Exodus 8

These small group studies of Exodus contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Exodus 8 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

I. Second plague: frogs (1-15)

II. Third plague: gnats (16-19)

III. Fourth plague: flies (20-25)

IV. Interchange between God, Moses, and Pharaoh (26-32)

I. Second plague: frogs (1-15)

Did God change His request at all?

The text doesn’t mention what happened to the Nile at this point. What do you think happened?

What was the second plague?

Are threats good? Is a boss or parents making threats a good thing?

How far would this impact be felt?

What impact would the plague of frogs have on the land?

Why do you think God chose this plague?

How could the Egyptian magicians do the same thing? If they were so powerful, why did they not reverse the plague?

What is different about Pharaoh’s reaction this time from the previous time?

Why did Moses give Pharaoh the chance to choose when this miracle would take place? What would this teach the Egyptians and Pharaoh about God/? What can we learn from this about the specificness of prophecy in the Bible? How does this kind prophecy differ from most generic predictions?

Why did God kill the frogs when He knew Pharaoh would not change his mind?

How to explain that Moses said frogs would remain only in the Nile, but heaps of dead frogs were piled up all over the land?

What was Pharaoh’s reaction after the frogs were gone? What principle does this teach us about human nature?

1. God doesn’t change His request at all. He is as firm and resolved as ever. He is a rock that will not change.

2. He threatens Pharaoh. Obviously threatening in and of itself is not bad since God did it. We should note that God had both the authority to do it and the right to do it. In addition, He had the power to do it and the plan to follow through. Finally, He had the reason to do it and it was a moral one. From this we can learn that if we follow these same principles threatening can be used with care. Examples? A parent to tell their kids they will be disciplined if they disobey. A boss telling an employee frankly that he will be fired if he breaks the company rules. A government who tells its citizens the death penalty will be applied to murderers. All of these are cases of people with authority and with the right motivation using their power properly. If parents threaten to abandon their children or do other sinful things if they disobey, this is wrong. Or if a boss continually threatens his employees with firing for perhaps not doing favors for him or not being willing to work extra overtime (above the country’s requirements) this would be wrong. Or if it is an idle threat because then it is like a lie. Or if a government threatens its citizens to push them to do something wrong this would be wrong as well. God does give authority to certain institutions and as long as that authority is used correctly we should not be afraid to use it.

3. Frogs. Frogs were significant because… Frogs everywhere would definitely be a nuisance.

4. Nothing more is mentioned of the Nile, unlike other plagues which make it clear when God took them away. Perhaps the end of chapter 7 gives a clue that the Nile cleared up after seven days. Perhaps God only turned the water already in the Nile to blood, but the source water of the Nile He didn’t contaminate, allowing it to naturally heal itself after a period of time. It was merciful of God to allow this plague to go away although Pharaoh hardened his heart and didn’t even give in to Moses’ request.

5. The magicians were still able with their pagan occult practices to duplicate this miracle, although on a presumably far smaller the scale. The fact that they couldn’t drive the frogs away showed that they were truly powerless in the face of the LORD. It is unknown how they would have drawn frogs out of the water, but perhaps they either made use of some natural trick for attracting frogs or through demonic power.

6. This time Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. He promised that the people could go if only God would take the frogs away. This action shows at least a surface acknowledgement of God’s power to do this and the understanding that it wasn’t a coincidence. It is clear though that he underestimated God’s power thinking that once the frogs were gone the land would be OK and he could go on enslaving the people as before.

7. God allowed Pharaoh to say the time when they would be taken away so that it would be clear it was God’s work and not a coincidence. Saying the very time would make the prophecy specific enough that no natural explanation would suffice. God wanted to make it clear to everyone that He was responsible for the plagues and for removing the plagues. This is a major difference between the prophecies in Scripture and ones in the world (mostly, and if they do make specific ones they are easily disproven), for example Nostradamus.

II. Third plague: gnats (16-19)

What was the third plague? Why this plague?

What effect would this have on the people of the land?

What difference can we see in this plague and the previous ones (Egyptians could not copy it)? What does this tell us about their power? What does their response indicate about their religions? What was their explanation for this phenomenon? Why would Pharaoh not listen to the religious leaders of his country?

How could the actual dust become gnats?

1. This time the plague was gnats. Many of these plagues take the punishment up a notch and I think this one is no exception. You might be able to keep frogs out of at least some areas of the house since they are big and can’t get through small holes, but with gnats thick as clouds everywhere there would be no way to get any personal time away from the gnats. They would be in people’s houses and food and in their clothes, at work and in the fields. While people may only need to deal with frogs when they went out, they would have to deal with the gnats all the time. These gnats would probably also go in people’s ears and nose and mouth. While it wasn’t life threatening, it would have been very annoying.

2. The dust became gnats. This is reminiscent of God creating man from the dust of the ground. In this miracle God actually changed dust into gnats, probably unlike the last miracle of frogs where God more likely used natural causes to bring frogs to Egypt. This was a more amazing miracle as shown by the magicians’ response to it.

3. This was the first time the magicians had been unable to duplicate the miracle. Their magic tricks and sorcery could no longer keep up, even in a small scale with the miracles God was doing. Although their hearts were evil and stubborn to the core, even they admitted this was the finger of God. This phrase leads me to believe that perhaps their duplications were just tricks. In any case if they did use demons to accomplish them, they now realized these demons were not the one true God although they did have some power. This is a clear example that man’s best and Satan’s best falls far short of what God is able to do. There really is no comparison. For a time people might convince themselves that God isn’t true or that they have more control over their lives than they do, but eventually everyone will realize that God is the only one with true power.

