Psalm 78 and the plagues of Egypt


The Passover/Exodus story in Exodus 7-11 tells of ten plagues that befell Egypt.  But there are shorter, poetic accounts of the plagues in Psalm 78:41 ff. and Psalm 105:27 ff.  Actually, since the word plague has come to mean a viral outbreak of disease, another word or phrase might clarify that hail and locusts are not plagues in that sense.  The Book of Revelation builds on the Exodus story and uses the metaphor of “bowls of wrath”.   Psalm 78:43 calls them signs and wonders.

Exodus has 10 of them.  The two Psalm passages have fewer.

The story in Exodus clearly has a theological meaning over against Egyptian magic and religion.  This is true of both the Elohist and Priestly sources.  P intensifies the polemic. It also adds the human plague of boils to the animal plagues, because apparently, P likes to attribute pestilence to the wrath of God. But to…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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