The Blood-Red Nile: plague 1

Exodus 7:14-25 

The Egyptians had refused to let God’s people go to worship God. They had also drowned the Hebrew sons in the Nile river. Now, the Nile is going to turn on them (Enns, pg. 200). The Egyptians worshiped the Nile in the form of the god/goddess Hapi, a male god with female breasts and male hair, serving to point out everything fertile. Hapi was the god of fertility. He was the god of the Nile. God scores here a decisive victory over this god.

This miracle cannot be naturally explained, since such does not do justice to the text. Some think that the soil eroded into the Nile. However, Exodus 7 portrays the event as instantaneous. Furthermore, it is not just the Nile, but also many other sources and reservoirs of water that were turned into blood (vs. 19).

Verse 22 gives us an interesting and ironic look into the magicians of Egypt: they manage to do the same thing by their secret arts. However, they only manage to make the situation worse (Currid, pg. 169)! They cannot change the blood back into water. They can only add to the plague. Ryken notes that this is indicative of a larger pattern in Scripture: God uses Satan against himself. Satan’s devices always backfire. This is seen most clearly in the cross of Christ. Christ’s blood, which was seen by Satan to be victorious, was actually the destruction of his kingdom, since it bought redemption for his people.

In Revelation 16, this plague shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and make them dead. Beware unbelievers! Your fate has already come in part in the judgment upon Egypt! That is a warning, and a small foretaste of what is coming. Repent now, before it is too late! Trust in Jesus, whose blood shall prevent you from drinking the far more bitter blood of judgment on the final day.