After re-reading the story in exodus, I think I would be overjoyed to find out that there is no evidence for this nonsense if I were a believer. The characters are not the sharpest knives in the block.
A quick overview of what has gone before. We have a reluctant leader and a god that mind controls people so he can punish them for what he makes them do. The great “let my people go” meme is only for a three day vacation, though towards the end of chapter 6 we do see that this god might get around to freeing the Israelites. Or maybe not…
Chapter 7 opens with the famous ten plagues. Yahweh (aka Y, aka God aka Allah) tells Moses again that it is mind controlling the pharaoh so that, no matter what miracles are performed, the pharaoh will not listen to Moses and Aaron telling him to let the people go. But they are supposed to tell him anyway. At this point, we are to believe that we have two octogenarians standing before the pharaoh.
So, Moses and Aaron go before pharaoh, and do the first miracle, the staff becoming a snake. And strangely enough, the Egyptian magicians can do the exact same magic as this god can. Aaron’s snake does eat the other ones. We get confirmation that yep, Y is controlling the pharaoh.
The first plague is conjured. This is the one where all of the water in Egypt turns to blood, no matter if it’s in the Nile or in your glass of water on your bedside table. Y says “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.” Not exactly, this god is making the pharaoh’s heart unyielding. It seems that Y is a bit in denial of what it’s doing. Supposedly by this miracle, everyone is supposed to know that Y did it. Problem with this is that the Egyptian magicians do the exact same trick which is indeed a neat trick since supposedly all of the water in Egypt was already turned to blood. Coherent sequences of events aren’t very common during these plagues. So, was some water not changed? Seems so. And of course, there was plenty of clean water, as long as you dug a well. Again, we get another confirmation that Y is controlling the pharaoh, just like it said.
A week passes and the second plague is up: frogs. Now, I never quite could figure out why a lot of frogs were a problem. Yep, they’d likely get squished often and pile up but I could imagine worse things to have around. They do seem to get everywhere per the story. Again, the Egyptian magicians do the same trick, so either there are replacement frogs or someone had to have sent them back and called them again. There is at this point no way to tell if this god has any powers more impressive than court magicians or not.
The pharaoh evidently doesn’t like frogs because he offers to allow the three day weekend to commence if Moses gets rid of the frogs. Moses says he’ll get rid of them from the Egyptian’s houses . Y doesn’t quite do as his mouthpiece says, and the frogs “leave” by dying where they sit and stinking up the place. More mind controlling? Why, yes.
So Y gets to send more plagues, because he makes the pharaoh harden his heart just like Y claimed he would back in the beginning of Chapter 7. Here Y has Moses threaten a plague of gnats and then brings them. Finally, we see that Y finally has better magic than the magicians because they can’t replicate this or the next set of curses. Still more heart hardening by Y. Then a plague of flies (some versions say wild animals) is sent and here we see that the prior plagues were visited on the Israelites too. Only now, does this god get around to treating his people better than the Egyptians.
The pharaoh then offers to allow the Israelites to have their festival in Egypt but Moses insists that it has to be somewhere else (perhaps Horeb? We’re never told exactly). Moses gives a strange excuse, that they can’t do that in Egypt because the Egyptians would stone them. These Egyptians that his god has mind controlled to give the Israelites anything they want? Evidently so. Pharaoh agrees, and now Moses can do the three day thing as he wants. And Y hardens the pharaoh’s heart again, so we have to go through this nonsense 6 more times.
Chapter 9 opens with the plague upon the livestock, where animals are slaughtered just for this god to show off. Now, remember this for a bit to watch what happens. Pharaoh’s is still hard thanks to Y. We next get the plague of boils, which is supposed to afflict all of the people and animals in the land. Well, I guess wildlife is now suffering for collateral damage since there is no livestock? “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.”
Y gets Moses up early again and sends him off to threaten the pharaoh, again, despite saying that it’s pointless since he’s hardened the pharaoh’s heart *again*. We get to see Y say that it’s doing this just to show off with the words repeated in that lovely bit in Romans 9 that shows that there is no free will at all in the bible. The current plague is hail (some versions add fire) and Y says that all of the livestock should be brought in so they aren’t killed. Ummm, they are already dead. All of them. Seems that this god isn’t exactly omniscient or can remember events from ostensibly a few days ago. Y proceeds to kill the newly resurrected livestock (well, where else did they come from?) and slaves that aren’t Israelites.
Now, we might get the one instance where the pharaoh could be construed to have hardened his own heart, at the end of chapter 9, but that fails since it is again claimed that Y did indeed cause it as it said back at the beginning of chapter 7. Chapter 10 opens with Y saying this again ““Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”. So, when a believer says that pharaoh was the guilty party, you can be sure that they’ve either never read their bible or that they are telling more than a bit of a fib. This god comes off as a bully who has someone down and keeps hitting them in the face with their own hand, asking “why do you keep hitting yourself?”
Now we got locusts. They in theory have eaten everything. And the pharaoh relents and the god hardens his heart. Getting familiar isn’t it?
Darkeness “that can be felt” is the next plague. The pharaoh relents again and surprise! Y hardens his heart.
Now, one would think that it would be rather easy to mind control the pharaoh and make him let everyone go. But no, we have to have all of the harm and hurt so this god can show off. It can’t do anything helpful or good to show off, nope, just a power trip.
Now the big finale. Y says that there’s one more plague and the pharaoh will drive the Israelites out of Egypt. It reiterates the claim that the Egyptian people are mind controlled so the Israelites can take what they want from them. Supposedly Moses was also highly regarded by the officials and people of Egypt, which only serves to underline that those people had no choice but to obey the pharaoh. Their punishment serves no purpose if it is for another’s actions.
Speaking of pointless punishment, we have this god promising to murder the first born sons of the Egyptians, the slaves and yes, the cows (which are supposedly all dead, or resurrected or something). “ Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.”
Then we have the basis of the celebration of Passover, where this god must have blood smeared on doors so it knows who its people are. This is where people are murdered, not for their own actions, but those of another. Adults, kids, it makes no difference. “At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.”
The Israelites leave, and “plunder” the Egyptians with their god’s help. How many where there? At least 600,000 men, plus all of the women, children, elders, and animals. The story also claims that the unleavened bread was made because the Israelites had no warning that they were to be driven out of Egypt. However, they did have warning right from the entity that was controlling everything; this doesn’t make much sense either.
We get more detail on how to celebrate Passover in chapter 12 and part of 13. Next, the big fight scene!