Have you ever thought that the ten plagues that God poured out in judgement on Egypt seemed rather arbitrary? Why use frogs, a bloody river, flies and locusts? The Bible gives two clues as to the answer.
- Pharaoh boldly asserts, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go?” (Ex 5:2).
- God speaks of executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt.
Ex 12:12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt … and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.”
So Pharaoh won’t listen to Moses and felt no compulsion to obey God’s commands because:
- He claimed not to know God and thus felt that he was not subject to his authority. He did not acknowledge that God had any sovereignty over his life.
- He was trusting in the false gods of Egypt along with their priests and magicians and submitted only to their authority.
So the showdown between Moses and Pharaoh becomes a “battle of the gods” and results in ten very specific plagues, not arbitrary in any sense.