred

to under the word “lice.' uroth-angry; because their hopes of immediate deliverance from their 4th plague—it is generally thought servile bondage were disappointed. that the flies' were the species of beetle God's

messengers often experience called the cockroach-the sacred beetle undeserved reproach and unmerited of the Egyptians; it devours every blame.

thing that comes in its way-clothes, Ist plaguethe Nile was one of the books, plants; and it also intlicts principal objects of Egyptian worship;

severe bites on man. Thus the Egypt

ians the change of its waier into blood

were again chastized by one of manifested that their idol was power

their own idols. less. Considering it merely

5th plague—it was especially prophysical punishment, it was severe, vided that the cattle of the Israelites as water is in constant demand in hot should sustain no harm when those of climates for quenching thirst, as well the Egyptians were slain by the deadly as for other purposes. Ancient and murrain. Pharaoh sent to ascertain if modern writers unite in praising the this was the case; he found it so, but peculiarly agreeable qualities of the he still refused to allow the Israelites water of the Nile.

to depart

as a


6th plague-this infliction was one of there are many distinct species, and such severe pain on the bodies of the they are all destructive ; some species Egyptians-boils and blains, ulcers and migrate in immense numbers, and inflammations, that even the priestly wherever they settle they destroy not magicians could not stand in the pre- only the hopes of the husbandman, sence of their sovereign.

but every vegetable production within 7th plague-rain is seldom seen in their reach, even the bark of trees. Egypt, hail is almost unknown; such a They destroy much more than they visitation would be awful. Thunder

devour. Locusts are extensively used and lightning are unfrequent and never

as an article of food by the Arabs. injurions. How then must the king 9th plague—a darkness so thick and and his people have been alarmed by intense tha seemed a material subtbe terrible thunder and lightning stance; perhaps accompanied by a wind that “ran along the ground !” This which filled the air with dust or sand plague alarmed the king. He sent during its continuance; such winds are hastily for Moses and Aaron and not uncommon in eastern deserts. Some acknowledged his sin ; he afterwards imagine that a dark dense fog was again hardened his heart.

spread over the land which would be 8th plague—all the vegetation left by appalling to the inhabitants, as fogs are the hail and rain was devoured by the never naturally, produced in Egypt. locusts—the next infiction of divine Whatever was its nature it obscured anger on Egypt; these insects are of the glory of their great deity, the sun, the form and appearance of crickets for three days. and grasshoppers, but much larger; entreaties—earnest prayers.


When Pharaoh dared to vex the saints,

And thus provok'd their God,
Moses was sent at their complaints,

Arm'd with his dreadful rod.
He callid for darkness, darkness came

Like an o'erwhelming flood ;
He turn'd each lake and every stream,

To lakes and streams of blood.
He gave the sign, and noisome fies

Through the whole country spread ;
And frogs, in croaking armies, rise

About the monarch's bed.
Through fields, and towns, and palaces,

The tenfold vengeance flew ;
Locusts in swarms devour'd their trees,

And hail their cattle slew.
Now let the world forbear its rage,

Nor put the church in fear :
Israel shall live through every age,
And be the Almighty's care.




Exodus xii. 1-39. Before the ninth plague was sent on Egypt, God instituted the passover; he told the Israelites to kill a lamb, and sprinkle

" its blood on the sides of their doors ; the lamb was to be roasted, and they were to be ready to depart when they ate of it. They were also to eat 'unleavened bread six days. God said he would smite all the first-born in Egypt, but he would pass over the doors of the Israelites, when he saw the blood of the lamb upon

them. God commanded the Israelites to keep the Lord's passover 'every year; and when they should come into the land which he would give them, if their children should ask the meaning of this service, they were to say, “ It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he .smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses." And at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the 'captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt ; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Pharaoh then called for Moses and Aaron, and told them to depart with the children of Israel ; and to take with them their flocks and herds. The Israelites .borrowed jewels from the Egyptians, silver and gold, and raiment. They departed from Rameses in Goshen. They numbered about :600,000 men on foot, besides children. The period which elapsed from the time of the call of Abraham to the departure of the Israelites from Egypt was four-hundred-and-thirty years. God had foretold this bondage of his descendants to Abraham.

