16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
18 And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.
19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.
20 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.
23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
The plague of the waters of Egypt turning into blood and the plague of the frogs were both created in the waters of Egypt. Now the Lord told Moses that Aaron was to stretch out the rod upon the dust of the land and cause it to become lice. All of the men and beasts in Egypt were then afflicted with the lice.
The plague of lice seemed to be beyond the sorcerers of Pharaoh. The scripture says this, “And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not.” Even those magicians began to tell Pharaoh that the plagues were by the “finger of God”.
For the second time, the Lord told Moses to go to Pharaoh when he came from the River and say to him,” Let my people go, that they may serve me.”
If Pharaoh would not then let the people go, the Lord would send a swarm of flies upon the houses of the Egyptians and upon all the ground. The Lord also told Moses to tell Pharaoh that the land of Goshen where his people lived would not receive the flies, thereby putting a division between Pharaoh’s people and the people of the Lord.
Of course, just as the Lord had said, all this took place.
As I think about all these plagues, I am reminded of something I read years ago that assigned natural, progressive causes to the plagues. I’m not certain what that writer had to say, but I believe it may have started with some natural catastrophe such as an earthquake filling the Nile with red soil that turned the water to “blood,” which of course caused all the frogs to retreat from the water. The rotting corpses of the frogs drew the lice and then the flies. The Hebrew people, being clean about their own homes, were spared the plague. I remember what I thought when I read that article and what I still think. Even if this is exactly how it happened, it does not take away from the miracles one whit. Only the Lord could count on “natural” phenomena occurring in a specific place at a specific time because of course, he is Lord over all nature.
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