The verse citations follow the traditional Hebrew enumeration. See, for example, the New Jewish Publication Society translation (Philadelphia: 1985).


See Bernard F. Batto, “Red Sea or Reed Sea?” BAR 10:04.



Commentary to Exodus 7:26. The verse citations follow the traditional Hebrew enumeration.


Commentary to Exodus 10:1.


Commentary to Exodus 7:26.


D. R. Hillers, Treaty and the Old Testament Prophets (Rome: PBI, 1964); M. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomy School (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), pp. 116–146.


The devastating plague of locusts described in the book of Joel (6th century B.C.E.) is considered a unique event, not comparable to the Egyptian plagues. Similarly, in Joel 3:3–4 (2:30–31 in English), where the moon turns to blood and the sun to darkness; this is very unlike the plagues in Egypt if, in fact, the images in Joel are to be taken literally and not metaphorically.


G. Hort, “The Plagues of Egypt,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 69 (1957), pp. 84–103; 70 (1958), pp. 48–59. This is a very important and very sophisticated study which is most humble in drawing its conclusions.


P. Montet, L’Egypte et la Bible (Neuchatel: Paris, 1959), pp. 97–98.


J. B. Pritchard Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ANET), (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955), p. 441.


Pritchard, ANET. p. 445.


J. Cerny, Ancient Egyptian Religion (AER) (London: Hutchison’s University Library, 1952), pp. 119–120.


M. Gilula, “The Smiting of the First-Born—An Egyptian Myth?” Tel Aviv 4 (1977), p. 94. Technical references and additional discussion are available in this brief study. M. Lichtheim renders the line from the ‘Cannibal Hymn’: “Unas will judge with Him-whose-name-is-hidden on the day of slaying the eldest,” noting that the line is difficult (Ancient Egyptian Literature. A Book of Readings. Vol 1: The Old and Middle Kingdoms [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973], pp. 36–38). The Coffin Text cited is CT VI:178.


M. Gilula, p. 95.


Cerny, AER, 118; S. Sauneron, The Priests of Ancient Egypt (New York: Grove Press, 1960), pp. 37–39.


Cf. Mishnah Aboth 5:1, 4.


This conclusion does not contradict the findings of source criticism. According to source criticism, the final redactor of the plague narratives and of the creation stories was from the priestly school, P.


Both psalms are pre-Exilic, and probably formed part of the temple liturgy. (D. A. Robertson, Linguistic Evidence in Dating Early Hebrew Poetry [Missoula, Montana: SBL, 1972], pp. 135, 138, 143, 15–52; A. Hurvitz, The Transition Period in Biblical Hebrew: A study in Post-Exilic Hebrew and Its Implications for the Dating of Psalms [Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1972] finds no linguistic reason to consider these psalms late.) A comparison of the three different presentations indicates a certain plasticity in the Israelite tradition of the plagues. The coexistence of conflicting, somewhat contradictory, parallel plague traditions tells against any attempt to explain the order of the ten plagues as reflecting a connected series of natural catastrophes and provides a qualification to the discussion above concerning the possibility of a sequential disaster. Although it is not impossible that some natural disasters ultimately lie behind the various plagues, the traditions in their extant forms cannot be employed to reconstruct what actually occurred. The implication of the three lists of plagues is that Israel did not preserve the details of the plagues or their number for their own sake, but rather recalled the significance of the plagues as events demonstrating a theological principle.


Natural disasters would be perceived as forms of divine communication. Compare Amos 4:6–12.


Cf. the contest between Elijah and the priests of Baal in 1 Kings 18.