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NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS. God instituted-appointed ; established by unleavened-unfermented; there was not his command.

sufficient time for the fermentation of the passover--a solemn feast commemorative dough from the moment when Pharaoh of the passing over the houses of the Israelites commanded the Israelites to leave Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first to the time of their actual departure. born of Egypt.

first-born-the eldest male-child of a lamb--the lamb was to be without blemish. I family : the expression first-born is some

PERIOD III.) “THE DEATH OF THE FIRST BORN.” times expressive of great dignity. The first-borrowing, that is to be returned ; but born of the sacred animals died also, and asked, or demanded, without any intention we are informed, that when a sacred animal or intimation of returning the articles thus died the lamentation was louder than on obtained. The Egyptians had long profited the death of a child.

by the slavish toil of the oppressed He

who were every year-so that this great event should brews;

now leaving behind not be forgotten by the Hebrew nation. them much valuable property. The EgyptThe feast of the passover not only referred ians gave readily in their panic, and the to the great events in Egypt, but it also justice of the proceeding cannot be quesprefigured the coming and sacrifice of Him tioned, for it was by God's command. who is our paschal lamb—the lamb of 600,000—it is computed that the entire God, without sin, which taketh away the population of the Hebrews, men, women sin of the world. 1 Cor. v. 8; John i. 29. and children at the time of their departure

smote & deliveredsmote the Egyptians was not less than 2,400,000. with plagues, and not the Israelites-smote 430 years—the actual stay of the Israelites the first-born of Egypt, and delivered Israel in Egypt, from the time that Jacob went from their long and bitter bondage.

thither with his sons and their fainilies to Pharaoh—this was not the Pharaoh by

the Exodus, 215 years; but the whose daughter Moses was brought up.

sojourning of the Israelites and their

fathers in the land of Canaan, and in the captive--a prisoner.

land of Egypt was 430 years. dungeon—a prison-house ; the prisons in the East are generally unwholesome.

foretold-Lesson 7, ‘vision;' 'bondage.' a great cry-lamentation and bitter weep

GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE. ing in every Egyptian family. As the

RAMESES OR RAAMSES—a treasure-city in people went about the streets lamenting Egypt which the Israelites built during loudly when a death took place, the outcry, their bondage ; it is supposed in the land when every family had lost a member, must of Goshen. From this place the Israelites have been awful.

departed, when they left Egypt, after the borrowed—not according to our idea of death of the first-born.



'Tis midnight—'tis midnight o'er Egypt's dark sky,
And in whirlwind and storm the sirocco sweeps by :
All arid and hot is its death-breathing blast-
Each sleeper breathes thick, and each bosom beats fast.
And the young mother wakes and arouses from rest,
And presses more closely her babe to her breast;
But the heart that she presses is death-like and still,
And the lips that she kisses are breathless and chill.
And the young brother clings to the elder in fear,
As the gust falls so dirge-like and sad on his ear,
But that brother returns not the trembling embrace:
He speaks not-he breathes not-death lies in his place.
And the first-born of Egypt are dying around;
'Tis a sigh-'tis a moan—and then slumber more sound:
They but wake from their sleep, and their spirits have fled —
They but wake into life, to repose with the dead.

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And there lay the infant still smiling in death,
And scarce heav'd its breast as it yielded its breath ;
And there lay the boy, yet in youth's budding bloom,
With the calmness of sleep-but the hue of the tomb !
And there fell the youth in the pride of his prime ;
In the morning of life—in the spring-tide of crime :
And unnervd, is that arm and fast close’d is that eye,
And cold is that bosom which once beat so high.
And the fond mother's hope, and the fond father's trust;
And the widow's sole stay, are returning to dust :
Egypt has not a place where there is not one dead,
From the proud monarch's palace to penury's shed.
And the hearths of that country are desolate now,
And the crown of her glory is struck from her brow:
But while proud Egypt trembles, all Israel is free-
Unfetter'd-unbound as the wave of the sea.


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Exodus xii. 40-xiv. After God had given further instructions relative to the keeping of the Passover, he commanded the Israelites to 'sanctify their first-born unto him, as a 'memorial of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt. Moses 'took with him from Egypt the bones of Joseph. And the Lord .went before the people by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.

The Egyptians repented that they had let the Israelites go, and Pharaoh and his host pursued them. They overtook them, 'encamping by the Red Sea, beside Pihahiroth. And when Pharaoh and his host of chariots drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them ; and they were sore afraid : and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord ; and they said unto Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness ? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt ?

Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians ? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians,

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