The Finger of God

Exodus 8:16-19

This plague comes without any warning, as do the sixth and ninth plagues. Furthermore, this plague is not said to cease. Maybe each triad of plagues has a third, permanent reminder of that triad (Enns, pg. 210). The plague of darkness might cease because there is no triad to follow (Enns, ibid).

It is not certain what kind of bugs these were. Various translations could be given: flies, gnats, lice, mosquitos. But they were irritating, scratchy bugs that left even the magicians unclean (and therefore unable to pursue their offices; see Ryken, pg. 242, quoting John J. Davis). But what may be more important than what they are is where their origin is (Enns, pg. 209). They come from the earth. Possibly this is an attack on the god of the earth Geb, pictured above (Ryken, pg. 240). The earth itself, a power over which the Egyptians did not claim the same kind of power as it did over the Nile, is now turned against the Egyptians, as the water had already. We will also see the air turn against the Egyptians.

Pharaoh had the responsibility to keep ma’at in the world (Ryken, pg. 241). This word means “order.” By decreating Egypt, God, in showing the Egyptians the logical outcome of their idolatry, shows Pharaoh that Pharaoh is not the keeper of ma’at, Yahweh is. The magicians recognize this, at least partially, when they say that “this is the finger of god(s).” It is not certain whether they are affirming their own pantheon, or the God of Israel. At any rate, they acknowledge that they are out of their depth.

We expect certain things like money, pleasure, and power to keep our lives in good order. At the very least, our schedule ought to keep us in order. However, God only keeps the timetables. Jesus Christ has broken the power of all so-called gods in His death and Resurrection. Therefore we should trust in the One who has conquered.



  1. markhorne said,

    February 1, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Excellent point and awesome graphic for it.

    (If you put hspace=”10″ in the code of the img tag you should be able to space the picture from the words)

  2. February 1, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    […] The Finger of God « Green Baggins (tags: Christianity Theology)   […]

  3. February 1, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    This is an interesting series; keep up the good work.

  4. Anne Ivy said,

    February 1, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    You’re pointing out all sorts of things I’ve never noticed or thought of ‘ere now. Great series, Lane!

    (When I think of all the time I spent studying Genesis via BSF, I could just spit.)

  5. greenbaggins said,

    February 2, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Thanks, Mark. I had been wondering how to do that.

  6. February 2, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Great post… good points

  7. Danny said,

    February 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Keep it comin’, baby….I’m in chapter four this week.

  8. greenbaggins said,

    February 3, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    I’ll be sure to stay ahead of you, Danny. ;-)

  9. greenbaggins said,

    February 3, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    Mark, where does that tag go? I tried it in the Ephesians sermon, but it didn’t work.

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