III. Fourth plague: flies (20-25)

What does verse 20 indicate about the state of the Nile at this point?

Why go out to him when he was going out to bathe (perhaps his palace pass had been revoked)?

What was the fourth plague?

What effect would this have on the people? What was the difference between this plague and the previous ones (Israelites were immune)? Why do you think God allowed the Israelites to suffer through the first three plagues then? What was God’s purpose for protecting the Israelites during this plague? What can we can learn from this, both the fact that they suffered the first three and the fact they were immune to the fourth one?

1. Verse 20 indicates that the Nile was no longer blood since it says Pharaoh was going out to the water, likely to bath or refresh himself in its coolness. His God had mercifully restored the Nile instead of compounding the plagues as He could have done.

2. Again Moses gave God’s command to Pharaoh and warned Pharaoh what would happen if he didn’t listen. This again highlights man’s responsibility to respond to God’s commands as well as God’s mercy in not unilaterally judging without giving a chance to repent (any other examples in the Bible? Ninevah). Moses made it clear that this plague would affect not only Pharaoh’s people, but himself and everyone in the palace. He also emphasized the extent of the plague indicating that Egypt would be full of flies even the Egyptians houses. They would be so thick and so many that the people couldn’t hope to stop their onslaught (through burning bad smelling stuff or screens on the windows or any other method.

3. God made another change in this plague to highlight the fact that it was miracle, that He was responsible for it, that He could control it, and that it was not a coincidence. This time He said that the people of Israel in the land of Goshen would not have to go through this plague. There would be an invisible line something like an electrical force field fence keeping dogs in the yard between Goshen and the rest of Egypt. Flies would descend on the Egyptians, but not on the Israelites. In addition to proving again His power, this miracle demonstrated God’s love for the Israelites. Although He didn’t save them out of all the plagues (it doesn’t appear), He did deliver them from the worst ones. This is very typical of God’s nature in the Bible. Can you give other examples where God saved His people from destruction (Lot, Noah, Daniel and his friends, Rapture)? God does deal differently with us than He does with unbelievers. Praise the Lord for this. This means we don’t have to go through the worst of the punishments the world will face. We can be saved out. This is the essence of the salvation God offers. God doesn’t destroy the righteous along with the wicked. He is merciful and loving and we should enthusiastically take His offer if we want to escape judgment.

4. The land was ruined by flies. God once again did exactly as He said. Pharaoh didn’t listen so God struck him and the land. Pharaoh’s obstinence was costing his people.

IV. Interchange between God, Moses, and Pharaoh (26-32)

How was Pharaoh’s response different than previously this time (he summoned Moses and Aaron this time, also shows maybe Moses and Aaron were not allowed in without special permission)?

What was his way to save face in this situation?

Was God/Moses satisfied with the compromise? How do you think most political leaders (not being commanded by God) would have responded to this offer of compromise?

What does this tell us about God? Should politicians today follow this no-compromise example?

What was Moses’ state reason for not compromising? Was this reasonable?

What was Pharaoh’s second face saving measure after Moses refused his compromise? What does this tell us about Pharaoh’s nature?

Who is now giving the commands (29, you must not act…)?

Who kept their end of the bargain? Who didn’t? Why did God do it even though He knew Pharaoh wouldn’t keep his? What principle can we get from this?

1. Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. This plague was serious enough that he wanted to negotiate. Perhaps he had forbidden them access to the palace, so had to send people to bring them there. He still refused to obey God’s command and Moses’ request, but in an attempt to save face and keep up the appearance that he was in total control he offered another alternative by saying they could go sacrifice, but to stay in the land. That way he could keep an eye on them. Also he could show he was the boss. This was a classic face saving gesture.

2. Moses made the point, and it was a reasonable one, that this plan wouldn’t work. They would sacrifice animals to God that Egyptians worshiped. This would escalate the conflict and create tension or rioting, or even mass murder of the Jews. Perhaps this was what Pharaoh was aiming for. Regardless Moses wouldn’t compromise. This is a good less on to us. When God gives a command to us don’t compromise. Satan will surely try to entice us with alternatives and try get us to give in step by step but don’t do it. We must not take one step over the line God has set for us or one step back from the standard God has commanded us to. If we persevere in what is right, God will honor that.

3. Pharaoh realized Moses wouldn’t cave, so he compromised, but still tried to save face by saying, “you must not go very far.” This phrase would be partially for Moses benefit, partially for his own, and likely mainly for all the people and nobles watching to show his strength and appear like he was still in control.

4. Once again Moses kept his end of the bargain. He promised to pray and ask God to remove them and he did, although he knew Pharaoh was likely being deceitful. Pharaoh did end up breaking his word again. Once the immediate threat was over his prideful attitude returned and he once again hardened his heart towards God. I think one lesson we can get from this is always to keep our promises even if the people we make deals with don’t. Just because someone else breaks their word to us or we expect that they will, doesn’t give us the excuse to be deceitful or lie ourselves. This makes it easy to justify in man’s sight, but is not acceptable to God.

Study Exodus 9

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