Contrasts Between the Messengers of God and
Pharaoh’s court magicians. 


Magicians could do

Deity Targeted


1 Blood

Exodus 7.14-24

Yes, but could not turn it back.

Khnum - creator of water and life

Hapi - Nile god

Osiris -the Nile was his bloodstream

Pharaoh is given warning on his way to the Nile.

2 Frogs

Exodus 7.25-8.15

Yes, could draw more frogs from Nile.

Heket - goddess of childbirth whose symbol was the frog.

Specifically warned of the frogs.

3 Gnats

Exodus 8.16-19


Seb - the earth god

No verbal warning is given to Pharaoh but Aaron brought on the plague by stretching out his arms.  It is clear from the story that it is done in the presence of Pharaoh.

 Distinguishes between God’s people and the Egyptians

 These plagues effected the Egyptians only.


Magicians could do

Deity Targeted


4 Flies

Exodus 8.20-32


Beelzebub - god of flies

Khephera - the sacred scarabacus

Iris - queen of heaven

Confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water. Points out that the people of Israel are not being plagued.

5 Livestock

Exodus 9.1-7


The Egyptians worshipped many animals and animal-headed deities, including the bull-gods Apis and Mnevis, the cow-god Hathor and the ram-god Khum

Pharaoh and warned that the livestock in the fields would be effected.  This plague is more severe... the hand of the Lord (9.3).

6 Boils

Exodus 9.8-12


Imhotep - god of medicine

No verbal warning to Pharaoh the action that stated the plague was done in his presence.  The soot from the kiln is symbolic of the bondage.

God distinguishes himself from everyone else

Because of the warnings the Israelites could and did protect their belongings.  The land of Egypt is pretty much destroyed in these plagues and the darkness only effected the Egyptians. 


Magicians could do

Deity Targeted


7 Hail

Exodus 9.13-35


Nut - sky goddess

Seth - god of wind and storm

Pharaoh warned... the Lord could have wiped you off of the earth “But I raised you to this point so that I could demonstrate my power.” (9.15)  Also warned to protect livestock.

8 Locusts

Exodus 10.1-20


Isis - goddess of life

Min - goddess of fertility and vegetation, protector of crops

Pharaoh warned that the locusts will finish what the hail began.

9 Darkness

Exodus 10.21-29


Amon-Re, Atum, Horus were all sun deities

no warning, the darkness only effected the Egyptians.

God distinguishes himself in all three ways.


The court magicians (and the Egyptian gods) are powerless with respect to God.

The Israelites are protected, but only if they align themselves with God's instructions.

God has the power of life and death.


Magicians could do

Deity Targeted


First born

Exodus 11.1-10


Osiris - judge of the dead and patron deity of the pharaoh

all of chapter 11 is the warning that is delivered before Moses leaves the Pharaoh’s presence for the last time.